V-E-V odds and ends

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Those who follow Anneka Rice in the helicopter-orientated TV series “Treasure Hunt” may recall that the episode for December 10th last year started from Kentwell Hall near Bury St Edmunds. This moated Elizabethan mansion, standing originally in 5,000 acres of ground, was where R. J. B. Seaman, the most outstanding pre-war British racing-driver, was brought up. Too late to correct last month, the first car owned by Mr Abraham, the “Motor Mountaineer”, was a Sunbeam Mahley, that oddly-shaped, tiller-steered contraption based, it was said, on a Victorian sofa, and not a “Mabberley” as published, while in the same article the photograph of me in a Bristol 405 in Lakeland hills was referred to, but omitted. In the February 1984 Motor Sport D.S.J. had an article on fake cars in which he mentioned that the fine replica built by Roger Pichon of the Renault 45 which held the World’s 24-hour record in 1926 has all too often been described as the real thing. The latest to perpetuate this error was Sue Baker, in a BBC “Top Gear” programme, when she came upon the car at a recent exhibition of old cars in Paris! At this exhibition the eight-litre ex-G. E.T. Eyston Panhard-Lavassor single-seater was seen to have survived, although down the years the bodywork of this genuine record.-breaker has been hacked about a bit.

We hear that last year Peter Baines and Andy Macgill covered 1,066 miles in 24 hours in the latter’s 1921 40/50 hp Rolls-Royce Barker tourer, avoiding motorways where possible, on a run that took them from the R-R Foundation’s headquarters at Paulerspury to Scotch Corner and back, ending at Moulton. This represents an overall average speed of 44.42 mph. In fact 2 hr 17 m had been lost repairing three punctures and a hole that developed in the inlet manifold, otherwise the average would have been 49.35 mph, very good going for a back-braked car, especially as much rain was encountered. The Rolls-Royce gave 11 mpg of two-star petrol and some six pints of oil. Next April, for Club funds, the R-REC’s Chairman proposes to see how far his 20/25 hp Rolls-Royce Gurney Nutting saloon will go in the same time..

My recent reference to the Eton Garage in Balham has brought a letter from Brian Finglass, who reminds me that this was a different establishment from French’s Garage, who before the war was an agent for Dodge Bros. and were further up the High Road, opposite GN. Ltd. Brian kept his Brescia Bugatti at the Eton Garage at one time and recalls that opposite to it Ben Barker had his premises, an engineer who did many good jobs on the car for Finglass and who used then to run a beautiful little 10/23 Talbot. Incidentally, remembering that Finglass referred recently to L. G. Bacheliei’s: two-seater Type 43 Bugatti, it was interesting to visit E. Allen the other day; to see the very original Type 43 he has been working on for an American enthusiast and to find beside it the Allen’s yellow Type 40 , Bugatti that has the body from the Bachelier 43, now with a panel removed to turn it into a shopping four-seater. Allen has also beautifully rebuilt a vee-twin NUT solo, motorcycle (NUT for Newcastle-on-Tyne, where these machines were made, of course), ex-the Sword Collection, for another fortunate American.

On June 23rd the Amberley Chalk Pits Museum, is to hold a Dennis Day, and Mr John Dennis, grandson of the first Dennis vehicle builder has promised to attend, with exhibits from the Hestair-Dennis Collection. The Museum asks those with other Dennis vehicles to contact Howard Stenning at the Museum, Houghton Bridge, Amberley, Arundel, W. Sussex; BN18 9LT. A 1935 Vauxhall Six, with sliding roof, bought for £300 recently, is being restored in the North. – W.B.

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