Vintage postbag, February 1985

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Howe and Campbell

Sir,

That Type 43 Bugatti which won the first Mountain race at Brooklands, I am certain that it was Lord Howe’s not Campbell’s. I was completing my engineering apprenticeship at Bentley Motors Ltd at that time, and had been at the track earlier that week. We had been unable to test a Le Mans replica 4½ on the full course, because the Mountain circuit was in use.

I joined Malcolm Campbell and Lord Howe who were there with “the old man’s” Type 43 Bugatti. It was a new circuit to most people, but Campbell knew it well, because he had won the JCC Junior Grand Prix on what was virtually the same circuit two years previously in his 1½-litre Deluge. Lord Howe had brought that Bugatti from Malcolm, and now Campbell was teaching him the best way round the Mountain, acting as his riding mechanic in practice.

On the day Howe drove with great dash, using exactly the same line at the Fork that I remember Malcolm Campbell used in the Delage. I cannot ever remember Campbell racing a ‘Type 43 on that circuits his Type 35, Type 39, the Delage. 38-250 Mercedes-Benz and 4-litre Sunbeam, but not a Type 43 Bugatti.

Kineton A. F. Rivers Fletcher

[Yes, Rivers, you are quite correct, as is my Brooklands Book. We should have said Lord Howe in the ex-Malcolm Campbell’s Type-43 Bugatti. It is interesting that Campbell showed Howe “the way round,” having won the JCC Junior OP with his Deluge over this circuit, but with two artificial corners on the Finishing straight, two years earlier; Rivers modestly refrains from saying he was the intrepid schoolboy passenger, indicative of those carefree days. Incidentally, this Brooklands circuit had been used in the year before that, in 1927, for the first JCC Junior OP, won hi Purdy’s Bugatti, and in that year the BARC run races at the Sporting Life and Sportsman meeting over “the Mountain”, then called “the short Grand Prix course”, but in this case used anti-clockwise. — Ed]

Bugattis

Sir,

Regarding W.B.’s piece about the Bugattis owned by Brian Finglass, through whose hands few Bugattis seem not to have passed at one time or another, the car registered EPF 761 was never a Type 37A.

I bought EPF 761 from E. W. Gillett in 1947. It had the chassis number 4613 and was originally a Type 35, built in 1925 and supplied initially to Malcolm Campbell via the agents at Brixton (see Hugh Conway’s book on the GP cars). In 1936 it was “stroked” to 2.3-litres by L. G. Bachetier and the first notable event in my ownership of the car was the collapse of his crankshaft. Things looked up when that had been seen to and the Bug provided some truly memorable motoring. The pleasure it gave remains undimmed even by the thought that it must now be worth about 200 times what I sold it for in 1954.

Leatherhead Claud Powell

Still Extant?

Sir,

I’m enclosing a photograph of my late father, then Surgeon-Commander, Kenneth Wolferstan, outside the base at Eastchurch, during the First World War; the car, which was bright red, was a Carden, as no doubt you will recognise! It would be nice to think that iris still in existence somewhere, if not, I wonder who has that number plate?

Shortly after he was married to my mother he changed it for a Model-T Ford, with an English two-seater body, of which you showed a photograph some time ago. That one is still running.

In the ’20s my grandfather, who lived in Shropshire, owned another very rare car, a Salmson, changing it for a bull-nosed. Morris-Cowley, and finally a Wolseley Hornet. His home was on the main Hereford to Shrewsbury road and he would back his car straight out onto the road. The Almighty was very kind to him, annul once did he hit anything!

Weston-Super-Mare James La Touche Wolferstan

Where Are They Now?

Sir,

As a very impecunious sulbaltern whilst on a Vickers Medium Machine Gun course at The School of Infantry, Netheravon, I purchased a fabric bodied, pointed tail, “M” Type MG Midget — WL 8787 — I think the number was. It was acquired with a great friend of mine, Paddy Ford of the 22nd Cheshire Regiment. Alas unfortunately no longer with us.

It was chosen with great care from a selection of vintage machinery from a very likely looking automobile establishment called “Bert Mason, Sports Cars”. This is an absolutely genuine Double Twelve model said Bert, promptly relieving me of the princely sum of ninety pounds. I drove the MG back from Bert’s to Wiltshire, but as this was the first time I had ever driven in London, I couldn’t find my way out of town! Eventually I was personally guided out West by a policeman, who, seeing the SAS wings on my para smock (borrowed from Peter Fleming), could not have been more helpful!

We had an enormous amount of fun with old WL 8787(?), but later on Paddy was posted to Egypt and I brought out his share. As it happened I was soon to follow, but as my step-father refused point blank to have “that dreadful, smelly, motor-car” anywhere near the house, I decided to hand it back to brother Bert. This must have been June 1952.

Regrettably the MG expired accending that long hill into High Wycombe from Oxford. I managed to manoeuvre it into the garage halfway up, but here it was abandoned. I went off to soldier in the Middle East for three years and never went back to find out what ever happened to the old car. Can any of your readers throw any light on WL 8787(?). It must be due for restoration by now!

Dammam, S. Arabia John Sevenoaks