Vintage Postbag, February 1986

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Bugatti Royales

Sir,

Writing in V-E-V Miscellany W.B., when referring to the gathering together of the six Royales at Pebble Beach, stated that the ex-Foster Park Ward-bodied car was once a familiar sight in Leominster. ALB 2 was used regularly by Lemon Burton to open proceedings at Prescott but I know of no reason why it should visit Leominster. The Royale which was frequently seen in this locality was the ex-Esders car still on French number plates and apparently in regular use despite petrol rationing.

Hoarwithy E N. B CARMICHAEL

V8 Jensens

Sir,

I was most interested to read the letter from Digby Hulme (Vintage Postbag, Nov ’85). The car Illustrated and described as an Isotta-Fraschini is a pre-war 3 1/2 litre S-type Jensen.

Mr Hulme will, no doubt, be surprised to hear that his car has been in my possession for some time and will form the basis of my next restoration!

In all the years I have been reading MOTOR SPORT I don’t recall you ever giving mention to the pre-war Jensen. and I wonder why.

My own car, powered by the ubiquitous Ford V8 engine, surely the most simple and under-rated means of propulsion ever invented, cruises silently at 60/70 mph all day in the high ratio of its 2-speed axle the rev-counter hovering around 2.000 rpm.

Ford was to Jensen what Hudson waste Railton and Brough Superior, a source of simple mechanical components on which to build fine coachwork, and the results must have made the efforts of some of the quality British producers, with their low power-to-weight ratios and noisy fast-revving engines look slightly ridiculous.

Hartlepool EDGAR COULSON

(The wrong photograph appeared with the November letter — Ed )

In Miniature

Sir,

In the interesting article “In Miniature” in the December issue you again mentioned the fine car models in the Queen’s Dolls House at Windsor Castle.

My father, the late R. E Morgan. was employed by Twinings in the 1920s and constructed the larger part of the chassis and running gear for these models having the privilege of delivering them personally for display.

He also rneasured the early German and British tanks which were placed in the Crystal Palace grounds for some years after the First World War, and produced hand-built models many of which are still exhibited at the Imperial War Museum and Science Museum in London.

Whilst staying in digs in the Crystal Palace area he travelled frorn Northampton in the family 1914 Calthorpe, the mahogany battery box of which is the only remains now In my possession. It would be interesting to know if any other readers have any direct connection with these or other currently displayed models of the period.

Barnet DAVID E MORGAN

The Pieper

Sir,

In your coloured illustrations of the RAC Brighton Run, you describe the Pieper as a “rare”, Belgian car. No doubt this epithet is justified at the present time but there is some evidence that the make was formerly very much better known.

Readers of the successful motoring novel, “The Lightning Conductor” by C N. and A M Williamson, published in 1902, may remember the passage in which, while the characters are at a restaurant in France, a car is heard outside “A little Pieper”, says the Hero “How wonderful!” replies the admiring Heroine, “can you really tel different makes of car lust by their sound?” He assures her that anyone can do so with practice, and explains that “the De Dion has a kind of screaming whirr : the Benz a pulsing throb; the Panhard a thrumming, a tricycle a noise Irke a miniature Maxim”.

“A tricycle”. I take it, means a Leon Bollee.

From this passage one might conclude that the Pieper was among the common cars whose noise anyone might learn to recognise. At the same time the evidence, one must admit, is not conclusive. The book is illustrated by photographs of real cars, and a Pieper may have been introduced to the story just because the authors had one available for this purpose. Nevertheless, to readers of the novel, Pieper remains a familiar name among those of early cars.

KENT KARSLAKE George Nympton

(Yes, but it was a novel albeit a very readable one — which some enterprising person might well make a film around — Ed )