Vintage Postbag - Delage Search, February 1992
I was very interested to see your article on the Jameson Special, having first read about it as a schoolboy in the Dec 1933 issue of MOTOR SPORT, a copy of which I’d found in the library! The front brake plate shown in that article gave it away as a GP Delage and I’ve been looking for it ever since.
It started life as one of the 4 (or possibly 5*) completely new 2-litre V12 Delages made for the 1925 GP season, these differing in virtually every detail from their 1924 unblown predecessors. I’m still unravelling the early career of each car but so far I know team-car No 3 was in Argentina in the late 1920s being driven by Eric Forrest Greene. I’m not yet sure who took it out there but suspect it to be one of the 3 cars that were in Italy in 1928. At that time there were already 2 of the earlier V12s in Argentina; a 1924 unblown machine (now with Bob Sutherland) and a 1924 factory modified blown car, both of which were being raced by their owner Juan Malcolm as early as 1927.
Eric Forrest Greene sold his car in 1931 to a visiting Englishman Captain J V Nash, who I can find nothing about other than there being no Frazer Nash connection. TASO Mathieson recalled it being driven sedately at Brooklands during 1932 by Nash while it was for sale, but there seem to have been no takers for this highly complex 7 year-old.
Jameson appears to be the next owner and the car as pictured in your article, is pure Delage with the exception of the bonnet and radiator surround which presumably was the work of Gurney Nutting. Looking closely one can see there wasn’t an engine under the bonnet. I’ve spoken to one of Jameson’s sons who claims to have taken a large load of Delage engine parts to the tip when moving out of the factory!
Charles Martin used it as the basis for his special, circa 1937 which had 4 JAP engines fed from the Delage supercharger all cleverly joined together. By this stage it was rebodied and the front axle replaced with one from a P3 Alfa Romeo. The next owner, Stephen Mond, installed a V8 Riley engine and called it the “Bentley Special” after which it vanished, although it’s possible it was the Autovia Special, registered HC 8410.
I saw an 8c Alfa Romeo front axle advertised recently in the VSCC Newsletter and ended up with the Delage rear axle which I guessed wouldn’t be far away! Unfortunately there was no chassis frame. The V8 engine had passed through Nigel Plant’s hands some years earlier. The last time the car was seen in one piece was 1975 in Bill McFarland’s scrap yard in Dunfermline, not far from the Forth Bridge. I wonder if the chassis (which was assumed to be a Riley) survived? Doubtful but so far I’ve located the gearbox, radiator, and front and rear axles. As far as the Jameson engine goes, the last reference I’ve seen mentions one being fitted to Howe’s ERA R8C towards the end of 1939. While looking for this car and other V12 parts I was offered various pieces in Argentina and was told that an engineless car was still there — it turned out to be J Malcolm’s supercharged car. I’m hoping to have it running within living memory.
Little Wolford, Warks.