V - to - C Miscellany, February 1997

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Can anyone help a reader to trace what became of a 1934 Riley 12/4 Kestrel which his father bought in Kent in 1956 for £122 to replace a Wolseley Hornet? The Riley, reg no JU 6479, was sold in 1960 to a lady living in Kent. (The Hornet had cost £55 and its reg no was GT 2395.) Letters can be forwarded.

The Rolls-Royce EC recently added some information to that previously known about a Rolls-Royce victory in the Spanish GP. It has now found details of a Rolls-Royce in the 1921 Cote du Phare speed hill-climb at Biarritz. The 40/50 that made FTD in 24.8sec, beating a Vauxhall by 2.2sec also beat two Hispano Suizas and a Voisin. The Vauxhall was obviously a 30-98 but an advertisement has it as a “38/90”. The Rolls-Royce was said to have gone over the finishing line at 63.75mph.

The author of British Rally Drivers 1925-39, Donald Cowbourne (his name was wrongly quoted in last month’s review), is the collector of the many badges, plaques, trophies and posters etc illustrated in that book. He has just added to them a JCC/USA Canadian Rally plaque, of which only 32 were issued, found in a local salesroom. In browsing through the enormous amount of rally data in this book I was pleased to see my 1922 Talbot-Darracq recorded as winning a third-class award in the 1935 RAC Rally and that pre-war Crossley which competed in an earlier one. This reference work is full of unexpected items, such as Sir Henry Birkin, Earl Howe and W E Rootes in Humbers in the 1932 RAC Rally, although I have an idea that Sir Henry opted out…

An old advertisement shows that Malcolm Campbell’s LSR 350hp Sunbeam was offered for sale in April 1925, the approximate top speeds in the gears quoted as 61, 120, 142 and 168mph…

We are glad to hear from Alex Johnston that the ill-fated Argyll building has been awarded a £400,000 grant for its restoration by the Historical Scotland restoration scheme. The building in Alexandria, designed by Charles Halley in 1906, is to have the facade, interior and clock tower renovated. The building. which once held 2000 employees, is now an art centre and will have a motor heritage centre added.

Richard Riding, editor of Aeroplane, has a long article about Comper Swift G-ACTF in the current issue of Prop-Swing, Journal of the Shuttleworth VAS. At Biggleswade the Shuttleworth workshops are restoring a Fiat Topolino and a Jowett. We are not sure if the latter is a reminder that Richard Shuttleworth used a 7hp long-chassis Jowett two-seater as hack transport at Brooklands before the war, when there working on his racing cars; but that particular Jowett was given as a non-runner to me and it did not survive the war.

The 1997 Bugatti International Rally will be based on Newmarket, from June 15-21, where the organisers have taken over the entire Bedford Lodge Hotel. The cars will have runs to such historic places as Bury St Edmunds. Lavenham, and Southwold, where a well-known Brooklands driver flew and raced motorcycles before WWI. Newmarket is the HQ of the British horse race industry, and the presence of Bugattis in the Suffolk lanes should help to stimulate the race horses. The event is to take in visits to a race meeting (horse) and Duxford Aviation Museum, with a gala dinner in the Great Hall of Kings College, Cambridge. Provisional bookings to the HOC at Prescott Hill, Gotherington. Glos GL52 4DR.

As a sequel to “Stranger Than Fiction” with regard to a bogus entry in the 1995 Brighton Run a reader, Ian White, recalls that in 1939 his father bought a Humber for £12.10/- from a Wharlingham garage, labelled as a 1904 veteran. Before the dating of veteran cars was taken as seriously as it later was, his entry was accepted for that year’s run and finished successfully. However, the car was later redated 1909, so is it the youngest car to take part in the run for pre-1905 veterans? The car was later was sold to Francis Hutton-Scott, then went to Rootes and is now at Beaulieu.

The 1997 Conference of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, which so conscientiously looks after the interests of such vehicles from the aspect of EU rules and regulations etc, will be held at the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, on March 22, from 10am to 4.30pm. WB