The VSCC's need for speed

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

The Vintage sports-car club was formed in 1934 for those owning pre-1931 cars, often of the calibre of 3-litre Bentley, 30/98 Vauxhall and 12/50 Alvis, who thought the design and construction of more modern cars, even of sportscars, was declining because sales and cost-saving were taking precedence over good engineering.

I thought it might be of interest to consider how right or wrong they were, by looking at cars which followed the formation of the VSCC. So I consulted The Autocar’s road tests for 1935.

In those faraway days, acceleration was somewhat less a factor in judging the merit of a car than it is now. Maximum speed was then a more appreciated attribute — remember there was no speed limit on ‘open’ roads.

The £1000 4/5-litre Lagonda was timed over a half-mile (used for the faster cars) at Brooklands at 100.56mph, two up with screen flat (two-way run, 98.36), and at 96.25mph with screen up. The £878 Raikon Light Sports Tourer did 100.56 (98.9 two ways), and a Bertelli Aston Martin managed just 82.57 over Brooklands’ quarter-mile as opposed to the 83.33 of both the AC Ace sports fourseater and the £325 Triumph Southern Cross two-seater.

Several American saloons were much faster, and even the £220 3.6-litre Ford V8 saloon was timed at 86.54 mph. Done by The Autocar test driver H S Linfield, these figures are revealing, and the better vintage sportscars would not have kept up, until in tuned-up form.

One or two of the 1935 saloons could outpace easily the faster vintage sportscars. The £785 3.5-litre Hotchkiss Paris-Nice was credited with 95.74mph, the Chrysler Airflow with 92.78, and the s/c Graham with 91.84.

Creditable, too, were the SS1 saloon (83.33mph), the Rover 14 Speed coupe (82.57), the 1.5-litre Riley Special Series saloon (81.82), and the 2-litre FN-BMW cabriolet and Humber Super Snipe saloon, both of which managed 80.36. But in 1935, how sluggish some cars still were! An A7 Ruby could not quite get up to 51mph, the 7hp Jowett had to be content with 54.5 and the Standard 9 with 57. Lanchester’s Light Six saloon was hard-pressed to better 64.75 and a Morris 10/6 so-called sports-tourer did just 60. The Sunbeam 20 saloon attained a mere 67, while several large cars struggled to do 70. The sports Singer 9 Le Mans four-seater did 68.18, the Hillman Aero Minx coupe 71.43 — little advance in half a decade over a blown A7 Ulster or MG Midget.

But whether any of these cars would be as good 10 years later could have been a valid argument for the pre1930 machinery the VSCC chaps enthused over.

Related articles

Related products