Club News, January 1941

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WE HEAR .  .  .  .

We hear that Joan Richmond has recently given up her Lancia “Lambda” in favour of a left-hand-drive Fiat “Balilla.” Alan May’s “30/98” Vauxhall is in service, towing car bodies about for the Southern Motor Company. J. G. Clarke, whose unblown Frazer-Nash used to motor so very rapidly, is now running a Citroen and Bill Short and Charles Brackenbury motor in Fiat “Mice,” Charles having his 4½-litre Lagonda as well. John Sanders, 4½-litre Bentley owner, is now an Army Captain. Eddie Wrigley, Michael May and Brymer ride Norton motor-bicycles. Forrest Lycett has two Lancia Aprilias and does long journeys with them, having a neat system of easy-starting for cold mornings on one, and special shock-absorbers on the other. Tom Lush has staked a claim in a 1914 water-cooled V-twin Humberette and is building a fabric saloon body on to a 1935 Austin Seven chassis as a war-time hack. Scroggs has left hospital and is back in service with the R.A.F. and goes on using his trials Trojan. P. H. Hunter, secretary of the 750 Club, is busy evolving a sports Austin Seven with A.E.W. two-seater, body, “Speedy” engine, 1936 chassis of “Nippy” type, Scintilla Vertex magneto ignition, a Type 75 Marshall supercharger and 17″ wheels. His rebuilt A.E.W. Austin Seven four-seater is consequently for sale for around £17. J. D. Aylward has disposed of his immaculate Aston-Martin to Benn and now gets around on a push-bicycle; he does 15-mile runs for fun and averages over 10 m.p.h. in very hilly country, beating the train on one run by I¼ hours—and he is 70 next year. Rolls-Royce Ltd. run a regular bus-service for employees travelling from the works to outlying depots, nicknamed the “Band Wagon” and consisting of a “Phantom III” Rolls-Royce driven by a chauffeuse. John Ogle has become the owner of a “12/50” Alvis. The V-twin Meo-Special mentioned in the recent article on racing cyclecars is reputed to have had the front axle, which came from the Horton Special and had had O.M. brakes added, scrapped at a later date in favour of Lancia suspension. It seems the engine eventually succumbed with a broken piston. A friend of Meo’s had Ogle’s Ratier chassis for a time. Gordon Wilkins purchased Billy Cotton’s 328 B.M.W. when he left instructional work at Frazer-Nash’s to join the Bristol Aeroplane Company and enjoys 90 m.p.h. cruising. When Laurence Pomeroy, Junr. got married he had a brief run in Lycett’s 8-litre Bentley after a deal of champagne; the result was it very nice letter to “The Motor” over his name—even B.M.W.ists are captivated by this great car. The ex-Craig Type 57C “3.3” Bugatti coupe was seen in Guildford recently, looking and sounding magnificent. Its young owner has just returned from abroad, vowed he would never leave Bugatti and said he kept down to 65 m.p.h. on “Pool” to humour the machinery. Tom Rolt is now at Hungerford, presumably living in a motor boat, and his 1903 Humber is believed to be for sale. Harold Pratley, who writes letters to the motor papers on G.P. Sunbeam history, is building a sports Austin Seven and disposing of his well-preserved 1929 Austin Seven, “Chummy”—possibly to the Editor of this paper! Rowland Smith’s December sales list contained 158 cars, ranging from 9 gns. to 595 gns. Brymer, who is now a civilian instructor to the R.A.O.C., had a narrow escape during an air-raid near Bristol when the screen of his Riley “Gamecock” was cracked and the rim of the spare wheel split. Congratulations to Peter and Ariel Clark on the arrival of a son and heir— Anthony Philip Clark—clearly another motoring sportsman is amongst us. Anthony Heal’s Xmas card was a real photograph of two racing Ballots, Guyot and Rene Thomas up, taken in Paris in 1919.

LEINSTER M.C.

The Irish are having trials very different from the kind the rest of the British Isles are experiencing. The Leinster Club’s Lincoln Cup Trial last year was won by Le Fanu’s L.E.R.A., with 69 points, from R. V. Harvey (PB M.G. Midget) which obtained 68½ points, and C. N. S. Pringle (Ford Ten), who took 66 points.

THE C.U.A.C. DINNER

The Cambridge University Automobile Club (Student Racers’ Association to the irreverent) held a dinner in the Lion Hotel at Cambridge, on Saturday, November 30th. Thirty-three diners presented themselves at the festal board and consumed a dinner as good as one can generally meet in war-time.

Michael May (ex-student) took the chair, after a late arrival by power-driven cycle (Norton) which had somewhat delayed him by engaging all the gears simultaneously in Watford. Michael, be it said, is now proprietor of a machine shop and makes bits of flying machines and allied articles. Hastings, Sports Editor of “The Light Car,” was the guest of honour, and Reggie Tongue (honorary member) was another prominent guest, as was also Anthony Heal, who, temporarily bereft of his high-speed Vauxhall, had toiled along in a Fiat car of very moderate output.

Laurence (Technical Editor) Pomeroy, Clutton and Bunny Tubbs (another ex-student) had been projected from London in Clutton’s Bugatti, so furiously driven by Pomeroy that, during a “military detour” round very secondary lanes, it was hardly once out of a slide for a period of fully 30 miles.

Monkhouse had come along in Mr. Drury’s classy Rolls-Bentley, and gave one of his inimitable cinematograph displays, with comment, after the speeches. He had also donated a magnificent collection of racing photographs for the Club album.

Mr. Pomeroy proposed the health of the Club. That is to say, he more than lived up to his reputation as a first-class raconteur (albeit, not all his tales on this occasion would have been suitable utterances for that noble organ of the Temple Press), but did little about the health of the Club, which was left to Clutton as seconder, who, after a few characteristically inept and ill-chosen remarks, only just remembered in time what was expected of him. Mr. Jesty (Hon. Sec.) spoke briefly of current Club doings. Michael May then proposed the health of the guests, adding some pleasant reminiscences of previous Club gatherings. Reggie Tongue closed the speech-making with several nice stories, graciously adding that he didn’t at all mind coming to their dinners and making speeches to them (incidentally, he had to motor no little distance to get back to his R.A.F. station that night).

The excellent practice obtained of warning no one that he would have to speak until the sweet course was already on the table, so that the speeches were all short, unlaboured, to the point, and excellently received.

Then followed Monkhouse’s superb Grand Prix films, followed with breathless attention—and how much cannot be learnt from them?—and finally, motoring discussion prevailed until alter 2.30 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Shortly after noon on Sunday another informal gathering took place in the yard of the Lion, where might be seen expert undergraduates rectifying electrical inconveniences in the Bugatti; Clutton making farcically ineffectual attempts to ride Michael May’s Norton; while Pomeroy cut rapid figures-of-eight in between and round about in an Austin Seven Special which had miraculously appeared on the scene, the full and beaming countenance of the Technical Editor, seen against the eau-de-nil coachwork of the Austin, and through the hail of stones thrown up by his wild gyrations, being a pleasure to behold.

A most notable party indeed; all power to the C.U.A.C. for running it, and Mr. Jesty and his committee, in particular, for all the work of organisation in these aggravating times.