Club news, January 1943

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We hear….

Lt. J. F. Kentish, who used to drive Morgan 3-wheelers in M.C.C. trials and race a Vincent-H.R.D. “Rankle” at B.M.C.R.C. Brooklands meetings, now uses a 1000-c.c. spring-frame Ariel solo. He has turned to veteran cars since the war, and has a fine collection at his home in Hampshire, including a 1902 de Dion Bouton and a Cadillac, both single cylinders once owned by Burtonshaw, a 4-cylinder Argyle, and a de Dion Quad. He also has a number of very early motorcycles, the most recent of which is a 4-cylinder Henderson Solo in an excellent state of preservation. Being pressed for storage space, he wishes to find a good home for a 1907 9-h.p. single-cylinder Jackson dog-cart, in really good order save for tyres. This car has had an expensive overhaul, and Kentish values it at £30. He can supply spares for singlecylinder Darraeq cars if anyone is stuck for such parts. The 1925 A.C. which was for sale in the Midlands has been acquired by a member of the Scuderia Chemvamo. Sydney Allard and Reg. Canham seem to have overcome their enthusiasm for three-wheels and are sharing a 1940 Fiat 500 once used by G. H. Symonds, who himself rides a very special single-port 350-c.c. Levis, for which he possesses a spare 2-port power plant. A lowered chassis to accommodate a “30/98” Vauxhall engine, an Opel “Cadet” with racing body, a 1903 single-cylinder Humber and an Amilear have been discovered “turned out for the duration,” as it were, and presumably in need of new homes. D. S. Jenkinson has constructed himself a very nice motor-bicycle of Norton parts, with taper forks, much of the work being accomplished by torchlight in a small shed. David Fry is reported to be flying with the R.A.F. Cowell has sold his sports 2-litre Alta and is using the ex-Undery 1.5-litre Meadows-engined H.R.G., bought from Ian Metcalfe, during his spells of leave from the R.A.F. Metcalfe has added a very brief wheelbase Lancia “Lambda” 2-seater of early series to his collection of cars at his motor emporium at Shepperton.

Veteran news refuses to dry up; we learn of an A.C. “Sociable” 3-wheeler, less body, in London, a 1905 single-cylinder Rover in Peterborough, and a shed in Berkshire containing an Albruna and a very fine Renault tourer which have both been up on jacks since 1914; it is not definite whether these cars are for sale, but we are making enquiries. Alas, the scrapping goes on, and a very big Renault landaulette that served in the last war has recently been smashed-up in Hampshire, likewise the 1911 G.W.K. and Leyland Eight chassis mentioned not long ago. Metcalfe is trying to save a pre-1914 14-h.p. Mors 2-seater. Aircraftsman K. Cobbing, who has a collection of early motor cycles, mentions that his friend, J. Fairhurst, has cut out the impulse starter on the Bosch magneto of the 1914 Hillman he bought recently from Breen, and this has completely cured a spell of ignition trouble. He would be glad to hear from any West Country enthusiasts. His civilian address is 30, Cedar Park Road, Enfield, Middlesex. There is a 1,100-c.c. flat-four air-cooled Tatra in regular use in Enfield, and that reminds us that Breen has sold a “12/60” Alvis saloon to Lush, and has, or had, for sale a “Hyper” Lea-Francis saloon and a 3-bearing Army Austin Seven 2-seater. If any special builders require a long-wheelbase Austin Seven chassis with 5.25 to 1 axle ratio, a 4-Speed engine unit and a 2-seater body of sorts, we know of such objects for disposal. MacLagen has been running a Dirt Track Douglas on Pool and has seen a V12 Lagonda and a 2-litre M.G., both bearing B.R.D.C. badges, in use near Nottingham.

A day after the December issue of Motor Sport appeared a readier told us of a very recent encounter with a Duraley Pedersen bicycle (which he only recognised from reading the article on these machines which appeared in the last issue) in the very town where this paper is now prepared—it’s a small world. . . . Its acceleration when the lights changed was described in awed tones! Which recalls a desire expressed by Jenkinson to organise a pedal-bicycle trial for the more energetic exponents of our world.

J. Lemon-Burton has sold his 3.8 litre Bugatti–a bored-out 3.3 G.P.—to a Surrey enthusiast. Pre-the-last-blitz racing cars are amongst the most desirable of veteran properties, so we are not surprised to learn that Shortt received 17 enquiries for the 1914 G.P. Opel after we mentioned that it was for sale; a Birmingham enthusiast, Mr. Morgan, bought it. Shortt also has a 3-litre 2-seater Invicta for sale at £40. A single o.h.c. Alfa-Romeo 1929 4-seater, needing some attention, is reported to be for sale at Newton’s Garage, New Barnet. Charles Brackenbury is riding his 1,000-c.c. Ariel Square Four again, and set it on fire so effectively that Vickers Fire Brigade turned out to subdue the conflagration. Granville-Grenfell is leaving T. & T.’s to set up on his own once again. A very well-known British driver is reported to be in possession of two new Grand Prix cars of 1.5 litre capacity that owe nothing to E.R.A.—more than that our spies have not communicated. Colin Nickolson is now a Flight-Lieutenant in the R.A.F.V.R., and from a 3-litre Bentley is reduced to devouring sections of South Africa on a Norton motorcycle. There is apparently a partly dismantled F-type M.G. Magna coupe at Taplis’s Garage, Matlock., which might. provide spares. A model T Ford 2-seater stands beside a main road near Manchester. Sub-Lt. N. Massey Riddle, R.N.V.R., is anxious to acquire a Riley Six or Riley Nine engine unit with preselector gearbox, if anyone knows of one. He has bought a Type 40 Bugatti with 3-seater Jarvis body and knows of an E.H.P. for sale in Brighton for £25, partly dismantled.

The New Zealand Sports and Racing Car Club

We have pleasure in announcing the formation of the New Zealand Sports and Racing Car Club, founded to keep New Zealand enthusiasts in touch during the war and to provide an organisation ready to promote motoring competition in New Zealand after the war. The founder members are: A. E. Ansel, who has driven a T.T. Frazer-Nash and a special Singer Nine and a Citroen Light Fifteen in Dunedin events; H. N. Arthur and R. J. Arthur, who own a “Red Label” 3-litre Bentley and M-type M.G.; G. Easterbrook-Smith, who needs no introduction to readers who read of his Ansaldos in this paper; C. F. Hansen, who has owned a 1913 Rolls-Royce and an M.G. Magna, and who now owns a 1927 “Blue Label” 3-litre Bentley ; Douglas Kay, of the R.N.Z.A.F., who is a competition motor-cyclist and owner of the Marlborough-Thomas recently described in Motor Sport: and E. Sharrock of the R.N.Z.A.F., who has vintage leanings. Easterbrook-Smith is secretary, Sharrock is assistant secretary, and Hansen is the treasurer. The entry fee is 5s., with an annual subscription of 5s. and membership is open only to those who satisfy a majority of the founder members as to their suitability. This to eliminate “the type of person who joins a club merely to get another badge for his tiebar “—which seems a good, if brave, move. The club is hoping to affiliate with one of the better clubs in this country and is attempting to issue badges. “Its first “Bulletin,” dated 1st September, 1942, contains a most interesting article on tuning a 1937 Singer Nine, by A. E. Ansell, and an account of a 1913 “40/50” Rolls-Royce by C. F. Hansen. Incidentally, Tlaursby-Pelham’s fame has spread to New Zealand, causing Ansell to refrain from quoting figures for his Singer! All who have met New Zealand enthusiasts over here in this war will join in wishing this new club every success and may desire to join it. Secretary : G. Easterbrook-Smith, 97, Campbell Street, Karori, Wellington, New Zealand.

Scuderia Chemvamo

Although its magazine has had to cease, the Scuderia Chernvamo is sending out a news-letter to its members—an idea which might well be followed by other groups of now inactive enthusiasts.

The Enthusiasts’ Car Club

The membership of the Enthusiasts’ Car Club had reached 65 last October. Regular meetings are held and the November “Bulletin” contained reports of these gatherings and an account of the 1924 G.P. Sunbeam engine acquired recently by Harold Pratley, a description of a Triumph Eight “special” built by A. D. Murray, and many news items and advertisements. In future subscriptions will run annually. Hon. Secretary : D. L. Gandhi, 134, Heaton Moor Road, Stockport.

Veteran Car Club of Great Britain

The Veteran Car Club’s scheme to purchase veteran cars that would otherwise be broken-up, for resale to its members, has aroused considerable interest and we believe that funds for the purpose are coming in well. The arrangements as decided at the meeting of 14th November, 1942, are as follows :

1. That a special “Acquisition Committee” shall be formed whose terms of reference shall cover the location and acquisition of any vehicles that may be available.

2. It should be clearly understood that the Acquisition Committee will not be a trading organisation, or out for mink personal gain.

3. That the requisite funds shall be provided by members as guarantors, who may express themselves, as desirous of so acting, and who are acceptable to the Committee.

4. That the said guarantors will state their willingness to be responsible individually for a sum not exceeding £25 in multiples of £5 as and when the need for purchasing funds arises. Any member, however, desiring to subscribe in excess of £25 will be at liberty to do so, and he can state his desired maximums liability. It is earnestly hoped that only those members who are prepared to implement their undertaking will put their names forward.

5. That this Acquisition Committee shall agree as to the broad conception that all true veteran vehicles which may become available on the market shall be acquired by this Committee, provided always that a reasonable price can be negotiated, and the Acquisition Committee will make itself responsible for the proper housing and insuring of these vehicles.

6. The Acquisition Committee will only agree to the resale of these vehicles to members of the V.C.C., or to those who undertake to enter into membership on the acquisition of a vehicle under this scheme.

7. The price which will be charged to any member desiring to acquire the vehicle shall be fairly fixed by the Committee after having taken into consideration the purchase price and subsequent costs of storage, insurance, etc.

8. Any individual purchasing a car from the pool will he required to sign an agreement to the effect that should he cease to be a member of the Club or should he or his executors wish to dispose of it, then it will be re-offered to the Club at a price not in excess of that which he paid for it, and also that he will undertake not to sell it in any other direction whatsoever until the Club has refused to repurchase on these terms. Should It so happen that the owner of the vehicle has expended a considerable sum of money, over and above his original purchase price, in repairing and restoring the vehicle, then the Committee may take into consideration such expenditure in fixing the repurchase price.

9. In the event of the death or for any specific reason causing the guaranteeing member to require withdrawal of his guarantee funds, then the Committee will, upon such representation, agree, if the reasons advanced are, in its opinion sufficiently sound, to refund the guarantor’s money immediately.

10. A separate Honorary Treasurer will be appointed to deal specifically with the application of the moneys concerned and a separate bank account will be opened for this purpose.

11. It is agreed that those members at the Club (except as indicated in item No. 12 below) who already own more than one veteran vehicle should refrain from offering to purchase under the above scheme additional vehicles since it is in the interests of the movement that the vehicles which would be available for disposal out of the pool should widen the membership of the Club. If, however, any vehicle that becomes available is not required by any non-member, then it will be open to any number of the Club to purchase the vehicle on offer, even if he is already the owner of several veteran vehicles.

12. If a member of the Club who already owns more than one vehicle desires to acquire a vehicle which is available within the pool, he shall be entitled to do so by surrendering one of his other vehicles in exchange subject to the necessary financial adjustment.

13. The Committee confidently anticipates the support of all members of the Club for this scheme. It is also hoped that all those members who are at any time desirous of disposing of one or more of their veteran vehicles will automatically offer such vehicles to the Acquisition Committee.

It will be interesting to learn whether the scheme will be extended to cover cars built up to the end of 1912, now that the Veteran Car Club has announced its intention to care for vehicles of this later period. If this is the case Motor Sport will endeavour to put the Acquisition Committee in touch with a considerable number of such veterans that are in grave danger of being damaged or totally destroyed. Hon. Secretary: Capt. J. H. Wylie, 38, West Cromwell Road, London, S.W.5.

General notes

Even with business-only runs, this motoring, mercifully, continues. Before all the basic fuel was used up there was a pleasant week-end’s driving in an Austin Seven-engined 3-wheeler on what was actually an official run (that’s some the D.P.O. owes us), commencing in thick fog on the Saturday evening and terminating in the early hours of the Monday morning, part of the raw Sunday afternoon being spent in following a very rapid B.M.W. motor-cycle that was acting as pace-maker. It was the tricycle which conveyed four of us to see the Aero, mentioned in “Rumblings” at the time, all through London’s deserted West End, from whence we returned in the dignity of a C.D. Hillman “Minx,” the latest version of this popular British family car being a great improvement on its predecessors. Then there was a fast local run in the Lancia “Lambda,” when it was possible to take two persons along who thoroughly appreciated these journeys, and to embrace a climb up a long hill to a beauty spot well remembered from peace-time, and near to which an early Darracq and a home-bored well had once been inspected. Then, on the very last drop of basic, the tricycle motored through typical Hampshire scenery to enable us to see a unique stable of early cars and motor-cycles, returning on a perfect winter afternoon just in time for tea. An official journey of some 60 miles in the Lancia followed, very welcome, yet tending to emphasise pungently the fun we used to enjoy so freely in what is now the long ago. The old car got along the deserted roads to the west quite rapidly, stopping only to greet a friend—moving on when it became obvious that a constable was interested in the apparent absence of silencing— and to give an aircraftsman a lift along that lonely run over the rolling plain into Amesbury. The engine started at the first touch of the button, as it invariably does, next morning, and we ran home in a manner truly satisfactory to the owner, roads being even more deserted than they had been for the journey down, so that two W.A.A.F.s decided to brave the elements and accept a lift in our vintage motor car, which maintained its reputation by leading home a 1.5-litre M.G. saloon on the last few miles. One naturally did not tell one’s passengers that many drivers have to restrict their speed these days to conserve fuel and wheelwear! There has been one other such run in the Lancia, embracing some 140 varied miles between breakfast and tea, very pleasing indeed, even if one did have one’s feet soaked by water which, leaking slightly from the header tank, caught the fan and got hurled back to the dash, to drip irritatingly from the steering column. Yes, motoring does not lose its appeal in spite of restrictions.

But remembering how, one Sunday evening recently, we sat on a stool in a crowded snack-bar at Shepperton and, inspired by recent examination of an enthusiast’s scrapbook, discussed “specials” and Shelsley until late at night, afterwards to dice home in the tricycle, one longs for a return to times when such meetings and discussions preceded most of one’s better journeys. Come again those times must; it would seem possible in the not too distant future.