Club News, January 1948



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We Hear

A reader informs us that a 1921 “40/50” Rolls-Royce tourer has been purchased by a farmer from a garage in Llandudno, in which town a 1922 Rolls-Royce Twenty serves faithfully as a taxi and in which district are the remains of a 1913 “40/50” and a carefully-used 1924 Twenty this make. Incidentally, our informant says the Castle Three, which last, year we referred to in our report of the Manchester Cavalcade as a three-wheeler is, in this instance, a four-wheeler, having the same elaborate rear suspension (underslung ½-elliptics if we recollect aright) as the 3-wheelers. This curious little car is believed to have been sold recently; originally it was taxed in Staffordshire. Then H. P. Smallbone has had the good fortune to locate a 1924 10-h.p. V-twin air-cooled B.S.A. four-seater in original and very fine condition, its mileage only 15,000 and tools in their original wrappers. This B.S.A. even had a new set of 710 by 90 mm, tyres and its log book was found in the envelope in which it was posted to the first owner. The car embodies such interesting technical features as oil-immersed clutch, geared starter and worm final drive and it gave 36 m.p.g. at 40 m.p.h. on its maiden trip, with light, responsive handling and a lively performance. Smallbone also had a rear-engined Trojan.

Barry Eaglesfield is looking for a Type 37 or 39A Bugatti and may dispose of his Type 40 if he can find a G.P. Our sympathy is extended to Stanley Sedgwick, who recently acquired the ex-Roddy Seys 4½-litre Bentley, in very fine condition, only to have it destroy itself by fire on its first run. It is hoped that McKenzie will do a complete rebuild. A. E. E. Hull’s 1932 Meadows Frazer-Nash is going splendidly and doing 30 to 33 m.p.g. He would like to contact the previous owner, Gordon Caswell, if anyone knows his whereabouts. We learn that the ex-MacLagen 1922 touring G.N. is being restored to good order, by the Huddersfield Vintage Car Company. At an Elstree studio an educational film-strip depicting land transport from 1910 to the present day is in course of preparation, and we understand that it will include a “still” of a “Red Label” 3-litre Bentley. A. Robson has been experimenting with an electric motor-cycle, using first a Rudge and then a Harley-Davidson frame. Later he tried a home-made frame, but crashed and broke his leg; he is now using a 1931 New Imperial frame and would welcome advice, particularly on accumulator re-charging. Such a vehicle would, of course, still be legal during the present ban on pleasure petrol.

K. B. Lee seeks spares for a Type 40 Bugatti and Jack Saint James-Roberts needs axles, front springs and general transmission parts for a Type 57 Bugatti coupé which he is rebuilding. George D. Banks has acquired a 1980 20.9 h.p. Sunbeam coupe and hopes to improve its fuel consumption by replacing its V.36 B.G. Claudel-Hobson carburetter with a more suitable instrument. Hints on this and a source of spares, will be appreciated. G. R. Booth has found a 1922 Rover Twelve 2-seater which he hopes to restore; his 1922 Galloway coupé, which he acquired in 1944, is still going very well, on its original pistons. He wonders if this is the only s.v. model of this make still running? Incidentally, recently he saved a brass radiator from an old sleeve-valve Mercedes from a breaker’s clutches, and it is available if anyone needs a large cooling element. A 1924 4½-h.p. s.v. Quadrant combination was offered for sale recently for £17. A touring G.N. chassis with once-magnificent disc wheels lives in a Bromley garden. Further to the letter in the last issue re the anonymous engine at a breakers, C. L. Barker says that it resembles his ‘T-head 1911 Maxwell “Mascotte,” which was rated at 26 h.p. and originally had an l.t. magneto, with supplementary coil and battery. An h.t. magneto was fitted and the car ran very well, but Mr. Barker sold it for £9 in 1927 (happy days!) after which it ran for many years as light lorry. Further identification points were a quadrant change and combined clutch and foot brake pedal.

A reader, who has a 1929 16-h.p. Humber laid up, seeks a good front-braked “Silver Ghost” Rolls-Royce. A chassis would suffice. J. Lindsay Hackett is running a “Gough”-engined Frazer-Nash.

S. C. H. Davis of The Autocar, R. L. Walkerley of the Motor, Eric Findon of the Light Car, J. Eason-Gibson of Country Life, G. H. Davis of Illustrated London News, Major Dixon-Spain and Capt. T. A. S. O. Mathieson of the R.A.C. and the Editor of MOTOR SPORT have been helping with some important matters relating to the administrative side of petrol model-car racing in this country. The December issue of The Model Car News contained a report of the last P.M.R.C.C. race meeting and a plea by W. Boddy for a new class for cars up to 2.5-c.c. We know of a 1927 25-h.p. Daimler saloon, in excellent order, if anyone craves such a thing. The Antone Co., Ltd., have produced two more records, one of Bentleys in action at Tangmere and the other of Shelsley Walsh. The former provides standing starts on one side, complete with clutch shriek in appropriate places, and cars, including a blower 4½, cracking in the flying ½ ¼-mile runs, on the other. These are most entertaining discs, available at 8s. 6d. each, post free.

If anyone can give a good home to a very sound 1924 Lanchester “Forty” landaulette, there is one available in Lancashire. It has apparently done a mere 9,000 miles, and was bought to save it. from an I.O.M. taxi man; the owner now seeks to save it from a breaker.

Adrian Conan Doyle, who recently came across a copy of MOTOR SPORT in Paris tells us that the occupants or his Hampshire garage now number his S.S.K. Mercedes-Benz, the ex-Caracciola “Elephant-blower” Mercedes-Benz and one of the only three V12 Delahayes to be completed.

It came as a great, shock to its to learn of of he death of that 100 per cent. enthusiast, John Grosscurth, in hospital, after a long illness. Grosscurth ran a Blackburn Frazer-Nash of recent years; he will be missed by his many friends, to whom we extend our heartfelt sympathy.


The Club has been formed into a limited company and its Secretary is to receive a salary of £500 a year, the financial position obviously being thoroughly sound. Forrest Lycett has unfortunately had to resign and Laurence Pomeroy has been elected President in his place. Membership stands at 881. composed of 576 vintage, 159 driving, 124 social, 12 overseas and 10 junior members. The Club paid a well-deserved. tribute to David Hodkin for putting on last year’s Gransden race-meeting, which it shared with the C.U.A.C. It intends to hold a speed trial at Luton Hoo on Easter Monday and its Prescott Meeting, by permission of the B.O.C., at the end of August, unless it is prevented from doing so.

The attendance at the film show in the Firestone Pavilion on November 18th last was an excellent indication of how virile is the Vintage Sports Car Club – examples of most of the worthwhile vintage cars packed the spacious car park. The films embraced Prescott, Shelsley Walsh, Gransden, Merston, Poole, Jersey and Mickey Mouse. The “sound-track” was for the most part accurate, but we cannot allow that the vast, sofa-like seat with which Goodenough has endowed his ancient Horstman, “showed the kind of coachwork favoured in those days.”

Laurence Pomeroy concluded a most entertaining evening by thanking Antone and Firestone for their assistance. He remarked that Firestone got nothing out of the meeting as he didn’t suppose a -single person in the room had a Firestone tyre on his or her car – whereupon a voice explained that Cecil Clutton had one on his Bugatti, so honour was deemed to have been met!

The A.G.M. was held in London on December 4th. The annual aggregate awards were as under: –

Lycett Trophy: C. R. Abbott (1904 Mercedes).
“Proxime Accessit” ” Cup: G. R. Baird (1926 30/98 Vauxhall).
1,500-c.c. Trophy: P. R. Habershon (1926 Delage).
1,500-c.c. Runner-up: D. Elwell-Smith (1928 Aston-Martin).
Edwardian Trophy: C. R. Abbott (1904 Mercedes).
Edwardian Runner-Up: M. W. Anderson (1911 Rolls-Royce).
L. H. Pomeroy Memorial Trophy: C. Clutton.

Secretary : T. W. Carson, ” Mellaha,” Park Lane, Kempshott, Basingstoke, Hants.

Maidstone & Mid-Kent M.C.

The Maidstone and Mid-Kent Motor Club held their 4th Annual Dinner and Dance at ” Greenways ” West Mailing, Kent, in November. A large number of members and friends were present and a happy evening resulted. Mr. A. C. Bossom, M.P. for Maidstone, condemned the withdrawal of the Basic Petrol Ration, but Mr. Laurence Pomeroy, in proposing the Toast of the Club, startled everybody by saying he thoroughly agreed with it. Further comments, however, revealed that he had hopes of dashing around the countryside in his “Prince Henry” Vauxhall with greater freedom, and, in view of being supplied with rear wheel brakes only, greater safety. During the dancing which followed John Bolster, to his own amazement, gained a premier award in a dance competition. Present-day restrictions preclude the announcement of the nature of the award. Much use was made of the time available and many suggestions were noted for the Club’s activities during the coming closed season. The Club’s President is Sir Garrard T Tyrwhitt-Drake.

Hon. Sec.: R. W. Drayenn, 4, Knowle Road. Maidstone.


A most amusing talk was given to the Royal Military Academy A.C. by John Bolster, who spoke on sprint motor-cars. There is probably nobody better qualified to talk on this fascinating sphere of rapid motoring, and much of interest emerged. Most interesting of all, though, was the fact that, apart from the driver’s comfort, John could find little to choose, on a twisty continental circuit, between an independently-sprung car, and one fitted with conventional suspension. Altogether, a most entertaining evening, for which we are very grateful to the speaker.


The motoring quiz that took place in November between the Chiltern C.C. and the N.L.E.C.C. resulted in a win by the former, with 76½ points against 70½. The Question Master was D. B. Tubbs, and A. F. Rivers Fletcher picked the numbers out of a hat.

Mr. Tubbs arrived armed with a most formidable array of 100 questions of extremely diverse nature. They ranged from those dealing with the differences between the various M.G. and Bentley models, power units in certain record-breaking ears, and famous cars with nicknames such as “Babs,” “Speed of the Wind,” “Golden Arrow,” etc., to such questions as “How many millimetres in an inch?” and “Is a Road Fund Licence square or rectangular?”

Great amusement was caused when the question ” What was ‘Girl Pat II’?” was put to the audience, and someone from the back piped up, “Some sort of fishing trawler.” Of the cars parked outside, there were three which attracted much attention. A “105” Talbot with special, light-weight, open 4-seater body, the whole car weighing 25 cwt. and looking very business-like; an ex-Evans M.G. Magnette, looking resplendent after an overhaul, and a new non-aerodynamic 1½-litre H.R.G.

The third annual dinner and dance of the club took place on November 24th, at the Hendon Hall Hotel. The attendance was considerably lower than was hoped, on account of lack of petrol, but some 60 people sat down to a very excellent dinner. Speeches were short and to the point; the chairman, A. F. Rivers Fletcher, called on Philip A. Turner to propose the toast of “The Club.” Mr. Turner recalled the early days of the club, when it was the Radcaps Sports Car Club, and how a notable turning point in its life occurred when Mr. F. J. Findon addressed us on the subject of “marshalling,” of which the club has made something of a speciality. He stressed the importance of maintaining some sort of activity during the period that basic petrol is non-existent.

In reply, Pat Green reminded all that the club actually came to life in similar circumstances to those in which we find ourselves now as far as motoring is concerned, and it was most assuredly going to find ways and means of keeping going. In proposing the toast, “The Guests,” Charles Ford expressed the sentiments of all members in saying how much we appreciated the. support that these guests – members of the motoring press – have always given clubs such as the N.L.E.C.C. The reply to this came from Mrs. F. J. Findon, who. with her husband, has come to so many events of the N.L.E.C.C. Her association with motoring, she said, goes back many years, and she recalled her husband’s first trial in 1920, the London-Manchester, driving twin-cylinder, air-cooled G.N. She concluded on a note which warmed the cockles of the hearts of those who strive to plan a continued programme of events under the present cramped circumstances, by saying, “We all hope the basic ration will be restored as soon as possible next year, but anyway, what is wrong with those very nice meetings at the Green Man “?

After the dinner and speeches came the distribution of awards. Mrs. Kay Petre very graciously presented these, at the end of which she expressed her appreciation at being asked to fulfil this task again, and how pleased she always was to come to the club’s functions. She carried in her arms a fine bouquet, presented to her on behalf of the club by Desmond Render. The floor was then cleared by an array of waiters and waitresses, and the remainder of the evening given over to dancing.

K. E. O. Burgess came from Cheltenham after competing in the Cheltenham M.C.’s Invitation Trial in the afternoon, and returned to Somerset with the Rivers Fletcher Challenge Trophy, in respect of his numerous successes throughout the year culminating in his gaining the Southern Expert’s Trophy. The William P. Render Trophy, presented for the beat aggregate performance during the year in N.L.E.C.C. events, went to Rivers Fletcher.

Oxford University M.C.

Barry Eaglesfield is hoping to’ reform the Oxford University Motor Club. The intention is to hold meetings, film shows, talks and discussions, etc., until private motoring is allowed in this unhappy island and then to consider reviving the Inter-‘Varsity speed trials, so popular in pre-war days. Those interested should contact Eaglesfield – himself a Bugatti owner and with a 500-cc. “Special” nearly completed – at Ledborough House, Ledborough Lane, Beaconsfield, Bucks.

V. M C. C.

At the end of November the virile Vintage Motor-Cycle Club met to inspect the famous Rex Judd collection of old motor-cycles at Edgware. I. B. Wicksteed’s 1927 1,000-c.c. Enfield won the Loudwater Rally with 196 marks, from F. D. Booth, whose 1930 497-c.c. Ariel scored 140 marks and J. A. Welsh’s 1924 348-c.c. A.J.S. which gained 139 marks. The event was decided on four tests, laid out to put a premium on handling and riding qualities, clutch and throttle control, braking and easy starting, and manoeuvrability. A handicap was used, but Wicksteed was first in the first three tests and second in the last. The excellent, duplicated “Bulletin,” published by Mrs. Allen, continues to appear monthly and has increased in size. That for November contained many letters on club policy, a short article on R. B. Thomas’ collection comprising 1947 Douglas and 1921 A.B.C. transverse flat-twins and the usual regular features. Members intend to do much restoration work during the “no basic” regime. Hon. Sec.: M. F. Walker, 170, Woodcock Hill, Kenton, Middlesex.

Evening Publicity

The following appeared in “Londoner’s Diary” in the Evening Standard last Budget Day :—

Vintage Bentleys.

“Mr. W. O. Bentley (whose new connection with Armstrong-Siddeley’s was reported yesterday) has just become Patron of the Bentley Drivers’ Club. President is Mr. Woolf Barnato, the racing driver.

“Five hundred of the club’s 700 members own and run ‘vintage’ Bentleys – made between 1922 and 1931, when Bentley’s closed down and was acquired by Rolls-Royce.

“Mr. S. Sedgwick, of Cobham, honorary secretary of the Club tells me they have been unable to hold a race meeting since the war for lack of anywhere to race. Bentley owners have occasionally been able to ‘let out’ their cars on an airfield with the C.O.’s permission.”

The Association Of Northern Car Clubs

The following motor clubs in the north of England, i.e., The Lancashire Automobile Club, The Lancashire and Cheshire Car Club, The Liverpool Motor Club, The M.G. Car Club (N.W. Centre), The North Midland Car Club, The Sheffield and Hallamshire Car Club and The Yorkshire Sports Car Club, have decided that the interests of motor sport in the districts they operate in could be furthered by closer liaison than in the past. To achieve this liaison they have formed an Association of Northern Car Clubs.

The Association will meet quarterly – and (inter alia) members will be able to arrange their fixture lists to obviate clashing of important dates and assist each other with marshals, etc., and the exchange of information.

The Association is largely informal and there is no subscription, the expenses being pooled between the member clubs. Meetings will be held in different centres.

If any club operating in the districts is interested in joining and their secretary will get in touch, they will be given any further information they may require. The R.A.C. have agreed to the principle of the Association. Hon. Secretary: R. A. Davies, 892, Hale Road, Hale Barns, Cheshire.


Mr. Gresham Cooke, Director of the S.M.M.T., addressing a Motor Trades’ Luncheon Club in Manchester last November: “If Mr. Gaitskell continues to talk of ‘pleasure motoring’ I shall talk of ‘pleasure railways,’ because both forms of transport perform the necessary job of getting people to their destinations. The idea that a motor car is used for rolling aimlessly around the countryside is sadly out of date.”


The last issue of Bugantics contained news of Bugatti activities in America, listed six new members, reported the International Prescott Meeting, and contained some very fine Prescott action shots by Guy Griffiths. The Club hopes to combine its Opening Rally with its A.G.M. somewhere in London early this year and to hold its usual Prescott speed hill-climbs in May, June, July and September, petrol or no petrol. The Buffet-Dance was held at Grosvenor House on December 6th and last season’s prizes presented, Rodney Clarke winning the coveted Victor Ludorum Trophy with 72 marks, the runners-up being E. J. Newton with 63 marks and F. R. Gerard with 62 marks. Secretary: Lt.-Col. R. F. Hayward Browne, Little Chantry, Wincheombe, Glos.

V.S.C.C. Of A.

We are glad to have received another issue of the Vintage S.C.C. of Australia’s journal, “The Vintage Car.” A photographic supplement is now included and the front cover picture depicts Lex Davidson’s “33/180” Mercedes-Benz tourer. Shepherd’s “Vintage Types” article this time deals with the SS and SSK “38/250” Mercedes-Benz. Thirteen new members were announced, bringing the total to 258. Their cars embrace Alvis-engined Aston-Martin, Mk. II AstonMartin, “Brooklands” Austin Seven and Lancia Lambda, the remainder being associates. Quite the best thing in the paper, in our opinion, is a poem by H. Warlow-Davies entitled ” She is Old ” (with apologies to Lewis Carroll). We take the liberty of reproducing it in full.

“She is old, Father William,” the young man cried,
“And surely a beautiful sight,
But why do you keep the throttle so wide
When you take out your Vaux. ‘ Ninety-eight ? “

“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might shorten her life,
But now that I know it cannot he done,
I go for the lick of my life.”

“She is old,” said the youth, “as I mentioned before,
And you’re rather running to fat,
Yet you don’t seem to notice the lack of a door.
Pray, what is the reason for that?”

“In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
“I kept all my limbs very supple,
By making full use of the four-speed crash box
And keeping my foot on the throttle.”

“She is old,” said the youth,” and her brakes are too weak
For anything faster than thirty,
Yet you often roar past with a Castrolised reek:
It’s a wonder the Johns don’t get shirty.”

“In my youth,” said his father, “I respected the Law
And always tried to be good,
But still I was fined on occasions galore,
So no longer do as I should.”

“She is old,” said the youth, ” one would hardly expect
To find steering as steady as ever.
But though I find there’s much I respect,
I still think the new jabs are clever.”

“I have answered your questions, and that is enough.”
Said his father, “Don’t make me laugh!
Your aerodynamics and all of that stuff
Add up to a car like a bath!”

B. D.C.

On November 30th last the Bentley Drivers’ Club held its “Drainings Rally,” which got a mention in the Sunday Express. After lunch at Ripley a most impressive convoy of Bentleys motored to Dorking for tea, where they were joined by five or six others and Gregory’s wheeled-boat “Puddleduck.” D. B. Tubbs of the Motor attended the lunch, the Editor of MOTOR SPORT the tea, at which a huge iced cake presented by a member was divided up and handed round. Vaughan Davies was distributing the Club “Bulletin” a day early—nice work! It contained a further instalment of Dr. Benjafield’s reminiscences, dealing this time with his Salmson and Bugatti at Brooklands, and much else of interest. There was something very sad about these lads and lasses listening to Tony Curtis’ record of happier days and then motoring away in their beautifully-kept cars, their freedom ending at midnight. You can “feel the pulse” of a club by two things, the attitude of members to their Secretary and the number of members. In the case of the B.D.C., Stanley Sedgewick has achieved a popularity that few in his invidious position can equal, while the membership, reaching nearly 700, speaks for itself. Long may this unique Club continue. Hon. Sec.: S. Sedgewick, “The Cobb,” Stoke Close, Cobham, Surrey.

G.N. Owners’ Reunion

Erie Findon, Editor of the Light Car, is hoping to stage a reunion of one-time V-twin G.N. owners in London in the near future.


“The Scribe,” writing in The Autocar of November 28th: “. . . the details of a recent mishap seem to suggest that H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh has a penchant for fast cars.” Surely, in view of the number of authorities, police chiefs included, who have agreed that speed, in itself, is not necessarily a cause of accidents, this is rather an unfortunate suggestion, particularly when made by a motoring journal.

Ulster A.C.

The members of the Ulster Automobile Club took the opportunity at their Annual Dance – no Dinner this year, owing to austerity – of showing their appreciation of the work of their enthusiastic Honorary Secretary, Mr. C. G. Neill, by presenting him with a silver tea-service and a gold watch. The Club’s Chairman, Mr. J. W. Haughton, spoke feelingly of the debt the club owed to Mr. Neill for his untiring efforts in their interests. The successful position in which they now found themselves – the membership had more than doubled during the past two years – was due largely to the enthusiasm and capacity for work possessed by Mr. Neill, and, above all, to his ability to make other people work without noticing that they were doing so. We had not seen him at the wheel of a racing car recently, but we remembered his prowess and record: Nendrum, Craigantlet, fastest lap at Phoenix Park in 1983, fastest time at Tallagh in 1935. He felt that this gift to Mr. Neill was given with the wholehearted good wishes of every individual member.

The Vice-Chairman also paid tribute to Mr. Neill, and Mrs. Houghton, wife of the Chairman, presented the annual trophies to the most successful competition drivers of the season. The awards were : The Victor Ferguson Memorial Trophy, C. S. Porter ; the Ex-Servicemen’s Cup, Norman S. Robb; the Montgomery Cup, Mrs. J. L. Dowling. First-Class Awards went to : P. Gallaugher, G. Wolseley, T. S. Graham and W. M. D. Montgomery, and Second-Class Awards to : J. McMichael, D. P. Johnson, R. E. Dorndorf, N. S. Robb, E. Dowling and Ian Hamilton.

In spite of austerity, the Dance was a very successful function, and many plans were made to keep the Members together until active motoring can again be resumed. Many distinguished visitors were present, and the Scottish Sporting car Club was represented by Messrs. R. Fyle Smith, R. Millar, G. Simpson and their wives.