Club News, January 1950
Barry Eaglesfield is still trying to trace previous owners of his Type 37 Bugatti, engine number 239, chassis number 37389; unfortunately he is confined to bed for some months with lung trouble following pleurisy, and is glad to see friends at 22, Queensdale Road, W.11. The manager of the Westover Ice Rink, Bournemouth, reports a fine collection of veteran vehicles owned by the Priory Eng. Co., including a Richard-Brasier of about 1898, a single-lunger Rover, a 1902 Peugeot motor-cycle and an 1898 Quadrant motor-cycle with surface carburetter. It is believed some or all of these vehicles are for sale. Our informant has restored a Humber Safety Social tandem cycle (non-mechanical!) and used it in an Edwardian number at his ice rink. He has also exhibited Comdr. Wollard’s 1895 tube-ignition Bollee in the Westover garage and has finished rebuilding his own car, a 1933 twin-carburetter Riley Nine saloon, even to renewing the door pillars and wheel arches.
Up in Leeds, Freddie Hambling, recovered from a heart attack, has converted a D.K.W. with a Ford Eight engine installed to its original front-drive. It has a tubular chassis with independent suspension all round and a Ford V8 unit at the rear, clutch exposed, on the stocks, and is designing a steam car, besides enjoying his scale model locomotives; which sounds as if he is fully recovered. Then G. W. MacIlwaine toys with the idea of a single-seater chassis to accommodate the engine from his Scott Squirrel so that he can keep motoring during the winter in spite of advancing years, and then return to motor-cycling in the summer. What he really needs is a discarded single-seater chassis or a G.N. chassis—he recalls a G.N. he once owned, with rope-and-pulley starting. Geoffrey Deason has much the same idea, and intends to build a cyclecar in his garden, using an ash frame, final drive by Ferodo industrial belting, carrier-cycle wheels and brakes, and probably an Indian motorcycle engine and gearbox.
The engagement has been announced between Ian Appleyard and Miss Patricia Lyons, daughter of the chairman of Jaguar cars. An all-enveloping Volkswagen Special began an attempt on 10,000-mile records at Hockenheim during November but, following an accident caused by a dog, the attack was abandoned. Last November, also, “Goldie” Gardner and Eric Oliver broadcast from the B.B.C. about their car and motorcycle record-breaking experiences. Miss Daisy Bertha Addis-Price, who ran a Douglas car at Brooklands during the early nineteen-twenties, died recently at Felpham, aged 57. She left estate valued at £105,000 and her Cadillac to her chauffeur.
The Morgan Three-Wheeler Club is to be admired for the manner in which it keeps real enthusiasm going amongst the tri-car chaps. From this month its magazine is to be a printed publication, probably with photographs. Details of membership from G. Evans, 19, Chestnut Walk, Worcester. H. Murland, Bull Hotel, Woodbridge, Suffolk, writes to say that, besides the Riley Nine mentioned by a correspondent in the November issue, the Riley Fourteen had the choke operated by pulling out the horn button—he craves a handbook for a 1933 Ascot saloon, if anyone has one. G. V. Hughes is contemplating converting a 1933 Big Twelve Standard into a sports-tourer.
The proprietor of a garage at Ightham served with “Toby” Rawlinson in 1906-1914 and recalls the early Darracq racing cars, including the famous V8 which was delivered to Sir Algernon Guinness’ house under its own power in 1906, when the tow-car broke down. His father had for some years the 3½-h.p. de Dion vis-a-vis which J. W. Stocks drove in the original Emancipation Run to Brighton. An engineer in Leeds was with Napiers in the early days and worked on their racing cars, and a reader recently sent us two picture postcards depicting the 1905 Brighton Speed Trials, when cars ran from east to west of the Madiera Drive. Then Stuart Brander, whose wife’s uncle was the late Dario Resta, wrote to us recently. Such links with the past are always pleasing, and it is particular nice to hear of pioneers who still recall their early exploits.
The Bentley Drivers’ Club really is unique amongst one-make clubs! Its beautifully-produced “Gazette” for December arrived punctually on the first of the month and discloses that new members continue to be elected, the grand total being no less than 897. It is always nice to encounter accurate references to motor sport in the daily press, and pleasing, therefore, that the Wellington Journal of November 26th last had a long, illustrated article on the old cars restored by Geoffrey Frank, of Little Wenlock. These comprise a 1909 20-h.p. Maudslay brougham yet to be rebuilt, a 1911 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost twos-eater which does 16 m.p.g. on “Pool,” uses no oil and attained 56.7 m.p.h. in the Southport half-mile speed trial; a 1914 “16/20” Sunbeam cabriolet which recently did 1,100 miles in eight days with no trouble of any kind, averaging 22 m.p.g. and reaching 45 m.p.h.; a 1912 20-h.p. Daimler Silent Knight sleeve-valve limousine that also gives 22 m.p.g. and can do 40 m.p.h.; the 1902 Panhard-et-Lavassor described in Motor Sport‘s account of the Brighton Run last month and which did 550 miles out and home on that occasion, and the “Incredible,” Frank’s vast 1905 Panhard Sixty landaulette, which gives 13½ m.p.g. and has done 57 m.p.h. along A 5 with something in reserve. A grand collection—and all have beaded-edge tyres, their original carburetters, and are finished in the tradition colours appropriate to their marque. Then there is news of a touring G.N. at a breaker’s in the north, believed to be reasonably intact, even to a tyre of sorts on each wheel!
Stirling Moss is contemplating driving an Alta this year. Coopers have fitted a 1,100-c.c. J.A.P. V-twin engine in one of their cars and are installing another of these engines in the two-seater Cooper sports-car in place of the Vauxhall unit used at present.
The Bugatti Owners’ Club’s Victor Ludorum award for the 1949 season was convincingly won by Sydney Allard. J. S. Fry was runner-up. The club has issued another of its beautifully-produced “Bugantics” and recently held social meetings at the Hotel de Paris at Bray, and at Kempinski’s Cellar in Regent Street. Six new members were elected recently and club pennants for 1949 were awarded to Lady Gamble, W. G. Battersby, E. J. Newton and K. McAlpine. The fixtures for 1950 are:—
Feb. 11th/12th: Night Trial.
March 26th: Northern Trial, Bridgnorth.
April 14th: Annual General Meeting.
April 22nd/23rd: Testing Week-end, Prescott.
April 23rd: Opening Rally, Prescott.
May 20th: Open Meeting, Prescott.
June 11th: Members’ Meeting, Prescott.
June 17th: Race Meeting, Silverstone.
July 16th: Open Meeting, Prescott.
Sept. 10th: National Meeting, Prescott.
Sept. 22nd: Dinner/dance.
Dec. 1st: Prize distribution, London.
Sec.: Major G. Dixon Spain, O.B.E., M.C., Prescott House, near Cheltenham, Glos.
The Vintage Sports Car Club has issued the following announcement, and it really requires quite a clear head to remember which cars are, and which are not, now eligible for membership of this august body:—
The Preservation of Historic Motor Cars
It is the considered policy of the Vintage Sports Car Club to accept only owners of cars built before 1930 for full vintage membership, for it is felt that there are good technical grounds for holding that construction in the main deteriorated in certain important qualities after that date.
Exceptions have always been recognised and a separate class of driving membership is available for persons owning cars of agreed merit built subsequent to 1930. After giving much thought to the problem it has now been decided a special effort should be made to further the interests of people owning racing cars constructed in the post-1930 period, and to this end it has been decided that any owner of a car originally constructed for racing; and more than fifteen years old, shall ipso facto be eligible for driving membership of the V.S.C.C. The club will term these vehicles “Historic Racing Cars” and will include classes for them in appropriate events. In this way it is hoped to extend the useful competitive life of many interesting care well worthy of preservation, and it will be appreciated that in 1952, for instance, cars constructed In 1937 will be Included In the proposed new category. Amongst the types which can compete in this class as from 1950 are the A and B-type E.R.M., six-cylinder, 1½-litre and eight-cylinder 2.9-litre Maserati, Types 61, 54 and 59 Bugatti, Alfa-Romeo type P3, and K, Q and R-type M.G.s.
Got Any Old Jets, Chaps?
The British. Automobile Racing Club is persisting with its Turbine-Car Contest, for which it offers a prize of £1,000. It first announced this prize in September, 1946, and the money seems pretty safe inasmuch as not a single entry has been received since. The entry fee is a high one, £25, but is returnable to the first turbine-propelled device which struggles round one lap of the Goodwood circuit. The prize can be won by covering 30 miles of Goodwood at a minimum speed of 60 m.p.h. and, apparently, no time factor enters into the contest, other than that this feat must be performed during a “general programme of racing at Goodwood” —which conjures up visions of a temperamental turbine circulating in short 60 m.p.h. bursts between races and being hectically serviced in between in an endeavour to cover those 30 miles ere night falls! Seriously, the idea is a praiseworthy pioneering one, and Austin, Armstrong-Siddeley and Rover are known to have experimental turbine cars in hand, but those drivers who support the whole gamut of ordinary B.A.R.C. races with expensive-to-maintain elderly racing cars will be excused if they look wistfully at this £1,000 as they pay their entry fees while endeavouring to discard all thoughts of getting them returned as “starting money.” The revised rules of the Turbine-Car Contest are:—
(1) A competitive event will be organised as soon as there are indications of sufficient entries.
(2) Such an event will be a special feature of a general programme of racing at Goodwood.
(3) The successful car will be the first one to complete a distance of thirty miles at a minimum speed of 60 m.p.h. on the Goodwood circuit.
(4) In order to qualify, competing cars will have to conform to the following essentials:
(a) Dry weight not to exceed 40 cwt.
(b) Forward and reverse gears to be fitted.
(c) The engine not to be fitted with any reciprocating auxiliaries except those which may be required for fuel delivery.
(d) The fuel to be used to be of an easily obtainable nature.
(e) The vehicle to be fully roadworthy.
(5) All entries are to be accompanied by a diagrammatic drawing for the club’s inspection and approval before acceptance of the entry.
(6) The entry fee, £53. will be returnable to every entrant whose car completes a minimum of one lap of the circuit under its own power.
All inquiries should be addressed to the General Secretary, British Automobile Racing Club, 55, Park Lane, London, W.I.
The vintage (pre-1931) motor-cycle offers the most inexpensive means of participating in motor sport, for its purchase price is low and its running costs are negligible. Consequently, it is pleasing to find that the Vintage Motor-Cycle Club has a good list of fixtures planned for this year. They are:—
Jan. 18th.—Film show.
Feb 21st.—Trial—South of Thames area.
March.—Social run to support Pioneer Event.
March 25th.—Speed Hill Climb (probably at Maple Cross).
April.—Annual luncheon, Birmingham. Rally, probably at Brands Hatch.
May.—Speed Trials at Sampford.
June 24th.—Club supper, Banbory.
June 25th.—Banbury-Birmingham run.
July 23rd.—Route-finding competition, Hampshire.
August.—Hill Climb or Grass Track meeting.
October.—Moon Trophy Trial.
A list which surely caters for every rider of an elderly motor-bicycle! In addition, evening meetings will take on the first Wednesday of each month, at the Gayton Rooms, Harrow, Middlesex. The monthly “Bulletin” discusses vintage topics in a breezy manner, which the club’s remarkable expansion does nothing to deter. Recent new members’ machines include two 1928 Douglas, a 1925 A.J.S., a 1929 B.S.A., a 1922 Triumph, a 1928 Brough and 1927 and 1928 Nortons. Full details from: R. A. Beecroft, 65A, Wembley Park Drive, Wembley, Middlesex.
The Cornwall Vintage Car Club thrives, 32 members having enrolled between May and November last, and R.A.C. recognition being applied for. Last October an unofficial race meeting resulted in victories for Andrews Aston-Martin and Pritchard’s 2-litre Lagonda, the latter covering a standing half-mile in 35.3 sec.
Amongst Members’ cars are two “12/50” Alvis, one with roller-bearing engine (!), a “12/60 beetleback” Alvis, a Red Label 3-litre Bentley saloon, an Alvis Speed Twenty, a Humberette, a 1929 Humber Nine in daily use, and a 1928 Swift bought—literally—for four-pence. Hon. Sec.: J. W. H. Pritchard, 29, St. George’s Road, Newquay (Tel. : 2180).
Quick off the Mark
At its meeting of the clubs the R.A.C. stated that twelve dates would be available for club race-meetings at Silverstone in 1950. Immediately the R.A.C. was approached for a date for an Eight-Clubs meeting by the Hants & Berks, 750, Lagonda, Lancia, A.C., Chiltern, Harrow, and Cemian Clubs and June 10th has been allocated provisionally. Two one-hour high-speed trials are envisaged to back a full day’s racing, which is to include an event to the “unblown 750” formula, and the whole arrangement sounds most promising.
Eastbourne’s reputation as a motor-minded town should be enhanced in 1950, for there looks like being at least five week-end rallies there.
The fourth B.A.R.C. Rally and Concours d’Elegance will be held on Saturday and Sunday, June 1st and 2nd; the Bentley Drivers’ Club will come for their second Eastbourne Rally on April 1st, and 2nd; the Sunbeam-Talbot Owners’ Club will have the week-end of May 13th and 14th; the Vintage S.C.C. people have asked for September 2nd and 3rd; and the Veteran Car Club are considering a late September Rally.
In each ease Eastbourne’s Publicity Committee will co-operate closely through its Director of Publicity, John Batten, and the local police and borough surveyor will also give every help.
Motor sport has attained a remarkable degree of popularity since the war in almost every civilised country. Not unexpectedly, therefore, enthusiasts have built “specials” in considerable numbers, not so much the hybrids for road use that were their aim in vintage days, but, one-purpose “specials” for trials, sprint events or, in their most specialised form. for racing. In Australia, for example, Eldred Norman has lowered and rendered more compact his sprint Mercury Special and endowed it before last year’s Nuriootpa races with two V8 engines. L. D. Robinson, of Mount Gambier, has a 1922 G.P. Sunbeam with a Mercury engine and Neale his successful Ford V8 Special.
In the recent South African races at Johannesburg Kelfkens drove a Bugatti powered with a Ford engine having air-cooled cylinder heads (he also has the ex-Howe “3.3” G.P. Bugatti), Brown his neat Cisaprilia using Lancia Aprilia components, Gray a monoposto M.G. Special, Brodie a single-seater “TC” M.G., and there were plenty of American-base specials. Reed ran a Citroën with two Citroën f.w.d. suspension units, a tubular chassis, and rear-placed engine driving the rear wheels. Brooks had a clever Ford Eight single-seater and ex-Dobbs and ex-Gerard Rileys also ran.
The above-mentioned Johannesburg races give food for thought. South Africa has actually run seven national road races in two years, the province of Natal taking the lead, as the Cape and the Transvaal have been hampered by unfavourable legislation. On November 5th last year a new, permanent road circuit was opened near Johannesburg. Known as the Grand Central Circuit, it cost £20,000, which was found by a company formed by certain members of the S.C.C. of South Africa and called Grand Central Speedways Ltd. It is a 2½-mile circuit, 26 ft. wide, of tarmac, with a main straight of three-quarters of a mile and some excellent corners. There is a crossing bridge, grand stand, timekeeper’s box, control tower and very adequate spectator fencing. Seventy-one car entries were received for the opening meeting, some from as for afield as Rhodesia and Lourenco Marques. R. H. Johnston, of the S.C.C. of S. Africa, who saw some of our events last year and also flew to Le Mans, says that the crowd was some 60,000 and the day’s racing was a huge success, getting an excellent reception in the local Press.
The handicapping rather severely penalised the faster cars, but had to be worked out before the circuit was completed. Public address and catering need improvement but otherwise everything is set for a good 1950 season, when four major events, and club meetings between times, are planned. Incidentally, at the opening meeting, a Silver Ghost Rolls-Royce and a “23/60” Vauxhall acted as official cars and a Jeep and a Land Rover filled with professional “bouncers” patrolled the fences to deter the crowd from climbing over. Only one mild accident happened, when the fire, ambulance and crowd-control officials acted efficiently. Go ahead, Jo’burg.
We have received the following report from the Association of Northern Car Clubs:—
The eleventh meeting of the Association took place on November 23rd at the Great Northern Hotel, Bradford, the Yorkshire Sports Car Club providing, the chairman. Apologies were received from C.M.C., N.M.M.C., and Mr. Toulmin, of the R.A.C.
North v. South Trial.—Arrangements for this event are going ahead, but on information received it is regretted that the Southern Association, which has now been formed, in accordance with their rules, are unable to promote an event. The arrangements for the southern leg of the event, have, therefore, been kindly accepted by the North-West London Motor Club.
Calendar for 1950.—All club delegates arrived with their proposed dates for 1950 and by mutual agreement a complete calendar of events to be organised by the member clubs was drawn up. This function was one of the main reasons for the formation of this Association and eliminates any clashing of dates in the north.
Racing Circuit.—The Darlington & District. M.C. raised the question of motor racing on Croft Aerodrome, near Darlington, and informed the meeting that they had arrangements for this venture well in hand, and if successful, could they count on the support of the Association. All delegates present were enthusiastic, but in view of the fact that possibly the R.A.C. will permit only one race track in the north, and this venue is rather far north, it was decided that delegates should report back to their club committees before any commitments were made.
The M.G. Car Club provide the chairman for the next meeting, which will take place at 7.30 p.m. on February 8th, al the Grand Hotel, Manchester.
The Leinster Trophy race is not run by the Irish Motor Racing Club as we stated inadvertently last month, but by the Leinster Motor Club.
This club’s full list of car dates for the 1950 season is:—
March 4th: Lincolam Cup Trial.
June 10th: Curragh (Short Circuit) Races.
July 8th: Leinster Trophy.
September 2nd: Curragh (Short Circuit) Races
October 7th: Car Trial.
December 2nd: G. V. B. Cup Trial.
They also add dates for seven motor-cycle events.
The Leinster Club is always very glad to welcome visitors to its events and hopes any drivers who may be on holiday in Ireland on the days of its events will not hesitate to come along.
The social evening organised by the 500 Club at the Albert Hotel, Kingston-on-Thames, on December 5th was a highly successful affair by reason of the fact that the three people mainly responsible for the evening did their jobs with such enthusiasm. Mine host, Eric Winterbottom made everyone extremely welcome and G. E. Phillips, who made and compiled the film, on behalf of ESSO, accompanied the showing with one of the wittiest and candid commentaries we have heard for many a long day.
The film was shown in two parts, the first dealing with car racing, from Le Mans to Luton Hoo and the second part being confined to motor-cycling events. Members of the B.M.C.R.C. were invited and many well-known racing men were present, once more showing that joint car and motor-cycle events can be very successful. While the film did not make any pretence at being professional, what it lacked in high-speed camera craft was amply made up by the excellent paddock and starting line scenes, together with pleasant touches such as shots of cars embarking at Dover and a view of the village of Le Mans, as seen by the approaching traveller.
For the technically minded, R. Ginn, A.M.I.Mech.E., of the ESSO research staff, gave a first-class dissertation on racing fuels and lubricants, during which he debunked the using of nitro-benzine and castor base oil, and he also answered, as only a real “back-room-boy” can, many pungent questions put to him by the assembled company.
The season of film shows and talks is well under way and the Lagonda C.C. held a pleasing gathering at the Prince of Wales Inn, Drury Lane, on December 7th, at which George Monkhouse showed his excellent lantern slides of German racing cars, together with a mixed collection of first-class motor-racing slides compiled for a photographic lecture. In addition Antone screened the two German propaganda films, which are the property of Monkhouse, showing Mercédès and Auto-Union racing of 1937 and 1938, films which surely rank as of great historical value if only for the remarkable shots of the von Brauchitsch fire incident in the 1938 German Grand Prix.
Another film show has been arranged for January 30th and the Club’s A.G.M. takes place on February 17th, both at the same venue.
Well, the answer is the sports-mode Austin Twenty which the manufacturers introduced in 1921. The first correct solution came from J. C. Elkins of Wickford. Others who clearly know their vintage cars, even that far back, are: Martin Wells of Brecon, R. R. French of Ilford, P. L. K. Bird, of London, N.W.3., Paddy Halion of Dublin, G. Smith of Boston, D. H. Coutes of Swine, A. Kennedy of Stockton-on-Tees, B. Eaglesfield of London, W.11, B. H. Rivett of Catford, E. Clarke of Wrexham and H. J. Batten of Newquay. But we caught quite a lot of readers, five deciding on Riley Redwing, three for various versions of M.G., two for A.B.C., two for Rhode, the sports version of which this Austin Twenty did in some way resemble, although a much larger car, while we also had one each plumping for H. E., Lombard, “22/90” Alfa-Romeo and Scripps-Booth.
Motor Racing Books
Better Books, Ltd., of 94, Charing Cross Road, London, W.C.1 are staging a display of motor-racing books published by Grenville and other publishers in their windows during January and they maintain a permanent motoring-books department which will interest Motor Sport readers. If club secretaries write to this enterprising firm they can obtain lists of motor-racing books for circulation amongst their members.
Dunholme airfield looks as if it may become the “Silverstone of the North” if the determined efforts of the East Midlands Centre of the A.C.U. come to fruition, while Brands Hatch grass-track, in Kent, is to be resurfaced as a proper road circuit, at which racing for cars up to 1,100 c.c. may be possible—if so, it would seem to be just the venue for an unblown 750-c.c. event. The B.A.R.C. has finalised its new badge. The engine of the Hillman Minx, one of which served us admirably as transport at Silverstone last year, has been enlarged to 1,265 c.c., giving 37½ b.h.p. at 4,200 r.p.m., which should make the performance of this car exciting amongst cars of the family class.
At Zandvoort road circuit work has commenced on two new wings of the grandstand, so that for the coming season the seating accommodation will be 2,500. A new timekeepers’ box is being built, together with an officials’ room, telephone-cell and storage room. Scoreboard-men, stewards and officials will be able to observe the racing from the roof of the grandstand. The 1950 fixtures at Zandvoort include the K.N.A.C. sports-car races on June 11th, the G.P. of Holland on July 23rd, which is the event usually well supported from this country, International motor-cycle races on May 7th and August 6th, while on April 21st the final tests of the Tulip Rallye take place on the circuit. The course is now open for endurance runs and record-attacks, officially timed, and the fees are obtainable by applying to the Royal Netherlands A.C., Lange Vijverburg 10, The Hague, Holland.
M. E. Shields, M.I.M.I., is running a 1938 Type 170V 14-h.p. Mercédès-Benz and speaks very highly of it. In Australia T. A. Rose wants to build a tubular-chassis “special” like our Ford Ten-engined specials but, Austin Seven chassis being few and far between out there, he would appreciate advice about how to construct a chassis. His address is: Box 88, Kingston S. E., South Australia.
If Lulsgate is impossible this year, at least the Bristol M.C. and L.C.C. has high hopes of a circuit on private ground, suitable for sports-car racing and perhaps 500s.