Vintage Postbag (Continued), January 1957

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52

Sir,

I have perceived here a vintage tourer bearing the name Graf & Stift, Wien, on its radiator. This is a new one to me; can you please enlighten me?

I am, Yours, etc., R. M. Cross. Vienna.

 

Sir,

At the end of July I completed two years’ running of a vintage car. I kept very carefully a complete record of all expenses. These may be of interest to any of your readers who are contemplating the purchase of the good old breeds. I drive a 12/50 Alvis and derive much pleasure both in the driving and the looking after of the “works.” You can at least get at everything without having to lean over yards of bulwarks or peer down into dark depths. I bought the first 12/50–a 1932 saloon — on July 31st, 1954, for £110. On May 29th, 1955, I exchanged this car for a coupe of 1931 vintage.

The expenses were as follows:

First Year:

Mileage –both cars  7,700 miles

Total cost   £160

Garage  £22

Tax, insurance, accessories  £37

Repairs  £33

Petrol and oil  £68

Average cost per mile approximately  5d.

Average miles per gallon  28

Second Year:

Mileage  6,700 miles

Total cost £169

Tax, insurance, etc.  £31

Repairs  £82

Petrol and oil  £56

Average cost per mile  6d.

Average miles per gallon  27

During the second year I have had the car rebored, brakes relined, new hood and upholstery, which together has accounted for the high cost in repairs.

The cost per mile of 5d. to 6d. compares I think very favourably with modern cars when taking into account depreciation — the bugbear of a new car. Depreciation on the Alvis is virtually nil. A car in good condition is always in demand around the £100 figure. I can therefore afford to spend money on repairs and have a car which is interesting to drive, with plenty of character and personality. Both features which are sadly lacking in the modern mass-produced car.

Before an argument is started, I do agree that if I was compelled to drive on business twenty to thirty thousand miles a year, I would indeed prefer a modern car, but driving as I do only for pleasure, give me the vintage car every time. In July of this year I toured 2,000 miles round the North of Scotland with no trouble at all, not even a puncture. Next year I am considering a tour on the Continent.

I am, Yours, etc., Clifton Beare. Three Bridges.

 [Although 1930 is the last vintage year, Alvis design remained sufficiently consistent for the 12/50 Alvis Register to extend this to 1932. — Ed.]

 

Sir,

I was most interested to read Mr. J. S. Kelsall’s letter regarding the Storey car. The gentleman who manufactured this marque is still living in Hove and his daughter, Mrs. Peggy Lezard, is a close neighbour and friend of mine. She has kindly lent me the enclosed booklet of 1920 models in the Storey range, together with letter-heading for that period, which may be of interest to readers of “Vintage Postbag.” Mrs. Lezard tells me that the production of these cars was never on a mass-production scale, but that each one was hand-built (many to the specifications of the purchaser — including one eccentric gentleman who wished his car to have sufficient head room to obviate the necessity of removing his top hat when entering and leaving the vehicle!).

I hope that what I have written will be of interest to some of your readers.

I am, Yours, etc., Michael Worthington-Williams. Hassocks.

[The 1920 Storey catalogue referred to describes 14.3 and 20-h.p. chassis, the former with 75 by 130-mm. the latter with 85 by 132-mm., engine, which may give a clue to their origin. They were side-valve units with Zenith carburetters, the chassis appear to have been identical, with three-speed gearbox, cone clutch, semi-floating overhead-worm back axle and very substantial cantilever back springs. The body styles were London coupe, Kent two-seater, and Kent tourer on both chassis and Tonbridge centre-door saloon on the 20-h.p. chassis only. Prices of complete cars ranged from £650 to £1,200. The 1920 address is Tonbridge, with a works at New Cross and showrooms in Kingsway. A later letter-head shows a move to Norbury but they moved again, to Clapham Park, and it was there I saw the only Storey I have ever seen; it was a saloon with very beautiful carriage-type side-lamps on the screen-pillars. It had been involved in an accident and a side-member was being straightened by the time-honoured method of heating it and clouting it with a vast hammer. The year must have been 1928 or ’29 and a brass plate on the premises said “Storey Motors.”—Ed.]

 

Rationed

So it has come again, the Rationing, the Coupon, and the Book.

And we’re cap-in-hand to the garages, for the sneer and the dirty look.

We’re to cut right down on our mileage. We’re to cut right out our sport.

And it’s off the road with the motor car that our hard-earned money bought.

The Industries that have striven hard, to put us at the top,

With a People’s Car or a Sports Saloon, grind slowly to a stop.

The lad at Ford’s or B.M.C. now gloomily regards

The prospect of redundancy, of picking up his “Cards.”

And the Journey North for Hogmanay, the exiled Scotsman’s dream,

Is off this year, for there won’t be fuel, for the Bentley or the Bean.

You’d think the Powers That Be would know in 1956,

That you can’t solve anything by war, whatever your politics.

That Talk and Talk and Talk and Talk, through Veto or Acclaim,

May not achieve much progress, but it does not kill or maim.

That United Nations arguments may often sound banal,

But if everyone had stuck to them, we could still use the Canal.

We’d all have been much better off, whether True-Blue or Red,

And many would be living, who now, alas, are dead,

But the Powers That Be have got us into yet another scrape.

So that Petty little Bureaucrats, in swaddles of Red Tape.

And Military Gentlemen, and Diplomatic Types,

Can dash about the countryside in Humber Super Snipes.

And fuel that should have been for use, in Transport or for fun,

Is wasted on the Bomber and the Rocket and the Gun.

Oh, You and I for Peace on Earth may sick with longing yearn.

But the General and Statesman-Why, they just will never learn.

J. C. Brown.

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