A section devoted to old-car matters
The V.S.C.C. Driving Tests, Silverstone, December 10th: The Vintage S.C.C. is on the whole traditional and in December it has its driving tests at Silverstone; it would seem unusual if it were otherwise. This year heavy rain showers greeted the entry of 14 sports cars, 40 standard sports cars and 21 touring cars but at least it wasn’t foggy, or snowing. Peter Hull, the Assistant Secretary, greeted us with ” Good morning ” but Tim Carson, the Secretary, with his wealth of experience of these things, just said ” ‘morning,” and really there wasn’t much that was good about it. Eight tests had been arranged (and seven were held) and the competing cars ranged from the delectable Type 43 Bugattis of the Conways, father and son, to a 1930 20/25 Rolls-Royce hearse, which is a pretty sober vehicle to find in the Vintage Sports Car Club; however, it had apparently come from Australia, so must have crept in unnoticed. The only other competing Rolls-Royce was Macmillan’s 1928 Cookshoot coupe; the only Edwardian, Mitchell’s 1912 Alfonso Hispano Suiza. O.M.s were well represented, being entered by Binns, Hancock and Knight.
The first test was called ” Garaging,” for which Hamish Moffatt took off his coat. Not much elbow room in a Brescia Bugatti! Collis’ 1928 Sunbeam 20 tourer had a fold-flat screen and exhausted at the side to disguise its pedestrian concept, Mountford drove his liberally drilled 4-1/2-litre Bentley very neatly, he and Hine (also in a 4-1/2-litre Bentley) being experts at the skid turn. Roberts slid his Blackburne ‘Nash neatly and even let his wife drive it. M. V. Cole defied the weather in an 8th-series Lancia Lambda fabric saloon; much more exposed was Hannis in a Riley Lynx tourer. Lee drove a home-shaped Lagonda, Ely had his Riley Ulster Imp and Portway a yellow E-type 30/98 Vauxhall.
Individual lines marked A. J. C. Thomas’ 1934 Aston Martin saloon on the long chassis, Ridley’s Alvis had a non-standard body, Miss Cobb drove another Riley Lynx, C. Thomas had an 11/22 o.h.c. Wolseley tourer the polished valve cover of which didn’t seem quite right, and Richmond was smoking—a pipe—in his smart Trojan tourer, which has the correct radiator mascot.
The reversing necessary in the first test broke the reverse chain on Arnold-Forster’s Anzani Frazer Nash, a half-shaft on Tony Jones’ 30/98 Vauxhall and the gear selector of the aforesaid Aston Martin. The next one, called ” Spiral Staircase,” nearly caused May’s Frazer Nash and Greinig’s Cup Model Austin 7 to overturn, the latter putting out an arm to save himself, as Capt. Frazer-Nash did in Kim at a faster competition years ago.
Bernard Kain and St. John were sharing a Type 44 Bugatti two-seater, Fuller and Day a lightweight racer that had once been a 1937 4-1/4-litre Bentley, while P. G. Cole’s 1934 3-1/2-litre Bentley remains a saloon but lacked paint.
Two unusual cars were White’s Salmson and Hill’s Crouch Helix. The former is a 1927 tourer with a rare ” Eight-rocker” engine, which means that it has the twin-cam head but valve gear incorporating eight push-rods. The Crouch Helix was built at the Riley factory in 1929, using parts of a 1923 Crouch, such as the differential-less back axle, 1/4-elliptic back springs and 3-speed transmission, also a s.v. Anzani engine with alloy head. The rest embraces strut type i.f.s., very droll hub-less wire wheels, an alloy chassis, Lockheed f.w.b., and fuel feed by Autopulse pump. Mr. Tullis, who built it, used part of a Brooklands Riley tail. The gear selectors had broken that morning and the Helix took its tests carefully. Perhaps it would be more appropriate in a Motoring Chamber of Horrors? Incidentally, the Salmson had shed its flywheel last year and its owner says he needs a San Sebastian front axle, if anyone can oblige.
Let’s see, where were we? Oh yes, President Ronald Barker in his beautiful Lancia has missed out one garage, a Riley and the Helix have temporarily expired, there is a long delay as Mrs. Russell takes the first and second tests in a 1924 Lanchester Twenty tourer that apparently can’t afford a licence, and the Trojan massacres some pylons. Griffith has a Morris Minor saloon that gets into the V.S.C.C. because it has an o.h.c., Harper goes well in a sporting Chummy Austin 7, Marsh’s Austin 7 metal saloon does not overturn in the Second test and now it is raining again, so we will enter our shooting-brake Sunbeam and go away. How it worked out you can see from the appended results—W. B.
First-Class Award : H. F. Moffatt (1923 Brescia Bugatti). Second-Class Award: H. P, Hine (1924 3-litre Bentley). Third-Class Award : T. Ely (1934 Riley Ulster Imp).
Standard Sports Cars: First-Class Awards : E. R. Fuller (1937 4-1/4-litre Bentley Special), B.B.D. Kain (1930 Type 44 Bugatti), W. S. May (1926 Anzani Frazer Nash) and K. M. Hill (1930 Lea-Francis). Second-Class Awards : P.J. E. Binns (1927 2-litre 0.M.), C. Lee (1935 3.6-litre Lagonda) and N. Arnold-Forster (1923 Anzani Frazer Nash). Third-Class Awards : P. G. Cole (1934 3-1/2-litre Bentley), M. A. Maskell (1939 328 BMW), C. R. Pack (1926 3-litre Bentley), P. G. Swann (1928 Invicta Special), and C. A. Winter (1926 Frazer Nash).
Touring Class: First-Class Awards: S. D. Harper (1928 Austin 7 Chummy) and R.D. Griffin (1930 o.h.c. Morris Minor saloon). Second-Class Awards: Mrs. J. M. Hill (1930 A.J.S.) and C. P. Marsh and D. R. Marsh (1926 Austin 7 saloon). Third-Class Award : C.H. Martin (1925 Austin 7).
The Tamplin cyclecar mentioned recently as being restored in Cheddar turns out to have been burnt out in 1919 and rebuilt by 1921, so that some of the parts look non-original. It toured England but was laid up in 1926 and has never been used since. Information is sought so that it can be correctly rebuilt. A motoring enthusiast who, since 1920, has enjoyed racing a Morgan 3-wheeler in North Country events, and driving Lagonda, Ford V8, Bentley and other cars, offers two vintage or near-vintage headlamps from a Vauxhall (not 30/98) and a big Klaxon horn, together with parts of other Klaxon horns, to anyone who can collect them before he moves from Surrey to Suffolk next month. Letters can be forwarded to both these readers.
To mark the 21st anniversary of the founding of the Morgan Three-Wheeler Club members have been sent a printed 20-page booklet giving the history of their Club, written by Clarine Coombes. It is called “No More Twins,” presumably because it was the demise, manufacturing-wise, of the twin-cylinder Morgans that prompted the formation of this Club. How to get a copy?—Join the Club, we would think!
The old Renault bought recently for 5s. turns out to be a 1933 2-litre Speed Model saloon with luggage trunk, apparently last registered in 1948 and still having five good tyres and good chrome. Rumour says the persons who bought it are asking £50. Membership of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club now exceeds 2,000. The Club caters for solos, combinations and 3-wheelers made prior to 1941 and whereas the V.S.C.C. publishes its Bulletin quarterly, the V.M.C.C. issues its official journal every month. The Hon. Secretary is F. P. Heath, Staverton House, 1580 Melton Road, Queensborough, Leicester. No book has appeared on the Motorcycle history of Brooklands but this is being serialised in The Veteran & Vintage Magazine and racing and record-breaking up to the end of the 1922 season should have been covered by the January issue of that journal. The Morris Eight Tourer Club informs us that it is forming a Morris 10/25 register to cover all pre-1940 Morris vehicles of 10 h.p. and over (it already caters for 1929-39 Morris Eights). The Hon. Secretary, B. D. M. Hicks, 24, Boughton Lane, Loose, Maidstone, Kent, will be pleased to hear from such owners.
Three days after the appearance of the December Motor Sport David Goode of the Armstrong Siddeley O.C. removed the s.v. 17 h.p. Armstrong Siddeley from the Editor’s garden, so this is one example of this make at least which is now under cover and which will be restored to good health. A four-cylinder Ariel 2-seater which had been in the possession of its original lady owner since 1924 changed hands recently in Berkshire.