Vintage Postbag, January 1968

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What Is It? — A Solution

Sir,

With reference to the letter and photograph from Mr. W. S. Gordon in your current issue asking for identification of a 4-cylinder engine, this appears to be one of several engines built by a Mr. Haythorn and was his first 4-cylinder engine and was stated to be of 300 c.c. It was built in 1933 and was used in a motorcycle. This engine was described in The Motor Cycle of October 19th, 1933, and again shown in the December 1st, 1938, issue together with his other engines, which were all made in a home workshop. I think that Mr. Haythorn lived in the north, probably Preston, but there is no reference in the one issue I still have (December, 1938).

Blackpool. W. Eaves.

* * *

A Rare Armstrong Siddeley

Sir,

Motor Sport strikes again!

I was interested to read Mr. Maxwell’s letter (December Motor Sport, page 1133) since it is apparent that your Editorial staff have again not checked their facts. I have.

Nobody in this Club’s list of officers has ever received a letter from Mr. Maxwell. It has always been our strong point that we reply to letters within 48 hours, and certainly a letter about a 1928 30-h.p. would not get overlooked.

So far as is known, there is only one other 30-h.p. car in this country. This is a Mark I. Abroad there is known to be a 1930 Mark II in India (for which negotiations are presently proceeding to bring it to England), three 30-h.p. cars (two Mark IIs and one Mark I) in South Africa, all in one stable, and one is rumoured to be in Australia. Add a couple of oddities believed to be 30-h.p. cars, like the chassis which has turned up in Ceylon and another in, of all places, British Guiana or whatever they call it now, and I think that this is the sum total. I can be quite definite and say that, so far as we are aware, we are the only source of parts for these cars, from my own private stocks.

Mr. Maxwell says he has once written us. We’d like to know when and to whom. [See footnote.—Ed.] Meanwhile, perhaps he would like to write again with his detailed problems to the writer.

Turning to page 1132 of the same issue—”V.E.V. Miscellany”—I was interested to see the comments about Mr. St. George’s cars, the existence of which we know. He asks where is his old Siddeley Special—AUV 4. Unless my eyesight and ears deceived me, it was last known to be on a SAF marine liner on its way to Mr. St. George’s (and my) home country, and as he has said bluntly that he will never return to South Africa, I don’t think he is likely to see it again. It has, however, gone to a good home.

I would ask one more thing of the Editor and his staff. Before he prints allegations from members of the public about any Club officials of any Club—the vast majority of whom are unpaid volunteers—I ask that he should inquire of the Club concerned for their side of the story. Very often he will find that the story is apparently groundless, and thus save people from unnecessary embarrassment.

This is the second time in 12 months that the Editor has seen fit to do this. A pity, since otherwise he is a great man and a great writer.

Handbridge. David Goode,

Secretary, A.S.O.C.

[We take steps to check most things but, although not exactly voluntary workers, we are reasonably busy; nor is there time to do as Mr. Goode suggests and publish letters while they are still topical. Mr. Maxwell needed advice, and we printed his letter in the hope someone might help him. Apparently his letter to the A.S.O.C. was addressed to a Carol Dockeray who advertised in Exchange & Mart that “The A.S.O.C. offers you parts, tyres, insurance, social magazine and other useful services”, the address being Melton Mowbray, which may be why Mr. Goode did not get Mr. Maxwell’s letter. Splinter groups are seldom any good to any Club unless firmly controlled by the Secretary.—Ed.]

———

Sir,

I salvaged a 30-h.p. Armstrong Siddeley some three years ago which I found rotting in a back street at Lydney. For some 26 years it had been the property of the funeral firm until they were obliged to move with the times and splash out on a modern hearse. FH 7873 started life as a Saloon and was very professionally converted to a hearse by the firm, who were expert carpenters. I subsequently lavished much time and money on the car, and generally “tidied” the whole thing up. It then reposed here for two years in my back yard and I eventually decided to advertise it through your columns.

It was purchased on behalf of the Armstrong Siddeley Owners’ Club for £35. (I was happy to see it apparently go to a good home.) However, the fact remains it is still in my backyard and, despite letters to the A.S.O.C., no-one appears from that quarter to be sufficiently interested to collect same. [Curious—they can’t all be liars and the G.P.O. doesn’t lose that number of letters, surely?—Ed.]

The kids here eventually had a go at it and last week I was offered £5 by a local lad to sell. In a thoroughly demoralised state I did so. He wished to renovate it. I must admit to dubious legal position, for the A.S.O.C. took the Log Book. However, I should imagine that the lad would be willing to take 100% profit on the car (it is three miles from here)—which would provide Mr. Maxwell with the complete mechanical outlay. The engine was utterly 100% (I stripped it) and so was the gearbox. I can vouch that it was never thrashed!

Newnham-on-Severn, P. H. Prankherd,

Glos. Principal, Newnham Children’s Centre.

[We hope this will help Mr. Maxwell as one of the few people who seem to care about Armstrong Siddeleys.—Ed.]

* * *

Morgan 3-Wheeler Water Hoses

Sir,

I feel I must write to take up your point regarding the “modern ‘crinkly’ water-hoses” on the Morgan 3-wheelers at the Bluebell Line gathering.

Although I was not present on this particular occasion with my Morgan, a 1929 Aero Super Sports, I am an “offender” in this particular case and with very good reason. The radiators on Morgans are mounted on the body with only a thin rubber sheet to absorb vibration and, generally speaking, there is vibration aplenty emanating from the lusty vee-twin engine firmly bolted to the chassis. The result of this is, with the solid rubber hose, that the radiator soon starts to leak!

I assume your Aero has a water-cooled engine, and if I may be so bold I would advise you to watch this point.

Bath. T. G. Phelps.

[They didn’t seem to hold up too badly in vintage times—my 1927 Family Morgan had correct hoses when purchased and its radiator holds water.—Ed.]

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