V-E-V Miscellany, January 1971, January 1971

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Old car matters crop up almost everywhere these days. Last year, for instance, even The Lady published a long article by someone who described what it was like to own old Rolls-Royces, and Country Life had an article of early motoring reminiscence, mainly about a 15 h.p. Argyll bought to replace a horse and governess’ cart in Scotland in 1909, entitled “Sixty One Years at the Wheel” by Mary Miller, who does not mention Argyll’s separate reverse lever but remembers how the car did the 200 miles, between Scotland and Yorkshire at an average of 25 m.p.h. and that it was perfectly satisfactory on a North of Scotland tour in 1911, even to climbing the dreaded Bucker Brow.

Other cars mentioned are the author’s brother’s Fondu-engined self-built cyclecar of 1911 and “four-cylinder 7 h.p. Frazer Nash” motorcycle and sidecar (Which must have been, in fact, a Belgian FN.—Ed.), a 1924 Austin 12/4 convertible used in Uganda in 1932, an old six-cylinder Wolseley bought for £12 and used on lease in England in 1933, then a Bean, Standard Nine, Citroën Light 15 (“Which was a joy”), etc. (Mrs. Miller, in her 70s, now drives a BMC 1100). Then The Telegraph Magazine had an intriguing piece tracing the long history of an Hispano Suiza H6B tourer, Reg. No. XN 5479, from being bought from Car Mart in 1922 for £2,600 by a Mr. Malder (it had 12 lamps and six horns and may have been the first car to carry a 4WB sign in England, on the advice of the Chief Constable of Reigate), to its use as a breakdown truck and its eventual, current, restoration.

The car is mentioned as gaining a medal at Brooklands in 1926 by doing 60 miles in an hour, but shedding a tyre, damaging a wheel, and melting its camshaft in doing so—presumably in an MCC One Hour High Speed Trial. It was sold to a friend for £300 in 1928, when its original owner hankered after a Stutz. (Anthony Blight must have liked the reference to a midnight race from Brighton to Reigate against the newly-acquired Stutz and “John Edinger in a fabric-bodied Talbot…. The Hispano and the Stutz grandly allowed the Talbot which, with its 14 h.p. was incapable of more than 70 m.p.h., a 5-minute start—a fatal mistake, as it proved, for John Edinger was not seen again and ended up an easy winner!”) A good article but a pity it was accompanied by a piece on other vintage cars which emphasised the inflated prices now asked for them.

***
C. Clifford who races that excellent Riley V8-engined special at VSCC race meetings is building another V8 Special for next season and he has acquired another 2.2-litre Riley V8 Special with Healey Silverstone i.f.s. and home-made de Dion rear-end with trailing-link suspension arms. He is anxious to trace the Bentley Special, believed to have had a 3-litre Autovia V8 engine, Alfa Romeo axles and, in fact, anything but Bentley components, and a 1938 Riley V8 Special built in London for racing, using special bronze cylinder heads. Some paintings apparently done at Brooklands in 1907/9 by a Margery Balfour-Browne of Scotland, have come to light; information is sought about the artist.

***
L. J. Roy Taylor seeks photographs of the 1924 Senechal which ran in the 1924 Bol d’Or race and any information on 1924 Ruby engines, to help with his rebuild of these cars. He is also resussitating a 1928 HE Six, acquired as a very delapidated chassis.