Veteran - Edwardian - Vintage, January 1986

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Fragments of forgotten makes No 68: The Dawson

A car which was almost a lost cause before it was announced appeared lust after the Armistice, in the form of the Dawson. At that time it was generally foreseen that in the prevailing economic situation following the most punishing war yet fought, small-engined economical cars would be in demand. Those who set out to meet this requirement. yet sought to endow their products with some of the luxury and exclusiveness of larger cars, were not very numerous. Among the successful ones might be quoted Humber and Talbot. There was an odd claim to be a sort of “Rolls-Royce of light-cars” made on behalf of the Secqueville-Hoyau from France, optimistically built in small numbers in a factory by the Seine. It seems that the Dawson originated from a similar desire to create the sort of car that very few people wanted.

At all events, in 1919 news spread of a car to be built in Stoke, in Britain’s Motor City of Coventry. that had been designed by Mr A J. Dawson, who had been Works Manager at Hillman’s. The recently concluded holocaust seems to have influenced Mr Dawson’s thinking, because whereas the other Coventry company he had managed had made a usefully simple 9 hp small-car before the war, which Hillman’s were able to sell for £200, what he had conjured up for post-war consumption was a far more complicated car. Its engine was based on war-time aero-engine practice, just as were those of the post-Armistice Hispano-Suiza. Napier, Lanchester, Straker-Squire, Leyland and other large luxury automobiles. That was all right when cost was of little consequence but, even so, there were post-war customers who were suspicious of these new cars with aero-type overhead-camshaft engines. Noise, maintenance difficulties, and the awful possibility of a valve falling into a cylinder were at that time held against such engines by old-fashioned and cautious thinkers.

So to put an engine of this kind into a comparatively small-engined car might be said to be tempting providence from the outset! Admittedly, Wolseley did this with their new Ten, having made Hispano-Suiza V8 ohc aero-engines during the war years and feeling, presumably, that not to copy something from these was missing some kind of providential opportunity. But Wolseley cars were made by the great Vickers armament concern, who could get away with such a ploy, the ironic thing being that for all its aero-engine followings. the Wolseley Ten gained nothing in speed, being among the most pedestrian of light-cars, so that it needed Alastair Miller’s team of racing Wolseley “Moths to promote the snail-like ohc small-car, and, anyway, in the economy field Wolseley had their rather sweet-running 7 hp flat-twin to augment the four-cylinder model.

So in using aero-type engineering for the engine of the Dawson car the designer was very much out on a limb. By the summer of 1919 all was revealed. It was seen that the Dawson was a light-car on RAC rating. as it was of 11.9 hp, if not on engine size, the bore and stroke of 69 x 120 mm taking the capacity to 1.795 cc, whereas it was considered at the time that a light-car should not exceed a swept volume of 1,500 cc, or at most 1,600 cc. What was astonishing was that this little Dawson engine had overhead valves directly prodded by an overhead-camshaft, as on the celebrated Hispano-Suiza aero-engines used in the recent conflict, and on the brilliant new 37.2 hp Hispano-Suiza luxury chassis. Even Wolseley, whose engineers must have been so well acquainted with these aero engines, interposed rockers between camshaft and valves on their engines. It was not until many years later, when the Hispano influence had surely evaporated, that there was a Wolseley car engine with the oh-camshaft acting directly on the tappets. Yet here was the impetuous Mr. Dawson doing just this, for the power unit of a car intended for large sales, and at a time when the buying public was far from used to engines with any form of overhead-valve gear. . .

As if to counter this, having designed and had built his engine, Dawson stated that although the directly-operated in-line valves in the head were “somewhat reminiscent of Hispano-Suiza aero-engine practice, many details had been modified to suit a touring car, such as using cams of more normal contour and tappet clearances of but .004in (but as the clearance on the Hispano-Suiza W4A aero-engine was .003 in, the point was hardly made!). Adjustment was on the valve stems, the cam followers being slightly convex, to form locking members for the screw-down valve-spring cups. That apart, Mr Dawson expressed his firm belief in the desirability of overhead valve gear. one wonders what he may have seen at Hillman’s or elsewhere during the war that could have influenced his opinion.

Anyway, his engine had the camshaft driven from a vertical shaft, skew-gear driven at the front of the engine and having two flexible couplings, the drive to the camshaft being by more skew gears. Another pair of skew gears drove a cross-shaft, at the nearside of which was the magneto and at the opposite end yet another pair of skew gears (notwithstanding the fact that an eminent engineer had expressed the view that skew gears would not stand up to such loadings), which drove a longitudinal shaft for the Lucas dynamotor and, ahead of it, the pulley for the belt-driven fan. From the cross shaft a worm gear drove a spur-gear oil-pump at 1/7th crankshaft speed. The oh camshaft ran in three bronze bearings, lubricated from radial drillings in the hollow camshaft into which oil was forced, surplus lubricant oiling the cams and cam followers before draining into the crankcase through a copper pipe. That this was 1919, however, was seen in the employment of an exposed pipe taking oil from the pump to the front of the camshaft…

Mr Dawson did not like ball bearings and all those in his engine were either die-cast white metal, for the mains and big-ends, or phosphor bronze, with thrust taken by bronze collars working against steel washers with hardened faces. The detachable head was bolted to the monobloc iron cylinder casting and carried the valve gear, which was covered by a single metal cowl, secured by a central nut, which does not look likely to have been very oil-tight. Being an enthusiast for ohv Mr Dawson specified thick-stemmed valves with trumpet or tulip heads, the cam followers screwed to the stems. Lubrication was on the trough and splash system then common, and aluminium pistons were used, the con rods having two-bolt big-ends. The compression -ratio of 4.8 to 1 sounds abysmal today but was regarded as quite ambitious in 1919, and the cylinders were offset by a matter of 10 mm. The carburetter was on the near-side, the four exhaust ports on the off -side of the engine.

The first engine seems to have been installed in a chassis before any provision had been made for an electric starter, its flywheel devoid of Bendix teeth. The Dawson chassis was conventional but had some de luxe features. It was sprung on 1/2 -elliptic springs. The drive went through a large Ferodo-faced cone clutch and the three-speed and-reverse gearbox had shod, stiff shafts running on ball bearings on special steel housings. The gearbox lid enclosed the selectors and an extension carried the external rh gear lever gate. As on a 40/50 hp Rolls-Royce, the Dawson ‘s gear lever was self centring to the neutral Position. The handbrake, operating the rear brakes, was outboard of it. Behind the gearbox was the foot-applied expanding transmission brake and the fully-floating back axle was exceptionally accessible. Engine and separate gearbox were carried on a long subfrarne. jacking points were provided beneath each axle. Worm-and-sector was used and there was simple adjustment for the pedals.

Such was the ohc Dawson light car, the prestige of which was ensured when it was rumoured that Malcolm Campbell was acquiring an agency. A test chassis with the large aggressive radiator with its badge, a coloured portrait of a bulldog. On this motoring writers were invited to try the Dawson when in spite of its 4 to 1 top gear, 1 in 9 Stoneleigh hill was climbed with five people aboard, after the brakes had been freed off. Later, with six average weight people up, a successful restart was made on the steepest part of the hill. Mr Dawson did the demonstrations personally

At the time it was hoped to sell the car as a two/three seater for not more than £450. Dunlop 710 x 90 tyres on Sankey wheels were specified and Charlesworth of Coventry were to make the bodies, the Dawson colour to be Royal blue with black mudguards, a mahogany dashboard and brass fittings. A stand was taken at the 1919 Olympia Show, when it was seen that the car was to be called an 11-12 hp, and that the tyre size was up, to 760 x 90. But so was the price, to £525 for a four-seater. A chassis and two complete cars were put in as exhibits but the high price was the beginning of the death knell for the Dawson. At the time you could get a coupe body on the well-tried 9.5 hp Standard for the same price and the only well-established small cars which were more costly, and by a small margin, were the AC, Humber Ten.,10/15 Fiat, and the 11 hp Riley coupe, although the Secqueville-Hoyau cost £550.

By September of 1919 bodies were going on Dawson chassis and there was again an exhibit, at the 1920 Olympia Show, when a chassis, a two-seater, a saloon and a coupe were displayed on stand 412 at the White City overflow. However the two-seater was now an exorbitant £750, the four-seater £795 and the vee-windscreen saloon was expensive indeed at £995. Even the bare chassis was priced at £575 and although the engine was reported to have plenty of power and to keep its tune well, the Austin Twenty tourer then cost only £695, so how could this small-car compete? No changes had been made, apart from two internal sheet steel covers over the valves perhaps confirmation of my assumption that the outer valve cover was not very oil-tight…

Nevertheless, somehow customers turned up. For instance, Cross and Ellis of Coventry put a smart coupe body of their own on a Dawson chassis in 1920, painted cream with rather overdone black lining and offset by Ace aluminium wheel discs. Mr Dawson had obtained plenty of publicity for his cars but after about 65 had been made it was all over and Triumph took on the Stoke factory, for their new car venture.

Presumably all Dawsons have long since disappeared, but a complete engine and a radiator still exist, found some years ago in the Bristol area and as such rare makes as Angus-Sanderson and Storey are now being built-up from parts found in the most unlikely places, it is possible that enough Dawson remains may yet be unearthed, that would enable a complete car to be resurrected. If anyone can provide clues as to the whereabouts of possible Dawson parts. I would be glad to hear from them. W B

“The Sunbeam” at Wolverhampton

I found myself driving the other morning in the Ford, in torrential rain, over Shropshire roads that were once Sunbeam testing terrain, to glean a few snippets about this once-famous Wolverhampton Company by chatting with Mr Norman Cliff, who worked there from 1920, when the side-valve 16 hp and 24 hp cars were in production, until it was all shut down in 1935. He was in the Experimental shop, where the successful Sunbeam racing cars were built, on the top floor of the three-storey building, with its huge car-lift, a building which has fortunately survived as part of the property acquired in 1977 by the Andrews Industrial Equipment Group whose activities include hire of heating plant for factories, etc. Incidentally, ills to the great credit of the Andrews Group that it shows considerable interest in the old Sunbeam activities. The Chairman, John Andrews has even acquired a very fine 1912 Sunbeam 12/16 hp tourer.

Across the road from the one-time Sunbeam Experimental Department was the test-shop. I asked Mr Cliff whether there were any complaints about noise from this shop, on the part of Wolverhampton’s inhabitants, remembering how the Mayor of Derby had once had to appease local residents when the R-type racing Schneider Trophy Rolls-Royce engines were being tested, day-and-night, in his city. I was told that at “The Sunbeam” an effective system of quieting the racing engines had been evolved and the only outside complaints of noise remembered concerned a Sunbeam diesel-engine on a 24 hour run. Mr Cliff worked on the 2-litre and the first 4-litre V12 Sunbeam racing-cars, and was the first person to go out with Segrave on the road on test in the latter car: but it was only a short if frightening flip, as the ballast in the tail broke loose and fouled the back-axle. He also recalls working on the engines of the famous 1927 twin-engined “1,000 hp” Sunbeam that achieved 200 mph at Daytona, the Matabele engines of 22 1/2 litres each being, he says, taken out of store and stripped down.

Mr Cliff also remembers working, in miserable conditions, in the Experimental shops, many of the windows of which had been removed to enable exhaust-piping etc to pass outside, underneath the disappointing Sunbeam “Silver Bullet” LSR car, replacing the cush-dnve to the centrifugal supercharger, which was always failing, perhaps not surprisingly, considering the speed -differential between the special V12 24-litre ice-cooled engines and the blower.

Mr Cliff views with great interest the proposals for a Wolverhampton Industrial Museum and has collected together photographs and documents illustrating the history of the Sunbeam Motor Car Company. One such is a letter from Mr C B Kay, congratulating the Sunbeam mechanics on the good work they had done in 1916 on a Sunbeam aero-engine, which he reckoned “must have made the Rolls-Royce mechanics pretty sick”, their engine presumably being behind at that time. The many Sunbeam works social activities were recalled, Mr Cliff winning races on the sports field, and dances, concerts, cricket and football matches being held, many of the Wolves players being in the Sunbeam football-team, which was opposed by that of Rubery Owen. who had some Albion Rovers players…

The Sunbeam aero-engines of the 1914/18 war were built under the supervision of Mr Sidney Reid. After the war the cars were made by gangs of individual fitters, not on an assembly-line. Incidentally, Mr Cliff says that The Sunbeam was a very big concern by 1920, with perhaps 2,500 to 3,000 employees. The Foreman in the test-house was Reg Harold, who worked on the twin-cam 3-litre Sunbeams for Le Mans, and in charge of racing-car construction was Mr Kettle.

In fact. although Louis Coatalen was highly respected, the mechanics deserve their share of praise, Norman Cliff thinks, and he has set down his memories of them. He has identified many of his old workmates in old photographs. For instance, in the classic picture of the Experimental shops, with one of the 1922 2-litre Grand Prix Sunbeams in the foreground reproduced in the winter-1985 issue of In Action, house-publication of the Andrews Group. Mr Cliff says the three men from I to r are Frank Wood, Jack Smith and Bert Hopkins. the last-named never smoking, drinking or taking part in social events and disliking horse play of any kind. When asked what he did do in his time away from the factory he invited Cliff to his home-workshop, where he made model steam-engines of all kinds, a craftsman to his fingertips,never happy unless he was exercising such skills. Others among the happy band of racing-car mechanics in the shops were the boss, Tom Harrison, and chaps like Bill Moray, Alfred Stokes, Bert Ridley, Alec Broome. and George Taylor. Reg Howard was in the experimental test-shop. Barrett, one of Cliff’s close friends, was the riding-mechanic who was killed when K. Lee Guinness crashed at San Sebastian in one of the 1924 2-litre GP cars and he recalls the irony of this, because if Perkins had not been in hospital as a result of the crash at Brooklands in which Dario Resta was killed in another of these 1924 2-litre GP Sunbeams he would have gone in place of Barrett.

When the works closed in 1935 Cliff set off, like Dick Whittington, to seek employment in London, riding there on his well-liked 3 1/2 hp. overhead-valve, long stroke Sunbeam motorcycle. He had tied his tools on the back, representing his stock-in-trade but they were stolen en route. However his luck was in because he had only just got to the Metropolis when he met Sam Raybolt who had been at Sunbeam’s with him, and he sent Norman to the Sunbeam Service Station, from where he was found a job with a big garage in Epsom, that had been Sunbeam agents. Then, returning to Wolverhampton to get some new tools he ran straight into Bert Hopkins, who was able to provide everything needed. Later Mr Cliff travelled for the Daily Herald. and then entered the antiques business. Today he drives a Datsun, and his wife, who has family connections with “the Sunbeam,” has a 1972 Sunbeam Rapier. — W.B.

Bugatti at Brixton

Bugatti, people know that, betore the war, the make had its depot in this country at 1-3 Brixton Road, at the garage at Kennington where many ventures were housed such as Decca, the London Taxicab Company (operating Unics innumerable) and Marendaz Special cars. They were at different levels, connected by ramps, with the quiet, well-dressed and gentlemanly Colonel W. L. Sorel, DSO, rumoured to have been a racing driver in the dim ages of the game presiding over Bugatti interests. Having heard that Bob Bass had worked for Bugatti at Brixton from 1926, when the 16-valve Brescia was still in production, and almost before the arrival of the more civilised Type 40, until the place closed on the outbreak of war, I travelled in the comfort of a Ford Granada Scorpio 4×4 to Margate, to chat with him. On the way we went through Herne Bay, where speed trials were run along the pro-menade over a half mile course, by the Kent AC in 1924, Leon Cushman’s Bugatti averaging 70.31 mph. just beating Count Zborowski’s aero-engined Mercedes.

Bob recalls that Colonel Sorel did not then drive himself, his chauffeur for his five-litre being Charlie Bishop. The Foreman of the works at Brixton was Emile Michel and Baldwin was storekeeper. The showroom was adjacent to the garage but mostly clients who wanted to buy Bugattis would be taken to Malcolm Campbell’s Sussex Gardens showrooms or perhaps to one of the coachbuilders, such as James Young of Bromley or Park Ward. Only about five Bugattis at a time would be kept at Brixton, mostly chassis being prepared. after delivery by LEP Transport from France, for the bodybuilders. The Folkestone Road and the quiet ways round Dulwich Park were used for testing, with just two bucket seats on the bare chassis.

The organisation was quite modest, with three fitters, two boys, and Hindrey, the odd-jobs man. Bob Bass does not recall a works truck but they had a bull nose Morris for running errands. It was in this that he got his first speeding endorsement when on the way to Brooklands Track in it, where two racing jacks were urgently required. Mechanics would come over from France, perhaps three at a time to instruct when any problems arose or new Bugatti models were introduced, and they would be shown the sights of London, notably in the Soho area, with interesting results on their time off. The spares all came from France and non-standard tuning was not indulged in at Brixton. Dtscol petrol was obtained from the pumps at the garage, but these were not owned by the Bugatti depot, the finance for which, incidentally, came from d’Erlangers, the bankers, one of this family racing a Bugatti.

Brake cables were made up at Brixton various grades of Ferodo brake linings were used for different cars, and Brescis tappet guides would be white-metalled there, in the course of repair work. Thomas, who became Earl Howe ‘s celebrated racing mechanic, started at Brixton. and Leo Villa was a frequent visitor, when parts were needed for Campbell’s Bugattis. Sometimes Bob Bass and Jack Hannam, who had recommended him for the job, would go to Esson-Scott’s on a Sunday morning to finish off urgent work on one of his Bugattis and three cars for the Phoenix Park race were garaged at Brixton. Col Sorel would arrive from Victoria Mansions in his chauffeur-driven 5-litre Bugatti and the sadness is remembered when the news came through that Jean Bugatti, who had brought the 4WD racing car over to England, had been killed in France. He is said to have driven the four-wheel-drive Bugatti on the road to its hill-climb assignment. Bob Bass remembers the Foreman getting up to something like 12 mph down the garage ramps in the first of the electric Type 52 miniature Bugattis. Bob used to deliver Bugattis to Mrs Turner in Yorkshire, Miss Cynthia Turner racing some of them, and remembers getting back late one Monday because the coach broke down. He also had to abandon a Bugatti he was collecting from Ashford after a tyre had disintegrated, the fixing of the steel rims to the alloy-spoke wheels with many nuts being hardly a roadside undertaking. We talked of Jack Lemon Burton, L. G. Bachelier and Papworth, the last-named remembered as a somewhat irascible man, always wearing a cap, when he called at the depot for spares. I also have my own recollection of Bugatti at Brixton. A visiting French owner of a Type 43 had lost the dynamo from his car, a rather essential component when you are on tour, with coil ignition, this having vanished as he was lapping Brooklands at over 101 mph, with me as a passenger. “Not to worry”. I told him… “we will go to Kennington, where I am sure the Colonel will lend you a dynamo until you return to France” (this person had a stock of dynamos there and wasn’t anxious to have to buy one). So to Brixton Road we drove but when I explained the predicament to Col Sorel he said “Lend him one Boddy? We are running a business, not a philanthropic institution…”

Bob Bass retains many happy memories of working on these highly/individualistic cars, of the marvellous noise when they got clear of London and opened the exhaust cut-outs, and of the BOC being formed, and holding the Chalfont St. Giles hill-climb, etc. After the war he went to Northern Road Services, driving trucks for 33 years, recalling especially the worth of Gardner diesel engines. — W.B.

Miniatures News

Some interest having been aroused by last month’s article about model cars of the pre-war years, I can answer a query as to the size of the Malcolm Campbell LSR 350 hp Sunbeam non-working but nicely detailed models to which I referred. I would think they were roughly 19 in in overall length, so were quite large miniatures. They may, of course, have been made for the Sunbeam Motor Car Company. It is pleasing to know that many people remember the model building exploits of D. M. Dent. the Frazer Nash driver, some of whose models I referred to. One I did not mention was a racing car he made in 1925. It looks as if Dent reckoned to construct one model a year as this one came between his miniature of the GN “Kim II” and the FWD racing-car model of 1926, a picture of which headed my article. It looks as if it may have been roughly based on Eldridge ‘s veto-engined Fiat in the streamlined form in which it had been raced at Montlhery that year. The model had a wheelbase of 26 in and a track of 10 in. It was made of Meccano parts, some of which, Dent explained, “had been modified to suit the purpose”. A small electric motor had proved fairly successful but the final kind of engine had not been decided upon. The drive was taken through a plate clutch to a working three-speed-and-reverse gearbox with constant-mesh gears — how this was contrived, even with modified Meccano parts, boggles the mind! The gears were changed with an outside gear lever working in a gate, the propshaft had universal joints, and the back axle was differential-less. An external brake lever operated external-contracting servo type brakes through a compensating gear. The steering column had a pronounced rake and there were wire wheels. The body was of sheet zinc, with a tail hammered out of sheet copper, the finish being bright green. with a white bonnet and scuttle. — W. B.

Motoring as it was – A Look-Back to the Roads of the 1920s

(Continued from the December issue)

Having tried a 1924 AC Six in Wales. Owen John, whose motoring we are following, then had a spell of praising Scotland as a touring ground. reminded of this by the grouse-shooting “Twelfth”, but wondered where all the motorists heading north, as he used to do. would find accommodation, for he reckoned hotels were few and that there were fewer roads in all the Highlands than in the county of Surrey. He was advocating holidays in Galloway, the “Riviera of Scotland”, which he thought would one day be patronised as it deserved to be (is if the area between Dumfries and Stranraer, after which O.J. advocated going north to Ballantrae and Ayr, after putting golf clubs in the car Or why not, he said, try the wild and lonely Lowlands, going up and down the Tweed and the Esk. Incidentally, O.J. had observed that he found it hard to distinguish between his pleasure and his work and that some kinds of work, like his own, give the impression of one having lots of spare time, which was quite wrong, although his habit of appearing to always enjoy himself might have something to do with the notion — I put that in because it may seem to apply to present-day motor journalists. . 0.J. observed, by the summer of 1924. that the road through his village was filled with cars laden with luggage for the holiday, little cars out-numbering big ones by 20 to 1, with chauffeurs being seen on about one car in ten: he remarked that when half-a-dozen car loads of people came to play tennis at his house (what the RAF later called a “line”,) they came in all sorts and sizes of cars and none had a chauffeur. But he pointed out that trams still existed to cause traffic congestion, which ‘buses went very far to relieve. Even worse, he thought, were the wandering trolley-‘buses, which he called rail-less brothers of the tramcar. Yet in Birmingham. which 0.J. described as the best-governed municipality in Great Britain, trams did not obstruct, whereas in Manchester they did the maximum of mischief, anyone standing within a mile of the Exchange would see the confusion caused by a superfluity of these leviathans. That was all a long time ago, so I will not enlarge upon it: but it does set the motoring town-scene of over 60 years ago

Moreover, O.J. was on about congestion in London, what with taking mountains to Mahomet in the case of Covent Garden, the placing of the theatres, the newspaper offices, even that of the City itself. Anyone having dealings with any motor firm in Long Acre, then still a motor showroom area, would, he observed, see what effect Covent Garden had on traffic. And the tram situation aforesaid applied to America as well, at this time, notably in Pittsburgh, where motor traffic had increased by 20.3% in 1922. to a total of 829,737 cars. Well, it is much worse in London now, of course, and I would doubt anything would move at all had not horse-drawn vehicles vanished, traffic-lights appeared, and cars improved in acceleration from a standstill. I have long suffered from living to the west of the Metropolis and Standard House (and former offices) being in London EC.

I remember, however, a time just prior to the last war, when it was possible to motor to the MOTOR SPORT offices in such improbable cars as my 1922 Rhode and 1924 Delaunay-Belleville landaulette, even when the former was without starting-handle or starter, so that passers-by had to be persuaded to push-start it and when its oh-camshaft engine smoked so badly that the point-duty policeman at the Bank crossing allowed me to proceed with alacrity “before we all get gassed”! In those carfree times you could park in any side-street.

Which reminds me of a story concerning parking outside Standard House. When a delivery driver brings us a car for test, unless he knows there is an office car-park or if he finds this blocked by delivery vans, he naturally parks on the yellow lines while he finds the receptionist and asks her to tell the member of staff involved that there is a car waiting for him. Which takes a few minutes. On one occasion a parking ticket was put on such a car and, via its manufacturers, it was traced to us. This resulted in my home address being recorded and a Police Pandacar setting out weeks later from a Police Station some 10 miles away to interview me. 180 miles from where the “crime” had been committed, I was shown the ticket, on which the address had been wrongly inscribed, and asked whether I was driving that car, that day. I said I would check my diary but, as a matter of interest, how long had the car been declared as on yellow lines. The policeman looked at the ticket, did a calculation, and came up with “about two minutes” which he admitted it seemed a lot of fuss for such a shod time on the lines, which are In a comparatively quiet side street anyway. This did not make me feel particularly co-operative and I was delighted to discover from my diary entry that on the day in question I happened to have been at Beaulieu in another car, so nowhere in London. Moreover, I had happened to have sat at lunch with Lord Montagu and Graham Hill (“Line” again if you like!). I told the policeman of this, adding that if I had to subpoena these two gentlemen as witnesses it might cost the Court a pretty penny. No more was heard, I believe. Now they just put the clamps on and leave you to it.

Reverting to the 1920s, O.J. was on about hotels, having been prompted into writing about them because he had just received, from “the Mitre” in Oxford, a fine historical booklet about this notable inn — a forerunner of the kind of prolific hotel publicity that you see today, I suppose — and he ranked it with the “Dolphin” in Southampton, the “Lord Warden” at Deal and “the Lion” at Cambridge, houses which. I hope, have survived the stormy subsequent 60 years with equanimity? After that O.J. is found suggesting that the best way to assess a car’s worth is to study the value put on used examples, which you can do conveniently by studying the back pages of this very magazine. That caused him to reflect on how cars lived on in France, where one was likely to see the plumber in an antique Delaunay-Belleville, the baker doing his rounds in a chain-driven Panhard, the tax-collector on a Leon-Bollee with a quadrant change, and cars with rows of drip-feeds on their dashboards that so fascinated the pioneers, belt-driven Benz, and sometimes even something steered by a tiller. It was different in Britain, with the vicious taxation system — had tax been only on petrol, O.J. would have bought an aged car for each member of his family. As it was, old cars must lie in outer darkness, with no hope of coming into the light again, and in 10 years’ time it would be worse, which made O.J. unhappy. In fact, he was not to know that by 1934 the VSCC would have been formed and that not long afterwards, as a result perhaps of Kent KarsIake’s appeal in MOTOR SPORT, very old and very largeengined cars would be sought out, rebuilt, and run in that Club’s Edwardian class. In fact, even in 1925, a 1914 TT Humber had been discovered in an obscure garage near Folkestone and sold with the mistaken idea it was a racing Peugeot, its log-book presumably having vanished. If anyone knows more of this than we have already uncovered in MOTOR SPORT, we should be glad to hear from them. . . . (To be continued as space permits)