Veteran to classic: Enstone

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VSCC at Play

If you hold driving-tests in December on the plateau at Enstone near Oxford, it is almost certainly going to be cold, and that is what it was for the annual VSCC event there this year. So cold that at least one of the two Solex carburettors on Marsh’s T13 Bugatti was icing-up and all around engines were left ticking-over between tests. This did not prevent an entry of some 89 cars, several shared between more than one driver, coming out to play.

Nor did it stop Ann Shoosmith from fairly hurling her 3/41/2-litre Bentley about, with Mrs Reynolds (sharing her 41/2-litre Bentley with her father Roger Collings), straining an arm in her efforts to reply! Young Smith was very spirited, too, in his A7 Chummy. Young Diffey in his strut-braced Chummy was devoid of a windscreen, not in the pursuit of a few more mph but on account of a contretemps at the North Wales Trial . . .

The cold could be ignored by Rouse and his lady in their smart Alvis SA Speed-20 saloon, but even its radiator, topped by the Alvis bird-mascot, was rigged up between tests. There were ten of these in all, one of them involving making ever decreasing circles on a loose surface, another reversing for a longer distance than usual.

The Competition Secretary, Ted Smith, was having a go in Parkin’s A7 and competing cars ranged from Upston’s tiny Peugeot 172S to the 1915 5.3-litre Buick of Raahauge. One noticed Bennett’s smart 8/18 Talbot coupe, Ian Walker’s Gwynne 8, and, of course, A7s almost everywhere . .

Blake had a No 7 Comte supercharger on his BNC, in lieu of the No. 6 which had broken; there was almost every size of Invicta, of which Browning’s had taken a leaf out of the Bentley book, with a 41/2 engine in a 3-litre chassis, and it was quite an occasion to see three Frazer Nash-BMW 319s taking part, driven by Garfitt, Moore and Phelps (with another spectating), and a 328 also competing, for good measure. It was nice, too, to see Hancock’s Fiat Balilla Sports out again and Edmunds running his immaculate 1923 water-cooled, disc-wheeled Family Morgan, complete with JCC badge. Bentall’s shortened 41/4litre Derby-Bentley Special breathed the frozen air through no fewer than six 31/2in Bentley-SU carburettors, and the variety of the cars and the fun of lunch and elbow-bending at the pleasant pub in Church Enstone lived up to expectations. WB

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