Special history

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91

Sir,
With reference to the letter from John Bateman (Motor Sport, November 1987), I and several other members of the Triple-M Register of the MG Car Club would very much like to discover the whereabouts of the De Havilland/ATN Special, built and driven by the late Tom Norton in the mid-Fifties.

I would disagree with John however, when he states that the car was neither historic nor successful, as whilst Tom Norton’s modifications may not have been crowned with much glory, the original car certainly was! This was chassis No 4 out of the eight fabulous 750cc Q type MG Midgets built in 1934, and was first purchased by Bellevue Garages for Doreen Evans to drive.

During the winter of 1934-5 the car was fitted with a distinctive single-seater body, and in that form it had many successes in Doreen’s hands.

Little else is currently known of this car until Tom Norton acquired the chassis, body and running gear in 1955 and fitted it with a Gypsy Major aero-engine driving through an Alvis Silver Eagle gearbox.

A very clear picture of the car at the June meeting at Rest-and-be-Thankful appeared in Autosport on July 8, 1955, and apart from the pieces of aero-engine protruding from the bonnet side, it is unmistakably the Bellevue single seater. Tom Norton took the car back to Rest the following year when he recorded a very hairy 68.11, but shortly afterwards he acquired the former Ken Wharton stable, including ERA R4D, and after that the De Havilland/ATN Special faded into obscurity.

We believe the Q type engine and blower were removed before the car was purchased by Norton, and eventually found their way into a Lotus Mark VI (registered WAR 1) in December 1955. This interesting combination was last heard of in the Harpenden area.

So out of John’s original two enquiries, we now have a further two! If any of your readers can throw any light on the exploits of MG Q type (chassis No QA0254) between 1936 and 1955, or the present whereabouts of this car or Lotus WAR 1, there are a number of us who would be interested to hear!

Colin Butchers, Southwick, Sussex