On December 1st the Vintage SCC held its Enstone driving tests meeting, with the proximity of that pleasant pub, the ‘Crown’, at Church Enstone a bonus. The entries for this aerodrome frolic numbered 100, as diverse as Malcolm Elder’s sedate Humber tourer and Roger Collings’ far from sedate 8-litre Bentley Special. It was an indication that Austin A7s are popular for driving tests as for vintage trials that 35 drivers elected to use them. Brewster had his quick ‘ground effect’ racing Chummy Dainty a normal height Chummy, ‘Eustace 11’, with cutaway driver’s door and semaphore type direction indicators, Miss Winder a Chummy with rolled up radmuff, Marchant one which was hoodless, etc. These Chummies were backed up by a Gordon England Cup Model and Ulster versions of the prolific Longbridge breed, not forgetting a smart ‘top hat’ saloon, its luggage grid stayed to the body, conducted by Stainton and Miss Roat, ten girls being A7 mounted.
Then there was Merriott’s Alvis Speed 20 ifs tourer with its headlampcovers in place, which had to reverse in Test 4 and was unfortunately among those disqualified for going on what passes for grass at Enstone, and Sparrowhawk’s 4.3 Alvis of distinctly ‘racy’ demeanour, including some of the biggest racing roundels we have ever seen. In this test cars approached the stopline at rather more than built up area speeds and most of them stopped very effectively, none better than Marsh’s Brescia Bugatti, on which the upward gearchanges were very rapidly effected. Tony Moy had the long bonneted Humber-based Caesar out again, and Threlfall’s Ford seemed to have turned Into a Birmingham Small Arms, perhaps a Portent of the 1990s? The Gooses were driving an FOS two-seater, not the ex-Keith Hill car; Keith seems to have sold this in favour of his Crouch-Helix, which was hurrying nicely. We did not see Batchelor’s Rollo, a vehicle not easily overlooked, but Adnams was upholding Edwardianism with the spartan 1912 25/50hp Talbot. It was good to note Reg Nice among the entries and that Blake has his ohc GN functioning again. There were a goodly number of Frazer Nashes and Bird’s sports/racing Singer Nine was supported, as it were, by Purnell’s Junior saloon.
Such of the public who came to watch saw many unusual things, including Blake sidewinding his GN, a marshall apparently burglaring a portaloo, etc. There were ten tests to tackle and the results came out as appended.
Results of a “Sparkling Day” Driving tests at Enstone 1990
First Class Awards: D R Marsh (1925 Bugatti); J C T Brewster (Austin 7); M J Blake (Austin 7); E J Peppercorn (Austin 7 Saloon); A J P Hall (Austin 7); A G Winder (Austin 7).
Second Class Awards: T J Tarring (1927 Frazer Nash); C R Marsh (1925 Bugatti); C R Pack (1929/39 Riley); T J Gosling (1930 Austin 7); M N Hindle (1936 Riley); M B Bullett (1930/31 Austin 7); R A Collings (1926 Bentley); A D Jones (1929 Austin 7); P J Livesey (1927 Austin 7).
Third Class Awards: R J Nice (1930 Austin 7); D B Roberts (1924 Alvis); S A Shoosmith (1934 Riley), D R Hescroff (1938 AC); M R Garfitt (1937 Frazer Nash BMW); D J Bond (1936 Riley); Mrs D Threlfall (1924 BSA): R T Edmonds (1923 Morgan); C J Maeers (1930 Morris); R N W Dainty (1927 Austin 7); T J Threllfall (1924 BSA).
Best Saloon Outside Awards List: P Stanton (1925 Austin 7 Saloon).
Best Light Car Outside Awards List: Miss A P Marsh (1928 Austin 7).
Best Touring Car Outside Awards List: A L Bennett (1928 Austin 7).