miscellany, January 1999

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A follow-up to our recent piece on “What Price a Royce?”; at an H&H Classic auction in November, a 1978 Silver Shadow was knocked down for £8200, a 1977 Shadow for .£5800.

The Preston and District Vintage CC looks after the interests of vintage car owners in the north of England, with a regular magazine, The Klaxon, and frequent and varied events.

Following a recent exhibition of photographs of Coventry’s motor factories by Gareth Lloyd-Evans, it transpires that virtually all the fabric of the former Calcott works in Gosforth Street is intact, and the offices behind the ornate frontage with the “Calcott 1896” logo retain the 1920s mosaic floors, engraved glass and fireplace. Singer bought the factory in 1926, after the death of William Calcott. Some of the brick walls, rivetted roof girders and latticed stanchions of the Daimler Radford works can still be seen, and a plan to demolish the Swift works was rescinded, so that a sign “Cycle works” has reappeared on a wall, reminder that the building was used in the time of Queen Victoria for bicycle making, then by Lawson for his Beeston motortricycles, and for chocolate making, before Swift Cars occupied it. But of the 1967 Alvis factory at Holyhead Road, nothing remains. Coventry City Council’s initiative in producing a map of such heritage car centres some years ago acts as a reminder.

No matter what the financial prospects are for the ownership change affecting Rolls-Royce, the RR-EC continues its notable increase in new members. At the last available bi-monthly count, the number was 163 to last October. The General Secretary is Peter Baines, The Hunt House, Paulerspury, Northants. Tel: 01327 811788.

The Government’s plan to withdraw leaded petrol from 2000 has caused consternation among older car users. The AA estimates that drivers of pre-1988 vehicles will be put to extra expense and may suffer damaged engines, saying a third of all UK cars will be affected. It calls for compensation for having to use lead-replacement petrol or buy additives. As it is, the AA reminds us that on a gallon of £3.25 leaded fuel 83.8% is tax, and that car owners contribute £30 billion in taxes every year, of which less than £6 billion is invested for their benefit.

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