WB Rumblings, January 2005

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As an example of hard work, in 1921 The Autocar investigated 119 current cars and noted that they had, in total, 33 different movements of their ball or gate gear levers.

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In July 2005 there is to be another remembrance of the Belgian Circuit des Ardennes race of a century ago, with a run for pre-1918 cars over the course, and many supporting events. Details from Circuit des Ardennes BP18. B1050. Brussels 5. The VCC has details in its current Gazette. Prepare, too, for the VCC Centenary of the first car TT race in the Isle of Man, from September 7-12. The VCC HQ is open from 9.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday, at Jessamine Court, 15 High Street, Ashwell, Herts SG7 5NL.

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A reader when on holiday in Italy visited the Nuvolari Museum (Museo Tazio Nuvolari, Piazza Broletto 9, 46100 Mantova, Italy) and he recommends a visit to this and surrounding places associated with this great driver. The museum exhibits all manner of Tazio material apart from trophies and pictures, including his office desk and the fuel tank from the Auto Union he drove to win the 1938 Donington GP There is also an attractive brochure listing all his races on motorcycles and in cars, with short descriptions of the makes he used: it is published in Italian but with many nostalgic illustrations.

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The latest in Shire Publications’ range of their excellent, informative and inexpensive Albums is Early Vehicle Lighting by Peter W Card (ISBN 7478 0585 7 £4.99). The motoring section lists 15 one-make titles and some about Veteran to Classic cars (but no mention of Vintage cars or the VSCC), with associated clubs, places to visit and the miscellaneous aspects of motoring very fully covered.

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It is not only to commemorate drivers killed in racing that memorials are erected: it is satisfactory that races and racecourses are also thus treated. The 1957 Brooklands Memorial is being moved by the Brooklands Museum to a more appropriate place after removal from the original site. It was also good to know that last year his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle of Man sanctioned a plaque to be set up by the start line of the loM races to mark the centenary of motorsport on the island, on two wheels and four.

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The recent trend for more clubs to provide an insight into their history is welcome, the latest being Sheffield & Hallamshire MC, which had 180 guests at its Centenary dinner. Its story is told by Simon Cork in the 182-page Peak Revs -100 Years of Motorsport in Sheffield. It includes racing at the Gamston circuit, and members’ activities on bikes and with cars in events such as the RAC Rally, important trials and karting. Stephen Bisby, whose great-grandfather attended the Club’s first meeting and whose grandfather, father and uncle were members, and who still competes, was present at the dinner. Simon Cork’s address is Hall Cottage, Baulk Lane, Hathersage S32 1AF.

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Oh dear, F1 has something of an uncertain future. Other types of racing do not quite compare, although I concede that saloon car contests are entertaining to watch, with the deliberate shunts and scrapes among the contestants and the many offs. But one day this could result in a fatality. Apart from which entrants race for sponsorship and ‘make’ results. How much longer can this wild dicing be allowed, even if the owners are prepared to pay for frequent damage to their cars? Concede, too, that top-class racing motorcycles are as fast as racing cars and the racing closer and more exciting.

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Last month the omission of the word ‘his’ from my piece about Woolf Barnato’s racing altered its sense. He drove Locomobile, Calthorpe, Austro-Daimler, Wolseley Moth, Talbot, Crouch and Enfield-Alldays at Brooklands before his Bentley in 1925. The picture of Froy in the Bentley was taken in 1928, when a 3-litre had been replaced by a 4-1/2-litre. It was not until 1934-5 that the 6-1/2 -litre was installed, when Richard Marker and Margaret Allan, whom he married, ran the car as ‘Old Mother Gun’, gaining, respectively, 120 and 130mph badges.

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The Ulster VCC is raising money to enable it to erect a permanent memorial to the 1928-36 TT races. With the support of the local council, it will be sited in Newtonards Town Square, through which the cars raced, and will carry the names of all the drivers and cars which took part. Details and contributions to Alan Clarke. 11 Ballynahinch Road. Saintfield, County Down, N Ireland, BT24 7AE.

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We refer opposite to the Baddeley Trophy awarded for the fastest run in an MCC Brooklands High Speed Trial. Mr Baddeley also gave awards for best performances in the Exeter, Edinburgh and Lands End trials which the MCC, Britain’s oldest motor club, founded in 1901, holds annually. For 2004 Triple Awards for best in all three trials went to D Bolt (Ford Escort), D Sterry (MG J2). D Hazelden (VW Golf) and B Bennett (MG J2). Best in the London-Edinburgh Centenary Run was G Preston (Fiat 127).

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Rolls Royce folk, attention! The R-R Heritage Trust has published its Hall of Fame, comprising extremely well-executed page-size portraits of Rolls-Royce celebrities: Royce, Rolls, Alliston, Butler, Claremont, Dorey, Elliot, Ellor, Fedden, Griffith, Halford, Harvey-Bailey, Haworth, Hives, Hooker, Huddle, Johnson, Lappin, Lombard, Lovesey, S Miller, W Miller, Olley, Owner, Pearson, Platford, Rowledge, Rubbra, Sheppard, Siddeley, Sidgreaves, Viale, Whittle and Wormald, with good biogs of each. It really is well done, yet costs only £10 for non-trust members, from PO Box 31, Derby, DF24 8BJ (01332 24 9 118).

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The Triumph OC is mourning the loss of its long-serving Registrar and Historian Ian Harper, and has a picture of one of his cars. a Triumph Super Seven, on the front cover of its magazine. Incidentally, was AL Quinn. who looked after Victor Horsman’s racing Triumph bikes and cars, any relation of Quinn the jockey?

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Information is wanted about Halse Specials, said to have been made in Lewes, Sussex, one owned by Ian Metcalfe in 1974. The 13th is owned by the enquirer, who says these cars used shortened, lowered R-type Bentley chassis and high-compression 4-1/2-litre Bentley engines. It is news to me. Can anyone enlighten us?

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Only a day after writing the 4×4 Sierra piece (left). I flashed the headlamps and the engine stopped. Without a wiring diagram I cannot see why the lamps circuit should affect the ignition. The AA rescue service arrived quickly, with reassuring mobile-phone calls to say its vehicle had started out and then when it would arrive. The Ford went to the nearest Ford dealer for inspection and a £190 service. I use it daily.

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