Motoring Sportsmen by the Editor: Count Zborowski
Every motoring sportsman is familiar with the name of Count Zborowski. To those who know him personally, the Count positively radiates motoring enthusiasm, and certainly in recent times there has been no more magnetic personality at Brooklands. If motor racing can be born in anyone, Count Zborowski assuredly has a full pedigree.
His father was one of the most active amateur competition drivers in the first days of the sport, and by many old timers is recognised as done to foster it in its difficult infant days. Besides being a pioneer motoring enthusiast, the late Count was a consistent rider to hounds, being one of the most prominent followers of the chase in the hard riding Irish and Leicestershire districts. He unfortunately met Ins death whilst driving a Mercedes car in the La Turhie hill climb of 1903.
The subject of our notice has a very versatile personality. He is, for instance, as accomplished as a mechanic as he is as a driver, One has only to see him busy in his private workshops, to realise that he is as much at home with a lathe or an oxv-acetvlene welding set as behind the wheel of a racing car.
At his residence at Canterbury, the Count has one of the finest private workshops in the country, its equipment being capable of dealing with practically any automobile engineering Process, with the exception of casting. Prominent amongst the remarkably complete array of mechanical devices, one finds an exceptionally good installation of brake horse-power testing apparatus, with the aid of which the Count has been able to tune up many different types of engines to a remarkable degree of efficiency.
As a race driver, Count Zborowski first came into prominence in this country as the owner of ” Chitty-Bang-Bang,” the famous 300 h.p. Maybach engined car, which made such a sensational advent at Brooklands in 1920.
” Chitty the First,” was, one may say, more than a meteoric speed monster, for she set a fashion in supersize racing cars which has since been largely followed at Brookla.nds and elsewhere. She came to a sensational end whilst the Count was practising for the Brooklands Autumn Meeting of 1922. Since that date, she has been in a condition of gradual reincarnation, her second advent being only limited by the amount of time the Count is able to devote to her reconstruction.
A Specialist in Extremes.
An outstanding feature of Count Zborowski’s motoring preferences, is the way in which he specialises in either extremely large or extremely small cars,. and usually one finds him racing a monster of some 20 litres, or a comparative midget of about 2 litres. At the present date there are seventeen cars in his garage at Canterbury.
These include vehicles ranging from the ” Higham Special” which, with its 400 h.p. Liberty aero engine, is at the moment the most powerful car in the world, to the remarkable Mercedes lorry on which the Count transports his smaller racing cars to meetings about the Continent at a speed of 40 miles an hour.
Another remarkable car is “Chitty-Bang-Bang II.” After one appearance at Brooklands in the racing category, this car was fitted with a touring body and afterwards extensively used for touring abroad. One of her adventures as a mere tourist, was the shadowing of the Citroen-Kegresse Sahara expedition, when Count Zborowski drove her, just for fun, far into the desert, where roads are not.
Having sold “Chitty-Bang-Bang II,” the Count now disports himself when taking a leisurely tour upon “Chitty-Bang-Bang III,” a modern Mercedes chassis with shaft drive and a mere mite of an 16o. h.p. aero engine. This car is equipped in an extraordinary luxurious manner. Amongst its mechanical features are Westinghouse pneumatic brakes and a searchlight which will throw a L000 metre beam.
The Count’s car racing is not confined to Brooklands Track. It is doubtful, in fact, if there is another amateur driver who pursues his hobby over such a wide field. In America, Spain, Italy and France he is almost as well known as at Weybridge.
His driving in last year’s Indianapolis race, when his Bugatti met with ill-luck, will be remembered, and one may also recall his outstanding performances on the 1.5 litre Aston-Martin in the Grand Prix de Penya Rhin. In the latter event the Count secured. second place in two successive years, an accomplishment (or was it a lack of luck ?) which won him, amongst Spanish sportsmen, the sobriquet of “The Eternal Second.”
After his last visit to Indianapolis, the Count brought home with him the big Miller car, a vehicle typical of advanced American practice, of which much is hoped.
An Embracing Versatility.
Count Zborowski’s versatility extends beyond a nice taste in cars. He is, for instance, a motor boating enthusiast. It was not to be anticipated that he would be content with an engine of a mere 40 h.p. in his open river launch, and in justification of this view, one now finds an 160 h.p. Mercedes aero power unit to lift the craft along. The Count has, we understand, had one or two quite respectable thrills in navigating this ” converted ” river boat in choppy seas.
Perhaps one more of the Count’s hobbies may be mentioned. This is his interest in model locomotives. Although he is by no means above giving attention to the delightful little engines that one may run on one’s dining-room table, one naturally expects to find his passion for extremes inclining him also to something big in this connection. Witnessing to this one may mention the remarkable model of a Pacific type locomotive which is now being built to his order. If one visits the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, and there inspects in the Palace of Engineering the prototype “Flying Scotsman,” one may gain some idea of what a model of this engine one-third full size will be like.
The Count’s locomotive will, in fact, be 25 feet in length, will weigh 9 tons, and will be capable of a speed of 50 miles an hour. Its proportions will be such that the driver, sitting in the tender, will have his head well beneath the shelter of the cab roof, and will thus be able to drive with a comfort not yet attained in a model locomotive. To enable him to derive practical use from this locomotive, the Count is having a special track laid on his estate at ” Highams,” Canterbury.
Count Zborowski is, of course; also a wireless enthusiast. He has a wonderfully complete receiving set at ” Highams,” and can listen-in to anywhere. There is not much, in fact, that Count Zborowski misses in this world. O. E. S.