Amilcar, A.C., Ansaldo, Senechal, VernonDerby, Marlborough, Salmson, Invicta, Bugatti, Hispano and other owners who would like to join ? Quite recently we saw 0.M., Diatto, Palladium and several Bentley cars without the badge. The entry fee is 5/-, the annual subscription 12/0 and the car badge costs 9/-. Another of the excellent Bulletins is due this month and the Club participated in a
Donington meeting on July 10th, C. Clutton has given up the office of Press Secretary on account of pressure of business, R. Watkins-Pitchford taking over, but he is busy with a new speedtrial formula for the pre-1915 class, in which he continues to take a great interest.
Hon. Secretary : T. W. Carson, “The Phenix,” Hartley Wintney, Hants.
365 cars usually excite interest, in spite of the fact that we recounted last February how a Talbot-Darracq of that vintage got to Scotland and back reasonably uneventfully, while a similar story of a L3 Singer appeared last month in one of
the motoring weeklies. Nothing very eventful occurred when we went down to Tonbridge recently at the request of a friend to bring his 1926 Morris-Oxford up to London. After boxes of tools and obscure G.N. bits had been removed from the tonneau the old car started up most obligingly and came up to London quite rapidly, for it was adequately braked. The discovery that no licencedisc graced the holder resulted in a minor panic, but that very necessary piece of paper duly arrived by post, so that was all right, but to be quite accurate it must be recorded that a few days experimentation with this particular fiver’s worth ended in a strong smell of hot rubber, indicating a serious fuse in the lighting system, so that the passenger journeyed home by the last train and the writer by the last train. Our respect for synchro-mesh, incidentally, has increased since hearing the Morris owner’s sister managed to engage two ratios at once while undergoing driving-lessons, with very dire results.
One of the very latest Ford V8s was thereafter a distinct relief, though having got thoroughly used to stamping hard on the soft pedal, we frequently disconcerted our passenger, for these brakes were the new semi-servo kind with their linings not bedded down. This year the run up to Shelsley was more or less uneventful, for, although we started from the same place as last September, the Brescia Bugatti which then caused all the fun is now undergoing drastic reconstruction and consequently had to remain behind in its
garage, so that our A.C. Ace was accompanied only by a solo Norton motor
cycle, that proved quite as stable and well braked as ourselves, and practically our equal in speed, for it held a very impressive 80 m.p.h. for mile after mile when its rider really lay down to it. The day’s big mileage was easily disposed of, very pleasantly indeed, the only notable incidents occurring on the run home, firstly when, mistaking the intended direction of the car ahead (let it be whispered, an M.G. Midget containing two charming young ladies) we mistook also the policeman’s signal, which made a return undesirable, so that the A.C. was driven down a footpath bordering a canal, to the astonishment of the locals, until it became painfully evident that there was no way of escape. The other incident happened near lighting-up time, when an astonishing noise astern made us turn to see if the Norton had blown all its gaskets. Explanation was forthcoming in the presence of one of the ex-Musketeer M.G. Magnettes, with a stub-exhaust system protruding beside its bonnet, being driven most dashingly sans lamps and, it appeared, very few brakes. Rapid as the A.C. is, it is no match for that sort of thing, so the M.G. was waved on, though we were not very far behind when that gentleman waved to us to join him at the next hostelry. He had driven the M.G. at Shelsley and a brief account of his adventures suggested to us that it is not only vintage owners who have all the fun and games. Lewes was again visited with a friend in his M.G. Magnette, a Jewish driver of a Ford Eight saloon tucking in behind us for miles on the run down and holding 65 m.p.h., so that speculation ran high as to how many years he had taken off the life of his car. The next day the Invicta Car Club Gymkhana was on the agenda, but the weather was at its very worst, so that we had the doubtful pleasure of sitting in a field in a thunderstorm in a Morris Eight saloon on the roof of which was a a giant loud-speaker demanding whether it was” true what they say about Dixie.” It was so dismal that the writer wore an oversize pair of goloshes on the wrong feet without noticing it and even the presence of the speaker, a microphone, an alarum-clock and a big “stop ” notice did not entice us into playing naughty games on the King’s highway. But then the police helmets were missing ‘ The following Tuesday there was a most exhilarating run to the Track with Donald Monro in his 4i-litre Invicta, immensely satisfying because here was a ” real car,” with beautifully positioned right-hand gear-lever working a plain box in an open gate, handbrake and all minor controls really firm, the clutch action devoid of sponginess and radiator, lamps and scuttle riding really solidly no matter what the speed. The Invicta has interesting characteristics, notably an impression of compactness despite its considerable length and width, unexpectedly light steering, rather lowgeared with quick castor action, and. although Monro has eliminated frame whip, a quite exciting feeling of ” life ” when flat out on Brooklands, in spite of which road and track undulations are astonishingly well absorbed. The six cylinder, push-rod engine would potter along on top gear without a trace of pink ing and it made so little fuss in walking up to 4,000 r.p.m. on the indirects that the watch-readings came as a pleasant surprise. The instrument panel, mounted apart from the scuttle, was most inspiring, with its dual switches for coil and magneto ignition, auxiliary fuel supply taps, the neat ” hairspring ” pattern speedometer and rev, counter, the former dead accurate at 30 and 60 m.p.h., and its very complete array of dials and switches. The finish of its fittings and the whole conception of things in and about the ” cockpit ” of the Invicta made one shudder at mere thought of mass-production stuff. There is all too little space in which to write of this individualistic motor-car, but the following performance figures, the outcome of an amusing afternoon at Brooklands, may interest those readers who are unfamiliar with the 41-litre Invicta. Monro’s example is practically standard, though the flywheel has been lightened. It weighs 32f cwt. unladen and is the N.L.C.-type chassis. Flying lap : 83.7 m.p.h. ; maxima on gears : second, 48 m.p.h. (4,000 r.p.m.) ; third : 70 m.p.h. (4,000 r.p.m.) ; top : 90 m.p.h. (3,800 r.p.m.). Standing quarter-mile in 20.2 sees., standing half-mile in 32.4 secs. to 50 m.p.h. in 11.4 secs., to 60 m.p.h. in 15 secs., 10 to 30 m.p.h. in 7.4 secs. on top, 5 secs. on third, and 4.2 secs. on second. These figures were taken two up with the screen lowered, and with only the driver aboard the Test Hill ascent took 10.8 sees. The Invicta, inciden tally, performs very consistently. On
top gear without freak driving it runs down to 250 r.p.m. (5 m.p.h.) and the fuel consumption was approximately 12 m.p.g. Normal oil-pressure is 20 lb. per square inch and water temperature 70°, lising to boiling point on Brooklands. A point open to criticism is the excessive brake-pedal judder, though the brakes are good. Amongst the manner instruments was included a voltmeter. Monro’s wife’s type A 4f-litre coachbuilt saloon weighs. 35f cwt. and I am assured, does a flying lap at 73.1 m.p.h., the flying halfmile at 76.92 m.p.h., the standing quartermile in 21 sees., to 50 m.p.h. in 12.2 secs., and to 60 m.p.h. in 18 secs. Then, the following Saturday, an unexpected trip to Donington for the FrazerNash C.C. meeting arising, a humble Hillman Minx had to be hastily hired— an amusing carriage with surely the softest suspension ever and quite remarkable play in its steering, yet quite stable on corners and willing to hold 65 to 70 m.p.h. on its quite outsize speedometer indefinitely, in spite of an oil-gauge that very depressingly refused to register more
than a pound or two. At all events, we averaged 40 m.p.h. and 27 m.p.g. and that Hillman obligingly waited until the very last coiner into the Donington competitors’ enclosure before casting away its off-side front hub-cap. It had some not un.amusing features, notably a dynamocharging lamp that shone as brightly as any dash-light, until we pulled the bulb out, and a speeedometer that had a liking for the 40 m.p.h. mark so that once we felt quite worried at the lack of control and were puzzled at the apathy of the Ford V8 astern, until the speedometer needle unstuck and swept majestically round to nearly seventy. But that automobile’s spare seats were filled on the return journey with the crew and
luggage from a 30/98 Vauxhall that had made expensive noises instead of racing and we all got home comfortably enough, though not before the Hillman had played one final joke, by adding the noise of a ” gong ” to the seemingly complete quota of sounds that had accompanied us all day, the speedometer then indicating 31 m.p.h. just to add to the fun.