Letters from Readers, July 1939




Sir, I am a constant reader of MoTOR SPORT in Australia and I was puzzled when I read your article on ” A Racing Car in Retirement ” in your February issue. The late Major Harvey’s 200 Mile Race winning Alvis was brought to Sydney in 3925 by the late Phil Garlick after a blower had been fitted by the factory in England. He was killed in this car at Maroubra Speedway after innumerable successes with the car there. Maroubra Speedway (a high concrete saucer) was closed through financial and safety reasons shortly after. The car was left in its smashed condition for many years.. and in 1932 a Newcastle engineer named Mr. Honeyman bought the Alvis from Garlick’s relations and partly reconditioned it. It was then purchased by an Alvis enthusiast named Braitling. Later it passed into the hands of an experienced racing driver Hope Bartlett (who

owns a very fast ” Q ” type M.G., the original factory car) and then to Mr. A. Turner who fitted Willys 77 transmission, wheels and four wheel brakes and restored some of its lost performance. Later Mr. Bruce Clarke bought this car and ‘spent approximately 1:1,500 on improvements. A new two-seater body was fitted and a Stewart Truck clutch fitted. New connecting rods were made and the supercharger reconditioned by Mr. W. Conoulty of Austin fame. The motor after some trials was made quite reliable. It was driven by Mr. W. Bullen for eighteen months with considerable success in various N.S.W. Light Car Club hillclimbs and speed events and on Penrith SpeedWay (a mile dirt track) for Mr. Clarke. I then bought the car myself and in a Light Car Club Flying quartermile managed 115.4 m.p.h. Not too bad for a fifteen year old car. Then in a Five Mile Championship at Penrith Speedway In which I won the heat a connecting rod snapped which, I am sorry to say, wrecked the block, crankcase and sump beyond repair’. I then traded the car on a 2.3 Le Mans four-Seater Alfa-Romeo exLouis Chiron to an Australian who has fitted a fast Terraplane motor to the Alvis chassis and it was entered in our recent 150 mile Bathurst Grand Prix although it did not start. Its last public appearance was at Penrith Speedway driven again by Mr. W. Bullen and it finished third in the Five Mile Championship. At Midget Car meetings where I race an English Skirrow, parts of the old .Alvis engine are raced every week in

an Alvis motored midget car. The remaining parts of the motor are being built into a 1927 model 12’50 Alvis which is to be used for competitions by Mr. Richards of Sydney. I am, Yours etc., JOHN F. CROUCH, Wollstonecraft,