Some more Memories prompted by the study of an enthusiast’s book of Press cuttings. The first instalment appeared last month
A picture of three works Austins reminds us that the later s.v. cars had “isolated” radiators, no inter-wheel fairings and stumpier tails than the record-breaking job driven by Leon Cushman. Here is the “Nurburg” Frazer-Nash with Powerplus supercharger – Reg. No. MV 2303 – which Aldington was to drive in the German G.P., and there pictures. of Carden and Baby Peugeot cycle-cars. An advertisement for a Parry-Thomas engined Aston-Martin is of interest, this probably being the car then owned by Lieut.Comdr. Hare, which suffered persistent misfiring, so that an s.v. Anzani engine was eventually substituted. There is a picture of Purdy’s “flatiron” Thomas Special, racing against a big-twin solo at Brooklands and Birkin is seen Alfa-Romeo-ing at Le Mans.
Here is the ill-fated single-seater Invicta with wheel fairings, Froy up. It is said still to exist near Coventry, while Froy is now with de Havillands. Froy is also seen with a neat Riley in which he won the 1,100 c.c. class in the German G.P. aided by a big streamlined headrest. Most intriguing is a racing D.K.W. driven by Weller, Which has two 2-stroke engines coupled together, a “RollsRoyce”-shaped radiator, big external exhaust pipe, and which is described as “selling for a modest figure.” The rare two-engine (side-by-side) 12-cylinder Alfa-Romeo that killed Arcangeli appears, and the clever streamlining of Lockhart’s famous 200-m.p.h. 3-litre Stutz, with its almost completely spatted wheels, is well depicted.
A rare King’s Cup aircraft is the Segrave “Meteor” with two Gipsy III motors. Eyston’s Riley record-holder, with curious exhaust system, and the original V 8 Harker-Special, arouse memories of forgotten cars. The Harker, Villiers-supercharged, is said to have gone from 44 to 88 m.p.h. in top gear in 14 secs.
A page is devoted to Lord Ridley’s 750-c.c. single-seater, with its twin o.h.c. engine tucked away in an amazingly low bonnet. There is a Bugatti touch about the cam-cases and covers and one wonders where is this “one-off” engine now? Ridley took the Class H flying kilo record at 105 m.p.h. Lones’s Morgan-J.A.P. is a line sight in chassis form, with specially-mounted shock absorber for the rear wheel. We see the wrecked straight-eight 450-h.p. Djelmo at Pendine after an unsuccessful attack on the British speed record – this car, we believe, had a specially designed engine as distinct from a discarded aeroplane or boat motor, and might have been a sort of forerunner to the Napier-Railton had anyone rebuilt it for Brooklands. It was built about 1923 and ran here around 1927. “Babs’s” grave at Pendine in 1928 is seen, which soulless golfers later destroyed. We are reminded that Lord Howe really did wrap the 1 1/2-litre Delage round a tree at Monza.
Those who “collect” 3-wheeler marques may care to add the Villard, a French 500 c.c. of coupé form, with its single front wheel driven by chain. Segrave is seen broadcasting experiences of his record run at Southport in the 4-litre Sunbeam “Ladybird,” and here are views of a very rare Maserati – the f.w.d. 3-litre single-seater, said to weigh approximately 14 cwt. and to develop over 200 b.h.p. Here is Eyston’s 1 1/2-litre 6-cylinder Riley, extremely well streamlined and with a twin exhaust system, which took many records, after George had done likewise in 1931, with a similar-bodied 1,100 c.c. Riley. And here is the Morris Minor supercharged single-seater which Von der Becke made do 100 m.p.h. – and later it did 100 m.p.g.! The then vogue for a radiator isolated from the bonnet is noted. M.G. folk will recall a blown J 3 with which Eyston took the 24-Hour record, and Allard’s first “special” – a four-wheeled Morgan converted to shaft drive – reminds us that both these cars were in South London many years later.
So the pages turn. Here is Birkin’s “In Memoriam” and notes by Dr. Jevons about his Type 37A Bugatti “The Snag,” which by 1933 was able to do 8,000 r.p.m. for short periods. Jevons taught Fielding a great deal until that young man, too, decided that flying was cheaper! There is a beautiful picture of Walter Delmar’s Type 43 Bugatti leading Widenmann’s Adler up the Galibier, to win a Glacier Cup with no loss of marks, and we see Cecil Burney working on veterans that were destined to become Richard Nash’s hobby and toil.
Interesting is a chassis view of a Sampson-Radio-Special for Indianapolis, with 16-cylinder Miller engine, and a spherical fuel-tank to save weight and space. Many Land Speed Record cars are there and a great many racing “shots,” together with numerous photographs of rather better-known racing and sports cars than those we have picked out. As the last page turns one feels how desirable it is to commence and to maintain a scrap-book of some sort.
Rather different, but no less interesting, is the family album of real (motoring) photographs loaned to the Editor by Statham. It opens with some excellent pictures of “30/98” Vauxhalls in their prime and straightaway renders one nostalgic for the “good old times.” What follows certainly does not disappoint. The pictures of Nazzaro’s 2-litre Fiat winning the 1922 French Grand Prix are beyond price, as are the photographic studies of Campani’s and Ascari’s 1924 G.P. Alfa-Romeos. We see a curious high “4-inch” racing Humber, road-equipped but with external “drainpipe,” standing before a Calcott, and there are several historic pictures of the fire at the Delhi Motor Exhibition. Then “22/90” Alfa-Romeos follow in profusion, notably at sprint events with many “30/98” Vauxhalls in car-parks as a background. There are one or two “unplaceable” makes, including what appears to be a racing Hampton, and shots of a Vulcan at Aston Clinton hill-climb and of a racing Beardmore with liberally-drilled chassis. Statham’s 1896 Daimler is seen in and out of “Brighton” runs, a special open Talbot and a Mors would have beaten us had they not borne captions, and we like very much the Lanchester of the Grandparents – a really early landaulette with seats either side of the engine. There is an Aurea sports 2-seater with big scuttle cowls and an aluminium bonnet, a “21/70” Alfa-Romeo, and, going back further, a stripped Austin with a pile of tyres on the tail and no rear mudguards, specially built for Jack Johnson, the boxer – doubtless the salvage drive of the 1914-18 war got this car which any Vintage S.C.C. veteran enthusiast would give much gold to possess.
Beside the heading “The Things People do to Austins!” we see a stripped “Twenty” – probably Scriven’s “Sergeant Murphy” – and Statham’s Special Seven. There is also the 1911 single-seater “Maple Leaf” Austin the curious streamlining of which used to get it a place in the technical handbooks of the pre-last-war era. “First offence” and “Second offence” refer to a very rakishly stripped bull-nose Morris and a lowered special Austin Seven sports, respectively – both were described in Motor Sport by Statham when he wrote up the Scuderia Statham. We also see another Austin Seven Special being pushed up Dancer’s End, a 1,100 c.c. Alta, an M.G. Magnette and odd racing shots. Have you started a scrap-book and photograph album?