Interesting sports cars continue to come to light. At Ewell a rather derelict “14/40” Delage with very Continental 4-seater body stands forlornly in a back garden and could, we believe, be bought for a reasonable sum. Not far from it, outside a shed on the pavement, is a “Blue Label” Bentley 4-seater, but that is not for sale. Then Kenyon, now motoring in a Riley Nine, knows of an Anzani engined GN Frazer-Nash in need of completion, for £22 10s, and a sound 6-cylinder OM 4-seater, very nice to handle and well-braked, with lots of engine and chassis spares, was for sale at Staines for about £30. Taylor, who owns the 1924 Le Mans-winning Bentley, also has a Morris Eight tourer, and recently acquired a very clean, and slightly special, 1930 Riley Nine “Monaco” fabric saloon, intact even to an 8-day clock. Birkett has had the misfortune to be set upon by an Army lorry while motoring his Austin Seven-engiried tricycle, the result being a very lucky escape and some personal injury to himself and Joan Passini, who was with him, and the loss of the vehicle. However, he has salved the sports Austin engine and, meanwhile, does his professional motoring in a 1920 “Chummy” Austin Seven, when not using his Bugatti.
AW Jones has finished rebuilding a 1935 Lagonda “Rapier” 2-seater, and in doing so has incorporated certain special features, such as a jockey sprocket for the timing chain and two high-tensile fully-adjustable blocks to replace the spring-blade chain tensioner. He now plans to install a No 8 Cozette supercharger between the dumb-irons, driven from the nose of the crankshaft. His brother, by the way, seeks a “Brooklands” Riley Nine, if anyone has one for disposal. Rivers-Fletcher is enthusiastically preparing his “12/60” Alvis 2-seater, and he recently had an article in The Light Car on racing prospects after the war, in which he put out a strong plea for an early resumption of simple club rallies to enable re-unions of drivers and the airing of sports cars to take place.
LAC CB Taylor is anxious to obtain copies of Motor Cycling and The Motor Cycle containing reports of the 1935 Junior TT and practice for that race, as his copies were, unfortunately, recently destroyed. The 1924 Horstman brought Rowland of Byfleet, numerous letters and telegrams and it has gone to a good new home in Surrey. In London, two early 4-cylinder Unics, one a lorry, the other a smart van, still serve. Then, from Australia, via Sam Clutton comes news of a 12-hp Hurtu of the early nineteen-twenties, Owned by Edward Godfrey, of Hazlewood Park. It weighs 25 cwt and is alleged to have been timed to do 72 mph, but Godfrey keeps to 55 to humour its age. He is anxious to know if any similar cars exist elsewhere. His engine number is 7582. He also has a 1923 “14/40” Vauxhall 2-seater with aluminium body and disc wheels, which has only run 20,000 miles since new, and performs well.
Robertson Rodger has been seen flying a Harvard, and Kent Karslake, one of the finest motoring historians of all time, has turned up again. Capt John Eason-Gibson, RASC, went all through the African affair and is now in Italy— he managed some rapid laps of the Carthage circuit on borrowed cars, and had dinner one night with Norton Bracey. He has also met the brother of a man who won at Tunis with a Maserati one year, and someone else who claims to be a racing motor-cyclist, and he hopes yet to see Nuvolari. He has lost his BRDC buttonhole badge and asks if anyone has one to spare—we gather he sports a BRDC badge on his Army overalls ! Second Lt TA Jones, of the CMF, says he can always tell when his Motor Sport has arrived by “the faintest whiff of Castrol R in the air when I near my tent ! ” He met Barry Woodall, who owns the White Riley, in Palestine, and has in his battalion Cyril Petts, who drove a “328” BMW in JCC, and other events.
Peter Clark is about to become a sailor, starting off as a junior officer, and Thomas Wisdom is back from the East and looking very fit ; Mrs Wisdom and her small daughter are in the country and also very well. Lt Riley, a Canadian soldier now in this country, has acquired a very beautiful ex-Bachelier Type 40 Bugatti, with aluminium wheels and Type 55 style body, and in Weybridge lives a Type 44 Bugatti fabric saloon originally bought direct front Molsheim, and still in the same owner’s hands. Then Sharp has a 1926 Rex Acme Blacklturn motor-cycle which he is rebuilding, and Jenkinson works when time permits on his AC Six engined Frazer-Nash, and cleaned up the O’Boyle Alta recently just as a labour of love. Middy is contemplatiag a “30/98” GE Vauxhall, at present adorned with a breakdown crane, an early 20-hp Royce, and a Schneider, and may sell his Frazer-Nash and the big-port Alvis cars to provide storage space.
Flt Lt Anthony Crook has purchased the ex-EM Thomas Type 328 BMW, which lapped Brooklands at 109 mph just before the war. This car, and Crook’s 2.9-litre Alfa-Romeo, were exhibited at the owner’s RAF station during a recent “Salute the Soldier” week, and some 200 persons gave 6d a time to the fund to examine the two cars. Kenneth Wharton has bought the 1914 Sunbeam tourer found by Heal at Ascot. It started easily after changing the magneto and freeing two valves. Kenneth Wharton intends to fully restore this car, and he also plans a 3-litre twin-ohc Sunbeam engine in a shortened Talbot chassis as his postwar car. He seeks engine spares and a high-ratio Talbot axle.
A recent talk on American racing at the Grand Central Hotel, Belfast, by Edwin T Meyers, was very well received. A special Ford V8 was mentioned, able to run regularly at 8,000 rpm with standard rods and crank. This resulted in a great uprising, because McQuillan raced a V8 Ford-engined “Special” in Ireland, and said he had several such engines from which he was unable to remove the crankshafts, because the rods were adhering to them in the shape of an “S” ! It was also pointed out that 8,000 rpm equals a piston speed of well over 5,000 ft per min. But the American was apparently unmoved, and said the later-type V8 as sold in the States had very different rods. He said he had 140-145 mph from V8s at Muroc—once again, are American miles shorter than ours ? However, apparently he had taken world’s records with a Ford V8-engined hydroplane, and for this engine he claimed over 7,000 rpm, maintained for 50 miles on the water.
A paper on High Octane Fuels was read to members recently, and Air Comdr Rodwell Banks, Maurice Platt and Laurence Pomeroy were amongst those who took part in the discussion. The IAE and the I of Petroleum Technologists intend to get together after the war to ensure that engine design and fuel development are better co-ordinated than was the case in the past.
At the JCC Council lunch on June 6th the principal guest was PJ Noel-Baker, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport. The good which such meetings do to the motoring movement as a whole must be clearly evident, and we all owe the JCC a big deal of gratitude for continuing to hold such influential functions from time to time.
With the opening of the Second Front hopes turn to a resumption of motor (as distinct from dog and horse) racing in the not-too-far-distant future. This month’s cover picture shows cars taking the Fork hairpin during a Mountain race at Brooklands—MG, Alfa-Romeo, Austin Seven, Riley and Bugatti cars are recognisable. In the foreground is Kenneth Evans’s famous sprint MG Midget, developed by Wilkinson, of the Bellevue Garage, from a sports “Montlliery” model into a very successful racing car. It is a sign of the times that the driver is an Army captain, Bellevue Garage is an ARP station, and Wilkinson now applies his magic to aeroplane engines. We believe the MG is in the hands of a South London breaker, who proposes to convert, it into a trials car.
The next meeting is scheduled for July 5th, at the “Hope and Anchor,” Edmund Street, Birmingham.
The Editor would like to know the present whereabouts of the 1926 “12/50” Alvis which H Whiteside lent to him for road-test in 1939, if anyone can assist.