Club News, July 1946

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We Hear

F. W. Hofman, who built and raced the Bowler-Hofman (Bentley) Special, is the latest person to form a tuning establishment, in partnership with Reg. Randle. He would be interested to hear from any readers who have photographs of his old racing car. If anyone can use a rather special, vintage Model 18 Norton bicycle, able to do 90-93 m.p.h., having been converted from standard 1927 to near T.T. Replica specification, V. E. Cresswell had one for sale at £75. J. Cruickshank, the model car exponent, is building a special Austin Seven and meanwhile runs a 1929 “Chummy” Austin Seven with 4-speed engine unit installed. C. Pritchard has a J2 M.G, Midget and seeks advice about installing a 3-bearing M.G. engine — he has speed trials in mind. C. H. Verninder has acquired a queer 3-litre Van den Plas Bentley (“Red Label”) which has suffered damage after hitting a lamp-post in Knightsbridge. Its log book shows it to have been first registered in 1933, so it is something of a mystery. Can anyone identify it? — CX 7658, engine number 426, chassis number 419. It appears to be about 1925 vintage, with the small sump. Verninder runs a shabby “Blue Label” 1928 saloon for everyday use. Derek Phillips has an unblown “Montlhèry” M.G. Midget he believes to have been driven by Letts in one of the “Double Twelve” races — can anyone confirm this, please? The registered number is KJ 2999, and Phillips hopes to supercharge it and use it for sprints and road events. J. J. Lynam has rebuilt a s.v. Aston-Martin which he purchased from Romero — Hepworth and Grandage overhauled the engine, which is number 1933. John Pringle, in Ireland, wants to dispose of a very fine 1926 Mulliner-bodied 2-seater 3-litre Bentley.

The present inflated prices continue to bring out advertisements for curious cars, the latest including Carden cyclecar, 1915 Swift, 1924 Humber Eight and 1924 Armstrong-Siddeley (£500). And a 1924 Anzani A.C., buried under six tons of glass bottles, has been located in the Midlands.

Charlie Martin, typically, sold his garages when war came, and now trades round the Channel Islands, France, Ireland and where have you, in a 300-ton, diesel-engined coaster. Geo. Herght has purchased No. 1 E.R.A. from Abecassis and has been dicing it round a Lincolnshire aerodrome by way of practice. Frank Chapman has had to part with his 3-litre Bentley for family reasons and is running a “Silver Eagle” Alvis. Douglas Loseby drives a very quick “16/4” Riley “Kestrel” these days. A Straker-Squire Six tourer still functions in south London, a “10/23” Talbot has been seen near Horley, and a “14/40” Vauxhall saloon in Redhill. W/Cdr. Scott Hepburn craves a G.P. Bugatti and was contemplating the ex-Cunliffe Type 37. Tom Severs has a C-type “Montlhèry” M.G. Midget for sale. S. J. Humphries has recently bought a single-cylinder Rover of about 1911 vintage. Hervé Coatalen, son of Louis Coatalen, was married in London after leaving the Navy and is now in charge of a factory near Lyons which makes “Corundite” for K.L.G.’s.

Two elderly A.C. Anzanis are in regular use in Hampshire, one doing 33-35 m.p.g. of petrol and over 2,000 m.p.g. of oil, and the other a car specially built up in 1932, from parts, for an enthusiastic old lady. The owner of the former car does 1,000 – 1,500 miles a month on business and the old car stands up splendidly. He wishes, however, fo find an early six-cylinder and it certainly would be nice to know where all the S.F. Edge-A.C.s have gone to.

Bainbridge, when he is not working on his boat at Plymouth, is to be found at Speed Services at Blackwater, one of the homes of the old-school Bentley. When we looked in recently, apart from the ex-Allison 4 1/2-litre, a 3-litre with 4 1/2-litre engine and other Bentleys, we also noticed a twin-cam Salmson and a sports Balilla Fiat. Then “The Phoenix” garage at Hartley-Wintney, which used to be the home of the “30/98,” the adjacent hotel being the haunt of the Vintage S.C.C., is being re-opened by that great enthusiast, Alan Southon. Giron hurt himself more seriously than was thought when he crashed the Maserati at Prescott, one lung having suffered — we wish him an early recovery.

It seems that the projected 1 1/2-litre race in Holland, due on August 24th, is off; the Dutch Government have directed labour away from the task of repairing the Circuit de Zeist.

George Taylor has a 1927 3-litre Speed Model Bentley (engine number AX 1672) in use in the Argentine and seeks advice about fitting a 4 1/2-litre engine — he can be contacted at 42, Meadowfield Drive, Huntingdon Road, York. This car was rebuilt for him by Forrest Greene, whose 3-litre came out on the same boat and, said to have a work’s racing engine, lapped the San Martin track at about 90 m.p.h. Greene also has a Le Mans 4 1/2-litre Bentley which has cruised at 90 for 150 miles, and owns a 1 1/2-litre Maserati which ran at Berne and Tripoli, later being owned by the Baron de Teffé of Brazil. Finally, Greene used a 3 1/2-litre Bentley and has an old Indianapolis Sunbeam, now raced with a 4 1/2-litre Bentley engine. Major Hartridge found a very perfect 1923 “40/50” Rolls-Royce with Gill cabriolet body in Delhi last year. Neville now has his 1903 Gladiator, with 2-cylinder Aster engine, on the road and has a 1928 A.B.C. motorcycle coming along well.

R. Truscott has practically got the ex-Fisher F.W.D. Tracta coupé on the road. Cameron Pick, of Chicago, who owns 179 motor vehicles, mostly veterans, and thousands of motoring books, all indexed, wants to join the V.C.C. and V.S.C.C. Amongst this stupendous collection are a 1923 Neracar, a 1924 Lancia “Lambda,” a 1929 blown racing F.W.D. Alvis, a 1914 “Lion” Peugeot, a Wisconsin 1921 racing car, a Tipo S.61 1911 racing Fiat, a 1911 racing Marmon, one of the 1913 3-litre G.P. Peugeots, an “Alpine” Rolls-Royce, etc., etc.

Cyril Peacock has nearly rebuilt his 1903 Aster-engined Argyle and seeks a close-ratio gearbox for his “12/50” Alvis. Heber-Percy writes praising Lancias, of which he has had three, especially the “Augusta,” but is now running a 1934 14.9 Ford B.F. coupé, for which he seeks a 24-h.p. engine, to Laystall-ise and install. A new Belgian paper, L’Automobile & Le Tourisme, beautifully produced, appeared last March — Mrs. Sylvia Lenaerts-Newton, 4, Kay House, 89, Glebe Place, S.W.3, can take subscriptions. Sir Clive Edwards, Bt., is contemplating ordering one of the post-war Frazer-Nash cars. Stuart Wilton has severed business associations with Basil Gask.

Geoffrey Frank is regularly using a 1982 beetle-back “12/60” Alvis, a 4-litre Bentley saloon, a Rolls-Royce “Phantom II” coupé, and a 1912 20-h.p. sleeve-valve Daimler limousine. He is also reconditioning the ex-Gandhi Leon-Bollee landaulette and a 1911 Rolls-Royce “Silver Ghost” and, having bags of storage space (lucky man), seeks further old or unique cars.

Cover Picture
This time an excellent shot of Dowson leaving the line at Elstree, watching his rear wheels in an effort to reduce spin. The Dowson-Lightweight-Special is a beautifully-constructed, very light single-seater, with rubber suspension and an ex-works, s.v. Austin-Seven engine. At Elstree it won the 750-c.c. racing class, in 16.4 sec., and at Prescott on May 19th last, repeated this performance, climbing in 56.1 sec. The photograph, which reaches an extremely high standard, was taken by a reader, H. J. Jansen, of Hendon.

Veteran C.C.
The Veteran Car Club, catering for all cars built up to the end of the year A.D. 1915, has now announced its fixtures for 1946. On July 27th, the London Jubilee Cavalcade, organised by the S.M.M.T., takes place, with a Cardiff Cavalcade on August 31st, one in Belfast on September 7th, and at Coventry-Birmingham on September 21st. This is followed by an Edinburgh Cavalcade on October 5th, and one in Manchester on October 21st. Then, on November 17th, there is the long-awaited revival of the always enjoyable London-Brighton run. Hon. secretary: Capt. J. J. Cullimore Allen, Wooten, Iffley, Oxford.

A B. & M. Aston Club?

F. E. Ellis, the Bamford and Martin Aston enthusiast, is contemplating a club for the owners of this rare vintage car. Will owners please contact him at 279, Broadstone Road, Heaton Chapel, Stockport, quoting numbers and details of their cars? Ellis runs a twin o.h.c. Aston Martin and knows of some 28 B. & M. Astons that are still with us.

V.S.C.C. Of A.
The Vintage Sports Car Club of Australia continues to elect new members, and its journal for March contained much of interest, including an article on the A.C. Six, ably illustrated by Shepherd. The points score was quoted as: Dent 12, MacKinnon 10, Crouch 10, Gerard and Lyell 7 each. This club has exactly the right ideas — like our own V.S.C.C. Hon. secretary: R. Beal Pritchett, 1, Phillip Street. Neutral Bay, N.S.W.

N.L.E.C.C.
A packed meeting listened at the May meeting to S. C. H. Davis’s reminiscences of Le Mans. Kay Petre, Ian Connell, and four Mobile Police were present. The last-named, we hasten to add, inside the hall! Hon. secretary: G. Bance, 7; Queen Avenue, N.10.

Vintage M.C.C.
The first Bulletin of the Vintage Motorcycle Club has appeared and obviously this is going to be a very go-ahead and successful organisation. The club caters for motorcycles built before 1931, particularly such vintage types that exist as practical transport. A mutual aid service is already in being. Details from C. E. Allen, 43, King’s Avenue, Loughborough.

The Jubilee Pagent
The London Cavalcade of Motoring, organised by the S.M.M.T. with the help of the V.C.C. and V.S.C.C., will happen on July 27th. The start and finish will be in Regent’s Park and every enthusiast who can do so should endeavour to see this ambitious procession.

Chain Gan
Although The Frazer-Nash and B.M.W. Car Club has been dormant since the early days of the war, the “Chain Gangsters” still meet occasionally. After Shelsley Walsh some of them had dinner together at the “Mitre Oak,” near Hartlebury — and an excellent dinner it was. Amongst those present were the Bickeston brothers, Dr. John, B. R. Martin, Melville-Smith, A. S. Heal, George James, Gordon England, D. S. Jenkinson, Gordon Woods, Paul Wakefield, W. Boddy, etc. Outside three Meadows and four Blackburn Frazer-Nashes awaited their owners, and Buck was taking hardened enthusiasts for these cars out in his Type 35 G.P. Bugatti to show them they are not alone in possessing intriguing motor-cars.

General Notes
Variety is the Spice of Life. One Sunday we went in state in a Lanchester 21 tourer to see a stable of veterans in the country – Daimler, Wolseley, and many Lanchesters, each in its appropriate bay in the coach-house, each immaculate, and the owner well fitted to complete the background by dispensing veteran lore exactly suited to the occasion. We even rode for a short distance in a 1913 38-h.p. Lanchester tourer, in complete silence, the ride extremely comfortable, if a thought “ship-like,” and the speed quite 60 m.p.h., we should say, really imposing. Have the larger cars improved all that much the last thirty-five years? Next, an Anzani-Nash took us down to the Southampton speed trial, a day of sunshine and fresh air, and a fine run home at no mean speed, the little car alive and very reasonably quick and handling exactly as a Frazer-Nash should.

Prescott involved an early start, under the cramped hood of a Meadows Frazer-Nash and, although we didn’t hurry unduly over the wet roads, it was almost impossible not to average 40-45 m.p.h. Afterwards, it was grand to linger in the Paddock chatting with old friends, and then to motor really fast along the Cotswold roads, the rev-counter needle ridiculously low on the dial for a cruising speed of 60 m.p.h. and showing a still very moderate reading when we held 75 or more along the Oxford By-Pass. In a ‘Nash you certainly cruise with ease at sixty. Sturt Farm, as in days before the war, gave us a pleasant and necessary evening meal. But war has left its mark, and bacon and eggs were no longer served to noisy crowds of enthusiasts. However, it was nice to find the place still open and another “Prescott-couple” also eating there.

Between times, cross-country exploration in a particularly-handy Austin-Seven Special, one jaunt embracing some ten miles of unmade tracks ere we emerged on hard roads again not far from Winchester, have enlivened the everyday routine. There were, too, fast runs in a Type 38 Bugatti, the engine smoothing out well once the revs rose, all with a very “straight-eight” feel and the gear howl and general “one-pieceness” being all so typically a la Molsheim. And then came a brief, very rapid night run in a 5-litre Bugatti, enlivened by a tyre burst at speed, and bringing back other memories of other really fast cars; cars, encountered seldom, that are right out of the common rut. The dash along a straight portion of road, the columns of pines illuminated by the powerful headlamps, the speed probably above 90 but suggested by wind pressure on one’s face rather than by exhaust roar or any sense of effort beneath the bonnet, was so very satisfactory, although the driver told us afterwards the car took a good deal of effort to handle, the tyre pressures not being corrected as they have been since.

Shelsley meant an early start, again as passenger in a “T.T. Replica” Frazer-Nash, which got along easily enough, the exhaust note crisp as engine-speed was taken up towards 4,000 r.p.m. occasionally in third, but the rev-counter normally reading between “two-eight” and “three-two” in top, when we travelled in comparative silence, albeit so rapidly that 47 m.p.h. was averaged from Fleet, in Hampshire, right to Shelsley, two stops included. Moreover, fuel consumption was rather better than 28 m.p.g. The route, via Wokingharn, Henley, Oxford, Chipping Norton, Broadway, Pershore and Worcester, is a very pleasing one, and was enlivened by spotting Charles Brackenbury’s V12 Lagonda chassis outside a hostelry in Dorchester, and catching up with Robin Jackson’s Fiat 500 in Oxford. After the meeting we drove a late-type F.W.D. Citroen saloon for a short distance and at once lost all desire for a British utility car. The acceleration was excellent in middle speed and the controls a lot lighter than on one of the first of these cars which we tried before the war. A very necessary meal in enthusiastic company followed. We somehow found a petrol pump in action in a country village after midnight and, the Frazer-Nash refuelled, came home in the longest spell of torrential rain ever encountered, so that it was 4 a.m. when we got home and the birds were singing in the pale light of dawn as we walked across the lawn.