Club News, July 1950
R. Wakeling has a 1906 “20/30” Renault with vast closed body. apparently in very fine order, even to the tapestry upholstery. According to the Nottingham Evening Post of May 17th, Donington wiIl not be de-requisitioned until 1952. T. R. Hendee, who recently took delivery of the ex-Barnato Le Mans Speed Six Bentley, was delighted with the efficient manner in which Evan Cook’s Packers, Ltd., crated it for its journey to America. J. R. F. Panton has acquired the ex-Whitney Straight Duesenberg and has carried out some “mods.” Lead-bronze big-ends and planed cast-iron heads now figure in the V8 Mercury engine installed by a previous owner and gaps in the h.t. leads to the Champion L.10 plugs have cured misfiring. A fore-and-aft gear-lever for the pre-selector box replaces the former finger-tip control and 6.00-19 front and 6.50-19 rear tyres replace the 7.00-19s. We look forward to seeing this imposing-looking car motoring really well, this year. Unless all the Amilcars there are keep on changing hands there exists an astonishing number–A. W. East has recently acquired a 1927 “Surbaisse.” Capt. Richard Zimbler seeks data and spares about a 1929 Salmson he has acquired. Its Reg. No. is MT 3477 and it is now a two-seater, but, is said to have once had a four-seater body, and rumour claims it as the car Casse drove in the 1929 “Double Twelve.” A Griffon carburetter is fitted, which is a new one on us! M. Meo progresses with his Salmson and has found a three-bearing, twin-plug “San Sebastian” engine. How’s the Salmson Register progressing, Radburn? Rumours from Cornwall speak of an air-cooled Rover twin, a two-cylinder Star and a Deemster waiting to be discovered. We have a confession to make—until the other day we had never read the Christian Science Monitor. But we now know it has W. Clifford Harvey as its Automobile Editor and in the issue of November 19th last year it had an illustrated article called “From Chug to Zip” about pioneer American cars! The B.R.M. has been getting much useful publicity, in Picture Post, the Sunday Express, etc. Meanwhile, roll on August 26th!
Lt. R. E. Dubber, R.N., has a 1927 Austin Twelve/Four saloon in splendid condition and K. H. Parker is overhauling the engine of a 1931 Swift Ten saloon and seeks servicing data.
Yet another 1922 touring G.N. has come to light, this one in Sussex. Its 70-year-old owner threatens to use it this summer, but if he doesn’t a younger enthusiast is all set to do so. What about another G.N. Reunion, Godfrey, with these G.N.s present? Or the B.A.R.C. might give us lots of fun by reverting for a day to Cyclecar Club status and having a rally of early small cars, say at the Hut Hotel, Wisley. Good idea, John Morgan?
Gerald Rose broadcast on the Gordon Bennett races on the B.B.C. Home Service on May 25th. Earlier that month the Nottingham Evening Post had an illustrated feature relating to a 1912 model-T Ford saloon which Lt. Atkinson proposes to use for a Swiss tour this summer. Princess Bhanubandh Birabongse has been granted a decree nisi in the Divorce Court against her husband, Prince Bbanutej Birabongse, otherwise “B. Bira.” At Easter A. S. Buller toured South Wales without trouble in a 1926 “14/40” Vauxhall two-seater. Amongst those who read the articles on the Hispano-Suiza, published in our May and June issues, with particular interest was Mr. Rossiter, who was English concessionaire for this make before and immediately after the Kaiser War.
The G.N. cult continues—and J. S. Preston enquires about the possibility of running one of these cars, perhaps with a J.A.P. engine, when he returns to this country from Rangoon this summer. Over in South Africa F. R. Fowler Brown has acquired the ex-Gerald Sumner Type 8A Corsica two-seater Isotta-Fraschini and hopes to rebuild it; he craves a handbook.
Comdr. D. J. L. Foster, R.N., was interested in the picture or the Targa Florio Mercedes we published last March, as he owns one of these cars. The original 2-litre engine was not available. So he substituted a blown single o.h.c. 1 1/2-litre Mercedes power unit; both engine and chassis are of about 1924 vintage. The body is a replica of that used in the Targa Florio. The car weighs about 16 1/2 cwt. and performs and handles although it, is rather undergeared, having a 3.91 to 1 axle ratio and 5.00-20 tyres. There is a rumour of a late-model O.M. rotting in a boat-yard at Hamble, of a 1906 Wolseley-Siddeley near Southampton, and of a complete four-cylinder Anzani-G.N. in Winchester. We swear we caught a fleeting glimpse of a Kissel Kar in the West End recently. Lt. D. C. Godfrey, R.N., has quite a programme ahead of him to celebrate the return of free petrol. He has bought a mechanically sound Lancia Lambda Weymann saloon, for £60 and is restoring its fabric, he has acquired a 1925-26 Super Sports A.B.C. with original V-screen, body, etc., while he is also due to take delivery of a Buckler frame to accommodate a Ford Ten engine and be endowed with ex-W.D. Standard i.f.s., Girling hydro-mechanical brakes, etc.
Toulmin Motors have converted the Powerplus-blown ex-Horton, ex -Gardner, offset single-seater M.G. Magnette into an aerodynamic two-seater by fitting it with the body from Scott’s H.R.G. Cmdr. Hallett has acquired the ex-Stapleton 1 1/2-litre “UIster” Aston-Martin.
Corrections : Lionel Leonard drove the Vauxhall-Cooper, not the M.G.-engined Cooper at Goodwood. The engine in “Chitty II” is, of course, a Benz, not a Maybach.
The Daily Express of May 20th carried an illustrated story by Basil Cardew about the sad fate of Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Rolls-Royce-engined “Bluebird.” This great car is rotting away in a breaker’s yard at 7, High Street, Wembley. It is for sale for “a reasonable offer.” The special Dunlops, or the remains of them, still grace the twin rear wheels. All the body panels seem to be intact and the 2,500-h.p. V12 Rolls-Royce aero engine is still in the car.
Although this “Bluebird,” which in its day left the Land Speed Record at 301.13 m.p.h., would be impracticable even for the Brighton Speed Trials, surely it should have a better fate than this? Perhaps, disregarded by the country of its origin, it may find a final resting place in America more dignified than a corner in Mr. Simpson’s junk-yard.
Under the title “Sunbeam,” the Register of Sunbeam cars has got under way. If the response justifies it regular publication is contemplated, a rally may be organised, and a sales and wants service, library, and all things such a Register embraces will be laid on. Meanwhile, copies of the first Register, containing details of 83 Sunbeams, are available for 2s. post free, from Mrs. W. Boddy, “Carmel,” Wood Lane, Fleet, Hampshire, who will be glad of details of other Sunbeams for her second issue.
The Vintage Motor-Cycle Club is now a thoroughly established institution and the increase in the petrol tax should give it even greater scope. Recent new members enrolled on the strength of 1929 and 1930 Velocette, 1925 Ivy, 1921 Royal Enfield, 1921 Henderson, 1921 Triumph, 1927 Norton and 1925 New Henley machines. There are plenty of bicycles for sale if you feel like embracing this economic form of vintage motoring. In the vintage event at the B.M.C.R.C. April Silverstone meeting, M. N. Mavrogordato won convincingly at 67.88 m.p.h. on his 1930 Scott Sprint Special, from M. C. Tomkinson’s Velocette and A. Bonnett’s 1930 S.S. 100 Brough-Superior. General secretary: R. A. Beecroft, 65a, Wembley Park Drive, Wembley, Middlesex.
The Herefordshire Motor Club was formed at a meeting held in Leominster on April 27th, when about twenty-five enthusiasts were present at the Talbot Hotel.
The Club feels greatly honoured by the fact that P. D. C. Walker, who resides in Herefordshire, has accepted the presidency.
The aims and objects are: To encourage and protect the pastime of motoring in Herefordshire, to organise events in which members can take part without risk of car damage, and to foster the spirit of courteous driving.
The Club has been promised financial help and the loan of a trophy, to be retained after five years.
E. W. Lindsay Jones of Leominster was elected chairman, with O. P. Felton of Hereford as Hon. Sec., and M. H. Chadrey, also of Hereford, as Hon. Treasurer. Details from the secretary, P. Felton, “Holmbury,” Ranelagh Street, Hereford.
THE RICHARD SEAMAN TROPHY
Mr. George Monkhouse, noted author and photographer, lifelong friend of the late Richard Seaman, has presented to the British Racing Drivers’ Club the trophy won by Seaman in the 1930 Light Car Race in the Isle of Man in his Delage 1 1/2-litre.
The trophy which will perpetuate Seaman’s name is to be awarded annually to the British driver scoring the highest number of points in foreign events on the British Racing Drivers’ Club Gold Star marking system.
The history of Seaman’s Delage is not without interest. It was designed as long ago as 1926, but owing to the disposition of the exhaust system the Delage drivers were forced into the pits every dozen laps or so to plunge their feet into buckets of cold water! As Mr. Laurence Pomeroy shrewdly observed in a recent broadcast on Grand Prix racing, this neatly cancelled out their advantage of the extra speed.
The Delage was bought by Earl Howe after this fault had been remedied, and he raced it with success in the years 1931 to 1934.
Then, in 1935, on the advice of Giulio Raniponi, Seaman bought the car and Ramponi rebuilt it to such purpose that Seaman won three major events with it on three consecutive weekends.
Now this old car lets been given yet another lease of life. Rob Walker, the present owner and his chief mechanic, Jack Playford, former mechanic to the Hon. Brian Lewis, have completely redesigned and rebuilt it.
“It is essential to have a car. Aristos have Bentleys or Allards, Smarties Humbers or Triumphs. It is not smart to have a Ford Eight, or an M.G. No smartie would be seen dead on a bicycle.”–From “Aphorisms on High Life ” in the first issue of Satire, the Oxford undergraduate half-crown magazine.
THE OPEN ROAD
With the return of unrationed petrol the daily papers have been seeking stories about this new-found freedom of the road. The News Chronicle actually had pictures in its issue of May 29th depicting a 1931 Jowett tourer, a 1930 Morris-Oxford saloon bought for £12, and a 1930 Austin Seven saloon, seen out and about on the new coupon-free fuel. Our own “bag” of aged cars that week-end included a chauffeur driven Minerva, a “9/20” Humber fabric saloon, a “9/28” Humber metal saloon, a “12/24” Citroen saloon, a surprising number of early Fords, including touring and saloon model As and many of the later AB and B models, a Swift Ten and a fine “14/40” Sunbeam saloon.
We encountered some odd driving, but in over 400 miles of main-road driving saw no accidents—-and we managed to pull-up short of the cyclist, who fell off his machine in the middle of a London crossing! But the dazzle at night is dreadful. Why do drivers use their headlamps on a moonlight night when driving at 40 m.p.h. and under? If all, save those going really fast, kept to sidelamps only, everyone would be able to see, and eyes wouldn’t suffer. Practise driving on your sidelamps and see for yourselves! Alas, it won’t work in the face of on-coming headlamps. If this dazzle problem goes on it will be imperative for the police to check the growing tendency for cyclists to ride without rear lamps–many of those we overtook were riding racing machines with no provision for lamps. If this isn’t done, the authorities will not be able to blame motorists for a probable increase in cycling casualties.
THE JUNE QUIZ
The driver depicted in our quiz photograph last month was (we nearly wrote “of course”) none other than G. P. Harvey Noble, who drove Salmsons at Brooklands in the nineteen-thirties and followed this up with a very rapid M.G. Midget which holds the Class H outer-circuit lap record at the splendid speed of 122.4 m.p.h. Some notes about this car and its preparation for the record appear in the third volume of the “Story of Brooklands.”
The first correct solution came from W. Gibbs, of Worcester. Others who were correct were: S. J. Tucker, of Surbiton; M. J. Lewis of London. S.W.7; B. Coulter, of Epsom; M. Meo, of Hampstead; E. Ellis, of Shamley Green; J. W. Knight, of Aldershot; H. J. Small, of Brighton; A. E. H. Antell, of Brookmans Park; C. Lewin. of Angmering-on-Sea; A. Thomson, of New Malden; M. J. Nunney, of Northants; B. H. Williams, of Haywards Heath; D. Phillips, of Fulbrook; N. Vaughan Oliver, of St. Margarets; Chinnock, of Rustington, and H. L. Biggs, of Enfield.
The most prevalent incorrect solution was Arthur Dobson. Others included Dudley Noble, George Duller, L. G. Callingham, Leslie Brooke, Major A. C. Lace, Sir Henry Birkin, Bt., Reid Railtan, Major Harvey and A. J. Butterworth–the last named has a beard, incidentally!
DID THEY READ IT?
In last month’s issue we referred editorially to the very heavy taxation borne by that section of the community which owns mechanically-propelled vehicles, expressing the opinion that henceforth the police should treat motorists with especial courtesy. Not long after publication of that issue the Editor was proceeding towards the Metropolis in a disreputable, if mechanically reasonably sound, Austin Seven, thereby conserving expenditure on the excessively-taxed fluid and at the same time “keeping his money off the rails.” The car was taxed for a year—at the same rate, incidentally, as you pay on a new Rolls-Royce–but the licence disc wasn’t displayed in a waterproof holder. Indeed, it reposed in the Editor’s wallet.
Nearing Hounslow he waved on a black Wolseley that appeared to want to pass. As it responded it emitted a noise like an alarm-clock. We had, it seemed, been gonged.
A smart policeman, in the new soft collar and tie, strode with measured, menacing step towards the Austin. Politely he inquired, was it licensed? Explanations were made, and accepted. We were told both number plates were dirty but that we could attend to them at our destination. The officer concerned was polite and concise and thereby his demands became far more effective than had he bullied or threatened. And from the moment that interview concluded—and we were in the wrong—we felt respect for the Mobile Force as a whole. If the less serious offences can be dealt with sensibly, as this one was, the police will have more weight when enforcing more serious requirements. It may be that instructions have been issued to the effect that motorists are assisting the country towards recovery by using their cars and are no longer to be treated as criminals when they commit the less dangerous technical offences. It may be that these men of the Metropolitan Force, Hounslow area, acted on their own initiative. Whichever way it was they have earned our appreciation and respect.