At Beaulieu on June 1st the Fiat Register held their Navigational Run and Driving Tests, first run in the 1938 Inter-Register Contest between the Alvis 12/50, Fiat, Humber and Sunbeam S.T.D. Registers. There was an entry of 23, made up of eight Fiats, four Alvis, four Humber, five Sunbeam and two Talbot cars. The run involved negotiation of some mud-sections, in which the luckless became bogged.
Fiat Trophy (best performance): G. Liston Young (1928 Fiat 509A).
Invited Members’ Trophy: V. Rawlings (1930 14/45 Talbot).
Silver Medals: S.T.D. team.
Inter-Register Team Award: Sunbeam team.
The following Sunday the 12/50 Alvis Register had a return match at Woburn Abbey, with a similar competition in the morning and Concours d’Elegance in the afternoon. To this we drove R. C. Carter’s well-known 1921 24-h.p. Sunbeam limousine, which proved to have a very sweet gear-change if the cog-swapping wasn’t unduly hurried, or misjudged, steering free from kick-back, if heavy on lock, and sufficiently stiff ½-elliptic back springs to combat roll which the weight and height of the seven-seater Cunard body might otherwise induce. Driving this splendid car via Luton to Woburn (where we found the Duke of Bedford’s seat infested with public) was a delightful experience, the sun glinting on the brasswork of radiator and lamps as we made our dignified passage past crawling little pressed-steel mobile boxes. On the subject of dignity, it was with pleasure that we drowned, with a fanfare front our Klaxon, the shocking blare emanating from a Vauxhall Victor whose driver, obstructed at the entrance to a narrow tunnel, had pressed the horn button so hard that it refused to release !
At Woburn Park, although conscious that the Duke now rivals Billy Butlin at taking money front the public in exchange for entertainment, we resented being charged admission for one of the cars billed within the grounds as one of Woburn’s attractions.
The display was certainly an excellent one, some 27 assorted Alvis, four Sunbeams, two Talbots, six Fiats and six Humbers being present within the roped-off enclosure. Amongst the Alvis cars was a very fine f.w.d. two-seater and J. Berrisford’s all-aluminium duck’s-back Super Sports 12/50, rather spoilt by its non-original rear fuel tank, etc. Best overall performance was made by M. Armon’s 9/20 Humber saloon and the Concours d’Elegance was won by H. Gray’s 1931 Talbot 75. Personally we thought the Fiats stole the show. I. Grant’s very fine 501 tourer stood beside the only faintly less splendid 501 tourer of P. Griffin, and Hayward’s Fiat 503 tourer is so covettable that it is the more to be regretted that it sports a Charrington BBB bitter label beside its Fiat Register badge. Extremely-smart was M. Bowyer’s Fiat 509A two-seater, with stone guard before its handsome radiator and the very impressive o.h.c. engine. For interest, however, the plum went to G. Longson’s l.h.d. Tipo 514 sports Fiat, its tuned engine, spartan two-seater body and decidedly-abbreviated wings lending weight to the belief that it competed in a Mille Miglia race in the early ‘thirties. Present also was an early Fiat Budilla saloon, with basically the same s.v. engine. The two 501s, 509A and 514 Vials leaving the park line-ahead, silhouetted against the lake, incidentally going in a direction forbidden to them, made a fitting finale to an entertaining rally.
Apart from the cars there was it traction engine in steam feeding current to an electric organ, to advertise the Woburn traction engine rally on August Bank Holiday and the stables, in which the Woburn public takes its tea.
This puts the Sunbeam S.T.D. Register in the lead in the Inter-Register Contest, from the 12/50 Alvis Register and Fiat Register. Another round was contested in the Sunbeam S.T.D. Register Driving Tests out June 21st, too late for results to be included in this issue, while the final round will be the Humber Register’s Great Witley Trial on July 27th.—W.B.
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