A section devoted to old-car matters
1,000 Miles in 24 hours in “Chain-Gang” Frazer Nash cars
In 1936 the late Sir J. O. C. Samuel completed a run of 1,000 miles in 24 hours in a Frazer Nash on behalf of Cleveland Discol petrol. From discussion of this achievement at the annual “Chain-Gang” party it was but a short step to speculation as to whether the feat was possible today—and we are now able to confirm that it is, for at the end of April one vintage and two p.v.t. ‘Nashes successfully completed a similar run.
The cars taking part were Dr. Lionel Stretton’s 1929 “Boulogne” model with an Anzani engine, Dr. D. P. Harris’ 1934 T.T. Replica with a Meadows engine, and Angus Cundey’s similar 1932 ex-works Alpine Trial and T.T. car, MV 3079. Co-drivers were ‘Nash owners Mark Joseland, Peter Harris and John Teague.
Samuel’s route was from Folkestone to Edinburgh via London, but this was deemed impracticable today and so it was agreed that the itinerary would be Measham Motor Museum–Inverness–Measham, with portions of all types of road, from exciting Alpine sections around Ballachulish and Glencoe to modern motorway. The start from Measham was at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 25th, after a frantic oil change by Cundey and Teague, while the Harrises fiddled with their dynamo—for the charge rate had fallen inexplicably at the last moment. The departure time came with an unruffled Stretton leading, with Harris in pursuit; the Alpine car started some minutes late but the lost time was made up in the first three hours.
There were some incidents en route for the North: Stretton had to change his magneto after cooking the new one fitted before the run; Harris’ dynamo charge failed altogether. Nevertheless, Harris arrived at Inverness with 45 minutes in hand. Soon afterwards the other two cars arrived for a refill of Discol and to receive their plaques presented by the Mayor. Cundey had had a trouble-free run, but with his share of excitement.
Travelling South the weather was delightful and everyone had time to enjoy the unsurpassed Scottish scenery. Cruising at a modest 70 on the road, 65 on the motorways, the Meadows cars soon had an hour in hand, although some time was lost in Carlisle. More fuel was taken on at 3/4-distance, and at 4.15 Harris arrived home (first, as befits the Captain of the Frazer Nash section of the V.S.C.C.), quickly followed by MV 3079 at 4.30. Before anyone had time to get anxious Stretton hove into sight with 35 minutes to spare—truly a fine performance with the lower-powered Anzani car. Celebrations were now in order, and the picture shows all those taking part.
A special mention must be made of the stout efforts of the tender car drivers, whose presence was reassuring throughout the trip. Finally, in present-day “hand-out” parlance, A.F.N. Ltd. gave generous help and so did Cleveland, Castrol and Renold Chains Ltd.; the last-named sent along their immaculate racing manager to check personally all 17 feet on each car; K.L.G. supplied the plugs and Dunlop tyres were used—along with the original Meadows and Anzani engines, Chater-Lea sprockets, Alford brakes, E.N.V. gears, Rudge wheels, Smiths instruments, Elkington bodies, Serck radiators, Woodhead springs, Andre dampers, Exide batteries, Birmal castings, with, no doubt, GKN nuts and bolts, Connolly leather, etc.
Those who like a quiet afternoon amongst vintage cars should make a point of attending some of the carnival and charity gatherings that occupy most summer week-end afternoons. For instance, on June 8th the Windsor Young Conservatives put on a Concours d’ Interet at Holyport, near Maidenhead, supported by B.A.R.C. motor-racing films and a dance. The cars numbered a P3 Rolls-Royce Barker saloon; Dudley Gahagan’s 1926 Type 37 Bugatti, proving that running a G.P. Bugatti on the road is a practical proposition even in the Marples’ Age; a pre-war Rover saloon with a searchlight on its roof; Passmore’s Blue Label Bentley tourer with twin horizontal S.U.s; a very nice M-type M.G. Midget original save for copper exhaust tail-pipe and Bowdenex brake cables; a “Chain-Gang” Frazer Nash with B.M.W. 6-cylinder engine endowed with two downdraught S.U.s; an 8/18 Talbot disguised as a much-later sports car; a 1901 De Dion Bouton; a Connaught Engineering Citroën; a bull-nose Morris Oxford 2-seater and a Lotus Elan. Fun!
Vintage miscellany.—At the June V.S.C.C. “Phoenix” meeting “Chain-Gang” Frazer Nashes predominated, half a dozen helping to fill the crowded car park. Firkin has persuaded Lady Guinness to let him have the 1905 200-h.p. V8 Darracq engine and the steering gear from that famous car. Barry Clark has acquired a vintage L.A.P. o.h.v. conversion for his well-known competition Austin Seven, a car which weighs 6 1/2 cwt. in road-trim. He is also rebuilding a Gordon England Cup Model Austin Seven and has found the remains of another 25-h.p. Talbot. Chalcraft is restoring a pre-1914 Hupmobile found in a Devon pond, and Colbourne Baker has re-acquired the Stafford Special. I. M. Clark has imported a straight-eight Thomas Special engine for his “flat-iron” from Canada but badly needs the original back axle for it, if anyone has any clues. The 1925 30/98 Vauxhall Velox (OE 180) sold at last year’s Beaulieu Auction, after a complete rebuild by Vauxhall Motors, has, alas, gone to America, to C. A. Chayne’s collection.
The next important V.S.C.C. fixture is the Silverstone Race Meeting on July 27th, at which the 12-lap Boulogne Trophy Race for vintage racing and sports cars, a 12-lap race for Historic Racing Cars, an Edwardian Handicap and the Light Car Handicap will be contested. Such variety is worth making a long journey and a great effort to see, hear and smell, and even heavy rain didn’t prevent the grandstands filling at the V.S.C.C. Silverstone Meeting in April. Details of admission arrangements for members and the public are obtainable from T. W. Carson, 3, Kingsclere House Stables, Kingsclere, Berks (s.a.e. please).
At last the V.S.C.C. has defined a vintage Austin Seven. It must not have a 4-speed gearbox, more than two carburetters or a d.d. gasworks, a wide back axle or 14-mm. sparking plugs. Hurray! But what of little wheels, oversize tyres, Bowdenex brakes and divided front axle?
Requests.—M. Foale, Wyoming Crescent, Belair, S. Australia, seeks intimate details of all Amilcar models, in the hope of getting together an amateur history of this make, and offers postage on instruction books, etc., and a free copy to those who assist.
Free! A reader offers a 1936 Sunbeam solo motorcycle and another reader a 1930 Singer Junior sports virtually for nothing, if collection can be arranged. And an Austin Seven Swallow in towable condition is being given away in Kent.