A section devoted to old-car matters
The Renault Rally at Acton (May 30th)
It is always encouraging when a manufacturer shows interest in the older models on which present prosperity has been built, and congratulations are due to Renault Limited of Acton for the support it received for the first Rallye Renault, from entrants, modern owners of Renault cars, and the public. It was the idea of Mr. Ronald, was ably compered by Alan Dakers, and backed by Regie Renault of Billancourt.
Veteran and Edwardian Renaults have survived far better than vintage ones, because although the latter were very durable cars their depreciation rate was high. So the 1899-1919 class attracted 33 cars, the 1920-1939 class only eight. In addition, the Montagu Motor Museum sent its 1906 20/30 limousine, and Mr. Welham allowed the children to take rides in his two 1/2-scale Renaults built for his grandchildren in 1932/33 and propelled by Renault dynastarters.
While the entrants were judged in a Concours d’Elegance, on engine, body and chassis tidiness and originality, by M. Sedgwick, M. de Castelet and W. Boddy, Renault Ltd. put on a film show for their guests (which my wife and daughter reported as excellent) and took organised parties round their parts stores and service department and a display of the Renault range of cars. Incidentally, the Judges had a panel of experts from the works to assist them, comprising Messrs. Fisher, Spooner and Wilson, one of whom remembers the red-flag days and buying an “old” Renault 4 1/2-h.p. for £11, and all conversant with the old Renault models.
The cars in the rally set a very high standard. The oldest entries were five 1901 voiturettes, the single-cylinder De Dion Bouton-engined cars. Mrs. Fotheringham-Parker’s 1903 2-seater and H. F. Welham’s 1904 model-X tourer with Bleriot head- and sidelamps were present, but not all the early models were runners, at least two having disconnected water pipes. Downs’ 1905 20/30 tourer had a Simms-Bosch magneto, Dr. Marsham’s 1906 Model-AH 2-seater a Rushmore Searchlight to show it the way. C’eland’s 1908 Model-AX Renault carried a petrol-can labelled “Anglo’s Autobus Spirit” and had P. & H. lamps, and a scruffy 1908 Taxi de Grande Remise with, surprisingly, a Vanvooren body, belonging to Regie Renault and M. Mansion of Paris, was on modern coil ignition.
Mrs. White’s 1909 model, with Nirona headlamps and Howes & Burley sidelamps, had a non-standard Zenith carburetter, as had Pell’s Renault, which sported Napier lamps by S. F. Edge & Co. Holland’s 1910 Model-AX 2-seater was in fine if very brassy condition, Rose’s car had a wagonette body, and Lane’s 1908 long-chassis 20/30 a lofty landaulette body by Starey’s & Woolley’s of Nottingham and a huge hand-cranked Klaxon horn hanging from the roof. The best car in the class was Holland’s, second place going to Victor Bridgen’s well-known 1911 20/30 limousine landaulette.
In the vintage class, where Crabbe’s 1924 Forty-Five predominated and two 1937/38 Model-BCF2 12.1-h.p. saloons were too untidy to be judged, it lay between a couple of very nice 1928 9/15 tourers, a notably original dashboard on one of them helping to weigh the decision, and a vivid yellow 9/15 cloverleaf. A 1924 8.3 was regrettably an absentee. It was a close thing but the Judges favoured Hoyland’s 1928 9/15 from Sheffield. Some of the Renaults had come vast distances, Cleland from Edinburgh, Skerman driving his 1911 Model-AX 2-seater up from Newton Abbot. Alan Dakers promised that another of these Rallye Renaults will be held next year, perhaps with driving tests, and that soon the venue is to be extended to Paris—judging by the manner in which Crabbe’s 45 crawled away Western Avenue bound for Peterborough it will hardly get home before it is time to set off again on the next rally!—W. B.
Class 1, 1899 to 1919: 1st, L. Holland (1910 Model-AX 2-seater).
2nd, V. E. Bridgen (1911 20/30 h.p. limousine/landaulette).
Class 2, 1920 to 1939: 1st, P. Hoyland (1928 9/15-h.p. tourer).
V.S.C.C./V.C.C. Edwardian light car rally (June 13th)
This year the delightful fixture organised by Milner and Clarke for vintage light cars was reinforced by a V.C.C. class for Edwardians, which included Sir G. Tuttle’s veteran Humber, but, even so, was outnumbered by the vintage light cars. Pre-war small cars had a choice of class, so that whereas Sir A. Coryton’s very fine 1913 G.W.K. supported the V.C.C., Ellington Robinson’s equally impressive 1914 Perry, with diminutive twin-cylinder engine, was put in the light-car class. Buckle and Boddy were given the difficult task of judging the Concours d’Elegance, finding Condon’s 1923 A.C. just better than Jacobs’ very smart 1929 Chummy Austin. The light cars were a representative array, from the Perry and Hicks’ 1919 Stellite to Hill’s 1930 A.J.S., by way of Walker’s 1920 Calcott tourer, Savage’s very nice 1921. Rover 8; Riddle’s well-known G.N. with cyclops headlamp, and Cameron’s A.B.C. hoodless 2-seater with aeroscreens, the early metal fan but, alas, a modern Solex carburetter. Redman’s Trojan had its floor removed to reveal its remarkable engine, Tennant arrived late in his Arid Four, delayed by mild ignition trouble which was to delay him slightly on the road section, and Woodburn’s orange Sports Gwynne 8 was looking very smart. Jarrett had a saloon body on his 1927 1 1/2-litre Riley Heavy Light Car, and Parks, of course, has built a top on his heavily-burdened Singer Junior.
Any further reporting is rather curtailed by the fact that we manned Control Point 5 for 4 1/4 hours but less than half the entry found us. Mann arrived long before anyone else in his covetable Straker-Squire, pulling up on locked wheels, but had missed Control 4. The Calcott came in quietly and efficiently, but had approached Control 1 from the wrong direction. The Gwynne was clean, except for a wrong answer to a question on the score card, and went away to a throaty note from its fishtail. Bally in his typically Edwardian hoodless Sunbeam had no navigator but had missed only Control 4, a point which had to be located on a “shortest distance” basis without a map reference; Dighton’s 9/15 Humber, brakes squealing, hadn’t found this one, nor had the Arid, its axle humming and gears grating in true early light car style, but Cardy’s Chummy, emitting typical Austin 7 noises, was clean, and so was Riddle’s G.N. cyclecar, making the village street revert to a long-past age as it crackled out of sight. Tim Carson came to see us, in someone’s Derby Bentley, Warden’s healthy-sounding 9/15 Humber had missed Controls 3 and 4, as had Holton’s 8/18 Humber with two passengers in its dickey, and the saloon Riley. The A.J.S., out again with rebuilt back axle, its brakes squeaking loudly, hadn’t reported to Control 2; the Singer Junior, Parks giving a correct hand signal as he stopped for us, had missed 2 and 3. Rendall’s 1928 Austin 7 was o.k. except for a wrong approach to the first Control. No-one else checked with us, although several competitors went by on the main road.
But that evening A30 was enlivened by homebound vintage light cars, although the A.B.C. soon elected to go on a trailer behind a VW and, as Boddy said, if he wasn’t in a vintage car, at least his Mini-Cooper was a light car.
First Class Award: A. J. B. Baily (1914 Sunbeam).
Second Class Award: P. A. Mann (1901 Straker-Squire).
Third Class Awards: E. Richardson (1911 Renault) and H. R. Timmis (1910 Mercedes).
Lady Rachel Trophy (best performance): 1st: Curdy (1925 Austin).
First Class Awards: E. Riddle (1921 G.N.) and A. W. K. Condon (1923 A.G.).
Second Class Awards: D. Woodburn (1925 (Gwynne) and 1). Walker (1920 Calcott).
Third Class Awards: D. T. R. Dighton (1928 Humber) and C. E. Hicks 1919 Stellite).
Vintage miscellany.—Whitby’s of Leicester, Ford distributors, have a very presentable 1924 model-T Ford tourer, marred only by advertising matter on its sides, which, exactly 40 years after it was last taxed and used on the roads of Leicestershire, passed its M.O.T. test with no trouble at all. A 1933 model-AA Ford one-ton truck is still in regular service in Sandy, Beds., and passes its M.O.T. tests easily in spite of having 530,000 miles behind it—it had its story in the Spring issue of Challenge. Anthony Heal has entered the ranks of traction-engine enthusiasts—he has bought a McLaren. Vintage racing scenes, including the Austin winning the 1930 “500,” have been painted by Dion Peers for a series of advertising circulars issued by CIBA Laboratories Ltd., the link being high compression and high blood pressure! The class winners at the National Alvis Day were D. Grange (12/60), R. Parker (4.3) and A. Buck (TA14.), the driving test classes being won by S. Fletcher (12/50), H. Pryke (Speed 20), A. Buck (TA14) and B. Ledwith (Silver Eagle Special). A reader who went to Holland recently in a friend’s 1924 Morris reports a 60-day licensing scheme in that country for vintage cars, costing only about 45s. for this period. An interesting car seen on the visit was a 1932 all-independently-sprung 1 1/2-litre Stoewer d.h. coupé. A piece in the Rhyl Journal & Advertiser refers to the first car in Rhyl, an Arnold dog-cart ordered in November 1897 and delivered to a Mr. C. H. Palethorpe early in 1898. An 80-year-old retired bank cashier in Mears Ashby is still using the 14/28 Morris-Oxford tourer he bought new in 1927. The Montagu Motor Museum has cancelled its 5-Litre Rally, scheduled for August 1st.