Vintage postbag, July 1967

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High speeds in Belgium

Sir,

The paragraph under the above caption on page 494 of June Motor Sport suggests some uncertainty as to what speed which of my cars did.

I took my ex-works unblown team car (YW5758), which, by coincidence, is depicted on page 556 of the same issue in the advert, for your “Brooklands Bible.” This car covered the flying kilo at 103ish m.p.h.

It was Torn Rose’s ex-works team car (same team) – YW2557 – which did 89 m.p.h. The car was in full touring trim and was, like several of the Bentleys, overgeared for the conditions and very short “run-in” for heavy motor cars. A most enjoyable weekend.

Poole. Harry Rose.

Sheffield-Simplex memories

Sir,

These cars were owned by my grandfather and while I don’t remember the Brotherhood he had, I did drive the Simplex IH63 (IH is the registration for Co. Donegal) under the eagle eye of the chauffeur – steel-studded tyre and all! I could just manage to push the clutch but it was quite easy to start in top and even outside the car it was difficult to tell if the engine was running – I found it a sure way of winning bets from school friends!

One thing about the S-Simplex I do remember was that they made their own sparking plugs. A discarded one was found on the shore in 1954 by a friend of mine who “scraped the barnacles off it” and put it in a Morris truck where it worked perfectly.

I am not sure but I think the last Simplex was involved in an accident about 1929, when my grandfather bought a Lanchester straight-eight. I do know that it was never repaired in a garage and the roads in Co. Donegal in those days were poor. At the time he bought the last Simplex I do remember that it was a toss-up between it and a Napier but, for some reason, he would not even consider a Rolls-Royce.

My father bought a Rover 12 in 1914 and I first drove it in 1922 at the ripe old age of 14 but, as he was the parson, the local police looked the other way – a not uncommon thing in Ireland.

The Rover lasted until 1928 when it went on fire at a funeral and while I was not there I understand it was a very lively afternoon for the mourners!

I saw it some years later with a truck body, still going strong but the footbrake on the transmission was tricky on a wet day and it was not unusual to find that the car had “swopped ends.”

I was also interested in your article on the Rovers, as I had a 1956 “90” for some four years, a very trouble-free car.

I drive a Triumph 2000, my second one, and if the Premium bond comes up I think a Jensen FF is the answer.

I trust I have not bored you but I have been reading Motor Sport for very many years.

Donaghadee, Co. Down. K. G. Lynn.

Task for a Humber

Sir,

I thought the enclosed, taken at the recent Biggin Hill Air Fair, might interest you.

The Fairey Swordfish after its demonstration is being towed away by a 1927 (I believe) Humber. The car is the same colour as the aircraft, and owned and driven by the Lt.-Commander, pilot. Note the registration letters. Both aircraft and car, 0.H.M.S?

E. Grinstead. David Welch.

National Central Library

Sir,

Whilst I was pleased to note the praise given to the Public Library service by Mr. D. Preston Cobb, I feel that due credit should be given to the National Central Library which is the central source of inter-library loans and not the “National Book Council,” which so far as am aware does not even exist.

It may also be of interest to your readers in the London area to note that the Homerton Branch of the Acton Public Library Service has a special collection of British books on motor vehicles.

M. Hughes F.L.A., Technical Librarian,

Basildon. Ford Motor Co., Ltd.

V-E-V odds and ends. – The monthly magazine of the Malaysian Vintage Car Register often contains items of interest. The April issue was no exception, from a picture of the M45 Lagonda which won this year’s vintage Singapore G.P. and another of a Minerva which is being re-bodied as a replica of that which G. L. Baker raced at Brooklands, to shots of cars in the aforesaid Singapore races which might be taking part in a V.S.C.C. Oulton Park meeting, except for a couple of Fiat 509s that are racing. One picture shows two Chummy Austin 7s and a s.v. Family Morgan awaiting the start, proving that our Light Car Section of the V.S.C.C. has nothing on the Singapore enthusiasts! The latest edition of the Bulletin of the Morgan 3-Wheeler Club notes that a vintage Morgan was tracked down in Bath and bought, in bits, for a fiver.

This year’s V.S.C.C. Light Car and Edwardian Rally takes place on July 2nd, starting from Basset Down. Unfortunately a number of fixtures clash on that week-end; for instance, the S.T.D. Register Wolverhampton Rally is also on July 2nd, and this is the day when veteran cars tackle Prescott hill, on the occasion of the V.C.C. Hill Climb, while the Riley Register’s Annual Coventry Rally occupies the week-end of July 1st-2nd.

What is a “Sloggin & Clatter”?

Unless you are a member of the Hants & Berks M.C. you can be excused for not knowing that this is an annual evening gathering of the most unusual and/or exciting machinery that the members can assemble in one place for the edification and enjoyment of all concerned. This year the clattering took place at Major Charles Lambton’s home, deep in the heart of the Berkshire countryside. There could hardly have been a nicer setting for the assembled vehicles or for the eating and drinking and dancing that went on far into the night.

Nan Cawthorne had persuaded an excellent array of cars to foregather, even if she and her husband had to forsake their Rochdale due to exhaust pipe detachment and come in their hack Fiat 600. Major Lambton’s drive soon resembled a pocket-size Montagu Museum, as the guests exhibited their pet vehicles. These ranged from a Foden in steam to the actual Citroën 2 c.v. road-tested by Motor Sport a decade ago. Sports cars were well represented by Morgan Plus Four, Daimler 250SP, Ginetta, Austin Healey 3000, Lotus Elan, Aston Martin DB2/4, and David Good’s Jaguar E-type. Good had also brought his four-wheel-drive B.R.M. and Nick Williamson the new Brabham BT21 he uses in sprints. Older sports machinery was seen in the guise of Lambton’s well-known H.W.M.-Jaguar, his Type 37 Bugatti, a 1750 Alfa Romeo, Nutter’s 6 1/2-litre Bentley, and Wood displayed the Semmence Special. The Derby/Crewe axis was pointed by a Mk. 6 Bentley and two Rolls-Royces, a 1933 20/25 and a 1937 25/30, with Lambton’s two Packards, smart Super Eight and scruffy V12.

Modernism was provided by Stoop’s Porsche 911, a Saab V4 and a DS Citroën, with Patsy Burt’s Ferrari baulked en route by my vintage Sunbeam glasshouse. And the truth that you learn something new every day was emphasised when we looked at Mike Eyre’s two specimens of Austin 7 and were told that the oddly-shaped long tail on his alloy-bodied Boyd Carpenter-Special with its L.A.P. o.h.v, head, was for the purpose of carrying golf-clubs – we had often wondered. Fun! – W. B.

South African Rally

The eighth international South African Veteran and Vintage Car Rally is being held next March over a 500-mile route from Capetown to Durban. The route will take five days to complete and with increasing interest in the rally every year, the organisers are trying to attract entries from Europe. Good scenery, fine roads and easy schedules are promised.

See you at Silverstone?

Those who enjoy the sight and sound of historic racing and vintage sports cars in action and who did not get to Oulton Park last month, should note that the second V.S.C.C. Silverstone Race Meeting of 1967 takes place on July 22nd, commencing at 12.30 p..m, practising taking place from 9 a.m. that morning, and on the Friday afternoon. The races include the 10-lap Boulogne Trophy Race for vintage racing cars, the Hawthorn Trophy Scratch Race over 15 laps for historic racing cars, the Pre-War All-Corners’ Scratch Race for pre-1940 racing cars, over eight laps, and the customary 5-lap handicap and group handicap races. Pre-1940 cars gaining places will score points towards the Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy Contest. Entries close on July 3rd and a feature of the meeting will be a demonstration by Delage cars and another of Edwardian cars. Details from: T. W. Carson, Vintage S.C.C., 3, Kingsclere House Stables, Kingsclere, Newbury, Berkshire.

Historic films at the National Film Theatre

The two showings of old motor-racing films at the National Film Theatre on June 6th were seen by “full-house” audiences, and some appropriate cars were parked outside, notably a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost tourer, a Clyno tourer, a Lagonda Rapier and an Edwardian Renault. A 6 1/2-litre Bentley coupé de ville, a 2-litre Lagonda and others were seen trying to get to the congested car park before the second showing. (National Car Parks, nearby, took me in for 2d, an hour, which seems very reasonable.)

Generally, the evening was entertaining, because Bill Mason’s Shell films are always worth seeing, however many times they have been seen previously. More early racing cars, notably a 1914 G.P. Peugeot, appeared in the comedy “Lucky Devil” featuring Richard Dix and made in 1925, and there were original films of the original Glidden Tour and the 1902 I.O.M. T.T., the last-named from the late R. G. J. Nash’s archives.

If any criticism is justifiable it is that in a performance put on mainly to mark the 60th anniversary of Brooklands there were very few films about Brooklands. Apart from brief repeated shots of Percy Lambert in the Talbot in 1913, news-reel items showing Segrave demonstrating the 1,000-h.p. Sunbeam on the Track and Campbell winning the 1927 J.C.C. 200-Mile Race there, it was a modern film with sound tracks from the past, lent by B.B.C. TV, and put in at the last moment, that prevented this essential part of the programme from being a flop. And I was disappointed that, although I read him, the commentator for the Brooklands’ part of the show apparently does not read me, otherwise he could hardly have mistaken Turner’s burnt-out Gwynne for one of the flat-iron Thomas Specials!

The films concluded with the World Premier of the 70-mm. sixtrack stereophonic-sound feature about last year’s Le Mans race, which John Armstrong has made for Shell. A stunt film of loud sound and vivid colour, it is one I do not mind if I never see again. It concludes with the winning Fords crossing the line at 4 p.m., in the rain. At Brooklands, of course, it never rained! – W. B.

A matter of spelling

In referring to the extra-strong safety-belts made for Rover by the Irving Company we inadvertently named them Irvine belts in the last issue. This is not the first time that a spelling error has been made in connection with Irving products. When Leslie Irvin, 24-year-old inventor of the free-fall military parachute, got his first contract, from the American Air Force, he decided to register the company making them. Due to a typographical error what should have been Irvin Air Chutes became the Irving Air Chute Co. and young Irvin hadn’t enough money to put the mistake right. So let’s try and clarify it. Not Irvine, certainly, but Irving for the company, and Irvin for the seat-belts and parachutes made by them, O.K.? – W. B.

Herald Advisory Services, 23a, Brighton Road, S. Croydon, have issued the fifth edition of “Recommended Wayside Inns of England.” by Peter Stanley Williams, a 128-page paperback costing 3s. 6d.

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