Austin Racing History

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Motor Sport

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Books have been written about Austin racing history and before this special articles in Motor Sport provided very adequate coverage of the subject. But some significant gaps are filled in by a very interesting article which appeared in the Vol. 21/1 issue of Torque, the Austin Apprentices’ magazine. It is by Freddie Henry, Chairman of the Austin Ex-Apprentices Association (London Section) and is headed “Carried Away With Nostalgia”. Early Austin racing boat engines and cars are touched upon, some exciting multi-cylinder engines devised around Austin 7 blocks are described, and Austin 7 racing cars are dealt with from the angle of one who watched them being built and raced (after all, he shared “digs” with Charles Goodacre of Austin’s racing and experimental test shop). Henry was an official Austin trials driver and there are notes not only of Austin 7s prepared at the factory for trials and rallies but of some rather “hot” Austin 10/4s. He also refers to an Austin 12/4 supercharged with a Mercedes supercharger and to his first Brooklands drive, in Ralph Secretan’s ex-Campbell Supercharged 1½-litre straight-eight Bugatti. [I remember Secretan well, from Greenford dirt-track days, but think Henry must have quoted the wrong meeting, as there is no record of Secretan having entered a Bugatti for the 1930 Easter races.—Ed.] Incidentally, the Longbridge racing shop is referred to as being in the old shire, horse stables, these horses being engaged on internal works’ transport at least up to 1926.

Those who want to consult this intriguing article should subscribe to Torque (three issues post free for 4s. 6d.), from Austin Apprentices Association, Box 41, G.P.O., Longbridge, Birmingham.

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