Pre-'50 American AC Hereford Rally (June 4th)

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This assembly of American vehicles built prior to 1949 (a date limit observed to let in Ford V8 Pilots) was held at the well-policed Hereford (horse) race course in conjunction with the Cider Festival. There was a commendably representative entry, divided into products of deceased American companies, the Chrysler Group, Fords, General Motors’ makes, Anglo-American hybrids, commercials, motorcycles and military vehicles. The Can-Am Club was allowed to show vast post-1950 American automobiles and the heavy recovery vehicles—Diamond-T, Federal, Reo, Ward Le France, Chevrolet and Mack 6 x 6, indulged in a demonstration.

During an enforcedly brief visit I noted in particular the pristine external and under-bonnet condition of a Firestone-shod Packard, equalled by a whitewall-tyred Ford Pilot, was reminded that these Fords had leather upholstery, steering-column shift and a clock before the driver, admired a Buick Albemarle, and thought the best of the Fords was Garrett’s 1928/9 Model A tourer (pictured below).

Memories were stirred by a 1921 Willys-Overland tourer (did I really ride in one, along Welsh lanes, sitting beside the chauffeur in this high, cramped open car, all those years ago ?), by Perry’s 1926 Buick Dominion coupé which had to be dragged into the arena by a Crewe Bentley (the first 4WB car I experienced was one of these and I still recall the impressive retardation afforded by its contracting-band brakes) and by Beynon’s straight-eight 1936 Brough-Superior Ashley coupé, George Brough’s own car, sold to him by Mrs. Brough to keep his six-cylinder example company (I remember a hectic road-test of one I did for Motor Sport before the war). The quick-action fillers for fuel tank and radiator, dashboard at 45º, and remote-control gearchange of this Brough were noted, as were the two doors serving four seats on a 1923 Model-T Ford sedan.

These big American cars have their own especial appeal. The motorcycles numbered Indian, Harley-Davidson and Henderson (can any motorcycle have a bigger front brake than Fricker’s 1929 1.3-litre Henderson combination ?), and there were tractors, too—a 1939 Model BO John Deere, Case and Farman BM, backed up by a 4-h.p. Bamford stationary engine with Wico ignition which had driven farm machinery in Llyngwym from 1930 to 1958.

If this sort of thing appeals to you, the Pre-’50 AC has another rally, at Dyrham Park, Old Sodbury, Glos., on August 27th. — W. B.