Veteran Edwardian Vintage, July 1980

[A section devoted to old car matters]

The VCC Golden Jubilee Rally

THE Veteran Car Club of Great Britain put on a very worthwhile seven-day Rally to commemorate its Golden Jubilee last month, sponsored by Heron. One hundred and seventy-four veterans were entered, the oldest the 1896 Lutzmann, and four long-distance routes were arranged, with overnight stops, all these converging on Stratford-on-Avon for the final run into Heathrow with a Police escort on June 7th. The event concluded with a banquet at London’s Guildhall. The Club was highly honoured to have an entry from HM The Queen, her 1900 two-cylinder 6 hp Daimler being driven by HRH The Duke of Kent. Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, who had been instrumental in the car’s recent restoration, was co-driver. Then Mr. Hector Monro, MP, the Conservative Minister of Sport, whose profile Motor Sport published last month, was on Grossmark’s 1909 30 hp Napier Cabriolet.

It being impossible for one reporter to cover such a wide-ranging Rally, and having had to refuse several kind offers of rides on competing cars, I went off to look at part of Route-2, which started from Llandudno on the second day, having come from Liverpool. The hills on the run into Bala, where we picked the rally up, had been severe and we heard that Zimbler’s 1910 Lancaster had experienced much tyre trouble out of Liverpool. The first veteran, in the guise of a fast and sprightly Edwardian, to arrive at Bala was Alan Garland’s 1909 16 hp Vauxhall two-seater, a car familiar to Motor Sport readers. It had made very good time. But such motoring was of no avail, because there was no time-check into Bala, only one away from a later check, competitors being advised to occupy time made up by having lunch. This was a disappointment to many, including Harrison in the 1913 6½-litre Mitchell that had also come in with plenty of time in hand. This interesting American tourer has a knobless steel gear-lever in a ball-gate, to the right of the central handbrake, it being a lhd car, and its speedometer, ammeter and clock are down on the footboard.

Soon the busy lakeside-town of Bala was filling up with veterans, causing much interest to the inhabitants. The ex-Lady Crompton Thornycroft landaulette had its radiator filler-cap off, ready for a drink, two Unic coupes arrived together, Bardwell’s having its exhaust tail-pipe protruding through the fabric spare-wheel cover, and Estler and Miss Corby arrived in surely the scruffiest car ever to compete in a VCC event. Presumably they had had no time to clean this 1913 16 hp Darracq beforehand and one of its headlamps was devoid not only of glass but you could see right through it. Someone said to them that he presumed they were not in a Concours d’Elegance. Never mind, they were motoring ….

Whereas one of the Unics sported a Welsh flag, the 1911 Alldays flew two, Dr Nicholls’ 1905 Argyll got in all right, although it had experienced some trouble with the water-pump of its eight-plug, T-head L’Aster engine, Minhinnett’s 1913 lhd Ford tourer, hood up, was aided over the rough stuff by KW front snubbers, and Wilkins’ 1915 40/50 Rolls-Royce tourer, later observed going very well indeed, had a rather loud-sounding (one cannot say “noisy” of a Ghost) self-starter.

After we had partaken of an over-priced and unpalatable cafe lunch in this holiday town we set the comfortable Volvo 244 GTL to following the route towards Welshpool. There was a long puff up the impressive Bala mountain-pass, where Curry’s 1909 8 hp Renault was motoring strongly, to a fine twin-cylinder putter, but both 10/12 Belsizes were very sedate, Bradshaw’s 1912 38 hp sleeve-valve Minerva tourer overtaking Fowler’s Belsize on the hairpin. Bradshaw’s father used to own the big sleeve-valve 48 hp Daimler which Ryder-Richardson now owns and was driving on the Rally, the 1908 tourer cruising silently at 40 and more mph. Flather’s smart 1913 40/50 Rolls-Royce tourer had a useful trunk for the suitcases, Knight’s 1914 Darracq stopped to take on oil, and Daly’s 1903 7 hp Panhard-Levassor soon diverted from the route, perhaps seeking even more impressive scenery.

Thus, in the sunshine and occasional shower, this stage of the VCC Jubilee Rally progressed, with happy onlookers waving to the drivers and schoolchildren mustered to cheer, as it passed by. -WB.

V-E-V Miscallany.

John Walker, whose 1908 GP Panhard-Lavassor we described last March, has discovered a photograph which suggests very strongly that for the race all three cars of Panhard team used different sized driving sprockets, with 24, 28 and 29 teeth, respectively, and it may well have been that uncertainty as to the best final-drive ratio to use made the Company return to chain final-drive, to enable ratios to be changed more easily and quickly than with shaft-drive. If so, this answers Kent Karslake’s letter in last month’s Motor Sport.

A reminder that the active Austin Ten DC is holding its Knebworth Rally on July 5th/6th – one of the prizes will go to the car with the best-preserved original tool-kit. The new Hon Sec is Mrs Kate Carthew, Colwyn Cottage, Parsonage Road, Rickmansworth, Herts. The Club caters for Austins made from 1931 to 1939 and of 10 hp to 28 hp. To raise funds for Church buildings in the Maghill Diocese of Liverpool the Rev George Perera is holding a veteran-vintage-classic-car display at St James Church, Maghill, on July 19th, from 1 pm to 5 pm. Those able to support it should contact him at the Vicarage, 23 Green Link, Maghull, Liverpool L31 8DW. Bognor Regis MC will be holding driving tests on a public road closed for the occasion, on July 13th, starting at 11.30 am (Details from Martin Neal, 60 Hillsboro Road, Bognor Regis) and the Rotary Club of Bognor has its Rotary Motor Gala on August 17th, entries for which close on July 21st, or before if the list is full. Details from: Clive Seyer, Eren Crescent, Bognor Regis, W Sussex, PO22 9BZ. In both cases there is a wide variety of classes, including those for vintage cars. The Vauxhall OC’s new Membership Secretary is Chris Knapman, 19 South Road, Portishead, Bristol, BS20 9DU. The RAC ruined last winter’s VSCC Measham Rally but they still manage to have Night Trials in Australia, the last one by the VSCC of A being won by Milkins’ P-type MG, the vintage winner being Swinnerton’s 12/50 Alvis. They have also had a Two-Day Rally, won by Lance Dixon’s Bentley, from Donnan’s 12/50 Alvis and Southgate’s Lagonda, the first two being vintage models. The Rolls-Royce EC has its North of England Rally at the residence of Lord and Lady Harewood, Harewood House, near Leeds, on July 13th, the cars parading before the public between 14.00 and 16-hours. A 1912 23 hp Vauxhall is being restored in Australia. -WB.