Veteran to Classic Miscellany, July 1990



The Meadows-engined Bayliss Thomas which WJ Hayward modified for trials work and which his family gave to the National Motor Museum is now back at Beaulieu, being tidied up for exhibition there.

The Daimler-Benz Museum sends three of its top exhibits over to Great Britain every year, so that these can be circulated between the Mercedes-Benz headquarters in Milton Keynes, the London showrooms and the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. Thus until the end of this month one of the W165 cars, the 1 1/2-litre V8 which Mercedes built especially to ensure their fifth victory in the Tripoli GP for which voiturette rules had been applied in 1939, a successful operation, with Lang and Caracciola finishing 1, 2, will be on show at the NMM.

One of the NMM’s attractions for the inexperienced old car persons who visited Beaulieu was a “learner-drive” in a vintage car, originally a 1919 Chevrolet, a 1923 Calcott or a 1925 Morris being subjected to what can only have been brutal treatment. We understand that this pleasure is to be restored, using a 1928 Austin 12/4, as the rugged car to withstand such abuse, although with a more difficult gearchange than on the other cars, surely? The Vintage Austin Register may regret that the car is not to be used for rallies, etc., but can perhaps take heart in the knowledge that it was a homemade van which is to be turned into a tourer, to embrace a “Gumdrop” theme.

In Palmerston, Otago, last year a 1911 Stafford two-seater took part in a festival procession, thought to be the only one of its kind in New Zealand. The car was imported from England hotelliers in Dunedid but after a fatal accident to one of the family it was sold and is now in the hands of its third owner. It is in original condition apart from one wheel which had to be rebuilt. The owner says that this Stafford is really a Spurber, made in the N. German Automobile Works at Hamelin — historians, forward . . .

Last May we queried whether anything remains of the race track built outside Derby in the 1920s. Barbara Farquhar, wife of Nev who is well known for his racing Rileys in VSCC circles, tells us that, indeed, it still exists, as a cycletrack on the Dudley ring-road, less than a mile west of the A6 junction. It is now used for field and track events, and the highest part of the steep bankings has been terraced for seating. In spite of contemporary press reports that a motor race track was being built, it seems far more likely that this third-of-a-mile 70 mph oval was intended only for motorcycle-paced bicycle racing. How does Barbara know? Well, she raced there herself, in girls’ cycle events from about 1942 onwards, and says the Derby track still has races, although overshadowed by Leicester’s Saffron Lane track. Perhaps the Wild Brothers of Derby being Champion racing riders in 1922 prompted the construction of this local course.

The Brooklands Society has suffered the resignation of its recently elected President, Ian Connell, over a disagreement, its Secretary, Peter Dench, has resigned due to pressure of work and its Chairman, Brian Dinsley, on account of ill-health. The acting membership secretary is Brian Reynolds, 38 Windmill Way, Reigate, Surrey RH2 OJA.

In spite of these setbacks, there is still to be a reunion on July 1 (admission by ticket only), the theme being the 60th anniversary of Mountain racing at the Track. There will also be an assembly of Frazer Nashes and Porsches.

In last month’s issue, the A7 driver captioned in the top picture of p 606 should have been Dodson, not Dobson and in the bottom picture p 607 Rose’s Maserati is leading, not following, Staniland’s Alfa Romeo.