Club News, July 1990

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Ian Bamsey of Racecar Engineering has become a very industrious author in the wake of Graham Robson and a few others. Two of his newest books, from the House of Foulis at Yeovil, are Auto Union V16 Supercharged — A Technical Appraisal and Lotus 25 Climax FWMV. Both run to 96 pages, both cost £12.95. The Auto Union book may not tell us much that is new, the information having been culled from contemporary reports written long before the author was born. But it does put the creation and development of this fabulous racing car between two covers, with Bamsey’s expert appraisal of it, based on, and I quote, “much original insight”. The race-placings and record achievements of the V16 Auto Unions are given in a separate ‘diary’ on grey paper. The 50 pictures are magnificent. A pity the 10″ x 7 3/4″ pages mean bi-secting some of them.

Back in 1970 DSJ did a little book for Lionel Leventhal about the 1937 W125 Mercedes-Benz racing cars. If you have both books they together make a fine reappraisal of those exciting rivals in that intensely exciting pre-war Grand Prix period. The Lotus 25 book is a companion Bamsey volume, about a much later racing car, this one with eleven colour plates — magnificent pictures again, with the bi-secting proviso. WB

A fund-raising at Stoke Mandeville Hospital on July 21/22 will have over 100 historic vehicles present, as well as steam engines, models and an autojumble on the Sunday.

Those interested in participating in the 19th Targa Rusticana Welsh night rally for classic and historic cars, scheduled for October 13/14, should hasten to send in their entries, with a £10 deposit, to Don Pither, Droys Court, Witcombe, Gloucester, GL3 4TN, as the list already has 95 runners.

Among the unusual things in which old cars are now encouraged to take part, one of the oddest is an Agatha Christie Run, for up to 200 1920-1969 cars, together with film and TV actors, associated with the Agatha Christie mystery plays! The organisers are none other than the RACMSA, headed by Neil Eason-Gibson. The date is September 15th, the entry fee £75, and the starting points Bath, the NMM and Wilton House, Salisbury. The finish is at Torquay, presumably because that is where the famous thriller-writer was discovered after her mysterious disappearance, when she abandoned her bullnose Morris at Newlands Corner. No doubt most of the cars which have figured in her dramas will enter and let it not be forgotten that, if the dating does not rule them out, a Model-T Ford and a Benz might represent Sherlock Holmes and Watson . . But what an odd facet of the vintage and historic car movement this is . . . .

In the VSCC Buxton Rally on May 5th, 64 competitors, divided into three classes, took the following awards: Best Novice: J. Thring (Lagonda). Northern Weekend Jug: J. Potter (LeaFrancis). 1st. Class: J. Potter, P. Glover (Alvis), D. Marsh (Bugatti), J. John (Lagonda). 2nd. Class: G. Toms (Fiat), F. Hyland (Alvis), A. Armitage (Vauxhall), A. Jones (Vauxhall), J. McEwen (Riley), R. Hutchings (BMW), G. Cole (Lagonda). 3rd Class: C. Gledhill (A7), L. Eccles (Alvis), M. Baxter (Ford), J. Newby (Alvis), R. Britcher (Alvis), G. Tomlin (Alvis), D. Hill (AC), “New” cars in this event were a 1924 Rolls-Royce and a 1929 Chevrolet, and the recorded retirements were a Lea-Francis, an AC, an Alvis and a 6 1/2-litre Bentley.

The VSCC had two innovations at its race meetings this year. The first was the 10-lap Scratch Race for Ulster A7s, at Silverstone in June, reported on elsewhere, and the other is to be a race entirely for Edwardians, at Oulton Park on July 8th.

A week after the Buxton trial the energetic VSCC held its popular Wiscombe speed hillclimb. The class winners were R. Nice’s A7, E. Dunn’s Riley, G. Spollon’s Riley, and A. Sparrowhawk’s Alvis in the sports car section, with R. Adnams (1912 Talbot) winning the Edwardian class on handicap and Roger Collings’ 1903 Mercedes making fastest veteran car time after failing on its first run. The racing car classes were won by B. Gray (Hardy Special) D. Ricketts (ERA R1B), B. Spollon (ERA R9C) and R. Pilkington’s Talbot-Lago. FTD was made by President Bruce Spollon, in 46.33 secs. The quickest vintage car was J. Giles’ AC/GN, in 48.31 secs, the best sports car Sparrowhawk’s 4.3 Alvis, in 52.87 secs.

At Curborough on May 6th Bruce Spollon made FTD at the speed trials over this twisty course, his 2-litre ERA clocking 37.04 sec. The class winners were T. McGrath (A7), H. Conway (Bugatti), G. Gunn (MG), J. Giles (AC/FN), Miss Gray (Hardy Special), D. Caroline (Morgan) and Spollon. In the Edwardian and Veteran class Walker’s 1908 GP Panhard beat Collings’ 1903 Mercedes by 0.6 of a sec., the Mercedes winning on handicap and it was nice to see both Kenneth Neve and his daughter driving the 1914 TT Humber. The Team Award was won by the Talbot team of Rathbone (AV105), Ward (BA110) and King (105).

Belgium is to have its first Historic Car Rally from August 3-5th. A round of the International Championship, the entry fee is approximately £660 and the UK rep. is M. Jubb, 38, Longfield Road, Bristol, BS7 9AG.

Weather permitting, on July 29th a rather unusual happening will hopefully take place at the Shuttleworth Trust’s Old Warden aerodrome, Biggleswade, when scale models of some of those light aeroplanes with up to 750cc engines built for the 1923 Lympne Light Aeroplane Trials will be flown. One has thought in the past that tiny engines make the wrong noises in models of large aeroplanes but might be quite realistic in those of the one-time “Cyclecars-of-the-air” and their low wing-loading should also make for more realistic flying. Incidentally, a vintage Henderson air-cooled, in-line motorcycle engine with a propellor boss has been found in a hangar; one wonders for what aeroplane it was intended, remembering a certain little biplane with a Rover 8 car engine that never managed to get off the ground!

The Citroën Traction Club of GB, which has a world interest in pre-1957 Citroëns, has a tour of the Chateaux of the Loire in conjunction with the Traction Club of Ille et Vilaine, on July 13/16 and its own tour of the Cotswolds on August 10/13, to which older Citroëns are invited. Details from: Mike Wheals, Silk Mill Coftage, 26 Winchester Street, Whitchurch, Hants., RG28 7AL. WB