V-C Miscellany, July 1992

Congratulations to Barry Clarke, who has been elected the next President of the VSCC, taking office in March 1993.

The annual Coventry Rally of the Riley Register takes place on June 27/28. Entries have closed but those who like seeing Rileys in action should note that a parade will take place from the Memorial Park, Kenilworth Road (A429), Coventry to Coomb Country Park on the Coventry-Lutterworth road, 9.30 am on the Sunday. The Riley MC holds its National Rally, to which the Riley Register is invited, at Blenheim Place. Oxon, on July 11/12. Details from J Joiner, 27 Broadlands Avenue, Waterlooville, Hants, P07 7JE. Finally, on Riley topics, the Riley RM Club has just held its National Rally in Peterborough and is also invited to the Riley MC Rally. It recently elected 25 new members and has discovered that back in 1954 a Riley RM estate-car featured in a cartoon-story in the 3d weekly girls’ School Friend…never a dull moment!

Those who like a little variety in their motoring and who attend steam vehicle rallies may care to note that, on the weekend following this issue of Motor Sport, such events are due to happen at Wollaton Park (Nottingham), Bloxham (near Banbury), Lansdowne Playing Fields (Bath), Hazelhead (Aberdeen) and, the following weekend, at Heedington (Wiltshire), Prestwood, Gt Missenden, Stoke Lacy, Bromyard, County Park (Borrow-wash, Derby), Holewell (near Northampton), and Gatwick Village (Crawley). The average number of steam engines expected is 28-30. Data courtesy National Traction Engine Trust.

C rom the article in Aeroplane on L E Baynes I learn that, had he not been killed motor racing, the Duke of Grafton would have taken delivery of the second Scud II Auxiliary glider, with retractable single-cylinder, two-stroke Villiers MkXIV engine and propeller, as modified by Sir JV Carden, MBE, the cyclecar constructor. The Duke was a keen glider exponent, but he was killed before he could collect his Scud and Carden was killed in an air crash, returning from Belgium just after the successful initial flight of the first Scud II.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Austin 7. There will be an enormous gathering of them at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu on July 5 and another rally organised by the Midlands A7 Club will take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend at the Seven’s birthplace, Longbridge, Birmingham.

Thinking back to that fine new UK 1000 mile record set up in April by the 6½-litre Bentley-Jackson Special, it is interesting that it gave not an atom of anxiety throughout the run. The Dunlop tyres were unchanged and showed little wear at the end of the day. Eighty gallons of Esso were consumed, equal to 12.5 mpg, at lap speeds well above 100 mph, Oil pressure of the Essolube stood at 60 lb/sq in, water heat at 75 degC. Vaughan Davis makes the point that this new record may well represent the fastest 1000 miles achieved by any Bentley, remembering that, in 1926, a three-litre single-seater has set a world’s record of 101.56 mph for that distance and that in 1925 3-litre and 4½-litre Bentleys set such records at around 97 mph. He wonders why WO Bentley did not try for the Class B 1000mile record in the days of the Big Six Bentleys, but it is probable that, by the later 1930s, he was concentrating on Le Mans, when he would have been happy with the victory there in 1929 of the Barnato/Birkin Speed Six and of their 1-2 placings in the 1930 race. Had the Speed-Six Bentleys gone for long-distance track records ‘Mother Gun’ might well have had a harder task to beat them this year. But by 1930 interest in record attacks had diminished. Now they are rare undertakings, which makes the recent run by the Stanley Mann team, when they broke Parry Thomas’s 68 year-old time with the Lanchester, all the more interesting.

The Vincent HRD OC asks us to say that the Memorial Service for Phil Irving MBE, will be held at Holy Trinity Church, Weston, Hitchin, Herts, at 12 noon on August 8 and that any readers who wish to attend will be welcome. Apart from his well-known work on Vincent motorcycle designs. Irving also penned the ‘Highpower’ head for the engines that resulted in the FJ Holdens dominating Australian saloon car racing in the late 1950s and then the three-litre Repco Brabham engine which was used in the Brabhams that gave Sir Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme the F1 World Championship in 1966 and 1967.

Dunlop has produced a folder about all the tyres it makes for older cars, divided into sections covering Veteran, Edwardian, between wars and vehicles from the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Information is given about size, tread pattern, inflated diameter, inflated width, loaded static radius, rolling circumference at 30 mph, revs per mile at this speed, maximum permitted load, maximum pressure (one notes that a 26×3 cover will stand 50 psi, although most A7 users would run them nearer to 20) and rim width. All this should be of much value. The folder has colour pictures of an A7 van used by Dunlop (OV 323) and other cars, including veteran Wolseley, Model-T Ford, Vanguard, Morris Minors and so on as well as illustrations of the 16 classic tread patterns available and the top speed limits of such Dunlops, starting at 75 mph for beaded edge and straight sided covers. The folder is available free from Stuart Wyse, Marketing Services Manager of SP Tyres UK Ltd, Fort Dunlop, Birmingham, B24 9QT on mention of Motor Sport.

The Bullnose Morris Club’s magazine for April/May contained an informative piece about those radiator-cap thermometers which often graced vintage cars but about which not much has been known. Now Robin Barradough provides a worthwhile glance at them, with illustrations of various types of Boyce Moto-Meters, and Wilmot-Breeden Calormeters, as fitted to Morris cars. The magazine also illustrates anti-shimmy dampers for vintage steering gear, as made by Andre, Frikke and Houdaille. We can only suggest that non-Morris drivers needing such information should join the Club! Secretary: Richard Harris, PO Box 383, Hove, Sussex, BN3 4FX.

The Railton OC is making the Hudson Terraplane’s 60th anniversary the theme of its National Rally at the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden Aerodrome, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire on June 28. All owners of Hudson-Essex and Terraplane cars are invited, and many versions will be on display, including a coupe from the 1932 launch period. It is a little late to enter but those wanting last-minute details could ring the club, on 0742-468357.

Hooe’s Old Motor Club has asked us to publicise its vintage rally on August 2, which will include a Concours d’Elegance, ring events and so forth, with bar and refreshment stalls available, from 10.45 to 4.30pm. Part of the proceeds go to Kidney Research; contact F Barrow on 0424-222201. The venue is Hooe, Battle, E Sussex, and pre-1951 cars and motorcycles are welcome.

Anyone who drives preserved buses or coaches as well as vintage cars should note that after September, it will no longer be legal to do so on an ordinary driving licence or unendorsed PSV licence. Apply for details to Vocational Team, DVLC, Swansea, SA99 1BR or your local Vehicle Registration Office or DOT Traffic Office.

Before we are again accused by the VSCC of not correcting our mistakes, it has to be said that it was in his ERA-Delage, not his ERA R4D, that AJ Mayman won the Lindsay Pre-War race at Silverstone on April 11, although first place was shown as being achieved by R4D in the VSCC’s own results sheet! The ERA-Delage with Zoller-blown two-litre engine was used because R4D had become a bit “fluffy” towards the end of an earlier race, in which it was second to a post-war B-type Connaught. As Spollon’s ERA R8C had trouble in practice, Mayman lent him his Roots-blown R4D for the Lindsay race, but it non-started. And the author of the great MG book Maintaining The Breed is John Thornley, not ‘Thorley’ as printed last month.