V-to-C Miscellany, July 1995, July 1995

It is well-known that Rolls Royce operated a Chauffeurs’ School for those employed to drive their cars, and that similar schools on a lesser scale were run by a few other companies. In researching the Berliet we came upon a 1907 catalogue in which it was mentioned that in 1906 the Company had opened a school near the Lyon factory, where drivers and future employees were trained, and which “was soon filled with pupils”. Did this school pre-date that of Rolls-Royce?

At the speed-trials organised by Benjafield’s Racing Club at the pleasant course in Cornbury Park near Charlbury, Oxon, on June 18, cars of the Aero-Engined CC featured prominently. Incidentally, Cornbury has very early motoring associations. It was where S F Edge and Mrs Edge stayed in 1898, over the Easter holidays, and to where Charles Jarrott brought his 1896 ex-Paris-Marseilles racing Panhard-Lavassor, as Edge had been interested in buying it. As Jarrott was driving down a steep hill with a sharp corner he came upon a coach containing most of the house-party, including Edge. The horses shied, alarming the ladies, but Edge shot down from his seat on the coach’s roof, to complete the journey by motor. Jarrott then gave Harvey du Cros some rather wild driving-lessons in the grounds, before setting out with Mrs Edge for the run back to London, Edge riding his motor tricycle. Travelling too fast down Dashwood Hill. Jarrott lost control of the solid-tyred, tiller-steered racing Panhard and only just avoided overturning. But on arrival Edge did buy the famous “No 8”.

We were knocked badly off balance some time ago on seeing in a contemporary an advertising photograph the caption to which explained that the car depicted was a 1931 Rolls-Royce PII, owned originally by Charlie Chaplin, seen racing past the stands at Montlhery. A Chaplinesque joke, presumably? Then it dawned on us that the car shown was, in fact, a Lagonda LG45 team car, competing in the 1936 French GP, driven by the Loez brothers. Well, these things happen! Fortunately Motor Sport got it right. The car was auctioned by Brooks at Goodwood on June 23.

Chris Clark, whose first volume of his Lanchester Legacy, which Motor Sport reviewed in May, has been very well received, asks us to say that signed copies are available for £28 post-free, from The Lanches, Ledbury Road, Dymock, Gloucestershire.

Historic cars at the Scottish Show, which is to be held from November 9/19 at Glasgow’s Exhibition & Conference Centre, will include the 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost AX201, now valued at £14,000,000. Nineteen manufactures will have stands and it is expected that this Diamond Jubilee show will attract more than the 150,788 visitors who went to the last Scottish Show of 1993.

Excellent that Stanley Mann, Vaughan Davis and the BRC had Brooklands-type cars giving demonstration runs at Millbrook on May 29. But to bill this as the first time such cars had run on a banked track since Brooklands closed in 1939 was a bit hard on the Brooklands Society, at whose Reunions parts of the Byfleet and Members bankings had been used for many years.

The Spring issue of the Vintage Austin Register’s printed magazine contained an article about a 1920 Austin 20/4 with Knibbs’ openable-top saloon body, once owned by the Duke of Devonshire’s agent and used to carry, among others, the then Prince of Wales (King Edward VIII). The car has taken eight years to restore, since being acquired by its present owner in 1974 and then stored. There is also an article by the writer of the “Gumdrop” childrens’ books, about the 1926 Austin 12/4 tourer he bought in 1961, which started this line of writing, and a description of the 12/4’s lubrication system. The Register Secretary is Frank Smith, The Briars, Four Lane Ends, Oakerthorpe, Alfriston, Derbyshire DES 7LN.

Like most other clubs the BSA Front Wheel Drive Club has its own magazine, Front Wheels. The May issue contains valve-timing diagrams and data for the vee-twin engine, which should be useful to those rebuilding these engines — unlike Calthorpe owners who do not appear to have any such timing diagrams to aid them — notes on emission laws as they affect the older cars, and details of the Club’s next Rally on August 13, etc. The Secretary is Ray Young, 63 Syston Road, Oueniborough, Leicester LE7 3FX.

The 1910 Straker Squire which was owned by George Brooks in Australia is now in this country.

Forthcoming VSCC fixtures include the coming Mallory Park Bob Gerard Memorial race-meeting on July 9, the Shelsley Walsh hillclimb on July 22, and the Prescott hill-climb on August 6. Shelsley Walsh is to celebrate its 90th birthday on August 13, at the National hill-climb, when many drivers and cars from Shelsley’s history will be present.

At the Hagley & DLCC Loton Park hillclimb on July 8, HRG owners will gather to remember the 60th year of this very British sports-car. It is hoped that nearly 40, including the prototype HRG, out of a production run of 241, will turn up, of which a dozen will actually be competing. Contact William Mahany on 01582 832878 if you can bring such a car. The HRG folk are fairly cranked-up at present because two Singer-engined HRGs beat all the MG “Cream Crackers” to class awards in the last MCC Exeter and Land’s End trials; they have high hopes of scoring again in the MCC Edinburgh trial.