V-to-C Miscellany, July 1996, July 1996

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Claude Yates, whom 750 MC members will remember as a pioneer of Ford-engined A7 Specials and organiser of a trial which became the Walsingham Cup event for a trophy he presented, tells us has been reading MOTOR SPORT for some 60 years. His first car was actually built especially for him (at a cost of only £12.50) by a firm in New Cross, London, consisting of a raised A7 chassis with Ulster engine and slab-tank body which did well in trials, such as the Kentish Border CC’s events, until the need for more power drove Yates to his Ford Ten A7, with LMB front suspension, in 1946. Yates then owned a Holland Birkett A7, and went on to Jensens and Porsches. Now he has a 1969 Abarth coupe and would like to know who had this very satisfactory car, PKO 810G, from 1969 to 1973 when he bought it. Letters can be forwarded.

A reader with a 1927 12/50 Alvis,perhaps inspired by our recent recall of the WB/ MOTOR SPORT “Boxing Night Informal” Runs we organised from 1953 to 1961 would like to re-enact them and wonders if anyone could provide a copy of one of the route cards?

On the cyclecar front, a reader who used to be associated with racing a Lotus, has found photographs of a Gibbons on Herefordshire number plates, which his father used in the 1920s, with the flat-twin Coventry Victor engine slung on its off-side.

The Trojan OC has its Malvern weekend on July 13/14, while the Chester MC recognises 75 years of activity with a run for historic cars on July 25, a Thursday, starting and finishing at The Kings School, Chester; entry £15, details from N Pratt, 32 Shavington Avenue. Hoole Chester CH2 3RD, The Hants & Berks MC is hoping to hear from past members in this year of its 50th Anniversary, having recently celebrated its Golden Jubilee Weekend, write to Pam Roper, 33 St Paul’s Gate, Wokington, Berks RG11 2YP (0118978 7684).

That knowledgeable historian Harry Edwards has again enhanced the Morris Register Journal with a piece on “Two Gallon Petrol Cans”, with illustrations of these and various fillers etc from the vintage period, in the Spring issue, which also has useful data on how to repair Armstrong shock-absorbers and PLC panel-switches. Secretary: M Thomas, 5 Woodland Rise, Oxted, Surrey RH8 9HW.

A student at Glasgow School of Art has taken as his subject Specials made by Scottish builders, such as the Anderson Specials, the BMW based Omega, the similar Jackal, the trials Girastro with a Rover Ten chassis, the later 3-litre discbraked competition Rover Special with P3 chassis, and the Hopper Specials, etc. The latter embraced the coupe with Riley Kestrel chassis and Triumph Dolomite engine, the 1960 EHS 12 with BMW power and AS preselector gearbox, able to touch 92mph, and the notable JGE 300 with dirt-track-type LeaFrancis engine. Another Scottish-built Special which Ross Finlay recalled in The Herald was the twin-gearbox Stafonak trials car (bottom gear said to be 97.8 to 1!). He also remembered other Scottish Specials such as the Pis, Berdmonk, Harfeah, Page’s Mercotto, Hendtey’s Speedy, the Crocus, Osclyat and others, and hopes some may appear on the sprint courses.

After using his replica Bugatti Royale which took some 7 1/2 years to build, Tom Wheatcroft has sent it to America to be auctioned, with a reserve price of $3.5 million! The value of a surviving genuine Royale is mind-boggling. . .

From some recently discovered records left by the late Henry Folland, designer of such famous aeroplanes as the SE5a fighter of 1914/18 and the Gloster Grebe and Gladiator of the inter-war years, comes the snippet telling us that his son Eric remembers that his father used to drive to the Cricklewood Neuport factory from Dallis Green, then in open country, in his ABC two-seater, which he apparently found reliable, unlike the ABC Dragonfly aero-engines Folland was associated with. The car was painted blue, like the Nieuport racing aeroplanes.

We hear that a 1921 10.4hp Calthorpe twoseater (not the Sporting model), which has not been on the road since 1964, its first owner running it on the loM until it went back to its birthplace, Birmingham, in 1954, has been in process of restoration there since 1988.

If anyone is in need of Minerva pistons we know of a set, which will be scrapped unless required. Letters can be forwarded.

Although it has nothing to do with cars, a long-standing reader of MOTOR SPORT asks for support for the Welsh Highland Railway Society, which is restoring K1, the Garrett steam locomotive. Details from: Ian McKenzie, 99 Harbourne Road, Edgebaston, Birmingham B15 3HG (0121 4541522).

The 35hp straight-eight Sunbeam, used at one time by Keith Schellenberg for taking the Barnato-Hassan to race meetings in its exsaloon converted van body, came up for auction last month. It is thought to be the sole remaining straight-eight Sunbeam of this type in the Northern hemisphere. W B

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