Thanks to a reader who sent me a copy of an item from The BromlOecord for February 1909, the sad fate of some famed old racing cars is known. Some 14 cars of A Huntley Walker, well-known racing motorist, were destroyed in a fire at his country home in Kent, in 1908. They included his 90hp Darracq intended for the 1909 French GP which was never run, two 120hp racing Darracqs, one the winner of the 1905 Vanderbilt Cup race, the other a GP car, an 80hp Darracq, two touring Napiers, two Mercedes tourers, four Weigels and another two unspecified tourers.
Mr Walker had raced a Darracq at the first Brooldands Meeting in 1907 and remained loyal to them, looking after the team which finished 1, 2, 3 in the 1924 JCC 200 Mile Race.
As a change from reading about racing, you may like Geoff Owen’s Turning Back the Clock — the life and times of a motor trader, covering his memories from leaving school in 1945 to the present day. I found it very readable and revealing. With the Rover debacle one item is worth quoting: “In 1958 the British Motor Corporation boasted a net slice of 43 per cent of the total home market. By January 1963 the share had dropped to 39 per cent as uncertain delivery times, thirdrate quality and dated designs all began to have their effect on the buying public. The long slide had begun.” See how the salesmen and sales managers tried to cope! It is a soft-cover 256-page Fitzjames Press MRP imprint (£7.99, ISBN 948358 06 8).