Miscellany, July 2003

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I see that David Ogilvy, who used to do flight tests of light aeroplanes for Motor Sport, is doing this for General Aviation. If those who had a fast sportscar and perhaps raced at Brooklands wanted to buy an aeroplane, I wonder what they would have bought? I would have chosen a Comper Swift or a Percival Mew Gull.

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Shire Books have brought out The 500cc Racing Car by Colin C Rawlington (ISBN 0-7478-0555-5, £3.50). This is very well done, with 60 good pictures. The author raced the Smith-Butler 500, becoming a 500 Car Club director, and he covers the early days and the present revival, with descriptions of many of these little cars. My only criticism is that he omits the part Motor Sport and Kenneth Neve, with his pioneering 500s, took in getting this form of racing into action.

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The Vintage Morris Minor Register, which serves owners of 1928-1931 ohc cars, is holding its Summer Rally on July 18-20, marking the 75th anniversary of the first ‘upstairs-camshaft’ Minor. The event is open also to side-valve Minors, M-types and ohc MGs, of which eight 18/80 MGs and Anthony Longhurst’s rare 18/100 MG are on the entry list, along with earlier MGs and Morris cars. The event is also open to members of the VSCC, the Early MG Society and the Bullnose Morris Club. The VMMR also publishes a very interesting magazine, which has made me think of adding a Minor to live with our A7s – but perhaps not, as the latter might become jealous of the Morris’s half-elliptic suspension, or the Minor might be iffy about the predominance of A7s in VSCC events. Details of the VMR weekend can be found on www.vintageminor.co.uk.

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The House of Commons Classic Car Club has just been reformed. So they are not all stuffy chaps! A liaison meeting between this HoCCC and the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs was held in March, and this can only be good for the protection of older vehicles against laws for motor vehicles in general. At the first meeting of both organisations duty on leaded petrol, the need for a return to a rolling date for the road tax concession, and similar matters were discussed.

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From the STD Register’s Newsletter l learn that three of the 1912 Coupe de L’Auto Sunbeams which defeated all but the Peugeot and the massive Fiats in that year’s French GP at Dieppe, and won the Coupe itself, later to appear at Brooldands, have survived. There is one in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, another is being reassembled, and the winning car is in France, owned by Andre Plasch, who has put it into original livery after buying it in Germany four years ago. Which is indeed good news.

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When it was formed the 750 MC was intended as a club to encourage social and mildly competitive events for A7 owners. It and the Pre-War Austin 7 Club fulfill these functions today in fine fashion. The 750 MC, so named as a change from using the car’s make as its title, and which I thought was a bit of fun as suggesting to the uninitiated in motor matters a new nightclub or something of that kind, has expanded its activities so widely that less costly motor racing is now very well provided for. Its Yearbook lists a dozen series, and its 2003 events number 51. Contact Neil Carr-Jones, 112 Malling Street, Lewes, E Sussex, BN7 2RJ.

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One annual which no MG enthusiast can possibly ignore is the Triple Yearbook published by the Triple-M Register. The current issue has erudite articles on the first P-type, a well-researched study of Carbodies and MGs, and the competition career of the late Dickey Green, the last of the pre-war MG trials team, among others. The colour pictures are superb. The Yearbook costs only £8 plus £2 p&p from the Triple-Register Librarian, 28 Allen Road, Great Bookham, Leatherhead, Surrey KT23 4SL.

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The results of recent VSCC events show the Curborough Trophy at the May 4 speed trials to have been won by James Baxter (1934 Frazer Nash), in a time of 37.28sec. The revised Wiscombe hillclimb results for the May 11 event are FTD by Fyrth Crosse (Mallock U2) in 46.99sec, the best time by a pre-war car 48.22sec by Bruce Spollon’s ERA R8C, and fastest vintage car Trevor John’s AC-GN, in 51.36sec. The sportscar award went to Brian White’s Frazer Nash (48.73sec).

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Sad, sad, sad: Recently an historic Porsche 906 was completely destroyed in a fire during April’s Tour Auto, the Invicta S1 was badly damaged while acting as course car at Silverstone, and to be able to accommodate more exhibits, not all British, the British Motor Industry Trust is selling off some 90 of its present collection, including a number of British cars of considerable interest.

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A Dinky-Toy Foden 8-wheeled lorry was sold for £12,000 at a recent auction, to a British collector against bids from America and Europe. When new it cost less than £1. And to think I have not looked at my Dinky cars for years and years…

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