Miscellany, July 2004

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Anyone who feels affection for pre-war Austin 7s should attend the 42nd National Rally at Beaulieu on July 4, when the grounds are filled with every sort of A7. Organised by the 750MC, entry forms are available from Neil Carr-Jones, 112 Mailing Street, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 2RJ. The following weekend, July 8-10, the Austin Centenary will be celebrated at Caton Park, southwest of Birmingham. On the Saturday, from 11am, 100 Longbridge-built Austins will parade from Victoria Square back to the old factory, a sight not to be missed. Information is on the A7CA website: www.a7ca.org

* * *

Pip Buckness has written from Australia to say that after spending 31 years rebuilding the ex-Bobby Baird 1935 R-type MG (chassis RA0250) he is seeking its full history. Baird bought it new and after racing it in the IoM, etc, took it to Ireland. It was sold later — to whom and when? Pre and post-war it was raced here by J Watson and Shipley, and in Ireland by Geoff McCrea and Patterson. The car took part in this year’s Australian GP parade.

* * *

The Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust, which has published 36 of its Historical series of beautifully illustrated and very informative books about so many aspects of R-R cars and engines, etc, and six equally valuable books under Technical headings, has brought out one of its largest books in the former series, In The Beginning — the Manchester Origins of Rolls-Royce by Michael H Evans. Running to 380 pages and 212 photographs, it’s exceptionally interesting. A second edition is now available. Non-members can obtain this fine volume for £16, a notable bargain, from the R-R Heritage Trust, PO Box 31, Derby DE24 8BJ.

* * *

Mr J D Bolton was asking for information about his 1929 Riley, WD 3648. Harry Currell remembers Harold Craugh, who owned the garage where Mr Curren was an apprentice, buying the Riley in 1956/57. It was then that the scuttle was modified and the colour changed from red to blue at the Rocldiffe Coachworks at Cullercoats. Afterwards it was sold to Geoffrey Mardle.

* * *

It is interesting that owners of valuable cars are prepared to run them in longer races — and why not, if they are in good condition? For example, an over-45min one, with optional driver swop and artificial pit pause, is the three-hour team race on September 11 at the VSCC Donington Park Historic Racing Festival.

* * *

The Campbell Trophy in the VSCC’s Scottish Trial was won by James Diffey’s 1929 Austin 7, with top marks. The Sammy Davis Cup went to Stewart Gordon (1929 A7 Chummy), the McCosh Trophy to Paul Cassidy’s 1929 Riley 9 Special. But for me the best happening was that Sue Livesey’s 1921 GN Vitesse tied on points with a 1930 A7 and bettered 13 other award-winners. First Class Awards went to D Nye, S Price (A7s), M Butterworth (Chevy) and B Cox (Bugatti).

* * *

The 37th annual reunion of the Brooklands Society takes place at Brooklands on June 20, the theme being ‘Red, White and Blue’, with the prospect of Italian, German and French cars in the Test Hill climbs and banking runs. Napier-Railton demonstrations are promised at 12 noon and 2pm. Entry is free to Society members, £6.50 for non-members. Tickets for the President’s Reception with Sir Stirling Moss, OBE are £12.

* * *

Regulations for this years London-Brighton Run have been issued. It is billed as “the world’s longest-running motoring event”, based presumably on the 1896 Emancipation Run, although the word ‘veteran’ makes this questionable. Entries close by July 31, or at higher fees by October 18. Pre-1900 cars pay less, with free entry for cars shipped from outside Europe. Although the 1904 date is resumed, cars originally VCC-dated as eligible but which were later redated as after 1904 will still be accepted. The Concours for selected veterans will take place on November 6, the Run on November 7. Details from LBVCR Motion Works, 10 High Street, Braddey, NN13 7DT.

* * *

It was good to learn that, as in pre-war times, the IoM permitted public roads to be closed for the Manx Centenary of motorsport, when the original Gordon Bennett route was used for the anniversary of that race. The Lieutenant-Governor unveiled a plaque at the stardine and made a tour of the circuit in the C-type Jaguar that was raced in the 1950s British Empire Trophy events, followed by cars from veteran to modem.

* * *

At the ambitious Historic Festival at Silverstone on June 4-6 the VSCC came closer to the 1970s racing scene, combining with the HSCC and Octagon Motor Sport. The three days racing over the International circuit had events for BRDC 1950s, HGPCA drum-braked sportscars, Gp4 racing/sports prototypes and 1966-77 F1 cars. This meant a lack of the traditional short handicap and scratch races, not visualised by the VSCC. Its 70th Anniversary week at Harrogate on August 16/22 incorporates the Harewood speed hillclimb.