FROM HOLLAND

FROM HOLLAND

Sir, My enthusiasm for vintage cars started with motor-cycles, about ten years ago. Being practically penniless then, I had to be satisfied by reading anything I could get about motor-cycles. My first bike was a small Motobecane with beltdrive. Every year I visited the T.T. in Assen and after a while my father helped me to get a 150 c.c. Coventry-Eagle. (the Silent-Superb). But before that I rode an old Sarolea of a friend, a very delapidated O.K. Syprerne with belt-drive, etc. Then followed the day that I bought an old frame and with the enthusiastical aid of our village blacksmith I built a grass-track bike (the Huspecial). Already I was becoming car-minded too, and in March 1936 I bought my first vintage car ; a wonderful 2-litre Ballot, of 1924, the 2-litres, with an open four seater Weyman body. It reminded very strongly of the old victorious Le Mans Bentleys. The engine had single o.h.c. with bronze rockers, hemispherical head and radial valves, and the head was beautifully designed. It lasted me about four months. I bought it for about £8 and sold it for Then I had some motor-bikes again. Another Motobecane (two-speeds) and an old four-cylinder ACE which made noises like a diving

aeroplane. After that I rode for four months a very reliable 490 c.c. o.h.v.

Norton of 1929 vintage. A wonderful bike ! In June 1937 it was sold and that day I saw, parked among American tinware an old 0.M., the 1,500 c.c. s.v. four-seater. Directly I bought it, but unfortunately I fell ill, so that it was only In November 1937 that the O.M. was on the road again. I stored it, because in March 1988 I beard about a small English car with supercharger, the said car being owned by somebody in the environs of Delft. The same evening I took the telephone book, looked for a local garage in that particular village, rang the poor fellow our of his cosy bed and heard that he had a small Austin with supercharger. Now that was a car I longed to drive for a long time. "All right," I said, "expect me in about an hour." Then we (my -friend, Deelen and I) got into his Chrysler and drove to De Lier. There I found the car black with red wings, the genuine -Ulster, of 1932 vintage, looking very low and squat. I fell in love with the car and somehow secured it. (The mani

pulations were very intricate). I drove it. till October last and -covered 11000 kins. I painted it orange and called it " Tim " after our great Tim Birkin. It is now in trim again for the road, but to be able to tax it, I must sell the old O.M. which is very sorry thing indeed. The O.M. was re built in 1938. I streamlined the tail, chopped away the running boards and

gave the car an outside exhaust. The engine is lovely and revs, up splendid. The whole thing is built for revs. The chassis is very strong and the car holds

the road as no other. If I am able to keep it, the steering column will be lowered and a scuttle with two screens built over the dashboard. In December 1936 I founded the Netherlands' Automobile Racing Club together with other enthusiasts, first Hans Herkuleyns the M.G. racing driver. We now have about 300 members. Honorary members are ; Lord Howe, Kay Petre and Percy Bradley also Charles Faroux. I am still secretary of the Club and have made our little paper for two years. But in spite of all the work I have till now, not been able to bring a Grand Prix to Holland nor bring (except for a few very enthusiastic friends) the spirit of and the love for the old sports-cars like the Vintage Sports Car Club does in England. But then, we lack sports-cars and a centre like Brooklands and a course like Dollington. The Royal Netherlands Automobile Club, which is the official body in Holland, and has much influence, organizes for the first time a race ; on June 3rd at Zandvoort where a circuit of '2.3 km. is made, for races in two open classes ; wider lf-litre and over 1 flitre and 750 c.c., 1,100 c.c. 1,500 c.c., 2-litre, 3-litre, 5-litre, and :8-1itre classes for standard cars. Maybe this is a beginning but what we need is a course like Donington ; a course about 5 kms. in length, with about four car and several motor-cycle races a year. This -can be a centre for sports-activity, young people can practice there with their sports-cars and a new generation of racing-drivers can be made there. I am -working for this, but I think that ideal will be a long way ahead. I have always longed to visit England and last year I went to Month:lay with the Austin for a week. I drove every day and lapped

the Piste de Vitesse at about 100 k.ni.p.h. 1 made about 40 laps of the road-course. It was like being in heaven without all the expense of dying. But the thing I should like most, is to drive my faithfuJ Tim round the great concrete saucer of Brooklands, and to pilot the car up Prescott and Shelsley, and to stay with all my friends over in London, whom I

have never seen, and yet know so well, for we are all of the same breed of speed, and enthusiasm. If all goes as planned, I am going over to England this year on July 27th to stay till August 14th so that I can see Prescott on the 30th, Brooklands on Monday, 7th August and the Empire Trophy Race on the 12th. That time I think I will stay in London where I know many people of our splendid sport. Perhaps some of them will put up with me. Owing to lack of cash I cannot yet send my contributions to the British Racing Fund and to the 750 c.c. Club. You can count on me: as a very enthusiast member how ever. Perhaps one or two friends of mine will go over too, one with a 1,100 c.c. Riley and ore with an M.G. or with a 3-litre Ballot. About the Ballot the following story : My friend Deelen was planning to have a sports-car about two years ago. I told him about a 3-litre eightcylinder single cam Ballot chassis which came to the Hague in 1931 and was stored because the buyer Wed and no body was put on the chassis. It was advertised in several papers :during these years but no one in out unsporting country thought it worth while to develop that chassis. I longed'for a year or two to buy it, but lack of cash was the handicap. Of course I told my friend Gerard about that chassis and he decided to buy it. We phoned . . . horror . . . it had been sold three months ago, to a . . . laundry ! Imagine our anxiety. Immediately we went to that linen-lurker ; that starchstumbler who had dared to use a thoroughbred for his own low and dirty purposes ; for carrying dirty socks, and pyjama's and other loathsome things. It was in a deplorable state that we found the Ballot, with only 7000 km. covered, looking ahnost new, but only hitting on six pots. Ordinary mechanics, skilled in demolishing American tinware only, bad played havoc with the Ballot, forgotten the caps On the ends Of the valves messed with the ignition, etc. etc. We secured it, and brought it home. The chassis then underwent a series of changes, it was loweder and shortened, the whole engine was reconditioned, 2i mm. was machined off the head, new pistons., valves, springs, a new camshaft, etc., stronger bearings and so on were installed and at last a beautiful aluminium twoseater body was built, with -a flat undershield from which only the ribbed sump projects. The tail is streamlined.The car is still being run in and two weeks ago I drove it on the dykes here. As all had to be run in we did not go faster than 100 krns., about 2,500 revs. It is believed that the car will rev, up to about 4,500 r.p.m., but we hope to attain 100 M.p.h. on tap (4,000 r.p.m.) or 160 kin. With the years and much work and expense, Gerard hopes to attain 180 and later 200 kins. by tuning the engine and giving other gear and back axle ratios.... The aceel?ration is tremendous and the steering is direct and light. He will be driving at Zand voort on June 3rd. I should like to know if there are in England still specimens of the 3-litre double ram eight-cylinder Ballot. Sonic years ago a 6-litre Ballot two-seater was advertised in the" Motor " capable of 113 m.p.h. I should like to bear about that car. From the Ballot Hispano works we did not hear anything we could use at all, they only send us a common-or-garden instruction book 1 1 A fat lot of use that was to us. They

wrote very formal letters to tell us that it was impossible to rev at over 3,200, even with tuning and that had no " moteurs a doubles arbres a earner." Perhaps there are some 3-litre doublecam engines for sale separately in England? My library of motoring consists of :— " Grand Prix," "Circuit Dust," "Motor Racing," " Combat," " Pull Throttle," "Motor Racing and Record Breaking," "Road Racing 1936," "Wheels of Speed," "Power and Speed," "Modern Boys' Book of Racing Cars," and "Ten Years of Motor and Motor-Racing" (1895

1905) by Jarrott. Wonderful book! I am, Yours etc.,

JOHN HUGENHOLTZ. Ammerstol,

Holland.