Scuderia M.A.R.S.



[We have put the case for the Scuderia method of joint ownership and a number of such organizations have been described. In this article J. R. A. Green, now 2nd Lieut., R.A.S.C., describes another successful stable.—Ed.]

THE period over which our motoring experiences extended was from 1933-1939, although strong vintage sympathies, and impecunious state, led us to purchase motors of a much earlier era. These motors were owned by a band of four enthusiasts, a delightful partnership, which only a war could break up.

Our first enthusiasm found outlet on hearing of a 1923 Morris-Oxford, which with the astoundingly small mileage of 23,000 to its credit, could be obtained for £2. A very cold winter’s Saturday saw us proudly towed back to our garage. This place was an enthusiast’s ideal. It consisted of a large old coach-house adjoining a public garage and with its own private yard and drive leading through the (to us) familiar portals of an old coaching-house.

On arrival here, the cumbersome touring-body of the Morris was removed from the chassis. Then the slower process of careful reassembly of the engine took place, with mildly polished ports (anyone familiar with Morris ports will quite appreciate the limitation!), high compression-gasket, and an S.U. carburetter replacing the original five-jet Smith “gas-works.” The aforementioned private drive then came in for a considerable amount of use, as all members of the Scuderia tested the machine in chassis form.

A sports four-seater body was then made, with large rear petrol tank, all rather Bentley and pseudo, but definitely individual. Painted the inevitable green, she was ready for the road—well, almost! A little misunderstanding about oil-levels caused a big end to run, when passing the Daytona Hornet Special which was being used to check the Morris speedometer. The Hornet was then registering a steady 70, so we felt that our months of labour had not been in vain. Occasional grovelling under her  always spotless sump attending to offending knocks were about the only repairs necessary, until neglect in this direction while on holiday led to the original engine’s seizure. However, the garage outside which she conveniently stopped had a 1927 Oxford engine available, and in three days we were motoring again.

During two years’ hard use the old machine carried us to Brooklands and Donington meetings, as well as to Vintage S.C.C. trials, without any embarrassing incidents, though an insistence to make fire in the middle of Oxford Circus was once a little trying.

By now a Le Mans 4½-litre Bentley had replaced the Hornet, and all four of us were ardent members of the V.S.C.C.

The Bentley was raced in the 1929 “Double Twelve” by Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Scott, when the back axle got tired in the 23rd hour. Later, competing in the 500 Miles Race, she finished fifth, at 98.8 m.p.h. A “4½” is a bit unwieldy for trials, as participation in the Vintage S.C.C. Cotswold event soon showed us, so her luck was tried at a Crystal Palace meeting, where Mr. McKenzie easily demonstrated that his “4½” was plus that little something!

Another acquisition which had her debut in racing that day was a blown, roller-bearing Lea Francis four-seater. Supercharged by a No. 9 Cozette, this very potent machine romped home with a “first” in the first Vintage race. This was most encouraging, as we had not spent much time in preparing this motor, our labours having been devoted to rebuilding another blown 1,500 c.c. job, about which more anon.

The Lea Francis was apparently the car raced by Oetzmann in the 1931 “Double Twelve,” and was a replica of Peacock’s Le Mans car. She provided a remarkable two-gear (bottom and top— the other two got mislaid) run from Bristol to town once, in record time; and while being taken to her “duration resting-place,” the writer extracted 92 m.p.h. as a parting gesture.

Her previous owner, beset with back axle troubles, had thrown the “Leaf” aside, in favour of the 1929 ex-Campari 1,750 c.c. T.T. Alfa Romeo. Possessed of phenomenal acceleration, the Alfa would go up to the “100” mark, to the accompaniment of a pleasing supercharger whine.

So for the modest sum of £15 the Lea Francis entered our Stable, and a little money and time soon developed her into a very fast touring machine.

Interest in specials had attracted us to a Bristol venue, where our first visit made us confirmed C.A.P.A. enthusiasts, so that immediately a suitable motor was sought.

Weight limitations decided us in favour of an early Austin Seven. This was promptly stripped and induced to run to Bristol, a feat it seemed very loth to perform, using fantastic quantities of water, petrol, oil and tyres. Snow-covered roads and heavy sleet prevented our becoming bored, during the rare moments when the machine got above 20 m.p.h. To complete one lap at the venue was, however, quite beyond its rear main bearing’s capabilities, and this immediately liquefied. We tired a little of Austins after that, though several other members showed precisely what miracles these little cars could be made to perform.

The next meeting saw us in possession of a “Surbaisse” Amilcar. Her three-seater, decked body was neither light nor pretty, so this had been removed, and horror-stricken insurance companies were approached for a cover-note to protect us from the law. Her journey to Bristol was truly meteoric, leaving wondering faces peering up the road. Nor did her first burst of speed belie her later achievements. Quite why such unkind things are said about these motors I don’t know. The two we’ve had were excellent little machines. Their weakness lay in their big-ends, which will readily cry out loudly if in worn condition, and later events soon taught us that one should then stop. On this run the Amilcar bettered an average petrol-consumption of 35 m.p.g., and exceeded 70 m.p.h., a speed which our second “Surbaisse” also attained. Removal of starter and dynamo in pursuit of weight-reduction meant constructing plates to cover the gaps. Perhaps these weren’t the world’s best fit, as a pair of Castrol-green shoes displayed by the driver testified. Apart from spraying you with oil, an oil breather belched forth fumes in a very rude manner, and immediately directed themselves unto the driver’s mouth, so there was never a dull moment.

Our first effort gave us second place. Later, undue revving in an intermediate gear caused a knock, which cried out to all the world for attention. Continued urging brought a connecting rod and its attendant piston out of the side of the crankcase, in the neatest exit (and largest hole) I’ve ever witnessed. Mr. Amilcar, desiring a compact engine, had left a clearance of barely a ¼ inch between the big end outer flange and the crankcase wall, and the absence of white metal, and a tendency to whip, had soon closed the gap and exposed hidden machinery to the outer world.

The advertisement which immediately appeared for another engine I then felt could have been made a standing order to appear with each meeting. The second unit travelled down, decarbonized and all nicely cleaned, under the Bentley tonneau (it was cleaned because the writer had to nurse it). A morning’s hard labour effected the substitution, and the afternoon saw us merrily cracking away.

A team mate was found in the form of a 1927 “Grand Prix” twin o.h.c. Salmson. Not as light in her steering as the Amilcar, she seemed to have a well-designed engine, but ours had a pronounced tendency to fry her plugs, which lived between the camshafts in a very hot place. This always prevented her from distinguishing herself.

The greatest excitement experienced in this motor was on her tow to Bristol. The constant efforts of the author to express his opinion that over 70 m.p.h. was not a respectable towing speed proved utterly unavailing, as the “Sammy’s” brakes were quite unequal to the task of either breaking the towing bar, or of having any effect upon the “Silver Eagle” Alvis which was towing her. A strong desire to avoid a repetition of this type of excitement, and the fact that the Alvis (which had been procured for this purpose) had sprung a leak in that part of its water-system which had easy access to the sump, led to our next Amilcar being driven to the West Country.

We had experience with two “Silver Eagle” Alvises. They were very fast, both being capable of over 70 m.p.h., and the three-carburetter job, with a light aluminium, two-door saloon body by Carbodies, was good for 80. The white metal plugs in the cooling system were, however, liable to leak through corrosion, and insertion of a piece of tree hardly effected the best of cures. In common with all the earlier Alvises, their Timpkin Roller propeller shafts, when worn, were the very devil, it being impossible to overcome the excessive lash without renewing both universals.

It was not the most opportune time to choose for a demonstration of comparative acceleration powers, but with the malignant Austin “Seven” in tow, we certainly showed a 1932 2-litre Lagonda who could first reach 60.

The run westwards on the second Amilcar was commenced with number two big end in a far from happy state. An inoperative speedometer helped little to maintain a discreet maximum, while it is feared that the presence on the writer’s tail of an American roller caused his contempt of such a ghastly show of roadholding to be shown by batting at speeds (subsequently confirmed by the escorting Bentley) to be well in excess of 60 m.p.h. When the big end liquefied, a quite warm “4½” pulled up to inform the miscreant that the last 7 miles had been knocked back at about 73 m.p.h. . . . .

A 1926 model, with a very attractive narrow two-seater body with staggered seating, this Amilcar showed that for a 9-11.p. job her acceleration was superior to that of the “P” type M.G. Midget, and the steering was as pleasant and positive as any we’ve ever handled.

An hour’s roadside labour saw us continuing, it must be admitted, rather unevenly, on three cylinders.

This motor had been purchased for £10 (the same price which was paid for both the other French machines) to provide the fourth member of our Scuderia with a C.A.P.A. car. She was obtained to replace our E.H.P., which at that time was the cause of some controversy. The E.H.P., a 1925 1,500 c.c. job, had handsomely shattered C.A.P.A.’s lap record, previously held by Dick Caesar’s A.C.-engined special “Alfi”.

This feat we later discovered she performed with the rear main hearing non-existent. This very rare motor cost very much more than the customary “tenner,” and we all felt should not be battered at Bristol, but turned into a fast road car, suitable for Vintage S.C.C. speed events.

This is where the controversy came in. Mr. Heath Robinson himself would have admitted that bearing support from twisted wire (yes, my friends, WIRE) was not quite the ideal. So half the foursome presented the stable with a 1930 six-cylinder Hotchkiss engine. The remaining two admitted it was vintage, but didn’t like it. Placing a 4-litre unit in a 1½-litre chassis did seem very brutal, sacrilege apart, while it was very much doubted if it would better the terrific performance of the original engine, powerful as it was.

Arguments ensued, wherein “Paris Nice” Hotchkiss, 25-h.p. Bedfords and Delahayes were featured. It ended in new engine mountings being installed and the first steps being taken in the wrong direction. But the gods which watch over such proceedings would not sanction such a conversion, and the cylinder-head got mislaid while away to be machined (very cunning), and meanwhile the crankcase of the E.H.P. and its broken pieces were hurried to Mr. Barimar.

The outbreak of hostilities found two feverish enthusiasts reassembling with loving care, and considerable financial expenditure, the complicated machinery to have the machine in one piece, so that should some less informed person later discover her, hers might not be the fate which befalls so many individual ”old timers.”

The early history of this car is a little obscure. She would appear to have been built to the 1925 Grand Prix formula, and an E.H.P. did distinguish itself in a Spanish Grand Prix. They were also raced at Le Mans, and elsewhere on the Continent. This particular motor finished her racing career at Brooklands in about 1931, when one Olive drove her at a lap speed said to have been 114 m.p.h. This, with a two-bearing crankshaft, seems fantastic, though at Bristol we reached speeds in the 90s, with obvious power in hand.

Her overhead camshaft is operated through a shaft-drive, from the front end of the crankshaft, which also drives the No. 8 Cozette supercharger, which is mounted at the front of the unit. Her aluminium sump, frontal cover, valve cover and combined clutch and gearbox housings were of extremely rough cast, and a spot of emery wheeling was turned to these quarters, greatly improving her outward appearance. The balanced crankshaft is highly polished and drilled to provide oil passages to the Main bearings and big ends.

The steel connecting-rods, too, are well-finished, and neatly drilled.

The rear engine-mounting consisted of a large steel tube running through the rear of the crankcase, which was cast in one piece with the block, a la Riley Nine. It was here that hammering from the crank, in the absence of its rear bearing, had caused a mighty crack to spread from side to side. The lower portion of the cup, holding this wanderlust bearing, had also broken away— probably where the trouble originated. It was this area that came in for Mr. Barimar’s attention.

The gears whined pleasantly on the intermediate ratio, and the box was a delight to handle, extremely rapid changes being the order of the day. The cylinder bores were not excessively worn and new piston rings, we felt, would prevent oiling-up at low r.p.m.

Had we at the time known the sad state of her engine we should certainly not have run her, let alone show Ford V-8s where they got off on acceleration in any part of their range, a performance of which her four cylinders were easily capable.

Reverse and first gears followed each other in line with no stop, a point which would have worried us at the starting line with another E.H.P. in front!

The ribbed brake-drums, though not of immense proportions. gave terrific anchorage, and even with a modern Rover on her tail, discretion had to be shown when stopping. The steering was high-geared and all one would expect from a thoroughbred. The chassis-frame, with quite deep members, was stiff and was underslung at the rear, the springs being mounted outside the frame. At the front end of the scuttle the frame stepped up in Riley fashion and continued to the normal mounting of the front semi-elliptics. The radiator was very “Delage,” and originally had an awful cowl, which we preserve as a souvenir of her Brooklands days.

A starter ring and housing for a starter seem to point to Le Mans specification, and rumour that an E.H.P. was once in existence in this country with a two-seater decked touring body might be the explanation.

That further details were not available of the original appearance has been the cause great annoyance to the writer, as it was felt this worthy car should be restored to her first form. However, with no data to work upon, the next best thing was done, and that was to lower the attractive two-seater racing body, by removing two ugly logs upon which it rested, presumably to accommodate some bulky person; this resulted in an unbelievable improvement in her appearance.

Hostilities prevented the completion of our plans, but little remains to be done to finish the work.

Our entry into the veteran period was made possible by procuring a Bebe Peugeot of 1912-3 vintage. This extraordinary little car is supposed to have lapped Brooklands in 1914 at just over 60 m.p.h., holding its class record for 8-h.p. cars at that period.

Most of our time was spent trying to discover plugs which wouldn’t oil up in the very slow-running engine. None of us felt she had any inclination to achieve 60, and a tow behind that rapid Alvis left a nerve-shattered driver firmly convinced that no human could hold her at that speed.

The gear-selector, of primitive design, was rather worn, and had an interesting manner of trying to collect two gears at one time, which made gear-changing quite an art. However this, and excessive oiling, were both receiving attention when we felt the call to arms. The Peugeot possesses a peculiar red two-seater body, very reminiscent of a circus “dodgem car.” Built under Bugatti patents, she has the familiar reversed-quarter-elliptic springs at the rear, and very narrow front dumb-irons, merging into a solid tubular construction at their extremity. Her brass radiator weighs just a few ounces less than that of a Bentley, and has a frontage such as should never cause overheating.

The engine is cast in one piece (well, almost) though it has got an aluminium plate underneath, which can be removed, to enable one to gaze upon the interior. From this end, of course, decarbonisation is carried out. Screw-in primers give access to the valves on each side of the block. Tubular connecting-rods were employed, attached to modest iron pistons with long skirts. The whole car takes to pieces with surprising ease and rapidity.

The least said about the brakes the better. A coachman must have thought these out as their external operation made her tow right through London’s rush-hour traffic as exciting a ride as one could wish to experience.

Now the Peugeot, with the E.H.P., Bentley and Lea Francis for company, awaits the return of unrationed petrol and an inexhaustible supply of clean sparking-plugs.

A number of interesting cars has found a way into our stable, each bought with visions of fast yet reliable touring, an early Jowett being the only car from which such a performance was not expected.

A Hadfield Bean, specially built for the 1929 Monte Carlo Rally, and festooned with gadgets, most of which, surprisingly enough, worked, gave us a few fast runs, before the second disintegrating of her back axle put her off the road, owing to the impossibility of replacing the offending pinion. This car was fitted with the 18-h.p. Meadows engine, similar to that used in the 3-litre Invicta and Crossley cars. She had the usual open fabric sports body.

General looseness in the machinery evoked violent pins and needles above 60, though there is little doubt that in her heyday she must have been good for nigh on 80. Another car, similar to the Bean in appearance, which we had for a short time was a 1928 2-litre Lagonda. Externally, she was in lovely condition, and quite impressive and well proportioned, but—enquiry from her previous owner into the unusual maximum of but 55 m.p.h. led to a sad confession.

Small jets, we were told, had been inserted, to prevent weak-willed speeding, as above 60 m.p.h. her big ends were very prone to run. We felt this surely must be a case for investigation, yet somehow or other more pressing overhauls, and, I think, her twin o.h.c. engine, prompted us to dispose of her; a friend had some trouble-free if leisurely motoring from her. A 1929 Ex-Dobson “Brooklands” Riley provided us with a most thrilling fire on a run to Devon, which quite exhausted the Bentley’s fire-extinguisher and left precious little in those of two A.A. men. We had insisted that continual backfiring was due to plugs, but the third member said “No! I’ve just bought new ones”—we didn’t learn until that night that these had been procured from Woolworths!

Like most old racing cars, much wanted doing to her, and about 70 seemed her limit. Once an inquisitive form was found lying under the car. On withdrawing himself he said he’d heard the supercharger whining and was trying to ascertain where Mr. Riley had fitted it. It must be admitted that before it gave up, that back axle was noisy!

Having heard the praises of the “12/50” Alvis often sung, the writer had visions of a fast economical car in a touring model which was going cheaply. The engine was treated to a most thorough overhaul, and when completed, for a few seconds was as quiet as a mouse. Then the familiar timing-gear racket set up, though this only came in at certain periods, and otherwise one couldn’t have wished for a sweeter “four.”

An enthusiastic clutch-stop made gear-changes a case for lightning movement, and apart from some noise on the lower gears it was a treat to handle. The steering for so light a car was unnecessarily heavy, but quite positive. However, the one chief failing was in the propeller-shaft; nasty things were said about Mr. Timpkin (possibly most unfairly, as the car was by no means new). A 1932 beetle-back two-seater body gave the car a very attractive appearance—no! vintage instincts hadn’t caused us to write off a 1932 “12/60,” a smash had done this, and we rescued the body. One thing always puzzled us with this motor, and that was an extraordinary obstinacy in declining to start on rare occasions, when nothing short of a one-in-eight gradient or a tow would bring the engine to life. Nor did the attention of both Messrs. Lucas and Messrs. Solex effect a cure.

During a period in this car’s reconstruction, a desire was expressed for a F.W.D. Alvis radiator. Enquiry into the price asked by a well-known spare parts dealer led to a rapid search for a complete car, which we purchased for less than had been asked for the radiator alone. This provided us with a very interesting Rootes-blown four-cylinder unit, which would urge its rather cumbersome chassis with 12-inch frame members surrounding the engine, and a heavy saloon body, along in excellent style. When new in 1929, it was said to be capable of over 85 m.p.h. When we got her, the usual extensive task of relining her front brakes, located within the chassis members, was distinctly necessary. Some enterprising youth, with obvious knowledge, immediately wrote to us stating he could supply spare parts, which he felt we might need; we didn’t, because another enthusiast was found who could fit the F.W.D. radiator on to his much lowered “12/50,” and after the Norris-Special had spent an expensive, yet enlightening afternoon throwing away four beautiful 500 c.c. Rudge engines, the F.W.D. unit was placed at the disposal of the two enthusiastic Norris brothers, and everyone was happy!

While on the theme of specials, it is felt that it would not be inopportune to issue a warning to builders of such cars. We have learnt that before you start on your special you want to estimate its final cost, double this, and add the expense of a year’s garaging, and allow at least four times as long as you originally planned for nearing completion. If, however, you are connected with the “Trade,” which, incidentally, none of us are, you might stand a better chance of getting the machine running inside twelve months.

Not that we hold anything against specials, our 8th series Lancia-suspensioned V-8 Ford-engined job should be great by about 1960, and the F.W.D. engine with glass-like ports, and perfect external finish, in her Frazer-Nash-type frame, is one of the most pleasant sights I’ve ever seen, and can produce nice long black marks on the road when she accelerates. Visits to the Norris workshop became a regular occurrence, and led to our being initiated into “Nashing” in a 1933 T.T. replica model which was very quick off the mark, and definitely had an individuality all of its own, with crash gear-changes, and a spring bracket eating into one’s rearmost parts. Even a friend’s Type 37 Bugatti wasn’t quite the same, though it was uncomfortable enough and possessed of perfect roadholding and a good performance, even with low-compression pistons fitted. However, like the E.H.P., these cars are a little stark for town touring. It would not be loyal to pass over the old Bentley without a note of praise for her sterling qualities, and appreciation for such reliable service.

Built specially for the 1929 “Double Twelve,” she had full Le Mans equipment, with the 25-gallon petrol-tank having the peculiar feature of twin snap fillers, as opposed to the more usual 6-inch central affair. Large size rev, counter and speedometer (the latter rather annoyingly possessing no mileage trip) enhanced the appearance of her well-filled dashboard. Her Le Mans specification included a reserve scuttle oil-tank with pipeline to the sump. On one occasion when the sump was in need of nourishment, the tap beneath this tank was turned on, and then an unfortunate lapse of memory set in, and some minutes elapsed before the driver came out of his reverie. On the homeward journey we spent long periods under lamp-posts de-oiling the plugs, the miscreant being allotted those on the exhaust side.

In spite of Le Mans ribbed brake-drums, stopping her two tons of bulk always required rather herculean efforts. The adjusting cable, which could be wound up by turning a knob beneath the driver’s legs, snapped once, leaving only a handbrake operating on the rear wheels, and the gear-lever rather disconcertingly came away on one occasion in the driver’s hand, but we never failed to reach our destination in the old girl.

Her twin S.U. petrol pumps, located beneath the front seats on the chassis cross-member, were unable to cope with the petrol situation in the upper eighties, and quite energetic pumping was called for to keep pressure in the tank. This exertion was due to a slight air-leak round the cork washers, and at a Donington meeting made the Bentley’s performance most unimpressive. Peter Robertson Roger, I believe, experienced a similar symptom on his blower car.

In original form her body had been fabric-covered, but the elements had necessitated aluminium panelling at some period, and this had been sacrilegiously sprayed black. Light leather-laced seats provided not the most comfortable ride. A sensible feature of the body was a beam behind these front seats, which not only strengthened the body but also gave a neat appearance to the tonneau line. Of precisely the same construction was the sister car, winner of the 1929 “500,” and now owned by Mr. Emons.

After her first racing days the original 3.3 to 1 axle ratio was replaced by the standard back axle ratio of 3.53 to 1, and with this 92 m.p.h. was the best recorded speed.

A really good Bentley is undoubtedly a sheer delight, but we soon discovered that bringing a Bentley up to this desired standard can be an extremely expensive business. The regrinding of the crankshaft at Bentleys, with the substitution of Aerolite for the original ” hour-glass” pistons, which had lapped up gallons of oil, and were quite “loud” when starting from cold, cost a packet. Skimming and remetalling the brake-drums, and attention to the camshaft as well as an examination of a noisy third speed in her “D” type box, were further items of expense. But there is no denying that, in good condition, these cars will run for ever, and give a class of motoring that very few makes have ever excelled.

The writer has made a close study of this marque, and we have been able to trace seven genuine racing unblown “4½s,” two Dorothy Paget cars, and a Birkin practice car. The opportunity to view old number “6” 3-litre aroused much enthusiasm, though a 4½-litre engine then nestled under her bonnet. Another friend had a 3-litre practice car; and touring the “right” car dealers unearthed two more team cars. A most unusual job was the ex-Thistlethwayte 4½-litre, with full-length under-tray and streamlined four-seater body (most rare on a Bentley) and possessing the tapering type of radiator.

The Speed Six cars were far more elusive, and only twice did we see these models offered for sale. The Dunfee crash wrote off the famous old No. 1, then performing with an 8-litre engine, and we hear a team-mate was broken up, so it would appear but one of these cars is still in existence. The experimental 8-litre with Vanden Plas body and 40-gallon rear-tank should make someone a nice post-war motor, if the tax doesn’t become any more awkward.

Experience with a friend’s late 1926 “Red Label” taught the writer that as regards docility and general feeling the 3 litre is the nicer model to handle, and when fitted with a 4½-litre engine, speeds well in excess of 100 m.p.h. are possible, with acceleration in the order of 0-60 m.p.h. in 14 seconds. Ribbed brake-drums off a Speed Six will arrest the progress of this 26 cwt. car in a decisive fashion. The slightly lower-geared steering of the 4½-litre is lighter than that of the 3-litre, and is rather preferable. Like many other enthusiasts, we felt the combination of these features, with the very necessary Hardy Spicer propeller-shaft, would make as pleasant a motor as one could possibly wish for, and for considerably less than £200. This is an ideal we hope to realise after the war.

The ex-Ramponi 1931 “Double Twelve” and T.T. Maserati once nearly tempted us, but we couldn’t see quite eye to eye with the dealer on the value of a Le Mans Bentley. . . .

One of our greatest disappointments was missing by a few hours the opportunity to purchase one of the last 3-litre Sunbeams produced, not actually vintage, but a lovely motor, capable of 90 m.p.h., and positively oozing personality.

Owing to each car’s fascinating individuality, we were always loth to part with any of them. However, the expense of hiring large portions of garage to house them in led to our moving into a warehouse. Here, downstairs, five cars could be stored, and dismantled machinery taken upstairs. This manoeuvre was carried out with the aid of a winch. There was an exciting episode once when for several minutes it was doubtful whether our Baby Peugeot would come up, or whether we, trying to hold the winch down, would go out—that uncertain tipping sensation being ever-present, until the Peugeot was hauled in through the opening, with considerable relief.

Six years’ association with various sports cars has taught us much. Don’t ever dismantle two cars at the same time, and intermingle the parts, as there is then a strong tendency to produce a couple of mongrels. . . .

Not being ourselves able to drive during, what was to us, a more interesting period of motoring, we have at least tried to recapture the joys the Game held around 1927. We have also keenly interested ourselves in pre-1914 designs. However, our limited experience has left out many makes we would like to have sampled, and we can only hope that the post-war period will still leave some good examples of such makes as the “19/100” Austro-Daimler, Le Mans Chenand Walcker, Cottin Desgouttes. Ballot, Excelsior, H.E., Leyland, Lorraine, Moveo, Napier, O.M. “2/3” Le Mans Alfa Romeo, S.S.K. Mercedes-Benz, “Red Seal” Isotta Fraschini, six-cylinder Amilcar, Itala, 40-h.p. Sports Fiat, Straker Squire, Unic and Voisin, to mention but a few of the almost forgotten types which were once famous in the sporting world.

At present, like every other Englishman’s, our one aim is to get this affair settled in the only way our honour will permit, and again make Europe a fit place for enthusiasts to live in.