Attendance was as good as ever at the 750 Club’s meeting at the Ashdown Park Hotel in May. This time members met for tea, and a brief communal run took place afterwards. Amongst those present were Secretary Hunter and Mrs. Hunter, with a borrowed Arrow Austin, just about to leave on war duties at a Far Place; H. L. Biggs in his red Fiat 500; Fisher and Mrs. Fisher in a Raleigh tricycle; Miss Carpenter and most of the Scuderia-of-the-something Elephant, in a very spiritedly-handled 1,100 c.c. saloon Fiat; Gordon Woods in a really decrepit Swift-Ten drophead coupe, acquired from a soldier for 30s. to replace the Frazer-Nash, temporarily in dock; H. L. Williams with his low-built Cozette-blown Austin-Special, complete with triple Cissy horn cluster beneath the bonnet; Birkett with “Ulster” Austin and fantail; Capt. Moon and his smart “Nippy” Austin Seven, Boddy, John Day and Ron Ambrose in a large Hillman box; Henry and Mrs. Ashmore with their “12/50” Lea-Francis; Frost, this time with his unblown “Ulster” Austin; Childs’s late-type Austin Seven two-seater; and Capon, temporarily taking over Hunter’s duties, in his Riley saloon. The “Bulletin” appears to have become a war casualty, but another meeting was scheduled at Blackwater for June 8th. The war subscription is 5s. per annum. Hon. Secretary: P. H. Hunter, 39, Warland Road, London, S.E.18.
WE HEAR . . . .
Speed Services at Blackwater had a blown 1¾-litre Alfa-Romeo with unusual and attractive bodywork in recently and own an American Moto-Scoota with a side valve Waco engine having the smallest carburetter and exhaust-pipe ever seen. Motoring in the Brooklands district, interesting “finds” have included a pre-1914 lowered sports Rolls-Royce that once ran in sprints, a modern Alfa-Romeo two-seater with alloy wheel-discs, and a garage owned by two enthusiasts who run a fine Delage saloon as a hack and possess quite a unique collection of old motor journals, and a 4½-litre Bentley saloon on A.F.S. work. Some of Dick Nash’s veterans, we fear, suffered during a recent air-raid. At the “Plug and Spanner” garage Peck has stored his brother’s “19/100” T.T. Austro-Daimler two-seater, which is said to make a meal of most 4½-litre Bentleys, two A.B.C. motor-cycles, and a nicely-preserved four-cylinder Powerplus-engined aluminium sports Frazer-Nash. He is rebuilding a sleeve-valve P and P motorcycle of the spring-frame variety, and has contrived to set the compression ratio up from the original figure of about 3¼ to 1.
Some lucky person in the R.A.F. gets enough petrol to justify taxing an Isotta-Fraschini.
Percy Bradley is engaged on strenuous daily war-tasks, which include some very long-distance motoring, and Eric Vereker undertakes similar journeys, we believe, in an American automobile; he still owns a few veterans, including the 1914 Stellite. At Farnborough, work on the Worthington twin o.h.c. Frazer-Nash has reached the carburetter tuning stage, and Miss Carpenter has recently acquired a Frazer-Nash. At Cambridge a Bugatti Straight Eight is reported to be doing its 4,500 r.p.m. (50 m.p.h.) in second, 4,200 r.p.m. (64 m.p.h.) in third and 3,700 r.p.m. (just over 80) in top, and it may soon have a blower added. Anthony Heal is rumoured to have bought a “12/60” Alvis, Peter Clark does some 500 miles a week on business journeys in his big, gas-burning Delage, and Hanks motors a late model Type 40 Bugatti with genuine Jarvis body. Leslie Ballamy is mostly redesigning sewing-machines to assist the output of flying-hats for British pilots, but he has much of interest to the enthusiast at his Caterham works and is sending a specimen of his latest Ford independent suspension system to America as soon as the American Navy begins its patrols He is rebuilding an A.B.C. motor-cycle, as this is the only two-wheeler he cares to ride. Several Brough-Superiors, one solo, and a very early chaincase solo Sunbeam have been noticed in action; also a remarkably well-kept 8.3 h.p. Renault touring-car and a Windsor tourer. A. C. Whincop is recovering from a nervous breakdown at Uxbridge Hospital, following flying crashes and other grim experiences. Mrs. Whincop is toiling seven days a week on aircraft production; after the war the Shuttleworth “2.3” twin-cam G.P. Bugatti will be further tuned and the sports Type 43, which does 108 m.p.h. as it is, will be developed for Mrs. Whincop to handle for a year in sprints in order that, in her own words, she can get quite used to a G.P. gearbox (which this car has). Apart from the Bugattis, the Whincops have a delightful garage, a delightful cottage, a jolly bullterrier and some beautifully-arranged and captioned photograph albums. Guerycoe, who was often to be seen driving a hack O.M. at Brooklands and who worked on W. B. Scott’s and Shuttleworth’s cars, has been discovered near at hand, and he has cheered up tremendously on being allowed to work in the Whincop stable. In Chertsey, the very red and polished Vauxhall fire-engine is reputed to really be a “30/98.” At the “Ely,” on a bleak part of the Hartford Bridge Flats, are four veterans, the property of C. A. Smith, of the Veteran Car Club, comprising a 1908 Delaunay-Belleville landaulette with practically new tyres and two brand-new spares, a 1912 12-h.p. F.N. two-seater, an extremely early single-cylinder, rear-engined, two-belt Hurtu and a Locomobile steamer. The last three have been restored with great care and the utmost attention to detail, even the hue of the paint on the Hurtu’s mudguards being as the original, while the Locomobile was built up in nine months from hundreds of pieces, the boiler tested to 250 lb./sq. in. and even the tassels round the immense cape cart hood were spaced correctly in accordance with a photograph —no blue-prints could be obtained. The F.N. was driven from Norfolk to its present home and reached 43 m.p.h. It had been owned by a parson and later by the R.A.F. Tubbs, who wishes to sell his Type 45 B.M.W. and acquire a second D.K.W. or Lancia “Aprilia” reports finding an ex-Gordon Watney “Ninety” Mercedes on a farm in Berkshire, while hot on the scent of “Chitty”—actually, it is pretty certain that “Chitty 1” was broken up and “Chitty 11” went to America in the “Queen Mary” immediately before the war. It now transpires that Speed Services’ Sunbeam-engined Austro-Daimler is a “19/100″—so where is the beautiful twin o.h.c. 3-litre ex-Clive Dunfee Austro? Cyril Peacock recently arrived at a breaker’s in time to save a “12/50” Alvis chassis from which the body had just been torn; he will do it up when time permits. G. F. Lomas, who wrote of Straker-Squires in the November 1940 issue, recently attempted to convert his Morris Eight tourer to steam and get the boiler in only to be let down over the engine, so all is now back as it was. It is a pity that the film “Waterloo Bridge,” period around 1916, shows a quite modern Austin Twelve taxi in one scene, although a really period taxi and an almost-early-enough Rolls-Royce feature in other shots. Does anyone know of a shaft-drive Douglas “Endeavour” motor-cycle that is for sale? A Singer “Porlock” two-seater has been seen at £15 in a breaker’s. Breen has another perfect 3-litre Bentley and, they say, a touring G.N.
A SUMMER MEETING
It really looks as if a combined club gathering may take place soon. At all events, Rivers Fletcher, Chairman of the E.R.A. Club, Eric Giles, Hon. See. of the Bugatti Owners’ Club, and Cecil Clutton, Hon. Press Secretary of the Vintage Sports Car Club, have held meetings to discuss the project. It is hoped to lead off with a week-end party, possibly terminating with a supper and film-show, somewhere west of London, followed by the establishment of a definite forgathering-centre in London. To save expense, announcements will be in the motoring press only. All power to the scheme!
The sum total of one’s motoring is sadly down on that of peace-time, but what there is can be highly enjoyable. One recent Sunday was occupied trying that entertaining car, the 4½- litre Invicta, fitted with a really practical utility body by G. E. Wallis & Co. Apart from the interest derived from handling such an interesting chassis, an unsuccessful search for a veteran, a fairly long tow of a quite fantastic Gwynne Eight coupe to its new home, and a run to visit a newly-married friend at his new abode at a far extremity of the Metropolis, were comfortably accomplished in the day. Then there was another rest-day spent just pottering around Surrey in the most economical car possible, never exceeding 40 m.p.h.—because the car just won’t!—preparatory to running in a leisurely fashion through part of Middlesex and into Hampshire, where walking in first-rate country with trials hills on every side concluded the most beautiful day this year had yet produced. A contrast this to a search for “sections” in the same car on a pouring wet evening, after being enticed out to inspect a level quarter-mile plotted from an ordnance map with great diligence by two 100 per cent. enthusiasts, and it will be useful for future tests, but at the time provided depressing confirmation that the car in question certainly will not exceed 40 m.p.h. Worse, its “standing” time was over 40 secs.! An unexpected few days’ leave was opened very satisfactorily with a run in a 1,100 c.c. Singer-engined H.R.G., which felt definitely the “real thing,” so that it was a bad business that the petrol position made driving restraint necessary. Although we did get 65 m.p.h. at 3,500 r.p.m. on the Watford By-Pass, after negotiation of suburban towns, where Saturday morning crowds throng the shopping centres and only the food-queues reminded one of the war. The water-temperature was 93°-95°, oil pressure around 30 lbs./sq. in. and the big Jaeger speedometer and rev. counter read to “80” and “6,000,” respectively. A 1927 long-chassis Jowett was duly tied on behind and, its rear brake repeatedly catching fire, a garage enticed to make a tow-bar out of a lump of tree for 6d. Whereupon the H.R.G. towed us, now in acute discomfort owing to steering and transmission anxieties, at the velocity of 50 m.p.h., 60 miles home, still giving its 35 m.p.g. Immediately afterwards a Chummy Austin Seven was driven to London at slow but schedule speed, that the Radford Hillman Fourteen could be tested on the morrow, which it was, as duly reported elsewhere, everyone having survived the blitz. Thereafter it was Austin motoring, to make the coupons last, with growing appreciation of the country and a strengthening dislike of towns.