The 750 Club meeting at the "Osterley" on May 3rd went over big, as usual, many useful contacts being made, much motoring conversation indulged in, and, best of all, George Monkhouse showed his inimitable films of Grand Prix racing of the 1935-38 period.
There is no gainsaying the value of these meetings as a break from the monotony or excitement of war-effort existence, and everyone who attends hopes that Secretary Capon will be able to hold meetings, reachable by public transport, after "Poor"-for-fun has ceased to happen. On May 3rd, Potter was passenger in a very beautiful "Le Mans" Model Meadows H.R.G., Gordon Woods brought his immaculate Gough-engined Frazer-Nash, and Frost, Orlebar, Bowles and Birkett their "Ulster" Austin Sevens, the first named of this contingent having his blown car out. An M.G. Magna, Ballamy's Marshall-supercharged Ford Ten "Special," Ashwood's Lea-Francis, Ward's Riley Nine and Boddy's vintage, shortened, open Lancia "Lambda" added flavour to the car park. Also represented were Tubbs's D.K.W., Hunter's A.E.W. Austin Seven, Biggs's Fiat "500," Rivers-Fletcher's "Arrow" Austin Seven, Harmer's Vauxhall saloon, A.T.A. Pilot Phelp's Opel "Cadet," Grosscurth's Morris Eight, Monkhouse's Morris Ten and a 1 1/2-litre M.G. saloon, not forgetting Joe Lowrey, who brought his mother in his 1928 "Aero" Morgan. Indeed, not many passenger seats were wasted, Jenkinson coming in the tonneau of the Lancia, Butler with Ballamy, Laurence with Harmer, and so on. Rather epic was Ghandi's arrival from Manchester in a Talbot Ten saloon, while Mallock came on a potent solo Rudge. A welcome "stranger" was Capt. Eason-Gibson, who had made a special effort to be present to see the Monkhouse films – he has been all too elusive since joining up. Quiggan, secretary of the C.U.A.C., came by grace of public transport – he is now in the uniform of the R.A.F.V.R. Capon and Mrs. Capon used their much-travelled Riley "Kestrel."
The films were excellent, and it was amusing to see Hasse fall over upon leaving his Mercédès-Benz after his fearful skid on the oil patch at Donington; here it was clearly evident that Seaman held full right lock through his entire slide, until the car came to rest with stalled engine. The next meeting will be at the same venue on June 7th, and Monkhouse hopes to show some more films – we hope so, too! The April "Bulletin" was handed round at the May gathering.
Ian Metcalfe is "at home" to enthusiasts most Saturday afternoons at Shepperton, and Cecil Clutton, D.B. Tubbs, Rodney Clarke, Tom Bowen, Anthony Brooke and Anthony Heal have been amongst his visitors. Clutton has presented him with the 1911 sleeve-valve Daimler and he has a number of 3-litre Bentley bits available to members of H.M. Forces, also that very finely-preserved 1923-4 supercharged Mercédès tourer. He has found a 1904 Argyle for sale, in running order, for £35, and there is no indication that the supply of queer cars is on the wane, a 1922, or thereabouts, Deemster tourer in going order and a Bayliss-Thomas chassis being reported from Sussex. In forwarding some photographs of his father's very early cars, including Panhard, Motobloc, Frick, two-cylinder Daimler and New Orleans, which salvage has dug up, Cyril Peacock says that his 1925 998-c.c. o.h.v. Brough proving a little tricky to ride behind his wife's 125-c.c. Excelsior, he is going over to a 1927 277-c.c. Triumph to replace his Clyno car, the last named, a 1927 10.8-h.p. 2-seater, having lost second gear caravan towing.
There is, or was, a 3-litre Bentley engine at Freshwater's Bicester, and an Invicta coupé and a "30/98" O.E. Vauxhall chassis, less wheels and radiator, lie outside Fareham, on the Bishops Waltham road. Two 4 1/2-litre Bentleys and a "Red Label" 3-litre have been seen at a "blitzed" garage in Portsmouth and a £35 Lancia "Artena" saloon in a garage at Granada Road, Southsea. A Bugatti, thought to be a Type 40, but with alloy wheels, suggesting a Type 43, with a valve through one piston, is offered at £35 by the Great North Road Garage, Knottingley, chassis and body condition being good, and a "12/50" Alvis coupé and "12/60" Alvis 2-seater, both with the engines out, four "12/50" Alvis Chassis and loads of spares are available at Warnford Garage, Wakefield Road, Ossett, Yorks. The old s.v. Alvis in Wales turns out to be a breakdown car, which was in use up to six months ago and is still good for 60 m.p.h., and there is a broken-up M-type M.G., with neat remote-control gear lever, at the same place – "The Cot," Carlton Road, Colwyn Bay. They sold M.C. Crowley-Milling a "Red Label" Bentley last month; this reader seeks a pointed-tail Monza 2-seater body for his Alfa-Romeo if anyone can help, to replace the existing rather wide Mille Miglia one, which was used the year before Alfa started racing G.P. cars for sports car races. He has the car stripped down and is also working on a "K3" M.G. Magnette. The latest Allard "Special" has a Mercury motor and reaches 4,200 r.p.m. in first gear. Silcock is said to be aboard a minesweeper and Rupert Instone is in the Royal Tank Regiment. We hear that Deacon's Garage, near Oxford, has a 750-c.c. "Montlhery" M.G. Midget, with cracked head, for sale for £30.
Mrs. Passini has asked us to state that she and her husband were not responsible for the auction sale at "The Phoenix," and their Lancia "Dilambda" was not sold for £1 as was rumoured. This fine car, capable of 90-92 m.p.h. and 17 m.p.g. in saloon form, they still have, together with a beautiful Eighth Series Lancia "Lambda" tourer, a "30/98" Vauxhall, a Type 38 Bugatti and the Phoenix "Special." Tim Carson is now abroad, on R.A.F. flying duties, and sports a grand moustache. Robert Newell has very thoroughly reconditioned a long-chassis Sixth Series Lancia "Lambda" tourer, and Boddy is running a cut-down 1926 Sixth Series acquired not long ago from R.J. Kellie. Gordon Woods mounts an auto-cycle when not driving his Gough-engined Frazer-Nash and is said to be acquiring a Frazer-Nash "Six" – perhaps with B.M.W. engine – in its stead, and Mrs. Cowell is getting a remarkable fuel consumption from a 1928 magneto-ignition "Chummy" Austin Seven. The "Trikappa"-engined Lancia "Lambda" built up by West and Chittenden about 1934-5 lies in a Maidenhead breaker's in poor order, following a very bad head-on crash, which has even damaged the engine. Grosseurth has exchanged his Mercédès saloon for a 3-litre Sunbeam and hopes soon to be using one of his s.v. Aston-Martins on official journeys associated with Napier aero-engines. One of the white, cycle-wing 3-litre Sunbeams lies in a Walton-on-Thames breaker's. Eric Vereker has been doing some rapid trips in the national interest in a Railton and would like to hear of a Type 57 Bugatti or a B.M.W. motor-cycle. Rolands, of Byfleet, who recently sold a G.N. chassis with central steering and Austin Seven front hubs to Patrick Green, have for disposal a 1 3/4-litre blown Alfa-Romeo 2-seater in very clean condition at £250 and a short-chassis Mark II Aston-Martin 2-4-seater at £225. Lind-Walker accomplishes official journeys for M.A.P. in his road-equipped Type 37 Bugatti, now unsupercharged. Peter Robertson-Rodger has persuaded Laurence Pomeroy to design a new inlet manifold and special linkage for the S.U. carburetters from the blower single-seater for his supercharged 4 1/2-litre "Birkin" Bentley. Several hundred-weight of avoirdupois are also being removed, and something like 140 m.p.h. may well come in sight when the car again takes the road.
A "Scuderia" publication
The "Scuderia Chemvamo" has sent us "The Spinner," its official organ, got out periodically for the information and pleasure of its members. It is quite well done and an excellent idea, now that no club magazines, save those of the J.C.C., 750 Club and Lea-Francis owners' Club, are circulating. It has "We Hear" column.
Enthusiasm in the North
We believe David Ghandi's proposed club in the North has practically come into being and that another meeting was held on May 17th in Stockport.
To hear the rise and fall of a racing car's exhaust these days is a tonic indeed. Congratulations, therefore, to the B.B.C. on their broadcast featuring Raymond Mays and Rivers-Fletcher in the evening programme on May 16th. A recording of the E.R.A. going up Shelsley Walsh was given.
After pressing the Gwynne into use for local journeys, following the demise of the Jowett – and how many 17-year-old small cars will commence instantly after weeks of idleness? – we departed to London and thence to Cambridge, in first an uncomfortable, and then an uncomfortable and slow, train, intent on acquiring a Lancia "Lambda," which happening certain friends, for some obscure reason, refer to as "The Reform." After a longish walk past the immortal "backs," the old car – a 1926 Sixth Series with shortened chassis and open touring body-was located, petrol was poured into the autovac and she ran well enough, except for a persistent misfire, due to a low fuel head, after a change of plugs. Followed a hectic last run on the part of the owner to a garage to get petrol, his friend's "Special" Austin Seven being left just sufficiently far enough behind to satisfy, the cornering being immense, the cheque was written and off we went. London came up as dusk descended and we barreled happily along the once-familiar Hendon Way with the sidelamps alight, already very intrigued by the crisp exhaust note, the easy 50-60 m.p.h. cruising, speed, the splendid and light steering and the general character of the car. After she was garaged there was a hectic search for accommodation in an hotel-less Metropolis, a very courteous policeman in Baker Street Station eventually finding us what we desired, whereupon my friend was promptly mistaken by the night porter as a taxi driver! Arising not too early the next morning, it was pleasant to walk into the Lex Garage, remove the "Lambda" from amongst the closely-packed boxes and drive home easily via the Hyde Park and Notting Hill Gate one once knew so well. That afternoon warm sunshine tempted further motoring, but the petrol thirst of the new possession made discretion necessary, albeit we did dice a few Miles to enquire about another finely rebuilt Sixth Series "Lambda" which lives locally and has since led to a most interesting meeting with its owner. Since, then some 300 official miles have had to be covered in the Lancia and she has gone very well about this business: mercifully the weather was fine every time, as there is no weather protection and no wiper on the fold-flat screen. Incidentally, the number of the Editorial motor-car is PX4213, if this should be seen by any former owner – and there have been plenty!
Another Saturday the faithful Gwynne did some 60 miles, in the course of which some interesting cars were seen, and in the evening after such runs an old but potent Norton motor-cycle has proferred its pillion, that the day could be properly rounded off or food sought. It was on one of these occasions that some useful Lancia spares were located locally and Fee Carson and Joan Passini met quite by chance. There was also the evening when a friend decided to depart all the way to Yorkshire in an elderly Austin Seven saloon, having official duties on hand, and, after he had spent the day rebuilding the car, we went with him, only deciding that we should never get back soon enough after we had reached London, where we caught the last train home. Then a day which should have heen passed watching a motor-cycle trial developed into a hectic affair of finding the correct size chain link for a Matchless-engined three-speed "Family" Morgan tricycle which a friend had decided to buy and drive home to Bristol. Four of us decided it was only right that we should accompany him on this night journey and, a meal worthy of the occasion partaken of, we set off, following the Morgan in the four-speed Austin Seven hack 2-seater. Arrived at Reading Station, the Muggy having gone quite well except to lose a lot of water, everything was transferred, water can and spare battery (the Morgan dynamo pinions being stripped), and the Austin was immobilised and parked, to await our return the next morning. Alas! we had only to go a few yards, four up, to discover that the three-wheeler's springs had set so badly as to make the run impractical thus loaded. There was nothing for it but to have another immense meal and return to base. The Morgan got there eventually, but the new owner reports horrific adventures, including being stopped by a policeman for no worse reason than to provide a lift for a blonde W.A.A.F. Quite late another night two enthusiasts called with another very different Austin Seven, so divers motor-cars had to be inspected in the fading light and another enthusiast dug from his slumbers that intense motor talk might happen. Then we went out to tea one afternoon on the Norton, far into Sussex, a not displeasing expedition at 70 m.p.g., in spite of a drenching all the way home. And other motor-cycles were timed, on another occasion, at around 87 m.p.g. over a measured kilo…. Roll an the Peace!