Some Memories prompted by study of an enthusiast’s book of Press cuttings.
An insight into the continuous history of motor-racing doesn’t come from turning idly the leaves of a scrapbook not compiled in any particular order or to any pre-determined plan, other than that of preserving Press cuttings that made some appeal for no readily-explainable reason. Study of such books, nevertheless, is immensely fascinating to those who know their racing history reasonably thoroughly, but who take a delight in enlarging or refreshing their knowledge of detail matters; a well-compiled scrap-book can fulfil the latter function very pleasantly indeed, and it is contemplation of two such books which Edward Pyddoke handed to us while turning out paper for salvage that provides material for what follows. Pyddoke wrote a number of sketches for the weekly motoring journals at the time these scrap-books were compiled and used to assist John Bolster with his initial “Mary,” later running an Akela-engined G.N., both on the road and at Lewes.
We start off by being reminded, from a head-and-shoulder portrait of Hans Stuck, that this driver once drove a Mercedes coupé in the Mille Miglia, averaging 86 m.p.h. over the 130 miles from Brescia to Rome, including a wheel change. The immortal “Japanese” road rules appear, and that reading “Pedal the brake of the foot as you roll round corners and save the collapse and tip up,” savours of a hydraulic-anchored Yank, surely? We find three pictures of the original “Interceptor” Frazer-Nash, looking for all the world like an M-type M.G. Midget from the rear. A. F. Ashby is seen driving his “Brooklands” Riley Nine at 90 m.p.h. and Gillow his side-valve 1 1/2-litre a moment before writing it off at Brooklands. A T.T. f.w.d. Alvis, Reg. No. VC 17, would intrigue lots of folk, being a late version of this model, and the Bentley in which Sammy Davis was 2nd in the 1929 “Double Twelve,” confirms its race number as 6, and its Reg. No. as YW 2557, which may interest Bentley exponents. Very intriguing is a 1,100 c.c. Straight Eight Maserati equipped with a bare minimum of lamp and wings, while the 40/260-h.p. 9 1/2 litre Hatton-McEvoy, which was to have cost £1,000 as a chassis, is a white elephant we had forgotten.
There are pictures of Wizard Smith’s Anzac with Rolls Royce engine in a Cadillac chassis, intended for an attack on the Land Speed Record, and the Ford “999” in the Edison Museum, which car did 90 m.p.h. in 1903. Various versions of Austin Seven are depicted, notably Spero’s car with body extending over the front wheels and the “works” blown s.v. car with fairings between the wheels, suggesting 200 m.p.h. Sunbeam and “Golden Arrow” influence, respectively. Zehender is seen in the Alfa Romeo in which he won a Paris-Nice, and a forgotten car turns up again in the form of an 8-h.p. Cooper-Special. At Lewes a very fine Salmson is seen on the line and behind it is a Nazzaro in sports guise, with curiously flowing external exhaust pipes, which may or may not be the 1914 car raced at Brooklands by Chamberlain. The cockpit of the 750-c.c. M.G. in which Eyston exceeded 100 m.p.h. has the “passenger’s” half full of fuel and oil tankage, while the rev.-counter is mounted horizontally close to the steering wheel rim, the remaining instruments being quite small.
There are lots of shots of Chiron in Bugattis and we see Cobb in a “105” Talbot and Birkin in the Maserati, the exhaust pipe of which inflicted the burn that caused his death. There is also a magnificent reminder of “Tim’s” great drive in the blower 4-seater Bentley at, Pau, when it carried No. 18. Caracciola’s Mercedes looks very unwieldy amongst the Bugattis and Maseratis at Monaco, while a “38/250″ Mercedes driven by Captain Howey in the Monte Carlo is pictorially acclaimed in a German periodical. What must have been the last appearance of ” Chitty I,” with the Conan Doyle’s at Branches Park in 1931, is shown beneath a picture of an “Ulster” Austin Seven, posed beside a 12-tonner Thornycroft lorry. Unusual is Heritage’s Riley Nine with isolated radiator, as run at Brooklands, although the caption seems over-optimistic in describing the streamlining as reminiscent of “Bluebird.” The crude bodywork on the Austin Seven which Campbell took to America is evident and this famous driver is seen above a caption reading, “I have no illusions. I know that risks must be taken. If I want to be the fastest driver in the world I know that I must take risks. I am prepared to take them.” We are reminded that Penn-Hughes once finished 8th at Monaco in a Bugatti and that a Cummings-Diesel achieved 100.75 m.p.h. at Daytona.
There is an account of the Worsley-Harris-Special, the “10/23” Talbot engine of which was said to have exceeded 6,500 r.p.m., and pictures of a very fully-underslung Stabilia chassis. Lots of pages are occupied by Morgans and by Shelsley “Specials,” including the Horton-Special as a V-twin and Basil Davenport’s famous “Spider.” A 1922 G.N. appears-in a trial that could not have been run earlier than 1928 and a 1913 G.N. is being investigated by a pack of curious hounds.
Very interesting indeed are early views of the first “Bloody Mary” and the late Richard Bolster’s Bolster Eight, one from an Australian paper reporting the C.U.A.C. speed trials, and Dick Nash and the “Terror” posing for “The Auto’s” cameraman. The Bol d’Or gets a double-page spread and depicts a 500-c.c. flat-twin de Latour which won the 500-c.c. racing class, a 350-c.c. Sphinx-Staub 3-wheeler with a curious loop-frame over the engine and a lamp right before the driver, a monoposto 750.c.c. flat-twin Bertholon and a very well-finished 350 c.c. Antony, amongst other quite unbelievable vehicles. On another page are details of the f.w.d. 500-c.c. 3-wheeler, with a very Morgan-like front end, which ran in the race. An “unfamiliar” Bugatti is a 1 1/2-litre driven at Southport by J. Walker.