Old Racing Cars In Retirement
In pursuance of its policy of tracing old racing motor cars which are laid up in various parts of the country ” Motor Sport” has discovered two more veterans of which some particulars are
given here. frE of MOTOR SPORT have devoted much time and labour to tracing old racing cars which have ended Llwir active careers. Not without reason did we observe, some time ago, that there can be very ‘few, if any, more such cars to be discovered. It-is true that some of the more famous have yet to be writtenup in the “Veteran Types” series, Heals 1921 straight-eight G.P. Sunbeam amongst them, but that is merely because it has become a matter of tradition to include in these articles observations on a drive in the car in question, so that it seems as well to await the return of the
basic ration before dc,:eri h Mg the remaining warriors. Meanwhile, a little more information has come in appertaining to this fascinating study.
In the first place, we had been worried for some time about a pre-1914 G.P. Germaine reputed to be owned by the H.E. designer, R. J. Sully. Not unnaturally, when Major Sully wrote to us recently, we asked him what had become of this car. His reply establishes that he saw this car at a garage in Bicester while buying petrol in 1919. It was hidden beneath old. mudguards and greasy overalls, and turned out to be one of the 1907 Belgian G.P. cars, with two bucket seats and a bolster tank behind. Siilly was told it had finished third in this race. The seals from tank to carburetter wen., incidentally, still in place, the fuel-consumption limit being imposed for this contest. The engine was a 4-cylinder of 100 by 100 mm., rated at 24.8 h.p., with T-heads and brass water jackets. Engine speed was varied by altering the lift of the inlet valves. The 3-speed gearbox had a right-hand quadrant change and an open shaft drove the rear axle, which had a ratio of 2.0 to 1. The brake shocs were machined all over and liberally drilled, and the entire car was beautifully made. Sully bought it for £50 and fitted a 2-seater body with hood and screen. He scrapped the variable valve-lift and used normal control by fitting a Longumare carburetter. It then did 70 m.p.h. After three years’ fun with it Sully sold it, in 1922, to Allen & Simmonds (now Gt. Western Motors), of Reading. We have contacted this firm but they have no record as to whomthey sold the Germaine. Can anyone carry its history further ? Another interesting discovery we made recently is that the old single-seater A.C. with which J. A. Joyce took so many sprint-course records in the early twenties, is now owned by J. S. Aked and reposes safely in his garage at St. Annes-on-Sea. Early A.C. history is very complex, as many racing, record-breaking and sprint cars were built, but Aked’s is similar to the 1922 200-Mile Race cars, but with single-seater body. This A.C. has a 4cylinder, 14-litre, 16-valve engine, o.h. camshaft valve actuation, and the Weller exposed-driving-shafts rear axle. It came into Aked’s hands 16 years ago, and he had considerable success with it at South
port for some five seasons. He remarks that usually, if the car was in good form, it would get at least halfway down the Southport mile before being overtaken by larger and much more modern cars. Often bad conditions made the organisers shorten the course to three-quarters of a mile, and then the old A.C. would usually scramble over the line first at some 85-90 m.p.h., to be passed within a second or so by modern, large, blown ears doing their 100-110 m.p.h. The car certainly displayed remarkable acceleration and used to wag its tail in a manner somewhat disconcerting to other competitors.
Amongst its successes in Aked’s hands were three ” 3rds ” at the Southport Championship meeting in 1930, a 2nd and a 3rd at the previous meeting. In 1931, at the August Southport meeting, the A.C. was 1st in the 14and 2-litre classes, and :3rd, behind two G.P. Bugattis, in the 3-litre category. In 1932 the A.C. was 2nd in a Southport 14-litre flyingkilo. race, averaging 81.05 m.p.h., and 1st, ahead of Hutchison’s Bugatti and Stephenson’s rapid Austin Seven, in the 14-litre mile race, also being 2nd, behind a 2-litre Bugatti, in the 2-litre class, and 3rd, behind a ” 2.3 ” Bugatti and Jackson’s 3-litre Sunbeam, in the 3-litre and unlimited classes. On this occasion Aked used competition tyres on the rear wheels. Other Southport successes included a 2nd and a 3rd at one meeting, behind Bugattis, and 1st place in the 14-litre class, beating a Riley and an M.G. All these successes were in “straight mile” events. It is excellent news that such an historic car is safe and sound. Then, over in America, two Peugeot racing cars, in poor condition, have come to light. They are said to have o.h.c. engines with dry-sump lubrication, so they may quite well be two of the 1914 G.P. cars. Perhaps someone will now amuse themselves by compiling a list of historic ex-racing cars definitely known still to exist ?