Club News, June 1946

We Hear

Lieut. R. K. Darby, R.N.V.R., now home from the wars, says he managed to run a 540K Mercedes-Benz for a while, in Java, and that local enthusiasts used to meet at a banked oval motor-cycle track every Sunday morning for a little racing — you can’t suppress the Sport! A Delahaye set the lap record at 20.6 sec., and a Jeep managed 21.4 sec. A typical line-up shows various Fords and the victorious saloon Delahaye. An interesting car seen by Darby was a 402 Peugeot saloon, the all-metal roof of which would hinge back into the very large bulbous tail.

Those who seek to own a defunct make of car are notified that a 1921 Albert (the Gwynne Eight’s big brother) was for sale in Birmingham. It is said to have done only 9,000 miles, having been laid up since 1933, and to have the polished aluminium 4-seater body. Yet another early small car offered for sale recently in sound order was a 1925 o.h.c. Wolseley 2-seater – its engine, of course, is the forerunner of that in the o.h.c. M.G.s and was derived, as to its valve actuation, from the Hispano “Viper” aero engines which Wolseleys built during the Kaiser War. A. B. Price hopes one day to rebuild a 1927 12/22 Lea-Francis, for which he has a spare 10.8-h.p. engine. O. A. Batten, who learned to ride a motorcycle in 1915, using a Zenith Green with Gradua gear and square-finned cylinder, asks can anyone find him a Zenith Gradua for old-time’s sake? Skerman has acquired the one from the Pickering farm.

From Amsterdam comes a letter taking us to task over the statement that the 327 B.M.W. uses the 328 engine — apparently the 327 has the 2-litre two-carburetter 55-b.h.p. engine, and it is the 327/328 which is endowed with the three-carburetter, inclined-valve 80-b.h.p. engine. With cabriolet body and normal wheels, that is, but with cabriolet body and centre-lock wheels this car becomes, like the open 2-seater, a 328. Thank you, Mr. Loyens! But we are still wondering in which model we rode! Querico has opened a tuning establishment at Brighton, his first clients being the Whincops, whose Types 51 and 43 Bugattis went in for attention. Arthur Baron intends to lead the easy life for a while and may dispose of his Type 51. Pattenden is now a father — congratulations! — and Peter Williams has acquired his Type 43 Bugatti.

W. D. Harwood has a 1928 Salmson, and Ralph Neville enthuses over a Gwynne Eight “hip-bath” which he fetched from the Chiswick works in 1923. The engine was rebored at 95,000 miles and given new Aerolite pistons. New 710 x 90 tyres were fitted just before the war and Neville has another set retreaded. He has toured all over France in the car and never experienced boiling. The only alteration from standard is a Zenith in place of a Claudel-Hobson carburetter, and Neville threatens to enter for the next Ramsgate “Concours.” He says the Gwynne does 45-50 m.p.g. and “if the clutch were of plate type it would be perfect.” We know — we’ve grappled with a couple of Gwynnes and their cone clutches! Are there any other cars of this breed in use? queries Neville, who saw his last at Grantham in 1939. He also has a 1910 Stanley steamer and a 1902 Gladiator for V.C.C. events, but needs some 810 x 90 or 815 x 105 covers. His own car is a 1931 Riley Nine “Monaco.” which has given “fifteen years’ perfect service.”

Capt. Durie has decided to concentrate on one-make activities and has a fine 1930 “International” Aston-Martin and four “Marston” Sunbeam motor-cycles. He invites enthusiasts to visit him at 20, Cluny Drive, Edinburgh, 10. Incidentally, he has formed a very high opinion of the 1934-5 Hillmans. His motor-cycles include 1925 350-c.c. “Sprint Special” and 1926 500-c.c. “T.T. Replica” Sunbeams, and one of the first chain-drive o.h.c. 350-c.c. A.J.S. machines. Durie is anxious to try the new Aston-Martin and favours the Vincent H.R.D. amongst modern motor-cycles. That £55 Rolls-Royce mentioned last month turned out to be a 1912 “Silver Ghost” and you will be glad to know it has been bought for “film work and processions.”

Miss Betty Haig wants to meet someone who will enter trials with her, sharing the driving and expenses. She is, of course, a fully-qualified rally driver and her address is: Twitten Orchard, Nutbourne Common, near Pulborough, Sussex. G. Briand has started up again as a Hispano-Suiza specialist and had one of the rare 27-h.p. Spanish Hispanos in his keeping last month. S. H. Whitehead hopes to put a diesel engine into a rear-engined Crossley, convert a late-model Trojan to steam propulsion and modify a chain-drive Trojan, a la Scroggs, for trials participation. W/O R. P. Wingfield has acquired a 1937 Alta which appears to have been used for three months and then to have been stored. Its registered number is EGP903, which sounds very familiar — any clues, please? A 1910 25-35 h.p. Fiat, sound as to chassis, awaits a new owner on the Winchester road. A twin-cam 1925 fabric-bodied sports Salmson was for sale in London last month, for £55.

Interesting cars seen in London have included several early “12/50” Alvis, one a beetle-back 2-seater with Brooklands silencer on an inside exhaust system, a s.v. 1 1/2-litre Riley saloon and a flat-radiator, open “14/40” M.G. MacLagen’s touring G.N. has gone to an enthusiastic home in Huddersfield. A friend of Ralph Strachan’s was seen last month in a G.P. Salmson with Amilcar body and told us a South London garage man is running a saloon Salmson. The Straker-Squire Six at Brixton is still in one piece. Whincop uses a Hillman Minx-engined Wolseley “Hornet” as a hack.

A 10.8-h.p. very angular Clyno fabric saloon has emerged from twenty years’ storage in London, with 7,000 miles on the speedometer and new Michelin balloon tyres, and a 1924 open Humber Eight has been seen at Hounslow. Does anyone know anything about a sports 4-cylinder Austin Twelve, seen several times on the Great West Road near London? Apologies to Cyril Mann, whose time was omitted from the table which concluded the Elstree Speed Trial report last month. His S.S. did a very fine run in 18.4 sec. and should have tied with Parnell’s racing Riley in our list.

The Civil Service Outlook
From the C.S.M.A. Gazette for April: — “My other love was mine own. A green and cream sports Singer. She had all the things a proper sports car should have — tonneau cover, Ashby steering, Rudge wheels with a doggy little copper mallet in the toolbox. Also, I remember, she had an o.h. camshaft, and there was an awful day when I dropped the timing chain into the sump . . .

J. Lowrey takes us to task in connection with our recent statement that the Colmore trial clashed with a smaller trial run by the Hants and Berks Club. He says the permit obtained for the latter event was an earlier one than that which the R.A.C. issued for the Colmore. And their little trial did lose a few entries to the Midlands classic. But, sir, we were taking the R.A.C. mildly to task, not club secretaries.

Mrs. Sheila Johnson, of Tickhill, near Doncaster, in fighting a case against her husband for two motor-car wheels, revealed that said wheels belonged to a Frazer-Nash. She originally had an S.S. which was exchanged for a Frazer-Nash and this subsequently changed, plus £150, for the present ‘Nash, which was a wedding anniversary gift. Her husband’s cars were named in the Daily Express as including Bentley, Lagonda and Riley. You will be glad to hear that Mrs. Johnson got her wheels!

The old-established North-West London M.C. has come to life again — good news. Future events to include the Coventry Cup and Gloucester trials. The vice-presidents are Dr. Vaughan and F. H. Wittingham, and K.N. EHutchison is captain and press representative. Leslie .Johnson is vice-Captain, Dargue is treasurer, and the committee is composed of Messrs. Kopenhagen, Fitt, Johnson, Andrews, Haesendonck, Bond, Ripley and Warburton. Hon. secretary: A. G. Imhof, 112, New Oxford Street, London, W.C. (Museum 5944).

Cover Picture
This month’s cover picture is a unique view of John Cobb and the Napier “Lion”-engined Napier-Railton on the seafront at Brighton, on the only occasion when it competed in a speed trial. The picture is effective by reason of its simplicity and fresh angle of approach (in both senses). It is the work of R. Rider Haggard, of Wallington, who now uses “a Super Ikonta and all the latest gadgets,” but who took this one when he was fourteen, with an old Ensign box-camera of about 1924 vintage!

Sports Car Club Of America
An ambitious club rally was planned, to Indianapolis, for the 500-mile Race on May 30th. The club’s journal, Sports Car, continues to give news of British cars, the Jan.-Feb. issue containing details of the new Altas, M.G., Invicta and Morgan “4/4.” British manufacturers should obviously encourage this market. Three new members were elected up to February, with Type 35A Bugatti, 4th series 1924 Lancia “Lambda” and Multiplex-Special cars. T. A. S. O. Mathieson has been done the great honour of being elected an honorary member and is fitting a S.C.C.A. badge to his Type 57S Bugatti. Secretary-treasurer : O. F. Boardman, 48, Thornton Road, West Hartford, 7, Conn., U.S.A.

Vintage S.C.C. Of Australia
This live organisation goes from strength to strength, and the monthly journal, the Vintage Car, remains most interesting and contains an excellent drawing each issue by R. Shepherd, who made such a grand job of the painting of a Type 55 Bugatti which the club members presented to the undeserving Editor of Motor Sport via Inman-Hunter, before he again sailed for Australia. New members continue to join — rather surprisingly in a country in which the supply of suitable cars must be limited. February saw five new full members, six new associates and two transfers from associates to driving members. The cars involved include two “30/98” Vauxhalls, a D.I. Delage, Ulster Austin Seven, two veteran De Dions and a 1929 Auburn.

The South Australian Division speed trial, over 3/8-mile of 1 in 8 macadam, saw Godfrey’s “30/98” Vauxhall make in 46.6 sec., Wollaston’s sister car being runner-up, in 47.2 sec., and a Hispano-Suiza clocking 49.8 sec. Hon. secretary: R. Beal Pritchett, 1, Phillip Street, Neutral Bay, N.S.W.

Waving The Flag
Mr. Richard Watney’s VI2 Lagonda “Rapide” coupé, tied in the recent Cote d’Azur Concours d’Elegance with Sir Duncan Orr Lewis’s Bugatti, for the Grand Prix de Mer.

Heard At The Elstree Speed Trials
An Allard is as fast as the best ’30/98′ — but watch them on longer courses this year.”

The Library
The Editor is well aware that many readers are awaiting the loan of instruction books from the Motor Sport Library, but if readers fail to return borrowed volumes within the three weeks’ limit of loan, other readers obviously have to be kept waiting, or, if books are lost, disappointed altogether. Will anyone having books to return please address them to: E. B., “Carmel,” Wood Lane, Fleet. Hampshire (Fleet 831). This is the Editor’s permanent address and all news letters, correspondence, etc., may be thus directed. Subscriptions, back issue orders and all business matters to 15, City Road, E.C.1, please.

D. J. Scannell is now back in office as secretary of the British Racing Drivers’ Club.

The Vintage M.C.C.
On April 28th, at a meeting on the Hog’s Back, Surrey, the Vintage Motor-cycle Club came into being. Membership is confined to actual owners of motor-cycles made up to December 31st, 1930, and the club will be affiliated to the A.C.U. as soon as possible. Three-wheelers and four-wheelers of the forecar type were ruled out by a very small majority – presumably because the Veteran C.C. caters for these vehicles, but a pity, nevertheless. Honorary membership may be conferred by the committee. J. J. Hall, who had done so much for vintage motor-cycling interests, was elected president, and C. E. Allen, B.E.M., W. C. Beamont, J.P., Brig. C. V. Bennett, W. Boddy, of Motor Sport, A. B. Bourne, of The Motor Cycle, Wing-Cmdr. A. M. Maclachlan R.A.C., F. A. McNab, A.P.M.C., and Graham Walker, of Motor Cycling, were suggested as vice-presidents. The services of C. S. Burney, A.M.I.A.E., A.P.M.C., as hon. secretary and treasurer, and A. J. Bonnett as hon. legal adviser, were accepted, and the committee elected were Messrs. J. Cohen, T. G. Griffiths, D. S. Jenkinson, W. J. Lawrence, C. Anantrill, M. F. Walker and J. B. Wicksteed. It was decided that the club year would be from June 1st to May 31st, and the entry fee 10s., with 10s. annual subscription. Some 76 prospective members were listed, and the Sunbeam M.C.C., which will continue to run veteran motorcycle events, offered its veteran register to the Vintage M.C.C. A bulletin will be issued, workshop facilities are possible, and a rally-cum-sporting trial, sprint or hill-climb and a winter social are under discussion. All of which suggests a really successful club. It was a nice idea to offer prizes for attendance at this inaugural meeting. The prize for the oldest machine went to R. C. Ashton’s 1921 Model-H Matchless combination, in which he brought his family.

The vintage prize was a close thing, and in the end went to J. A. Whaley’s 1927 long-stroke Sunbeam, the runners-up being S. A. Johnson (Norton early I wad and barrel on 1928 ES2 crankcase), C. Quantrill (2-speed Scott “Squirrel”). and C. S. Burney (680-c.c. Burney-Special, the only one!). The judges laid especial emphasis on the everyday practicability of the machines, and this will be a feature of the club’s policy. Whaley proved the Sunbeam’s qualifications by riding down from Nottingham. Other interesting machines included Graham Walker’s 1925 Sunbeam (rider R. Holliday) and Wicksteed’s solo 1927 990-c.c. Royal-Enfield, amongst 20 old machines attending. We hope to see this ambitious organisation expand rapidly. Details from C. S. Burney, Cedar Cottage, Marlow, Bucks.

General Notes.
A long spell of fine weather, so unusual for March in England, tempted us to volunteer to accompany the driver of a 1924 Lanchester “21” tourer from the unliked Metropolis to Whitstable. Alas, this particular day dawned wet and although the beautiful leather hood was sound enough, the discoloration on the windscreen, coupled with the raindrops, made it politic to keep the top panel open, which procedure necessitated removal of the wiper box in a downpour on Blackheath. Proceeding, we were beginning to enthuse over the silence under way of the Lanchester o.h.c. engine, the comfortable riding and the general air of exceptional dignity pervading our mode of progression when, up a long gradient, the fuel feed failed. Gum was the trouble and most of the day was spent dispelling it from the long-suffering Autovac. But such was the appeal of this large, lusty old Lanchester that one all but forgave it, even after the nth pause in the wet to search for minute traces of glue deposits. It has a bearing quite distinct from, and in some persons’ opinion far and away preferable to, that of even “high-quality” structures of pressings and sheet-tin. It certainly wasn’t the car’s fault that we ate, wet through and shivering, at a wayside cafe — for “Pool” was not invented in 1924.

Whitstable was reached with ourselves at the wheel, but so sodden that impressions of the car are confused. It has more than mediocre acceleration, especially for its weight, cruises at 50, and the steering was accurate and very smooth, with a trace of Lancia-like kickback; the gearbox none too easy to control, the clutch heavy. Whitstable produced more rain in torrents, and a breaker’s, one of whose breakdown cars was an imposing “Big Six” Bentley. We were depressed by the rain but more so by another “21” Lanchester which we sought — it was much later vintage than the one we had come down on, and gone was the special Autovac mottled to match the finish of the engine, gone the dignified “real” radiator and the characteristic brake lever you pull sideways to free from its ratchet. Even the “21” Lanchester was “modernised” by degrees, to its disadvantage.

The run home was a nightmare of stops to disperse the fuel stoppages. But, as we have said, the old Lanchesters exert their own indefinable fascination and instead of leaving the car in wrath, we bore with it; indeed, the owner has recently acquired another, of suitably early vintage.

Odd runs in the hack Austin Seven followed, memorable only on the occasion when, stopping for a traffic block on Staines Bridge, a misguided gentleman in a Ford used us as an anvil, the “drift” being a brand new Austin Eight saloon which had stopped behind us. The hazards of the road . . . ! Then there was an amusing day in a s.v. Anzani-engined Frazer-Nash, a harshly-sprung, you might say “rough and ready ” little car, but “right” in every respect, very stable, even four up, showing excellent acceleration, a certainly-not-dull cruising speed, and being more than adequately braked. In it we went through Hyde Park and Putney Hill, out of town to the B.O.C. Rally, and then back, penetrating Sunday afternoon London to tow home a rather unusual 4 1/2-litre Bentley from the outskirts of the Metropolis. The ‘Nash proved particularly and surprisingly game at removing the all-too-heavy Bentley backwards, and uphill, from its garage, although how near was the clutch to catching fire we cannot say. The Bentley started up very easily and helped itself up hills, even helping the ‘Nash when its plugs grew tired.

Very different motoring came when, on the spur of the moment, a friend said, “Would you care about a flip in the experimental Allard?” We said we would, and were taken out to Kenley aerodrome along the Croydon By-Pass road. A most imposing business it was, Allard’s idea of “experimental” embracing an uncowled radiator, canvas bonnet-top, the scantiest of light-alloy strip wings, two bucket seats setting you above the low screen, and a huge wooden box of sand ballast on the back. The acceleration was, of course, immense, making the step-off of ordinary cars look positively silly, and I suppose we did 75 or so along the arterial. The top-gear pick-up was also most noticeably good, and the roadholding and steering excellent, if not giving quite the same sense of security as you experience in, shall we say, a Type 51 Bugatti. Remember, however, that most of the weight was concentrated in one place and that the seats were 7 1/2 in. higher than in the production post-war Allards. The brakes were especially well up to the car’s great performance abilities, although they were standard Ford. We pobbled along so easily at 50, got effortlessly past suburban-road obstructions with a trifle of throttle without coming off top gear, and we rode easily and not particularly slowly up the appreciable gradient leading to Kenley aerodrome on the same ratio. Altogether it was a run both pleasing and imposing. When we climbed out and stretched our chilly limbs we felt some off-setting remark to be called for. “Of course,” we babbled, “she only weighs about 21 cwt. . . .” “No,” retorted the demonstrator firmly, “she is ballasted to equal the avoirdupois of the production coupé with two passengers – 27 1/2 cwt.” “Moreover,” he continued, “she has a completely standard Ford V8 engine in at present, taken out of stock and put straight in.” Well, well, we thought, as we pushed off for home at an unsteady 35 m.p.h. in the Austin.

One fine evening produced another run in the Anzani-Nash to introduce a Lanchester enthusiast to his newly-purchased 21-h.p. model. The ‘Nash grew on one more and more every time one rode in it — so very much the enthusiast’s car, sometimes giving odd spots of bother, rather noisy and asking real skill in handling, but so willing, such a ready performer, and really quite reasonable as a town car. The modest engine speed at 50 m.p.h. cruising, by reason of a 3.8-to-1 “high,” is always a joy. Our route lay down the Fulham Road, up Putney Hill, and along the Kingston By-Pass on to the Portsmouth Road, all the way to that picturesque, old-world Surrey town of Guildford.

On another occasion the ‘Nash did quite a Surrey tour, in the course of which we watched Marcus Chambers stripping his blown, single-seater Austin at L.M.B.’s, spotted a really early “25” Talbot breakdown lorry near Horsham, visited a horde of old-school Bentleys (one about to don a fearful name-plate and chromium badge-bar!) at an emporium in Surrey, took tea with two rabid Bugatti enthusiasts after wandering round another dealer’s where Bentley, Alfa-Romeo, Mercédès and Frazer-Nash stood awaiting new owners (we didn’t dare enquire prices!) and, finally, found a very well-preserved 1925 A.C. 2-seater with its Anzani engine less magneto (this valued at £130!). Which reminds us that on another meander, again in Surrey, a certain garage yielded up some half-a-dozen “7.5” Citroens, a coupé A.C. Anzani (price £70), an excellent 1910 Gobron-Brille landaulette (for veteran car seekers to consider) and hosts of unused, pre-1914 tyres, for sale at original list prices. There was also the joy of watching Peter Monkhouse trying out the “Monaco” M.G. single-seater, the Darracq and (quite perfect) his own Type 51 Bugatti, on the Denham By-Pass road before the Elstree speed trials.