Whose was the blue touring two-seater G.N., apparently original even to hood and beaded-edge tyres, that passed over the Trinity Road Tooting High Road crossing at 8.30 a.m. on April 28th?
And whose was the “20’60” Sunbeam tourer, complete even to hand-dipping headlamps, parked at Croydon Aerodrome on the same day?
The Editor is contemplating the acquisition of a beautifully-preserved 1924 15.9-h.p. o.h.c. Delaunay-Belleville closed carriage for “state occasions.”
As we have observed elsewhere, the Aston-Martin Owners’ Club official magazine is very well produced and we are pleased to see that it devotes some of its space to the pre-1927 Bamford and Martin cars. Fred Ellis contributes notes on the Lionel Martin firm, illustrated by a picture of his rebuilt 1922 16-valve car, six B. and M. cars are listed as owned by members of the Club (although one of these, a 1924 four-seater, has since passed Into the hands of a London vendor) and there is a list of the known registration or engine numbers of 40 B. and M. cars, an illustrated article on “Razor Blade” and other items of early Aston-Martin history, all contained within the first four issues.
A Secqueville-Hoyau sports two-seater, reminiscent in appearance of the later “14/40” M.G. two-seaters, has come to light in a Hampshire garage and is probably the only example of this rare French car in this country. It has a side-valve 8.9-h.p. engine and is probably of 1924 vintage.
In rebuilding his 1912 200-h.p. Benz, Eric Milner had new cylinder blocks cast at a cost of some £500 and he rebuilt the radiator, making up no fewer than 5,700 tiny brass tubes in the process. The car now has a rather less bulbous tail than formerly and is painted black instead of red.
A 1924 “14/40″ H.E., left to someone in a will after having been stored for years at Harrods, came on the market recently. The new owner appealed for details of these cars, likening it to a 3-litre Bentley. This called forth a rather delightful reply in a contemporary to the effect that, to seek to get out of an H.E. anything like the performance of a Bentley would be courting disappointment and would lose the charm of an elegant, distinctive but quite unspectacular machine.” The writer of the letter recalled, as an undergraduate at Oxford, going to Reading with the Marquess of Donegan to take delivery of one of the first H.E. models.
Three Belgian Minervas, smoking happily, were encountered within a short span of time in the Metropolis recently — a light lorry, a limousine and a hearse.
Some amusement has apparently been caused in vintage circles by the statement that the B.R.M. may have low-tension ignition. The only non-veteran car running today with such igniting arrangements is surely the Clutton/Ewen Edwardian 1908 Itala, which certainly does very well on it!
A prominent member of the V.S.C.C. recently sent us a cutting relating to what he described as “something rather récherché for those who seek exotic automobiles — a Bedelia cyclecar advertised for sale in Rutland.
Dr. Peacock recalls the Peugeot “Quad,” introduced in 1920 as a narrow-track two-seater, successor to the Bébé Peugeot. The passenger sat behind the driver, but due to the narrow track the “Quad” gained a reputation for turning turtle and was later given a crab-track and side-by-side seating. These odd little cars became popular in Ireland but never seemed to attain any great measure of popularity in England. A four-seater was eventually introduced, but both versions of the “Quad” were replaced in about 1925 by the Peugeot “Cinq” — which we knew as the “7/17.”
The “Quad’s” specification embraced a four-cylinder, 668-c.c. engine rated at 6.4 h.p., with fixed head and detachable valve caps and alloy pistons, the latter not deterring Dr. Peacock from “burning her out with oxygen” as he thought the pistons were cast-iron! The two-bearing crankshaft was splash-lubricated, the carburetter was a French Zenith with submerged jets, and the “Quad” could be rendered thief-proof by removing the main brushes from the vulcanite pencil-shaped carriers of its Ducellier magneto. The three-speed cog-box lived in the back-axle and had a quadrant change, and the thrust race of the dry-plate clutch called for frequent visits with an oil-can. There was a separately-applied brake on each rear wheel, the harsh suspension, sans dampers was transverse in front, 1/4-elliptic at the rear, and wise owners exchanged the 2 3/4-in. high-pressure tyres for 3-in. There was a self-starter, but a tell-tale replaced an ammeter and the hand-throttle was a Bowden-wire motorcycle device. The side-curtains consisted of a roll of cloth with tiny talc “sights.” Dr. Peacock dryly observes that to label one of the switches “Phano” was definitely optimistic! He recalls that 30 m.p.h. was cruising speed but this could be held all day, these little cars being able to withstand any amount of over-driving. He once got. 47 m.p.h., but 43 was the normal maximum, with 25 m.p.h. in second gear, sinking to 35 m.p.h. flat-out if really carboned-up. Accessibility and acceleration were good and fuel consumption some 40 m.p.g.
R. F. A. Watkins has had 8,000 miles’ good motoring from his 1925 “10/23” Talbot with only one lapse, when, on Boxing Day, it broke an exhaust valve, with no other damage. Presumably thinking of the low octane value of “Pool,” the owner remarks, “Thank God for a 4.5-to-1 compression ratio!”
Let us end with an S.O.S. John Cameron of Fakenham has a very decent-looking Chapuis-Dornier-engined Vernon Derby two-seater with Simms magneto and Zenith carburetter and craves data on making the engine go better than it does at present. Can any other owner oblige?