Club news, June 1952

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We hear:-  John Cummins has purchased the Type 37 ex-Cholmondeley-Tapper Bugatti with LMB ifs. The blower and a few other parts have gone out to Herb Ford in Australia to enable him to convert his very quick Type 37 to supercharged trim, and Cummins will install another engine in his car. GC Tarr has had such good service from a “down-to-earth” 1930 13-hp Mathis saloon that he would like to contact any other Mathis users—address : Officers’ Mess, 3 Training Bttn, REME, Arborfield, Berks. H de S Shortt, MA, FRNS, FSA, Curator of the Salisbury, South Wilts and Blackmore Museum, St Ann Street, Salisbury (Tel : Salisbury 6465), is anxious to secure for eventual exhibition a Scout car, preferably a wooden-chassis model, of 1902-22. One derelict example exists in Devon and Mr Timmis is lending his restored example for the Salisbury Centenary Exhibition this summer, but if anyone knows of another, please contact Mr Shortt. Sgt J White, RAF, has acquired a 1907 copy of the very detailed “Encyclopaedia of Motoring” and wonders if any other copies exist. Geo A Duncan, Gartree, Crunalin, Co Antrim, seeks “hotting-up” data and an alloy head for a 1924 Austin Heavy Twelve he is rebuilding. He is obviously making a serious onslaught, having lowered the springs, fitted 7.00–21 rear tyres, a low radiator and a professionally-built two-seater alloy body. In reply to N Jedson, JP Christian, 23 Eversley Crescent, Ruislip, Middlesex, was with Argyll from 1908-14 and can assist with data on the early models. GE Gough of Bognor Regis, who asked us to find him a passenger for a Continental tour in his Jaguar XK120, asks us to say that a local enthusiast called on publication day and fixed up to go there and then; Mr. Gough has had so many letters he has asked us to insert this note by way of acknowledgment.

TP Sheehan is rebuilding a GN which had lain in a barn for 20 years. Registered in 1932, it has a lowered chassis with Austin hubs and Hartford dampers, and the engine is a four-cylinder 66 by 112 mm Coventry Gulson. This puzzles Mr Sheehan, as much as it puzzles us, and he wonders if any reader can quote its origin or recall this particular GN. The engine has an oh camshaft driven by a chain in a tall case at the front, this chain also driving a magneto on the off side, the camshaft revolving in ball races, operating vertical valves direct, and driving an external reciprocating oil pump at the back. The crankshaft runs in two ball bearings and a pressure-fed plain centre bearing, the big-ends being trough-lubricated. Sump and exhaust manifold are ribbed, the inlet manifold is cast in the head and the flywheel carries a starter ring. The Gulson Engineering Co do not know anything about this unusual engine. Any clues ?

An example of local enterprise by the Shell Company’s Finland branch was the issue of a detailed book, “Huoltomiehen Englantia,” or “The Maintenance Men’s English”—a very useful phrase-book in view of the forthcoming Olympic Games at Helsinki ! Old-car enthusiast Geoffrey Smith, of Worcester, has been running a 1924 Morris-Cowley, is painstakingly restoring a 1914 water-cooled V-twin Humberette, and sometimes takes out his Edwardian Straker-Squire, which still manages 25 mpg, cruising at 45 mph. R Barker is enjoying a Lancia Augusta, purchased from Brian Shawe-Taylor, now fit again after his Goodwood accident, having gone to Bermuda to convalesce. We regret having to record the death of PG Fowler, secretary of the Harrow CC for 14 years.

A Palladium tourer was seen in London recently.

If any VMCC member wants a V-twin, disc-wheeled Harley Davidson, circa 1920, we can forward letters to someone who has found one partly dismantled in a woodshed near Ombersley.

N Routledge has found a 1916 Morris-Cowley saloon with authentic American “Continental” engine.

Fuss

Sports-car racing in America, about to reach a new high status, is being hampered by a most unusual trend in motor sport politics. It seems that the officers of the SCCA are bitterly opposed to sports-car races sanctioned by America’s ruling body, the American Automobile Association, or the “three-As”. Apparently the SCCA has no reason for this objection to authority other than the unique one that they wish to exclude two American drivers from all sportscar events and, while they are able to do this so far as their own races are concerned, quite rightly the AAA will not stand for these two drivers being excluded from other club’s events on grounds of the SCCA’s unspecified objection to these drivers entering.

The whole thing fanned up into a big blaze prior to the Sebring Race (reported in Motor Sport last month). Sebring was run under AAA sanction as an International event and the organisers were told by SCCA that if they held it, SCCA would promote a rival meeting a week earlier. This they duly did, in the Vero Beach affair on March 8th.

Rumour, rippling back and forth across “the big pond,” may be a lying jade, but it suggests that Jaguar fully intended to enter Moss and Walker or Whitehead in a Type C Jaguar for Sebring. They would, persists rumour, have adhered to this excellent idea had not someone from the SCCA inferred that the Sebring race had been changed in date from March 15th to March 8th, and in location from Sebring to Vero Beach. Puzzled that an International date could be so light-heartedly “mocked about,” “Loftie” England, of Jaguar’s, decided not, after all, to enter Moss and Walker or Whitehead in the Type C.

This in itself is a sad, sad rumour, albeit the Sebring race was an enormous success and brought glory to England via the Frazer-Nash, which won convincingly. A part of this trana-Atlantic rumour which we find hard to believe persists that Jaguar owners who thought of entering for the Sebring race are said to have been told by New York Jaguar dealers that if they did so they would never get another Jaguar or any replacement parts. Let us hope that here rumour has gone astray, for the idea of motor sporting politics adversely affecting the British Export Drive is indeed unpalatable —certainly Coventry should take steps to investigate this allegation and correct it, on both sides of the Atlantic if untrue.

Presumably, the AAA’s hands are tied, for although it could prohibit any driver taking part in an SCCA unsanctioned race from driving anywhere else, SCCA happens to be by far the largest body organising sports-car races in the States and this, coupled with the rumoured pressure. being brought to bear on Jaguar owners seeking to race outside SCCA events, materially reduces any curative effect which AAA action would otherwise put into operation. Conversely, if any British or other foreign driver had run at Vero Beach he could, and most probably would, have been reported by the AAA to the RAC or appropriate National Club, with subsequent exclusion so that if the SCCA gets control of America’s sports-car races the International element will be excluded automatically. How determinedly SCCA is seeking to get full control is reflected in their action in demanding from the winner of the 1951 SCCA Watkins Glen race (AAA sanction refused), the return of his Trophy by parcel post on the grounds that he will not be allowed to defend it this year.

We hope these troublesome clouds will blow away before they irretrievably dampen the American sports-car racing scene. Meanwhile, if Coventry is implicated as rumour implies, it is time for it to take action.

RAC awards for British Motor Sport

The Sir Malcolm Campbell Memorial Trophy, which is presented annually by the RAC for the most outstanding performance by a British competitor driving a British car in any form of motor competition during the year, has been awarded for 1951 jointly to PDC Walker and PN Whitehead for their victory in the 24-Hour Grand Prix d’Endurance at Le Mans with a Jaguar. This was the first time for sixteen years that the race had been won by a British car with British drivers.

Other trophies awarded for 1951 were the RAC Hill-Climb Championship Trophy, for the best aggregate performance for approved speed hill-climbs during the year, which went to K. Wharton (Cooper), and the RAC Trials Championship Trophy, won by WH Waring (WHW-Dellow)

The presentations took place at the RAC, and the trophies were presented by Mr Sydney Allard, as a token of the Club’s esteem for his performance in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally, which he won with an all-British car and crew. Great Britain had not previously won this event since 1931.