The Andover and District Model Engineering Society had perfect summer weather for that enjoyable annual fixture, the Finkley Manor Farm Steam Traction Engine Rally, which took plate on May 9th. There was an entry of 31 engines, somewhat depleted by non-starters, but including a very game 2¼-in.-scale model traction engine weighing 1½ cwt. The steam vehicles had some of their thunder stolen by a very effective 1904 Shand & Mason steam fire-engine drawn by two very willing horses. Most of the engines were old favourites. Very nicely turned out was T. H. Sparrow’s 1916 5-ton Foden steam wagon but it was no match in the obstacle race for the more modern Sentinels.
The engines took part in all the usual capers and they were ably backed up by a parade of vintage and veteran cars which included a 36/220 Mercedes-Benz, 30/98 Vauxhall, Hutton-Stott’s rare sports 23-h.p. Lanchester, some smart Rolls-Royces and model-T Fords, Hutt’s Sizaire-Berwick which so closely resembles the contemporary Rolls-Royce in silence and appearance, a 1900 Daimler, 1903 Sunbeam, 1913 10-h.p. Austin and many others. There was a nicely-restored Edwardian chassis with transverse back spring (can someone enlighten us as to its make?), a fine 1913 Daimler shooting-brake with guns in the gun-rack, two sporty but hacked-about 4½-litre Bentleys, a smart 3½-1itre Bentley, a belt-drive Triumph motor-cycle and a “new” Edwardian in the form of a 1912 7-h.p. de Dion Bouton two-seater. There were even commercial vehicles, in the form of a 1936 type-LT Leyland coach (destination board BORSTAL), a 1927 long-chassis Austin Twenty with 1931 ‘bus body that was in use in the Tidmouth area until 1951, and a Dennis “toastrack” full of students.
It was all jolly good fun in a picturesque setting — those who missed it should note that traction-engine rallies will be held at Woodtown on June 6th, Appleford on June 13th, Stisted on July 11th, Northleach on the same day, Rempstone on July 11/12th, Camborne on July 18th, Bedford on the same day, Taunton on July 25th, when there is also the Kegworth Carnival and Rally, Worcester on August 7/8th, Paddock Wood in August, and Cranborne on September 5th. Take your pick! — W.B.