A Section Devoted to Old Car Matters
The V.C.C. Prescott Hill-Climb
The Veteran C.C. held a most enjoyable rally to Cheltenham on April 25th/26th, the Sunday being devoted to a Concours d’Elegance and Hill-Climb at the Bugatti O.C. hill at Prescott. This hill-climb was altogether excellent, as demonstrating that the V.C.C. intends its members to use their historic cars and not regard them as static museum pieces. Moreover, this long climb up Prescott by veteran and Edwardian vehicles was in the best possible tradition, because prior to 1914 such cars were timed up similar gradients (Prescott’s steepest slope is greater than 1 in 7), competing, as at this modern V.C.C. meeting, on a formula basis in which speed, even if low, was taken into consideration. Certainly this exercise did not seem to do any of the cars any harm, even though gear-changes had to be hurried and revs. permitted to rise.
On April 26th the weather was kind and the hill was in good condition, and single runs by 55 cars proved of intense interest to the writer, mechanical variety making up for lack of thrills, this competitive cavalcade lasting for 2½ hours.
The course was opened by the Club’s President, Mr. George Lanchester, the Deputy Mayor of Cheltenham, Alderman Miss F. L. Carter, and Mrs. S. F. Edge, who were driven up in H. Warner’s 1909 Lanchester tourer with striped paintwork. First car to be timed was Bird’s beautiful 1904 Lanchester, its gear ratios not really suited to the gradient, after which Bird, Barker and Clutton gave an excellent commentary. Woolley’s 1897 tube-ignition Daimler with Phoenix vertical engine ascended in 4 min. 18.39 sec. in second speed, Wellingham’s 1901 de Dion Bouton got a little help from its driver round Pardon, Air-Marshal Sir G. Tuttle, K.B.E., used plenty of revs. in a 1902 de Dion with vertical front-mounted engine, and Sloan, who had broken a belt in practice, drove his front-engined 16-h.p. 1902 Benz up one-handed, his other hand goading the mixture.
Timmis brought his 1903 Gladiator up fast, scorning a change-down, whereas Air Chief Marshal Sir A. Coryton, K.C.B., changed down for Pardon (which most veterans took wide to avoid the hump on the inside of the corner) in his de Dion-like 1903 Napoleon. Dr. Warlow-Davies climbed well for a single-cylinder car in his 1904 Humberette, which Barker reminded us has a steering wheel like that of a Citroen DS19. Scott’s 1904 Minerva looked slower, and smoked, its driver getting out to run beside it round Pardon; Dr Taylor used high r.p.m. on his 1904 Peugeot, which, like modern Peugeots, favours a steering-column gear lever, and Langton’s 1904 two-cylinder Rolls-Royce didn’t impress as all that quiet; it also vibrated but climbed strongly.
Berry’s 1902 Panhard-Levassor needed lots of changes of speed, Baggs, a local man, came up handsomely in the only four-cylinder M.M.C. in captivity, a car resembling a Coventry Daimler and with big estate wagon body (it has done Cheltenham-Battersea in four hours), while Wilde’s Tony Huber meandered about. A rattle of side chains proclaimed the passage of Simons’ 1903 Berliet-engined Sunbeam and Gregory raced up so fast (1 min. 22.07 sec.) in his well-known 1904 Flying 15 Darracq that it is hard to believe that it no longer has a big modern carburetter or other tuning aids. In contrast, Waring’s very elegant and beautifully made 1904 20/30 Renault clocked 1 min. 47.61 sec.
That ended the veteran classes and speeds warmed up with the Edwardians. Beaumont’s be-flagged 1906 Darracq has yellow mudguards. Miss Cole nearly came to rest in changing down on her 1908 two-cylinder Renault, the car on which she passed her driving test — a splendid show! Mann’s Sizaire-Naudin, now very handsome, emitted lovely “one-lunger” noises, and Parsonage’s 1909 two-cylinder Renault managed without changing down. This little car used to return 22 m.p.h. average speed and 40 m.p.g., four-up, when Bird owned it — we drove to Prescott in an N.S.U. Prinz that averaged 40 m.p.h. and returned over 51 m.p.g., which is a measure of small-car progress in fifty years. Wood’s remarkable 1910 three-wheeler Phanomobile, all whirling fans, chains and epicyclic gears, managed very well, Myers’ ex-Abbott de Dion Bouton Type de Sport thumped up, gears whining, Shakspeare’s single-cylinder Swift, built by the Austin Motor Co. and on which the contemporary Austin Seven was based, stopped momentarily, perhaps weighed down with plaques, Field ascended well in a Swift cyclecar, the pointed tail of which suggests a past-essay at Brooklands racing, but it was no match for a trio of smart air-cooled V-twin Humberettes driven by Messrs. Gush (his has fine leather valances), Burnell and Farndon (his smoked).
Sam Clutton now came up magnificently, tyres protesting, in the 1908 G.P. Itala, to record f.t.d. in 56.67 sec. Unlike other drivers of fast Edwardians he doesn’t brake hard and lock the back wheels. Down’s 4.4-litre 1905 Renault ascended well for a tourer, Chambers’ smaller 1908 Delaunay-Belleville not quite so impressively. Hutton-Stott really threw the Hutton through the corners splendidly, Cook’s beautiful 1908 Mercedes was too heavy for high speed, Mann showed us a giant Vinot tourer, Holland seemed to open the cut-out of his little 1909 F.N., and Sir C. Edwards, Bt. smoked a bit in his little Delage. Rogers’ 1911 Daimler was trailed by the inevitable smokescreen, Johnson’s 1912 Austin was noisy, but Bendall’s 1912 o.h.c. Porsche-designed Austrian-Daimler, on its first outing, showed great promise. Candle’s 1912 Buick was typically American and crunched its gears, Neale’s ex-Doc. Taylor London-Edinburgh Rolls-Royce could have been quicker, Reeves mounted the inside kerb at Pardon in his smart Rover, John Hampton was particularly neat in his 12/16 two-seater Sunbeam, which was 7.4 sec. faster than South’s similar tourer, whereas Farrington’s single-sleeve-valve f.w.b. 1913 Argyll was terribly sedate. Peter Hampton, returning after an absence of eight years, drove a terribly exciting ascent in his chain-drive Bugatti “Black Bess,” but Pitt’s Alfonso Hispano-Suiza was painfully lethargic. Getley’s little Swift wasn’t swift, nor would you expect it to be, Clarke locked the back wheels of his 25-h.p. Talbot on a hectic approach to Orchard, Stradling’s comic Unic did nicely, Pilkinton’s Colonial Napier was even slower than the Hispano but Jack Sears was tremendous in the 1914 T.T. Sunbeam, locked wheels, spinning wheels, the lot, and modern tyres took him round the Semi-Circle faster than the 30/35 m.p.h. at which the ltala takes it — for all that, Clutton was quicker by nearly three seconds. Here are some of the faster times set up by the Edwardians:–
C. Clutton (1908 12,060-c.c. G.P. Itala) 56.67 sec.
J. Sears (1914 3,215-c.e. T.T. Sunbeam) 59.65 sec.
P. Hampton (1913 5,020-c.c. Bugatti) 62.34 sec.
C. J. Bendall (1912 5,710-c.c. P.H. Austrian-Daimler) 63.78 sec.
B. M. Clarke (1913 4.520-c.c. Talbot) 67.40 sec.
F. W. Hutton-Stott (1908 5.760-c.e. T.T. Hutton) 68.39 sec.
D. W. Neale (1912 7,128-c.c. Rolls-Royce) 70.10 sec.
J. G. Hampton (1912 3,010-c.c. Sunbeam) 80.98 sec.
W. A. L. Cook (1908 6,780-c.c. Mercedes) 86.14 sec.
C. F. South (1913 3,010-c.c. Sunbeam) 88.38 sec.
V.C.C. Prescott Hill-Climb
Shuttleworth Trophy (f.t.d.): C. Clutton (1908 Itala).
S. F. Edge Memorial Trophy (Formula): E. D. Woolley (1897 Daimler).
Class Winners: Wooley, R. D. Gregory (1904 Darracq), J. D. Parsonage (1909 Renault) and S. E. Sears (1914 T. T. Sunbeam).
Classes I and II: J. Hamilton-Fish (1902 Hanzer).
Class III: Mrs. White (1909 Renault).
Class IV II: H. J. Ratcliffe (1911 Vauxhall).
Class A: E. Quirk (1904 Darracq).
Class B: E. S. Berry (1902 Panhard-Levassor).
The exploits of Group Capt. Scroggs and Miss Pat Stocken in their vintage Trojans are now the subject of news releases from the Trojan Company.
A vintage Ford is reported as lying apparently derelict in Gosport and another reader tells us of a Citroen saloon, circa 1930, and a Singer Junior laid up in fair condition in Berkshire, and of a D8120 Delage which has been stored for five years on a farm in the same county, and which is said to be in really good condition. Letters can be forwarded.
On the occasion of Lord Montagu’s wedding at Beaulieu the bride arrived at the church in a 1906 20/60 Renault landaulette from the Montagu Motor Museum. Lord Montagu’s wedding present to Lady Montagu was a modern Singer Gazelle and a 1906 Humber.
Vintage S.C.C. fixtures for June are the Light Car Rally on the 14th, the Kildrummy Castle Rally on the same date and the Oulton Park Race Meeting on the 27th. The Oulton Park meeting will be open to the public and will include the Richard Seaman Memorial Trophies Race, a demonstration by Giant Racing Cars of the Past and a grand parade round the course of vintage cars taking part in a Concours d’Elegance.
Two vintage fixtures, both taking place on June 6th, are the Toc H Traction Engine and Vintage Car Rally at Chilcombe Manor, Winchester and the Appleby-Frodingham Steel Company’s childrens’ gala at Scunthorpe, in which old cars are invited to take part in a drive through the town and an exhibition in the Company’s grounds. Details are available, respectively, from G. E. Jackson, 32 Heysham Road, Shirley, Southampton, and M. H. A. Dod, Appleby-Frodingham Steel Co., Scunthorpe, Lincs.
Vintage motorcycles will again take part in a T.T. Rally in the Isle of Man. This year the Rally will be held on Thursday, June 4th. Those who wish to watch vintage motorcycles as a change from vintage cars should also make a note of the Banbury Run which the V.M.C.C. will hold on June 27th.
We hear of a derelict Delage straight-eight limousine, circa 1932, in Leicestershire, of a 1903 Fiat in a barn in Yorkshire, of a 1928 14/40 M.G., partly restored and a 16/50 Humber converted into a light lorry and in danger of being broken up, also a Bullnose Morris used to tow a lawn-mower, all these in Worcestershire. As if this is not sufficient, another reader informs us of the remains of an Essex lying in the Welsh Mountains, while in Hereford a fabric saloon body suitable for a vintage car of about 16 h.p., together with some mechanical parts of unspecified make from this car, is for sale. Then there is a Lea-Francis fabric saloon with a damaged back axle in a breaker’s yard in Norfolk and an Essex Coach behind a garage in Somerset. Letters can be forwarded to our informants.
S.O.S. A reader who has a distressingly derelict 1925 Jowett tourer finds it impossible to restore it without a similar car for spares, a reader in Dorset is hoping to restore a circa 1925 four-cylinder Renault of about 2-litre capacity and seeks information on these cars, and a London owner of a just post-vintage Standard Little Nine would appreciate a handbook. Again, letters can be forwarded.
With reference to recent correspondence on 11.4 Citroens, a Sussex reader who owns a 1925 example in original condition, and who also has a 1929 3-litre Bentley, offers inspection of Citroen instruction manuals and information, to anyone who would like to contact him, c/o of Motor Sport.
Exide’s 1904 Krieger electric brougham has found a resting place in the Science Museum.
The Rolls-Royce E.C. will hold a Concours d’Elegance at Blenheim Palace on June 28th, starting at 2.30 p.m., the Duchess of Marlborough being one of the Judges. Hon. Sec.: Miss Gladys Harris, Paternoster Farm, Yarnton, Oxon.
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