4th International Rally of Veteran Car Clubs (May 10th/11th)
This rally, organised jointly by the V.C.C. and V.S.C.C., was another excellent gathering of historic vehicles sponsored by National Benzole. The entry of 311 cars ranged from the 1896 Arnold Motor Carriage to one of the most diverse assembly ever of vintage makes, and terminated in a colossal cavalcade round Goodwood, in which some of the competitors from the International Bugatti Rally also took part. Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, U.S.A., Switzerland, Norway, Holland, New Zealand and Eire were represented, along with the British entries.
As a rally the event tended to be more social than competitive. It started from the historic Madeira Drive at Brighton, unfortunately in rain and up hills rather too steep for some of the veterans, took in Petworth Park where a picnic lunch in rather small marquees did little to uplift damp spirits, and then wound through Sussex by-ways in better weather to Butlin’s Holiday Camp at Bognor Regis on the Friday, prize-winners being decided by regularity on the road section, the routes varying according to class, and on driving tests at Goodwood on the Saturday, where the Concours d’Elegance was judged. Route finding for foreign entrants was not always easy, the insular British haying printed the route card in one language only—their own!
Butlin’s was again used as the rendezvous on Saturday evening and it seems possible that history was made, for surely never before had an Isotta Fraschini, driven by a Countess, entered the well-known Camp, if, indeed, Countess Lurani was at the wheel. Where else, however, could a thousand people have been so easily and comfortably accommodated and their cars housed, with swimming and dancing facilities on hand? Only a gale on the Friday prevented the open cars being accommodated in special marquees, and these were provided by Butlin’s on the Saturday night. National Benzole provided a magnificent buffet-supper, after which the prize-giving, to which Motor Sport had donated two of the cups, took place. That officially concluded the rally, but Lord Montagu generously held a cocktail party for competitors on the Sunday at Beaulieu, and opened the Montagu Motor Museum free to them. Lord Montagu drove a 1909 Rolls-Royce in the rally but was delayed by a puncture, as was Tubbs in his 1907 40/60 Gobron Brillié.
Before the final parade at Goodwood formed up, demonstration runs were given by selected fast cars, Ed. Roy’s immaculate 1913 G.P. Delage being paired with the 1911 Coupé de l’Auto 6.2-litre Delage, Sear’s blower-4 1/2 Bentley team car with a 38/250 SSK Mercedes-Benz, the Stanley and Doble steamers being sent out together, likewise a pair of G.P. Bugattis, a pair of Type 43 Bugattis, Clutton’s Itala with Kenneth Ball’s “Prince Henry” Vauxhall, etc.—very picturesque and unquestionably nostalgic, especially to foreign visitors who hadn’t seen them before.
To report fully on events of such delightfully diverse entries would fill this issue, so we are going to compromise with comments on the behaviour of some of the cars up S. Harting Hill (the veterans used another route), some notes gleaned at Goodwood, and the official results:—
By far the first arrival at S. Harting was Mann’s 1908 Vinot tourer, hood up, displaying plenty of brasswork. Hodgkinson’s 1913 Calcott thundered up, Bruijn’s 1908 12/14 De Dion sported an aluminium bonnet, Tacon’s yellow 1910 Bianchi stopped but got away satisfactorily. South’s sober 12/16 Sunbeam came up unconcernedly fast, but Davy’s big 1907 Standard was slow, emitting bell-like noises. A. D. Johns’ 1907 40/45 Mercedes “racer” came by amongst a group of cars, Caunter’s 1912 14 h.p. De Dion was so slow that it had to stop for first speed to be put in, Major Pitt’s Alfonso Hispano-Suiza had a line deep exhaust note, and very dignified was Elder’s 1913 23 h.p. Hotchkiss saloon, climbing the one-time speed hill-climb course slowly, to the steady beat of its exhaust, a gear-change neatly effected. Ball’s “Prince Henry” Vauxhall was steady rather than fast, the 1913 Argyll likewise, while Cole’s nice 1915 Bedford Buick tourer was both noisy and slow. It was held on speed by Tony Brooke’s 1907 Renault. Habgood’s multi-coloured 1914 Star had to shed a passenger and was passed by Kirby’s 1905 Argyll. Sir Clive Edwards’ 1910 Delage small car had a noisy gearbox but proved a strong hill-climber, and Haller’s 1909 Chalmers-Detroit accelerated up the hill fantastically, aided by modern twin carburetters and other tuning aids.
It was reminiscent of the old S. Harting climbs, especially as Sir John Briscoe’s Coupe de l’Auto Delage and Neve’s 1914 T.T. Humber also thundered up, whereas Lee’s 1912 Unic was exceedingly staid. A fine horn note announced the impending arrival of Oldham’s 1911 Renault landaulette, with four spare tyres on the roof and trunk behind, the driver making an expert gear-change, Caddy’s 1925 Alvis and Hare’s 1930 Lea-Francis went up quickly together, and Steele’s 1909 8/12 F.N. made a good ascent, aided by having no passenger. Barton’s slim 1913 Morris-Oxford pulled out and passed Gruning’s 1911 10 h.p. Benz and Schuddejboom’s 1927 Rolls-Royce also overtook the little German car.
Woodhouse’s very nice 1923 Lea-Francis 2-seater was fast but nevertheless Skirrow’s very noisy Fraser Nash slid past it on a bend. Webb’s 1913 Clement-Baynard, a very clean car, came up steadily, Charity’s Fiat 501 and Routledge’s Morris-Cowley were well-matched, Johnson’s 1912 10 h.p. Austin seemed determined to get up in the highest possible gear and Taylor’s 1910 Hotchkiss passed Lindley’s 1912 Belsize, waved on by a sensible mobile policeman at the second bend.
Hill’s 1930 A.J.S. was good, likewise Wadsworth’s 1922 3-litre Bentley, Adams was obviously master of his 1919 40/50 Rolls-Royce gearbox, but the “Genevieve” Spyker was boiling and so was Creek’s nice little Charron-Laycock, while Crabb’s 1914 Delage laid on a smokescreen for Burchell’s 1913 Rolls-Royce. Brysden’s 1925 Vauxhall was fast, but Danaher’s 1928 Humber was popping back and Pooley’s 1913 10 h.p. Delage stopped to change gear, while Caudle’s 1912 Buick blew its exhaust whistle.
Vaux’s 1905 Daimler built up revs. nicely, it was good to see Cuthell’s Alfonso Hispano-Suiza out again, but Marsh’s 4-speed much-drilled Ulster Austin was more suited to a 750 M.C. race meeting. Two A.C.s of different ages came up together, a flat-twin Rover 8 went by, Marshall’s 1925 Jowett and Heinrich’s 1925 2-litre Mercedes both overtook Miss Rosborough’s 1910 Adler, while Gough’s little 1913 Enfield came to rest and its lady passenger was left to walk up. Bendall raced up in his white Austrian-Daimler and the enormous bulk of Gurney’s ex-Sword 1914 25 h.p. Opel tourer was almost overpowering, yet it was on 880 x 120 tyres. Janssen’s 1916 Calcott carried a third occupant in a fine dickey seat. Bailey was using his 1912 Cadillac’s hand-operated screen-wiper, a genuine M-type M.G. and two G.N.s went by, Schuldt’s Fiat 501 had a brace of plaques strapped across its scuttle, Tencate’s 5.3-litre Bugatti sported a basketwork body, a Marmon-Roosevelt saloon passed a Minivan, but Cooke’s rare 1928 Triumph 15 saloon had to turn round and went up in reverse to obviate fuel starvation! Kaluzza’s 1928 4-litre Mercedes-Benz hauled a trailer, and an O.M. was followed by an Ansaldo tourer and Mercedes, their crews in yachting caps, and an enormous, but slow, 1912 20/25 N.A.G. “racer.” There were unfamiliar models of Adler and other German cars.
Goodwood gatherings:— Oddest car present was the 1900 3 1/2-h.p. Maurer-Union from Germany; it seemed to be begging for National Benzole! Some of the veterans, like the Stephens and Ranch’s Benz, had to be manually reversed in the garage test. Rawling’s Swift cyclecar had a fit of temperament and had to be cranked furiously in the Le Mans gambit. The T.T. Humber, the Chalmers, one rear wheel spinning backwards as it braked, and Mann’s 1908 Vinot were very quick through the tests. The finest turf-turf noises came from the Turicum. The 450 c.c. 1940 Quadrant was distinctly jelly-like. Several de Dions refused to start in the icy Goodwood air. President of the V.S.C.C. Rowley drove his Velox 30/98 Vauxhall. Dr. Marsden’s 1929 Rolls-Royce looked more “everyday” than “concours.” Lightfoot’s 1902 Mercedes would have suited Mr. Toad! The commentator was unduly impressed by work put in on Bauer’s ugly 1928 sports Dixie, to get it to run in the Parade—he even said it had been driven all the way from Germany, so it must be no mean amphibian! Another interesting Austin 7 link was seen in Dichtl’s I.h.d. Dixie saloon, looking just like a Longbridge product. Impossible to list all the interesting cars, but they ranged from a 3-cylinder Rolls-Royce and the only Rover-Sunbeam thought still to exist, to a wooden-wheeled Isotta-Fraschini. The bevy of snarling Bugattis, Hugh Conway’s lovely Type 43 among them, lapped the 1897 Soame steam cart, courageously fired by J. M. Edwards, whom one felt was perfectly justified in bringing his entry on a transporter.
Perhaps the most intriguing of the many cars present was Ed. Roy’s superbly rebuilt 1913 G.P. Delage. Apparently the car was found after it had been raced on American board tracks with a V8 aero-engine installed, one bank of cylinders having been removed to comply with capacity limits, so the story goes. Roy found the original engine of this Delage (No. 2 of the team), 3,000 miles away, rebuilt and installed it. Incidentally, another car with horizontal valves, apart from the two racing Delages, was Jones’ 5.6-litre Duesenberg-engined Roamer, up from S. Wales. It is used as a “shopping car” and is troublefree except for plug-fouling in traffic, a bother Neve was experiencing, having converted the T.T. Humber into a “tourer” for this rally, both these cars craving the open road.
Clerk of the Course Tom Rolt used his “one-owner” 1924 12/50 “duck’s-back” Alvis, and Deputy Philip Mann his 22/90 racing Alfa Romeo, as official cars, and a Bébé Peugeot, the 1908 G.P. Itala, etc., were likewise on official duties.
H. G. Schoof Memorial Trophy (best overall performance): P. Tacon: (1910 Bianchi).
National Benzole Trophy (best performance by U.K. competitor): K. M. Hill (1930 A.J.S.).
National Benzole Overseas Trophy (best performance by foreign entry): H. Dichtl (1928 Dixi).
Autocar Veteran Trophy: T. W. Lightfoot (1902 Mercedes).
Autocar Edwardian Trophy: P. Tacon (1910 Bianchi).
Autosport Edwardian Trophy: G. A. Cuthell (1912 Hispano-Suiza).
Motor Sport Touring Trophy: K. M. Hill (1930 A.J.S.).
Motor Sport Trophy: D. P. Martin (1929 Riley Nine).
Butlin’s Trophy (Concours): A. A. Dray (1904 Wolseley).
Lanchester Trophy: T.R. Nicholson (1928 Lanchester).
Fiat Trophy: J. M. Hayward (1927 Fiat).