DAIMER & LANCHESTER O.C. NATIONAL RALLY, BEAULIEU (May 9th)

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A fascinatingly-varied assembly of these cars, 43 in all, of which 15 were Lanchesters, occupied the peaceful rally field of the Montagu Motor Museum for the Club’s first National Rally, which consisted of the usual Concours d’Elegance and driving tests. The entry ranged from a couple of Daimler SP250s to Bill Vaux’s typically-Edwardian 1905 poppet-valve Daimler with detachable limousine top, lots of brasswork and exposed magneto drive and camshaft. Lanchesters were represented by Alan Warner’s 1910 tourer in striped livery, which left early, Francis Hutton-Stott’s well-known 1913 38 h.p. six-cylinder torpedo tourer and many of the later models, the only vintage example being David Widgerg’s stately 1930 21 h.p. Maythorne landaulette, somewhat disfigured by a badly dented radiator, although fortunately the water-level glass had escaped damage—curious, this, in view of the size of the front brakes on the tubular axle of these excellent cars. It was a neat car, with very clean cord-upholstered parlour.

The most eye-catching car present was a Corsica-bodied 1931 Daimler Double Six d.h. coupe with the lowered special chassis of which T. & T.s built a couple in order to stake a claim in the White Elephant market. This one was found by a reader in a Hertfordshire breaker’s some years ago and Charles Mortimer restored it as a commercial venture. This impressive piece of machinery rolls on 7.50 in. x 23 in. Dunlop Fort tyres and ran smokily but effectively in the driving manoeuvre, in which its driver coped skilfully with its bulk and restricted visibility over the interminable bonnet.

The next most-exciting arrival, after this V12 sleeve-valve car, was a Brighton garage’s lofty 7-seater 1938 4½-litre straight-eight poppet-valve Daimler limousine in somewhat soiled condition, but soon being cleaned enthusiastically by a keen crew of mixed helpers. This one had Dunlop Forts of a mere 7.00 in. x 18 in. and only its single-pane screen, modern 5-spoke steering wheel and modern facia confirmed its age, for it could easily have been built a decade earlier and may have been one of the Royal Daimlers. It was surprisingly sprightly in the tests, rolling on supple springs without going out of control and appearing to have light low-geared steering and excellent brakes. The only other straight-eight Daimler present, a clean 1938 4½-litre saloon, took no further interest in the proceedings after being driven into the field, except to express the forlorn hope that someone might buy it….

We didn’t stay to hear the results announced but should be very surprised if the Concours d’Elegance wasn’t won by a 1935 Daimler 15 coupe with trunk, which was so immaculate that it might never have left the showroom. Inevitably, there was a Rolls-Royce present to eye the opposition and equally inevitably it was yellow and black. (Later another Rolls arrived, but we think this one brought Laurence Pomeroy, whose famous father designed many of the Daimlers in the field.) There were also some Jaguars masquerading as Daimlers. . . It was a pleasant and regal afternoon.—W. B.

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