VINTAGE POSTBAG, June 1965
The Fastest Edwardian
While browsing through some past copies of your excellent magazine I came across Sam Clutton’s article ” Cars I Have Owned ” in which he gave a second by second account of how he went up Prescott in the Itala in under 55 seconds and set a new Edwardian record of 54.85 sec.
He finished the article by saying ” I think the 10½-litre Fiat, or Vieux Charles III or a 1914 G.P. Mercedes could take this Edwardian record from us but I think he will have to try fairly hard.”
So just as a matter of interest I had a look in my father’s album to see what sort of times he used to get at Prescott when he had the 10½-litre Fiat. I discovered that not only had he ascended the hill in under 55 sec. but was faster than Sam Clutton’s ” record” time by .03 of a second (54.82 sec.).
This was 25 years ago at the International Prescott Hill Climb on July 30th, 1939. It was a fine day and many records were broken, including the record for the hill which was broken by Raymond Mays (2-litre E.R.A.).
Beaconsfield. OLIVER S. HEAL.
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Roesch Talbot Road-holding
I am just as shattered to hear that Maurice Falkner found his Talbot 90 ” dangerous on wet roads,” as Lagonda owners must be to learn that the 2-litre Lagonda had ” a delightful gear change”! I can only assume that, like other secondhand cars he bought, its previous history had left something to be desired, since the experience of all Talbot owners known to me is that these cars have a stability in the wet unrivalled by any other make of their day.
During their racing career in the early ‘thirties the Talbots were renowned for going just as quickly on wet roads as on dry ones. If it had rained a bit more in some of the classic races I am sure they would have done even better than they did, but in any case the filthy weather through parts of 1932 and 1934 Alpine Trials was certainly one factor which contributed to their Cups in each event.
Post-war V.S.C.C. competitions have tended to confirm this wet weather superiority, which seems to stem from the excellent adhesion of the quarter-elliptic-sprung rear axle and the progressive operation of the brakes, when applied to a fundamentally well-balanced motor car.
Callington. A. BLIGHT.
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I have often been tempted to jump on the Letters to the Editor Band Wagon and now feel that at last I must have a go.
The Scott-Moncrieff reference to the Alvis Firefly is, of course, unjust and it is probable that this gentleman has had no real experience of the car. Anyone can indulge in abuse of honest motors and few have stood the test of time as well as have the Alvis cars of the pre-war period. Clearly it would be easy to point a finger at the shortcomings of the white elephants of which Scott-Moncrieff seems to be a purveyor but this sort of thing seems alien to the spirit of the sport.
I have had two Speed 25 Alvises, one 12/60, one Firebird, two Fireflies and a 12/70, and have driven other models. It is probable, as Ken Day points out, that the peak of Alvis design was manifested in the Speed 25 and 4.3 models. A point I would like to make is that of all Alvis production models, the ones whose roadholding by any standards is exceptional are the beam-axle Speed 20S and the much-maligned Firefly. True it is that the Firefly is under-engined, but to be under-engined in a Firefly is not what it would seem for this motor will cruise all day at 55 to 60 m.p.h. and show surprising times from A to B due to its cornerability.
Finally, on another tack, I would like to add my appreciation of the service accorded to me over many years by Alvis Ltd. I have received spares of all shapes and sizes, most of which came by return of post and none took as much as a week. What is really amazing, in this age of take it or leave it service, is that Alvis Ltd. will still supply most parts for their pre-war and many for their vintage models, taking great pride in doing so.
Shrewsbury. NOEL E. G. WILD.
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The P.V.T. Daimlers
I was interested by Mr. Rigby Jones’ letter on p.v.t. Daimlers.
The 3½-litre o.h.v. Straight 8, of which he gives interesting particulars, was introduced for the long-wheelbase limousines, and was in production during 1935. It was not big enough for such heavy coachwork, and was replaced by the 4½-litre in 1936.
The 26 was then used, as Mr. Rigby points out, for the Light Eight and sports saloons, and grew to 4-litres just before the war.
The 15 h.p. o.h.v. Daimler was introduced at the 1932 Show (the 15/18 Lanchester at the 1931) and I don’t think any other o.h.v. Daimler came on the market for at least another year.
Godmanston. W. STUART BEST.
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Factory Methods in the Vintage Era
To me, your article ” Factory Methods of the Vintage Era” (No. 9 : Morris) and-the reply by Mr. MacLean, proved interesting. May I please correct one point ?
In September 1920 my Company began to transport engines from Coventry to Cowley. For three years we carried for Hotchkiss, and from then until the present time for Morris Motors Ltd. However, in 1927 ten (not 50) six-wheeled, solid-tyred articulated Scammell lorries were operated on this work. These vehicles were also used for the movement of engines to Morris Commercial Cars Ltd., who were then situated in Soho, Birmingham.
May Mr. MacLean rest assured that the inefficiencies which his mental arithmetic proved on the facts and figures as given by you did not exist. I.O.W. E. J. CRINAGE.