V.S.C.C. Driving Tests, Beaulieu (May 8th)

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The-annual visit of the V.S.C.C. to the Montagu Motor Museum can be set down as a highly enjoyable occasion, even if the rain was almost unrelenting. I am able to state that Club officials got as wet as anyone, even if they were fortified by an excellent lunch served to them by Lord Montagu in the comfortable Pullman coaches of his Bournemouth Belle—which is definitely worth a visit. The marshals carried on efficiently, as V.S.C.C. marshals always do, under these conditions of maximum damp, running four tests on Beaulieu’s hard standing.

Out of an entry of 31, the Concours d’Elegance was won, deservedly, by J.M. Welch’s 1924 o.h.c. Wolseley 15 tourer, which was spotless outside and mechanically, the only blemish being its upholstery which, however, was obviously original. The complex engine with early S.U. carburetter would repay more study than there was opportunity to give it, and from radiator cap to rear screen this car was redolent of those Wolseleys of the A.G. Miller regime. It must, however, have been run close by the A.C.s of Milner and Condon and Lurch’s 1921 Charron-Laycock, with traditional aluminium bonnet. Biffin’s 1929 Austin 1214 saloon sported a wicker trunk and a Shell 2-gallon petrol tin. The driving tests had a special Invicta class, besides the usual touring and sports car categories. The former included L.T. Skipp’s ex-Tickford long-bonneted Monte Carlo Rally saloon, M.J. Skipp’s “boy’s racer,” Swann’s lightweight tourer with twin aero screens, Laurie’s nice high-chassis 4 1/2-litre tourer and Gue’s presentable low-chassis 2-seater 4 1/2 litre, which he drove in a trilby hat.

Taking the test known as “Stepladder” (rather too much reversing, as in the previous test), Arnold-Foster lost time when his Frazer Nash, its drilled sprockets naked and unashamed, its engine sewn up again after the Silverstone blow-up, understeered in reverse. A pre-selector box aided Hawke in his Riley, Hill used lots of revs, in reversing his Lea-Francis tourer, Savill got rather crossed-up in his l.h.d. Fiat Ballila, but Edwards (Ulster Aston Martin) and Bolton (2-litre Lagonda) went well.

Passmore’s 3-litre Bentley glasshouse experienced terrible judder when doing backwards retardation, as did Pack’s open 3-litre, which also smoked but made splendid “W.0.” rumble’s. Tony Jones hurled his 30/98 Vauxhall about with typical enthusiasm, having just taken off his coat (it was still raining!), and it stopped without judder! Very quick indeed describes Firmin’s Meadows-H.R.G., and Giles was also rapid in his Frazer Nash but slid backwards and knocked over the last marker, to the accompaniment of a six-letter word! Anson drove his 9/20 Humber tourer nicely and Cole’s p.v.t. Bentley saloon, from which the rain had apparently washed most of the paint, took a big sweep out of the “garage” but was neat. Mrs. Hogg hardly increased our confidence in lady drivers with her backwards handling of Edwards’ Aston Martin but it was good to see the girls taking part, Mrs. Cardy very polished in her Austin 7 in spite of traditional back-axle tramp Mrs: Cherrett, present in rain hat and Alfa Romeo and Mrs. Hill driving the Lea-Francis. Ely was extremely good in his Riley Ulster Imp, other Rileys including Hannis’ Lynx and Bennett’s Plus Ultra Nine, the aforesaid Tickford Invieta “Excalibur” got a marker wedged in a front wheel, Hirons’ i.o.e. G.N. had string round its o/s. push-rod, Maidment drove Lord Montagu’s 1913 Fiat, Knight crunched in reverse on his very nice O.M. tourer, Gahagan was on form in his Bugatti, and one of the nicest cars present was Sharp’s 30/98 Vauxhall Wensum, in polished aluminium.

The Concours might have made history by having an E.R.A., Kergon’s, among the contestants, but it didn’t appear.—W.B.

Results :
Montagu Trophy (Concours and Tests) : N. Arnold-Forster (1925 Anzani Frazer Nash).
Martini Trophy (Concours) : J.M. Welch (1924 Wolseley 15-h.p. Model A9).
Vintage Cars (Concours) : First class awards. : J.M. Welch (1924 Wolseley) and A.D.G. Sharp (1925 Vauxhall).
P.V.T. Cars (Concours) : First class award : H. Jones (1937 Bentley).
Sports Cars (Driving Tests): First class awards : N. Arnold-Forster (1925 Frazer Nash) and A.D. Jones (1923 Vauxhall).
Touring Cars (Driving Tests) : First class award : J.K. Milner (1926 AC.).
Invicta Cars (Driving Tests): First class award : G. Swann (1928 3-litre)