Lost Causes Find Themselves at Beaulieu

The 4th Lost Causes Rally was held at Beaulieu on April 28th. The entries, totalling 131, ranged from one car with one cylinder (a Ryte Craft) to several with eight cylinders. The usual classes were used, comprehensible only to those who have read Lord Montagu’s fascinating “Lost Causes of Motoring”. Thus there was a class for the “Three As of Scotland” which was supported by a lone Edwardian Arrol-Johnston, a section for makes from Birmingham that was the preserve of B.S.A.s, except for an 1898 Royal-Enfield Quad, and a Wolverhampton-Makes division, well supported by Clynos, a 1909 Star and a smart A.J.S. 4-door fabric saloon which a catalogue on its screen proclaimed to have cost new £197. The most prolific make was Armstrong Siddeley, with 35, understandable as this was also the A.S.O.C.’s National Rally; Jowett, Standard and Lea-Francis were the runners-up. The car coming the greatest distance was Box’s very presentable 1927 7/17 Jowett two-seater from Westmorland, some 290 miles each way. That coming the shortest distance was presumably Lord Montagu’s 1915 Napier, which just carne up the drive from the Museum.

There were two Armstrong Siddeleys which looked as if they were on their way to a breaker’s yard, and some almost too immaculate to be true, like Isles’ 1928 Armstrong Siddeley 15 Broadway saloon, with unmarked Bedford cord upholstery and its spare wheel in a neat cover bearing the Sphinx insignia. Wilde’s 1929 Armstrong Siddeley 14 Sundown tourer was also a worthy entry in this class, but it was Bert Reason’s splendidly shiny 1950 limousine which was declared the Lost Cause of the Year.

The classes for Crossley and “Jam Factory” were completely neglected this year, although a smart Marendaz-Special was seen for a short time in the car park, and Lanchesters were poorly represented, although Scott’s 1932 Ten saloon was notably clean, apart from discoloured rain-deflectors and was on 4.50 x 19. tyres, and Hutton-Stott came in his 1954 Lanchester Dauphin. Looking round at random, we noted that Capt. Tulver’s H.R.G. seemed to have borrowed a radiator from a s.v. Morris 8 and had a non-standard tail. Niell had an Aerodynamic H.R.G., Morgan’s B.S.A. Scout had its owner’s name and address on it, presumably in case it became more lost than a Lost Cause, Bowler’s B.S.A. 3-wheeler sported enormous Firestone front tyres for conveying the drive, the many Javelins were backed up by Jupiters and a couple of Bradfords by Jowett, and Parsons’ 1936 Armstrong Siddeley 17 was a convertible by Maltby’s of Folkestone, Builders of Beautiful Bodies (I am all in favour!), in which the head is erected by operating a lever beside the driver, or would have been if a hydraulic leak hadn’t developed.

Brown’s Armstrong Siddeley Whitley had a flag staff sheathed in leather, the Clynos, (which someone once compared with that other Wolverhampton make by saying that Sunbeam made bad cars well, Clyne good cars badly) were represented by Salt’s choice Royal saloon, a 1928 square-radiator tourer, and a two-seater with much lining on the body, Trade numbers, and more grey paint over the engine, than even Clyno used originally, which hadn’t made it any easier to start that morning. Simpson’s 1950 2½-litre sports Lea-Francis, with Avon Turbospeeds on its front wheels, Dunlop Road Speeds on the back, rather self-consciously wore a bonnet strap. Curiously, not one Avis was present, although this famous make was eligible for Class R, but Hampton, Brough Superior, Railton, Trojan, Denow, British Salmson, etc. were amongst the rare makes represented. The programme couldn’t decide whether Trojans have two or four cylinders and the advertisements it contained for competitors’ cars were in poor taste.

W. B.