Perusal of scrapbooks about motor racing are invariably interesting. We have been looking through one kept by C. U. M. Walther, about his experiences with a racing Austin 7, appropriate in this Jubilee year of the famous Seven. This was one of the Gordon England Brooklands models, about which a chapter will be devoted in the forthcoming “Motor Sport Book of the Austin Seven”—our contribution to the Jubilee.
We first encounter Walther in the JCC Production Car Race of 1926, run in fine weather but poorly attended by spectators. It was a three-hour race over an artificial road circuit at Brooklands, divided into 1,500, 1,100 and 750-c.c. classes. It attracted 22 entries, of whom 17 started, comprising an Aston Martin, four 12/50 Alvises, two OMs, a Lea-Francis, two Frazer Nashes, two Salmsons, an Amilcar and four Austin 7s. The cars were allowed to run stripped and could have special bodies to certain minimum dimensions, special pistons, con.-rods, induction and exhaust systems and balanced crankshafts. Modified valves and camshafts, non-standard carburetters and axle ratios were permitted, but gearbox ratios had to be standard—who says honing-up is a new development ? Superchargers were barred, but chassis could be drilled or otherwise lightened and pressure fuel-feed substituted for Autovac or gravity feed. Cars had to be two-seaters but carry only the driver, plus 396 lb., 264 lb. and 132 lb. of ballast in the respective classes. Five cars, some reports said six, of the type entered had had to be sold to the public six weeks before the race was held.
The race was won by Bagshawe’s Frazer Nash, at 61.7 m.p.h., from two 12/50s, the 1,100-c.c. section by Hazlehurst’s Salmson at 62.9 m.p.h. from Balls’ Amilcar, and Walther won his class, at 51.23 m.p.h., beating Waite’s “official” but similar car. Eight cars were still going when the finishing gun was fired. Gordon Hendy and Samuelson drove the other Austins, the former’s with a rather improbable streamlined head-rest. Walther, who wore a Parry Thomas-like pullover and a crash-hat, which all drivers had to wear—nothing new under the sun!—was entered by Boyd-Carpenter.
This scrapbook also deals with the 1926 and 1927 JCC 200-Mile Races. There is a big photograph of Percy Bradley, who was a high JCC official before becoming Clerk-of-the-Course at Brooklands, briefing the drivers. Again four Austins started in the 1926 race and Gordon England in a well-streamlined version won at 58.28 m.p.h. from Hendy. Walther and his mechanic had to change a tyre and he and R. E. O. Hall were delayed by fuel-feed trouble. In the 1927 “200” Walther had the misfortune to roll his Austin at the hairpin but crawled out uninjured. Chase’s Austin “Mr. Jo Jo” won the 750-c.c. class at 58.17 m.p.h., from Wilson’s Austin and Boyd-Carpenter’s Cup model “Mrs. Jo Jo”, both “Jo Jos” being put up for sale after the race. Hendy’s blown and “El Bolivar’s” unblown Brooklands models retired and Samuelson’s Rapier was very slow. — W. B.
In the annual Bentley DC speed trials in Belgium “Jumbo” Goddard exceeded 158 m.p.h. for the two-way kilometre in his turbo-charged 8-litre Bentley Special, officially timed by the AC of Belgium.