A section devoted to old-car matters
VSCC Silverstone meeting
The Vintage SCC had every reason to be pleased with its first 1974 race meeting, which attracted a big crowd, some “new” cars, was devoid of accidents, and had generally fine, if bitter, weather. The High Speed Trial, reduced from 60 to 40 minutes duration to conserve global fuel resources, had a distinct French element, with two competing Amilcars, a Salmson, and a Vernon-Derby which went very well. Alvis 12/50 and Frazer Nash circulating in close company gave a touch of the 1926 Sporting Car Race of Brooklands’ memory and 14 drivers qualified out of 28 starters, a wet track perhaps taking some toll. Mrs. Arnold-Forster appeared Co have forgotten to replace the sparking-plug which had to be removed during the compulsory pit-stop but in fact her GN had lost a push-rod end.
The most interesting race was the Itala and Napier Trophies 10-lap scratch contest. Morley, new owner of the 24-litre Bentley-Napier, made no mistakes and won easily. Moffatt in Wall’s Bugatti passed the monster at Beckett’s but it accelerated away on the straights most impressively, proving that there really is no substitute for litres! On the last lap but one the Bugatti’s cylinder block lifted, leaving Kain’s Bugatti in a steady second place and Nigel Arnold-Forster going very well in third place in the blue Delage II. Freddie Giles did some impressive cornering in the GN “Salome”.
The 15-lap Allcomers’ Scratch Race was enlivened by a duel between Alan Cottam in one of Millar’s 250F Maseratis and Ray Fielding’s A6GCM Maserati. Fielding took the lead on lap 13 after trying to get by on the inside at Woodcote two laps earlier. Alas, his lead was short-lived, for he went off at Beckett’s and although he resumed, he never again went motor racing. This left Richard Pilkington to drive well into second place in the Cooper-Bristol, a drive which gave him the Driver of the Meeting Allied Polymer Award. Simpson’s Cooper-Bristol was third, followed by the determined Lockhart in the 3-litre Rover and a wild Van Rossem in another Cooper-Bristol. The Hon. Patrick Lindsay, who aviated to Silverstone, had a plug out in the ERA “Remus” and Arnold-Forster’s ERA holed a piston, leaving the pre-war award to Patrick March’s ERA.
A 5-lap Scratch Race for pm-war cars up to 1,500 c.c, was between Farquhar’s ex-Dixon Riley 9 and Barbet’s Riley 9 but with a fastest lap at just over 70 m.p.h. Farquhar won. Kirby’s Austin took the 750 c.c. class. Otherwise, it was a series of 5-lap handicaps. Warrington in the Riley-engined Appleton Special, now very smart, won the first from Russ-Turner’s blown 4.1/4 Bentley Special and Howell was third in his remarkable 3-litre twin-cam Sunbeam, also blown. The Atmborough Special drew attention to itself, apart from its yellow paintwork, by spinning on the warming-up lap!
The next 5-lapper was good VSCC stuff, Taylor’s 1933 Aston Martin winning from Poynter’s Lea-Francis and Joseland’s Frazer Nash. Halfpenny’s 3.1/2-litre triple-SU Alvis Special, looking rather like a modernised straight-8 FWD, won the third handicap, with Jaye in the Appleton second and Bowler coming home third in his “modern” BMW. We then had a “photo-finish” between Russ-Turner in his Wade-inducted 4.1/4 Bentley (see page 584) and Phillips’ Cooper-Bristol which pounced on the Bentley on the line, after a fastest lap of 80.18 m.p.h., but not quite quickly enough. This was once a Bob Gerard Cooper-ERA. Bowler ran in third.
In the final handicap Bill Morris came right through from scratch, lapping at 77.39 m.p.h., in Stephenson’s Frazer Nash with BMW engine, to win from Clifford V8 Riley, with Golden’s 1.1/2-litre Riley netting another third place.—W.B.
Corner, down to drive a BRM or his ERA, was a non-starter. But some interesting “new” cars were present. Mrs. Allin in the Talbot-Simmins was going well, Summerfield had a 3.1/2-litre Bentley engine in a Standard Avon. Burrell produced the Bentley-Royce, which has a 7.3-litre R-R P3 engine with two SUs replacing the original gas-works and Brooklands-like silencers (it also wore a pre-war BARG badge), in a 4,1/4-Bentley chassis with the o/d gearbox and 700 x 19 rear Dunlops. He said he wasn’t ready to extend it and it was out-performed by Chapman in Glass’ exBirkin blower-4.1/4 Bentley. Mann’s boattailed 14/40 Sunbeam was going indecently fast and, as the only Edwardian, Neve’s perennial 1914 TT Humber took the Edwardian prize.
10-lap Itala & Napier Trophies Scratch Race:
1st : F. P. Morley (Bentley Napier), 78.48 m.p.h.
2nd : B. B. D. Kain (Bugatti)
3rd : N. Arnold-Forster (Delage)
15-lap Allcomers’ Scratch Race:
1st :A. S. Cottam (Maserati), 81.72 m.p.h.
2nd :R. A. Pilkington (Cooper-Bristol)
3rd : B. J. Simpson (Cooper-Bristol)
5-lap 1.500 c.c. Scratch Races: A. N. Farquhar (Riley). 67.31 m.p.h.
First 5-lap Handicap: C. A. V. Warrington (Appleton Special). 66.94 m.p.h.
Second 5-lap Handicap: D. M. Taylor (Aston Martin). 61.71 m.p.h.
Third 5-lap Handicap: P. H. Halfpenny (Alvis), 69.81 m.p.h.
Fourth 5-lap Handicap: B. M. Russ-Turner (Bentley). 71.61 m.p.h.
Fifth 5-lap Handicap: W. R. O. Morris (Frazer MA). 74.37 m.p.h.
Leader in the 1974 Motor Sport Brooklande Memorial Trophy Contest: B. M. Russ-Turner (Bentley). 31 points. Next round: VSCC Oulton Park Race Meeting: June 15th.
V-E-V Miscellany – The news that the ex-Hitler Mercedes-Benz has been sold for 250,000 dollars prompted the Trinidad Express to run a story about what it describes as a similar 1909 Mercedes which is in everyday use In that town. From the published photograph the Trinidad Mercedes looks like one of the large vintage touring cars. It is said to have been owned by Pola Negri and to have been brought to Trinidad by an American visitor who sold it to its present owner, who has been using it locally and who recently restored it. It has American-style bumpers and oval, vee-fronted headlamps. Two cars restored recently include a 1905 Arrol-Johnston found in the Glasgow cellar it had occupied since 1926 and said to be the actual car that won that year’s TT, and a 1927 Chummy Austin 7 bought for £4 as a box of bits in 1958.
Fifty Austin 7s, ranging from a 1925 Chummy to a 1938 Ruby saloon eventually entered for the 750 MC’s London-Monte Carlo Run last Easter. A history of the Wilkinson Sword Company (who make the razor blades used by the writer) reveals that a series of five TAC motorcycles were made between 1909 and 1912, designed by Dutchman P. G. Tacchi, and that seven are still in existence. Last April the Chairman of Wilkinson Sword Ltd. handed over to the National Motor Museum a 1909 Series-3 676 c.c. TAC to Lord Montagu, which was ridden on demonstration by Murray Walker, son of the late Graham Walker, first Curator of the Museum’s Motorcycle Section. This year’s International Jowett Rally takes place on June 29th/30th, based on York racecourse. There will be a Concours d’Elegance and display on the Saturday afternoon, to which spectators will be admitted free, a Club dinner that evening, and driving-tests on the racecourse approach road on the Sunday. It is expected that Jowetts of all ages will be present. Details from: S. J. Laycock, 43, Langholm Crescent, Darlington, Co. Durham, DL3 7SM. A reader would like to trace the present whereabouts of a 20(25 Rolls-Royce, Reg. No. ALX 643, in which his brother-inlaw was brought home from the London Clinic where he was born, and which was used, among other things, for a shooting holiday in Eastern Europe before the war. Another reader has acquired a one-owner 1935 Morris Isis 18 tourer, which not only has the rare open bodywork but is claimed to be the last Isis ever made. An article in the Birmingham Sunday Mercury about a vintage Cluley light car which a Mr. Don Cluley bought in Kent in 1956 and drove to the Midlands, where it is about to be restored, not only resulted in the car’s owner being put in touch with long-lost relatives but produced a photograph of the Cluley restored by the original manufacturers, Clarke, Cluley & Co. Not only that, but it brought a letter from someone whose father bought a Cluley as his first car in the 1920s, for £50, and used it for some adventurous journeys from Manchester to Clun and Cornwall, etc., on one occasion having a “difference of opinion” with a Sentinel. It is suggested that some 3,000 Cluleys were made, of which half-a-dozen possibly survive. Don Cluley’s car is thought to be earlier than the car owned by Clarke, Cluley. There is a chassis in Wales and we remember another of these cars being scrapped in Berkshire during the war. The car recalled by the Sunday Mercury’s correspondent was Reg. No. NR 6976, chassis no. 1643, should it have survived. Mr. Cluley remarked that “Collecting has really been spoiled by the large wallet brigade”.
A carburetter, dickey-seat cover, bumpers, indicators, and information generally, are urgently required for restoration of a 1934 Standard Little Nine coupe owned by a reader. The 15th National Standard Register Rally takes place on June 15th at Walton Hall, Walton, near Wellesbourne, Warwicks, commencing at 11 a.m. It is open to Standard cars and commercials of all ages, as well as members a the Triumph Razoredge Register, and will include a Concours d’Elegance and a Concours de Confort. Details from: Hanson, 3, Cranford Park Drive, Yateley, Camberley, Surrey. In his letter about the Stromboli aero-engine Air Commodore F. R. Banks misquoted its bore and stroke, which should have been given as 12 in x 16 in. To introduce a new service centre in Clapham a Lamborghini Urraco S was followed in cavalcade by a 1929 4.1/2-litre Bentley, a 1931 2-litre Lagonda and Robbie Hewitt’s TT Lagonda, the last-named erroneously described in the hand-out as having won at Le Mans in 1935. In Wales a 1932 s.v. Morris Minor saloon was pressed into service after the temporary demise of a one-owner Humber 9/20 with back-axle trouble. The VSCC of America has decided to accept certain post-war cars, up to 1959, as eligible for its events—the rot is spreading!