V-E-V Miscellany, June 1981, June 1981

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In the solid-tyred wheel tracks of Richard Smith’s 1899 3 1/2 h.p. Benz another old car has undertaken the End-to-End Run from Land’s End to John O’Groats for charity. John Lees is undertaking the long haul in a 1934 Austin 10/4 Cabriolet, accompanied by Robert Lees and L.F. Trvdik, departing on May 23rd. Seven days were allowed for the 880 mile run and it was in aid of the Portland Training College For The Disabled. Which reminds us that the Austin Ten DC, which caters for all pre-1940 Austins, has a membership of something like 1,100 and new members seem to be recruited in very reasonable numbers each month. The current issue of the Club’s magazine lists 34, with details of their Austins, and it also gives short biogs. of the retiring Committee members, with photographs of these gentlemen, which are two ideas that other Clubs might well copy. The editorial calls the recent Budget “Tory Blues”, likening Sir Geoffrey Howe to the slayer of the Golden Goose, but points out that in many ways the older cars can be less expensive to run than modern vehicles. This is a Club very much for active participants, listing many social and other Austin-orientated fixtures. The subscription is £5.00 a year and the Membership Secretary is Peter Woodend, 3, Eastcourt Drive, Widmer End, High Wycombe, Bucks. HP15 6AH.

No less an organisation than the National Trust published an article in the Spring issue of its magazine about George Bernard Shaw as a photographer. This was interesting in itself but what catches the eye is a photograph purporting to be of Shaw’s first car, captioned as “a 1920 AC Cobra”! There ain’t no such animal, of course, and the car looks to us Iike a circa-1924 AC drop-head, which no doubt S.F. Edge of AC’s was delighted to supply to such an eminent customer, although memoy suggests that Shaw had earlier cars than this, one of which was, we think, a Lorraine-Dietrich. The March issue of The Flying Lady, the periodical of the Rolls-Royce OC of America, has a photograph on its front page of Frederick Coleman’s White Steamer setting off with Claude Johnson’s Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (No. 60551) on the 2,000-mile tour that preceded the 1907 Scottish Trials and was followed by the Rolls-Royce’s famous 15,000 miles RAC observed reliability run.

The Railton’s OC’s monthly bulletin has an article about Arab cars, in which it is stated that the idea originated with Parry Thomas, Reid Railton and Henry Spurrier of Leyland Motors, the pre-prototype being the SR Special assembled at Leyland. This Spurrier-Railton is said to have used a standard Enfield-Allday chassis and body and to have been raced “with some success” at Brooklands by Railton in 1924. We cannot find that it was placed in any major Brooklands race at that time but Railton did lap in this 2-litre aluminium car with yellow wheels at 92.57 m.p.h. The Thanet Fun-Run-of-the-Year, which Shell have an interest in, is from Blackheath to Ramsgate on June 14th, and includes vintage cars. The Biggar Museum Trust has formed an Albion OC, open to all interested Albion cars or commercials, and it has started an excellent magazine, using as its badge the Albion “Sure as the Sunrise” motif.

From Australia we have the latest news of Alan Chamberlain’s replica of the giant racing Napier “Samson”, using its original engine. The chassis is complete, with various axle ratios, three sets in wheels, and various spares, and is said to look magnificent in its green livery with copper cooling system. The engine was found to be in a sorry state and as Mr. Chamberlain intends to use the car’s performance to the full, just as in 1904/08, he has made new parts for it where required, leaving as original just the crankcase, crankshaft, one timing-pinion, the ignition skew gears, some of the inlet manifold assembly, and a few nuts and bolts. All the new parts have been made, so completion of “Samson” cannot be far off. Unfortunately, Alan Chamberlain has to go into hospital for some work on an old leg injury but he hopes to fire-up the big Napier next year.—W.B.