Veteran to classic miscellany, June 1991

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A long-standing reader who worked at Rolls-Royce testing such aero-engines as the R-type used in LSR cars, Merlin, Gryphon, gas turbines etc, tells us that the cars he has owned included a two-cylinder Unic which had been driven into a hedge and was offered to him and his brother for £5 — they had only £2 17/6d with them, which was accepted, so they drove it home, and to improve the gearchange made a clutch-stop by rigging up a broom-stick to rub on the cardan-shaft as the clutch pedal was depressed; when the broom-stick wore out it was replaced with another, costing 6d (21/2p). After that there was a Perry bought for £5, a Hadfield-Bean, a 1930 Morris Cowley, a 1930 Triumph 8, an A7 sold for £15, a 1929 12/40 Lea-Francis, 1931 Riley 9 fabric saloon, 1930 2-litre Lagonda tourer, 1934 Wolseley Hornet Special, a Standard 8 saloon, a 1929 12/50 Alvis tourer, a 1935 Alvis Firefly, a Lagonda Rapier which came third in a Lagonda race at Gamsden, a T-type MG drophead coupe, a 1961 Sunbeam Talbot 90, a twin-cam Aston Martin-engined Lagonda coupe, a Triumph Vitesse tourer, a 1967 Triumph Vitesse drophead coupe, an MG GT saloon, a 1969 Triumph Vitesse saloon, a Ford Capri and finally two Triumph Dolomites and his present car, a 1979 Triumph 1500 which he still has. His son uses a Triumph Spitfire in trials. — WB

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The A7 scene is flourishing. We hear that so greatly has the membership of the A7CA, the umbrella for 12 leading A7 Clubs, and 23 Associate A7 Clubs, ten of the latter Overseas, increased that copies of its latest magazine are in very scarce supply; as ever, this latest issue manages to include fresh A7 items, such as what really happened when Pat Driscoll crashed at the 1936 Backwell hillclimb, experiences with old and new Cozette compressors, new facts about the A7 Speedy and the military 1932 Wireless Car, with plans, etc. The Secretary is R Olive, ‘Lorien’, The Ridge, Cold Ash, Newbury, Berks, RG16 9HZ, the magazine editor L Gammon, 5, Larch Grove, Warwick, CV34 STA. Then the 750 MC is going strong: its new Secretary is M Peck, Courthouse. St Winifreds Road, Biggin Hill, Kent, TN16 3HR and the Bulletin Editor D Edroff, 31, Dunn Close, Stevenage, Herts, SG1 1BR. The 750 MC Year Book gives results of last season’s events and invaluable explanations of the Club’s many racing-formulae.

***

If you are interested in vintage aeroplanes as well as the older cars the Shuttleworth Collection invites owners of pre-1956 motor vehicles to indulge in the 7th Great British Picnic at Old Warden Aerodrome on June 2. The day will be devoted to commemorating Women in Aviation, remembering that 80 years ago Hilda Hewlett was the first British lady to gain a Pilot’s Certificate. Weather permitting, the DH Moth Club will fly their “Diamond Nine” in Tiger Moths, and other fly-pasts are expected by the DH60X Hermes Moth which was the first aeroplane owned by racing driver Dick Shuttleworth, in 1932, and kept at Old Warden ever since, an Amy Johnson-type Gipsy Moth, a military Tiger, the oldest DH type flying, in the guise of the DH51 “Miss Kenya”, a Dominie biplane “Women of the Empire,” so named to recall Lady Nancy Astor’s fund to buy flying ambulances, Brian Woodford’s Dragonfly’, and Dove, Mosquito, the racing DH88 Comet, etc, to emphasise the de Havilland aspect of the afternoon. Other makes will also aviate and aerobatics should be performed by Brian Lecomber (Stampe SV4B) and Desmond Penrose (Arrow Active). The Finale will be by a Spitfire Mk Vc 1, with a DH 3-bladed 5/29 prop, as originally fitted. It all starts at 1.30pm, admission £6 per car with driver only or £12 for a car and four passengers, with OAP reductions.

***

Following the trend set by the National Motor Museum and later the Brooklands Museum, Coventry’s Museum of British Road Transport is organising its own “Friends of the Museum” membership, to aid fund-raising and secure more active support. Contact Chris Brice, Museum of British Road Transport, St Agnes Lane, Hales Street, Coventry, CV1 1PN.

***

July 1990 saw the inaugural sprint meeting held on the Grampian Transport Museum’s newly completed tarmac road circuit. The circuit was designed in consultation with the RAC MSA and SACU to enable the staging of motorsport meetings. Thus the Museum, at Alford, Aberdeenshire, is able to pursue its policy of promoting action and activity within the classic/vintage car world.

The 1990 event was a 1/2 mile twisty sprint for vintage and classic cars and motorcycles, but this year the entry is being limited to cars only, one of the “stars” this year being the National Motor Museum’s 1908 12-1/2 litre Benz.

The entry list for the sprint opened on May 1 for the event which commences at 10.30am on Sunday, June 30.

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The subject of our April Editorial having been “Accuracy”, we apologise for the errors which crept into last month’s issue. WB is well aware that there is no such thing as a 6-litre Bentley, nor a Lincoln Zepper, and although he is moderately colour-blind, is aware that Mrs Kynaston’s 5cv Citroen isn’t both yellow and red, but that it is right-hand-drive! Also, that Stirling Moss never raced a Vauxhall.

***

Readers requests have come in from someone who used to be taken by his now 90-year-old father as a baby-in-arms to Brooklands and who is researching the life of Miss Paddy Naismith who raced a supercharged Salmson at the Track in 1932 and 1934. He exhibited a picture of her at Hastings Museum on the 60th anniversary of John Logie Baird’s successful TV system, she having been the subject of the first colour TV picture transmitted in 1941, from Baird’s Sydenham laboratory, captioned: “the well-known air-woman.”

Information would be appreciated, especially about her flying and why she was called “Paddy”. Another reader was able to locate the whereabouts of Gopsall Park from our recent reference to this speed-trial venue, his trials-driving father having referred to it but of which he had no other details, except for coming across a medallion inscribed: “ACU East Midlands Centre, Gopsall Speed Trials, GH Thorpe, 2/8/1926.” He asks whether anyone is still running his first car, a deluxe 1935 Standard Ten, RC 2608. Letters can be forwarded.

***

BBC-2’s Top Gear programme on April 25 dealt with the subject of fakes among the later Classic cars such as Mini-Cooper S, Mk 1 Lotus-Cortina and Sunbeam Alpines, etc. It is disturbing to learn that thousands of deliberate fakes of such cars are known to have been made, even those of competition-winning cars of which an original exists. The programme also took a look at the VSCC Silverstone racing of the previous weekend. There were comments on test-driving A-model ERA and Connaught and a 1935 ‘Brooklands’ Riley, Hindle’s 1-1/2-litre Special, panning the camera onto two huge SU carburettors of the ethanol-burning engine, said to run up to 6000 rpm but to give little result below 5500 rpm. The rear-engined Coopers as now seen in VSCC races opened the programme. — WB

***

This year’s Esso Bristol to Bournemouth Run on June 9 has attracted 350 entries including competitors from Holland, Belgium, Germany and France. The oldest cars taking part are a 1902 Oldsmobile and a 1902 De Dion Bouton.

The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu has entered two vehicles, a 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Alpine Eagle Tourer, to be driven by Lord Montagu, and the 1903 Gordon Bennett Napier. These are amongst a varied selection of vehicles taking part such as Sheffield Simplex, Chenard-et-Walcker, Gregoire, Stutz, Hudson, Tatra, Hotchkiss, Railton, Marmon and Belsize amongst the 80 makes represented.

The event starts from the Ashton Court Estate in Bristol at 9.00am and the 97-mile route takes the entries across the Clifton Suspension Bridge before passing through the centre of Bristol and south on the A37/A39 to Wells for the first Stopping Point. It is then on to Yeovil and through the Dorset countryside to Blandford Forum before heading for Wimborne Minster and the Finish along the Undercliff Drive on Bournemouth’s sea front. The vehicles will arrive at the Finish from 2.00pm and will remain on display until around 5.30pm while the participants attend a Reception and Award Presentation nearby.

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The Mid Wales Festival of Transport will be held once again at Powys Castle showground, Welshpool, on the weekend of July 6/7, starting with a grand parade in the to town centre on the Saturday at 2.30pm.

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SP Tyres UK Limited, the manufacturer of Dunlop tyres, has re-introduced an important classic tyre to their range: the 185VR15 Dunlop SP Sport which was deleted from their standard car tyre range three years ago.

Designed for and fitted to the Series 2 E-Type Jaguars as original equipment, the Dunlop SP Sport is a textile radial tyre developed from the SP41 and SP68 radials fitted to earlier cars. Its textile breaker construction offers high levels of vehicle handling and extremely high speed capability — the main design criteria of Dunlop and Jaguar engineers when the product was launched in the Sixties.

The tyres are made at Fort Dunlop in Birmingham using original moulds and are available exclusively from Vintage Tyre Supplies Limited in Stanmore, Middlesex.

***

On the historic racing car front we hear that the 1904 Napier “Samson”, which Alan Chamberlain of Victoria, Australia meticulously recreated round its original 15-litre engine and demonstrated here some years ago, has been on show in Melbourne and is likely to be housed in Sydney’s Science Museum, restored recently at a cost of 150,000 dollars, in the future and that here, Anthony Brooke has at last got a new chassis for the Vauxhall Villiers, to replace the one damaged in an accident.

***

The Advanced Composites Manufacturing Centre is holding an informal Workshop on Sandwich Structures at the Plymouth Polytechnic South West from June 18-20. Invited speakers will lead discussions on selection and use of core materials, design principles, manufacture, testing and applications. The meeting will be of interest to engineers in all sectors of the composite industry.

From October 1991 a new Short Course will be offered on Machining, Bonding and Repair of Composites. This course has been developed in response to industrial demand and will include: techniques and tools for machining, adhesive selection and joint design; joining thermoplastic composites; strategies for damage assessment and repair of composite structures and tools.

ACMC’s established Introduction to Composite Manufacture will be held this year from September 16-20. This course is appropriate for engineers and technicians with no previous experience of composites and includes practical sessions on laminate design, manufacture and testing. This course has been approved by the Institution of Chemical Engineers.

Further information on all ACMC’s meetings from ACMC, Dept of Mechanical Engineering, Polytechnic South West, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA. Tel: 0752 232653, fax: 0752 232 293.

***

The Morgan Motor Company have announced sponsorship of the Morgan Motor Company Challenge, a race series formerly known as the Millbank Trucks Race series for Morgan owners, at various circuits around the country. There are five classes for modified and production vehicles and the rules are administered by the Racing Committee of the Morgan Sports Car Club.

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