The "Motor Sport" cencus

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THE response to our suggestion for a Census was most healthy, when you take the normal proportion of letter-sending readers to total circulation, which is a very sober ratio indeed, as all real Editors know. As we expected, enthusiasm .amongst real drivers is by no means quenched by the war, and indeed, it is not only extremely pleasant to experience the enthusiasm expressed in this correspondence, but it came as a surprise to find how people have taxed cars for the whole of 1940 and to find how many really hot motors are quoted as still very much in action.

First consider the cars noted as taxed for the whole year; may Sir John blush! H. S. Perkins is running his Meadows H.R.G. and J. M. Perkins his Lancia Aprilia. Dunn uses a 1½-litre Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. saloon, having laid up his L-type M.G. Magna. D. McCormick uses a 1929 Austin Seven Special. L. M. Ward-Walters, R.E., informs us he is still motoring in his 1.6-litre Blackburn Frazer-Nash T.T. Replica, while W. G. S. Wike, that Northern Vintagent, gets 70 m.p.h. and 40 m.p,g, from his 1,100 c.c. H,R.G., which he describes as “an admirable commercial traveller’s hack.” R. G. V. Venables has his Le Mans Aston-Martin still in action. These folk have all paid the full year’s tax, in some cases, it seems, with only “basic” rations to burn, but especial credit goes to E. P. Harvey and J. Lowrey, who have also taxed to the end of 1940, definitely with no supplementary rations. Respectively, they are running a 1938 2-litre “15/98” short-chassis Aston-Martin and a 1,100 c.c. H.R.G. two-seater.

Next, we come to those who are putting in quite a decent mileage this quarter using supplementary fuel. Martin Wells has laid up his Fiat 500 but is using his Type 55 Frazer-Nash-B.M.W., and C. C. Hanson has put away his 230 Mercedes-Benz in favour of a Fiat 500. J. E. Neal runs his 1934 short-chassis Mark 1 Le Mans Aston-Martin, James Brymer his well-known Riley Gamecock, now with a single Carburetter and Lucas sports coil, and H. D. M. Seymour his 1931 “International” two/three-seater Aston-Martin. R. W. D. Hardy is keeping his “12/50” 1926 boat-bodied Alvis on the road and hopes to do so for all the year, and J. A. Cooper says the same of his 1928 big-port “12/50” Alvis, which has twin carburetters and radio.

One enthusiast is riding a 500 c.c. Cotton motor-cycle, because his Diatto two-seater, Th. Schneider four-seater, and D.M..S. Delage four-Seater are now in the A.F.S. He also uses a borrowed Series M Morris Ten. Peter Hull is amongst those who have only basic fuel and still motor cheerfully. He runs a 1925 four-push-rod Salmson, hoodless and screenless, and with no lighting equipment as yet, so it is used only in daylight when he is on leave—it is true, for we saw it only to-day. His father’s “12/50” Alvis saloon, is laid up, but his brother motors in a Lancia Augusta, while his 4½-litre Lagonda, Le Mans winner in 1935, is being repaired, following a blackout smash. J. W. Halbert hopes never to lay up his 1936 1½-litre Riley “Falcon,” and Rivers-Fletcher, chairman of the E.R.A. club, goes on driving his 1931 Riley Nine tourer, which sometimes tows an A.F.S. trailer-pump and has had the compression-ratio lowered to suit “Pool,” by the cunning expedient of fitting plug adaptors. John MacLagen is defying the war, in which he drives 3-ton Commer trucks in the Royal Corps of Signals, by running an N-type Magnette and rebuilding a J2 M.G. Midget, which will be taxed next quarter, and by working on a sprint Austin Special. His father has taxed his 28 h.p. Chrysler for the whole year. This enthusiast says he will run his M.G. in the war-time race, if it materialises. Peter Hennessy drives a 1935 Singer Nine Le Mans for pleasure only, and L. Chinneck has no intention of laying up his 1933 Austin Twelve saloon. R. Allen Bygrave has laid up his 1938 Chrysler Royal two/ three-seater coupe, but is continuing motoring in a 1935 Austin Ten missing doing his former 30,000 miles a year, however. Norman H. Fowler has laid up his Lanchester Ten and Austin Seven saloons, but contrives to motor occasionally in an Austin Seven tourer when on leave, reckoning to do 1,500 miles this year against his usual 22,000 or 23,000 miles per annum. C. J. L. Mertens goes on running his 1928 4½-litre Bentley Van den Plas tourer and hopes to always run a Bentley of some kind, war or no war—another 4½-litre is being built up for him at Weybridge and may replace this car next quarter. He has recently seen a 3-litre Sunbeam in use. Donald Monro has his Invicta still on the road. W. E. Butler is hastening to get on the road again with a sports Austin Seven, after doing 5,000 miles in a 1929 Austin Seven minus one halfshaft!  A. J. D. Brown admits to having laid up his M.G. Magna four-seater and the Perkins brothers aforementioned have laid up the ex-Koppenhagen “Jabberwock” V8 Ford they owned jointly—and there you have it. Very few reports of laid up or substituted cars, and news of lots of real sports-cars and other thoroughbreds still in use. Over a scattered area—for these owners reside in places as far apart as Rugby, Cambridge, Worksop, Preston, Loughton, Weston-super-Mare, Tilford, Braintree, Ogmore-by-Sea, Bridgnorth, Leicester, Whetstone, Forest Hill, Bristol, Rotherham, Dulwich, Newton Abbot, Eastbourne, Nottingham, Brondesbury Park, Slough, Orpington, Chelmsford, etc. Apart from these cars, definitely noted in the Census, other sports jobs have been mentioned in MOTOR SPORT as still in use, and, personally, we have observed several big Americans, including two fine Packards, lots of M.G.s, a Ballot, a Morgan 4/4, Rolls-Royce, Talbot and Bentleys still going about our South London locality. We are glad to be able to give this proof to the garage and service station proprietors, and to the Trade in general, of the continued use of cars which will be decently maintained and carefully looked after in spite of the war— and not beneath dust-sheets in the storage basement. We always believed in the enthusiasm of the motoring sportsman, and our faith is certainly honourably upheld. Frazer-Nash-B.M.W., Fiat, H.R.G., Lancia, Frazer-Nash, Austin, Aston-Martin, Riley, Alvis, Salmson, Invicta, M.G., Singer, Chrysler, Bentley—it’s a brave list, and one which should go a long way towards stimulating the outlook of the Trade, while it should lighten the black-out for any enthusiast who has become oppressed by this leisurely war. We shall always be glad to hear from others who have contrived to go on motoring in spite of the limitations which hostilities must impose, and we would congratulate all the users mentioned above and wish them right royal motoring. Theirs is the spirit which makes the Game so very much worthwhile.