MARCH , 1944
Incredible as it may seem, yet another side-valve Bamford and Martin Aston has come to light, A. T. Brook, of Lincolnshire, reporting ownership of a 2-seater, with 8 ft. 9 in. wheelbase. It is car number 1,931, registration number XR49, and he Would be pleased to hear from other owners of these cars, or of this one in particular. Lieut. J. P. Shenton, R.N., who has an elderly Anzani Frazer-Nash and a blown 2-litre Lagonda now converted to atmospheric induction, seeks information, in company with Stafford East, on fitting downdraught carburetters to the Lagonda head, the necessary welding of the inlet tracts being, he feels, rather tricky. Up in Cheshire an early 4-cylinder Mercedes-Benz of around 11litre capacity has been found. It has a 4-cylinder twin-o.h.c. engine with roller big-ends and three-roller main bearings, Roots-type blower, fixed head and builtup water jackets. There is a 4-speed gearbox with torque tube transmission to a bevel-drive rear axle, and suspension is by 1-elliptic springs, while the fourwheel brakes have light-alloy back plates. Altogether this seems to be something of a motor-car, but (lw poser is—what is its history ? Hampton’s 1922 Targa Florio cars had plain bearing engines. If anyone knows, please let us have the gen.
F. C. Freak is rebuilding a 1935 Triumph “Southern Cross” 2-seater, having made a good job of a Mk. I Riley Nine rebuild some seven or eight years ago, and he would like to find an 8th Series Lancia ” Lambda ” and 1-it it with a d.b. coupe body and, if possible, a Wilson gearbox ; he is by no means alone in seeking a ” Lambda.” S. H. Statham still uses his .12 M.G. for official duties, and his friend, Fla Yates, has been using a really beautifully preserved “Blue Label ” Bentley, with polished aluminium body and low-pressure tyres and modified it) respect of shortened chassis, front brakes, wide front axle and twin carburetters : this line car he has recently sold. acquiring in its place the ex-Carey Type 37 Bugatti, which at one time had four separate exhaust pipes and four Amal carburettors —it now has twin Sr lex and, incidentally, a Scintilla Vertex magneto, and is being prepared for leave-motoring. The new owner Of the aforesaid Bentley, which, by the way, did a timed 92 m.p.h. and so probably the fastest ” Blue Label ” in existence, is Dr. Lindsay, who Was medic;11 °nicer to the R.A.C. for all the I ‘endiac record attempts. He owns, in addition, another, and newer, ” Blue Label ” Bentley, a Lancia -• Augusta,” a 2-litre Lagonda, and a 11-litre S.S., as well as about half-a-dozen motor-cycles, including Matchless ” Silver Hawk ” and Square Four Ariel. Sir (live Edwards, Bart., has his 1,k-litre H.R.G. stored away, and plans numerous modifications to this car after the war. A twin-o.h.e.
Sunbeam was sold recently in Scotland for £10, and there is a 1922 Humber in good order for sale for £12 in Norfolk. A fine-looking and sounding 2-litre Lagonda was seen recently in Hull, that city of the many Renaults, and of varied and dilapidated omnibuses. Birkett is again running his Type 40 Bugatti and Monica Whineop is considering building up a Brescia Bugatti to use as a practice car after the war to the Type 51 and Type 43.
Harold Biggs is considering disposing of his special trials Austin Seven, in unblown form, for about £150, and also has some special Austin Seven parts for sale, including Battened springs with extra springs and alloy mounting blocks. Alec Francis. who built Hodges si)ccial racing Singer. is now with Faire y Aviation, Ltd. Norman A. Smith has to dispose of some 42 tyres right away, and as these are Mostly veteran and vintage sizes, would rather they went to permit-holding enthusiasts. He also has some ” Lambda ” spares. ii’/Sgt. Mateer, R.A.F., is rebuilding a Brescia Bugatti, and A. F. Fachney, R.A.F., a 1929 11.9-h.p. LeaFrancis. and both seek general information.
It is now some six months since a return was made to the Metropolis or Wicked City from exile in Hampshire and random thoughts, culminating in a comparison between town and country life, are natural enough. There was the hurried exit from town in a k:5 Gwynne Eight and an air raid, on the blackest of blacked-out nights, the rear seat stacked with priceless motoring papers, and a land-mine diverting us to the side streets, where the engine stalled every time the car stopped, where every other mortal appeared to be below ground, and from whence the slightly more discernible Kingston By-pass remained very elusive for a long time. Before the ” basic ” ended there were those Saturday mid-day runs to a certain cafe, from the window of which fast-moving Army and transport vehicles could be seen on a road that was once an endless procession of ears whose occupants sought warmth in the west. One remembers satisfactory summer afternoons when an Austin Seven ” Chummy ” or a comic Gwynne took a hilly, wooded road up on to the Flats, that a driver, sick of office life, could walk, and fill -his lungs. Many were the evenings when this particular journey was made, dusk prompting a return ere a doubtful battery gave up the ghost entirely and stranded one lightless. Other times an Austin Seven saloon or a 60s. Jowett took one into other counties—and did not always bring one back ! The memories blur—seemingly interminable journeys behind a single masked headlamp, the thirty-odd miles home after a week-end in London. a visit preceded, at One period of our exile, by frantic winding at the handle of the earlier Gwynne, and eventual frantic appeals for hot water. Joyous drives to sup with a fellow enthusiast four miles away, along a certain straight road
where the ‘• Lambda’s “speedometer needle would flirt with ” 70 ” ; and the hurried drive back at lower speed in the small hours, a task at which the ” 12/50 ” never faltered. Of driving pen over paper for hour after hour in the hovel which passed for official billets, a derestriction sign standing, like a sxmbol, outside the window, the road running straight beside the railway for a couple of miles or more. Of the chill of autumnal nights, noticed while sleepily bidding London-bound friends good-night at the same spot, after a day spent consuming their” basic.” Of the boredom of Sunday evenings, accentuated by the youths hanging about on the green and the villagers strolling home from church and in no way dispelled by the riotous exit from the pubs of Canadian soldiers, promptly at 10 p.m. Of the contrastingly great excitement when some longdistance motoring was discussed and a seat successfully ” booked ” for such a rare occurrence. Of evenings of blazing heat, when such drives were relived in every detail, lying on the sun-scorched heather at a spot where neither buildings nor one’s fellow mortals could intrude. Of other evenings, when the north wind blew at gale force, bringing a suspicion of snow with it, and only the vanishing rear lamp of a west-bound train on the embankment far above the road seemed to wish to defy the elements. Now one is back, amid all the amenities of a city. Strap-hanging in a tube train is a poor substitute for a three-mile country walk in the clean air of early morning. After dark London’s streets, empty save for street-corner loafers and the inevitable and innumerable cats, are scarcely to be compared with country lanes, alive even at night for those who will listen. Londoners’ morale is severely taxed by infrequent bus services after the rush hours and by vehicles the windows of which are blanked out by fine mesh, even if such vehicles, crawling along at walking pace or standing still with engines tickingover, certainly offer a reassuring reminder that motor fuel is, apparently, not in short supply. Nor is it to the credit of the greatest city in the world that its tube stations have become shelters, of the homeless and the thrifty as much as of the bomb-shy. The white-sleeved motor-cycle ” mobile,” intent on stopping a fire-worthy N.F.S. fire-truck for doing over 20 m.p.h. in the • black-out or of arresting some unfortunate Medico who has truculently rushed through the city at quite 33 m.p.h. in battle against the influenza epidemic, seems a less likeable guardian of the law than he who stands beneath the porch of the village store, ready to bid good-night to anyone he recognises and (his greatest shortcoming, this, in our eyes) turning many a blind eye to lightless cyclists hurrying home in the rain. The ” Good-night, chum,” of the somewhat inebriated soldier seeking his barrack (in a veritable maze of barracks) is more musical by far than the
cockney cry of “Put that torch out.” The fact that existing conditions permitted one to motor the Lancia, or to be motored in the H.R.G., straight out of a barn on to open, deserted roads, free of traffic lamps, trams, and trailing police cars, was, perhaps, best of all. In fact, the writer likes the country.—W.B.
VETERAN CAR CLUB
The Veteran Car Club held a pre-view of its newly-acquired historic films which it has had prepared by Mayfield Productions, Ltd., at the Crown Theatre, Wardour Street, on January 24th. These films include a sound film of the 1905 Gordon-Bennett race, a short news-reel of the Boulogne speed trials of 1910, and
film of the 1906 French G.P. which is being prepared as a sound version. Lt. E. M. Inman-Hunter is responsible for these films in conjunction with Christopher Brunel, A .R.P.S., and we look forward greatly to seeing them at the Club’s forthcoming social.
The Midland Motoring Enthusiasts’ Club will hold its next meeting on March 1st, when a film show will be held at the ” Windsor,” Cannon Street, Birmingham, at 7.30 p.m. Forces enthusiasts will be especially welcome.
Rivers-Fletcher informs us that 220 was handed to the Royal Armoured Corps Comforts Fund as a result of the last ” Rembrandt ” meeting.
Much interest is rife just now in relation to post-war prospects, and everyone hopes to see the Brooklands Campbell Circuit in use again. This month ‘s cover picture shows A. B. Hyde’s 3-litre Maserati taking the Test Hill corner on this circuit.