Letters from Readers, March 1946

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Sir,
I have just read your excellent article in the December issue of Motor Sport entitled “Where Are They Now?” and I cannot resist commenting on it. Although the article deals primarily with vintage racing cars, May I be permitted to extend the subject to cover all types of vintage cars, and to put forward a case for the cars of the early ’30s?

Let me first of all make it clear that I have nothing against vintage cars, or the collectors of them, but I cannot see the advantages, or the thrill, of driving around in it great mass of ancient iron. By all means preserve the vintage vehicles for their historical value, but only bring them out on the road occasionally for events such as the London-Brighton run. (Perhaps that is what “Vintagents” do — I wouldn’t know!)

Do not, please, think that I favour the modern tin fug-boxes and buzzboxes (I would far prefer a vintage car to one of those) because there are so many cars available of much more pleasing and satisfying qualities, to my mind, that were produced in the early 1930s. They have the advantages, generally speaking, over the vintage types, and for that matter over the modern “tin” types, of being lighter to handle, more economical to run, with better roadholding, and as good performance. I refer to such cars as the “12/60” Alvis, Aston-Martins, Rileys, Singers, and many others.

Unfortunately, I can claim personal experience with only two of the makes mentioned, namely, a “PA” type M.G. (1934 model) and my present car, a 1 1/2-litre Singer Le Mans (also 1934). I imagine 99 per cent. of enthusiasts know the performance of the M.G. so I will not make any comment on it.

Unfortunately, I cannot give precise performance figures for the Singer, but I can cruise me comfortably for indefinite periods at 60 m.p.h. and more at an average of 28 1/2 m.p.g. My average speed for countless journeys of all distances has seldom been below 45 M.p.h., and my best has been 38 1/2 miles in 40 minutes which included one stop and four built-up areas! The car has done over 40,000 miles without a rebore and still doesn’t really need it), will still do over 80 m.p.h., and for over four months during the summer was used as a “hack” to and from work 13 miles away, during which time the only attention it received was one very hurried de-coke.

I am not attempting to advertise the Singer (I am not selling it now in spite of my advert, in a recent issue), but I am quoting it as an example of a production of the early 1930s, and to my mind more fun is to be had out of a car of this type than out of a vintage type. No doubt many will disagree with my views, but I think I am right in saying that it is cars of this type that interest the majority of enthusiasts of this generation, in which I include myself.

Maybe the older enthusiasts, the veterans of 1914-1918, look upon the M.G.s and Singers, etc., in the same way that we, the present generation, look upon the modern tin fug-boxes and buzzboxes, but to us they are just as precious as the pre-1914 models are to them. It is quite natural that the veterans of 1914-1918 enthuse over the cars of pre-1914 because it was at the wheels (or tillers?) of these that they grew up; my enthusiasm is for the sports cars of the early 1930s for the same reason.

My only hope is that the cars of the early 1930s will not he forgotten and lost (and those from 1918-1930) and so save a future Editor of Motor Sport the trouble which you, sir, are having in tracing vehicles of pre-1914.
Wishing the Sport and Motor Sport every success for 1946.
I am, Yours, etc.,
R. N. Richards.
Marlborough, Wilts.
[We note that Mr. Richards expects us to be out of the Editorial Chair at the age of 65. If we still occupy it, probably we shall not bother about the 1930 cars, for they will long since have fallen asunder. — En.],

Sir,
In the August 1945 Motor Sport my friend David Allen suggested the formation of a Lancia Owners’ Club. He has, I believe, had very little response to this suggestion, principally, I imagine, because the “Lambda” and later models are not essentially cars for trials and sporting events, and the average owner is not interested in the formation of a club such as the Bentley or Bugatti Owners’ Clubs.

I feel that there is a strong case for the formation of a rather different organisation, not only for the Lancia “Lambda” owner, but for several other of the less spectacular vintage cars, as for example the “14/40” Delage, “12/50” Alvis and 2-litre Lagonda.

Briefly, I suggest that “Lambda” owners (I exclude the later models for the moment as their owners are not dependent on the scrap yard as their source of supply for spares) should place their names and description of their car on a central register, together with any spares which they have for disposal and the location and approximate price of spares which they know to be for disposal in local yards or garages. Complete cars or chassis could be registered similarly.

Members requiring spares or complete cars could apply to the register, and sales and exchanges could be simply effected, whilst non-members wishing to acquire a “Lambda” could apply to the register, and the service publicised by periodical advertisements in Motor Sport, which, together with the cost of correspondence, could be defrayed by a small subscription of; say, 2s. 6d. per annum from members.

If desired, members could contact other enthusiasts in the same district by means of the register, but this should obviously only be done with the consent of both parties.

As the formation of a register will be of no value unless a fair number of owners and would-be owners will agree to subscribe to it, I should be glad if anyone who is interested in this scheme would send me a postcard at the following address, indicating their willingness to join in, and giving any suggestions or criticisms which may be of value.

I suggest also that anyone who is sufficiently interested in the preservation of other vintage makes should attempt the formation of similar registers, as I feel that without some co-ordination of this sort, increasing numbers of these cars will be relegated to the scrap yard for the want of some spare which another enthusiast might be glad to dispose of. I feel sure that in any attempt to keep this type of car on the road we should have your whole-hearted support.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Geoffrey Robson.
11, Campden Hill Road,
London, W.8.