Captain Widdowson would like to hear from previous owners of his 1929 8th Series long-chassis Lancia “Lambda” Weymann saloon. Its identifications are: UU 6926, engine 10175, chassis 19987, and among earlier users was Lt.-Comdr. Horncastle, R.N.
Prices of secondhand cars likely to interest enthusiasts seem to be falling somewhat — we found a fairly sound “23/60” Vauxhall tourer in Alton recently, with usable tyres, for sale for £40 and a 1914 veteran for less than that. Then, if anyone wants a 1923 rear-engined 2-stroke Carden cyclecar, with hood, but needing tyres, there is one in a W. London garage. Anthony Phelps has had his s.v. Aston-Martin overhauled by Pat Whittet and up in Stockport F. E. Ellis is making a grand job of restoring the ex-Hitchen 16-valve Aston-Martin. John Hay still has his Anzani Frazer-Nash and toys with the idea of a roadworthy “Special” based on G.N. components and lots of people seem to be unwhiskering “12/50” Alvis cars, including Boddy, who has the ex-Lacy 1923 job, actually a “12/40” with usefully short wheelbase and a hybrid big-port “12/50” engine, also of very early ancestry. Two veterans, one a Renault landaulette, need new homes, as they rot in Foots Cray, and a really early, solid-tyred, chain-drive Daimler, once employed as a carpet-cleaner’s lorry, has come to light at a Darlington dealers, while in Fleet an enterprising cycle dealer has been making test-runs on a two-stroke Vindec motor-cycle, which hasn’t run since 1919 and looks older than that. Oliver has Miss Haig’s old Singer, not her A.C., and is keen to find out all about it, while K.W. Smith has a Type 34 B.M.W. tourer he is renovating. Smith disposed of his Cooper-bodied 4 1/2-litre Bentley some time ago and, while in hospital following a crash at Cadwell Park on his spring-heel “Manx” Norton, was also persuaded to sell his “Grand Sport” Amilcar to R. P. Wingfield. However, he is anxious to get cracking again.
Then B. Blythe is back in London. as keen as ever on Mercédès cars and with a “38/250” nearly ready for the road. D. W. Clarke has a 1929 “Surbaisse” Amilcar with the early “Petit Sport” engine, while J. K. Collins bought a 1927 L-type “12/40” Lea-Francis through a Motor Sport small advertisement and is rebuilding it with the aid of a 1926 J-type chassis, found locally and bought for £2. Both owners seek instruction books, and Collins would like to hear from those who know their early Lea-Francis models. The “February” issue of “The Model Car News” contained plans for those wishing to build scale models of an Allard and a report of the first model car race meeting of 1947, etc. Victor Axel Berg (not to be confused with his brother, Denis) has now opened his garage, in partnership with George Power. It is known as the P. A. Garage, Ltd. (late Beswick Motors), Columbia Road, Ensbury Park, Winton, Bournemouth (Winton 2206) and will specialise in “the proper motor-car, which of course is the vintage sports car.” Recellulosing, and complete rebuilds can be undertaken. Axel-Berg has sold his “14/40” Delage and now runs an immaculate 1931 3-litre Lagonda tourer, while a fine 1909 Vulcan graces the garage premises.
J. P. Harvey is going to thoroughly overhaul a 1927 “2LTS” Ballot he has acquired (he seeks a handbook — we have only that for the “straight-eight” Ballot in the Motor Sport Library), and John Grosscurth has saved a most interesting 1922 sleeve-valve Mors tourer from being broken up. The latter braved London traffic to come to the V.S.C.C. A.G.M. and is a thoroughly practical car. It is rated at 20 h.p., being of 90 by 140 mm., and has a top gear ratio of 3.5 to 1. The engine runs up to about 3,500 r.p.m., but with present economical carburetter settings the maximum speed is about 65-70 m.p.h. The self-servo Perrot front brakes really work and cruising at an effortless fifty or so is an everyday occurrence. The drive is through a “Moss patent” band clutch, in the form of a revolving contracting band round the very wide flywheel. There is an admirable form of adjustment for this unusual clutch and the gearbox is virtually in unit with the engine, an extension of the clutch, housing being closed-in by alloy dust covers secured by spring clips. The road springs are of vast size and apparently intended to function without shock-absorbers. The magneto is S.E.V., the electrics Duraillier and the Rudge centre-lock wire wheels take tyres larger even than those on a 4 1/2-litre Bentley. Apart from the Mors, John has bought Punch’s 1922 G.P. Sunbeam, and is carrying out mods. to his “Blackburn” Frazer-Nash which he hopes will cure for all time the corrosion of the water gallery in the electron crankcase, which has bothered him, and Gordon Woods and Sir Anthony Starner, Bt., when they owned this car. At the same time, a set of shot-blasted Terry valve springs are being made, and the weight of the car is being re-distributed a bit, during the overhaul.
Then a friend of Grosscurth’s has bought the Duff and Clement 1924 “Le Mans” 3-litre Bentley chassis from Douglas Taylor and is assembling it and putting a body on it. As John says, “Never a dull moment, so to speak.”
A 1913 “12/16” Sunbeam tourer which has run 25,000-30,000 miles, is available to those seeking a practical Edwardian. It was last taxed in 1925 — the good old days when you encountered such cars on the road as a matter of course! A 1921 Sizaire-Berwick has turned up in Manchester, and is for sale.
It is excellent news that, although Dean hasn’t time to complete restoration of the famous “Razor Blade” Aston-Martin, the Ellis brothers are taking the old car in hand and will do their best (and it’s usually a very good best!) to restore it. The O.M. front axle and other non-authentic parts will, of course, be thrown a long way away.
Some more information is to hand about the “Alphonso” Hispano-Suiza which is being overhauled in Kent. It is the property of Major Pitt, who “swopped” a Vertical Twin Swift for it when he was at Cambridge in 1927, and has run it almost continually ever since, including taking it for a tour to Switzerland last summer. The car is a 1913-14 model, with 4-speed gearbox and 3/4-elliptic rear suspension. It has a 2-seater body with large bolster fuel tank and is reported to have been raced. It still runs on beaded-edge tyres, but modernised electrics and a Sunbeam f.w.b. axle have been added. Major Pitt has taken the old Hispano through one R.A.C. Rally and gets 20 m.p.g. at reasonable speeds. He is at present using a very fine single-carburetter, 6 1/2-litre, 2-seater Barker-bodied Bentley. We are sorry to learn of the death of H. N. Radford who assisted in the design of S. F. Edge’s 24-hour record 1907 Napier, and who designed the 1919 Bean car. He was 56, and had for many years been Austin Service Manager.
There is also news of the “Alphonso” Hispano-Suiza in Sydney. It is owned by an executive of an engineering concern and is maintained in magnificent order. The original valve caps of the T-head engine have been replaced by finned, light-alloy caps about 2 1/2 in. high. Modernsize wheels and tyres are used and the body is a green 2-seater with an orange line in the colour scheme. Writing of Sydney reminds us that Bob Shepherd, who so ably illustrates the V.S.C.C. of A. “Vintage Car,” is anxious to exchange coloured drawings of any car for photographs and catalogues of vintage cars. He has duplicates of the 4 and 8-litre Bentley, 1,750-c.c. Alfa-Romeo and straight-eight Austro-Daimler catalogues, and would like to exchange for other catalogues and photographs, particularly that for the 3-litre Bentley. In Victoria he has located a Delage which sounds rather like one of the 1914 G.P. cars.
Hugh Hunter has arrived safely in Jamaica with his family and is using a 1938 Morris Eight as transport. He has already noted two M.G.s, an Austin Seven “Nippy,” a V12 Lagonda saloon and a 1929 6 1/2-litre Bentley 2-seater; also a straight-eight Daimler. Moderns comprise innumerable Hillman Minx, Standard, Morris Eight, Austin Seven and American cars, also odd saloon Mercédès, a few Vauxhalls and Sunbeam-Talbots, several Rolls-Royce and a modern Bentley. The f.w.d. Citroen is available “over the counter” for £540, and the Standard Eight seems likely to be one of the British “best-sellers,” at £368.
Carter Jones has unearthed a 1924 racing Riley “Redwing,” which has the s.v, engine, 3-gallon fuel tank and rear brakes only. Reg. No. is RW 104, if anyone can identify it. Then K. J. Holden has a 1926 10.5-h.p. Bayliss-Thomas 4-seater which he intends to thoroughly overhaul. He would like to hear from anyone who knows this now rare make. He gets 28 m.p.g. with the original Zenith carburetter. E. K. N. Karslake has unearthed one of the rare 3.7-litre “Barcelona” Hispano-Suizas, and hopes to restore it and go motoring about in it. It is a 1929 model. Then L. T. Booth, who has owned in succession a 1913 “15.9” Belsize, 1924 “30/98” Vauxhall, 1925 “20/70” Crossley and 1929 “Gordon England” Austin Seven, now runs a 1927 “12/40” Lea-Francis fabric saloon. This car is in everyday use, does 28 m.p.g., uses no oil and the only trouble has been a broken halfshaft, possibly due to the fierce clutch. A spare was easily obtained and the car was on the road again in ten days. Mr. Booth is associated with 1/36-scale racing car kits at 12s. 6d. each, covering the 1939 3-litre G.P. Mercédès-Benz and “3.3” Bugatti, etc. Wire wheels with R.W. hubs can be reproduced from the parts in these kits, which sound most interesting.
Raymond Mays’ team of British G.P. cars are rumoured to be 1 1/2-litre flat-sixteens with three-stage supercharge; it is said that Rolls-Royce Ltd. have nearly completed the first two engines. Lockheeds have fitted their new hydraulic suspension struts to a f.w.d. Citroen for demonstration purposes, using them in place of the normal torsion bars. The effect is said to be altogether outstanding, and we may expect this new suspension to figure in new racing cars and certain production high-performance cars. Evan Cook, who owned the ex-Alexander 4 1/2-litre Bentley for a while, now has a 4 1/4-litre Bentley, but a “328” B.M.W. is being specially prepared for him, with competition work in mind. Willis, who is reported to have so effectively worked on his Type 45 B.M.W. that it goes like a “55,” has a very interesting 4-wheel-drive, J. A.P.-engined , unblown, 1,100-c.c. sprint car ready for this season’s events. Apart from the Brighton Run, the Veteran Car Club intends to hold a gymkhana and two rallies, one to Blackpool, this year. Peacock’s 4-seater Gwynne Eight is on the road. On March 29th the Bentley D.C. is holding another rally in Kensington Gardens at about 4 p.m., which is a sight which true believers should not miss. The first event counting for the British Hill-Climb Championship will be held at Shelsley Walsh on April 19th. Regulations for this International Meeting are now available from the Midland A.C.
The Director of Publicity to the County Borough of Eastbourne, who has invited the V.S.C.C. and J.C.C. to hold rallies at Eastbourne this year, is himself a great enthusiast. His past cars include “J2” M.G., 3-litre Bentley, big-port “12/50” Alvis and another beetle-back “12/50,” while his present car is a “Silver Eagle” Alvis.
Earl Howe has become very interested in model-car racing. The better 10-c.c. cars now exceed 70 m.p.h. in British events. Cyril Paul is now devoting much of his time to marine engines, down at Walton-on-Naze, and Quiggin has a “15/45” O.M. which he is rebuilding, finding it necessary to remove the rear axle in order to drop the sump. He has also bought a late-type “12/50” Alvis.
The very inspiring news is to hand that the Motor Cycling Club will hold the famous Land’s End Trial again this Easter. To reduce the mileage of the route to decent basic-embracing proportions (for, gentlemen, this little island is the only country now suffering petrol rationing — but, of course, we did win the war) the event starts, not from Virginia Water as pre-war, but from Taunton, at 3 a.m. on April 5th. The finish will be at sinister Bluehills Mine, where the first competitor is expected at 1 p.m. Entries are confined to M.C.C. members and both cars and motor-cycles are eligible, and, we hope, tricars. Entry fees are 25s. per motor-cycle, 50s. per car, and close on March 8th. The hills will be Lynmouth, Station, Beggar’s Roost, Barton Steep, Darracott, Crackington, Hustyn, New Mill, Bluehills, and, for the two-wheelers, Doverhay. No one should miss what is probably the most famous trial in the world. Details from: Secretary, M.C.C., 26 Bloomsbury Way, London, W.C.1 (Hol. 4761).
We have received two issues of the magazine “Motor Sports,” from Australia, the front-cover treatment of which is similar to that of Motor Sport. Within, amongst topical articles, Shepherd contributes a series on “Vintage Competition Cars,” No. 3 dealing with the Bartlett 1922 G.P. Sunbeam, and No. 4 with the ex-Zborowski 1923 2-litre Miller. These articles are illustrated with Shepherd’s inimitable drawings.
Incidentally, the Miller is credited with lapping Brooklands at 109.43 m.p.h. on September 29th, 1928. [We cannot trace this, but in 1926, driven by Froy, it got round at 96.71 m.p.h.] Another series covers Australian “Specials,” while in the November 1946 issue is a detailed report of the Bathurst road races. Two 25-mile races for cars of under and over 1 1/2 litres saw Barraclough (“TB” M.G.) win from Najar’s single-seater “TB” M.G. and Johnson’s “TC” M.G. in the former, and Kleinig’s Hudson Special beat Murray’s smaller Hudson Six Special and Gray’s Ford V-Eight/Alfa-Romeo in the latter. The big event was the 100-mile Grand Prix. Najar’s “TB” M.G. won from Nind’s “TB” M.G. with Johnson’s “TC” M.G. 3rd, Gray’s Ford-Alfa 4th, Murray’s Ford-Bugatti 5th, Mathieson’s Jaguar “100” 6th, and Crouch’s 3 1/2-litre Delahaye 7th. Murray made fastest time, and he and Crouch were clocked over a 1/4-mile at 110 m.p.h., whereas Bartlett’s “TA” M.G. did 101 to 102 m.p.h. and eventually retired with two broken push rods. Kleinig’s Hudson was said to hold a sustained 6,300 r.p.m. along the straight, but retired with clutch failure. Other retirements were: Ewing (Buick Special) — clutch; Egerton (Lycoming Special) — fuel feed; Murray (Hudson Six) — crashed; Tipping (Terraplane) — broken gear-lever; Andrews (Monoposto Jeep) — split cylinder block; McLachlan (“TA” M.G.) — silted radiator; Conoulty (s/c. Austin Seven) — broken big-end bolt; Ledwidge (Terraplane)— broken fuel-filter bowl. About time we had some motor-racing! “Australian Motor Sports” is the official organ of thirteen clubs.
Public Schools M.C.
Formerly known as The Public Schools Motor-Cycle Club, and dormant during the war, this body is being re-formed with the name given above. Hon. Sec.: G. H. R. Rice, 23, Walpole Road, Twickenham, Middlesex.
The Veteran Car Club is now installed in its new premises at 46, North Row, Oxford Street, London, W.1 (by grace of the Austin Motor Co., Ltd.) and its new Secretary, St. John Nixon, is in attendance daily from 10 a.m. to 4.30 approx. The S.M.M.T. gave £100 towards furnishing the new premises, where many interesting periodicals and historic documents are stored and may be consulted by members. The last “Gazette” contains a full report of the Brighton Run, an article on Sir Frederick Royce, Bt., M.I.E.E., M.I.Mech.R., an article on how the Club “dates” veteran cars, a description of Alec Hodsdon’s 1901 7-h.p. Panhard, and many announcements of interest and value to those who seek pre-1915 cars or who are engaged in putting such cars on the road. Another pleasing concession on the part of the S.M.M.T. to this Club is that every member who ran in one or more of the “Cavalcades” will receive a medal.
The Bugatti Owners’ Club has announced its 1947 fixtures as: A.G.M., March 19th; Opening Rally, April 18th: Prescott Testing Days, April 26th-27th; Prescott Meetings, May 11th, June 15th, July 20th and September 14th; Welsh Trial, October 18th, 19th; and Dinner and Dance, December 5th. 19 new members were enrolled during October and November of last year. Club Pennants for specially meritorious service to the Club have been awarded as follows: 1939 — W. Boddy, G. Lind Walker, F. Serjeant and R. Walkerley; 1946 — R. Blomfield, J. Carter, C. Clutton, E. Landon, T. A. S. O. Mathieson and L. Taylor. The January issue of “Bugantics” contained a long account by C. W. P. Hampton of a tour in France and Switzerland made last year in a supercharged, Type 46SC, 5-litre Bugatti. The car averaged approx. 13 m.p.g.. of poor-quality petrol for the 2,120-mile journey, used a gallon of oil and two pints of gearbox/rear-axle lubricant and gave no trouble, frequently averaging 45 m.p.h., putting 52 miles into one hour between Aix and Avignon and averaging 60 m.p.h. for 22 miles of autostrada. This 13-year-old Bugatti had run 40,000 miles before the tour.
Hon. Sec.: N. S. Hyslop, 2, Queen Street, Mayfair, W (Mayfair 4701).
Business versus Sportshamship
Extract from financial news in a daily paper: “Winding-up of Brooklands (Weybridge) Ltd. is nearly completed holders of 5s. Ordinary will get repayment of 9s. a share next month”
Seventy-three car and motorcycle fixtures are scheduled for Germany this year, including a race at the Nurburg Ring and the Kesselberg hill-climb. The Chairman of the Wurternburg Racing Drivers’ Union has announced that petrol-benzole-alcohol fuel will be used. The British Government, please explain.
At the Annual General Meeting of the Scottish Sporting C.C., R. Fyfe-Smith and T. Stanley Weston were elected, respectively, Chairman and Vice-Chairman, while Messrs. Clarkson, Valentine, Mitchell, Marsh, Smith and Weston were elected to the directorate. It was stated that Kinneil hill at Bo’ness will provide an 880-yd. speed course, having been lengthened by 140 yds. The width has been increased by 4 ft. at the top and there will be increased accommodation for spectators’ cars, with concrete approaches. It was queried whether saloon cars should be admitted to the International Meeting, in view of the speed of cars like the Healey and Bristol, the advice of the R.A.C. finally being sought. The R.S.A.C. referred to its proposed event at “Rest and Be Thankful,” due for June 28th, and felt that there was room for this event and Bo’ness.
Secretary: W. L. B. Callander, 100, W. Regent Street, Glasgow.
The Vintage Motor Cycle Club is holding a most interesting gathering on March 1st at Pimm’s Restaurant, in the form of a reunion and discussion amongst famous early riders. Jimmy Simpson, Alec Bennett, Paddy Johnson, Howard Davies, D. R. O’Donovan, E. C. Baragwanath, etc., are invited. The January “Bulletin” is as interesting as these news-sheets always have been, and announces four new members, whose mounts comprise a 993-c.c. McEvoy, a 348-c.c. McEvoy, a 493-c.c. B.S.A. and a 678-c.c. Martinsyde. Membership now exceeds 100, and the club caters for pre-931 machines. Full details from C. S. Burney, “Blegdon,” Denbigh Road, Haslemere, Surrey.
The article on some fast bull-nosed Morris cars in the last issue of Motor Sport seems to have caused unrest in the hearts of various readers, who now wish to emulate these commendable Cowley and Oxford deeds of yesteryear. In case this results in hordes of hotted-up bull-noses appearing on our highways, we would hasten to apologise in advance to those who find such things obscene.
This month’s cover picture tells its own story. The weather caused a coal shortage, the coal shortage a power ban and the power ban made it impossible either to publish this issue of Motor Sport on time or to put in several of the new illustrations which we had intended to use. We hope matters will be back to normal by the time this belated issue appears, and that the April issue will come out on time and with its full complement of pictures.
“Motor Sport” Road-Tests
We have received numerous appreciations of our road-test reports on modern cars, which we commenced last December. Bad weather and an unfortunate accident to one manufacturer’s car while it was being tested by another paper, have unavoidably resulted in a temporary break in the series, but these road-test reports will be resumed in the near future. 1947 cars so far tested comprise the Allard and the “TC” M.G. “Midget.”
A long while ago, when we had just started writing in ink instead of in pencil, an experienced engineer and writer took us to task. “When you refer to an aeroplane engine,” he said, “say engine and not motor. We make the best aeroplane engines in the world and they deserve to be known by the British title — motor is Americanese. Now we are of the opinion that this country still makes the best cars in the world when it comes to quality stuff. So, when we saw references in contemporaries to the Automotive Division of Rolls-Royce, Ltd., we felt much as our old friend and counsellor must have done when we innocently spoke of British aero-motors.
At the A.G.M., Forrest Lycett, the Club’s President, presided. The Hon. Secretary reported that the Club now had 660 members, of whom 432 owned vintage cars manufactured prior to the end of 1930. A Midland Section was shortly to be formed (a Northern Section has been active for nearly ten years). A reciprocal arrangement had been made with the Vintage Sports Car Club of Australia and a special form of Overseas Membership was now available for their members.
The Hon. Treasurer presented the balance sheet with his report on the Club’s strong financial position. The Hon. Competition Secretary reported on the past season’s events and announced the winners of the annual aggregate awards: —
Lycett Trophy: John Bolster; Runners up: A. L. S. Denyer, Holland Birkett.
1,500-c.c. Trophy: A. L. S. Denyer (Lea-Francis).
Clutton “Edwardian” Trophy: P. C. T. Clark (Mercédès).
The officers of the Club for 1947 were elected as follows:
President: Forrest Lycett. Vice-Presidents: S. C. H. Davis, L. Pomeroy. Hon. Se,cretary: T. W. Carson. Hon. Treasurer: N. McCaw. Hon. Competition Secretary: H. P. Bowler. Captain: A. S. Heal. Hon. Secretary (Northern Section): E. Neve. Hon. Secretary (Midland Section): To be elected. Editor of the “Bulletin”: C. Clutton. Committee: C. Windsor Richards, F. H. Dixon, A. Rivers Fletcher, C. Choate, Dr. G. Ewen, R. C. Dawkins.
West of England M.C.
The Special Invitation Trial will start from the Palmerston Hotel, Tiverton, at 11 a.m., on March 2nd, and finish about 8.30 p.m. The 40-mile route will embrace six hills and there will be two special tests to decide ties. Officials are being briefed beforehand in the Club’s usual thorough manner and the event is also open to Sunbac, Southampton C.C., Bristol L.C. and M.C.C., Taunton and Plymouth M.C. members. The Kennardy Trophy, Knill Team Trophy, M.C.C. Cup, W. of E. Tankard and Ladies’ Award and the usual first and second-class awards will be contested. For the first and second-class awards cars will be divided into up-to1,100 c.c., 1,100 c.c.-2 litres and over 2 litres.
This Club, formed to encourage, follow and assist the E.R.A. racing team, is being wound-up. An extraordinary general meeting will be held on March 4th, chiefly to decide what to do with the £630 on the Club’s books. Members who have not been informed should contact S. H. Green, “The Seven Stars,” Foots Cray, Kent.
Well, there was the incredible but enjoyable Night Trial of the Hants and Berks M.C., and although we only drove a short way in the Austin to marshal thereat, and got into bed by 5 a.m., there was the rehearsal, at the water-splash, when a certain Ford “V8” sank with all hands, its engine liberally doused by the low-set fan. Earlier, that same sturdy vehicle had wafted us along those pleasant roads that belie the proximity of Coventry and Birmingham and it was on this trip that we encountered a quite startling water-splash flowing across a main road. In the short time we watched we encountered manipulators of small saloons more horrified than we have ever seen them before and actually saw a Standard Eight and a Sunbeam-Talbot, the latter towing a well-loaded trailer and displaying divers club badges, cease in mid-stream with sodden ignition. Both, incidentally, were driven by ladies. What happens here at night, both approaches being down appreciable gradients, one on a sharp bend, is more than even our fertile imagination can comprehend.
The fun and games over, we had a pleasing drive on a fine day in a then rather “hush-bush” prototype 2-seater Lea-Francis, a most soul-satisfying motor-car, not only when it was effortlessly running at 60-70 m.p.h., but also when it was stationary and its excellent, clean but merely semi-aerodynamic lines could be admired. That the car had an almost perfect driving position, a stark absence of unnecessary trimmings, and an all-but-cramped cockpit fitting to its purpose in life, added more than prosy nothings can express to the joy of sampling it. Not the least pleasure of that too-brief acquaintanceship lay in the glances (or more correctly, stares) that were our lot when enthusiasts caught sight of the black and red “mystery car.” This was a refreshing experience in an all-too-standardised age, we reflected, as we stopped for photographs not far from Oxford.
By way of contrast, we trundled home from London in the Austin on numerous evenings, speed constant for long periods at not much in excess of 30 m.p.h. Yet, as we have observed before, there is undeniable satisfaction in the changing scene which this run over a known route discloses, the brightly-lit West End a sharp contrast to the dimly-lit streets of Hammersmith and Chiswick, which follow, and the built-up area ending abruptly as one turns left for Staines, with the winking lights of Heath Row aerodrome away on the right. Very late at night, or in the early hours, in a sick car or with the petrol gauge almost at zero, the Sunningdale level-crossing seems, verily, the last outpost of civilisation! One of these journeys over, the next afternoon the Editor was driving along those sleepy Berkshire lanes which form such a perfectly-fitting setting for a veteran car, when out of someone’s drive came an elderly “16/45” Wolseley tourer towing a smaller Wolseley on rapidly disintegrating tyres. The latter car proved to be an o.h.c. “Ten” in not too poor a state of disrepair, the new possessor assuring us he would not break it up, indeed, that he intended to sell it, although his idea of its age was somewhat optimistic. Hardly had he proceeded on his way than, a beautifully-preserved Charron-Laycock(?) came motoring along Finchampstead Ridge!
And that day, heeding at last the Austin’s clamour for attention to its rear axle and having firmly convinced ourselves that Leslie Houndsfield was a genius, we had invested(!) in a very resplendent mid-engined Trojan fabric saloon, complete with plated radiator shell and an immense acreage of living room. A day to be remembered, surely. And it had opened with no greater desire than to take the camera in the car and hunt such traction engines and threshing machines as could be discovered on a half-unit of “basic.”
Then, one Saturday afternoon a 1940 left-hand-drive Buick fresh from the United States, where it had been purchased, came along to be sampled. Driven spiritedly along a familiar, winding road, quite obviously it possessed real acceleration and no mean turn of speed, and, if it rolled fearfully and had surely the lowest steering ratio ever, at least the small pattering wheels refused to leave the road for any length of time, the roadhuleling being unexpectedly good. Taking the wheel we became immersed in gadgets and discovered that we just couldn’t operate the finger-tip gear-lever. The hood of the body rose and fell automatically, another knob retracted the aerial, another squirted water over the screen, yet another unleashed gusts of hot air from beneath the bench-type front seat. When you moved a lever, the appropriate direction-lamp shone at the rear and the sidelamp that side winked to indicate that you were turning across oncoming traffic; nor was that all, for an illuminated arrow came on in the speedometer dial to remind you that you had moved something. The radio came on, tuned, by touch of another button in a row of buttons, and one rather felt one was in a sick bay, somewhat close to the operating theatre. But, seriously, this wide, billowy motor-car did go, and might, one feels, discomfort quite a few British manufacturers if let loose over our measured quarter-mile.