Club News, March 1950
The “500” movement is catching on in Australia, where the Hooper-Special with J.A.P. engine has set up a N.S.W. s.s. ¼-mile record for cars up to 750-c.c., of 16.71 sec. John Crouch has ordered a Cooper 1,000 and Paynter is thinking of building a car of this type. A 1939 3-litre Lagonda engine and an old de Dion engine have come to light at a farm near Carlisle, a reader informs us. We can forward letters from anyone in need of such things. D. G. Hamshaw of “Wood View,” Forty Green, Beaconsfield, Bucks, has acquired one of the T.T. Crossleys evolved about 1931 by Vernon Balls, and he particularly wishes to hear from the present owners of the other two team cars and to learn anything he can about maintenance and tuning, etc. Tooley got such good results last year from his Tooley-Special with 4ED engine out of a Lea-Francis, standard save for two S.U.s, that he is endeavouring to convert this engine to “Brooklands” specification, raising the compression-ratio to something higher than the former modest 5 to 1 and hoping to put in a decent camshaft, Hardy Spicer propeller-shaft, and Rotoflow dampers on the “Brescia” Bugatti back axle. It will be recalled that Singer coil-spring i.f.s and a self-change gearbox are incorporated in this versatile car, which now embodies parts from 14 different makes of cars and six different aircraft, not forgetting bits of a Morrison air-raid shelter and a radiator badge which includes in its design the bar-sinister! Then F. A. Bourdon writes to say he wouldn’t part with his much-modified 1924 M.G., which gives him excellent service. The chassis has been turned upside-down and thus the car is unexpectedly low. Boupton bought the car in 1937 and covered over 60,000 miles with no trouble beyond a broken half-shaft caused by striking a kerb after a bad skid on snow-covered roads. The engine was rebored at 10,000 miles in the new owner’s hands and at 40,000 miles it was doing 800 m.p.g. of oil. The car was stored during the war and rebuilt in 1946, the owner’s wife assisting. Hubs from a 1933 Morris “10/4” were built on to the “14/40” axle beam and the “10/4” back axle adapted to the original springs. The “10/4” engine was rebored cold overhauled and it and the steering box accommodated in the old chassis on a sub-frame. Cycle wings were fitted and a modern M.G. radiator was mounted ahead of the front axle. At first insurance proved difficult, but in March 1949, the car was put on the road. It exceeds 70 m.p.h., has averaged 37 m.p.g. over 3,000 miles and has carried five adults up Stokenchurch Hill on the Oxford Road in top gear, going over the summit at 35 m.p.h. The only fault which has developed is that the propeller-shaft is slightly out of truth, but a Hardy Spicer conversion is contemplated.
If anyone needs them, we have heard of 28-3.5, 710-90 and 4.75-20 new tyres still in wrappings, which an enthusiast has found in a garage and saved. Letters can be forwarded to him. Robert White is building up a 1921 touring G.N. and hopes that it will emerge eventually in original trim, but with light alloy instead of steel body panels; Basil Davenport has bought a 1922 touring G.N., and is in search of another, while a third exists in London. We know of spares for the i.o.e. G.N. engine if anyone needs them. W. J. Oldham, whose Austin cars were mentioned last month, recently took us out in his beautifully preserved 1927 Austin Twelve saloon. His other cars comprise a 1929 Austin Twenty limousine in literally concours condition, a 1922 short-chassis Austin Twenty, used as a farm lorry, his beautiful 1910 sleeve-valve Daimler landaulette for Edwardian contests and the 1923 sports Austin Twenty chassis which he intends to rebuild as an open four-seater for vintage events. S. J. Mellard is hoping to recondition arid tune his early “Ulster” Austin Seven, S. M. Sparrowe is thinking of obtaining a Morgan “4/4” and running it in this year’s sports car races, possibly including the T.T., so impressed was he with the showing of this car in last year’s Production Car Race at Silverstone. In Glastonbury a 1927 Alvis is being rebuilt for trials. John Jane, who has exchanged a “12/59” Alvis for a 1933 Riley Nine, seeks a handbook. In New Zealand Peter Maxwell hopes to rebuild a damaged “17/59” Arrol-Aster into a vintage hybrid with a 3.6-litre Star engine. He found recently an Eric Campbell on a farm, where it had been used for pumping water from a well and is in a sorry condition, the aluminium body ruined, but possibly just saveable. J. Bradfield urgently requires a set of timing gears for his 1931 18.3-h.p. Sunbeam as he wishes to take the car to France next April. Letters can be forwarded. From Australia comes a cutting dealing with the 1920 Roamer cars, which reminds us that they had a radiator very reminiscent of that of the Rolls-Royce and either Red Seal or Duesenberg engines and that one model was termed the “four-passenger sport model.” The reverse of this cutting is an advertisement for the 1920 “Holmes Improved Air-Cooled” car, a seven-passenger tourer built at Canton, Ohio.
John Coombes, who, with John Wyer, wrote the article on Sunbeam cars which appeared in Motor Sport last December and January, and which has aroused such widespread interest, has purchased a 1928 Sunbeam Sixteen saloon. He reports that a Wolverhampton garage has a 1927 model which has covered a fantastic mileage without a rebore and which gives 27 m.p.g. Coombes intends to use it sports-coil on his car, weakening the mixture until he gets a consumption of over 30 m.p.g. Similar treatment to a Singer Junior driven really hard has improved consumption from 31 to 34 m.p.g.
Major J. M. B. Dove now has his 1929 Sunbeam Sixteen tourer on the road and hopes to take it to V.S.C.C. meetings this year. It is a very fine specimen which has run only 40,000 miles and been very carefully used. Charles Mortimer will be racing a Healey “Silverstone” this year, largely, he tells us, because he became interested in the car after reading the Motor Sport road-test report on it. From the Gold Coast comes a letter from P. D. Strevens mentioning that in that country of high temperatures and corrugated earth roads, some people, finding the mortality rate of English family cars high, are using such cars as Peugeot 203, F.I.A.T. 500, and the small Renault, etc. However, British cars include a 1932 Rolls-Royce with a station body, and some Vanguards, but the Chevrolet is universally popular. Clive Mordaunt, who is running a 1934 front-drive Derby, would appreciate hearing from other owners of these cars, and he also requires an instruction book. His address is: “The Malting House,” Foston, near Grantham, Lines.
Charles Bulmer has sold his “T.T. Replica” Frazer-Nash to Miss Shilling. Charles Meisl is driving a Ford Pilot in the Tulip Rally, and will have as his co-drivers George Williams, C. C. Wakefield’s Racing Manager, and E. O. Toft.
Further to the interest in Sunbeam cars, H. Wilson, who needs an instruction book, reports that his 1934 Sunbeam Speed Twenty pillarless saloon does well over 80 m.p.h.
The Annual General Meeting of the British Automobile Racing Club was held at the R.A.C. on January 26th in a room filled by members of the Council and the Club’s officers, but not to any noticeable extent by ordinary members. His Grace the Duke of Richmond and Gordon took the Chair and expressed his wish that Goodwood circuit should eventually become a sort of “garden paradise” for racing enthusiasts. The Vice-President, Council and officers were elected en bloc. The Hon. Gen. Treasurer revealed that the B.A.R.C.’s assets total over £15,593, this sum including the £2,189 of the British Motor Sports Fund, contributed, if we recollect correctly, by ordinary motoring enthusiasts. This balance sheet is, of course, separate from that of the Goodwood Motor Circuit. The Club has a surplus of £531 on its general events programme of 1949 in spite of incurring a loss on the Jersey Race. Membership brought in over £4,778, the total membership now standing at 2,950.
The Secretaries of the different Centres reported on the past season’s progress, which seems to have been practically nil so far as the South Western Centre is concerned. The Yorkshire Centre organised two Continental tours and its Scarborough Rally. Under “Any Other Business,” the South Western Centre Secretary praised the centralisation of the Club treasury in London but Yorkshire disagreed, and about the only other matter aired was whether the Club should or should not support the B.R.M. Fund. Charles Follett rose to decry the idea, but received a neat answer front Laurence Cade—after all, no grant has been made from the British Motor Sports Fund for some years and the maximum contribution called for is only £100.
As the meeting terminated in good order after sixty minutes and the Council hastened to its private dinner party, it seemed somewhat surprising that no matters relating to racing had been raised, but this implies either that the B.A.R.C. Council serves the racing fraternity so well that for once they had no suggestions to make, or else the membership of the B.A.R.C. is composed mainly of people who join on account of the social facilities and R.A.C. associate membership provided by the B.A.R.C., with only casual interest in participating in competition events. Goodwood safety precautions may look silly to some, explained the Duke, but he felt that if racing cars continue to run into spectators the Home Office may take some action, and he wants Goodwood to be free from any possibility of disasters of this kind, and so has had a wide verge backed by a tall safety wall made along the Layant straight. The Goodwood fixtures for 1950 were not announced, but it is known that the first race meeting, of International status, will take place there on Easter Monday, and that there will be another meeting, closed, on May 6th, a National meeting on May 21st, with a further closed meeting on June 17th and a big meeting on September 30th.
1949 B.R.D.C. Gold Stars
The Committee of the British Racing Drivers’ Club has now confirmed the award of the 1949 Road Racing Gold Star to Peter Whitehead who ended the season with a total of 42 marks. Whitehead’s principal achievements in 1949 were winning the Czechoslovakian Grand Prix, finishing third in the French Grand Prix and fourth in the Belgian Grand Prix.
The Club has also decided to make a special award of a Gold Star to F. R. (Bob) Gerard who was runner-up for the Road Racing Star in 1947, 1943 and 1949. Last year, Gerard gained 41 marks (against Whitehead’s 42). He won the Jersey race, the B.R.D.C.’s own British Empire Trophy in the Isle of Man and finished second in the R.A.C. Grand Prix.
North London E.C.C.
On January 20th this Club held its Annual Dinner Dance at the Hendon Hall Hotel, N.W.4. Some 112 menders and friends were present and Mr. F. J. Findon took the Chair at the Dinner. In proposing the toast “The Club,” he reviewed the past history and paid tribute to those who have offered their services in helping to run it. The reply came from Austin Hobbs, who, after stating that Mr. Findon was now an honorary member, went on to outline some of the plans laid down for 1950. The “Press and Guests” was proposed by Frank Bacon, and the response came from Mr. Alan Brocklehurst of Fina Oils, Ltd.
After the presentation of the awards by Mrs. Findon, when the Rivers Fletcher Challenge Trophy went to Eric Thompson, the William P. Render Challenge Trophy to David Render and the Mrs. Rivers Fletcher Trophy to Ian Wilson, dancing followed until midnight, during which two framed pictures of the B.R.M. were raffled and after lively efforts mainly from Jim Mayers and David Render, a useful sum was raised for the B.R.M. workshop fund.
Much of the interest in owning a car, humble or exciting, comes from reading up its history and finding out what it was thought of, and how it fitted into the picture in contemporary times. Consequently, we were interested to find, in the Antique Automobile of last December, the concluding part of a history of the famous Renault concern of Billancourt. It covers Renault models and achievements from 1906 to the present day, and is illustrated by small line-drawings of many of Louis Renault’s classic and lesser-known models and by photographs of beautifully-preserved Edwardian Renaults owned by members of the Antique Automobile Club of America, whose club journal this is. One serious error on the part of the author, Walter Risley, librarian of the Cameron Peck collection, we must, for the sake of accuracy, put right. Mr. Risley describes Renault’s victory by Szisz the 1906 French Grand Prix but goes on to say that Renault won again in 1907. The winner in 1907 was Nazzaro’s F.I.A.T. Later in the article the 24-hour record bids at Montlhèry in 1926 by Renault “45” and 3-litre Bentley cars are referred to as a race. Some interesting facts are given about the record-breaking Renault. Its runs were held up because a shed at Billancourt containing its special tyres was destroyed by fire. It had a slightly non-standard radiator, triple carburetters, front brakes removed to avoid wheel-shimmy, while the closed fabric body weighed only 134 lb. Pit-stops were attended to by 14 men trained to split-second accuracy.
On March 5th there will be two trials, the Harrow C.C. Moss Trophy Trial and the Shenstone & D.C.C. Shenstone Cup and Trophy Trial. The former will start from the car park, Beaconsfield, at 10.20 a.m., and entries will be limited to a maximum of 25. There will be two classes: up to 1,750 c.c. and blown cars up to 1,000 c.c.; and others over 1,750 c.c. The Shenstone Cup Trial will be divided into five classes: unblown cars up to 3 litres, to original maker’s specification and not more than 20 per cent. increase in weight, certain modifications being permitted; unblown and blown sports cars over 3 litres, production trials cars and trials specials; all Saloon cars; solo motor-cycles; and tricars and combination. This is an interesting attempt to level-up the entry. The route will embrace two laps of a course about 20 miles in length.
Maidstone and Kent M.C.
The following fixtures have been arranged by this club for 1950:—
Mar. 11th.—Night Trial.
May 7th or 21st.—Race meeting, Brands Hatch.
June 10th.—Race meeting, Silverstone.
June 27th.—Margate Rally.
Sept. 10th.—Race meeting, Brands Hatch.
Nov. 12th.—Bossom Trophy Trial.
Dec. 10th.—Committiee Cup Trial.
The Vintage Sports Club announces its 1950 fixtures as follows:—
Sat., April 15th.—Northern Trial.
Sat., April 29th.—Silverstone Race Meeting.
Sat., June 24th.—Silverstone Race Meeting.
Sat./Sun., July 8th/9th.—Madresfield Rally.
Sat., Aug. 19th.—Prescott Hill Climb.
Sun., Sept. 24th.—Luton Hoo Speed Trials.
Sat., Nov. 4th.—Nidderdale Trial.
Sun., Nov. 26th.—Bisley Rally and Driving Tests.
Another of the club’s excellent “Bulletins” was issued last month and is fully up to the expected standard.
Sec.: T. W. Carson, “Mellaha,” Park Lane, Kempshott, Basingstoke, Hants.
Night trials, which usually turn out to be map-reading contests, are a popular feature of the current calendar. The Hants & Berks M.C. have pioneered this sort of thing since the war and the Bugatti O.C. ran such an event last month. This month the Lagonda C.C., Maidstone & Mid-Kent M.C., and A.C. Owners’ Club follow suit, so good spot-lamps should be at a premium! We notice that the Lagonda. C.C. organisers are kind, holding their event at the time of the full-moon, whereas competitors in the Maidstone & Mid-Kent affair have only the moon’s last quarter to navigate by, while the A.C. folk look like finding their way by the pale light of a rather new moon. Latest news is that the classic M.C.C. “Edinburgh” Trial at Whitsun is to be a night event, run over a course in the Harrogate area of Yorkshire. On this subject of Night Trials, we recall pre-war Bugatti O.C. nocturnal events which really were trials, including a timed climb of Middledown hill near Salisbury, for which one bright soul brought a G.P. Bugatti down on a trailer. quite content to go home again after making one stirring ascent!
Thanks to the co-operation of the Brighton and Hove Motor Club, the National Scout Speedster Race, better known as the “Soap-Box Derby,” will be held again this summer for the first time since 1939. Prevented by the war from becoming an annual event, the Derby is a race for home-made single-seater racing cars which must be pedal-operated and steered by a column acting on the front wheels. There are three classes in the race, for cubs, boy scouts and senior scouts, with an award for the driver and the group entering the winning car in each class.
Preliminary heats are to be run in various parts of the country and the finals will take place on Saturday, September 2nd, at Brighton during the Motor Club’s annual race meeting. [Why not races for power-driven model children’s cars, like the little Bugattis Ettore used to make?—Ed.]
Basil Cardew in the Daily Express of February 9th:—
“Monte Carlo rally late-thought: It was good to see burly, popular Mike Couper’s Rolls-Royce Wraith win the Grand Prix d’Honneur. But he, I am sure, will agree that it is a queer way to run a rally when a car which wraps itself into a lorry and fails to finish in the three hours time limit is given a prize. Logically, his car might have given up two miles out of starting-point, Glasgow, padded down to Monte Carlo, and still qualified for the best-car-in-the-rally prize. Amend the rules for 1951, please.”
The driver whose head and shoulder portrait formed the subject of last months Quiz was Christian Kautz, “der Mercédès-Benz Rennfahrer,” who also drove for Auto-Union. He was killed in the 1948 Swiss G.P., driving a Maserati. The first correct solution came from Desmond Moran, of Edinburgh. Others who were correct were: P. Neaverson, of Loughborough; A. Thomson, of New Malden; 15-year-old Roger Brockbank, of Ewell; B. L. Matthews, of Brooklands, Cheshire; J. Gouldburn, of Oldham; J. P. Humphreys, of Cannock; J. Allen. of Thornton Heath; J. A. Broadhead, of Barnoldswick; K. V. Duerden, of Horley; Peer Schmidt, of Borne; R. H. Ashworth, of Cranleigh, and J. H. Haisley, of Belfast.
The picture baffled quite is few people. Most prevalent of the incorrect replies was “Abecassis” (so apparently you once had a “double,” George!), while “Rolt” was next in popularity. Other guesses were: Nuvolari, Seaman, Peter Walker (forgivable, as the sender is aged 11 years!), Fangio, Caracciola (spelt incorrectly!), Ramponi, Sanesi, Ascari, Rosemeyer, Bradley Hurt, Raymond Sommer, Chaboud and Salvadori—the last named having the merit that at least it is topical!
A Sunbeam Register
The recent article (December, 1949 and January, 1950, issues) on Sunbeam cars has aroused so much interest that several readers have suggested the formation of a Register of these cars, as is done for Several other makes.
John R. Coombes, co-author of the article with John Wyer, is willing to assist, but is too busy to conduct the Register on his own. The Editor feels the Sunbeam cause to be worthy of such a Register and his wife has agreed to undertake the initial work involved. Will those who own Sunbeam cars of any vintage please send her details of them, on a p.c. if preferred. The data suggested is: year, model (please quote actual R.A.C. h.p. and state if push-rod or twin o.h.c., as the Sunbeam range was a complex one!), type of body, owner’s name and address (which will be taken as permission to publish this in the Register if such is started), and brief notes on any items of interest. Address to: Mrs. Boddy, “Carmel,” Wood Lane, Fleet, Hampshire, to arrive not later than April 10th, and persuade your Sunbeam-owning friends to do likewise. No correspondence can be entered into at present, but notes on spares available, cars wanted or for sale, etc., in the spirit of these Registers, may be included, if desired. If interest is sufficient to justify proceeding with the Sunbeam Register further announcement will be made during May.
The Lancia M.C. announces the following fixtures for 1950:—
March 12th.—Driving tests at Brantley Surrey.
March 25th.—Annual Dinner at the Lincoln Arms Hotel, Weybridge.
June 3rd.—Race meeting at Silverstone, in conjunction with the Hants & Berks and six other clubs.
June 4th.—Team Trial at Overstone, near Northampton. Open to teams of six cars each from any One-Make Club in the country. This will be driving tests, one devised by each competing club.
August 20th.—Rally and concours (with time/distance/age schedule in the rally) to Hawkstone, near Wolverhampton.
October (exact date not yet fixed).—Annual General Meeting.
They will also be organising informal meetings after the main race meetings, at hotels in the vicinity of the courses.
Sheffield & Hallamshire M.C.
The Annual Dinner Dance and Presentation of Awards was held at the Grand Hotel, Sheffield, on February 3rd. Over 180 members attended, including Bob and Joan Gerard, Cuth and Kath Harrison, J. Clegg and Mrs. Clegg (B.T.D.A. Star Winner). Mrs. E. S. Sneath, wife of the retiring President, presented the awards, including the High Peak Trophy to Johnny Clegg, and the Hallarnshire Star, which is given to the member with the best performance throughout the year, to Car Captain Mike Beardshaw. Good use was made of the excellent dance floor and band, a break being made to show the 1949 High Peak Trial Film.
Association of Northern Car Clubs
The twelfth meeting of the above Association took place on Wednesday, February 8th, at the Grand Hotel, Manchester, the M.G. Car Club (N.W.) providing the Chairman. An apology was received from the Darlington and District Motor Club.
After the minutes and correspondence had been read, the Secretary. Mr. H. V. Sampson, having completed his year of office, handed over to his successor, Mr. J. H. Hudson. The following matters were decided:—
North v. South Trial. The first leg of this challenge event will take place on March 12th. All officials have new been appointed and member clubs were asked to forward the names of their marshals and helpers to the Chief Marshal, Mr. D. Parker,. 25, Collegiate Crescent, Sheffield, as soon as possible.
New Members. After due consideration had been given to their applications, the Manchester University M.C. & C.C. and the Rhyl & D.M.C. were unanimously accepted as members of the Association.
Any Other Business. The North Midland Motor Club complained that the R.A.C. were leaving the inspection for permit of their proposed venue for a Speed Event on April 1st so late, that although a considerable amount of work had already been carried out, the event may have to be postponed. The Association agreed to support the N.M.M.C., and Mr. J. Twyford, who was in the chair, volunteered to take the matter up personally with the R.A.C.
This meeting completed the writer’s year of office, and Mr. M. S. Wilson, of Silver Royd House, Leeds, 12, was elected to take over the duties of Press Secretary.
Sheffield and Hallamshire M.C. provide the Chairman for the next meeting, which will take place at 7.30 p.m. on May 10th, at the Royal Victoria Hotel, Sheffield.
The first annual general meeting of the Cornwall Vintage Car Club was held at the Goonvrea Hotel, Perran ar worthal, on February 3rd. The following Officers were re-elected for the ensuing year: Chairman, Lt.-Col. G. R. Dewey; Secretary, Mr. J. W. H. Pritchard; Treasurer, Mr. H. J. Batten; Registrar of Cars and Spares, Mr. J. D. Bryant. Mr. J. H. Milner, of Wadebridge, and Mr. R. E. Thwaites, of Perran ar worthal were also elected to the committee.
The Secretary reported that the club now had 46 members. In addition to the monthly social meetings, the club had, since its inception in May last, organised a rally, a spirit meeting, and a dinner dance. Members had also been the guests of the Bentley Drivers’ Club at three of their rallies. The Treasurer reported on the highly satisfactory state of the club’s finances. Proposals were received for future activities and it was agreed that if possible a party be organised to visit France for the 24-hour race at Le Mans in June.
After an interval for refreshments, a talk and film show on motor racing were given by H.R.H. Prince Chula Chakra-bongse, G.C.V.O. In the course of his lecture Prince Chula gave much valuable advice to any aspiring racing drivers. He emphasised that the first duty of the driver was to stay on the road, whilst the duty of his pit-manager was to relieve the driver of every organisational worry, and so allow him to concentrate on his driving. His talk was admirably illustrated by films showing the numerous racing successes of his cousin, Prince Birabongse.
The proceedings concluded with a vote of thanks to Prince Chula.
The Veteran Car Club of Great Britain announces its principal prize winners of 1949 to be as follows:—
Southern Rally.—Veterans: W. I. Pumphrey (1903 Sunbeam). Edwardians: D. Fitzpatrick (1906 Wolseley-Siddeley).
Bagshot Trial.— Veterans: R. D. Gregory (1904 Darracq). Edwardians: A. C. Fairtclough (1912 Delaunay-Belleville).
Eastern Rally.— Veterans: R. D. Gregory (1904 Darracq). Edwardians: F. W. Hutton-Stott (1908 Lanchester).
Norwich Safety Drive.—Veterans: J. Olorenshaw (1900 de Dion). Edwardians: G. C. Tuffnell (1908 Rover).
Bristol M.C. & L.C.C. Rally.—Veterans: E. S. Berry (1902 Panhard). Edwardians: A. W. Showell (1913 Sunbeam).
Northern Rally.—Veterans: G. H. Eyre (1902 Napier). Edwardians: L. Taylor (1911 Stanley).
Austin Trophy.—G. James Allday.
Dowsing Trophy.—F. W. Hutton-Stott.
Bills Challenge Trophy.— R. D. Gregory.
S. F. Edge Cup.—L. Taylor.
Milex Cup.—R. D. Gregory.
Guild of Master Motorists Cup.—S. J. Skinner.
Wellingham Cup.—Major J. Gardiner.
Jarrett Cup.—A. F. J. Gibbs.
Chairman’s Cup.—A. C. Bird.
Lamb Cup.—Mrs. A. W. Mawer.