VINTAGE VEERINGS • • •
• NATURALLY, with the vintage cult at its present high level, as evidenced by the vast vintage mail MOTOR SPORT receives and by the stillincreasing membership of the Vintage S.C.C., quite a lot of ” vintage ” gatherings take place. One of these was a Brains Trust held by the V.S.C.C. in the wilds of Enfield on January 25th. Some happy memories of this gathering remain freshly with us. The “brains” comprised Laurence Pomeroy, Kent Karslake, George Monkhouse and John Wyer, and the question master was Anthony Heal. Many of the questions had little or nothing to do with vintage ears, but there was one that we cannot ignore : “Why do members of the Brains Trust drive vintage cars ? ” To this Wyer said he didn’t (there was a sleek DB II AstonMartin outside), Pomeroy quoted the pleasure a good driver gets from handling a vintage car and the sympathy such ears have for less-skilled conductors, Monkhouse remarked that he had had only two ears, a 8-litre Sunbeam and his present 4i-litre Bentley. He went on to say that he had had the latter car for eighteen years and hoped to have it for another eighteen and then hand it over to his son to drive. It is reliable, accessible, safe, fast on long runs and gives him deep pleasure in the owning of it. Then it was Karslake’s turn to tackle this question of a preference for vintage cars. Said he ” I have two reasons for owning a vintage car, one that is the true reason, and the other, to which I normally confess. The first arose from
reading a novel about the white slave traffic at an impressionable age. The purveyor of slaves transported delectable girls about in an aged Hispano-Suiza. From that time on, I decided this was the car for me I The safe answer why I own a vintage car is that the only handbook I can afford is an Antocar Handbook of 1913. When I borrow a modern car and look under the bonnet I cannot name a single component that confronts me or understand what anything is about, whereas the book explains my vintage car perfectly.” There were other highlights of the evening, notably when Pomeroy, explaining how high horse powers are obtained from racing engines, said that God was responsible for filling the cylinders of unsupercharged engines but failed rather miserably as engine speed rose, so that man was forced to come to
His aid and add a supercharger. This gives rise to a pious hope that future advertisements of secondhand vendors will not read : “Warbler ‘La Mans,’ big sump, overhead camshaft, twin God-holes . . . .” Another high-light was a Pomeroynian expression, “Lots of torque at low speeds.” He was referring to two-stroke engines, but suggested to your Editor the accompanying cartoon drawn for him by Cecil Clutton.
” In the early days, pre-1914, no sporting motorist ever thought of paying a car tax “–G. R. N. Minchin, in his recently published book ” Under My Bonnet.” Makes you think in these days of 25s. per hp., doesn’t it ? * * * The Vintage Light Car Section of the V.S.C.C. is now firmly established, under a separate Committee consisting of W. Boddy (Chairman), A. J. Fisher (Hon. Sec.), J. Wrigley and H Moffatt. Cars of up to 1,500 c.c., built before 1931, not over 30 b.h.p. and not sports models, are eligible, this definition being deemed by the main V.S.C.C. Committee to embrace effectively cars of the ” New Motoring” (pioneer economy-car) tradition. However, two extensions have been sanctioned—pre-1926 sports versions of the above-defined light ears and certain ears which, although over 1,500 c.c., are rated, at under 12 hp. (R.A.C.) ; acceptance is at the discretion of the Committee. Both extensions are logical. Up to 1925 a number of so-called sports light cars existed which were ” sports ” in name only (Jowett, Jackson Jowett, A.B.C., Gwynne, Rhode, Austin Seven, etc.), and it would he sad to exclude any examples that come to light. In the later ‘twenties, however, the efficiency of small sports ears increased and they could usually appreciably outperform their more sober counterparts. The acceptance, subject to approval, of non-sporting up-to-12-h.p. cars with” outsize” engines, such as the ” 11.4″ Humber, etc., is justified because such ears, like those covered by the main definition, have no other opportunity of competing with cars of similar age and performance; incidentally, a capacity
limit of 1,600 c.c. was used for the 1924 R.A.C. Small Car Trials, enabling two 1,528-c.e. Galloways to compete.. This new Section of the V.S.C.C. seeks “to recapture the atmosphere of the New Motoring era, together with its ideal of informal comradeship and economical motoring.” Its full aims are neatly expressed in a special circular, obtainable from A. Jeddere Fisher, Ansley Cottage, Kingston Blount, Oxon. Membership is open to full members of the V.S.C.C. who register suitable ears with the Light Car Section. Such membership, at £1 per annum, embracing as it does many invitations to other clubs’ fixtures, is a very good investment. A representative number of early small cars has already been registered and a most interesting gathering of these little vehicles, which strove so gallantly amongst themselves to capture the “people’s car” market over twenty years ago, can be anticipated at the first meeting, scheduled for the middle of next month. ? * *
As we observed some time ago, we are flattered to note bow many magazines emulate this ” vintage ” feature. Last month one of our contemporaries even adopted our suggestion that all vintageear owners (and all who run pre-1936 tars) should demand fair premiums from insurance companies and insist on them, with threats of transferring all insurance business elsewhere if common-sense fials to prevail. Incidentally, we wonder if those who live by the sale of used cars ever reflect how much business is lost to them because insurance brokers dislike the older automobiles ? * * *
And so to more correspondenee which reflects Vintage enthusiasm. Sir,
I have recently acquired a Type 501 FIAT tourer, 1924, with a believed genuine mileage of 52,000. This delightful car has a quite surprising pet formance .allied with good roadholding, and is ley second experience of real vintage as opposed to near-vintage motoring.
I would like very much to hear front past or present owners of these cars which I believe are fairly rare. I am. Yours. etc., Alverstoke. ANTHONY DUNHILL,
Commander (L), R.N. • * *