V.S.C.C. DRIVING TESTS, HESTON AERODROME (February 5th)
V.S.C.C. DRIVING TESTS, HESTON AERODROME (February 5th)
BEFORE World War II, when we were much younger than we are now and there were inure beaded-edge tyres in the world, a number of aerodromes existed in close proximity on the west side of London. There was Hai:worth, known as the London Air Park, with clubhouse in the centre and grass landing fields all round, there was Harmondsworth, Fairey’s Great West aerodrome, and just across the road, as it were, another aerodrome which possessed the imposing name of Heston Airport. Several people were reminded of such aeronautical histories when the V.S.C.C. assembled at Heston on the Sunday immediately following the Great Freeze-Up for the purpose of driving-skill manoeuvres; although we believe that little flying happens these days at this desolate clearing in the Metropolitan bricks and mortar, while the Harmondsworth aerodrome of pre-war R.A.S. garden-party memory has been swallowed-up by Heath Row and probably the last aeroplane to land at Hanworth was David Brown’s D.H. Dove, when the astute Director of Aston Martin and Lagonda Ltd. dropped inliterally—to see if his workpeople were working on his newlyacquired automobile projects, since removed. If amateur flying has departed from the despond-of-Slough in this neighbourhood of Staines, amateur motoring was in full swing at Heston on February 5th, as vintage and post-vintage thoroughbred cars were flung round pylons, jacked-up against the stop-watch and reversed through seemingly impossible narrow places. The official entry list showed 50 competing cars, of which 40 were pre-1931 and ten were post-1930. Besides the well-known regulars,” which had performed within recent memory at Odiham and Measham, a few newcomers were evident. Of these, quite the nicest in the opinion of the writer was D. Jocelyn’s 1925 Amilcar Grand Sport, in original trim even to those long one-piece mudguards-cum-steps, the polished aluminium dash full of neat instrument dials, and 700 by 80 tyres. This true vintage sports car motored very well, too, and we hope sincerely that Jocelyn’s charming lady passenger who, hiding under a deerstalker in the wellstaggered mechanic’s seat, likes it as much as we do and will not cause it to be sold in favour of a wheeled-boudoir ! R. A. Kellow drove a dignified 1928 Phantom I Rolls-Royce Caffyn all-weather with a transverse pipe at the end, like a heated towel-rail, from each end of which issued the spent gases. J. L. Aspland’s 1929 Hyper Lea-Francis, rebodied, was rumoured to be supercharged, there was an unpainted 44-litre Bentley two-seater got up to play racers, D. K. Brown’s 1926 12/50 Alois had wire-mesh sides to its bonnet so that you could tell if the engine was still there and it sported modern front dampers and reversed camber back springs, and S. R. Waine had his Isotta-Fraschini sufficiently tamed to bring to Heston. its
radiator isolated from the engine by means of underbonnet fairing* just like the boys used to do at Brooklands. E. K. Poynter drove a rare 1932 Lea-Francis Ace of Spades six-cylinder saloon’ T. E. Laurie appeared in a sort of pre-post-vintage gingerbread Austin Seven Special whose front axle beam had been attacked by mice, Dudley Gahagan’s G.P. Bugatti was co-driven by P. D. Rolfe in his first event, the pair contriving to lift its wheel in the jacking-up test, equalled only by B. M. Clarke’s Austin Seven Chummy which was raised very promptly by insertion beneath the unsuspecting axle of a wooden pole. In contrast, T. M. Mackean’s 1921 A.C. tourer lost time as a slow screw-jack was manipulated, in spite of prior practice when it developed a real puncture. M. Leo’s wellknown 2-litre Lagonda was there to provide an aural answer to John Bolster’s silent-competition-car campaign and was jacked up like lightning by a bowler-hatted mechanic. Peter Binns drove his famous O.M. with verve, D. E. Lincoln was present with a lessfierce O.M. in delightfully original condition, W. L. T. Winder’s 8/20 Humber was as temperamental as a racing car should be, while although Barry Dove hadn’t got his pointed stick with him on this occasion, when E. R. T. Dickens’ 192$ Swift saw him acting as steward it took fright and had to be flooded and swung vigorously before it would work again. R. E. Paxton drove the ex-Barker 1925 Type 30 Bugatti, now with one large and one small diameter exhaust-pipe protruding from its silencer. We were enormously impressed by the rapid step-off, silence and dignity of J. W. Rowley’s 1935 34-litre Bentley Gurney Nutting saloon. We took lots of notes but they read rather like a repetition of the Odiham and Measham reports, so let the results speak for us— incidentally, before seeing the results we were tipping Dr. Harris’ 1934 ” Chain-gang” Frazer-Nash as a likely winner. Now, here are the results :— Vintage Touring Car,,
First-aaas Award J. D. Rogers (1923 7/17 Jowett). Second-Class Awards t M. J. Huckatepp (1924 Morris.Oxford) and ft. Barnard
(1928 Type 40 Bugatti). Vintage Standard Sports Cars First-Class Awards, D. H. Collagen (1926 C.P. Bugatti) and P. J. E. Diana
(1927 2-litre 0.M.).
Second-aass Award t /3. Jocelyn (1923 Amilcar Grand Sport).
Third-Class Award t H. Leo (1930 2-litre s/c. Lagonda). Vintage Sports Cars
First-Class Award t h. E. 13. Noble (1930 Aivis).
Second-Class Award u P. Haig (1930 AJvis). Third-aam Award, W. L. T. Winder (1924/8 8/20 Humber Thoroughbred Cars,
First-Clam Award Dr. D. P. Harris (1934 Frazer.Nash).
Socond-Class Award t H. Hincheliffe (1936 Landa Augusta Third-Clam Award I J. W. Rowley (1935 3i-litre Bentley).