A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
The V.S.C.C. at Charterhouse (Feb. 14th)
The Vintage Sports Car Club held its February Driving Test meeting in the spacious ground of Charterhouse School, where the public cannot penetrate and the surroundings are rural – a great improvement on Heston. The boys marshalled. The Club was rewarded by an entry of 60, to contest four tests, and this time there was a good attendance of vintage and p.v.t. sports cars. Only one Edwardian car was entered, Bendall’s Austrian-Daimler, which was conspicuous by its absence.
On arrival cars were marshalled in the road and on entering the School grounds immediately tackled the Go-Stop test and the Le Mans test on the drive leading up to the School buildings. In the first test Hinchcliffe’s Ulster Austin got away well but Gahagan’s G.P. Bugatti was too high-geared and Eckersley’s 2-litre alloy-wheeled G.P. Bugatti, with odd aero-screen, was apparently carrying four of its eight cylinders as passengers. Very fine was Rippon’s 1925 Grand Sport Amilcar with original wings-cum-running boards and tiny-section tyres. It was bought as a wedding present for his wife and on this occasion the first test caught it out, as it was boiling and wasn’t in gear. Denis Jenkinson, his G.P. Sunbeam not ready, appeared in the Editorial Standard Nine, as a reminder that vintage cars mustn’t be taken too seriously. In the wiggle-woggle test, however, he tied with a G.P. Bugatti . . .
In this test excellent times were made by Ely (1934 Riley), 10.1 sec.; Harris (1934 Frazer Nash), 104 sec.; Gahagan (1926 Bugatti), 10.5 sec.; Pilkington (1931 Alfa-Romeo), 10.8 sec.; Charnock (1932/39 Alvis), 10.9 sec.; and Hill (1929 O.M.) and Barnett (1934 Lagonda), both 11 sec. Collins, in a rather pansy Alvis, also did 11 sec. but went the wrong way.
In the last test, comprising reversing out of two “garages” a 6-1/2i-litre Bentley seemingly devoid of braking power and steering lock, drove Stanley Sedgwick, the O.M. snuffed out, Blake’s Alvis all but shaved the markers, Wilson’s 1933 Aston Martin tweaked its front axle under the brakes, Pilkington was hard on his Alfa’s gears, and Bourne was very slow in his smart 4-1/2-litre low-chassis Invicta.. Crocker’s 4-1/2-litre Lagonda had to be rocked by many Carthusians to free a jammed starter and Clutton had to be careful in his vast 5.3-litre Bugatti, which committed one “fault” A very fine run indeed was made by Brown, in his 1926 12/50 Alvis.
There were not many “new” cars, but Barry Clarke entered the pleasing 1925 3.9-litre sleeve-valve Peugeot saloon discovered by Frank Lockhart, which made a pleasing contrast to Ronald Barker’s 668-c.c. Peugeot. Alas, Barker, in yachting cap, overdid his two-wheeled cornering and hit a wall when turning into the school grounds, necessitating removal of his tiny Peugeot behind a breakdown crane. Sewers had a very nice 1927 30/98 Vauxhall with the enormous self-adjusting front brakes, which did not prevent it from hitting a marker drum in the wiggle-woggle.
Amongst spectators’ cars Peter Hampton had his glittering and fabulous V12 Hispano-Suiza (0-100 m.p.h. in under 38 sec.), and there was a Bean, a Voisin, a Persil-white Anzani A.C. and Moffat’s very short-wheelbase Brescia Bugatti with wicker seats. It was cold, but fun.
Vintage Touring Cars: First Class Award: H. de Salis (1925 Austin Seven); Second Class Award: P. Parke (1926 Austin Seven); Third Class Award: R. Barker (1922 Peugeot). Vintage Standard Sports Cars: First Class Awards: D. Gahagan (1926 G.P. Bugatti), J. Hinchcliffe (1930 Ulster Austin); Second Class Award: C. Barker (1930 M.G. Tiger); Third Class Awards: K. Eckersley (1926 G.P. Bugatti), J. Rowley (1927 4-1/2-litre Bentley). Vintage Sports Cars: First Class Award: C. Harding (1927 12/50 Alvis). Second Class Award: D. Brown (1926 12/50 Alvis). P.V.T. Cars: First Class Awards: D. Harris (1934 Frazer Nash), D. Coates (1934 4-1/2-litre Lagonda). Second Class Awards: R. Pilkington (1931 Alfa-Romeo), A. Charnock (1932/39 Alvis); Third Class Awards: T. Ely (1934 Riley), P. Masters (1935 Riley).
We hear that a Daimler Double-Six limousine which has covered a low mileage exists in Surrey and may be for sale. Other “finds” include a 1934 Armstrong Siddeley 12/6 tourer and a large Mercedes-Benz formerly used for tyre-testing.
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It is to the credit of the B.B.C. that before they recorded “The Thirty-Nine Steps” in the Buchan series they took sound effects of an actual 1914 Delaunay-Belleville for at least one of the cars. But no credit at all to Richard Usborne, who, telling of this in the Radio Times, fails sadly over the spelling of this famous name!
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Courtenay Edwards of the Daily Mail was in hot water some time ago because be stated that he will be delighted to see the last of the old jallopies off our roads. This drew forth protests from satisfied users of the older ears. Edwards attempted to prove that he had meant no offence to the vintage movement by publishing an article praising Jack Bond’s Speed Six Bentley – a pity he chose a somewhat carved about, badge-laden vintage car which is scarcely representative of the many pre-1931 cars which are in regular use.
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A Clergyman was amongst the correspondents who took the Daily Mail to task. He did not name the old cars which have served hint so well but we have since ascertained that these have been a 1914 Singer, 1920 Humber 10.4, 1926 Austin Heavy Twelve, and post-vintage but pre-war Ford V8, Austin Seven and Austin Light Twelve-Four.
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In Australia on the occasion of last year’s Melbourne-Sorrento-Melbourne Veteran Car Rally, a 1914 Hotchkiss converted into a fire engine and a fine 1910 chain-drive Thornycroft lorry chassis entered by the Thornycroft factory were amongst the competing cars. This reminds us that not much has been heard lately about our Historic Commercial Vehicle Club. No doubt it will soon resume activities and those who seek a vintage commercial vehicle should note that the Editor is willing to dispose of his 1924 Rco Speed Wagon 14-seater coach, which has some endearing mechanical features and is in running order, for a nominal sum, having no time in which to restore it.
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Those engaged on restoration may be interested to know that James Walker & Co., Ltd., Lion Works, Woking, offer a three-day service in supplying head and manifold c.a. gaskets for old cars, on receipt of a template of the old gasket.