Editorial, May 1999
Goodwood has just held its press day where us hacks are kept up to speed…
A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
THE V.S.C.C. CHARTERHOUSE DRIVING TESTS (February 11th)
Following their Marshals’ Dinner at Pimms Restaurant in Bishopsgate on the Saturday, the active Vintage S.C.C.held driving tests in the pleasant setting of Charterhouse School on the Sunday.
Although entries were restricted to 60, some interesting “new” cars were present, and a notable feature of the meeting was the reappearance of the late Forrest Lyeett’s 8-litre Bentley in the appreciative hands of Stanley Sears, its magnificent and immaculate engine stiff from an extensive overhaul. The first test was held up a long hill, and was in two parts, a Le Mans start and a half-way stop-and-restart. Riddle’s splendid 1925 G.N., now with i.o.e. engine, left long black marks as it slid to rest at the finishing line but beat the Austin Seven and 14/45 Talbot that preceded it. Milling’s Lancia Lambda was even faster, wobbly exhaust not-withstanding, Ann’s 1927 Anzani-A.C. was dazzingly white (Persil?) and displayed a modern B.A.R.C. badge to those following it, and Wallis’ 1930 Phantom Rolls was fast and neatly driven.
The day was bitterly cold, Tarring’s 14/40 Humber having its radiator muff unfurled, Park’s Singer Junior, reminiscent of a heavily decorated travelling hen-coop, made heavy weather of the climb, Barker came up really fast in his fine Lancia Dilambda coupe de ville, but Fidgen’s Sunbeam 14 tourer sounded over-geared. Page’s smart little Calthorpe overshot the final line, Rowley’s 30/98. Vauxhall clocked a lusty 15.8 sec., and Clutton’s extremely presentable Bugatti did a creditable 19.1 sec. Knight’s O.M. overshot the finish, Bugler introduced a novelty in the form of a 2-cylinder 2-litre Lagonda, Haynes’ Aston Martin was another afflicted with dubious plugs, while Ferrari’s white 36/220 Mercedes-Benz, having stopped, reluctantly refused to re-commence until attacked with an enormous starting crank. Barry Clarke showed that Edwardian motoring need not be dull, by bringing his very sporting 25-h.p. Talbot up in 21.9 sec. but Taylor’s 2-seater 2-litre Lagonda was only just equal to the re-start.
A zig-zag dice enabled Barker’s Dilambda to open the driver’s door and fling out its owner’s intimate possessions, while there were many other impressive tours, from Miles’ Ulster Austin to Wood in Jack Barclay’s 1910 Rolls-Royce.
After this frolic the competitors rushed in and out of a pair of garages far faster than most of us go about inserting tanners into parking meters, Riddle (G.N.) being extremely adept, Marsh earning applause for motoring his Austin Seven metal saloon on three wheels and Wallis demolishing a marker with his very long Rolls-Royce, which positively rocked on its springs in anguish. Hayward bent the tyres of his Fiat 503B on the run-in, in the best motor racing style, Clements in his 1926 Austin 12 was steady and faultless, Fidgen drove his quiet Sunbeam neatly, Wood did a good job in the big Edwardian R-R, but had to reverse, Rowley’s 21.4 sec. earned approval from the onlookers, Binns did well in the O.M., an Alvis smote a drum really hard, Whitelegge’s 4 1/2-litre Bentley holed first go whereas Bourne’s 4 1/2-litre Invicta had to reverse, and Wood found the going-backwards cog elusive on a similar car. Crocker did the test splendidly in his 4 1/2-litre Lagonda and Charnock in his 4.3 Alvis was exceedingly good (23.2 sec.). Ferrari provided light, if loud, relief when his Mercedes-Benz Supercharged again refused, backfired and had to be pushed away.
Altogether a highly enjoyable day, fully up to standard, with many interesting spectators’ cars present, from a down-at-heel l.h.d. 11.4 Citroen tourer to a rare 32/34-h.p. sleeve-valve Minerva.
Vintage Touring Cars.
First-Class Awards: B. Barker (Lancia) and K. Fidgen (Sunbeam).
Second-Class Award: C. Marsh (Austin).
Third-Class Awards: I. Cardy (Austin) and A. Rawlings (Talbot).
Vintage Sports Cars.
First-Class Awards: A. Jones (Vauxhall), J. Miles (Austin), C. Clutton (Bugatti) and D. Berridge (M.G.).
Second-Class Awards: D. Gahagan (Bugatti), B. Clarke (Talbot) and B. Kain (Bugatti).
Third-Class Awards: J. Sullivan (Alvis), J. Borthwick (Lancia) and J. Hill (Bugatti)
First-Class Awards: Crocker (Lagonda) and A. Charnock (Alvis).
Third-Class Award: R. Scates (Aston Martin).
False alarm! The Leyland lorry pictured in our January issue was not derelict after all! It belongs to Bob Gregory of 1904 Darracq fame, and he also uses on his farm a vintage Vulcan lorry bought unused after years in store. On the subject of old commercial vehicles, at an Animals’ Private Hotel in Surrey there is a Ford lorry, not later than 1932, and nearby a 1929 Morris van of the private-car type, both in presentable condition.
On the agenda of the V.C.C.’s A.G.M. was a proposal that any car made before 1917 is a veteran.
The Bean Register, whose members own 25 of this stolid British make, including a 30-cwt. truck, plus a Fiat 501 with Bean body, has issued its first duplicated news letter. We gather that the correct way of describing an assembly of these cars is a pod of Beans.
The Armstrong Siddeley Owners’ Club has also come out with its first duplicated magazine, the Sphinx, and has also formed a Southern Section. In the past we have noticed, as a refreshing change from the high prices mostly asked these days for vintage cars, many bargains in the Riley Register Magazine and it seems the same is true of the Armstrong Siddeley O.C.—cars advertised in their magazine range in price from £25 to £80, the latter price covering a 1938 25-h.p. saloon and an open Vanden Plas-Siddeley Special. Amongst new members’ cars is a 1927 Fourteen owned by the same family since 1928 and which took part in the R.A.C. Diamond Jubilee Cavalcade. General Sec.: G. R. Cryer, 15, Albert Road, Saltaire, Shipley, Yorkshire. Southern Sec.: B. Balcombe, 49, Swinburne Road, Broadstairs, Kent.
The V. & V.C. of Johannesburg’s news letters naturally take time to reach us. From the latest one we learn that last year’s R.A.C. Diamond Jubilee Rally from Port Elizabeth to Capetown was won by a 1928 Dodge Victory Six and that the Gordon Watson Team Award was taken by a Bentley team comprising two 4 1/2-litres and a 3-litre. The Club enjoyed a film show of a 1928 Chevrolet expedition (one sedan, one 20-cwt. van) that went from Capetown to Stockholm between March and December of that year. This successful expedition was led by C. V. H. Lacey, whose younger son made the 5-reel Shell film available.
Thanks: The Editor acknowledges gratefully further contributions to his “museum”—three early Oleo sparking plugs generously donated by a 1929 4 1/2-litre Bentley, UL 663!
Unusual cars are less common on our roads as time rolls on, especially since Mr. Marples regards all vehicles before 1955 with grave suspicion. Nevertheless, on Strike Monday in London a vintage Swift Ten tourer was noticed making light work on the traffic congestion. In Brighton we spotted an early Crossley Ten saloon and an immaculate pre-war Armstrong Siddeley, probably a Seventeen, in use, an early Austin Twelve tourer was seen in action in Buckinghamshire, while in Bournemouth there is a Morris-Commercial van, circa 1932 or earlier, probably recently laid up, and a big vintage Daimler under a tarpaulin can be seen at Milford, Surrey.
Bugatti enthusiasts may care to know that someone in Sweden who owns a Zagato-bodied Type 43 has made a fine job of copying a 1931 German-issue Bugatti catalogue, covering Types 35B to 51, the original type and colour tones being painstakingly reproduced. To off-set the heavy costs he seeks buyers at £1, or 3 dollars, per catalogue, post free, and if sufficient support is forthcoming intends to reproduce similarly the very first 1911 Bugatti catalogue. Letters can be forwarded.
IV Copps Monza. This keenly anticipated International event for veteran and vintage cars is scheduled for May 26th-27th. The rally is centred on Monza, where on the Saturday cars will arrive at 3 p.m., and the Pavilion of the Italian Federation of Veteran Car Clubs will be officially declared open. On the Sunday there will be a Concours d’Elegance and speed tests on Monza track, also driving tests and “informal drinking.” Details from the Hon. Sec., Club Milanese Automotoveicoli/d’epoca, Palazzo Visconti, via Cerva 44, Milan, Italy.
For those seeking a far-less-expensive introduction to the World’s automobiles there are two new A.B.C. booklets, both by M. J. Wilson, respectively covering British and Continental cars, with illustrations, specifications and recognition data. They cost 2s. 6d. each and are published by Ian Allan Ltd., Hampton Court, Surrey.
Conclusion.—According to a local paper report, the owner of the oft-rumoured field full of vintage cars near Gloucester, who died last year, left over £26,586 gross. It seems that none of the cars is likely to be saved, although when demolition of the property was in progress last month it appeared that some of them— Chrysler, Willys-Knights, Minervas and Daimlers—still remained.
Quite astonishing—the manner in which old cars keep coming to light. The latest to be discovered is a 1914 Coupe de l’Auto replica Sunbeam 2-seater, laid up in a private garage in Norfolk in 1930 by a gentleman who had run it since 1922. It was found keeping a 1931 Austin Sixteen company and has been acquired by a director of a motor company who is also a V.C.C. member.
Recent rumours tell of a flat-twin Wolseley light car, an early Alvis and a Silver Ghost Rolls-Royce laid up in Wiltshire, while a breaker near Amesbury who recently destroyed a very fine one-owner 1924 Armstrong Siddeley 14 has a 1924 B.S.A. motorcycle, a 1929 Austin 16 saloon and some 5.00 x 20, 4.75 x 21 and 19 in. tyres for disposal.
Among “wants” is information that might lead to a Doble steam car or pre-1914 racing car; data about Clyno cars and motorcycles by the Archivist of the parent Company, De La Rue, who sponsored this make until it went into liquidation in September 1920; information is requested about the Sopwith PV8 aeroplane with a view to building a replica; the Senghenydd Senior Youth Club is rebuilding a 1931 M-type M.G. and need an inlet manifold; a set of 5-stud 710 x 90 wheels is required for a 1923 10/23 Talbot; data about the C.I.M.E. engine used in E.H.P. cars is sought; an open body is wanted for an 8-litre Bentley and a reader seeks information re the Britannia car built in Colchester circa 1910. Letters can be forwarded.
Stop Press. A vintage Citroen is in an Essex breakers; someone is contemplating buying a two-owner 1928 straight-eight Graham Paige brought here by a titled lady from America, since when it has run 250,000 miles, and data is required; a 1923 Rolls-Royce 20 is for sale in Scotland; a 2-litre A.C. less body lies in a Cornish field; a 1927 Rolls-Royce 20 is still used as a taxi in Exmouth; an Aston Martin saloon is in danger of being broken up in Parkstone; two bull-nose Morris cars, one a Cowley, the other an Oxford, lie in a N. London boat-yard; a 1914 7-h.p. 4-cylinder de Dion engine is offered to anyone having a car to put it in; a 1911 model-T Ford is for sale in Ireland.
The Historic Racing Car Association was formed on February 6th. If it does nothing more than sort out the authentic histories of such cars much good will be done. Its aim is to further the cause of this kind of racing. Sec. : J. Jeffcoat, The Lodge, South Park, Penshurst, Kent.
Lord Lucas in the Lords has suggested that all vehicles over ten years of age be scrapped, vide Good Motoring, which says “the situation needs to be watched carefully.”
The Newcastle & D.M.C. intends to revive its Edinburgh Run, a pre-1914 classic, on April 6/7th. Old cars need only do the run in one direction. Details from J. H. Lawson, 1, Lovaine Crescent, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1. The event is open to allcomers.
The Tunbridge Wells M.C. sprint at Brands Hatch on March 25th includes a vintage car class.
The V.S.C.C. of Italy’s official organ La Manovella, a nicely produced journal will, in its fourth issue, contain short summaries in English and French, as so much interest in it has been displayed abroad.
Vintage cars often figure in advertisements; a big picture of a 1928 9/20 Humber tourer appeared in a display for can manufacturers in the Sunday Express of February 11th. It cost its owner £10 and was restored—with polish from a can!
Sheffield-built cars have recently figured in the Sheffield Telegraph, sparked off by an illustrated article on the Richardson cyclecar. They covered the Y. E.G., Charton-Litycock, SheffieldSimplex, Stringer-Winco, Fairley and Times.
Good news indeed! The Hon. Patrick Lindsay, who drove his E.R.A. so well last year, has acquired the 24-litre Napier-Railton which holds the Brooklands lap-record and which, in capturing it, covered a kilometre at nearly 152 m.p.h. He hopes to drive it in historic racing car events this season.
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