A section devoted to old-car matters
V.S.C.C. Driving Tests, Blackbushe (February 10th)
An untimely fall of unforecast snow, which came just as the vintage cars were about to start their frolics at bleak Blackbushe, ultimately caused Tim Carson to call the meeting off, but not before the Zig-Zag, Garaging and Brake Judgement tests had been cautiously run off. After this the driving sleet won the day, Tim climbed back into his spacious Peugeot estate carriage, and the vintagents departed, leaving Blackbushe Aerodrome and the three light aeroplanes that had been static there since before Christmas in peace.
Under the circumstances the entry and spectator attendance was highly creditable, the on-lookers cars including a big Star saloon, an early Hillman 14 saloon and a massive Delage, etc. The competitors numbered 58 entries, although naturally many failed to materialise and A. C. M. Millar’s 1930 Lea-Francis 2-seater had almost every electrical trouble in the book en route—ask Mrs. Millar, who had to bring the battery from her Mini in order to restart her husband on his way.
It is indicative of present trends in vintage competition motoring that entries were divided into 18 vintage touring cars, 17 vintage standard sports cars, to vintage sports cars, to p.v.t. standard sports cars and three p.v.t. sports cars. The makes favoured comprised eight Austins, eight Alvis, seven Rileys, five Frazer Nashes, four Lagondas, three Bugattis, three M.G.s, three Rolls-Royces, a couple of Lea-Francis, two Vauxhalls, and lone representatives of the marques G.N., A.J.S., Jowett, Fiat, Singer, Rover, Calthorpe, Bentley, Salmson, O.M., Sunbeam and Invicta, one Austin 7 having two drivers, not, of course, on the same run.
It was nice to see, especially on such a horrid day, two early metal Austin 7 saloons, very narrow and upright, Marsh’s 1927 magneto-ignition version being very twitchy when we watched his wife taming it. Tony Jones had courageously driven his fine 1923 30/98 Vauxhall down from London without erecting the hood, causing Nicholson, who was in the tonneau, to shelter in our D.K.W. saloon on arrival and contemplated a covered carriage for the homeward journey. There were, of course, many spartan motor-cars present, as befits vintagents, including Chamberlain’s metal-bodied Riley 9 tourer, and Evans’ fabric-bodied tourer of the same make and type. Some surprise was expressed that Fergusson-Wood’s 1910 Rolls-Royce, the oldest car present, had electric screen-wipers, but they were very advantageous.
Adhesion was almost nil, and Mays lost his 1926 Frazer Nash at the front, while Brash’s nearly lost his M-type M.G. Midget altogether. Whitelegge’s open 4 1/2-litre Bentley was steady, Dudley Gahagan showed admirable restraint in his G.P. Bugatti, and Perrow no doubt enjoyed the comfort of his 1934 Rolls-Royce saloon. Mrs. Teague sported a chic fur hat in her 1928 Austin 7, which itself wore a well-fitting radiator muff, and Cecil Clutton had fur headgear that could, surely, only have come from Lapland, to help him concentrate on coping with his type 44 Bugatti.
It was nice to see several original-looking Austin 7s in action, including McCowen’s 1929 Mulliner coupé. Riddle bravely drove his 1921 G.N., Page his 1921 Sporting Calthorpe, while Charnock’s Alvis was a great attraction to the younger spectators and Collis was comfortably ensconsed in his big Sunbeam 25 saloon.
When conditions persisted in remaining really unpleasant the meeting was abandoned with three tests uncompleted.—W. B.
Vintage Touring Cars: 1st Class Awards: J. D. Rogers (1923 Jowett), P. A. M. Page (1921 Calthorpe). 2nd Class Awards: C. P. Marsh (1926 Austin). Vintage Standard Sports Cars and Vintage Sports Cars: 1st Class Awards: W. S. May (1926 Frazer Nash), J. Malyan (1928 Frazer Nash). 2nd Class Awards: C. Evans (1929 Riley), D. H. Gahagan (1926 Bugatti). 3rd Class Awards: A. A. M. Brash (1929 M.G.), B. M. Clarke (1924/9 Austin). Vintage Sports Cars, P.V.T. Touring Cars, P.V.T. Standard Sports Cars and P.V.T. Sports Cars: 1st Class Award: D. P. Harris (1934 Frazer Nash). 2nd Class Awards: M. A. Collis (1935 Sunbeam), P. M. G. Perrow (1935 Rolls-Royce). 3rd Class Award: J. W. T. Crocker (1937 Lagonda).
(We were unable to attract the attention of the lady spectator who was driven off in a large Alvis saloon, and who forgot her umbrella. If she cares to contact us, this useful piece of equipment can be returned to her [All part of the Motor Sport service!—Ed.).
Entries for the 4th International Rally of Veteran Car Clubs, which the V.C.C. and V.S.C.C. are organising jointly, close on March 18th, at £5 per car and £5 for each passenger it carries. The event occupies May 10th and 11th, starting from Brighton, the second day being devoted to tests and a Concours d’ Elegance to V.C.C. rules at Goodwood. The entry will be divided into twelve classes and many prizes and plaques are being awarded, while meals, accommodation and petrol are included in the entry fees. Three different routes of approx. 52, 70 and 88 miles, according to class, will be covered between Brighton and Bognor, competitors being forbidden to exceed an average of 30 m.p.h. At Bognor the whole of Butlin’s Camp has been booked for rally accommodation. The event is open to veteran car clubs of Great Britain, Australia, Belgium, Eire, Germany, Holland, Italy, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland and Spain and it will be extremely interesting to see what the entry, which is limited to 300 contains. The Bugatti O.C. is combining its International Rally with the Goodwood part of the event. Entries go to Secretary of the Rally, Joint Committee, 5, Whittington Avenue, London, E.C.3. Tom Rolt will be Clerk of the Course. Motor Sport is presenting one of the prizes.
The Fiat Register had its social in London last month, at which there was a record attendance. The Editor of Motor Sport and his wife were nobly entertained by V. H. Tuson, of Brooklands Fiat Balilla memory, George Liston-Young and David Manning. During the evening it was agreed that O.M. owners should be catered for by the Fiat Register. The person who has looked after this make so far thinks that about 30 exist in this country and would be glad to hear of others.
The Army Mechanical Transport School at Bordon is anxious to form a small collection of lorries, cars and motorcycles used by the Army in the past, both those specifically designed for the War Department and civilian models that were used from time to time as Staff cars, etc., the older the better but in any case prior to 1938. If anyone can help, we can forward correspondence. One such vehicle is the 1932 Military-model Austin Seven owned by Andrew Hodge, of the Vintage Austin Register, who found it in 1960.
The Newbury Round Table is again organising a Concours d’Elegance at Newbury Racecourse on April 27th, in aid of The Freedom from Hunger Campaign and other charities (£150 donated last year). The five classes cover veterans, Edwardians, vintage saloons, other types of vintage cars and p.v.t.s. The entry fee is 7s. 6d. per car and judging will be on turnout, cleanliness, originality and elegance, under V.C.C. rules. Entries close on April 13th and forms are obtainable from J. C. Lester, Furze Acre, Adbury Holt, Newtown, Newbury, Berkshire.
The Montagu Motor Museum is compiling a National Register of all veteran, vintage and p.v.t. cars in Britain, in great detail. In this they are working with all existing clubs but an appeal is also being made by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu to individuals to register their vehicles. Forms are available from the Montagu Motor Museum at Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire.
Historic Racing Car News.—It is rumoured that Morin Scott is importing from New Zealand the 4 1/2-litre V12 O.S.C.A. raced in 1951 by Prince Bira. If successful he should have a very fast car for historic racing-car contests. This car, which used a 4CLT Maserati chassis, was reported to develop 295 b.h.p. and with it Bira won the big race at the 1951 Goodwood Easter Meeting, setting a new lap record of 90.35 m.p.h., which he raised to 92.12 m.p.h. at the Whitsun Goodwood Meeting. This was before a chicane was used on this circuit, but still…
Club magazines have contained some interesting material recently, such as the learned discourse on “International Motor Trials, 1908-1914,” by T. R. Nicholson, that is running in the V.C.C. Gazette, together with an investigation of the cars Mr. Toad of Toad Hall probably drove, and John Oldham’s article on Austins he has owned, with especial appreciation of the Austin 20, in the February Vintage Austin Magazine.
Old Cars Abroad.—A reader sends us a colour transparency of a very early Austin-Chummy-like B.M.W. seen in Frankfurt as late as 1959, and another correspondent remarks on vintage cars encountered on the Costa Brava, his photographs being of Fiats, lots of Opels, Citroën, a Balilla-like Hispano-Fiat saloon, Mathis truck, Buick lorry, Unic truck of decidedly early aspect, but, due to the climate, generally free from rust. This reader has for disposal a 1927 9/20 Humber 2-seater in fair order, and spares, as the 1923 Austin 20 ex-hearse he is restoring occupies his garage.
Miscellany.—The Trojan O.C. has resumed its news-sheet, a fresh one appearing last month. A reader has kindly sent us three Monaco postage stamps depicting 1912 Chevrolet, 1898 Peugeot Phaeton and 1901 Fiat and five San Marino stamps illustrating 1892 Duryea, 1899 Daimler, 1899 Fiat, 1895 Panhard-Levassor and 1895 Peugeot cars—they are apparently obtainable for 1s. 6d., as No. 65 in the FG series of stamps. It seems that the Minerva with a Bedford engine, reported last month, has a Vauxhall engine. Getley has found the remains of a chain-cum-belt-drive, wire-and-bobbin-steered Blumfield-engined Bedelia cyclecar in Chiswick and a 1938 3 1/2-litre Lago-Talbot saloon in very fair condition is rumoured to have changed hands in Surrey. This year’s Andover Traction Engine Rally is scheduled for May 11th.
Recent discoveries include a very early chain-drive Scammell tractor, with a broken rocker, in a yard near Dover, an Essex van in a farm shed near Crewe, an Aston Martin International in a barn in Kent and an old Ford tourer in a Cambridgeshire breakers. We also hear of a 1928 20/25 Humber limousine for which £50 is being asked, a 1929 Buick Six drophead (£75), a 1928 Austin 12 with Rover body (offers) all at a garage in Yorkshire. There is also a 1932 Rolls-Royce PII hearse with worn-out engine that an undertaker hesitates to break up, a 1928 Delage straight eight coupé and a derelict Humber with van body, looking for new owners.
Only one “want” this month—for a 1925 Fiat 501 con-rod. Letters can be forwarded.
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