Crouch memories




I can add quite a bit of further information regarding the Crouch car.

I suspect that the car in the photograph, in which Mr. Alfred Moss is seated, is the same one which was loaned by”the Works” on several occasions to one R. N. Upton of Albany Motor Co., Chorlton, Manchester, for participation at Southport sand races in 1924 and 1925. On these occasions it was mainly driven by my father, winning four firsts, two seconds and one third place in August 1924, and three firsts, three seconds and one third on New Year’s Day 1925. At a later meeting in 1925, one first and one third place were obtained, as by then Davenport had got the bugs out of “Spyder,” Major Segrave was running a 2-litre Sunbeam, J. A. Joyce turned up with the A.C. sprint car, and the Jackson brothers had a pair of very fast Sunbeams. I well remember that at one of these meetings, “The Major” turned up without his lunch and shared ours, sitting in our Angus-Sanderson tender car. As I was a small boy at the time. I was completely awe-struck.

These sprint meetings were great fun—Davenport created a sensation by having his passenger ride pillion fashion on his tail. Another great character was one Bullough from Atherton, who competed in 3-wheeler Morgans, always wearing a bowler hat with chin strap! One very successful car was a stripped Star driven by Maw, until it was discovered that this vehicle had an engine nearly one litre larger than was declared on the entry form!

About the mid-twenties Mr. Upton held the Northern agency for Crouch Cars, who were certainly “with it” in their day. Unfortunately they contained a peculiar differential assembly which used parallel pinions about 3 in. long by 1-1/4. in. diameter. These pinions split on nearly every Crouch car sold, and I fear it was this expensive malady which eventually caused several enthusiasts to shop elsewhere. One differential packed up on a new car the evening before delivery, and I remember Mr. Crouch himself arriving at Chorlton in the early hours of the next morning with a new back axle which was installed before the customer arrived to collect.

A weakness which was exposed on the first trials with the racing car was the slow gear-change necessitated by a heavy cone clutch. My father evolved a simple clutch stop which was also fitted to several customers’ cars. This had the effect of making fast upward changes easy but made clutchless (or nearly) downward changes a necessity. Still, with the knife-through-butter gearchanges of those days, this art was soon acquired.

The racing Crouch was painted a dull black and it had “GOZOVAZ” painted on the near side. It had the 4-cylinder Anzani 1,496-c.c. side-valve engine but in 1925 “the Works” began to whisper about a new twin o.h.c. supercharged, roller-bearing engine they had been promised. This never arrived, as I believe it was bought by a Mr. Eldridge and used for record breaking.

Perhaps Mr. Crouch would confirm that the racing car I refer to was in fact the one also raced by Alfred Moss. I remember his name was mentioned at the time as being the Brooklands driver when the car was raced down south. The car had an HP registration number, something like 9661, and we were horrified to see it some years later in a very poor state, parked on a promenade at Blackpool.

Quite irrelevantly to the above contribution, may I say that I am an avid devourer of Motor Sport—the term reader is far too casual to apply to such a paper. I have recently cancelled an order of many years’ standing for a weekly motoring paper which has lately adopted the format of a ladies’ magazine. Please don’t ever let these twerps have anything to do with the make-up of Motor Sport.

F.E. Greaves –Woodford.