The Second Annual Conference of the Historic Vehicle Clubs’ joint Committee organised by The Veteran & Vintage Magazine was held at the R.A.C. under the Chairmanship of Lord Montagu. A. S. Heal reported on the Committee’s 1967 activities. He told the meeting that No. 2 Sub-section 2a of the new headlamp regulations (H.M. Stationery Office publication No. 1933) will apply neither to pre-1931 vehicles, nor to those with non-electric lighting or no lamps at all. The Committee had also looked into revised regulations relating to Heavy Motor Cars, etc., meeting three officials of the M.o.T., who were most sympathetic. It was agreed that commercial vehicles made prior to 1939 will be exempt and that the increased tax on such vehicles (as much as £140 a year in some cases) will not apply to those not used by the Trade or for carrying goods or for hire and reward, which should exempt those of H.C.V.C. members. The Committee hoped to get the date revised to pre-1940. (The aforesaid pre-1931 date was fixed by the M.o.T. themselves.)
Mr. Heal thanked the V.C.C. for providing headquarters and an office, and Mrs. Dass for acting as Secretary, and said the Committee now had the services of a solicitor from the Lagonda C.C. and a Parliamentary Draughtsman from the Delage Register; R. Barker is now Vice-President. The generosity of the larger clubs had relieved the financial burden on the H.V.C.J.C. Led by S. Sedgwick (Bentley D.C.) the meeting expressed its keen appreciation of the excellent work performed by the Committee.
Lord Montagu explained what the F.I.V.A. is all about, likening its meetings to those of the United Nations in New York but in general approving of having one controlling body. He announced future International V. & V. Rallies as: 1969, Italy; 1970, Australia; 1971, Brussels/Madrid; 1972, New Zealand. Mr. Lovell then explained the Bean/Elga “Vintage Car of the Year Show,” to be on price classification (over and under £600 original price) instead of by engine capacity this year, with the final at Bracknell Stadium on September 22nd, but Sedgwick opposed it, saying the Bentley D.C. will not support it, as it is an unsatisfactory way of finding the so-called best vintage car; no-one contested this opinion. The Pre-War Austin 7 Club proposed a National Association of Concours judges but this received little support and much condemnation. The Manchester V.C.C. proposed that the R.A.C. be asked to relax rally restrictions for vintage cars in non-timed road events, their Mr. Bacon slating the R.A.C. for allowing the Manchester-Blackpool and the Morecambe Carnival Run to take place on the same day this year, but Peter Hull (V.S.C.C.) explained that the Police, not the R.A.C., control such things.
The Chester V.F.C. felt concerned about dubious clubs and proposed that a National Register of Pre–1940 Clubs be formed to investigate all such organisations. Lord Montagu replied that such a Register would have no legal jurisdiction over clubs outside any such Register, and the Singer O.C. suggested that R.A.C. affiliation was the hallmark of a respectable, honest club. The Daimler & Lanchester reminded this speaker that it had been four years before they had obtained manufacturer recognition, without which they could not get R.A.C. affiliation. A vote showed that by a minimal majority the meeting wanted clubs investigated, and it was suggested the H.V.C.J.C. might look into this with the R.A.C., but later Heal said such activities were outside the scope of the Committee, which was more concerned with safeguarding the appropriate clubs in respect of new regulations, etc.
The N.E. Club for Pre-War Austin 7s proposed that the qualifying date for vintage cars be changed to 1939. M. Ware (M.M.M.) said only two clubs approve this dating but the Cornwall V.V.S. put the point that to call the later pre-war cars “vintage” would raise prices, to the discomfort of the younger enthusiasts. B. Blackwell (Armstrong Siddeley O.C.) felt that some new label was needed for cars of the 1930s, some of which are rarer than many vintage cars, but M. Sedgwick remarked that rarity is not necessarily a virtue, as it may imply bad design and/or construction! The Clyno Register approved the proposal even if it meant inflated prices for later cars but Barker (V.S.C.C.) said while 30/40s cars were fine, the V.S.C.C.’s definition of vintage had stood for over 30 years and was Internationally recognised and, while all the older cars were worthy of preservation, could you call a Ruby Austin a classic? The Pre-War Austin 7 Club felt additional classifications were undesirable and would put up prices— what was wrong with “pre-war”? The S.S. Register agreed but advocated “30/40s.” The N.T.E.C. speaker told us that in the traction-engine world pre-1900 engines are not of abnormal commercial value but post-1930s are much sought after, and made the sensible point that in the car world chromium plating, horrid shapes and the end of coachbuilt bodywork started after 1930, a pre-1930 Austin 7, for example, looking quaint but a post-1930 ditto resembling a choc.-box, so the pre-1931 date for vintage cars is absolutely correct. Put to the vote, the meeting was unanimously of the opinion that the date should not be tampered with.
Under “Any other Business,” the Wolseley Hornet Special Club rather pathetically asked if there is a one-makes’ organisation which would enable their Club to compete against Singers and M.G.s, etc., as on its own they are too small to run such events? (At my suggestion, the Inter-Register Contest was started between some of the Registers some years ago; they compete annually in combined events for a Shield, won last year by Fiat, from Humber, 12/50 Alvis, S.T.D., Austin 12/4 and Model-T Ford, in that order.)—W. B.