Vintage postbag, March 1973

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An Extension of History

WE HAVE long felt that the best definitions of vintage and veteran, or if you like of historic vehicles, are those laid down by the VCC, VSCC and HCVC and generally accepted. If later dates are recognised there is a danger of the “chairs in the attic” taking on the status of genuine antique furniture. So it is slightly disturbing to discover that in the Petition submitted recently to the Council of the European Economic Communities by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, all types of road vehicles manufactured prior to 1940 were referred to as historic. It is well known that the VCC does not accept vehicles built later than 1918 and that the VSCC recognises only the better 1931-1940 cars and these only as post-vintage thoroughbreds. We note, too, that the 1973 Charles Spreckley Championship is for thoroughbred production sports cars of 1946-1959, which comes close to the “attic” definition; but as this is a contest far removed from an historic definition it does not concern us here.

The popular JCB Championship, however, admits post-war sports cars among the VSCC-recognised post-war front-engined single-seaters and this year will be contested at International Race Meetings. So the old-car movement is moving into the big-time. We hope that this, and commercial sponsorship, will not diminish the fun and bring any of the troubles to this at present carefree branch of the Sport which are afflicting F1 racing and International rallying, both of which were happier pursuits before Big Business and sponsorship took hold of them.—W.B.

V-E-V Odds & Ends.—The Vintage SCC of Australia has voted Ian Anderson as its Clubman of the Year and reports that another member is restoring a Brescia Bugatti, to be stabled with two Type 44s. In this Club the ladies are contemplating forming their own Social Committee, which might be worth copying by our own VSCC, especially as the idea (now, don’t misunderstand me) is to raise money for the Club. A long piece in the Western Morning News last year dealt with motorcycles and cars which achieved the ton over the Hovey Straight near Newton Abbot and the public-road sprints once held at Brentor-Lamerton, Starcross-Manhead Slapton Sands, with the names of Freddie Dixon (Douglas) and Lt. Grogan (Norton) on the awards lists. Keith Hill has been contemplating changing his well-known Alvis Silver Eagle for an Anzani Frazer Nash. In Toronto a Monza Hispano-Suiza which lost its body in Argentina will, it is hoped, he provided with replica Zborowski two-seater coachwork. Quite rightly, Lord Montagu is concerned about the future freedom of the pre-war car movement and for this reason he delivered his Petition to the EEC at the conclusion of the Fanfare Run to Brussels. On the way his 1899 12 h.p. Daimler had to be driven through Maidstone because it was on solid tyres, and, according to Lord Montagu’s own magazine, was therefore “banned from the by-pass”. If this is so, and it was not merely a question of conserving the Daimler’s tyres, it seems that old-car matters at home are getting out of hand, before we even consider Europe!