I was going through some old records of various cars which passed through my hands in years gone by, when it occurred to me that it might be interesting to ascertain whether the more exotic of these cars are now in the hands of loving owners, or alternatively whether they may have disappeared from the face of the earth. At the same time this might arouse some interest amongst your readers. I felt that it might start the ball rolling by quoting two interesting cars, as some of your readers may have some information on their present whereabouts.
No. 1 was a beautiful 12-cylinder 75 h.p. Hispano-Suiza. This was a 1934 car with a magnificent drophead foursome coupe body by Fernandez & Darrin of Paris. The colour of the car was black with a tapered copper “swage” on the body-sides and it had white pigskin upholstery. This car was registered ZA 2849 (Irish number) and was owned by Major McCalmont in Ireland. Oddly enough Major McCalmont owned one of the world’s most famous racehorses named “The Tetrach” and this horse was trained for him by my grandfather, the late Any Persse. I sold this car in 1948 to a retired tea-planter named Frazer who lived at Buckhurst Hill in Essex. Mr. Frazer ran a carhire firm called Knighton Hire and his fleet consisted of five Hispano-Suizas. Incidentally Mr. Frazer paid me £600 for this car and today I suppose it would fetch around £12,000. I wonder who owns this beautiful Hispano today?
The other interesting car was a sports/ racing six-cylinder Delage (FYE 415) which I purchased from the late Hon. Peter Aitken. I had an idea that this was the car in which Gerard won the TT in, I believe, 1938. This car went to Mr. P. A. T. Garland who lived in Paris. I think Mr. Garland raced this car with quite a lot of success in France. Anyone know where this Delage is today?
You may possibly consider that all this will not be of any great interest to your readers, but should it create some interest, then I can always supply details of many more similar beautiful cars.
[This letter was written before our correspondent saw the article “Where Are They?” last month. It would certainly be interesting to learn what became of famous and beautiful, as well as obscure, pre-war cars.—ED.
V-E-V Miscellany—A 1923 Type-UU 20-h.p. Minerva is being restored in Essex and information is sought about it. The same reader requires information to help him restore the remains of a 1925 21-litre Invicta, possibly the only one remaining. A 1936 Austin Ten in good running order was seeking a new home last year, and may still he available in Worcestershire. The recent piece in MOTOR SPORT about “Skinner’s Folly” has inspired two brothers who have parts of Austin Sevens ranging from 1927 to 1934 to attempt something on similar lines, in Sussex. An article in the Dalesman by a lady who can look back on sixty years of cycling, and who once raced with the Todmorden CC, had an accompanying picture of the car used later by her family for camping and Climbing expeditions—the year is 1929 and the car is a 7/12 Peugeot two-seater.
Old cars still turn up—from Nottingham we hear of a 1908 twin-cylinder Renault rescued from a chicken-hut in derelict but restorable condition and of an early back-wheel-brake Rolls-Royce Twenty salvaged from an orchard. The Wolseley Register is planning a special rally to celebrate its tenth anniversary this year, petrol permitting, this to be a sort of dress-rehearsal for an 80th anniversary of “Britain’s First Car” in 1975. A most interesting letter has been received from Mr. Geoffrey Boston of Parkgate, Cheshire, who confirms that the Vauxhall pictured in the Watson’s of:Liverpool catalogue to which we referred last December was definitely a 30/98, being, in fact, his late father’s car, which was used to carry, lashed to one side, the AJS motorcycle he rode in amateur race meetings. Another 30/98 had a body specially designed by the same gentleman. It is nice to know that our correspondent has inherited this love of cars, having owned about 80, including a T-type Bentley, and that he maintains a small collection of the older ones, commencing with a 1939 Austin Twelve.
There has not been much response to our request for information about derelict stationary engines but a reader has written about his AMC “Chorehoy”, which carries a plate stating that it is “Guaranteed to develop a full h.p.”. It is thought to be only one of two of its kind in Guernsey. Another reader has sent us “The MSVR Drill Hand-Book” by Regt. Sergt. Major E. M. May, published in 1916, which, apart from being something of an heirloom in itself, contains two pictures of what are obviously 1914/18 Army vehicles. One is of a two-seater Model-T Ford, Reg. No. SL 220, towing a wheeled machine-gun in Kuala Lumpur, and the other is of a remarkable machine-gun carrier, able to accommodate a driver and two soldiers, formed about what appears to be an AC Sociable. The latter was in use by No. V Company, MSVR, in Ipoli, having been presented by the Miners of Perak. The Bentley DC had reached its peak membership Of 2,400 by last January, this being its target until it moves into new premises. The 12/50 Alvis Register now has at least 1,485 members. The reader who is rebuilding one of the racing Wolseley Moth cars needs a BLIC six-volt type DEI coil, suitable Hartford Truffault shock-absorbers, a BLIC switch-panel as used on Wolseley Tens, information about the type-SM Special SU carburetter, and appropriate silver-faced rev.counter and speedometer, if anyone can help.