Ninety-six pre-war cars and their enthusiastic crews turned out on the last Saturday in January to perform a dozen driving tests, which in addition to the usual round-and-round also went up-and-down quite noticeably, thanks to Brooklands’ interesting topography.
The current Brooklands management, led by Morag Barton and spurred on by Janet Fenna, likes to welcome old cars and their minders to the circuit (now an Ancient Monument) in the off-season, for which January 28th qualifies with ease — though the restaurant was functional, and some of the larger less garageable aircraft were decorating the test sites, dripping rain onto spectators who were unable to get right underneath them.
The cars ranged in age from Marcus Croome’s 1904 1300cc Wolseley, via a couple of Brescia Bugattis — each of which appeared in the awards list, driven by Geoff Stamper and Rupert Avon, and by David and Richard Marsh — to Day’s elegant 1938 2-litre BMW. Richard saw his ancestor off by a margin of 30 seconds over the day, to win overall quite convincingly.
VSCC Competition Secretary Neil Murray set the tests in such a manner that the more size-enhanced cars were not unduly handicapped; Clive Gould’s Ford A Tudor saloon, for instance, was deftly driven to a second-class award, whilst Donald Lake’s 1933 3-litre Talbot — never a small car in anyone’s book — gained a third-class pot. It rained on and off all day, and there was a noticeable breeze at the top of the Test Hill. The rain enabled many competing cars to demonstrate how much weather protection has improved over the last 55 years.