TI-IE CCACI-1WIDIM COMIPIETITIO%
THE organisers of rallies in which a Coachwork Competition forms part of the event must find it puzzling to decide what proportion of marks shall be awarded for sheer elegance of appearance and how much for fittings of practical value on a strenuous run. The R.A.C. award 30 marks out of 100 to appearance, with an additional 10 for condition, 20 for the comfort of driver and passengers and another 20 for general arrangement, visibility and so forth, the remainder being allotted to luggage tool stowage and minor details. The majority of the cars entered in the lower-priced classes belonged to private owners, and one did not see that lavish equipment which characterised the “works entries” on previous rallies. Judging by difficulties experienced by many drivers in the unexpectedly thick weather conditions met with on the road section, more attention will be paid next year again to fog-piercing appliances and the other Christmas Tree equipment which one sees at the conclusion of the Monte Carlo event.
Rolls Royce and Bentley shared the honours in the Premier Awards, the winners being Mr. W. M. Park’s Rolls Royce in the four-door closed car class, Mr. S. E. Sears’ Bentley in the two-door group. while Captain Oxborrow gained the open car award with another Bentley. Mr. Park’s car was finished in an attractive light blue shade called appropriately Jubilee blue, with unusual dull chromium mouldings. The roof line ran smoothly into a swept tail which provided accommodation for several fitted suitcases,
while the dropping panel functioned as a luggage platform. The leather upholstery was a marvel of softness and finish, and an effective use was made of white maple for facia board and trimmings. Practical details included the stowing of the smaller tools in a locker by the front passenger’s feet, companions let into the back of the front seats a,nd a winding rear blind operated by electric motor from a switch on the dash. The interior of the car was light and airy, and and a Smith chronograph clock were added to the usual array of dashboard instruments. The rake of the front seats
it had a sliding roof. Altogether an example of British coachbuilding which compares favourably with the finest that any foreign country can show. The Park Ward Rolls was closely challenged by a Freestone and Webb Bentley saloon in “grey dust” finish entered by Jack Barclay. The contours of the body were more rounded than usual in this type of car and took in the large luggage locker at the back, which was surmounted by a grid to provide further accommodation for long tours on the Continent. Special large diameter headlamps were fitted, swivelling with the front wheels, while an aneroid barometer
was adjustable and the car should be ideal for effortless long-distance touring.
Mr. Sears’ Bentley with Salmons body was attractive and practical with its four-light body and sweeping wings. Ventilating flaps were fitted at the front of the two doors.
Luggage accommodation had been well studied on this car, as on all the expensive models, and it was noticeable that the cars of ” non-streamline” contour were quite as well furnished in this respect as those with exaggerated tails. A point we noticed about the late Bentleys is that it has been possible slightly to increase the body space to the advantage of the back passengers, while on all the latest cars there is a tendency to bring the mudguards well down in front, giving better protection from mud and reduced wind-resistance.
The R.A.C. Trophy for the best open car was won by Captain Oxborrow with a very smart Bentley fitted with O.F.
convertible coachwork. The car was finished in white with black wings and waist moulding, with matching upholstery. Hammock-type front seats were used. slung on chromium plated tubular frames. When used as an open car the windows disappear completely, but the front ones can be wound up to use side curtains, while the rear ones hinge up out of special recesses. The flush fitting hood may be raised in a few seconds giving the protection and visibility of a permanently closed body. Another drop-head coupe which scored a success in an open class was L. Prideaux Brune’s Aston Martin, while Watkinson’s open Alvis Speed Twenty looked every inch the fast tourer with its battery of lamps and its two spare wheels. In the class for cars costing between 4350 and £500 Mrs. Daniell’s trim dark blue A.C. Ace showed how attractive this rather neglected type of body can be, and Colonel Loughborough’s four-seater Rover
which was second in the class was a good example of small four-seater design, the special front seats with their high backs being particularly welcome when Rally driving is contemplated. Rovers and Standards fitted with factory-built coachwork were well favoured by the judges, gaining respectively six and three of the awards, while closed S.S. cars gained three awards with normal two-door and the latest Airline saloons. There were few novelties amongst the more cheaply priced open cars, but we were interested in a fawn-coloured streamlined two-seater Aero Minx, and C. V. Well’s black Riley Imp was another little car of attractive line, though rather lacking in luggage accommodation. Extended tails seemed to be the fashion in the small closed classes, and though their utility is doubtful from the point of view of wind resistance, they form a more aesthetic solution of the luggage problem than the ‘pressed steel grids which previously festooned the rear of the miniature saloons.