Members gathered with the usual enthusiasm in April, in spite of a biting wind, the venue being the Osterley Hotel. Capt. Noon brought an army friend in his “Nippy” Austin Seven, Boddy arrived early, in spite of a night on fire-watch, in his “Chummy” Austin Seven, and Mr. and Mrs. Hunter came in a borrowed A.E.W. Austin Seven 4-seater which had lost its timing en route. They proudly displayed a Marshall supercharger and polished S.U. carburetter destined for their new car. Frost came in his Cozette-supercharged black “Ulster” Austin, which proved able to do 50 m.p.h. in second gear in spite of “pool,” although still in experimental form, and suffering from boiling, clutch-slip and binding brakes. It is a most exhilarating motor to ride in, and there is definite urge from 40-50 m.p.h. on second gear, while the blower whine is pleasant company. Lush, Biggs, Jenkinson, Williams, and many other Austin followers were present. Lowrey, too, looked in with his smart Singer-engined “1,100” H.R.G. It is, we hear, doing 32½ m.p.g., but is scheduled to give 40 m.p.g. when present carburation experiments have concluded. The day before he had seen much of the trials country in the west within half-an-hour of leaving “home”—from a Lockheed Hudson. The next meeting is likely to be at the Ashdown Park Hotel, Coulsdon, on the first Sunday in May.
Hon. Sec., P. H. hunter, 39, Warland Road, London, S.E.18.
That Kenneth Neve has acquired the Knox-Thompson 100 m.p.h. “30/98” Vauxhall in pieces and is having prolonged correspondence with John Bolster re getting decent anchorage, while he hopes to run a really good 3-litre Bentley about Liverpool and district, war or no war. Then John Cooper has bought the Ogle 12/50 Alvis and Leonard Potter hopes to find a Frazer-Nash, which, he says, seems to be unheard of in Manchester; meanwhile he runs a Fiat 500 in lieu of his former Riley “Gamecock.” John Day has acquired a Brescia Bugatti, which was towed from Camberley to Nottingham over Easter; he also, by a pure chance, got hold of a genuine instruction book in French, which contains a lot of profound remarks about a box containing four quicknesses and a march backwards, and other queer things. Cecil Clutton has temporarily laid up his 3.3-litre Bugatti. J. J. Hall, who has been writing his Brooklands reminiscences of late, is enlivening an army career with ownership of A.B.C. and Wooler motor-bicycles. An Austin Seven scuderia is in process of formation at Ilford. It seems that the 1922 Wolseley “Moth II,” raced at Brooklands by S. Cain up to about six years ago, may still be in one piece. It was converted into a 2-seater, still with the tiny radiator-cowl, artillery wheels and Brooklands exhaust system, and sold by an Oxfordshire garage in 1935—registration number UD1570. Apart from some excellent photographs of his Fiats, V. H. Tuson has sent us a B.A.R.C. Race Card for May 28th, 1910. Ten races were down to be contested, including two motor-cycle contests, over distances of 2-11 miles, and James Radley was due to demonstrate his Bleriot monoplane. Competitors included Vlasto’s 24.8 Vinot “Doozie,” Neill’s Rolls-Royce, Tufnell’s 23 h.p. Ford, Eric Block’s 6.7 Le Gui, Dr. Warren Davis’s 6.2 Jackson, Thomson’s 36.1 Austin “Pobble,” Lisle’s Star, Percy. Lambert’s 20 h.p. Austin, Sir George Abercromby’s 89.5 Fiat, Wildegose with the Sixty Itala, Eyre’s 38.4 Napier, Roy Fedden’s 18.8 Straker-Squire, Homsted’s 28.4 Benz, Noel Macklin’s 76 Mercedes, the Hon. Bruce’s 50 De Dietrich, two Vauxhalls, a Sixty Brasier, a Brenna, a small Martini, an Oryx and many others. The drivers’ colours were given and, if pencil results can be relied on, the winners included a Trump motor-cycle, and Lambert’s Austin. Happy days!
We are left rather breathless by an account in a contemporary of an unsupercharged T-type M.G. Midget for which 96 m.p.h. maximum and 64 miles in one hour on the way to Donington is claimed. The M.G. also followed the owner’s father’s Humber Snipe to Norwich and back at a cruising speed of “90-95, according to road conditions.” Another claim for the same car is ten miles at 86 m.p.h. average, on the Newmarket road. A fast family! The makers would not tell the owner how these results were obtained, but perhaps the numerous extras detailed, which include grab rail, cigarette lighter, St. Christopher badge, twin spotlights, and Barnacle mirror may have something to do with it all. A Humber Snipe of our acquaintance isn’t so fast, but maybe in this case the owner has interfered with the airflow round the front of the car by having had the headlamp mask chromium-plated. Incidentally, 96 m.p.h. in the M.G. is equivalent to over 5,700 r.p.m., at which speed, we are told, valve bounce commences. Lycett, look to your laurels!
It is confirmed that the late R. 0. Shuttleworth’s veteran cars and aeroplanes are to be carefully preserved; one of his Jowetts may be kept as a war-hack, for the duration, by the Editor of this paper. Miss Worthington’s Frazer-Nash, which has one of the rare twin o.h.c. Anzani engines in a narrow front-axle, small-brake, 4-speed chassis, has had an unfortunate set-back, a gasket blowing on a test run, so that water poured from the rear carburetter. However, work is being pressed forward at all speed and the owner hopes to have the car run-in shortly, when some very interesting figures should result. The engine has twin Solex self-starting carburetters and differs from that used in the Squire in not having water pumps on the front ends of the camshafts and in having magneto instead of coil ignition. The body is a. narrow 2-seater with rear tank and the exhaust system is external. The engine has been completely stripped and overhauled — incidentally, head-gaskets cost £2 each. The owner’s father is an Exeter doctor who used to run a “Velox” “30/98” Vauxhall and now motors in a Twenty Rolls. An Ariel motor-cycle supplements the Frazer-Nash.
A really early Star in very good order is reported in North London and Breen, who runs a really beautifully-preserved 1924 Park Ward open 3-litre Bentley, has just acquired a most magnificent 1914 9.5-h.p. Hillman, which was stored for years. He would sell it for £25. There is a 1924 aluminium-bodied “12/50” Alvis for sale for about £10 in Hampshire and a sound magneto-ignition “Chummy” Austin Seven for the same figure, in Middlesex. A “Nippy” Austin Seven with a broken body was recently offered for £30 in South London. A reader, a second-lieutenant in the R.A.S.C., earnestly seeks a good 1927 Van den Plas 3-litre “Red Label” Bentley and small sports cars will find buyers every time. Boddy has taken over extensive garage-space in what he hopes is a safe area. He toys with the idea of a hack, slime-storming Austin Seven and has found his third Gwynne Eight.
The author of the article “The Magic of Molsheim,” published last month, is, we regret to learn, in Uxbridge Hospital. He had been on A.T.A. flying duties. Further contributions to the “Cars I Have Owned” series will now be gratefully accepted—a description of at least a dozen personally-owned cars is desirable and a catalogue list of ordinary makes is best avoided. A pre-war Rover coupe was seen running in London recently. A plot is afoot to hold a combined-clubs rally and film-show—we wish the organisers every success.
THE NORWOOD AND BAYSWATER M.C. SPORTSMAN’S TRIAL
It was distinctly like old times to be able to take a reporter’s note-book out on Sunday, April 20th, and to report a trial once more, even though it was a motorcycle event. The comparison is all the more apt in that normal hills and hazards were used, instead of the now usual slime lanes within the compass of army testing land. That the event was ambitious is obvious when it is mentioned that there were 15 sections in all, of which 6 were covered twice, giving a total route mileage of 34¾. The start, at 12 noon, from the “Half Moon” at Thursley witnessed all the old enthusiasm, as competitors signed-on and marshals collected equipment. That there is a demand for such events these times is; evident from the fact that the entry stood at 67, with three teams, excluding many late entries, nor was the Service much in evidence by weight of numbers. The first section was Boulder Alley, a nasty hill winding between high banks and possessed of a water-splash at the foot and many extremely deep stone ledges. On the first circuit Nichol (Triumph 350) picked his way from bank to bank only to fail on a stone outcrop near the top, while Davison (Service-rider) on a similar machine stood on his rests and gave a splendid exhibition. Others who adopted the on-the-rests policy included Howes and Maddams, both of the A.F.S., on a Triumph and B.S.A. respectively, and Linfield (Triumph) who climbed steadily. Brown (A.J.S.) hit the bank low down, and Chidgey (Services—B.S.A.) only just recovered at a ledge, while Tobutt fell off high up, as his Triumph found a bad ledge. Colclough, following through a marshalling error, got by skilfully with his Norton (Service); later Evans (Ariel) fell badly at the same spot, damaging a handlebar-lever and bending his stand. Hill (A.J.S.) took the hill beautifully, riding slowly right over the worst ledge. Davies (B.S.A.) was excellent, likewise Wilmott (500 B.S.A.), and a non-competitor charged a tree. Herrington (Ariel) failed low down, but rode nicely thereafter; Briggs (Matchless) made a good recovery and Medlock (A.J.S.) took the ledge splendidly. Challis (Rudge and chair) failed low down, and in contrast Goodall (B.S.A.) had the extreme misfortune to fall off right at the end of the observed section. Botting’s old 600 c.c. Sunbeam made a perfect ascent and took the banks in its stride, and White (Services—Levis) used effective leaning tactics. Barnes (New Imperial) blipped up on a sound ascent and Wright (B.S.A.), right up on the rests and very amused, was excellent. Slocombe gave a splendid slow-riding demonstration, Sadler (250 Triumph) was rapid, using S-swerves, and Crisp (Services—250 Zenith) was excellent and very certain. The “chairs” had a poor time here, but showed up better at Daytona, a long, sandy section which had to be attempted without footing. Results are not yet available. Ordinary hills were used, as permission, for once, could not be got to use War Office ground. This is not an ill omen; indeed, another event was scheduled at Camberley Heath for April 27th. In the car-world the R.A.C. disallows trials.
In between making the ration go a reasonable way in an old Austin Seven— discovering, incidentally, that Red Roads is but a few miles from the place of wartime exile and that a mere five miles from the garage is the Pirbright Heath area, abounding in “sections” of great severity and, incidentally embracing a magnificent view—there have been other excitements. On Easter Saturday evening an old Brescia Bugatti was towed a few miles behind a Ford Eight and not too late on the Sunday morning the faithful Austin Seven “Ruby” saloon hove in sight, well-laden with tools, spare wheels, towing-chain and water-jug. The Bugatti was eventually attached by rope and a start was made, after the Austin had been refuelled, towards London, ere we turned off before Staines for a cross-country journey to Nottingham. Shortly afterwards the efficiency of the Bugatti brakes was proved when a long descent, culminating in a main road, was taken at increasing speed until the towee remembered that the correct technique is for the tower not to use his brakes at all. . . We progressed nicely, the Austin showing quite remarkable abilities, a frequent change of driver being made in the Bugatti, the allegedly disinterested British public showing keen interest in the fast-looking blue car, almost without exception. Once a piece of metal flew off and proved to be a bit of Austin front-spring; frequently the Bugatti’s rear brakes locked, and the wheels were caught in the act of falling off in the nick of time. But progress we did, although time was wasted looking for lunch in a deserted Buckingham, wherein many policemen were playing a prosperous game at the curiously-positioned “Halt” signs. We had been “directed” here, incidentally, by an Army lorry-driver who, when asked for the town, insisted that, with a wave of arms, “all this part is Buckingham”—seemingly a Canadian who knew not the Shires. Spirits were high when eventually we did get a meal of sorts and adjusted the Bugatti brakes; a garage where we refuelled was most interested in the Molsheim motor, and nearing our objective, a cruising Hampden came low for a “look-see.” The Austin now speeded up so that it was towing at quite 50 m.p.h. in places, but we had yet to negotiate the town of Leicester. That overcome, rain started to fall and Nottingham was entered from a most sinister quarter, the effect of the angry sky on the valley of ugly factories and a cemetery being almost eerie. The black-out was just beaten, and the remainder of that day was spent in fervent motor-talk. The roads along the route taken had been largely devoid of traffic and no outstanding cars were remembered, although we had seen four Rapiers, two British Salmsons and one of the fixed-head coupe A.Cs. . A start for home was made next day, after lunch, and the long run back accomplished in teeming rain, rather more traffic now in evidence. Before we started the garage had been cleared of sundry motor-cycle and Austin Seven bits that La Bugatti might be pushed reverently in, and the owner’s father’s A.C. “Ace” 2-seater inspected with a different sort of reverence. Another A.C. “Ace” owner was also visited and, remarkably, he was found to be also in possession of an early Bugatti, although some sacrilegious person had turned the chassis frame upside down, so that the track-rod rested innocently hard against the sump, while the engine was apparently a very early modified Brescia, or perhaps even a Type 13. Tea was taken at the “Dome” on the Great West Road, after coming across from the Watford By-Pass, a road not driven over since the commencement of the war and along which, incidentally, a rather nice 3-litre Bentley overtook us. With the final drive south-west a motoring Easter concluded, the only remaining memory of this part of the journey being the sight of a W.A.A.F. girl emptying an entire bottle of Essolube into the engine of an Austin Seven coupe stationary on a hill. . . . The fun commenced again when a certain very stark Frazer-Nash living locally, having a very special Anzani engine, as mentioned elsewhere, was due to be started, after extensive overhaul. A “red-label” 3-litre open Bentley, screen flat, was started on the handle and did the towing in the failing light, followed by two of the local youths on fast motor-cycles. Alas, long sheets of yellow flame from the carburetters and then a spray of water from the quick-action radiator filler-cap and a gusher of the same liquid from the rear Solex, were the only results. A sad group of enthusiasts pushed the car back into the garage wherein so much toil should have culminated, but clearly hadn’t. Only consideration for raid weary Londoners prevented an instant drive to town to consult an expert, a motor-cycle and an aged Austin Seven being offered as transport at once, when the Bentley owner looked unhappily at his only coupon. The run was under-taken the very next evening, in the wet, in the Bentley. It was a rapid journey, a Railton reversing across the main road providing an impromptu braking-test from the customary 65 m.p.h., to which the old car (it is 1924) happily complied adequately. The solid suspension, the fierce howl of the indirects, and the deep note of the exhaust, rising to a distinctive pitch as rousing engine-speeds were obtained through the gears, made one ponder for the nth time why the moderns sell. But they do, as the quite startling number of recent Lagondas encountered reminded us. Coming back, we chose the Kingston By-pass route and were pleased to display Bentley acceleration very effectively amongst a horde of cars whose owners, having religiously observed for a quarter of an hour red lights at Shannon Corner that had obviously become fixtures, were in process of creeping gingerly onward. Only an Ariel “Red Hunter” and a side-valve 3-litre Talbot saloon gave chase and, although the latter got by, once top was home again, the Bentley repassed, at some 70 m.p.h., the rev.-counter still refusing to indicate above 2,500 r.p.m. Thereafter the old car was handled most exhilaratingly, until the exhaust again fell to a low burble; we were in Guildford, eating and drinking at the “Red Lion,” at peace with all the world—so long as no one mentioned Frazer-Nash gaskets. Incidentally, meat, cold meat at all events, seems to be delightfully unrationed, if you will sit up on a high stool in a bar to consume it. The hood came down for the last few miles, in the black-out. The garage doors shut, the mere male members of the party went their respective ways to bed, leaving the young lady who owns the “Frash” to don overalls and make a start at removing the head from her car. . . . On that note we will close, particularly as, some evenings later, finding that our help might be requested to drain the oil from the sump, we hastily re-entered the Austin Seven, motored away, and neatly uprooted a bus-stop post in the drizzle and black-out (Austins can take it, so a motor-cycle trial was covered to schedule on the morrow, but rumour has it that a certain new recruit amongst bus-drivers cannot understand why he is now always a trifle early on the local route!)
CORRECTION AND COMMENT
Last month the club referred to in the Editorial as the “J.I.C.” was, of course, the Junior Car Club. Heal, who wrote the last “Veteran Types” article, brings us to book for saying his Fiat is 1912—it is two years older. The 1922 G.P. Bugatti mentioned last month in “We Hear” was not a G.P. car at all, so was allowed to go for scrap, being in untowable condition. We believe Harry Bowles’s 3-litre Bentley, which he used to take up to 3,900 r.p.m. on 6 in. by 20 in. tyres, when lapping Brooklands at 97.85 m.p.h., has been sold to an enthusiast in the R.A.F., with a compression-plate fitted. A sound “red-label” Bentley, preferably a 1927 Van den Plas, is wanted by someone in the R.A.S.C., and W. E. Cavanagh, who wrote the article “Apprentices at Play,” seeks a T.T. straight-eight f.w.d. Alvis and photographs of these cars.
Fenn-Wiggin still has his old Alvis and, busy on Home Guard duties, is, nevertheless, getting a much-lowered “30/98” Vauxhall on the road very soon. Swain, his partner, is in the R.A.F.V.R. Congratulations to Massey-Riddle, pilot in the Fleet Air Arm, on his recent marriage to a fellow enthusiast. He celebrated the occasion by acquiring his third “12/50” Alvis, a 1925 S.D. 2-seater and the second in his possession. Comments that “Sedan Fairy” should read “Vogue” instead of MOTOR SPORT! [But none of the sportsgirls have yet defended themselves. So what?—Ed.] His best man has a Meadows-engined Vernon-Derby and would like to find a Frazer-Nash and put his engine into it. There is a good Lancia “Lambda” for sale in Petersfield. An R.A.F. pilot-officer seeks a 2-litre Lagonda, Aston-Martin, “Red-Label” Bentley, Riley Nine, E.W. Hornet, or similar open car, in place of his Wolseley Nine saloon. His blown 2-litre Lagonda is laid-up, out of coupons. Lieut. Anthony Forbes, R.N., ran his A.C. 2-seater 1936 drophead coupe up to the end of last year and then left her for his brother (R.A.F.) to collect. Tubbs’s D.K.W. was badly hit in a recent London raid, but still motors