Club News, May 1946

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We Hear
News of the fate of two more veteran racing cars is to hand from the pen of S. A. Gibbons, of Wanganui, New Zealand. He reports that a pre-1914 G.P. Vauxhall, said to be Hancock’s, was imported by W. J. Scott, of Christchurch, about 1913 and raced in hill-climbs and at beach events very successfully in the early days of the Kaiser War. It thereafter changed hands many times and round about 1925 was partly destroyed by fire and the remains broken up. Then one of the 1911 Coupe de l’Auto Delage cars existed in New Zealand in a partly dismantled state, and less body, in 1930, this, too, being eventually destroyed by fire. Gibbons rides a Square-Four Ariel and is putting his 4 1/2-litre Invicta on the road again after having it up on blocks for 3 1/2 years. J. Hodges has an Austin Seven chassis reputed to have been raced at Brooklands, the engine having double valve springs and a magneto from a Salmson.

Motor Sport is in considerable demand amongst the officers of H.M.S. Undauntable and one of their number seeks a spare engine for his 1934-5 Lagonda Rapier, to recondition while at sea! This enthusiast’s former car was a 1931 “M” Type M.G., of which he remarks that its dynamo never charged for more than two weeks at a time due to overdoses of engine oil. A new South African sports magazine, The South African Sporting Digest, intends to include items relating to competition motoring. The editor, within the first few days of his enforced return to the Hub of the Universe, was regaled by a beautiful 1899 Panhard in the window of Jarvis’s of Edgware Road, accompanied by details of its many successes in V.C.C. events. He also saw other ancients in action, such as a beautifully preserved A.C. 2-seater of circa 1926, in Acre Lane, many early “Chummy” Austin Sevens, a “Heavy Four” Austin Twelve tourer, two flat-radiator Armstrong-Siddeley Twelve tourers, a “10/23” Talbot 4-seater, several ’20 Rolls coupés, Jowetts, Swift Ten saloons, Clynos, etc. And a Brixton tyre dealer had just disposed of an early Harley-Davidson motor-cycle and sidecar-chassis for £20, while a V-twin solo Indian was observed in Hyde Park. Then, on the day he brought his two-weeks’ old daughter home, Boddy was further overjoyed by the sight of a blower Bentley, 2-litre Lagonda, Lancia “Lambda” and early Frazer-Nash, all going well. Forrest Lycett has kindly presented him with the ex-Seth-Smith 1914 “Alphonso” Hispano-Suiza. He has his eye on a 1922 air-cooled Rover Eight, at present in Yorkshire, as a tender car.

The Rev. Oscar Morgan, who ran an early A.C. for a while, now motors in wild Welsh Wales in a 1924 “10/12” Fiat, which had until recently stood forgotten in a shed for twelve years, with only 35,000 miles on the “clock.” This car our clerical friend supplements with a 150-c.c. James motor-cycle. John Grosscurth had fun with his Frazer-Nash Six during the icy spell. Wadsworth is said to have unearthed another veteran racing car, in the form of a T.T. Thornycroft 4-seater of generous dimensions. R. Allen-Bygrove wishes to meet another enthusiast with a view to sharing the cost and work of participating in competitions. He resides at Eastbourne and has been driving for fifteen years, in most European countries. Letters can be forwarded. F.O. cotterell has recently obtained for himself a 1922 “Blue Label” 3-litre Bentley Park Ward 2-seater, with f.w.b., and would he glad to receive hints from Bentley owners. His car’s engine number is 91 and chassis number 87. Martin Quirk reports that his M-type M.G. has been modified in respect of Morris Minor chassis, Standard Nine wheels and cut-down bodywork.

A “19/100” Austro-Daimler is said to lie derelict in the West Country and J. K. Heap will supply details to anyone interested. Bobbett’s Garage, Teignmouth, have a 29.4-h.p. 6-cylinder Napier tourer, believed to be pre-1914 and used up to 1931, which may become available. It has electric lamps but no tyres. There was a Talbot “75” 4-seater for sale at “The Ochre Works,” Wick, Bristol. S/Ldr. H. O. Jones is running that famous 1932 T.T. Frazer-Nash, MV 3079. He overhauled the engine 800 miles ago at the time of writing and gets 30 m.p.g. with excellent performance. The transmission is getting a bit spent, however, and a recent journey of 300 miles was covered at an over-40 average sans top speed and without really warming the enormous “Alpine” header tank. G. E. Kitchin has acquired a blown 1 1/2-litre twin-o.h.c. Alfa-Romeo which has the body from the ex-Whitney Straight Maserati. A/C. Whitton, although in the Middle East, intends to compete at Prescott, and has acquired a special 2-seater Morris Eight for the job. It has a bronze head, oversize pistons, and is Zoller supercharged. It does some 75 m.p.h. and cruises indefinitely at 60.

Sir Clive Edwards has joined the ranks of active veteran motorists, having procured a very grand 1900 New Orleans. Out in Malta, H. L. Jenkins is building a “Special,” using a 1936 M.G. N-type Magnette engine. One of the surgeons at the Royal Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital runs a 1927 “2 LTS” Ballot Figoni coupé. D. R. Taylor is making several modifications to his faithful 1929 Riley Nine “Monaco” saloon. He may send his 1924 “Le Mans” Bentley chassis out to Hugenholtz, in Holland. P. L. Platt has a Vernon-Derby undergeared by reason of a Singer back axle; has a maximum of about 48 m.p.h. at rather over 3,000 r.p.m. The pre-1914 Cotton-Desgoutte, discovered during the war by Grace, is now in Heal’s care Alas, a “24/90” Straker-Squire Six, that bad been stored for several years, has met its end in a Birmingham breakers. Cecil Clutton is using an ex-“Bloody Mary” magneto on his Brough-Superior, which now goes exceedingly well. Major A. E. E. Calcott, Chief Inspector of Mechanisation, India Command, is the grandson of the chairman and founder of Calcott Bros., and consequently he seeks an old Calcott car — can anyone help? A. Wray has acquired Clarke’s Type 37 Bugatti. G. F. Lomas’s Bentley is coming along well and he has some “Speed Model” manifolds and twin S.U.s to try out. He may take delivery soon of one of the new M.G. Midgets, having had simply fearful experience some time ago in trying a big mileage in an elderly Standard Nine. H. L. Benn is disposing of his 1924 much-modified 2-seater sports Austin Seven, together with many spares.

Two independent enthusiasts are seeking information as to how to stop a “30/98 ” — the old Vauxhalls are, incidentally, having quite a vogue again. A change of plan has decided Lee against a streamline body for his Beverley-Barnes, as mentioned in the March issue, and he urgently seeks a suitable 2 or 4-seater body. A 1926 11.4-h.p. Citroen was recently advertised in the weekly Press and a 1914 Calcott, last used twenty years ago, has turned up at Wallington. Then Breen has heard of a 1911 T-head, worm-drive “12/16” Sunbeam. There is rumour of another 1922 4-cylinder G.P. Sunbeam having come to light and a 1920 “40/30 ” Rolls-Royce was recently advertised at a fair price. Finally, up in Cumberland we hear of a breath-taking stable composed of an S.S., M.G., “Phantorn I” Rolls-Royce, Aston-Martin, 4 1/2-litre Bentley, 3-litre Sunbeam, 1924 Twenty Rolls and two old Sunbeams, one of 1914 vintage.

H. L. Biggs is carrying out modifications to his 1936 Austin Seven tourer with trials in prospect. Up in Yorkshire, Walton runs a late-type 3-litre V8 Lancia drop-head coupé, believed to be a Mille Miglia car, which he supplements with a Lancia “Aprilia.” His father is knowledgeable over the very early days and was at one time employed with the Sizaire-Naudin agency. Walton also has an R-type M.G. Midget, which Routledge is getting into shape for him to drive in forthcoming sprint events. Louis Giron is getting some very good road-motoring from a particularly stark “2.3” G.P. Bugatti. Lawton-Goodman Ltd. have a “37.2” Hispano-Suiza with huge ambulance body, a fine coupe-de-ville IsottaFraschini for £250 and a straight-eight Lanchester saloon. F/Lt. Randell wishes to dispose of his 1919 16-h.p. Sunbeam, taxed and insured.

M.M.E.C.
W. A. Richards succeeds G. G. H. Couzens as honorary secretary of the Midlands Motoring Enthusiasts’ Club. His address is 58, Beaufort Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Yorkshire Sports Car Club
This club has revived and has planned the following fixtures: — May 5th, Open Semi-sporting Trial; June 2nd, Closed Trial; June 30th, Open Sporting Trial; August 25th Social; Sept. 22nd, Open Sporting Trial; Oct. 13th, Closed Sporting Trial. The following awards are available: Enthusiasts’ Cup, Consolation Cup, Horsfall Trophy, Fairfax Trophy, Duckham Trophy. It is hoped to find a substitute for Wetherby and offer the Wetherby Trophies for a speed event. Badges will soon be available again. Hon. secretary, G. Dracup, 1, Baslow Grove, Heaton, Bradford (Bradford 8438).

E.C.C. of G.B.
Mr. F. M. Aspin gave a very interesting talk on the design and development of his engines, amply illustrated by slides, at the last club meeting. Question time produced some very pertinent enquiries regarding b.h.p. and r.p.m., during the course of which Mr. Aspin gave some illuminating figures. We learnt that his 350-c.c. job produces 35 b.h.p. at 7,400 r.p.m., which immediately led to the 500-c.c. racers demanding figures for their size. Mr. Aspin said that with his 500-c.c. vertical-twin he could comfortably exceed the T.T. Norton figure of 54 b.h.p. Just before the war experiments were going on with a 750-c.c. job which was giving 100 b.h.p. at 9,000 r.p.m. with a dry weight of 150 lb. The war, however, has held up the development of this particular motor. During his last visit to America he was asked to design an engine which would run for one hour at 18,000 r.p.m. — the r.p.m. being the sole proviso. A square single of 2 1/2 in. was used, and the stated r.p.m. held for the stipulated hour. The bottom end has never been the same since. An Aspin 4 1/2-litre engine has been in lengthy service on a P.S.V. vehicle, which was previously fitted with an 8-litre unit. The smaller engine shows the same b.m.e.p. of 160. Finally, Mr. Aspin admitted to using one of his own engines for daily use in his own car, and told the audience that he habitually takes it up to 8,000 in the gears. When pressed, Mr. Aspin coyly admitted that the chassis is Ford. Joint secretary: R. M. Powell, 72, Upper Chorlton Road, Manchester ti;.

Nomenclature
Recently we have heard people refer to their modes of transport by such appellations as “bus,” “kite,” “tub,” “crate,” “tank,” etc. “Motor-car” is good enough for us!

Cover Picture
This month we present a typical picture of John Bolster in his renowned Bolster Special “Bloody Mary.” It was taken by a reader, W. A. Plumridge, of Nottingham, who took it at Shelsley before the war. With 500-c.c. “Specials” in the offing, Bolster’s car is of some interest, as one of the most successful of the larger “special” sprint cars. Its radiator is unmistakably G.N., with a new badge, and there is, we believe, some Bleriot-Whippet about this potent, twin J.A.P.engined car.

West Of England M.G.
Future fixtures embrace a hill-climb on May 15th, grass-track motor-cycle racing on May 26th, and a one-day car and motor-cycle trial on June 16th. Hon. secretary: Mrs. M. L. Anning, Tor Hill, Kingsteignton, Newton Abbot (Bishopsteignton 297).

Bristol M.C. and L.C.C.
This very widd-awake club promises us another. Naish Speed hill-climb on May 4th.

Brighton and Hove M.C.
The Brighton and Hove M.C. has come to life again and has got out its 1946 fixture list. A treasure hunt is scheduled for May 26th, and the classic Brighton-Beer trial will happen on June 22nd-23rd if conditions permit (Waddy to help organise this), followed by a hill-climb on July 14th. Car membership, including R.A.C. association, costs £2 12s. 6d. a year, social membership £1 1s. a year, with 5s. entry fee. Hon. secretary: K. Riley, M.Sc. M.I.M.T., 399, Holmesdale Road, London, S.E.25 (LIV 1906).

A Suggestion
Old motor-cars, far from dying away, seem to be very much in evidence these days, due to the shortage of new cars. One sees them in use, hears of them, even finds such things as Calcot, Crossley Fourteen, 11.4 Citroen, Douglas and Coventry-Premier advertised in the weekly Press — incidentally, all the latter at prices exceeding that asked for an excellent 1920 Rolls-Royce just recently. Then the Veteran Car Club has some 180 pre-1904 cars on its register and many more cars of like vintage to verify. This body and the Vintage S.C.C. know of a whole host of pre-1914 cars; there are lots of 1920-1930 cars, as we have said, still active (a reader mentions a 1928 Minerva, someone else a 1924 Swift) and then there are the old racing cars, about which so much has been published in Motor Sport and elsewhere. Indeed, so much veteran data exists that the mind finds it difficult to absorb it all. Someone digs up a famous model or an obscure make out of history and you ponder whether an example still exists, or how many of the type survive, and exactly who the owners are. Some of these old cars, of course, must just come and go, as pleasing sights encountered now and then on a run or read of (more frequently than many people would think possible) in the Editorial correspondence. It is quite impossible — at any rate it seems so to us — to log them all. But the V.C.C. and Vintage S.C.C. could compile a useful list of veterans known to them — from every source, and not merely those owned by their members. Certainly someone should draw up a record of known examples of old racing cars so that those of us who care about such things can see directly how many and what types are preserved. We will gladly make public such a record if someone will compile it. Readers who find obsolete makes still in existence might well drop us a postcard containing the details. In these ways a more consolidated record might be drawn up of the quite astounding number of aged, yet worthy, cars still motoring (or ready to motor) in our midst.

A Bit Rough
We believe veteran cars are to be encouraged to take part in the Victory Parade in Hyde Park. We hope they will not. The fearful state of the road surface in the premier Royal Park in the World’s Leading City is such that an Austin Seven, let alone a veteran, is advised to keep away.

Another Speed Trial
The Mid-Surrey A.C. hope to have a speed trial over a 700-yard course on June 1st, open to 850, 1,100, 1,500, 2,500 and unlimited c.c. cars — but no racing machinery to run. Alas, this fixture clashes with Shelsley Walsh, just as the Brighton and Hove and Berkhamsted trials clashed with the “750” Club’s trial on April 7th Forward the R.A.C.!

Going Along?
See you at Prescott on May 19th? Incidentally, racing cars will be on test there on the 4th and 5th of this month. After which nothing, we imagine, will keep you away from Shelsley on June 1st. Entries for the latter, by the way, now have to be in well before the original closing date of May 11th — so, if you wish to compete, contact Leslie Wilson, 75, Silhill Hall Road, Solihull, at once. A good entry is coming in, and some 500-c.c. cars are hoped for.

Yorkshire Trial
The Yorkshire S.C.C. had to wash out four hills in its March trial due to the weather — it seems unbelievable, writing a mere month later — and out of seventeen entries, Holroyd’s B.M.W. made best showing, Hague’s Riley “Sprite” being runner-up.

General Notes
The Great North Road continued to dominate our motoring. There was a 6.45 a.m. start with the light increasing every minute, for London from Yorkshire, in the 1934 Austin Seven. The first stop was a brief one — it was cold out of the car — to glance at a “12/’24” 2-seater Citroen for sale near Doncaster. Then on, monotonously, to the tune of 32 miles in the first hour, 34 1/2 in the second, 34 in the third and 32 the next — more credit to the lack of congestion on the road than to our buzzing box.

The return journey, in another Austin Seven — economical things, these Austins! — was made in bitter cold, with certain worries to dissolve, so again we came up A1, picking up a third person in London and lunching at Baldock, where a beautifully-preserved, belt-drive 2-stroke Sparkbrook was seen seeking the way to London. We did the Huntingdon detour and overtook a vintage Dodge hearse, and later stopped to enthuse over the very fine 37.2-h.p. Hispano-Suiza breakdown lorry which has served Collier’s Garage, of Wansford, since 1934.

Comparing notes, we found London to have yielded up two early “Speed Twenty” and a “Silver Eagle” Alvis, three Trojan vans, one with competition rear tyres, another with “solids” on the front, and a bull-nose Morris Sports at Hatfield, the last-named in a garage, slightly damaged.

The next trip to London was much the same, except that it was really bitter. We went via the Vintage S.C.C. Northern Rally at Knutsford, and left at dusk, climbing over the Peak to Buxton with lights flickering in the valley and the “cat’s-eyes” picking out the road-side. That run ended at 3 a.m. and involved a lot of snow. It was snowing when we returned, two days later. Earlier that day we had motored pleasantly over familiar roads to Fleet, climbing up Hartford Bridge Flats to come face to face with aircraft, and the new detour. We had intended to leave after lunch and left, eventually, about 7.30 p.m., the headlamp calling for attention at the last moment, what time snow continued to fall persistently. Through Windsor Park to Slough, and then commenced a fascinating cross-country run, in the course of which misleading signposts, so common nowadays, confused us, and the snow became momentarily interesting on the heights “somewhere in Bucks.” We got back on A1 in the end, of course, ate an indigestible meal at a lorry-drivers’ cafe in the early morning, and went to bed at 5.30 the morning after we started out.

Still doing this “200 hard,” we came down by train one Saturday, to return, mostly in the dark, in the original Austin, having been detained at Welwyn until 4.30 p.m. – incidentally, negotiating at this place a drive that one day might well serve for a speed-trial course. This time the towns came up like clockwork and the Austin just went on and on at a steady 40 m.p.h.

The final run down A1, for some time, if we have any say in the matter, happened a few days later, when the little car, very fully laden, again ran uneventfully and at an admirable economy of fuel, save for one front-wheel puncture. Since then there has been the fun of re-learning one’s technique in London’s traffic, being bullied no end until remembering that it is every man for himself and he who brakes first is lost. The number of interesting old cars and fast cars in the Metropolis has proved good entertainment — one day alone we noted (unless mistaken) the ex-Gerard T.T. Delage, an open, red Lancia “Lambda” and a late type, very imposing Darracq saloon. There was a visit to the exhibition of German Aerial Weapons at South Kensington Museum, a trip to admire the coloured tiles of old-time racing cars which grace the Michelin building in the Fulham Road and a visit to the Warren Street offices of poor Bill Humphries’s premises, to admire again that fine composite photograph of the start of the very first 200-Mile Race. Yes, with a car, London is just tolerable — without … !

However, one is again the “hub,” as it were, and a mere gallon of petrol was enough to take us, in the welcome March sunshine, to a friend’s at Fleet, for an invigorating “dice” round the local trials course in a special Austin Seven. The widened L.M.B. front-axle of that little car worked wonderfully well over the rough stuff, and the engine, with downdraught manifold and Ford Eight. carburetter, etc., had truly excellent urge. And, ere we motored home, there were motors as diverse as a “2.3” G.P. Bugatti, 4-speed Austin Seven “Chummy” and a P-type 4-seater M.G. (soon to be converted to supercharged Q-type specification) to examine and admire.

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