Club News, May 1950

We Hear
Jack Shinder, 6, Old Bond Street, W.1, wishes to hear from fellow-owners of A90 Austins and wonders if there is sufficient interest to justify a regular news-sheet relating to “this splendid car.” We hear of a 1903-4 de Dion engine for disposal in London; letters can be forwarded. Ivers-Shier has acquired a 1924 side-valve “12/40” Alvis, a rare car these days. M. Coke-Richards of Brighton sends details of his 1929 36.5-h.p. straight-eight Graham-Paige, as he thinks it may be a rare model, differing as it does from other cars of this make he has encountered. It was originally a Hoyal fabric sports saloon, but this body is stored and a home-built, very neat truck body has been substituted. The car has 6-volt Delco-Remy twin-coil ignition, a four-speed gearbox with a very low bottom gear engaged by lifting a catch and giving a maximum of 10 m.p.h., good Lockheed brakes, seven stud wire wheels each with 74 butted Spokes (the writer remarks “the wheels were chromed!”), 6.50 by 19 tyres removable by “one large screwdriver and a pair of heels,” Johnson updraught carburetter, like a 42VI-9 Zenith, foot chassis lubrication, Ford V8-type ignition lock, three roof lamps in the cab, Demi-storm heater, radio and good 11-in. American headlamps. Mr. Coke-Richards has done over 23,000 miles in the car with very few replacements, has seen 72 m.p.h. on the speedometer with something in hand and gets 12 m.p.g. in town, 15 m.p.g. on long runs, with no attempt to tune for economy. If anyone knows this interesting example of vintage American, especially if he can offer any hints or tips, will he please write, c/o Motor Sport.
It is interesting to note that whereas at one time it seemed as if the cyclecar was a defunct vintage type, recently examples of Bedelia, Carden, Tamplin, A.V., L.S.D., early Morgan, G.N., and A.C. Sociable have been heard—even if this does not justify another new branch of the V.S.C.C., it will be interesting to see some of these cyclecars on the road. The latest news is of a V-twin, belt-drive Tamplin and a twin-cylinder, two-stroke Carden, both of about 1921 vintage, which were driven into a shed about twenty years ago and have been there ever since. J. D. Howard has some negatives showing Brooklands Track in course of construction in 1907. It is always pleasing to find mentions of old cars in the daily Press and a reader has sent us a cutting from the Nottingham Evening News about Eric Pitchford’s collection of veterans and Edwardians that he keeps at his garage in Newark. They include an 1897 Benz with Crypto gear and the 6-h.p. rear-placed engine but cooled by a radiator at the front, a 1901 Oldsmobile, a 1902 Panhard-Levassor, which requires assembling, a 1906 Renault and a 1911 Renault. A. W. Wright, 24, Swinburne Avenue, Broadstairs, Kent, intends to take a three weeks’ holiday in Switzerland starting on September 3rd and using an “old but very fit” 1929 20.9-h.p. Sunbeam Monte Carlo Rally drophead coupé. He wonders if any other vintage-car owner and his wife would like to join them? K. C. Radburn has got going with his Salmson Register and asks owners of these cars to notify him of type and registration and engine numbers, etc. His address is 67, Loudon Avenue, Radford, Coventry.
L. J. Lubin of Oregon has “hotted-up” his Austin A.40 “Devon” saloon, after covering 23,000 miles in it. The compression-ratio is now up to 8.25 to 1, with polished combustion chambers, and on 85 octane fuel a genuine 75 m.p.h. is claimed; 18,000 unites have been satisfactorily covered since the modifications and a recent run named was Oregon to Seattle, about 190 miles, in 3 hr. 5 min.
A Cotton et Desgouttes sports four-seater of about 1926 vintage and 3 litres capacity has been seen in a Leicestershire breakers.
P. Harris-Mayes does not wish to sell “Chitty-Bang-Bang II”—that fantastic Maybach-engined car which appeared at the 1921 Brooklands Autumn Meeting and in which Zborowski ventured into the Sahara Desert in 1922—and he seems to be making a good job of restoring it. Charles Bulmer, Secretary of the Hants and Berks M.C., has disposed of his “T.T. Replica” Frazer-Nash in favour of a Type 55 B.M.W. Mrs. Boddy thanks those who have sent details of their Sunbeams for the proposed Sunbeam Register which she is confident can now be started. She recently acquired a 1926 “14/40” Sunbeam saloon of her own.
The Register contains to date, 67 Sunbeams owned by 59 different owners, the score being; 18 Sixteens, 13 Twenties, 10 “14/40s,” 8 twin-cam 8-litres, 6 miscellaneous, 5 Twenty-fives, 5 Dawns, and 2 “20/60s.”
J. Lindsay Hatchett has the ex-Healey Monte Carlo Rally 4½-litre Invicta and is putting a V12 Lagonda engine into his ex-K. Don “4.9” Bugatti.
W. J. Pratt is running a 1926 Calcott tourer but reports that it gets rather warm during hay-sweeping operations.
Racing Cars Exempt
It is good news that purchase tax will be refunded on single-seater cars built solely for racing, not readily adaptable for road use and complying with Formula I and II. The fact that Formula II single-seaters are excluded seems to be just another bureaucratic muddle. The R.A.C. and S.M.M. & T. must take credit for getting this ruling through and, while we have not followed the detail negotiations very closely, we believe Earl Howe deserves much of the praise.
The B.A.R.C. Club Meetings
This year the B.A.R.C. is holding three Members’ Meetings at Goodwood, reminiscent of the enjoyable J.C.C. Members’ Meetings of before the war. The first will take place on May 6th; entries have closed. Racing commences at 1.30 p.m., with practice in the morning, and is for sports cars only. There will be 3-lap handicap races for supercharged and non-supercharged cars and four 13-lap scratch races, for 1½-litre, 1½-3-litre, and over 3-litre non-supercharged sports cars, and blown and unblown M.G. cars, respectively. Lady drivers are barred. Entry fees were £2 2s. per race. Fuel has to be from the Pool pump, plus any amount of benzole entrants wish to add. A very enjoyable afternoon’s sport can be expected.
Palm Beach Flashback
Some excitement was caused in American vintage circles when I. J. Boundage’s old Duesenberg, driven by George Huntoon, won the Palm Beach road race, beating modern Ferrari, Alfa-Romeos, Healeys and XK120 Jaguars. It now appears that his car is the Duesenberg in which Frame took second place in the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race of 1931 at 96.4 m.p.h., now fitted with a two-seater sports body conforming to F.I.A. requirements. Lower-geared Ross steering, a 1948 Ford F-1 lorry front axle and brakes, new front springs and 1949 Ford rear springs, ½-elliptic all round, were fitted to the old chassis, and a 1947 4.55-to-1 Ford back axle and torque tube were used. The transmission was also rebuilt, using Lincoln gears.
The engine is a Ford V8 unit with 1949 Mercury block, crankshaft and rods, Edelbrock pistons and heads giving a compression-ratio of 8.75 to 1, a Winfield SU-1 camshaft and two “97” Stromberg carburetters feeding into Grancor dual inlet manifolds. The flywheel weighs only 20 lb. and a 10-in. diameter clutch with heavy springs is employed. Ignition is 12-volt, using twin coils and condensers, a modified Ford distributor and two 6-volt batteries. With 7.00-17 tyres the engine peaked at 5,100 r.p.m., giving about 105 m.p.h., with excellent acceleration. This car, more Ford than Duesenberg now, weighs just under 17 cwt.
The compulsory R.A.C. Competition Licence for all but “social” events as defined by the R.A.C. still results in a lot of ill-feeling. One old-established and important club recently described the ruling insisting on this licence as bureaucratic tyranny of the worst type, suggesting that insistence upon forms and petty rules and regulations will mean the end of any individuality in motor clubs and competitions. It pointed its argument by remarking that no check is made upon persons applying for the licence, which is issued to anyone who completes the necessary form and sends the R.A.C. his or her 5s.
We agree that all the time individuality is being sadly curtailed in the world and that motor sport offers about the last stand of the individualist, so that any attempt at undesirable control by the controlling body of the sport is likely to be doomed to early failure.
But it must be remembered that, easily as a licence is issued, it can just as easily be revoked for any serious breach of regulations. We should like to see the issue of even the National Competition Licence dependent on the possession of a reasonably “clean” driving licence, however, and our grumble with the Competitions Department is that it really should stir the main committee of the R.A.C. to issue a balance-sheet of Silverstone and other competition undertakings. In that way, those who think that the five bob they have to send in for their licence is a personal gift to Col. Barnes may be thoroughly disillusioned!
Sage comment in the Bugatti Owners’ Club magazine last March: “The Government spend £10,000,000 per annum on self-publicity and yet under £100,000 per annum would be ample to run a complete B.R.M. team successfully and advantageously to the world prestige of this country and its motor trade!”
Hot-Rods Again!
Basil Cardew writing in the Daily Express of March 30th, had this to say about “hot-rods”:—
“When is a hot rod not a poker left too long in the fire?
Answer: When it’s a motor car. ‘Hot-rods’ are the latest craze in the States.
Recipe: Take an old car, strip off body, supercharge engine, remove roof unless it is a drophead, take off mudguards, install bucket-seats.
Mix a gallon of red paint with turpentine and apply all over. Paint—in a different, more violent shade—the name in six-Inch letters on the bonnet. Names such as these: Red Rot Momma, Toots, South Pacific or Joe Palooka. Failing these fall back on old favourites like Piccadillly Lil.
Add streamers to the lot, minimum ten feet long. These are usually yellow. Then pack in a case of Coke (Coca Cola), a box of steaks, a gallon of icecream, some strawberry shortcake—and you!
Of course, the youngsters build these jalopy cars because the Americans, strangely, build no sports cars of their own. I have seen them packed with snow in California, brought down from the mountains.
But don’t attempt to build one here. You would run up against at least a score of the 2,000 regulations motorist can break.”
The Silverstone Club Meetings Association
At a conference at the R.A.C. on March 10th, the clubs who are promoting racing meetings this year proposed, with the exception of the Bugatti Owners Club, that a club should be formed to enable those enthusiasts to attend meetings at the track whose own clubs were not organising meetings. The formation of the club was decided upon and a working committee was elected to consist of representatives from three clubs: Tim Carson for the V.S.C.C., George Taylor for the A.M.O.C., and Tony Gale for the 500 Club.
This committee has now met and the rules recommended by them are as follows:—
1. The name to be The Silverstone Club Meetings Association.
2. Objects: To encourage and provide greater access to Club Motor racing at Silverstone.
3. The Annual Subscription to be 10s.
4. Members to be entitled to free admission to all meetings on the “Club” circuit organised by the clubs forming the association.
5. The clubs referred to in Rule 4 are: The V.S.C.C., the A.M.O.C., and the 500 Club, and of course any other clubs agreeing and wishing to join (by the general tone of the meeting on Friday, March 10th, when most of the clubs were represented, it can be safely assumed that all clubs will join with the exception of the B.O.C., who for reasons of their own intimated that they did not wish to).
6. The number of members will be limited to 5,000.
7. Members may bring children under fourteen without extra charge.
8. Car parking at these meetings will be charged extra, but the maximum charge is to be 7s. 6d. Membership tickets will be distributed for sale via the Hon. Secretaries of the clubs concerned.
This anticipates the need we discussed last month, but the solution is different. Presumably the traffic control police are quite happy at present, and we hope they will remain so. But if over 5,000 people are eligible for admission to each club race meeting, why not admit the general public and have done with it? We assume any profits go to the clubs on a basis of tickets sold. They will deserve it, for stricter organisation will be required to cope with big crowds.
International Flag Signals
The signals agreed on under the new F.I.A. rules are:—
Red. Complete and immediate stop.
Yellow—waved. Great danger—be prepared to stop.
Yellow—motionless. Take care—danger.
Blue—waved. Another competitor is trying to overtake you.
Blue—motionless. Another competitor Is following you very closely.
Yellow with vertical red stripes. Take care—oil on track.
White. An ambulance or service car is on the circuit.
Black with white number. Competitor with this number to stop at pit on next lap.
Black and white chequered. Signal for end of race.
Mr. R. C. Willis came along with a large number of photographs to the club room on April 4th. and spoke to members on the subject of B.M.W.s in competition. Oscar Moore was also there, and for part or the time the two of them related some outstanding memories of 1949 motor racing. Nearly all the B.M.W.-based specials were described and shown on the screen.
Too Late!
The following appeared in the Sunday Express, dated April 2nd:—” Mrs. Mary Gallagher, who lives on the island of Arramnore, off the Donegal coast, has celebrated her 102nd birthday. She was only once on the mainland and has never seen it motor car.” And now, say vintage-car enthusiasts, she never will . . .
Comment Withheld
We take the following in entirety from the motoring column of the Somerset County Mail:—
“A Satisfied Customer—
I was interested in your motor column, as I am a “vintage” owner of a 1928 Austin Seven (a real baby). May I suggest you invite tips from your readers on adjustments of these old cars. My own job, with a hand-made body, is now of the racing variety, with a dummy tail, and an extended bonnet. To get nearer the road, I have fitted smaller road wheels, and another gearbox to put right the gear ratio. I rev. up higher than the normal Seven, which makes me boil quickly. I’ve got over this by fitting a separate water tank with an automatic return. When these freaks pass you on the road. don’t pity the poor fellows with “such an old car.” I run a Hillman for business purposes. (Name and address supplied.)
(According to the National Press, there is a wealthy owner of a baby car, also has a thatched roof. His ‘ordinary’ car is a Rolls-Bentley.—Ed.)
B.R.M. Black Mark
From a contemporary, relating to the B.R.M.: “Who will drive it? Not, veteran Raymond Mays . . . It is rumoured that Mays was asked to sign a secret agreement with the B.M.R.R.T. not to take the wheel of the B.R.M. when it was ready. If the B.R.M. should not turn up at Silverstone (on May 13th), confidence in the project, already rather shaky, will slump badly.” This is where we have to add the familiar phrase commencing “we do not necessarily associate ourselves . . .” In any case, a recent B.M.R.R.T. news-bulletin names Mays as No. 1 driver. Walker as No. 2. So where do we go from there?
April Quiz
Obviously we cannot disguise a Rolls-Royce engine from our more informative readers by illustrating only a part of it. Those who guessed the April Quiz picture correctly were: R. John of Elstead, D. W. Fewtrell of Worthing, P. T. Hill, Junr., of Santa Monica, California, J. Lewis of Ilford, H. Beach of Ruislip. T. Whelan of Dun-Laoghaire. Co. Dublin, B. J. S. Johnson of New Malden, J. D. Ellinghouse of Henley-in-Arden, M. R. Williams of Haverfordwest, C. Jolly of Durham City, S. Harvey of Aldershot, J. R. Humphreys of Cannock, P. F. Geliot of Lee, M. J. Nunney of Kettering, D. Bagshaw of Belgrave, T. Wood of Leeds, J. C. Elkens of Erran, P. Stilley of Nottingham, G. Robson or Cirencester, S. Turner of Blackpool and J. P. Shenton of Hollingbourne. Those who decided on 4½-litre Bentley, which is much the same thing, were G. N. Green of Beverley, R. W. Newmau of New Haw, and D. V. Hopes (age 15) of Cheltenhamn.
Incorrect solutions were Rover and 3½-litre Jaguar. Very well! We will give you something a thought more tricky next month.