Veteran-Edwardian-Vintage, May 1957

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A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters.

THE Veteran Car Club has now lifted its ban on events for veteran cars using “basic” petrol and will open the season on May 13/18th with the Norwegian Rally, in which a nominated team will compete. This is to be followed by the German Rally on June 1st/2nd. The first V.C.C. main event in this country will take place on June 8th, with a non-competitive rally to Hatfield House. The first competitive event will be the S.W. Section Poole Rally on June 29th. Details from the V.C.C., 46, North Row, Oxford Street, London, W.1. 

*

That excellent and typically English affair, the Andover Traction Engine Rally, is scheduled to take place at Finckley Farm on May 11th — a very pleasant affair when the only unusual “things in fields” are the traction engines. Five new ones are expected this year, or 20 in all, and veteran and vintage cars are particularly welcome, usually being parked together and sometimes even permitted a parade. The first event is at 2 p.m. Details can be had by writing to G. Howell, 5, The Crescent, Andover, Hampshire.

*

To revert to the mysterious Bentley-Lacey, referred to last month, we checked various reference works and there was no mention of it, not even in the new edition of Doyle’s “The World’s Automobiles1880-1955,” published by Temple Press Ltd. However, just as we had decided that there ain’t no such animal, the following letter came in: —

Sir,

I noticed with interest the recent letter in your correspondence columns mentioning the Butler-Lacey.

My brother-in-law owned one of these interesting little cars in about 1924 or 1925. It was, I believe, a four-cylinder side-valve of about 1½-litres, and I particularly remember the enormous and noisy three-speed gearbox. The car in question had a rather unusual and attractive two-seater body, though I believe that most of these cars were open tourers.

The brakes were never effective and the car came to an untimely end when my sister drove it through the wall of a bakery in Nottingham.

A particular feature of the car was its built-in jacking system on the rear wheels, which, as far as I know, was unique in its day.

I am, Yours, etc., Graham T. Hancock.  Great Yeldham

So what now?

*

A 1912 Fiat 15.9-h.p. Tipo 52B with truck body is being converted back to its original landaulette form by an enthusiast in Mexborough.

Starting young as a vintage-car enthusiast is Murray Maclean, 15-year-old member of the Fiat Register, who came upon a 1929 Fiat 509A saloon at a farm sale and now drives it on his father’s farm pending the day when he can use it legally on the road.

The Fiat Register believes that it may have traced the Fiat 509 which V. H. Tuson once raced at Brooklands.

The Bentley D.C. may have knowledge of the parties that the late Babe Barnato used to hold at Ardenrun to celebrate his Le Mans victories but they came refreshingly to us when we read of them in Charles Graves’ entertaining book on the nineteen-twenties, “The Bad Old Days.” He recounts how there were prizes for the most beautiful girls, these consisting of a ride down the drive in Bentley No.1 driven by either Babe or Tim Birkin to choice, a second prize consisting of a similar dice in Bentley No. 2 by either Glen Kidstone or Jack Dunfee, with a consolation prize of going with Dr. Benjafield. “What a night!” concludes Graves, and we can well imagine it.

Interest in boats is at high-ebb and we wonder whether any readers are operating genuine vintage launches or know of such craft? We are reminded of what to look for by the following passages from the Batsford book “The Thames from Mouth to Source,” by the well-known V.S.C.C. member, L. T. C. Rolt: — 

” One was the lovely little steam launch at Wooton’s boathouse (Cookham), the only example of this once-common Thames craft which we saw on the river.

” In Edwardian days, when the internal-combustion engine began to oust the Victorian steam launch, the new power resulted in the evolution of a new design of launch which soon became as characteristic of the Thames as the curious architecture to which I have already referred. A shapely white hull bore an ornate but beautifully built cabin of varnished mahogany which was mounted right aft, there being a spacious open cockpit forward whose occupants were protected from the elements by a permanent awning. Polished brass fittings and a traditional ‘Surrey fringe’ round the awning put the finishing touches to this elegant contemporary of the Edwardian motor carriage. Fashions change on the river more slowly than they do on the road, but change they do none the less. Examples of this traditional type of Thames day-launch are now becoming rarer each year, and soon it seems destined to follow the steam launch into limbo. In its place have come large numbers of low slipper-stern launches which are literally aquatic motor cars and which produce a wash more damaging than that set up by craft many times their size.”

A vintage light aeroplane that is likely to fly again is the 398-c.c. A.B.C.-engined E.E.C. “Wren” single-seater, built for the 1923 Lympne Light Aeroplane Trials. The English Electric Company has removed it from its long sojourn in the Science Museum, overhauled it and hope to have it flying at aviation gatherings this year. Splendid!

The Light Car Section of the V.S.C.C. will hold its annual Light Car and Edwardian Trial on May 19th, starting at Thame, Oxon. Details from V. B. Side, Yew Tree Cottage, Rotherwick, Basingstoke, Hampshire.

Old cars discovered by readers include a single-cylinder Clement-Talbot and a two-cylinder de Dion in poor condition in a yard on the side of A 46 just south of Old Sodbury in Gloucestershire, a number of very sad two, four and six-wheelers in a disused quarry in Bollington, close to Macclesfield, and a four-cylinder V-windscreen Humber saloon, circa 1921-23, in danger of destruction at a breaker’s yard in Preston, in rough condition. We can take no responsibility for any dire consequences which may result from motor-sleuths attempting to get to grips with the owners of these vehicles!

A Forgotten Jowett

Hepworth & Grandage Ltd., who in 1909 made a profit of £169 and in 1957 is one of the world’s greatest producers of cylinder liners and piston rings, has, as successful firms do, issued a history about itself. Although testimonials appear therein from L. Hawthorne, who had won the 350-c.c. sidecar class of the 1925 Doncaster Petrol St. Leger at 74 m.p.h. from Fred W. Dixon, who had broken records at Brooklands on a Harley-Davidson motor-cycle, no reference is made to a special Jowett which Hepworth & Grandage built and which they raced on Southport sands. There are pictures of this Jowett in early numbers of Motor Sport. It is not to be confused with the Jowett J. J. Hall used for record-breaking at Brooklands or with the sports Jowett raced by Miss Victoria Worsley. We believe the engine went to Loughborough Engineering College.

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