Veteran-Edwardian-Vintage, May 1960

A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters

LONG AGO.—In view of the prevailing dislike by drivers of the high windscreen specified for this year’s sports-car races by the F.I.A., there is interest in this Motor Sport picture of a pre-war Le Mans race, with a 4½-litre Lagonda in the foreground—note that competitors were allowed to fold the main windscreen flat, being protected by an aero-screen.


THIS ingenious contest, instigated by Laurence Pomeroy M.S.A.E., to discover which is the best all-round touring car, is organised by the Vintage S.C.C., but cars of all ages are eligible.

This year’s contest attracted the excellent entry of 41, fourteen of which were post-war cars. Moreover, only four non-started, although unfortunately these included Pomeroy himself, who had hoped to prove that an Alexander-tuned Morris Mini-Minor is as fine an all-round automobile today as the “Prince Henry” Vauxhall designed by his father was in 1910.

So, while the Grand National was run off at Aintree a small gathering of enthusiasts assembled at Silverstone to see the Grand Pomeroy contest, including the Club’s President, Kenneth Neve, who arrived in his Aston Martin DB2/4 Vantage-engined drophead coupé.

First came the steering test, with the pylons placed for high speed rather than manoeuvrability. Roberts was cautious in his 1928 2-litre Lagonda, Williamson used his brakes in his 1956 Ford, and Bishop spun his 1937 Talbot Airline saloon. Overhead a low-flying Tiger Moth was also engaged in a steering test.

A combined acceleration and speed test came next, over half a mile against the wind, Harding’s 1954 1½-litre M.G. coupé getting away well. Following a braking exercise there were two one-hour High-speed Trials round the Club circuit, the competing cars first doing two exploratory laps behind Tim Carson’s p.v.t. Bentley saloon. In the first, some vintage cars thundered round, forming a fine spectacle, notably Harry Rose’s 1928 Le Mans, 4½ Bentley with its hood up, Gray’s brisk and original-looking 1924 30/98 Vauxhall, and Courtauld’s nice 1927 4½-litre Bentley, the driver at first electing to change into third for Copse. Obviously the modern 3-litre Aston Martins of Doggett and Joscelyne made the pace but Michael’s 4½-litre Lagonda and Symondson’s Bugatti were extremely fast, while it was nice to see Sir Ralph Millais’ splendid 1930 blown 2.3 Alfa-Romeo going well. No-one retired.

More modern machinery took part in the next trial, Douglas Hull’s smart Volvo 122S being faster than the Porsches of Clutton and Dr. Stretton, although not always in front! Fidler was going prodigiously well in his 1935 Aston Martin saloon, and Crang’s 1929 Brooklands Riley Nine easily left behind Side’s 1946 1½-litre Riley saloon. We saw with satisfaction Hay’s VW, standard except for carburetter settings, lead Charnock’s Morris 1000 saloon—but, of course, this wasn’t a race. The pace was made by Harding’s odd-bodied M.G. coupé in no uncertain fashion. This time Heard changed down for Copse in his 1933 Frazer Nash and Scott’s 1937 “chain-gang” Frazer Nash seemed to be in trouble.

The contest was resolved on the road the following day. Which is the best all-rounder? Why, a Type 57S Bugatti, see results below!


Pomeroy Trophy: R.C. Symondson (1936 Type 57S Bugatti).

Cars over 2,250 c.c.: First Class Award: L. S. Michael (1936 4½-litre Lagonda). Second Class Award: Sir Ralph Millais (1930 “2.3” Alfa-Romeo). Third Class Award: C. Barker (1930 M.G. Tiger).

Cars up to 2,250 c.c.: Special Award: C. B. L. Harding (1954 1½-litre M.G. Special). First Class Awards: C. Clutton (1955 Porsche) and L. J. Stretton (1955 Porsche). Second Class Awards: M. H. L. Bowler (1925 Frazer Nash) and A. W. Rippon (1959 Austin Healey Sprite). Third Class Awards: B. Fidler (1935 Aston Martin) and P. G. Rivere (1958 Porsche).

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The Daily Mail really is down on the older cars. About a week after the Editorial to which we took exception last month their John Jelly wrote (this we saw before cancelling our order): “…a lethal missile called a motor car … Many of these armoured boxes, so old that they cannot be steered, so battered that they cannot be stopped.” Is it worth reading a paper which prints such opinions?

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Correction. The 1911 Waverley milk float reported as in Kent last month turns out to be a Warwick three-wheeler, reconditioned and in running order.

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The Bentley D.C., which now has a membership exceeding 1,500, continues to issue its beautifully produced and very comprehensive Review. The April issue contained an interesting centre-spread of pictures showing different carburetters on Bentley engines. These ranged from standard appliances such as a 45VS Smith five-jet on a 3-litre and twin HVG5 S.U.s on the blower-4½, to Burton’s triple H6 S.U.s on his 4½-litre, Sedgwick’s five-S.U. Speed Six which boasts two type HVG5s and three H4s, Goddard’s triple HD8 S.U.s on his 8-litre, and several others. Fascinating!

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A reader seeks advice and spares for a 1930 Ruby-engined Vernon-Derby. Letters can be forwarded.

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From Cape Town comes news of the discovery in a shed of a large four-seater Calthorpe of about 3-litres capacity. The radiator is a brass bullnose with honeycomb cooling element, and there is a plunger-type oil pump. The engine number is A 439, the chassis number 2505, and the owner wishes to know the date of the car and whether it should have gas or electric headlamps.

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We hear that an almost complete DMS Delage with non-original body and the remains of a 1927 Morris-Cowley and 1929 model AF Ford saloon are for sale near Evesham.

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A reader in Wales has acquired a 1923 Riley Redwing, lin which the original owner covered 140,000 miles without a rebore, but is now forced, on account of ill-health, to give up motoring. The car is in original condition with polished aluminium bodywork, and our correspondent intends to carry out the small amount of restoration work necessary before using the car for vintage events. He appeals for any information that is available on this car, the chassis number of which is 1100.

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A Thorneycroft lorry believed to be of pre-1914 vintage on solid tyres, is said to lie in a field near Baguley Hospital, Manchester. Although rusty, it appears that it might be possible to restore it. In Somerset there is said to be a very early Armstrong Siddeley limousine sharing a yard with some other old cars. which include a Rolls-Royce hearse and a number of Alvis and Daimlers, etc.

The former owner of a 1931 Lea-Francis “Ace of Spades” saloon which was converted to a tourer would like to know if this car is still running. It was engine No. 3, Reg. No. UT 38.