Cars In Books, May 1961

Author

admin

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

It is quite uncanny how I begin to read a book for relaxation, to get away from cars for a few hours, and almost as soon as I have opened it, there is a reference to motoring. It was so with that very good book ” Demi-Paradise,” by Jasper Rootham (Chatto and Windus. 1960). First, there is mention of ” a 4-seater, blunt-nosed Morris Cowley ” (not the bull-noses used by Oxford undergrads in “Half-Term Report “), in which as Oxford undergraduates, they and their girl friends ” rattled out to Hemingford Grey ” after a punting expedition on a moonlight June evening. Later comes a reference to a fleck-and-neck race at 50 m.p.h. down the Cromwell Road between ” two ancient Austin Seven tourers.” But the piece that truly opened my eyes was the author’s reference to ” a majestic vehicle . . . She (I refuse to call Her it) was a 1924 Humber coupé. Her capacious and immensely comfortable front seat, which would hold three, was upholstered in a chaste dove-grey material. Her fittings, which included a small horn-shaped flower-vase in the middle of the dashboard, were all of brass. The hood was a massive affair of wood and black leather, strongly reminiscent of the sort of fast car ride in which a Regency Corinthian would have thrashed his way down the Brighton Road to watch two of the Fancy fighting it out on the South Downs. The dickey was also very roomy, and when the hood was down it was easy for passengers in the front seat, by turning round and kneeling, facing backwards, to carry on polite conversation with the dickey seat passengers, or pass them their lunch. If it rained, those behind cried, with Macaulay, ‘ Forward,’ but I never heard those in front cry ‘ Back.’ We never stopped, except to take on petrol, because Her top speed was only 37 m.p.h.; and at that giddy rate the bucking steering wheel required all of the driver’s attention.

” She cost £12 10s.—and caused me anxiety only twice. Once the whole electrical system failed, between Edmonton and Cheshunt at 6 o’clock on a Sunday evening in November; and once with a grinding scream of pain, and apology for the £7 it was going to cost, She sheared one of the cogs on the differential. That apart, She gave me devoted and selfless service for almost two years, and with the refinement which characterised all Her dealings; refrained from exploding in my face when I finally sold Her for thirty bob.”

We go on to read of an all-night run this Humber undertook from Cumberland to London to get a girl to her office on time on a Monday morning. I can think of no finer tribute to vintage Humber outside the motoring Press than this unexpected reference to the breed in ” Demi-Paradise,” although these cars have been mentioned more than once in previous non-motoring hooks. I suggest the Number Register makes haste to contact Mr. Rootham with a view to electing him an honorary life member. Less about cars is found in ” That Reminds Me,”. by Lord Russell of Liverpool (Cassell, 1959) but there is an amusing reference to Lilian Baylis, Director of the Old Vic theatre, who used to motor all over London, Lord Russell tells us, in a tiny Baby Austin, although, as she was a very big woman, no-one knew quite how she got in and out of it. We read of how she skidded and overturned in it somewhere in S.E. London. I was somewhat surprised to learn from his book that Lord Russell used a small Vauxhall for pre-war tours on the Continent, a car he only just managed to ship home on the last Boulogne-Folkestone ferry when war broke out in 1939. The new Humber Snipe which it had taken Lord Russell ” six months to wheedle out of the D.Q.M.G.” suffered a less happy fate, being set on fire before the last British troops left Dunkirk.—W.B.

MINIATURES NEWS

The news for collectors of car miniatures is that Dinky Toys have introduced a Morris Mini-Traveller (No. 197) and an Austin 850 Countryman (No. 199), both priced at 3s. 6d., and, at the other extreme a fine model of a McLean tractor/trailer with a total of 14 wheels, in the Super Toys series (No. 948), The trailer of this model is of high-impact polystyrene on a metal base, with rivets and door-hinges, etc., depicted, the rear doors opening. The model is 11 5/8 in. long and costs 16s. 6d. Caravan enthusiasts will like the 4-berth trailer caravan (No. 188), with interior fittings, windows, opening door and sprung wheels, etc.

Following the Dinky Bentley 52, Corgi have brought out a really splendid Bentley Continental, 4 1/2 in. long, which in the race to introduce new items in the miniatures field, not only has i.f.s., but jewelled headlamps and ruby tail and brake lights which shine realistically-and a boot-lid which opens to disclose the spare wheel. Radiator grille and bumpers are plated, facia and steering wheel included, the back wheels sprung and the model highly finished. There is a choice of black and silver, green, or white duo-torte. This Corgi, No. 224, is priced at 7s. 6d.

Lesney have a ” matchbox ” (No. 40) Royal Tiger Coach, scale 145/1 and an oo-scale Austin Cambridge, No. 20 in the same series, both at 1s. 8d. Turning from commercial to professional models, I was able to admire again some very large scale Mercedes lorry models, about 30 in. long and very detailed, that are in the Daimler-Benz Museum at Stuttgart. The Turin Museum also possesses twenty models, including a 7/10th full size reproduction of the 1769 Cugnot steam-6 carriage and some simple but very large-scale models of other steam carriages and early vehicles, including one of the 1899 Jenatzy Land Speed Record electric car ” La Jamais Contente,” made by the founder, Count Carlo Biscaretti di Ruffia. There is also a small but beautifully-made model of a vintage lorry, an S.P.A. I think, with two radiators, one behind the other, and, at the time of my visit, some delightful models of early Army vehicles, about 8 in. in length, including a vintage Fiat truck, were on loan from the Military authorities in Rome. And a special exhibition of miniatures, for which models were being received from all over the World, was about to open at the Museum.—W.B.

You may also like

Related products