WISCOMBE PARK HILL-CLIMB
This excellent venue in Devon, close to Honiton and adjacent to delectable seaside resorts, anticipates a very good season this year. Amenities have been carried out and Major Lambton and Major Chichester, the keen and energetic organisers, have effected various improvements. They compete themselves, Major Lambton owning a 2-litre Alta and Cr.P. Bugatti. The opening event on May 19/20th ranks as a National Open Speed Hill-Climb qualifying for the R.A.C. Hill-Climb -Cham pionship. The bill is usually opened by some exciting, Vintage or veteran vehicle. The 1962 fixtures comprise :
FLEET CARNIVAL RALLY
This rally takes place at Fleet, Hampshire, 36 miles from London, on June 17th at 2 p.m. and is open to owners of all types and ages of vehicles, which will be divided into appropriatz classes, including those for veteran and vintage cars and motorcycles, pre-t940 taxis, fire-engines, steam wagons and traction engines, vintage commercial vehicles, and p.v.t. and modern cars, motorcycles and scooters. Entries at 5s. per vehicle, per class, will be judged on merit, classes to be merged if insufficient entries, and the fee includes a free tea for driver and one passenger. Extra teas can be bought. There will be separate prizes for most elegant lady and car and for the dog most appropriate to its car! Wellknown motoring personalities are being asked to act as judges. Entry forma from Councillor Mrs. W. ‘kiddy, c/o Fleet Council Offices, Fleet, Hampshire.
CARS IN BOOKS
Some fascinating motoring references are to be found in ” Freddy Lansdale—His Biography,” by Frances Donaldson (William Heinemann, 1957), which also presents pleasing glimpses of the 1920s. We are told that later in life Freddy Lansdale, the greatest playwright of his day, had ” a great Bentley car.” chauffeur-driven; indeed, during his successful years his wif. had a Bentley saloon, he had an open Bentley and his daughters an A.C. 2-seater, looked after by two chauffeurs—this in 1923.
In this book we meet Lord Grantley, once associated with a Bentley record attempt, Ronald Squire who started his stage career as the boy in the Harry Tate motor-car act, and Ernest Day, Lonsdale’s chauffeur from 1926/7, who became his valet, friend and companion.
One unexpected item concerns cars sold to people of fame and distinction at a very cut price for publicity purposes—could they be those of the Rootes brothers, who were staunch friends of the Lonsdales ? Naturally, ” people scrambled to take advantage of this opportunity” but one who refused was Oliver Stanley, the younger son of Lord Derby.
At the height of his success Freddy Lansdale, with his friend Lady Maureen Stanley, ” lived the life of a country gentleman of those rich and thoughtless days “—and I am glad to know that their pleasures included fast cars. Even When he was over 70 he would drive in a fast car from Paris to Cannes, from Cannes to Paris in two days.
” Australians, Go Hamel ” by Stuart Gore, F.R.G.S. (Robert Hale, 1958), is a most entertaining account of how two Austral:an visitors toured Britain in an Austin Seven van bought in London for £60. It is that exceedingly rare thing, a travel book it is difficult to put down and it could be the basis Of ideas for drives by Englishmen who know their Island far leas intimately than Stuart Gore does. There are some excellent impressions of motoring about England in modern traffic in an ancient Austin Seven too. But one must severely tick-off author Gore for one comment—describing the Underground, he likens the speed of the trains to ” an attempt by London Transport to regain the World Land Speed Record for Britain.” Now Mr. Gore wrote this in 1958,. and Britain had then held the record whit-Out a break since 1929—and still does!
Finally, a reader recommends X’anderbirds ” in ” Along the Road : Notes and Essays of a Tourist,” by Aldous Huxley (first published in 1925; reprinted in the Collected Edition to 194x), wherein Huxley tells of buying a Citron in which to drive from Turin and over the Alps, whereupon he is humiliated by being repeatedly passed by a red Alfa Romeo road racer doing hillclimbing tests.—W. B.