The Prices of Vintage Cars

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Once again we must remonstrate with those vendors who are asking ridiculously lofty prices for vintage cars, often indifferent specimens. Indeed, we feel somewhat guilty, because it was largely due to Motor Sport, long before the V.S.C.C. was thought of, that interest in the old-car movement was fostered. Out of our efforts much fun has stemmed—but many traders have pocketed fat fortunes by trading in vintage machinery, although most of them had scarcely heard of such cars before they saw the Genevieve film. Now prices are often ludicrous. Only last month a staid vintage car was advertised for £50 but by the time we made inquiries another nought had been added to the price, although at the time this “original specimen” was devoid of half-shafts! Even in Club advertisements prices are usually absurdly high. Veterans and one-off Edwardians may be worth a King’s ransom but the inflated price of vintage and so-called p.v.t. cars is due to one factor only—customers willing to smack down whatever the vendors ask them, without question or pause for reflection.

Our experience suggests that the vintage cult is levelling out, so that the supply of suitable cars now meets the demand. So when you decide on a change of make and model, ask a fair price. And when buying, remember that prices far lower than those advertised are frequently acceptable, especially for a cash sale. The retention of unrealistic prices—touring Bugattis for £750, a sedate Napier at 10,000 dollars, and so on—will not lead to ready sales and may well put vintage cars out of circulation, so that, unless the owner/vendor can afford adequate storage, they will deteriorate and even become scrap. As far away as Australia the problem exists. The V.S.C.C. of A. Bulletin says: “The visit of Lord and Lady Montagu has tended to raise the prestige of the classic car movement . . those of us seeking to buy cars will curse because of rising prices. . . .” Yet there, where supply might be expected to be below demand, a 1921 Fiat 501 can be bought for only £15A.

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Miscellaneous Items.—The Radio Times devoted a page recently to the vintage Morris and Edwardian Sunbeam which figure in the TV series “Dr. Finlay’s Casebook”; this earned theft a reprimand from the Bullnose Morris Club, which pointed out that Dr. Cameron uses, not a 1928 Morris, but a 13.9-h.p. 1926 Morris-Oxford. Three model-T Ford engines are for disposal in Hampshire, and the exceedingly rusty remains of another, a l.h.d. chassis, lie in a Surrey wood. The chassis into which Parry Thomas intended to put a 750-c.c. engine for record attacks at the time of his death in 1927 has changed hands, and the 1923/4 200-Mile Race twin-cam Newton-Ceirano has been discovered in a shed, where it has been standing on its b.e. tyres since before the war. A circa 1921 5 c.v. Citroën is being rebuilt in Adelaide and its owner has the o.h.v. conversion for it, from an alloy-bodied 5 c.v. sports model, broken up, alas, by a boy, before it could be saved. Apparently five such cars went to Australia, possibly for racing purposes. The owner of a Leyland diesel-engined 38/250 Mercedes and two spare Mercedes engines is seeking someone with whom to share the joys of SSK-type motoring. The V.C.C. Cheddar Museum is expected to open in July. A rusty 1927 Morris-Cowley coupé and an early Fordson tractor are rotting away in Worcestershire. A reader wants to find a 1920/22 Rover Eight and someone else offers a rest-home for retired cars, put off the road by Marples, provided they can drag themselves along and are not too commonplace. The loan of interesting cars is requested for the R.A.F. Motor Sports Association Gala Day at Debden on June 28th, in aid of charity. Races, driving tests, etc., will be staged. Apply to S/T. J. K. Wilson, Sgts.’ Mess, R.A.F., Stanbridge, Beds. Two privately owned ‘bus services still operate in Co. Galway, one operating what is said to be a 1927 Bedford (but more likely 1937)—Castrol lubricated. The service was started in 1924, with a model-T Ford with 11-seater body, the return fare, Galway-Oughterard being 1s. 8d. (it is now 8s. 4d.). The V.C.C. has enlarged the page-size of its Gazette and renamed it Veteran Car; it now resembles a commercially-produced contemporary and the March issue contained a picture of a bathing beauty riding on the mock-up of a veteran car! Old vehicles of all types are welcome at the Whit-Monday Pirrie Hall Rally near Godalming. Entries, at 2s. 6d. each, to W. Robson, Pinewood Cottage, Brook Road, Witley, Godalming, Surrey (Wormley 2596). There are non-motoring attractions, start is 2.30 p.m. Last year 32 entered, some 4,000 spectated. Morgan 3-wheelers should be out in force at the Church Lawford sprint meeting on Whit-Sunday and at the M.C.C. Silverstone Meeting on June 27th, for which 15 entered last year. Entry forms for the Penistone Moorland M.C. Concours d’Elegance on June 21st are available from Cmdr. H. G. K. Bramah, R.N., Redminster, Thurlstone, Nr. Sheffield. V.S.C.C.

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V.S.C.C. Measham Driving Tests (April 5th)

First Class Awards : J. F. Blake (Austin), R. F. Griffin (Morris), B. B. D. Kain (Bugatti), B. Sismey (Alvis), Dr. Harris (Frazer Nash), C. A. Winder (Humber).

Second Class Awards : R. K. T. Burke (Morris), C. G. Franklin (Rover), W. P. Shipside (M.G.), D. A. Hill (Aston Martin), A. Eadon (Bentley), H. F. Moffat (Bugatti).

Third Class Awards : G. E. Holden (Riley), Mrs. Burke (Morris), L. P. Sawers (Alfa Romeo), C. R. Pack (Bentley), K. A. Hutchings (Bugatti), B. J. Clarke (Humber).

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Easter Monday Historic Car Race, Brands Hatch

1st : D. N. Kergon (E.R.A. R12B), 60.85 m.p.h.

2nd : D. H. Gahagan (E.R.A. R7B).

3rd : J. Freeman (Aston Martin).

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The V.C.C. Prescott Hill-Climb saw f.t.d. by S. Sears (1914 T.T. Sunbeam), in 58 sec., and at Wiscombe Morris’ E.R.A. won the vintage/venerable class in 50.67 sec.

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Discoveries.—Readers report a Vale Special derelict in Scotland, two 1904/5 Alpha lamps from a de Dietrich for sale in N. Wales, a 1927 40/50 Rolls-Royce in a S. Wales scrapyard, and a 1931 Daimler, 1929 Wolseley Hornet and a Singer Le Mans in a Barmouth garage. Rumour speaks of 48 old cars, from Amilcar to Voisin, for disposal in Europe, including several Bugattis, a 1928 racing A.J.S., and a complete racing Lion-Peugeot engine.

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