This contest, designed to discover the ideal all-round touring car, and open to modern as well as Edwardian, vintage and p.v.t. cars, followed its usual pattern, with one-hour highspeed trial, s.s. and f.s. timed tests and other manoeuvres at Silverstone on the Saturday, and a road section for the 60 entrants on the Sunday morning.
Silverstone produced a big-end failure for Moffatt’s 1923 Brescia Bugatti and one accident to an H.R.G. The road section was apparently designed to find, not the best but the dirtiest, touring car, for after route-books had been handed in at Hall Farm, near Banbury, competitors had to negotiate a farm track of liquid mud-porridge in order to take two tests, the last a timed uphill acceleration test with a stop-and-restart in the middle, the latter critically observed by “D. S. J.” of Motor Sport— no restarting while the car was still sliding forward, even if its braked wheels had stopped revolving!
Conditions were so bad that Michael Burn (1951 Frazer Nash) and R. C. Symondson (1936 Bugatti) refused to enter the farm. But Cecil Bendall brought the Edwardian Austrian-Daimler to the tests, and performed faultlessly, proving that a good touring car should be able to tackle anything. Harry Rose in his 4½-litre Bentley made a cock of the restart, stalling and rolling back, after which he did a great deal of ploughing trying to find hard-standing, last being seen being pulled out in reverse by an impromptu tug-o’-war team.
Sowden, in his cut-down 8-litre Bentley, had no trouble, Grice was very fast in his 1932/8 Frazer Nash but forgot to stop at the final line, Charnock was fast and neat, passenger bouncing, in his 4.3 Alvis, Barrow (Frazer Nash) forgot to stop so couldn’t restart, and had to do a long reverse, Bowley was calm and neat in his lofty 4½-litre Bentley, Millar, four-up in his 30/98 Vauxhall Wensum, treated the test and the mud with contempt, but father Bergel in the 2.3 G.P. Bugatti found the clutch not quite suited to a muddy restart. The same applied to Comber’s blown 1½-litre Alfa Romeo, which was slow, Berrisford (Lotus 7) was another who didn’t stop properly, Ellis’ Elva sounded silencer-less, Clinton stalled his Bugatti’s engine and said a wicked word, Gahagan was very rapid, with much wheelspin, in his Volvo, Hutchings’ 328 B.M.W. was noisy but quick, Winder’s Humber “racer” had lost some of its cylinders, Dawkins’ B.M.W. 700 was slowish, and Binns’ O.M. wasn’t its usual self (a rebore, perhaps?). Kain managed his G.P. Bugatti satisfactorily, those who intended to laugh at Pollard’s 4.7-litre Studebaker Avanti had to admit that it performed splendidly, but Frostick’s Talbot 65 saloon only just made it. Mann (1935 Riley) was gentle, Harding neat in his Volvo. The best all-round touring car? Well, the Trophy was won by Bergel’s G.P. Bugatti.—W. B.