Vintage Postbag, May 1966

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High Prices

Sir,
May I comment on B.R. Bowyer’s letter ? The writer completely reveals himself when he states “If you could buy a Ghost or Hispano for a hundred or two, who would bother to restore and maintain them ?” If we follow this statement to its logical conclusion, what he is saying is this. If something costs a lot of money it therefore becomes desirable—if it doesn’t, then it’s not worth bothering about—what an appalling philosophy !

The Veteran and Vintage movement was originated and kept going by those people who couldn’t care less what the market values of their cars were—they found, restored, and ran them, for the pure pleasure of so doing. They did not buy them with a view to improving their status or making money. Hundreds of enthusiasts “bothered” to find and maintain not only Hispano and Rolls, but many other equally worthwhile cars when they were available for less than “a hundred or two”; that is why they exist today.

I can only assume that Mr. Bowyer is a comparative newcomer to the Veteran and Vintage movement—otherwise surely he would have already owned a car of this type ; but perhaps prices weren’t high enough to make them attractive and desirable.

We live in a materialistic and pretentious age where a man is judged not on what he is but what he owns, and I think that in the last few years the Veteran and Vintage movement has attracted a large number of the wrong sort of people. Need I say more ?

Mr. Bowyer will achieve nothing by sitting back and dreaming of easy money from Ernie while his pound depreciates, there are many desirable cars available if the effort is made to find them, and if he knows his values (and this is most important) they are to be found at the right price.

Alnwick. Donald D. Davidson.

Singer Combustion Chambers

Sir,
Your correspondent Anthony Blight may be interested to know that inclined valves in conjunction with a bathtub combustion chamber were first used in 1933 in the s.o.h.c. Singer 9 h.p. engine, although in this case the valves were inclined at only 30 deg. The efficiency of this layout was, however, frustrated by the miniscule size of the valves.

Blaydon-on-Tyne, James Kennady.

Georges Roesch on Valve Gear

Sir,
I was most interested in reading Mr. C.B. Mynott’s letter published in January’s Motor Sport and to note that a rocker operated valve by an overhead camshaft is about half the reciprocating weight of a push-rod operated valve! This may be correct in theory but it has not yet been the case in practice as far as I know.

The Jaguar twin o.h. camshaft layout of Mr. W.M. Heynes published in the 1952-53 Part III. Automobile Proceedings of the I.MeCh.E. throws some light on the subject in the discussion. The twin camshaft layout was based on 7.8 oz. reciprocating valve gear weight as against 18.4 oz. for an equivalent push-rod design. With the same valve diameter and lift, the 105 Roesch Talbot push-rod valve gear reciprocating weight was 8.8 oz. But as the tappet, push-rod and part of the rocker only moved at two-thirds the valve velocity the inertia of the push-rod system was at least as good as that of the twin cam’s and only 10% more than that of the rocker operated valve in that.

The rocker which I evolved in 1930 for the 105 model oscillated on an adjustable ball ended stud and has become a classic design after the war, having been adopted by Panhard, General Motors and Ford. Mercedes and Pontiac o.h.c. constructions have also recently adopted spherically oscillated rockers.

It is also interesting to recall, in view of present developments, that Roesch Talbot cars were fitted with a full flow filter cleaning the oil supplied by the engine pump to all the engine, clutch, gearbox and universal joint bearings.

The 90 Talbot 2 1/4 touring 4-seater won the 1930 Le Mans Index of Performance 24-hour Race defeating all unsupercharged racers up to 6 litres and all supercharged racers up to 7.1 litres from America, Britain, France, Germany and Italy.

The compression ratio of the single carburetter push-rod engine was already over 10 to 1.

N.W.1, Georges-Roesch

Good Buick Service

Sir,
May I please say through your columns how satisfactory have my dealings with the firm of Lendrum and Hartman proved to be. They have in the past supplied two sets of keys with compliments, and have gone to endless trouble to supply spares and information for my car. This is not a gleaming new three thousand pound model but a 1938 Buick.

I have no connection with this firm only as a satisfied customer.

Weymouth. Maurice F.H. Raby.

Where Are They Now ?

Sir,
May I ask for some help, through your “Vintage Postbag” section, regarding two post-vintage Renaults which we know to have been in circulation in the London area up until comparatively recently and of which we have now lost trace. They are (a) 1935 Renault Celtaquatre Roadster (i.e. a 2+2 with a soft top and dickey) originally painted some sombre colour and eventually refurbished rather crudely in pillar box red (body) and black wings. It was fitted with wire wheels and the owner had painted “Iz Nibz” on the sides of the bonnet top. The registration no. contained three letters and three numbers, the latter being (possibly) “349”; it was photographed by an enthusiast in central London (Westminster) less than two years ago and the print does not show the number clearly (the number plate is scarcely visible). (b) 1938 Renault Vivaquatre Roadster painted (if the photographer’s memory serves him right) either one colour or two-tone green; the nearside bonnet side bright-work was damaged and the reg. no. is “GL 9292.” This was a regular Paddington inhabitant in the early sixties.

We should be really most grateful if anyone can supply us with details to enable us to locate these two vehicles. Finally, may I say that we should be only too pleased to meet past and present Renault owners at the June Blenheim Palace “Rallye Renault” at which Renault have been kind enough to give us a little space to make ourselves conspicuous. In particular, we should like to meet vintage and post-vintage Renault owners, since tracing and cataloguing these models is not as thorough as we would like, which is not the case with the veteran and Edwardian products from Billancourt.

H.G. Mackenzie-Wintle. Wokingham. (V. & V. Section Co-ordinator Renault O.C.)

Those Fiendish Policemen !

Sir,
I thought you might be interested in the following—a letter found in a copy of The Motor dated April 14th 1925.

“I am quite in agreement with ‘Tourer’ that it is time some action was taken to show the police (whom we more or less employ) that we are not all hooligans or would-be murderers, and require some considerations at times. Could not the police employed on traps be found a more useful and intelligent job of catching real criminals, and not endeavouring to swell the ranks of same. A daily paper last week stated that the inhabitants of two roads in Mitcham (in the famous trap county of Surrey) are petitioning for police protection against housebreakers. I wonder what the chief constable has to say ! Also it is quite time that the exorbitant fines for trivial offences were considerably reduced: even persons brought before the Bench for criminal deeds are usually given a first offender’s chance. No such luck for the poor motorist.” “E.H.W.” Mill Hill,

Times don’t change very much do they ? What sort of “traps” would those mentioned be ? 1925 is a bit before my time ! [Stop watches operated by hidden police or plain clothes men.— Ed.]

Pinner. B.J. Hamm.

E.R.A. R2A

Sir,
I was pleased to see your reference to R2A in the April issue under “Veteran—Edwardian—Vintage,” but would like to correct one or two errors.

The race you mentioned was the 4th Tungku Abdul Rahman G.P. (named after the Prime Minister of Malaysia, who is most sympathetic to racing and is patron of the Malayalan Motor Sports Club). The E.R.A. achieved third position, and not fourth as reported, after a pit stop of over 70 sec. for refuelling, against modern Lotus and other G.P. cars.

The car is lubricated by Castrol Grand Prix mineral Oil, Castrol “R” being used only in the fuel for blower lubrication, and “Embivicos” should of course read Embiricos.

As a matter of interest, R2A obtained two F.T.D.s and one second F.T.D. in sprints and hill-climbs in Malaysia during 1965, against modern machinery.

Tintagel. Barry Swann.

The Rolls-Royce Eagle

Sir,
Your article on page 292 of April’s Motor Sport, “Which Came First, Eagle or Merc.,” I found most interesting as I well remember the 275-h.p. Eagle VIII engines we had installed in our Fairey Campania seaplanes in 1917, in the aircraft carrier of that name. What fine engines they were after the ones of a different make which we had in our Short seaplanes, which were always letting us down way out in the North Sea.

So far as I can remember they were 12-cylinder-V with separate pots, o.h, camshaft, impulse mags., Ky-gas doping for starting, and the starting handle was detachable, fitted to a splined shaft at the side of the fuselage. As they took a bit of starting in cold weather, our engineer-officer fitted up a 2 3/4-h.p. Douglas engine with a clutch in a frame which was fitted to the side of the machine and connected to the splined starting shaft, being unshipped when the engine started (what couldn’t engineer-officers do in those days ?), after which we had no trouble.

I always understood we were the first to have Eagle VIIIs in the R.N.A.S. I know I had the first Fairey-Campania allocated to the ship allotted to me (being the senior pilot, aged 20), and with the lovely R.-R. engine it was a joy to fly, instead of a nightmare like some of the other contraptions we had to put up with.

The smaller, non-rigid airships known as “Blimps” had Green and Beardmore engines.

Forder. A.R. Ripon.

V.-E.-V. Odds and Ends.

A French museum recently bought a rare 1911-12 Type 13 Bugatti in Moscow, and a Type 44 was for exchange in Poland, vide Bugantics. Ettore Bugatti Automobiles now operate a Service Department at Molsheim. Not old enough, in our opinion, to interest the H.C.V.C., 20-year-old Bedford van is still used by an egg-packing station in Mid-Wales. Seen around the Easter holiday—two Army officers going well in a blue Austin 7 Chummy near Aldershot, a high-chassis 2-litre Lagonda tourer leaving Oxford, an open 16/80 Lagonda on the useful new ring-road out of Gloucester; a traction engine coming downhill through Cricklade, the blue 1931/32 Austin 7 saloon seen in its customary place outside an hotel near Kingsclere, and an early Rolls-Royce Twenty with van body near Chobham. Lt.-Col. B.H. Austin, m.b.e., m.a. who, losing both legs in the First World War, founded the Disabled Drivers’ MC., died recently, aged 69. He retained to the end his 16-valve Bugatti which he used to race in disabled drivers’ races at Brooklands. A reader is restoring a 1929/30 Jowett Grey Knight fabric saloon and requires a handbook and workshop manual.

Vintage Diary

Churt Boy Scouts Rally, Churt, Whit-Saturday, May 28th.—Parade and Contours d’Elegance of vintage cars in aid of funds, 2.30 p.m., Recreation Ground, Churt. Details from : J.R. Hunt, Hale House, Churt, Surrey.
Bury St. Edmunds Round Table Hardwicke Fete, WhitMonday, May 30th.—Parade and Contours d’Elegance for vintage and veteran cars and motorcycles. Free entry to Fete. Entry forms from P.J. Underwood, The Old Rectory, Fordham St. Martin, Bury St. Edmunds.
Essendon Charity Fete, Whit-Monday, May 30th.— Vintage and veteran car rally. Details from : S.E. Robinson, “Warrenwood,” Hatfield, Herts.

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