Veteran Edwardian vintage
A section devoted to old-car matters
As printing deadlines make it impossible to report the V.S.C.C. Silverstone Meeting which took place on April 22nd in this issue, the alternative is to look back at the Pomeroy Memorial Trophy Contest. This is an important V.S.C.C. fixture, designed to discover the best all-round touring car. This year, as reported last month, it was won for the second time running by Anthony Blight's ex-Mike Couper 3-litre Talbot 105 BGH 23.
Mr. Blight tells us that study of the results always fills him with awe at the brilliance of the Formula under which the contest is run. It looks as if Corner's Jaguar D-type or Lindsay's Ferrari could have won had they not fluffed a test each. To win the Pomeroy it is vital to do well in the first two tests, steering and braking, and in these a weighty, long-wheelbase car will be at a disadvantage; this year the steering test was worth 300 marks, as opposed to 100 previously. The braking test is really a balance between acceleration and pulling up, and this year's long run-in favoured accelerative cars. But Blight was very pleased with the Talbot's performance, which proved his contention that it has brakes the equal of modern discs. He thinks the Sunday navigational run may have been measured on an odometer that was 4% or 5% " fast," because the careful preparation by the Talbot team, whose drivers had little charts showing elapsed miles against elapsed stop-watch minutes, carefully corrected for tyre sizes, did not work out. Fortunately, Blight was already 50 marks in the lead and anyway no less a person than the President of the V.S.C.C. told him severely that he was four minutes early at the last check but one, so he paused, and was spot-on at the final control. Incidentally, this was a sporting gesture on the President's part, as he was himself competing, in his immaculate Lancia Dilambda Pininfarina coupé de ville. And, not so incidentally, this should be looked into for 1968, as it would be a disaster if the Trophy were lost to someone who had run accurately to time, but dropped 15 or 20 marks to someone who was consistently 5% "fast" but not penalised.
Although the Talbots had their hoods erected for the f.s. 1/4-mile to gain the 25 bonus marks, Blight now wonders if this was worth while. BGH 23 apparently lost a good quarter of a second over the s.s. 1/4-mile and half a second over the f.s. 1/4-mile, allowing for the 20-knot head wind, compared with previous times. So Blight could well have lost fewer marks by keeping the hood down – scientific stuff for Pomeroy! It is not the hood which causes drag but the big screen which has to be raised around the aero-screen (see illustration). Blight remarked after winning that BGH 23 has a good 15 b.h.p. more this year, the c.r. now being 9.6:1, but that it is as smooth and flexible as ever and still runs on 99-octane petrol.
The other Talbot team drivers could have won First-Class Awards had Michael Bowler not run out of petrol half-a-lap short of his set number of laps in the One Hour lappery and Curtis not lost the first control on the Sunday. However, both took Second-Class Awards – apologies to Bowler for putting him into a Bentley, which his father drove, instead of at the wheel of Talbot GO 52, in last month's results I can only plead jadedness, after getting up at 5 a.m. to go out and marshal a passage control, although admittedly D. S. J. and I used a comfortable Ford Corsair 2000E for this task, after having gone to Silverstone the previous day in the 1930 Sunbeam. – W. B.
Among the considerable amount of motor racing over the Easter holiday was the 7-lap race for historic racing cars at Oulton Park. This was won absolutely convincingly by Charles Lucas in his Maserati 250F, at 86.39 m.p.h. He drove so quickly that he set a new class lap-record of 87.65 m.p.h., in a time only a fifth-of-a-second slower than Stirling Moss' best tap in a similar Maserati in 1955. This class of racing is being taken very seriously these days, with new parts like turbo-finned brake drums being imported from the Maserati factory and Cameron Millar, whose Maserati wasn't ready on this occasion, bringing a spare engine over from Australia. John Brown held second place at Oulton Park until the engine of his Tipo 625 Ferrari unfortunately disintegrated, letting Neil Corner's Maserati 250F into this position, with Bergel's Maserati 250F third.
A much more gentle vintage affair took place on Easter Sunday, when some 70 V.S.C.C. members and friends from S. Wales were entertained to tea at the Editor's place in Radnorshire. In spite of very wintry weather a dozen appropriate cars and almost as many moderns followed the 1930 Sunbeam Sixteen "glasshouse" from the rendezvous at Llandrindod Station to LIwynbarried Hall, these comprising four Rolls-Royce saloons, early and late-model Austin 12/4s, Jones' impressive Duesenberg-engined Roamer tourer, a flat-radiator Morris-Cowley tourer which was very welcome in spite of its local registration letters, an M45 4 1/2-litre Lagonda tourer with central gear-lever, a 3-carburetter 6-cylinder Riley Kestrel saloon, and a 1934 Aston Martin Mk. II. It was significant, in view of the cold weather, that the only car with its hood down was the last-named, driven by Mrs. Cockburn. The Austin Twelve contingent inspected a 1926 Austin 12/4 farm-truck that shelters in the barn, and during the day Boddy's 1927 Morgan Family-model 3-wheeler was exercised up and down the drive.
THE BULL-NOSE MORRIS CLUB
We understand that flat-radiator cars will after all be catered for, the Secretary of this section being Michael Wortley, 90. Leicester Road, Shepshed, Leics.
V.E.V. Miscellany. – A reader in Newcastle who has restored a 1926 Rhode and remembers seeing another of 1925 vintage in the now-defunct Measham Motor Museum, wonders how many Rhodes are still on the road? A mid-1930s Austin drophead has been seen in a Kent breaker's yard. A 1925 Dennis lorry has been given to the Lincolnshire V.V.S. It is thought to be a type C.A.B., a platform lorry converted to pneumatic tyres, and is to be rebuilt. An ex-Bishops Stortford 1935 Leyland fire-engine with Merryweather wheeled escape and Braidwood body has found a new owner. Ind Coope have opened a public house half-a-mile from the Morris Motors' factory at Oxford called the "Bullnose Morris." Ken Revis, M.B.E., President of the Bull-Nose Morris Club, performed the opening ceremony and several ball-nose Morrises attended. The inn sign features a bull-nose and the decor likewise but Ind Coope are wrong in suggesting that theirs is the first pub to be named after a motor car. What about the "Old Ford Inn" at Brecon, whose sign, depicting a model-T crossing a ford, was illustrated in the February issue of the Ford Times?
The Clyno Registrar is rebuilding that 10.8 Calthorpe chassis referred to recently in these pages. The Maidenhead Cadet Division of The St. John Ambulance Brigade has for disposal a 1936 Canadian Buick with ambulance body, in running order, to aid Brigade funds. Vintage cars noticed at the Old Warden Open Day ranged from a Chummy Austin 7 to a Rolls-Royce and included an immaculate Wolseley Fifteen tourer. The Armstrong Siddeley O.C. now has 249 members and 251 cars if the Club's Sapphire truck is included. Of these, 28% are pre-war models, of which 6 1/2% are vintage. Two members of the U. & D. V.V.S. own Austin farm tractors and a 1916 Holt caterpillar tractor, said to weigh over 10 1/2 tons, has come to light in Kent.
The Standard Register asks us to point out that its Annual Rally is open this year to any pre-war Coventry-built car, as well as Standards. The date is May 20th, at Packington Park near Meriden on A45. The remains of an RE 8 biplane have turned up in Warwickshire, and are in the possession of the Northern Aircraft Preservation Society
V.M.C.C. BANBURY RUN
The Vintage Motor Cycle Club's Banbury Run takes place this year on June 25th. Entries close on May 17th, at £1 for members and £1 5s. for non-members. The event is open to solo and sidecar machines and 3-wheelers made prior to 1931. There will be four classes, for machines prior to 1909, 1910-1914, 1915-1924 and 1925-1930, the schedule speeds being set at an average, of 12, 18, 20 and 24 m.p.h. respectively. The distance will vary from about 22 miles and 50 miles for the first two classes to about 70 miles for the last two. Machines of less than 250 c.c. may run in one class lower in speed, if requested. Details are available from: J. G. Boulton, 11A, Ounsdale Road, Wombourne, Wolverhampton, Staffs.