Brook's super sparker

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Mr. Buxton’s letter in Vintage Postbag recalls a gadget which had a certain vogue in the early days when I was getting my first taste of Edwardian motoring.

The device was usually known as the “spark gap” and was based on the theory that a gap in the H.T. leads from distributor to sparking plug would intensify the spark at the plug.

Mr. Buxton’s specimen, as he has deduced, would be made for a four cylinder engine, and was probably meant to be fitted on the dashboard, where it could be seen and easily adjusted by the driver. The sparking gap was sometimes fitted under the bonnet, which would save a few feet of H.T. cable, but could be a cause of fire if the sparks were not covered.

As to when it was in use, I should say from around 1904 to 1912 or 1913. The Autocar Handbook of 1918 mentions it as being obsolete by that date, and casts doubt on its usefulness.

Angmering-on-Sea. Edward Sawers.

[This has been exploited in recent times as an easy-starting gimmick. – ED.]

V.E.V. Odds and Ends. – We were wrong in saying the D.H. Tiger Moths in the film “The Blue Max” were masquerading as SE 5s. Apparently they were pretending to be Pfalz 111s; the SE 5s were specially built for the film. And the race won by Napier in 1902 was the Gordon Bennett, not a G.P. as stated in last month’s editorial. A proof-reader who thought he knew better than the Editor altered G.B. to G.P. A straight-eight Daimler hearse, probably post-war, has been discovered in Hampshire, where a 1929 M-type M.G. is being meticulously rebuilt by a student. Two Vintage cars and an Edwardian are to be chosen on past performances to represent Britain in the forthcoming Canadian Vintage and Veteran Rally. Two Edwardian tricars, an A.C. and a Warrick, were found on a Welsh farm some two years ago and bought by a member of the A.C.O.C., for £3 each, The farmer was also trying to sell a 1928 Ariel motorcycle. Rochester, Chatham & D.M.C. is compiling its history and P. Harrington, 26 Polhill Drive, Walderslade, Chatham, seeks data on the Club in pre- and post-1914/18 times. The spring issue of the Lancia M.C. Journal contains a fascinating account of how Julian Jane turned a Lancia Lambda into a trials car. Mr. Tom Lightfoot left England recently in his veteran Mercedes, to honeymoon in America.