A section devoted to old-car matters
Light cars at Llwyn-Barried (March 30th/31st)
Over the last week-end in March the Light Car Section of the VSCC held its annual driving-tests and trial in Radnorshire. This was in lieu of an emulation of the Light Car Trial run in these parts by the RAC in 1924, this exercise having been deemed imprudent by the RAC of 1974 in case it had an adverse effect on the World’s fuel reserves.
Saturday was occupied with driving-tests at the Royal Welsh Showground at Builth Wells, tea with the Editor, and dinner at the Glen Usk Hotel in Llandrindod Wells. From an entry of 27, there materialised 22 light-cars, absentees including a Salmson and Blake’s Austin 7 which had stripped its crown-wheel beforehand, while Rosemary Burke, who had entered two Morris Minors, a two-seater and a saloon, was delayed with o.h.c. disorders en route. A spectating vintage D-type Vauxhall was having its engine rebuilt at Builth. Seven complicated tests were completed in a couple of hours, one of these a ball game. In another, drivers were required to park on small discs, driving forwards and in reverse. A tragedy befell Hamilton-Gould in the latter test, because he stopped on one disc absolutely spot-on, but with the o/s instead of the n/s wheel, an error of some 47 in., or just about the track of his 1921 Citroen. Tony Jones’ Austin sheared an axle key in the first test but this was quickly rectified.
Sunday’s hills were difficult, in spite of fine weather, numbers 3 and 4 in particular. But Arnold-Forster demonstrated the truly remarkable low-speed torque of the 1921 GN, which Hughes’ 1927 Austin Chummy emulated on the second of these grassy ascents. In contrast, Higgins’ 12/25 Humber two-seater was having a bad time, not helped by front brakes which locked on ; it eventually became bogged-down on another section and had to be towed out backwards by the Club’s Bedford van. Neither Costigan’s Austin 7 coupe nor Jones’ Austin Chummy had any difficulty. Diffy’s Humber 9/20, driven by Morgan as well as by its owner, was impressive for a long-wheelbase touring small car laden with a vast trunk. Alas, Ianson’s Humber 9/20 had run its big-ends, Rouse’s Morris Minor suffered from clutch slip to which the Humbers were also prone, and Newton’s 8.9-h.p. discwheeled Swift was hampered by a dubious magneto. That two different drivers of two different Humber 9/20s switched the ignition off at crucial moments by accidentally retarding the ignition must, I suppose, be a lesson in ergonomics! Interesting runners were Hill’s boat-tailed 1929 Triumph Super Seven twoseater, which was quite a useful trials car, and Hilton’s 10.8-h.p. Clyno two-seater with Henley spare tyre. Baker’s Fiat 509 twoseater was an unexpectedly good performer on the hills, but by now Liz Bell’s 10/23 Talbot had retired with a leaking water-pump and a suspected blown head gasket. Reed’s fabric-bodied Austin 7 two-seater did quite well up Section 3 but suffered a mysterious loss of power on Section 4. Condon made a brave but unavailing show in his AC, on beadededge tyres. When these gradients were attempted a second time a churned-up ridge on Section 4 defeated even the GNs two lusty cylinders and gave Keith Hill’s Land-Rover winch a busy time.
The results were announced after lunch at the “New Inn” at Newbridge-on-Wye, when it was seen that Spencer’s ex-Winder Austin Chummy, with magneto-engine, 3-speed box, 5.25 axle-ratio and a motley collection of tyres had just beaten Tony Jones’ coil-ignition, 3-speed, 4.9 axle-ratio, Goodyear-shod Chummy. But it was a close-run thing, because Spencer’s magneto expired a few miles later and he had to beg a tow from a Humber !—W.B.
Llwyn-Barried Trophy (Best overall performance): D. Spencer (1928 Austin 7).
First Class Awards : C. Hamilton-Gould (1921 Citroen) and R. Reed (1930 Austin 7).
Second Class Award : A. Jones (1929 Austin 7).
First Class Awards : M. Costigan (1929 Austin 7) and D. Spencer (1928 Austin 7).
Second Class Award : J. Hill (1929 Triumph Super Seven).
V-E-V Odds & Ends. – Our correspondent who queried why Mumm, the champagne people who sponsor vintage racing, should need to build a replica of Raymond Mays’ famous Bugatti Cordon Rouge when the original car still exists seems to have been misled by a Reg. No., which is apparently the one used on the ex-Mays, ex-Taylor car, but, in fact, the Bugatti now carrying it is, we are informed, a long-wheelbase Type 23 and not Cordon Rouge. So Mumms can go ahead with a clear conscience in creating a replica but we hope it is a replica, made from Bugatti parts as far as possible, and not simply an imitation. Like, for instance, the so-called “Classic Replicar `Buggate (sic)” from California, which is a fibre-glass construction kit for mounting on a Volkswagen Beetle chassis, although we note from an illustration that the bonnet of this imitation “Buggati” is inscribed “1927 Bugatti 35B”.
Arising out of the first part of W.B.’s article on the Leyland Eight, Owen Wyn-Owen writes to say that when he required some front axle parts for “Babs” during its rebuild, he asked Leyland Motors whether they could help, as Parry Thomas had used a Leyland Eight front axle on the car. They found such an axle and the significant thing is that it was a front-brake axle, and was accompanied by drawings showing “a beautiful front-wheelbrake arrangement”, which is proof that Leyland did devise such a braking system for the Leyland Eight.
A 1932 Type 30S Alpine Steyr two-seater is being restored in Essex. It was found on a farm in Tipperary four years ago and is apparently completely original. The reader who owns it enquires whether there are any more Steyrs in the UK? His has a body by J. Neuss of Berlin. The same enthusiast is restoring the 1932 Alpine Team Talbot, RJ 7362, which was converted after the war into a rather sad special and later badly damaged. The intention is to put a Vanden Plas-type open body on it and perhaps drive it again over some Alpine passes. Another restoration concerns a 1927 3-litre Crossley chassis discovered in a Sussex wood where it had lain since the mid-1930s. In spite of this it is quite sound, but requires a radiator. A suitable body is to be made and data about this would be appreciated. A reader who now runs an “immensely rewarding” 1750 Alfa Romeo G. T Veloce sold his 3-litre Bentley, CX 6596, In 1954 for £200 and would like to know whether it still exists.
We regret to have to report the death of Mrs. S. G. Maudslay, whose husband founded the Standard Motor Co. in 1903. Mrs. Maudslay was 92 and in 1966 she opened an exhibition of Standard cars at the Herbert Museum in Coventry, taking much delight in telling of her driving experiences with almost every model on display ! It is quite astonishing how. old racing cars continue to turn up. In Switzerland one of the 1923 V12 GP Delage cars exists in chassis form, lacking an engine because around 1926 this was changed for a V8 Hispano-Suiza aero-engine, in which guise the car was renamed the Becquet Special and run at San Sebastian. Today the chassis intim, axles, steering-gear, radiator and fuel tank exist and the present owner, who was given the car years ago, asks where he can find the correct 2-litre V12 engine for it! The Pre-50 American AC’s “Rally of the Giants” will now be held on August 4th, at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, Burford, Oxon. A Sunbeam Dawn is looking for a new home, being discarded somewhere in Shropshire.
Ronald Barker has acquired another Model-A Ford. A letter from a lady, which the Lancashire Evening Post published recently, refers to a “Jalloway” two-seater she owned years ago. This was clearly a Galloway, as the writer says made in Dumfries, and one wonders if the fact that the Company used girl drivers of these cars in competition events had any bearing on this lady’s choice of car ? Arising from our recent article “Where Are They Now ?”, the Standard Registrar informs us that the 1929 Standard Nine Teignmouth fabric saloon with which W.B. had fun 14 years ago is now owned by a Hampshire enthusiast. In this context the ABC OC informs us that W.B.’s ABC was an ex-works car, used for at least one Land’s End Trial, but that all trace of it has vanished. Cara, the Aer Lingus magazine, published an article on the 1903 Gordon Bennett race in its March issue, and in an appreciation of the great railway engineer, George Churchward, in the Western Morning News, it was mentioned that he built, with Robert Grenville, a steam car in 1875, which is now in Bristol Museum. He apparently used it until 1897, after which he is said to have owned one of the first petrol cars in Wiltshire.
Our picture of the pre-war Rover Ten Special BKM 77 has brought a letter from her constructor, R. E. Richards, saying he used her once in a competition after the war, at the 1945 Filton speed-trials, when she was third to Gerard’s Riley Sprite and Newton’s HRG, after which she was sold to Cowell. It is believed she then ran at Bouley Bay and she was later seen near Colchester. So where is she now ? The car, not Cowell… The Riley MC of Western Australia, which accepts Riley models down to the post-war Pathfinder, has only about 25 members but has, due to distance, remained independent of the far larger Australian Riley Club, and it even manages to make its own parts. The Secretary is P. Hocking, 101, Read Street, Rockingham, 6168, Western Australia. The Crossley Register is to o!cl the first “Crossley only” meet at the Eathorpe Park Hotel, Leamington, on June 16th. Crossleys from Overseas are expected, there is no entry fee, Crossley Premier Engines are giving a trophy and details are available from: G. Lee, 4, Brickwall Lane, Ruislip, Middlesex.