Veteran Edwardian Vintage
A SECTION DEVOTED TO OLD-CAR MATTERS
ROLLS-ROYCE ARMOURED CARS
ONE SUB JECI. which refuses to die away is that of Rolls-Royce armoured cars; we have received from Major R. S. Schrieber of Woodbridge the following very interesting recollections:
The correSpondenee on Rolls-Royce. Silver Ghost armoured cars has been of great interest and I send photographs Laken at the Guards Depot, Caterham, in February 1931, on the occasion of a visit of the 11th Hussars Rolls-Royce armoured cars when my brother gave a lecture about them to the assembled recruits. As an obstacle and part of the demonstration, I remember the beet we could do was to place some railway sleepers on the Barrack Square for them to surmount; I cannot remember if they managed this or . just pushed the Sleepers along.
At about this time several Cavalry Regiments were losing their horses and being mechanised. They Were determined to make the best of a had job and became very keen. In fact, they began to argue in the Mess as to whether electricity flowed from positive to negative or vice versa; the Corporals’ and Sergeants’ Messes argued in the same way. But when the Officers’ Mess argued this matter the Commanding Officer could hear it no longer and one day issued the following notice in Part One orders: “In future, in this Unit, electricity will flow from positive to negative!” At about this time I owned in quick suecession two Silver Ghost. open touring cars named Ethelred I and Ethelred II as their
(815 x 105) tyres were nearly always flat when I wanted to take the cars out: one was a 1912 model and the other was made in 1914. I paid £14 and £18, respectively, for them and sold them for the same amount after about six months. Both had dreadful modernised bodies, as my photographs show.
Both these cars had been fitted with electric self-starters that comprised a large footoperated lever which, when depressed, brought a friction disc on the end of the armature shaft of the electric motor into contact with the periphery of the flywheel. At the same time a great plunger on the dashboard was. pressed, energising the electric motor. Of course these engines were fantastically easy starters at all times and would normally “start off the switch” provided there was a charge of gaseous mixture in the right combustion space. At about the same time I owned “loanerges”, a 1906 Daimler which I bought for £6 from the Ullswater Hotel. I sold this car, for £6, about six months later! I do not remember much about it except that it had dual ignition, a cut-out cvf the exhaust (I can’t think why!) and there was a tube from
the carburetter air-intake to down by the gearbox with a sort of air cleaner-silencer fitted to it. I wonder if any of your readers can identify the model and substantiate the year of 1906 as being the year of manufacture?
Hill-Climbs and Speed Trials
MY DISCOURSE about the private-road sprints of the vintage period, which appeared in the March isSue under the above heading— it was Meant to be titled “Thoughts About Sprints”, but “Production” thought otherwise—has caused Mr. Edwin J. Embleton, perhaps because Of the more grandiose caption, to delve into his photograph albums to recall those at Fide, Lewes and Bodiam. I do not think that the Bentley DC found Fide, near Eastbourne, until after the war and I believe the same dating applies to Bodiam, which is, I believe, on ground owned by Guinness the brewers, where I attended a very cheery and informal hill-climb also after the war.
Lewes, however, was a pre-war institution, a straight sprint at Race Hill, near Eastbourne, by the horse,-race-course, up .a mild gradient. It was used by the VSCC, Bugatti Oc etc., and saw the appearance of John Bolster’s “Bloody Mary” in its earliest form, as well as that of Bolster’s friend Pyddoke, seated on the chassis Of his stripped o.h.c. vee-twin GN. Dick Nash made f. td. with “The Terror” and ran his later ON/Frazer Nash-based cars there and I once enjoyed a personal “duel” against Midge Wilby’s Frazer Nash, driving the “works” blue Meadows-FIRG, which I lost IQ the lady from the “Chain-Gang” by a narrow margin.
It was at first very .free and easy at Lewes, with, as Mr. Embleton reminds me, a few random chestnut stakes joined by a length of rope or twine to keep spectators off the lower reaches of the hill. Racing cars being pushstarted used to encroach onto the public road. At first no-one minded. But later the Police became officious, “pinching” anyone whose untaxed car ran just that much too far. Now Lewes is dead. But I am publishing moor my correspondent’s pictures to recall those carefree days, and later ones at Fide. It is nice to know that he had a Riley Lynx (ARW 422) bought direct from H. E. Symons, the wellknown motoring writer, in 1936, which he and his wife ran for 32 years, before it Was passed on to a friend, and that they are still motoring happily today in their Austin-Healey 3000. Mr. Embleton also has a Very well-kept library of MOTOR SPORTs from 1937 onwards.
V-E-V Miscellany.—At a garage in Sussex a reader has noticed new spares for M and JType MG Midgets, a carburetter from an old Sunbeam, and many old-type tools including a device for cleaning KLG sparking plugs. A recent count of pre-war Vauxhalls in the non-30/98 Register shows that there are 33 LM 14/40s, 31 23/60s, 19 T-type 20/60s, 17 each of R-type 20/60 and 1)-type 25-11.p. cars, 11 veteran and Edwardian Vauxhalls, nine Prince Henrys, eight M-type 14/40s, six 23.8-h.p. type-80s, and a lone S-type Vauxhall known to be in existence, including a type-80 hearse in Scotland. Of these, 70 are in Great Britain, out of this total of 152. In comparison, the 30/98 Vauxhall Register lists 146 cars, 80 of them in Britain, broken up into 30 E-types, 115 OEs and one TT car.
The Pre-war Austin News Letter for March contained some fresh facts about the overbored supercharged Austin Seven that was raced by Col. Arthur Waite in 1926. It appears that a 1927/28 type-ZK 11 Renault taxi is being restored in America. Apart from endeavours to make vintage road-going cars with Napier Lion and Liberty aerO-engines, we hear that someone in Leicestershire is hoping to do the same thing with a RollsRoyce Merlin engine, ex-Spitfire. John Price, who compiles the Vauxhall Register referred to above, has discovered that the radiator on his Vauxhall carries a John Marston plate, and he wonders for what other cars besides Sunbeams they manufactured radiators ? Incidentally, he thinks that some unrecorded Vauxhalls may existin Australia and would be glad to have details of any he has not previously heard of—his address is : 22a, Leyland Road, Lee Green, London, SEI2. The Third Rally of the Historic Commercial Vehicle Club happens at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, near 13urfOrd, on July 6th. The Yorkshire Centre Circular of the BARC recently contained an interesting article about how two enthusiasts attempted to drive nonstop from Leeds to London and back in seven hours, before the war, in a Singer Nine Le Mans two-seater. The idea was to circle Marble Arch, as the London turning point. It is interesting to note that they had the screen flat in spite of torrential rain, that the 12-gallon petrol tank made it possible to refuel only once, from their two-gallon can,
and that the car showed well over 80 m.p.h. on the Stamford-Grantham stretch on the return run. They were 50 min. outside schedule due to headwinds, going off course in London to telephone home, and because a blocked jet held them to 30 m.p.h. for the final 20 miles. But the Singer is said to have done another six or seven journeys to London and back without any attention, not even plug cleaning. This article by John Hardy, with his own illustrations, is very nostalgic for those who knew the Great North Road before the war. The car was a standard two-carburetter 1934 model and amusingly was timed by an RAC Guide who turned out at 8.35 on a Sunday morning to see them leave City Square, Leeds. As the author says, can you see that happening, today ? The distance was reckoned as 400 miles. Almost as soon as we had read this we saw in the current issue of The Driving Member, printed journal of the Daimler & Lanchester OC, an account of how a boy late for the return to his boarding school was driven as quickly as possible from Leeds nearly to Leicester, some 100 miles, in 1953 at an average of just over 50 m.p.h. But in this case the car was a Daimler saloon, apparently a current post-war model. In case the BS is working on our suggestion that it might make a list of all books that contain a reference to Brooklands, we would mention that in the first volume of “Flying Tales from ‘Blackwood'” there is an actount by the Hon. Alan Boyle of flying the first Avis monoplane (from the Howard Wright factory under a Battersea railway arch) at Brooklands in 190819, reprinted from a 1931 number of Maga. A 1928/29 Iladfield-Bean is in Process of restoration in Middlesex, according to the Bean Car Club Magazine, and a complete rebuild of a 1925 CIME-engined Petite Type V DFP forms the main content of the current issue of The Light Car, newsletter of the Light Car Section of the VSCC. This article states, incidentally, that eight cars of this rare make still exist, of which three are thought to be pre-1914 models.
13i11 May’s Anzani Frazer Nash won the Trophy in the VSCC Wessex Trial. Another Open Flying Day is (or was) to be held by the Shuttleworth Collection at Biggleswade on April 27th, with another display on May 26th. Gates open 11.00 hours; flying starts (weather permitting) sharp at 14.30 hours.