V-E-V odds & ends, May 1980

The BuIlnose Morris Club is very much alive, with more than 370 members, of whom 44 live overseas. Its February magazine lists five new flatnose Morris owners who have joined recently, their vehicles including a nearly-fully-restored 1928 Morris-Oxford ¾-coupé, a 1930 Ambulance needing total restoration, a 1932 Morris-Cowley van in need of new woodwork, and a rare 1930 Morris Major saloon with folding sun-roof. There is an article in the magazine about working for W. R. Morris (later Lord Nuffield) and the Club has rallies pending in Scotland and Cumbria. The new London Transport Museum in Covent Garden was opened by HRH Princess Anne on March 28th. In conjunction with it two petrol-engined vintage ‘buses will operate on Route-100, stopping at all regular No. 6 stops, from the Museum to Oxford Circus, via the Strand, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street, every day, the round-trip costing 70p, with intermediate fares of from 20p to 40p. The ‘buses will be Obsolete Fleet’s 1925 open-top Dennis and 1930 covered-top, open-staircase AEC Regent. The former was originally owned by the “pirate” concern of Dominion and acquired by the LGOC in 1929, the latter by Thomas Tilling until it went to London Transport in 1933. The Dennis lay for 38 years in a farmyard, was restored in 1972, and had not served the public since 1932, until now. The AEC, found in a scrapyard in 1966, last ran in 1949 in regular service. We applaud this venture, by London Transport which is sponsored by Haig Whiskey. To really recapture the pre-war spirit of the thing you should take a trip on the top deck of the Dennis, even if, girls, it means using an umbrella on wet days. . . . 

We were in error in saying that the Register of the Hispano Suiza Society of America is available to anyone interested. It is for members only, copyrighted and registered, and the Society is commendably doing its best to prevent commercial use being made of it. The Bristol Austin Seven Club has a rally at Berkeley Castle, in Gloucestershire, on June 22nd. Entry forms from: D. Shaw, Briar Cottage, Elberton, Olveston, Bristol BS12 3AQ. Other makes of vintage cars will be admitted free of charge. A brochure from The Slough Estates Group, kindly sent to on by Brian Joscelyne, contains an interesting picture of part of the war-surplus vehicle dump at Slough, circa 1918. In the foreground is what is almost certainly a RFC Crossley chassis, dismantled even to half its engine being missing, but not its ribbed exhaust manifold. There is a twin-tyred Crossley truck in the background, and another old truck bearing a notice “RAF-Attewater”. The RAF was of recent formation in 1918, so this vehicle was presumably a legacy it had had from the RFC. What is especially interesting is that when the Depot was bought by Slough Trading Estates in 1920 over 30 buildings had been erected on the site and the railway lines had appeared — yet I believe there was still enough open country there for a Press demonstration of Citroën half-tracks to be held in the early 1920s. Until 1926 one of these buildings was the largest factory under one roof in the country. It was occupied then by Citroën Cars and Mars Ltd., and is still used by “Mars-bars” today. We regret to learn that the great coachbuilder, Giovanni Michelotti, has died. Don’t forget the Jowett International Weekend at Middlesborough on May 23rd-26th. 

The Caithness & Sutherland VVC’s Inverness to John O’Groats 10th Anniversary Run happens on June 7th/8th. Entries have just about closed; details from Miss L. E. Gunn, Newton House, Lybster. John Moon writes to suggest that the Ulster Austin 7 that Alan Smith was enquiring about is probably the car owned by the late Holland Birkett, which had an enlarged hole in its pointed tail to accomodate Holly’s English Sheepdog, as I well remember. The Austin Seven OC will be holding an ambitious rally at Wooburn Park, Bourne End, Bucks., on July 12th. Open to every type of historic vehicle, entry forms are available from D. Orriss, 63, Chalklands, Bourne End, Bucks (06285 24652). A 1924 OE 30/98 Vauxhall has been found in a shed in Western Australia into which it was driven in 1950 and never used again. It is about to be restored. Londoners may care to note that the Historic Commercial Vehicle Club’s “Wheels of Yesterday Rally” will take place in Battersea Park from May 3rd-5th. Ask a silly question and you may well get a silly answer! When I enquired of someone why Leyland ‘buses used to emit a characteristic engine roar I was told, “Because they were lions”. . . . — W.B.