Veteran Edwardian Vintage, May 1981

A section devoted to old-car matters

The VSCC Light Car Weekend

This year’s Welsh Weekend run by the Light Car Section of the Vintage SCC on March 28th/29th was its customary success. After weeks of teeming rain and much flooding, the weather relented, as if to applaud the fact that, despite the increase in petrol prices and car tax, a full entry of 50 was received for this happy occasion, organised by Simon Colledge. It took some years for vintage light cars to be accepted into a Club formed to cater for 30/98s and other fast sports cars but the efforts of Arthur Jeddere-Fisher and W.B. eventually made the grade and for some years the Light Car and Edwardian Section has been an important part of VSCC activities.

Although the Edwardians of the wealthy are permitted to play alongside the humble small cars which, in former times, constituted mostly economical transport for the masses, this year only Roger Collings’ 1912 4.7-litre Brixia-Zust tourer represented the former. The light cars ranged from Edward Riddle’s i.o.e. vee-twin GN (its “radiator” covered over to promote such heat through its home made heating tubes that now cover the cockpit floor as to singe the driver’s trousers) and Ron Knight’s stolid 1919 “Peace” model Hillman two-seater, to 1930 baby cars and civilised tourers. Branislav Sudjic’s twin-cam Salmson was a sort of half-way car between the light cars of feeble power and the big Zust. Moreover, Sudjic maintained his splendid tradition of long-distance vintage motoring that won him a special award last year, having Salmsoned from Perth to compete, returning on the Sunday afternoon, a little jaunt that he said preceded his intention of making a 1,000 mile round trip to the VSCC Wessex Trial the following weekend! Congratulations to him and to his intrepid lady navigator.

Saturday afternoon was devoted to a road run over some 60 miles of the more remote by roads of rural Wales, a punishing and perhaps slightly too-long route, but one that not only embraced some fine scenery but took the competitors up the long gradient of Panne Hill, after an approach which skirted the bleak artillery ranges, an observed section in the 1924 RAC Six Days Small Car Trials. John Weeks’ ABC-engined GN and a Morris-Cowley Chummy had failed to start and Rouse’s Singer Junior saloon and an Austin 7 had come to rest on Panne, up which Diffey’s 1924 Humber Eight ascended slowly, followed by our 1924 12/20 Calthorpe in second gear, which Wood in his 1923 side valve Riley coupe and the Salmson had overtaken. We were supposed to descend another RAC hill, Erwood, but here several took a short cut, not realising that they had been observed and docked marks by a marshal viewing them through field-glasses from the summit of a convenient hill!

The return route to Llanwrtyd Wells was surely far tougher than that to which those 1924 light cars had been subjected? Casualties, however, were light. Erskine’s 5 c.v. Citroen, on 4.50 x 17 back tyres, retired because it became jammed in bottom gear, an Austin 7 was reported to have differential problems, Peter Morgan had to hold bottom gear in place when it was needed, due to stripped gear teeth, and Nan McEwan was rumoured to have had trouble with the Riley’s second gear. At one tight hairpin the Calthorpe’s chassis flexed so badly that the gear-lever wouldn’t go into reverse.

Sunday was devoted to the traditional trial. Riddle did well at Hill 2 and Di Threlfall did extremely well in the notably refined Type TB10 air cooled vee-twin BSA, which upholds its Daimler ancestry, whereas her husband failed early. Other good ascents of this and/or hill 3, were those of the Salmson, Monica Gray’s Austin 7, Harper’s Austin 7, Shaw’s o.h.c. Morris Minor two-seater, and Thorne’s Swift Ten tourer. Tony Jones’ Austin Chummy lacked power. Price got his as far up Hill 3 as the hole which stopped many, including Wood’s Riley, but the Zust and Diffey’s Humber, both on beaded-edge tyres, wouldn’t look at these gradients. The Arnold-Forsters had gone home to get their Austin 7 ready for the “Wessex”, but Jane Hill was in good form in the AJS. Incidentally, out the entry of 50, 19 were Austin 7s. The Welsh mud proved unduly slippery at Llwynbarried, but here Phillips’ 7/17 Jowett performed very well. – W.B.

Results: Llwynbarried Trophy: Mrs. Di Threlfall (1924 BSA), First class Awards: M Shaw (1930 Morris Minor), T. Threlfall (1924 BSA). Second class Awards: I. Phillips (1925 Jowett), Mrs. McEwen (1930 Riley 9), S. Price (1929 Austin 7). Third class Awards: R. Thorpe (1930 Singer Ten), Mrs. J. Hill (1930 AJS), R. Batchelor (1924 Morris-Cowley), D. Cochrane (1925 Austin 7).