V-E-V Odds & Ends, May 1984

A reader living in Weybridge owns a special bodied 1½-litre Singer Le Mans with the registration number ALV 53, which was one of the two, the other being ALV 52, that were used by the Liverpool City Police with much enthusiasm, equipped with two-way radio, fire-extinguishers, etc, from 1935 up to and during the war. What our reader hopes to discover is what became of ALV 52. Another reader hopes to trace the whereabouts of the 1932 AM80 Hotchkiss saloon (GX7173) that belonged to her father who bought it in 1951 and sold it some ten years later to someone who said he was taking it to New Zealand. However, it appeared in a Pinewood Studios calendar for 1981, when it was said to have been found abandoned in a field and restored over the previous seven years. It is remembered as a magnificent car which would run quite happily at 70 mph but was not the easiest on which to learn to drive. Letters can be forwarded. John Howell takes us to task for saying his Hispano Suiza we noted at the VSCC Goodwood meeting was a “late type”, it being, in fact, his repainted 1929 Van Vooren-bodied H6C coupe. But as the Hispano Suiza of this kind dates back to 1919, we rate a 1929 model as a late one!

We hear that a Seaton-Petter light car was seen by Sir Michael Samuelson, Bt, in 1946 at the back of a garage in Steyning where it had been awaiting a purchaser since 1926. He ignored it at the time as a little horror and because he had a Yeovil connection at the time, in the form of his 1914 Peugeot with torpedo body by Hill & Boll. There has been a response to our own query in “Motoring As It Was” as to whether the Ramsay Arms Hotel at Fettercairn still exists – it does and we now learn it is owned and run by a MOTOR SPORT reader who is campaigning a new rally car…

Arising from a recent “Fragments On Forgotten Makes”, we hear that a 1933 Imperia racing car has been recently restored in Luxembourg after having gone to ground in the back of a garage during the war until about 1978. The car’s first owner was Michel Peifer and it is thought to have been one of the works reserve racing cars. Brian Morgan, who used to drive his father’s flat-radiator Morris-Cowley at the age of ten, up and down on the 20 yards of the driveway outside the family garage, and who, hearing about clutchless gear changes broke a half-shaft on their second Morris, points out how dangerous motoring used to be. From the then-current BBC statistics broadcast in the 1930s, he recalls that the figures ranged from about 100 killed on the roads in the winter to 130 in the summer, every week, and our correspondent says as these figures are identical today, in spite of the great increase in the numbers of vehicles in use and vastly increased annual mileages, can it be said that motoring is now 20 times as safe as it was 54 years ago?

Ian Hall has recently acquired a dismantled 1936 Riley Sprite, JB 88852, and he would like to trace the car’s history prior to about 1964 when its owner was a Mr R. Sunderland. This is the 12th Sprite built, whereas Hall’s black Sprite is the 20th. Both cars were first registered in the Oxon/Henley area, which interests their owner, because in those days an MG Midget could have been bought for less than half the cost of a Riley Sprite and, as he says, there must be a moral somewhere… – W.B.