V-E-V Miscellany, May 1984, May 1984

Old photographs continue to come to light. For instance, the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald was sent a picture showing the Graphic Motor Works, a garage in King Street, Penrith, which is now the site of the Herald office, probably taken before the First World War and showing a line-up of early cars outside, with owners and a chauffeur in attendance, one being a Lanchester landaulette, while an impressive touring car bears an Anglesey registration plate. Another early photograph which the same newspaper reproduced shows a chain-driven motor-bus on solid tyres, twins at the back, and equipped with a sprag, used in the Penrith area, and registered XB 306. Old cars are still to be found. Not long ago I discovered a 1932/33 Austin 7 Opal two-seater in the shed it had occupied for some 20 years, in the care of the lady who had learned to drive on it. The 7th Sandwell Historic Vehicle Parade and Transport Show will take place in Dartmouth Park, West Bromwich on May 13th, admission to the park being free.

The Austin Ten DC looks like having another active season. In two months it has enrolled 33 new members, with cars ranging from a 1931 Light 12/6 Harley to a 1939 Austin Ten saloon, in conditions ranging from “requires total restoration” or “rough…has been hidden under a tarpaulin and large amounts of rubbish for 17 years” to “original except for repaint…all original tools in car in leathercloth wallets…no rust or rot anywhere,” and “very good, never been out in snow, and only in rain if caught out…from original owner to son, genuine 58,000 miles, original paintwork, no rust, inside immaculate…door pockets never used.” Two of these new members are girls and if this encourages you to think in terms of typically British cars the Club usually knows of several for sale, its Membership Secretary is David Woodend, 3, Estcourt Drive, Widmer End, Bucks, HP15 6AH (SAE requested).

The Ford Sidevalve Club’s magazine carried a story recently, reproduced from the Ford Times of 1956, about a 1936 Model-Y Ford Eight bought second-hand in Jersey in 1938 for £80 as a son’s 21st birthday present and used continually there until the German invasion. It was then greased thoroughly and hidden at a baker’s, beneath piles of rabbit hutches. Rats and mice licked off all the grease and the car’s oil and petrol was syphoned off when these commodities were virtually unobtainable by civilians, leaving the car defenceless against external and internal corrosion. Five years after being hidden the engine started at once when the liberation arrived and the Ford was run for six more months before being abandoned in a barn. When the owner returned from the RAF service in 1946 a local Jersey garage was called in to put it into good order, with new piston rings, etc, and for at least 14 years thereafter the car was used unmercifully for farm work, taking heavy loads to market, like 2 cwt barrels of potatoes on the back seat, until the front cross-member engine bearer broke, although the back-seat springs were still good and the upholstery not bad. When last heard of a search was on for a 1936 chassis, so that this game pre-war Model-Y could be rebuilt. The son’s mother said she bought the Eight in the first place because she knew from experience of the Model-T how reliable Ford were. One wonders, with the Ford Sidevalve OC, whether Mrs Yandell’s Ford still survives.

The South-Eastern Section of the VCC announces its Berkshire Borders Rally, a main event to take place on April 27th/29th, with classes for cars pre-1905 and those built between 1905 and 1918 in the rally and four classes, for pre-1902, 1901-1904, 1905-1910 and 1911-1918 cars on the event itself, which starts and finishes at the Crest Hotel, Basingstoke, on the Saturday, with mileages ranging from 25 to 57 on the rally and a total milage of 97, according to class. Entries close on April 1st. The event is sponsored by Maxim’s de Paris, who own the London restaurant of that name, based on Maxim’s in Paris, famous from 1893 and recently restored by Pierre Cardin, having been declared a national monument by the French Government – which might now turn its attention to doing the same for the Montlhery Autodrome! Old-car events merit sponsorship these days, the VSCC Silverstone Race Meeting, for instance, being sponsored by the Hewgate Construction Group.

Anthony Heal says he thinks the 225 hp Sunbeam aero-engine used by Harry Hawker in the 1919 Sunbeam-Mercedes hybrid we have been writing about latterly is more likely to have been a Mohawk than a Cossack. The annual Riley Coventry Rally takes place this year on June 23rd/24th, details from Brian or Ann Coles, on 0203-418136. It is nice to know that Rolls-Royce Motors put their 1907 all-silver Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost AX 201 to continued good use. It is now in Australia, having been on show at the Melbourne Golden Jubilee International Motor Show, in company with the Segrave Irving-Napier “Golden Arrow” LSR car from our National Motor Museum, and it then goes on tour to Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth in the charge of Dennis Miller-Williams. – W.B.