Veteran to classic
The 750 Motor Club held its very first run n 1939, when 24 Austin 7s were led from Virginia Water to Newlands Corner by founder and Motor Sport Editor Bill Boddy and his A7 henchman Tom Lush in a Ruby. This was remembered on April 2 this year when the Brooklands Section made a repeat run in the opposite direction, with a treasure-hunt in the morning, lunch at the impressive Holloway Cottage in Egham and judging of cars in the afternoon.
Again 24 cars turned out and, just as there had been 50 years before, there were "other makes" present: organiser Robin Gray's borrowed Morris 8 tourer and a 2-litre Lagonda — and not a trailer in sight!
The assembled A7s consisted of four Chummies (spotless magneto-ignition engines predominant), four Box saloons, three Nippies (including the ex-John Moon car), two Pearl cabriolets, two Ruby saloons, two tourers, Reg Nice's Ulster, a 1928 Top-Hat saloon, an Opal two-seater and a low-hung special with twin SUs and a Coldwell cylinder-head.
Some were immaculate, others in "everyday" condition, and several displayed plaques telling of far-flung journeys into remote parts of Europe. Several were using those excellent Avon Side-car tyres which improve their steering. Competitors were sensibly set to judge each other's cars.
The Editor, who had brought with him Lush and A7 technical boffin Jack French, presented the prizes. The short-wheelbase class went to B Argent's 1925 Chummy, from D Cochrane's 1925 Chummy and Bob Smith's 1931 saloon, and the long-wheelbase class to Carol Woodland's 1937 Ruby, ahead of J Robinson's 1937 Pearl and G Fullalove's 1934 saloon. In the sports category P Richards' 1935 Nippy was first (and the overall winner), Nice's Ulster second and C Grieg's 1937 Nippy third.
After the prizegiving they all dispersed, one magneto-engined Chummy going back to Rugby. The origins of the 750 MC had been suitably recalled, and it is clearly flourishing today, the most recent Bulletin listing 190 new members.
Bugatti Owners Club will have three different courses in use at Prescott this season, because a cross-over has been introduced at Orchard, whereby drivers turn right instead of left before the loop. The former long course will be used for the opening meeting, the new longer course for the second meeting, and the original short climb for the VSCC's August fixture. Work is also progressing on the building to the right of the entrance gates, which will become the BOC Archive Headquarters, housing historic material relating to all activities of the Bugatti family but especially cars and associated artifacts, including the club's very extensive set of drawings.
The hill-climb course was considerably damaged between Pardon and the Esses when fuel from Mike Smith's crashed helicopter drained onto it, but when we were driven up in Secretary Geoffrey Ward's Citroen early in February repairs were already in hand, in anticipation of another full season of events.
The Veteran Car Club's 1988 awards number 27, too many to list, but the Austin "Victor Ludorum" Trophy went to S Curry, with a 1904 Wolseley and a 1908 Clement-Bayard. The Miles Trophy was a close-run thing between Nick Ridley's 1914 Sunbeam and a 1908 Argyll — the former being driven from Aberdeen to Edinburgh via Land's End, the latter from Royston to Perth via the New Forest, and only 18 formula-miles separating them. RM Pickard (1905 De Dion) won the Cecil Bendall Single -Cylinder Trophy. The fifty veterans parked for one-and-a-half hours in Hereford raised £2000 for a local hospice.
Bentley old boys
Bentley Drivers Club reports that its last meeting of Old Boys (men who helped to build the WO Bentley cars or worked at the company in that era) was attended by more than 40 of the 107 known to be still alive. They included Wally Hassan, Billy Rockell, Bill Jenkins, and Jack Baker who came all the way from South Africa.
However, it would not be correct to assume that the BDC is the only one-make club to pay tribute to the men who actually built its cars: the STD Register has been inviting former Wolverhampton employees to its meetings since the days when Bill Perkins, Frank Bill and others were still alive, and continues to do so to this day.
VSCC in Wessex
Odell's Riley won the VSCC's two-day Wessex Trial on March 11-12, with the Edwardian Trophy going to Hickling's 1917 Dodge. Uglow (HRG), Spence (Lea Francis) and Rides (Invicta) took first-class awards, Evans (A7), Diffey (A7), Blake (ON), Clarke (Frazer Nash-GN), Low (A7), Giles (Frazer Nash), Tebbitt (Riley), Hescroft (AC), Miss Collings (Bentley) and Jane Tomlinson (A7) second-class awards, and Collings (Mercedes), Rides (Riley), Stringer (A7), Garland (30/98), Garfitt (Frazer Nash-BMW), Proctor (Frazer Nash), Harris (Riley), Baxter (Chrysler) and Harris (Renault) third-class awards.
. . . and Derbyshire
The Vintage Sports-Car Club braved April Fools' Day to take competitors on a trial in the Midlands, and Hamish Moffatt's Bugatti emerged as the overall winner while David Marsh and his 30/98 claimed the Pat Marsh Trophy. First-class awards went to J Evans (A7), R Parker (A7), G Rankin (30/98), C Marsh (Morris) and C Rides (Invicta), and second-class awards to R Procter (Frazer Nash), M Garfitt (Frazer Nash-BMW), R Windsor (A7), R Felton (Bugatti), W Gordon (A7), M Hurst (Alvis), T Doggett (Alois), B Spollon (30/98) and D Hescroff (AC). Four A7 drivers — Clarke, Low, Reed and Diffey — bagged the thirdclass honours. Of the 80 entries, six failed to start, fifteen lost marks for using trailers, and Proctor's A7 retired.
Swallows and 7s
'The A7 Swallow Register has a "Coming Of Age" rally for Swallow-bodied cars, ex-employees and friends at Bourton-on-the-Water Motor Museum on May 7 (entry £2), and the Rover Sports Register its ninth "Pride Of Ownership" rally for pre-1950 cars at Belvoir Castle near Grantham on August 20. The respective secretaries are G Walker, School House, Great Haseley, Oxfordshire OX9 7JP and Sue Couldry, 5 Holme Lane, Radcliffe Road, Bassingfield, Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire.
Brooklands Museum has been given by Asda Stores (which is building a superstore on the site) the iron gates which dominated the entrance to the KLG sparking-plug factory at Putney Vale. Whilst these have no direct connection with the Track, the factory itself was founded in 1913 by the famous Sunbeam driver K Lee Guinness especially to develop plugs suitable for racing.