Singer in action
At various times over the years you have made mention of the four 1935 TT Singers. You might therefore be interested in the enclosed photograph of the very last race to be won by one of these cars — that for “Vintage and Venerable Sports-cars” at the 1962 Sir John Horsfall meeting at Silverstone.
JF Holford, Churt, Surrey
How astonishing, after so long, to hear of another Airedale (Motor Sport, January 1989, page 59). I always claim that an Airedale was the first car I drove — though it was only down a private drive, and ended ignominiously in the bushes; I was 12 at the time, so it must have been in 1924. My father worked for Nobel Industries, and was seconded to its Birmingham subsidiary Kynoch Ltd, which provided him with the Airedale, so I suppose it was registered in its name, but I don’t remember the number plate at all. I clearly remember the sound of its tickover — “ticky, ticky” at the front, “tewf tewf at the rear. It was an open four-seater with the novelty of Balloon tyres. We were told only six had been made. By no stretch of the imagination could the engine have been called “dead smooth”, but perhaps not all had the Dorman engine — though, come to think of it, one of the production staff was called Walter Dorman …
As an irrelevant aside Kynochs, which at one time made gas-engin., once built a car at the whim of its Chairman. The engine eventually ran well on the bench, but when installed in the ash-framed chassis proved unstartable, and the Chairman lost interest. Some time later Mr Mackie, the fitting-shop manager, seeking something for his apprentices to do, told them to find out why. Easy: the long copper exhaust-pipe had been filled with Wood’s Metal for support while making sundry bends. One bend was still so occupied.
GAD Smith, Burford, Oxfordshire
I was saddened to read of Sarah West’s disappointment (Motor Sport, April 1989), which is in stark contrast with my own experience years ago. In 1948, whilst still at school, I sent Raymond Mays a design for a BRM badge (not the four-pointed star which was chosen). I promptly received a signed letter of thanks.
However, the difference is that in 1948 Ray’s only concern was to try to make BRM a world-beater. He was not interested in the size of his numbered Zurich deposit, or becoming a “managed media personality”, which sadly seem to be the main aims of many of today’s drivers.
John Stickland, Bridport, Dorset
You (or OJ) are not correct when you state that Wantage did not have a railway in 1928. In 1875 a tramway was opened between Wantage and the Great Western Railway at Wantage Road Station — a distance of 21/2 miles running beside what is now the A338.
One of the few cross-country tramways, it was at first horsedrawn then steam-hauled. In 1926 passenger traffic was withdrawn, but it remained a steam-hauled goods line until final closure in 1945.
The tramway office in Mill Street is now a boutique, but the inscription “Wantage Tramway 1904” can still be seen in the brickwork at the top of the building.
One of the engines, “Shannon” built in 1875, survives in the Great Western Society Museum at Didcot, one of the oldest working engines in existence.
M Bartlett, Didcot, Oxfordshire
Lost in London
Someone inadvertently left a photographic wallet in a garage in Hendon, north London, on March 23, and undoubtedly he is greatly distressed because the very fine pictures are of historic and famous cars from the past, presumably taken whilst on a visit to the Beaulieu Museum. Such a person must be a reader of Motor Sport, and if he would like to contact me with a description, I would with pleasure put him out of his misery.
G Bance, 14 Page Ct, Page St, Mill Hill, London
I think the idea of racing Grand Tourers to be excellent, and your class-split more or less right. All the Group Cs look the same to me.
Michael Bryant, Wolverhampton