Identity Crisis?

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Last July what was described as the ex-Brooklands Straker-Squire was entered for the Brooks auction at Beaulieu. The catalogue quoted from my MOTOR SPORT article in which I praised the car. But it was 21 years since I drove it, so I was glad to note the same high opinion of the car expressed by the Editor, when he tried it last year.

One or two points arise. It was only after I had written the article that I had proof that X2, which is what this car is thought to be, was not registered for the road until June 2, 1922. The engine was declared as made in 1920 to claim a rebate then due on older-engined cars. There seems to be two explanations as to why a car raced at Brooklands from 1920 was so-registered. Either it was driven to the track on trade plates and taxed only after the company ceased racing, or X2 had been confused with X1. This could explain why, since it was unearthed in in the mid-1950s it has carried the number MD 7901, issued by Middlesex CC around the mid-1920s.

It then had a Vauxhall radiator and a touring body. A racing body was with it, but not dazzle-painted, this livery being resumed when it was acquired by Adrian Liddell. The car is dated by the VCC as 1918. This was done on slender evidence after long deliberation, by the painstaking Dating Committee, led by Malcolm Jeal. The dazzle livery did not appear until 1921 but the taxation data was not available to the Committee, which believed the car would be ineligible for VSCC membership unless dated 1918; in fact this is only necessary to qualify for Edwardian membership. None of this is of much consequence; both X1 and X2 were raced successfully at Brooklands, as Nick Howell who rebuilt it readily accepts. It is just something for the historians to chew over.