Finding the ideal tourer

The VSCC Pomeroy Trophy contest started as an idea of the late Laurence Pomeroy, whose father had engineered the pre-war Prince Henry Vauxhall, to prove that the one he owned was, despite its age, the ideal fast touring car. He devised a complicated system of rules embracing interior body dimensions, tests of acceleration, speed, braking efficiency and fuel thirst over a road course. For this one event, contested annually at Silverstone, the VSCC abandoned its ban on cars made after its then limit of 1940.

The first 'Pom' in its current form took place in 1952, as a memorial to LH Pomeroy, who had died in 1941. The trophy was a Rex Hays model of the best racing car LH had designed, the 1914 GP Vauxhall, presented by his son and Mr TW Badgery, who had given his 1914 Prince Henry Vauxhall free to Laurence Pomeroy Junior.

Fine fast tourer as this Vauxhall was, it never beat 'moderns' in the VSCC tests, although the spirit was nearly achieved on the first two occasions when the winners were a 1924 30/98 Vauxhall and a 1927 Lancia Lambda. But a 1914 TT Sunbeam took over in 1954 and again in 1963, and in the first 13 years a Triumph TR, a sporting 4-1/2-litre Bentley and a DB Aston Martin had the impertinence to outclass the more peaceful tourers, although the idea was enshrined when the trophy was won by an Alvis Speed 20, an 18/80 MG and a Type 57 Bugatti. But then the racing Sunbeam and a Type 35 Bugatti won, against the entry of 2-1/2-litre-plus more recent cars — hardly what PomeroyJnr had hoped for!

This year's Pom at Silverstone was won by Charles Gillett's 1929 Frazer Nash Super Sports, I am delighted to record. Seven First Class Award winners were headed on points by Simon Smith's 1928/29 Boulogne Vitesse Frazer Nash, and the nine Second Class winners by Mike Preston's 1926 Type 35 Bugatti. The Densham trophy went to Dudley Sterry's HRS sportscar and the Pomeroy Edwardian Trophy to Michael Graham's 1922 Fiat 501, a special age dispensation, apparently.

It cost each driver of a 'modern' £140 to enter, against £67 for vintage car entrants. Out of 80 competitors the Pom' was too much for a vintage Frazer Nash, a Jensen CV8, a 2-litre Lagonda and a Speed 25 Alvis.