Club News, November 1939

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A little more news of Club intentions has come to hand, but, even now, there seems to be a general apathy so far as arranging social programmes is con cerned. This is a matter for regret, especially as a very considerable number of motor-cycling clubs are carrying on, not only with social evenings, impromptu suppers and fihn shows, but with short club runs. It may well be argued that motor-cycles use less fuel than cars and that this is a most vital consideration in these hard times, but nevertheless enthusiasts should exist who would rather use half the monthly ” pool ” in communal motoring than employ tha whole allow

ance in short-distance pottering. The Government obviously has no objection to the ration of 200 miles per month being used for purely pleasure motoring, although any supplementary grant is intended for utility transportation. In this connection an ambitious event organized by the Rugby M.C. & L.C.C. stands right out. On September 24th they staged a fuel consumption test round two laps of a triangular 2.6 mile course. L. H. F. Warth won the car class with a figure of 60.7 m.p.g. with an open Ford Ten. A Rover Ten managed 51.7 m.p.g., a Morgan tri-car 60.3 m.p.g. and. a 850 c.c.

Levis 172 m.p.g. Such contests were quite frequent after the last war, G.N. cyclecars contriving to do something around 90 m.p.g. The Vintage S.C.C., astounding institution, actually continues to enrol a few new members, including one from Holland. To conserve finance for setting up the Club when hostilities cease, the ” Bulletin ” has been suspended, at all events in its old form Shakespeare’s Mors and Enfield tourers, the 7-litre Renault ” Agatha,” Clutton’s Itala, the 57 h.p. Daimler, Forrest Lycett’s Alphonso Hispano, Shakespeare’s Type 55 Bugatti and Clutton’s 1923 type E 30/98 Vauxhall have all been put for safety’s sake in Lavender’s garage at , “some

where in Surrey.” Incidentally, the Vauxhall was quite wrongly described as an O.E. model in our September issue ; actually it is a beautifully preserved ‘specimen of the earlier side-valve “B” type. Col. Clutton’q Fafnir and Sam’s Bentley will both be stored in the country; the Fafnir has just completed another summer season’s work without a moment’s trouble, save for a few ” shorts ” in the twenty-seven year old electric wiring. In the last war she covered over 100,000 miles on active service. Peter Clark and his wife have acquired the 1914 G.P. Mercedes—a car of topical interest just now and believed to have been the reserve car of the famous 1914 team. It still did 85 m.p.h. in top and about 78 m.p.h. in third at 3,000 r.p.m. with the heavy touring body it had when In the handq of its late owner, Major R. M. S. Veal. On arrival in town, Heal and Clutton fell upon it and in two hours

had restored it very much nearer to G.P. trim, removing about half a ton of equipment. This Mere. pulls a top gear of about 2.5 to 1 and has a four-cylinder sixteen-valve engine of 4i-litres, rated at 21 h.p. Heal bad bad luck when towing the 1910 Fiat down from Worcester before petrol rationing came in. The big car overturned and Peter Robertson Roger, in the driving seat, broke his leg on the steering wheel and cut an car. We are very glad to be able to report that he is progressing favourably and remains exceedingly cheerful. Moreover, Heal says the Fiat is not broken beyond repair and should appear as good as new when

war is finished with. Incidentally, we wonder whether John Morris has applied for a petrol ration for the Benz—presumably to allow him his 200 miles recreation per month he would have to be allotted about 40 units !

The Bugatti Owners’ Club has closed down on activities, but hopes to issue a news-sheet at intervals, and is believed to have let Prescott ” for the duration,” which should assist the club financially. The Veteran C.C. has likewise suspended activities, issuing a final note requesting the safe storage of members’ pre-1904

cars. Jackie Masters has promised to notify members of the M.C.C. at once, should it be possible to resume activities His address is 22, Norland Square, W.11. The Liverpool M.C. has a new address : Pacific Building, 33, St. James Street, Liverpool, 2. The Leamington & D. M.C. and A.M.C.A. held socials every week throughout September. The C.S.M.A. has suspended its Gazette until further notice, but the Sunbeam M.C.C. hopes to get out a small bulletin and to hold

Saturday luncheons. The B.R.D.C. seems to have vanished since war began. The Harrow C.C. held an almost forgotten gymkhana in August, at which Lawson, Adams, Biggs, and Murkett were very much in the public eye. There seems to have been a universal change of cars, for Lawson and Adams used Vauxhalls, and Biggs a Lancia, though Murkett had his M. G.

GOOD NEWS INDEED if

It is announced that if Brooklands is not entirely taken over by the Military, it may be possible for the B.A.R.C. to hold a few socials at the Track. There is a plan afoot to institute a new Li Is. Od. subscription rate, the club house remaining open. Brooklauds Aero Club is closed. In the last war the Track was eventually closed to the public, and did not reopen until about eighteen months after the Armistice.

THE A.C.U.’s ATTITUDE

The A.U.C. has issued an official announcement to the effect that the organization so carefully and successfully built up for the encouragement and control

of the Sport should not now be allowed to crumble. No open events will be held and notice should be given of any proposed event that is not a purely local affair. Government sanctioned speedway racing,. if any, will be encouraged and approved by the A.C.U. This statement was signed by Col. Loughborough. Everyone will wish the R.A.C. to make a similar, and at least as lenient, announcement. We can see no reason why a few trials should not be held, for entry by hyper-enthusiasts. We believe some cinder tracks (motorcycle) will reopen, so at least open exhausts of a kind will be heard again.

WHAT OF THE A.R.P. SERVICES r

Now that so many civilians are engaged on driving of an adventurous and rapid nature in association with A.F.S., First Aid Party and Ambulance, etc., A.R.F. jobs of work, is it too much to hope that borough councils and local civic authorities may, if only once during the War,. hold contests of a motoring nature open to• such personnel ? Preferably speed trials,. for owners’ own vehicles. While association with A.R.P. drivers has emphasised to us in no uncertain fashion the vast difference between your true enthusiast and your merely competent, but disinterested, driver, it is feasible that quite a few depots could produce at least a solitary, candidate, to compete for interdepot or inter-town honours. This should be of sonic little interest to remaining drivers and personnel, and so might consolidate their keenness for their jobs. It should serve to show just how keen,. in the genuine motor-sporting sense, are these attractive and invariably betrousered young ladies who have joined

up as drivers. Personally, the writer has yet to discover one such who will enthuse over motoring, of the old, ordinary kind, immediately following a night shift on her ambulance . . . Reverting to the practicability and possibilities of such a scheme, inter army motoring events were not altogether unheard. of, last time. So is this a good idea, or merely something else in the ” what a hope” catagory ?

GENERAL NOTES

Well, of course, there’s not been anything like so much motoring of late. The experimental Austin took a violent dislike to its first ration of ” Pool” petrol, another Austin just flatly refused to. motor at all, although the head was. removed and the timing thoroughly checked by an expert, and so only the hack Austin saloon, with its lamps. suitably shrouded and obligingly giving its 45 m.p.g., could he used. Black-out driving has really proved very little trouble, except in heavy rain, and now we are hoping soon to experience another war-time set of conditions,. namely, dicing something rapid over empty roads in the winter sunshine. Quite obviously, enthusiasts remain.

enthusiasts, even with the world at war. Several M.G.s and that sort of thing have scurried through the gloom and we have noted quite a few old-school Bentleys, some striking modern Bentleys, including one driven by an R.A.F. Officer, two Amilcars and another Frazer-Nash. There was a Rover of something like 1915 vintage happily in action and a secondhand dealer had actually turned out a motor-cycle combination of the wicker.chair sidecar sort, alas, minus the engine. The idea occurs that enthusiasts might now get quite a lot of fun by buying old light cars of the 8/18 Talbot class and using them up to the end of the year. Dilligent search should reveal fascinating -old-timers already taxed for not very much more than the next quarter’s tax on the existing car, judging by the modern small cars at small dealers which, marked up at £50-65 before the war, are now going for ,420-130. Whereas in former times old cars gave you the added worry of ” tyres, spares, slowness and excess insurance,” with motoring curtailed to 200 -miles a month such things matter little and doubtless insurance companies will no longer quibble over Old vehicles. Some of the older coupes are very snug for shop-ping and theatre parties and you have no need to trouble about dented wings in the black-out. So I shall be interested to hear of such cars saved thus from being melted down as scrap, or of any that are

in need of a new War-time home. Incidentally, the older cars had an excellent reputation for fuel economy . . . A spot of A.R.P. work, at a stretcherparty depot equipped with Austin Twelve and Eighteen saloons and Morris Ten and Twelve saloons has not been without lighter moments. From the discovery that it is possible to drive in a gas-mask, even wearing glasses, to hectic practice dashes in mass-formation along the local main roads . . . The writer is no end bucked at having been mildly remonstrated with for driving bac) fast. and along a private road at that, on what was patently a timed test, and it gives food for thought to compare the incomes of men like Nuvolati with the rate of pay offered to local, full-time drivers— about 80. an hour I There are the minor excitements such as the driver who cannot commence his engine on a test-call because he has forgotten to switch on the ignition, the car which goes off uhly choked, to crawl in with sooted plugs, and the crew which gets hopelessly lost on a practice spin in full gas-kit, having to not only alight, but partially disrobe, before any member of the public can be called upon for directions. Although no well known racing men are amongst us, there is he who always goes over to the I.O.M. for the Motor-Cycle T. P. races and whose motoring experience extends back as far as the days of the Tamplin cyclecar and there is a gentleman who used to be a tester for General Motors, though he is now a singer by profession. Of the rest, clerks, commercial travellers, taxi-drivers, sweep, cattle

slaughterer, mu.sici 01, waiter, lorry driver, barber, journalist, builder and the rest, happily occupy the cars and depot together, some on twenty-four hours’ continuous duty. Nor is it all play, for you are expected to pass a First Aid examination and I would far rather study torsional vibration in crankshafts, any day . . .

FURTHER CLUB NEWS

Although the N.W. L.M.C. is suspending activities, they deserve congratulations for producing a last, and rather dramatised. issue of the ” Gazette.” It contains an account of Paul Hardy’s Continental holiday with a Hillman Minx, in company with V. S. A. Biggs and his new Allard, and reports of two events by “Time Umbrella Man “—we have just guessed his identity. Have you ?

Ilford M.C. & L.C.C. is staging socials at the ” Golden Fleece,” Wamstead Flats On Thursdays and at the ” White Heart,” Abridge at 11 a.m. every Sunday.

The West Middlesex Amateur M.C.C. proposes Sunday morning meetings at the ” Myna. Arms,” Western Avenue, Perivale, and announces a new secretary : E. J. Thurston, 22, Evelyn Drive, Pinner.