We are always pleased to hear of a racing car in retirement, and recently the Editor went up to Berkhamsted to inspect a mysterious “Parry-Thomas-Special.” This car had belonged to Chetwynd-Stapleton and is now owned by E. Ballam, who is overhauling it. The chassis passes under the axle at the rear and has liberally-drilled side members and pedals. Front suspension is by 1/2-elliptic springs and the rear axle is carried on 1/4-elliptics and located by curiously long arms which pivot at the rear of the gearbox. The front brakes are hydraulic, probably from an early Chrysler. A rakish 2-seater body is fitted. The engine is obviously a Thomas creation, being a Type 2L, No. 3, Peter Hooker 4-cylinder, like a scaled-down Leyland Eight. It has the same ingenious valve gear, with one cam serving two inclined valves per cylinder, closed by a leaf spring bridging the stems. The o.h. amshaft is driven from the rear of the crankshaft by the famous eccentric drive, in this case with two coupling rods. The magneto is on the off side, the water pump on the near side, driven by short shafts from gears engaging the reduction gearing for the lower eccentric. The plugs, horizontal in the off side of the head, appear to be ahead of the combustion chambers, but communicate via long passages. The connecting rods are tubular, and the crankshaft runs in two plain bearings, with an additional bearing aft of the timing gears. A Solex carburetter feeds into a 2-branch manifold on the off side and there are four separate exhaust pipes on the near side, feeding into a pseudo Brooklands’ silencer. The gearbox is controlled by a cranked, central lever and wire wheels, of early Alvis type but with “H” on the front hubs, carry 4.50 in. by 21 in. tyres. The sloping radiator is cowled in.
At first we were at a loss to place this car. Then our interview with Felix Scriven (Motor Sport, April, 1946) came to mind. Scriven’s own “Special” was very low, and for it Parry Thomas sold him an engine. The very long starting handle and space before the engine of Ballam’s car suggest that Scriven found the Thomas engine more compact than the Sage he used formerly. The scuttle fuel tank has a union and large tap, like the one Scriven described as used for tests with different “dope” fuels, being easy to drain. There is a fire extinguisher outside — and after the car was burnt-out, Scriven told us he always carried one in this position. So this would seem to be none other than “No, No, Nanette” with which Scriven won a 1926 90-m.p.h. Long Handicap at 90.22 m.p.h.. and with the engine from Thomas’s famous 4-cylinder Thomas-Special. The engine shows signs of a bad blow-up at one time. The name on the cowl and the Nurburg Ring badge on the facia are additions after Scriven’s time.