Club News, November 1947

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36

We Hear
J. Lindsay Hatchett has an overhauled 1922 G.N. chassis, with twin Amal track-racing carburetters and two-plug alloy-bronze heads, for disposal for £50, including another engine and miscellaneous spares. V. Jones is constructing a “special” with 7 ft. 1 in. wheelbase chassis outrigged and underslung at the rear, with pre-selector gearbox from an N-type M.G. Magnette and a 1934 Riley “Twelve-Six” engine. He contemplates fitting two S.U.s, but craves advice about how to carburate these engines. Jones’ job is testing modern Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars, but his brother, out in the Persian Gulf with the Texas Oil Co., is less fortunate and misses his 1985 Lagonda Rapier 2-seater which he sold three years ago; he seems to have relieved his pent-up enthusiasm on a Ford V8 30, as he reports it as having thrown a rod while accelerating on the indirect ratios! Norman Routledge, apart from an addition to his family, has his AC-Alvis “Special” on the road and gets something like 0-50 m.p.h. in ten seconds, using a 4.77 to 1 Alvis rear axle, 6.00 by 20 rear tyres and two S.U.s under the bonnet. Two Gwynne Eight engines and a back axle are, or were, available in Dorchester. A 1913-14 9.2 h.p. Alldays Midget is available in Bangor, on which quite a lot of reconditioning has been done, so that someone may care to complete the job during the dark days ahead. The owner cannot keep the thing, but is most concerned that it shall not be broken up. He has fitted new main-bearing ball-races, and overhauled steering, transmission and rear axle, as well as rebuilding the wheels to take 3.50 by 19 heavy duty tyres. He asks £30, newly shod, or £15 less these useful tyres and tubes. It seems that the Pescara mentioned in the September issue is not one of the racing cars that ran at Shelsley Walsh in pre-war days, but is the mysterious sports 2-seater Pekora which appeared in the spectators’ car park at Brooklands before the war and which we illustrated in Motor Sport in the April 1945 issue. E. J. Attsee and a friend have sent in details of the car, which is now being rebuilt in a Midlands garage and was seen recently in Ashby de la Zouch. Made by Pekora & Spole, the engine appears to be an American 3.7-litre straight-eight of 70 by 120 mm. (25 h.p.) off-set about 2 1/2 in. to the off side of the chassis. Ignition is by Bosch distributor and Lucas coil and fuel feed is by S.U. pump. There is an external exhaust system with cut-out. A unit 3-speed gearbox, now with remote control, is used, the wheelbase is considerable, and suspension is by 1/2-elliptic springs all round, damped at the front by modern hydraulic shock-absorbers. The Wagner hydraulic brake system now incorporates a Lockheed master cylinder and the brakes are expanding at the rear, contracting at the front. Left-hand steering with a folding wheel, and stud-held wire wheels are other features and the body comprises two seats with a luggage trunk behind them and two fuel tanks, a rectangular one with a bolster tank above it, behind that. The radiator is well behind the I-section front axle, Marchal headlamps are fitted, the rev.counter reads to 4,000 r.p.m., and tyre size is 6.50 by 19. The present owner reports such low gearing that no hill has yet pulled him off top gear. This interesting car is of Czechoslovakian origin.

John Bolster has disposed of his all-metal “Bloody Mary” chassis and Mercury engine to Norman Cassey.

Victor Axel-Berg has left for Kenya to take up agricultural pursuits there, so is selling his 12-h.p. Bean coupé and Riley Special, the latter through Tim Carson. But he is having his 3-litre Sunbeam shipped out to him. Goodey is running a vintage sleeve-valve, four-cylinder Panhard and Levassor lorry. A 1925-6 Anzani-engined G.N. with sound b.e. tyres and a home-mande body, but sans lamps, wings or dynamo, is, or was, for sale for £25 in Gosport. An odd veteran 4-cylinder engine, with exposed flywheel at the front, barrel-shape light-alloy crankcase and gearbox, cylinders cast in pairs, and fan drive by flat belt, is reported in a breaker’s yard — does anyone recognise the make? Marcus Chambers has left the North Downs Engineering Co. and is for the time being acting as consultant from his home address. J. C. Kavanagh is overhauling a 1923 “12/40” Alvis with the polished aluminium duck’s-back sports body, having decided that it is far superior to the average run of small saloon. He would be glad to hear from any former owners of YA 5620. Squadron-Leader Whittome has recently acquired an S.S. “38/250” Mercédèz-Benz and Lestor Evans a 1934 Talbot 95 drophead coupé. Then R. H. Johnson also has an S.S. “38/250” 1980 2-seater Mercédès-Benz, previously owned by Lt.-Comdr. B. du Boulay, and he craves data and an instruction book. Amongst the vintage motor-cycles seen in action recently were a Ner-a-Car with bearded rider in Towcester, and a V-twin belt-drive solo Rudge and an early Triumph combination, in London. We suspect these have no associations with the V.M.C.C., but they offer an economical means of burning any supplementary petrol one gets nowadays — it may not be generally known that the quarterly tax on a pre-1938 machine of over 250 c.c. which weighs under 225 lb. is 10s. 4d., against £1 0s. 8d. for later machines. The V.M.C.C. expects that, as during the war, its members will rebuild old machines throughout this period of gloom and certainly motor-cycles are more easily moved about by train and carrier than are historic motor-cars. Interesting encounters recently have been another of the push-rod, four-cylinder flat-radiator Alfa-Romeos, with home-brewed 2-seater body, at the Southsea M.C. speed trials, a well-preserved Hadfield Bean four-seater in Isleworth, an early Singer Ten 4-seater in Hampshire, a fine “37.2” touring Hispano-Suiza and one of the first Triumph Super Seven Saloons, with artillery wheels, Yet another person who is anxious to build up a G.N.. is S. Clarke, of Burnham-on-Crouch, who remarks that years back he ran several and “had some good fun.”

The 4-litre E.R.A. engine has cropped up again and Aubrey Gill, who has found many parts of it, wants to contact Harry Munday, whom he believes has the test data for it. Any clues? Apparently Gill hopes to put the engine, when assembled, into a suitable chassis to make a road car, but remarks that he may be too old by the time “basic” returns. A saveable R.H.2 straight-eight Ballot chassis, less carburetter and magneto, lies in Trent’s yard at Parkstone, Jesty informs us, and there, also, are a few parts of an Alldays Midget. An S.P.A., said to be pre-1904 or thereabouts and mentioned before in these notes, is available in the Midlands, and some more Gwynne Eight engine parts have cropped up near Royston. Lt. I. S. S. Mackay, R.N., is thinking of disposing of his 2-litre Lagonda, which is believed to have been driven by Brian Lewis in the 1929 Six Hour Sports Car Race at Brooklands. Lt.-Comdr. Horncastle, R.N., hopes to take his Lancia “Lambda” drophead coupé with him when he leaves for Malta, but will store his ex-Heath “30/98” Vauxhall in this country. Arising out of our Quiz-picture in the September Motor Sport, Laurence Pomeroy has sent us some most interesting drawings of the two-stroke Zoller racing car, as his contribution to the (correct) solution! Guy Griffiths has used a variety of cars to attend this year’s meetings, including “Speed Twenty” Alvis saloon, Flying Standard saloon and Lancia “Augusta” drophead.

Crowley Milling is slowly restoring to good order the 1921 3-litre Ballot racing car he bought from Heal, hoping to run it in future sprint events. At present his electric motorcycle is a more practical mount; it consists of a Francis Barnet frame driven via a free-wheel by a “Silver Ghost” Rolls-Royce starter motor fed by two 12-volt batteries. A well-kept 1920 Buick and “21/70” Alfa-Romeo Mulliner saloon are available in the north, where a 1912 Iris has also been noticed.

As usual, a representative gathering of vintage cars turned up at the “Phoenix” on October 2nd, including an Aston-Martin-engined Lombard, which, unfortunately, ran a camshaft bearing and cooked a cam. Allen has sold his vintage Enfield Alldays to his brother and disposed of his A.B.C. motorcycle, in order to concentrate on his R.B., forerunner of the Bertelli Aston-Martins. A 7.5-h.p. Citroen van is in regular use in London. Capt. C. S. Maple has sold his “12/50” beetle-back Alvis to Lacy and acquired a 1930-31 “International” Aston-Martin. He remarks that abolition of “basic” is a terrible blow and hopes Motor Sport, “the last remaining pleasure,” will continue. D. Jarvis has an Allard coupé on order. Kellaway has acquired a 1923 “Silver Ghost” Rolls-Royce tourer with only 8,000 miles to its credit, the car having been laid-up since 1928.

P. Friston is rebuilding a 1929 “G.P. Special” Salmson with the 3-bearing, tubular con.-rod engine and seeks valve-timing data, etc., while Trevor Caley runs a 1925 1 1/2-litre O.M. 2-seater and a friend of his uncle’s a very fine 1905 single-cylinder Rover.

On a Happier Note
From the September issue of the V.S.C.C.’s “Bulletin,” re Gransden: “The takings were disappointing in that experienced judges put the number of spectators at ten to fifteen thousand, whereas the paid admissions recorded by National Car Parks amounted to only five thousand. We were, nevertheless, able to send five hundred guineas to the Flood Victims’ Relief Fund, which was the charity selected by R.A.F. Bomber Command to benefit from the meeting.” So motor-racing does do good, after all

B.O.C.
The September issue of Bugantics, the beautifully produced Bugatti Owners’ Club magazine, contains interesting reports of Prescott meetings, illustrated by Griffiths’ photographs. Ten new members have been elected recently, including one lady. The Club abandoned last month’s Welsh Trial in view of the lack of “basic,” but plans definitely to hold Prescott meetings next year, come what may, meeting trains at Cheltenham and presumably conveying members to the hill by coach and taxi, the racing cars running on methanol. This is absolutely the spirit! Hon. Sec. Lt.-Col. Hayward Browne, Little Chantry, Winchcombe, Glos.

V.S.C.C.
Another issue of the always-welcome Vintage Sports Car Club Bulletin appeared late in September and contained well-worded accounts, from the inside angle, of Gransden and other notable meetings, illustrated by Klemantaski’s photographs. Incidentally, not only are these Bulletins most enjoyable, but a “favourable mention” therein is regarded as almost as good as winning a prize; Clutton does a grand job getting this publication out and we look forward to the next issue, due around Christmas time. The President of the V.S.C.C. urges members to protest to their M.P.s about abolition of the “basic” ration and the Club is joining the R.A.C. in a general protest. The Club will carry on with socials at different venues and hopes to put on a film show in London on November 18th. Whether petrol is restored or not, a speed trial at a new 1-mile course is planned for next Easter Monday. Meanwhile, the meetings on the first Thursday evening in the month at the “Phoenix,” Hartley Wintney, will go on and this month and thereafter the 5.9, 6.9 and 6.54 p.m. trains from Waterloo will be met at Winchfield Station. Hon. Sec. T. W. Carson, “Mellaha,” Park Lane, Kempshott, Basingstoke, Hants.

A Reply
Since stating in our last issue that two letters to our M.P. about the “basic” petrol injustice had not been replied to, we have had belated answers. We are pleased to be able to announce that in his replies our M.P. states that he is fully aware of the serious aspect of this matter. He emphasises that in August, 1946, the ration was raised by a half, in August, 1947, a cut of one-third was announced and later the same month it was announced that “basic” would be abolished altogether, this important Order being made at a time when the House of Commons was not sitting and the Government could not be challenged on the issue. The letter continues to the effect that the estimated number of cars which will be put off the road is 900,000 and this will release large sums of money and will add its quota to the general inflation, which is continually being encouraged instead of suppressed by the Government. We were assured that the Opposition would raise the whole question on the floor of the House of Commons at the next opportunity.

Hants & Berks M.C.
This Club’s last “Bulletin” announced that some sort of limited activity will be maintained during the “dry period” and that the 7s. 6d. subscription will be extended to cover more than a year’s membership if “basic” or ration-free petrol has not been restored by the next subscription date. Meetings are held on the evening of the last Friday of each month at the “New Inn,” Eversley. Silver-plated and art-enamelled badges are now available. Hon. Sec.: C. H. Bulmer, Farnborough Grange Hostel, Farnborough, Hants.

The annual dinner and film show was held on October 16th at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Caversham. Leithart took the chair, and the other speakers were S. C. H. Davis, Onslow Bartlett, Holland Birkett and Pat Whittet. Davis spoke encouragingly on the future of the Sport in the face of prevailing and forthcoming difficulties, Onslow Bartlett replied for the guests, who included Douglas Tubbs and Mr. and Mrs. W. Boddy, and Whittet addressed the Club on the subject of the “basic” ban. A pleasant evening concluded with a show of films by Anthony Curtis of motor-cars going more rapidly than most.

J.C.C.
A Junior Car Club buffet dance will be held at Grosvenor House from 8-12 midnight, on November 7th. No evening dress. Tickets 21s. each. The Duke and Duchess of Richmond will attend. General Sec.: H. J. Morgan, Room 108, Melbourne House, London, W.C.2.

Ulster A.C.
The Ulster A.C. is to be congratulated on its September “Ulster Motoring Review,” which contains many excellent and new photographs of the Ulster Trophy Races and Craigantlet, including supplements giving all lap-times in the former and full results of the latter — all just as this Club used to do before the war; 42 new members have been elected recently. There is just as much anxiety over the cancellation of private motoring in Ireland as there is here.

S.C.C. of A.
The Sports Car Club of America’s “Sports Car” gets better and better. That for July-August features a fine photograph of a Type 35A G.P. Bugatti on the cover and contains a history of Hispano-Suiza by Alec Ulmann, an article on Rotary Valve Engines by John Lincoln, some notes on the Automobile Racing Car Club of America and that excellent feature, dubbed “The Cutout,” in which news of members’ cars is given under make-headings. From this journal we learn that Woolf Barnato has presented his 1929 Le Mans Trophy to Jack Stack and that a fantastic speed trial was held on the Pennsylvania Turnpike road, braving the police, in which Exner’s 5 1/2-litre Indianapolis Studebaker apparently averaged 105 m.p.h. for 15 miles, Garthwaite’s Type 43A Bugatti and Milliken’s Type 35A Bugatti being runners-up. As the report remarks: “Who was it said that Bugattis always fly apart?” We like the bit about the Duesenberg’s con.-rod that punched all manner of holes “in the pan and block.” An obituary to Bugatti is included. 17 new members have been elected recently, their cars including Type 38 Bugatti, 4 1/2-litre blower Bentley, TC M.G., S.S.I., B.M.W., 2-litre M.G., Indianapolis Miller-Duesenberg, 500K Mercédès-Benz, Singer 9, Jaguar, more G.P. Bugattis, Alfa-Romeo, Lagonda, PA M.G., Atalanta and 1912 racing Moon. Plans are in hand for next year’s rally to Indianapolis,

V.C.C.
The Veteran Car Club has decided to hold a social in London on the day when the London-Brighton run would normally have been run. It intends to hold similar meetings during the dry-tank era. It has just issued a book listing the names and addresses of its 418 members and their cars.

B.D.C.
The Bentley Drivers’ Club annual dinner and dance was, as usual, quite something. A special feeding licence having been obtained, 300 persons were able to attend, coming from as far afield as Cornwall, Devon, Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Midlands. Amongst the celebrities present were W. O. Bentley, announced during the evening as elected Patron of the Club, Wing-Comdr. Woolf Barnato, S. C. H. Davis, Clive Gallop, Bertie Moir and Capt. Minchin of the Metropolitan Police. In the course of the evening a curious circuit of the ballroom was undertaken by Marechal on a child’s tricycle, Vaughan Davis on a racing cycle, Graig on a touring bicycle, Stanhouse on roller skates, Gregory first on a penny-farthing, then on an ogo-pogo stick, im Thurn in an invalid’s chair propelled by Johnny Grain, Mountfort in a pedal car and Mertens on a stretcher suffering from methanol poisoning! Three Bentleys were on view, Rose’s 4 1/2-litre (which ran in the 1928 and 1929 Le Mans races, and which finished 2nd in the 1929 “Double Twelve” at 81.39 m.p.h., driven by Davis and Gunter), Percy’s “Speed Six,” which was 2nd at Le Mans in 1930 and, driven by Clement and Barnato, won the “Double Twelve” that year at 86.68 m.p.h. and Forrest Lycett’s 8-litre, that needs no introduction. Concerning the B.D.C.’s announcement that it will continue its meetings, even if they have to happen at main-line railway stations, we hope a Bentley radiator on a guard’s trolley will precede each gathering, and cannot we have at least one natter and noggin in the warmth and movement of an Inner Circle train, please, Mr. Sedgwick?

Morgan 3-Wheeler Club
The A.G.M. of Morgan Three Wheeler Club was held at the Pilot Hotel, Coventry, on September 27th and 28th. A large gathering enjoyed a social and dance, members turning up from all parts of the country. The Morgans of all types and ages that attended were most impressive. Business included election of officers and was followed by distribution of awards.

Hon. Sec.: G. Evans, 19, Chestnut Walk, Worcester.

Lagonda Car Club
The First Rally of the recently reformed Lagonda Car Club took place in Bournemouth on September 27th/28th. A representative gathering of Lagonda cars assembled at the Woodcroft Tower Hotel on the Saturday where they were served with a practically pre-war tea on the lawn. After being settled for the night in and around Woodcroft Tower the members of the Club dined and danced at Cranbourne Hall Hotel. Sunday morning there was a delightful run in the less frequented parts of the New Forest, in which some thirty to thirty-five cars took part and which included a call at the St. Leonards Hotel, which is famed for its Battle of Britain associations, and where the excellent thirsts that had developed during the run were appeased. After lunch at Cr anbourne Hall members returned to Woodcroft Tower to meet an unexpected guest in the shape of the 1905 Lagonda which was kindly loaned to the Club for the afternoon by Mr. Alan P. Good. This Lagonda was the centre of admiration and started — and ran — in the true Lagonda style! At the meeting which followed it was decided that there should be a Dinner and Dance in London in the early New Year. Details of this function will be forwarded on application to the Hon. Sec.: Mrs. V. I. Davies, Range House, Shepperton-onThames, from whom membership forms for the Club can be obtained.

N.L.E.C.C.
The meeting on October 9th was exceedingly well attended and Mr. R. L. Walkerley gave an excellent talk on the past season’s racing, together with over 50 slides showing incidents in practically all the main events, sketch maps of the circuits, and some of the more outstanding cars of the season.

Before showing the slides, Mr. Walkerley touched upon the manner in which the full Grand Prix type of race had developed in 1947, with distances approaching 300 miles or over, in contrast to 1946, when most races were run in heats and a final, and when the average for all races worked out at 64 m.p.h. He emphasised the thoroughness of the preparation of the Alfa-Romeo concern, and the great difficulties which British entrants had to face especially when racing on the Continent, in which case the impossibility of tuning and practising on the fuel allocated for the race resulted in overwhelming carburetter troubles, and worse.

The races shown on the screen, and to which Mr. Walkerley referred in detail, included: Jersey, Swiss G.P., Rheims, Albi, Nice, Isle of Man, Italian and French G.P.s, and these were followed by descriptions and shots of some of the year’s outstanding cars, which comprised: Raymond Mays’ D-type E.R.A., Whitehead’s E-type E.R.A., the Challenger, the Emeryson, Woodall’s Delage, Kantz in the 3-litre U/s Delage, Chiron’s “4 1/2” Talbot, the “3.6” Delahaye, Parnell in the 16-valve Maserati and Ansell’s similar car, Villoresi’s and Sommer’s two-stage Maseratis, the Type 158 Alfa-Romeo (this was considered the most outstanding car of the year, and has not yet been fully extended. Roadholding and braking are no less spectacular than speed), the Simca, the Cisitalia and the C.T.A.-Arsenal.

Question time followed the interval. Phillip Turner askell Mr. Walkerley for his opinion why accidents to spectators should have been rather to the fore this season, and in reply, Mr. Walkerley said it was very hard to a ascribe any reason but certainly the crowds had been generally larger than pre-war; also, as compared with England, people on the Continent take little notice of the police, whilst the protective barriers erected by race organisers on the Continent are not nearly so strong as the R.A.C. would stipulate in this country.

Mr. John Eason Gibson spoke for a short time. He considered the two most outstanding drivers to be Wimille and Sommer. He explained that most British drivers today had not the experience of some of the Continentals, such as Chiron in particular, and also they were handicapped by the lack of a circuit and adequate equipment. This latter point was also brought out by Mr. Norman Black. Members of the Chiltern .C.C. were present.

General Notes
There doesn’t seem to have been much unusual motoring recently and there will be precious little to come in future by the look of things. But the ease with which a modern Austin Ten saloon took us to Shelsley Walsh and back is remembered; and then there was a two-day jaunt up to Yorkshire and back. For the latter journey we went as passenger and spare driver in an almost brand-new Bradford Utility. Leaving Hampshire at 12.45 p.m. we progressed via Twyford and Marlow to High Wycombe, taking a gated road past the Disraeli estate, en route. A hurried lunch and we were on our way, the Bradford, well-loaded and three-up, getting along nobly at anything up to 50 m.p.h., with notable economy. It was standard except for the addition of a water thermometer and vacuum gauge and it was rather jolly to realise that beneath its modern exterior and appointments fluttered thy self-same flat-twin (with mod.cons., of course) that aeons ago earned the title of “the little engine with the big pull.” This Bradford, indeed, pulled very well that sleepy, overcast afternoon, as we headed it by way of Aylesbury, Leighton Buzzard, Woburn. Newport Pagnell (where Tickford bodies and N.P. cars used to come from), Olney, Kettering, Uppingham, and so to Oakham, where courteous policemen showed us how to turn off beside the railway to reach Stretton and the Great North Road. Tea was snatched amongst the lorry drivers, near Grantham, where blunt conversations seemed to be universally, perhaps surprisingly, and certainly satisfyingly, hostile to present-day control and restrictions. After this it was a case of motoring on through Newark, Doncaster and Aberford, until we turned off left at Wetherby by that burned-out factory, carefully avoiding that piece of masonry which protrudes into the road to catch the unwary in times of fog. The estate where those excellent Wetherby speed trials used to be held lay directly behind us. Somewhere about 8.15 p.m. we fetched up in Harrogate, lights twinkling across the Stray, and roads and pavements wet after rain, so badly needed further south. After inspecting the cars we had come to see and visiting a friend who motors in an open “Speed Twenty” Alvis and is building-up a twin-gearbox Austin Seven, we managed, a few minutes before midnight, to persuade an hotel to accommodate us.

Breakfast was enlivened by a discussion about the various things that one can manipulate in Austin Sevens to make them better than original and then we set about getting two examples of this immortal motor-car on the train and preparing one of the orange T.T. team cars for its long tow home. A garage where resides a Cottin et Desgoutte and (for sale) an Amilcar, proved most helpful and before 3 p.m. we were away. Frequent stops to repair the tow rope were necessitated by the lack of brakes on the little orange car we had hitched behind the ever-willing Bradford, and heavy rain came to add to the discomfort and render Doncaster very sombre-looking indeed.However, a new rope worked wonders and, leaving “A1” just beyond Bawtry, we made the most of the fast-fading light to the Six Hills Inn. Refreshed, the writer donned a sodden Sidcot, tied a towel round his neck, and took his place in the towed Austin. Most of you know the agony of the thing — the cold, the rain, the gradual cramp, and the all-important necessity of keeping at bay the desire to sleep. Downhill, the back of the Bradford would become one’s sole interest, as, brakes hard on, the Austin rushed closer and closer to it. Uphill one could relax a bit, until the red lamp before one suddenly shot this way and that and one strove madly to follow it through the bends. Dreamy, deserted towns came and went, scarcely heeded — Oakham, Uppingham, Kettering, Wellingborough and, at last, more familiar places such as Leighton Buzzard and Aylesbury. Pausing for a breather, one pulled back a damp cuff and one’s watch said 1.40 a.m., still with well over 30 miles to go. So it was a case of pressing on, the air now frosty, causing concern to a dubious tooth, cramp now sharply definable above the general discomfort, and heavy objects such as chestnuts showering down from every group of trees that arched the road, to wake one with a start from a dangerous and uneasy slumber. The experience was unpleasant in the extreme, yet desirable, for some sort of hardening-up process is beneficial to us all. But what wouldn’t I have given to have changed places in that badly braked, harshly-sprung, cramped little car with one of those smartly-garbed persons who look down a scornful nose at motoring types, or, better still, with certain of our politicians.