Veteran-Edwardian-Vintage and Vintage Postbag
A Section Devoted to Old Car Matters
50th Anniversary Model-T Ford Rally
The first model-T Ford, the car which opened up the back routes of the American continent, appeared in 1908 but production did not get into its stride until 1909, leading to a run of over 15-million of these remarkable cars, all with transverse springing, two-speed foot-controlled epicyclic transmission, ignition by flywheel magneto and trembler coils, hand throttle and rear-wheel brakes.
It was a happy idea of Lord Montagu's to organise an anniversary rally for model-Ts at the Montagu Motor Museum on "Battle of Britain" Sunday.
On this beautiful day 24 model-T Fords assembled in a special enclosure to take part in a Concours d'Elegance and later a parade through the grounds of Palace House. They ranged from two 1911 tourers to the well-known 1926 Wall's 1-ton ice-cream van. Most of the cars were beautifully turned out but Hammond's 1911 model had obviously seen hard service, although its scruffy appearance was offset by the smart sunshade used by its lady passenger.
The entry was divided into "brass," "black" and "commercial," brass implying the pre-September 1916 square-radiator cars, black the later vehicles, although these included some with plated and one with a replacement radiator. In fact, a dozen pre-1919 Fords were present, excluding Stay's 1923 van which masquerades with a square brass radiator.
Almost every class of body except the two-seater was represented, E. Stevens' 1920 sedan with one door on each side serving as access to front and back compartments, aided by fully-folding front seats, being particularly choice, while G. Stevens' 1-ton open-sided butcher's van was very nicely lettered. Examination of the assembled model-Ts brought back memories of notable changes in specification down the years. Thus the earliest cars had gas headlamps (in some cases with electric conversion) and oil side lamps, the latter persisting into the 'twenties on the commercial vehicles, and three of the oldest models present had the wooden coil box, although Hammond's 1911 car appeared to be unauthentic in this respect, as it used the black metal box which didn't appear until 1913. It was encouraging to find that only three engines had the h.t. magneto conversion and that nearly all retained the flywheel magneto, while the majority appeared to be on the correct trembler coils, which, incidentally, Ford still manufacture! If some of the coil boxes above the feet of the front-seat occupants concealed modern h.t. coils the fact wasn't broadcast!
The model-T was essentially a utilitarian vehicle, although one made of first-class materials, so that doors were rare (although two four-door tourers were present), only a few had speedometers, fewer still self-starters or dynamos, and many were equipped with those insignificant dull black oil side lanterns. A pleasing feature was the designation of the total mileage reading on some of the early Stewart as "season's mileage," that on English's 1913 tourer standing at 16,107 miles. Cobbing's interesting all-weather, entered as a 1922 model but more likely 1926 by reason of its coil box being mounted on the engine, had only just been unearthed. It was in splendid fettle and had run only 7,086 miles since new. It was very well equipped, even to a proprietary steering wheel arranged to slide upwards to facilitate entry to the driver's seat. Most of the Fords arrived under their own power, E. Stevens' 1920 sedan all the way from Plymouth, while Brewster's 8-cwt. 1922 van* was driven 105 miles to Beaulieu and Watts' 1922 yellow rear-entrance 'bus travelled slowly up from Gloucestershire. On the other hand, Irving Cosgrove's 1915 landaulette lives in the Museum.
The details of the Fords which celebrated model-T's 50th anniversary are so interesting that we-publish a table on page 870 giving some further details, from which the experts will be able to judge which cars were fully authentic.
In his speech of welcome Lord Montagu said he hoped a model-T Register might be formed and certainly there must be a great many more of these immortal vehicles which did not appear at Beaulieu on September 20th -- the writer recalled six which existed in the London area alone within the last year or so. A distance rally in which unrestored specimens could compete without shame might bring forth a larger collection. But this Anniversary Rally was indeed a happy occasion, watched by an enthralled crowd as the Fords groaned and whirred over the gracious lawns before Palace House for the presentation of prizes. As we were jolted along in the back of the Museum 'bus the mind went back readily to an age when model-Ts rolled along the dusty, deserted lanes of an England sans concrete, sans kerbstones, sans hideous lamp-posts, when country was sharply divided from town, an age devoid of the hustle, the bustle, and the artificiality of today.
Another anniversary which Lord Montagu of Beaulieu had not overlooked was that commemorating the Battle of Britain, and it was a splendid gesture that during the afternoon the engine of the Museum Supermarine Spitfire fighter was started up (by F. M. Wilcock, its former owner) and a wreath laid on it by Group/Capt. Ford in memory of "The Few" who won our freedom in those pugnacious aeroplanes -- W. B.
*[Surely 7 cwt. when I was a boy? -- Ed.]
Ford Cup (best model-T present): V. E. Brewster (1922 8-cwt. van).
Montagu Cup (best brass-radiator model): E. C. Preater (1915 tourer).
Martini Cup (best black-radiator model): E. W. R. Stevens (1920 sedan).
H.C.V.C. Cup (best commercial model): R. Stay (1923 8-cwt. van).
V.S.C.C. Madresfield Rally (September 13th)
First-Class Awards: D. Walters (1930 Riley), L. Hardy (1926 Delage), A. E. Alexander (1926/9 Frazer Nash), Lt.-Cmdr. Dymock-Maunsell (1934 Rolls-Royce), W. Bradley (1934 Frazer Nash) and S. A. Beasley (1937 H.R.G.).
Second-Class Awards: D. A. Newbury (1929 Standard) and C. Clutton (1928 Bugatti).
Third-Class Awards: A. D. Jones (1929 Austin).
Best Edwardian: F. Smith (1914 Darracq).
Best Closed Car: L. Hardy (1926 Delage).
Best Frazer Nash: W. Bradley (1934 Fraser Nash).
Best Light Car: A. D. Jones (1929 Austin).
Best Rolls-Royce: Lt.-Crndr. Dymock-Maunsell (1934 Rolls-Royce).
Concours Winner: J. C. Broadhead (1924 Vauxhall).
Best Private Team: W. Bradley, D. P. Harris (Frazer Nashes), and S. A. Beasley (H.R.G.).
Regional Team Markings: South, 418; S. West, 391; Midlands, 380; North, 333½.
Future V.S.C.C. Fixtures are the Northern Trial on November 28th, and a Show of Colour Transparencies at the Freemasons' Arms, Hampstead, at 7.30 p.m. (approx.) on October 29th.
V.S.C.C. Presteigne Week-End (October 3rd/4th)
Presteigne Trophy: J. W. Rowley (1927 Vauxhall).
Class I: First-Class Award: F. Smith (1914 Darracq). Second-Class Award: C. J. Bendall (1912 Austrian Daimler).
Class II (Regularity): First-Class Awards: A. C. M. Millar (1925 Sunbeam) and H. Clarke (1925 Alvis). Second-Class Awards: M. E. F. Howarth (1925 Lancia) and D. R. T. Dighton (1928 Humber). Third-Class Awards: C. Nicholson (1929 Lancia) and R. F. D. Bradshaw (1930 Lea-Francis).
Class III (Trial): First-Class Awards: G. C. McDonald (1930 Bentley), S. R. Waine (1930 Alvis), D. P. Harris (1926 Frazer Nash) and J. M. Hinchliffe (1930 Ulster Austin). Second-Class Awards: D. K. Brown (1926 Alvis), M. B. Bullett (1929 Alvis), C. W. Morgan (1930 Austin) and R. G. Winder (1923 Austin). Third Class Awards: J. Berrisford (1925 Alvis), H. Spence (1930 Lea-Francis), W. H. Blunt (1923 Rolls-Royce) and F. E. Day (1929 Bentley).
The course was, of course, completely dry and there was an entry of 73, a record.
A Useful Present
Those who are about to break the news to the wife or girl-friend that "I shall be late again at the Show tonight, dear," may find the "Classic Car" brooches made by Richard E. V. Gomm, 63, Ford Street, Hockley, Birmingham 18, useful objects of appeasement. They are available with attractive 1927 Type 35 Bugatti and 1959 F.1 Ferrari motifs, in jewellers' enamel, and F.1 Cooper and other cars will be added in due course. These brooches cost 4s. each, and key-chains are also available, at 6s. each.
Between November 1959 and April 1960, Mr. C. John Coleman is to attempt to drive overland from Buenos Aires to New York, a distance of approximately eight thousand miles, in a 1925 Austin Seven Chummy. His route will embrace fourteen countries --Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica. Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States of America.
This enterprising trip in a vintage car is being sponsored by the Montagu Motor Museum, to whom the vehicle is on loan, and the car will be displayed at Beaulieu on completion of the journey. They consider this is a particularly opportune moment for such a venture, coinciding as it does with the introduction of an entirely new and advanced Austin Se7en. In addition to the Museum's sponsorship, several British commercial firms are lending active support. Mr. Coleman's car is a very largely original example with no modern components incorporated.
Vintage Morgan three-wheelers seem to be emerging from obscurity. The example we referred to recently as in process of restoration turns out to be a 1914, not a 1913 model; a 1926 air-cooled s.v. J.A.P.-engined Morgan exists at a garage in Wales and is likely to be tidied-up; we believe a very early Family Morgan with a broken starting-handle bracket and modified bonnet is still tucked away in a shed on the South Coast; and another extremely early air-cooled side-valve touring two-seater was encountered -- believe it or not -- motoring healthily round Hyde Park Corner a few days ago.
A reader has sent us two pictures of a disc-wheeled 14/40 Vauxhall two-seater, of which he believes the Reg. No. was XW5863. If the present owner of this car would like these pictures we should be pleased to forward them.
We hear that two more of those vintage sleeve-valve Daimlers with bodies in the form of Bass bottles, like the one in the Montagu Motor Museum, are rotting away in Burton-on-Trent, and that a Bullnose Mortis van is still delivering the daily bread in a Suffolk village.
Information is requested about Speedwell and Leader cars by a reader who has acquired a bare chassis and axles of each of these makes, the former about 1902-3, the latter about 1905-6. Both are in very poor condition but our correspondent would like to restore one of them, preferably the Speedwell, and would appreciate any data that is available and is willing to pay for photographs of complete cars.
Cars worth investigating, according to reports sent in by readers, this time include an early Bollnose Morris-Cowley and a later example, circa 1925-6, in Pembrokeshire, where in a scrap-yard there is also said to be a Lagonda LG45 in good order but without a body, and also the remains of an Alvis Speed Twenty-five. In London a rather sad Beardmore taxi, circa 1922, still runs occasionally about a private yard, and of many Trojan vans broken up recently in Lincolnshire one is believed to remain whole. Then the sorry remains of another Bullnose Morris are reported from a village near Lincoln, where an ancient lorry of unknown make also resides. We also hear of two Austin 12/4s converted to trucks and some other old cars in Worcestershire which may be for sale.
The record summer has brought out vintage cars, which are normally encountered infrequently on our roads. Thus we noticed a Trojan purring along Surrey lanes in the sunshine of a Sunday afternoon, encountered a 9/20 Rover tourer in Thame market-place, and have noticed with interest the open-air rebuild of an 11,9 Humber saloon taking place in a Chelsea street.
If anyone is in need of them, rumour reports some model-T Ford engines still in their crates and some vertical-drive dynamos for M-type M.G. Midgets at a Surrey garage.
I have recently acquired a Hupmobile Eight, believed to be first registered in 1921. Three years ago, when it was used by an undertaker, it was said to be faultless and immaculate. Since then it has been stored in a scrap metal dealer's shed, and has suffered some superficial deterioration. I hope to restore the car, and should he grateful if you could tell me where to obtain information about the works. Was a handbook issued, and is it obtainable? The engine number is 53002, car No. E 6049. Amongst interesting features are a windscreen which slides open vertically; a delightful wooden steering wheel; twin windscreen wipers which traverse horizontally; steel disc wheels; fitted flower vases, and blinds on all windows in rear compartment.
Your advice would be much appreciated.
I am, Yours, etc., Edward Benbow. Bewdley.
I thought you might like to pass on to readers interested in veterans the following information. Anyone restoring a veteran car and in need of lamps could not do better than to contact Messrs. Beckwith & Son of Old Cross, Hertford. While on a visit there recently to their many showrooms I came across an un-named pair of brass oil headlamps, a pair of brass oil or acetylene headlamps by Ducellier of Paris and also an enormous headlamp reputedly from a 1905 Peugeot brought new by a Hertford doctor. Besides these finds, there were many other types of carriage lamps of all ages.
I cannot at the moment aspire to a veteran but I have done the next best thing -- I run a 12/50 TJ Atlantic Alvis saloon. I use the car for all purposes and find it admirable. I should also be pleased to hear from any reader who uses a 12/50 for everyday transport. It is always of interest and often of use to swap notes as to performance, economy, etc.
I am, Yours, etc., L. W. Brooks. Nazeing.
The letter from Mr. E. J. Dawes in the September issue about Renault cars contains two inaccuracies: the 17.9-hp. model was a four-cylinder, and the next smallest model was a four cylinder of 13.9 h.p.
These models were in reality relics of the Edwardian era. The 13.9-h.p. model (75 by 120 mm. bore and stroke) had a fixed cylinder head with valve caps screwed into the head, compression taps, etc.; the carburetter was of Renault make, the dynastarter on the front of the crankshaft Ducellier. The clutch was an inverted cone lined with leather, the three-speed gearbox being rigidly attached to the front end of the torque tube as in some of the Armstrong-Siddeley models, springing was by ½-elliptics at the front, and a transverse ½-elliptic at the rear.
The performance of this model was not brilliant, and 30 m.p.h. seemed to be its happiest speed. The ride was very comfortable, aided by Michelin Bibendum tyres, and the coachwork was well made and commodious, with several good features such as the recesses in the valences for battery and toolbox.
This range was replaced by the 9/15, 14/45. and 21-h.p. models, though the 45-h.p. model lingered on a bit longer.
I am, Yours, etc., R. F. Lawrence. Boston, Lincs.
From Lord Montagu of Beaulieu
I am currently working on a book which will deal with the story of a number of British makes of private cars which are no longer produced. Amongst the makes about which I hope to write in detail are the Lanchester, Jowett, Albion, Arrol-Johnston, Argyll, Arrol-Aster, Aster, Star, Clyno, A.J.S., Guy, Crossley, Silver Hawk, Invicta, Railton, G.W.K., Burney Streamline, Marendaz Special, Trojan, Leyland Eight, Lea-Francis, and Squire.
If any readers have specialised knowledge, photographs, or first-hand experience of these makes, it would be much appreciated if they could get in touch with me, through the Editor.
I am, Yours, etc., Montagu of Beaulieu. Beaulieu
While a friend and myself were recently touring Devon in my 1929 Triumph Super Seven tourer, we witnessed a sight which many readers might (or might not) find difficult to believe.
It was on Porlock Hill. We were following a new Ford Consul. As we rounded the hairpin bend the Consul just stopped, forcing us to do likewise. Amidst a smell of burning clutch, the driver tried to restart but could not, and had to roll back to the edge of the road. We then restarted without undue difficulty and, farther up the hill, noticed another Consul, bonnet up and driver peering underneath in despair. Still farther up, wedged in against the hedge, was a new Ford Zodiac, with large quantities of water issuing from it. We then passed a long line of tin travelling boxes, with bonnets up, cooling off, and continued our way to Lynmouth without trouble.
Incidentally, we reached Lynmouth in ten hours from London, including meal breaks and a long stop to refill the worm-drive rear axle, which had all but seized about fifty miles from London, through an oil leak, at Marlborough.
I am, Yours, etc., M. L. Gatrell. Wood Green
With reference to Mr. Goddard's enquiry about the Gwalia car, I can throw a little light on the matter.
The general layout was typical of light-car practice of the time, but (and this is why it sticks in my memory) the suspension system bore a remarkable resemblance to the 2 c.v. Citroen. The (rigid) axles were mounted on bell cranks, leading arms for the front axle, trailing arms at the rear, pivoted at the ends of a whippy channel section frame. The other, shorter, arms of the bell-cranks were attached to long tension coil-springs running beneath the frame.
Whether front and rear springs were interconnected escapes my memory; it is more than twenty years ago that I read the book. As far as I can recall no dampers were fitted, so probably a large packet of "Kwells" was part of the equipment. The very long coil-springs would have a very low frequency, and with no inherent damping as one would get with leaf-springs, the ride would have been decidedly "boulevarde."
I think the engine was a water-cooled "four," but I can't remember any other details. Perhaps these few notes may stimulate someone else's memory.
Now a query of my own. Does anyone know any details of a gas-turbine aero engine built in -- wait for it -- 1909? I possess a copy of "The Aero Manual," published by Temple Press in 1909, and it contains an advertisement of a firm called E. Lamplough & Sons, of Willesden, N.W.10, which refers to their "Patent Positive Explosion Turbine Engine." This really intrigues me, and I would love to know some details.
Incidentally, this Aero Manual is one of the most interesting books in my collection, and contains reprints of two papers by the Wright Brothers on their gliding experiments (they knew by observation quite a lot of things about soaring flight which have only recently been re-discovered), descriptions and handling notes on most aeroplanes and engines currently available; a comprehensive historical section, and some very strange theories on how and why aircraft fly.
Congratulations on keeping going during the printing dispute.
I am, Yours, etc., John Coombes. Wolverhampton.
[By a curious coincidence I, too, came across a reference to this Lamplough gas-turbine aero engine recently. But I am still puzzled by a rotary aero engine with a rotary valve above each cylinder which I discovered in a garage of a house near Thame some years ago. -- Ed.]
I was pleased to see the reference to the big i.o.e. racing Itala in your August issue.
I am afraid though, that the car now at Beaulieu is not the 1905 St. Petersburg-Moscow machine, but the car with which Cagno won the 1907 Coppa Florio Race at Brescia in 1907. A photograph published in Car Illustrated for October 21st, 1908, shows its then owner, Mrs. Edgar Thornton, at the wheel. While we are still awaiting definite confirmation from Commendatore Cagno, who has been sent photographs of the Itala as she now is, there can be little doubt of the car's identity, especially as Mr. Gunning, who worked on the car many years ago, remembers seeing the name "Cagno" painted on the underside of the seat cushion.
Incidentally, the car is not the Museum's property, but has been very kindly loaned to us by Mr. Frank Cheverton, the present owner.
I am, Yours, etc., Michael Sedgwick, Curator, The Montagu Motor Museum. Beaulieu.