Veteran-Edwardian-Vintage. A section devoted to old car matters, November 1962

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VINTAGE CAR PRICES

THE prices asked for pre-1931 cars, and indeed, many p.v.t. models, have been falling, but are still far too high. The Sword auction sale of last summer realised £49,000 for the sale of 119 cars and commercials and a few motorcycles, ranging from 1896 to 1947, top price being £3,100 for a 1910 Rolls-Royce shooting-brake. This, for cars the majority of which were probably bought for the proverbial “tenner.”

Auction sales are the least economical way of buying, so it is encouraging to discover that even at the much-publicised Sword sale at Balgray 22 vehicles were sold for £100 or under, down to £10 for a 1928 cyclecar, and a few others quite close to this top limit. None of the ancient motorcycles fetched more than £90 (for a 1925 Sunbeam valued by the experts as worth a “tenner”) and a 1909 Minerva changed hands for £10.

So there is still plenty of hope for impecunious enthusiasts who wish to enjoy vintage car ownership. It should be kept in mind that very often the high prices asked in advertisements are never obtained and that something closer to half the figure in “folding money” frequently clinches the deal.

We echo the sentiments of the Editor of Vintage Commercial, who, commenting on the rising prices asked for steam traction engines, wrote: “Let us all be realistic enough to admit that the monetary value of any vintage or veteran vehicle is simply its value as scrap metal and, whether sellers or buyers, refrain from deals in which that fact is not kept firmly in mind. Heavens above, this is supposed to be a relaxation—not an extension of the daily rat race.” Particularly should buyers remember this— if you pay absurd prices when they are asked you not only waste good Money but make it more difficult for others, less wealthy, to enjoy a vintage car.—W. B.

SUNBEAMS AT SANDHURST (Sept. 30th)

The S.T.D. Register held its annual driving tests and pride-of-ownership competition at the Royal Military Academy, Camberley on the last day of September, but whereas in former years Officer Cadets of the R.M.A. Motor Club had acted as energetic marshals, this year the Register provided its own, the Editor of MOTOR SPORT being seen wielding a stop-watch and moving markers.

An entry of 27 drove from Blackwater to the spacious square in which the tests took place. A. D. Forshaw brought three Sunbeams, his ex-Barker Brooklands Twin-Cam 3-litre, now sans supercharger, a 21 Sports saloon and a Dawn. A. E. Alexander’s very original 14/40 sports-tourer came up from Devizes, Talbots were represented by two very fine 14/45 tourers, C. J. Brett’s AD-model emitting a musical whine from its back axle, and A. Rawlings’ AG-model, and J. Gray driving Peter Moores’ sporting Talbot 105. Gray’s father drove Moores’ 1921 Sunbeam limousine as Moores was busy with organisation. A lone but very nice 12/32 Darracq tourer was driven by R. J. Brookes and was notably well handled in the tests.

R. Dowell dashed about in his high and mighty Sunbeam 25 “racer,” R. Carter’s close-coupled Sunbeam Speed 20 tourer (one of the last of the type) was much admired, and R. D. M. Evans came all the way from Abergavenny in a scruffy but serviceable Sunbeam 16 saloon.

The pride-of-ownership was judged by Georges Roesch (who came in a Fiat 600), Dudley Gahagan (who came in a Volvo) and Dick Cawthorne (who came in a Renault Dauphine). The Register’s President, Mrs. Winifred Boddy, thanked Judges and organisers and Mr. Roesch presented the prizes, as follows :

Pride of Ownership: 1st C. F. South (1913 12/16 Sunbeam tourer); 2nd F. W. Joyce (1934 Sunbeam Speed 20 saloon); 3rd F. Gray (1921 Sunbeam 24-h.p. limousine).

Driving Tests: 1st H. Tennant (Sunbeam Speed 20 coupe); 2nd A. E. Alexander (Sunbeam 14/40 sports-tourer); 3rd  C. J. Brett (Talbot AD14/45 tourer).

A fourth Prince Henry.—Kenneth Ball of Autobooks, Brighton, confirms that the 1914 Vauxhall he bought in September is a Prince Henry model. The only others known to exist in this country are owned by Laurence Pomeroy (son of the designer), Lord Montagu and Vauxhall Motors Ltd., although another is thought to exist in the Isle of Wight. It sounds rather like “coals to Newcastle,” but Mr. Ball is seeking original catalogues, booklets or manuals relating to his car, to aid its restoration.

The Meccano Magazine for October contained details of a Meccano model of an electrically-driven Edwardian coupe motor car complete with working clutch, 3-speed and reverse gearbox, differential and steering gear.

The Early Standard Car Register reports a member who has already rebuilt a 1929 Standard Nine “Teignmouth” fabric saloon is now restoring a Standard Nine “Selby” tourer of the same vintage, found in Kidlington. A 1922 Standard 11.6-h.p. SLO-model awaits restoration in the Tannat Valley in Wales. The Standard-Triumph Company’s own 1929 “Teignmouth” saloon covered the greatest distance to last summer’s R.A.S.C. Veteran and Vintage Rally from Glasgow to Bridge of Allan, a run of 550 miles. Turning homeward, it put in 140 miles at a 30-m.p.h. average and had used only half-a-pint of oil when the differential gave trouble after a sudden stop had been necessitated by an accident between two modern cars. The old Standard avoided being involved and was soon repaired.

Odds and Ends.—A reader in Sussex has a 1925 Austin Seven which appears to have been one of the now very rare early sports models made by the Austin Motor Co., although since modified. Indeed, it could be the only surviving example and it is hoped to restore the body to original appearance, from photographs. Someone else is rebuilding a 1927 type 30 Diatto. Rumour has it that Sir Malcolm Campbell’s “Sascha” Austro-Daimler racing car is still in existence, somewhere in this country. At a recent meeting of the Disabled Drivers’ M.C. at Croydon, B. H. Austin competed in his 1923 Brescia Bugatti, of which he took delivery direct from Molsheim when it was a new car and with which he won a disabled drivers’ handicap at Brooklands, circa 1924.

For Your Information.—Another Railway Preservation Society has been formed, its object being to prevent complete closing of the 4¾-mile Keighley and Worth Valley branch line, in Yorkshire, that was opened in 1862, came into service in 1867 and was taken over by the L.M. & S.R. in 1923. Details from A. J. Thompson, 10, Bromley Road, Bingley, Yorkshire. Last month saw old-style Flying Displays at Fairoaks and Elstree and on October 6th Blackbushe celebrated its return as an Airport with a similar display; it is adjacent to the Hartford Bridge Flats above Camberley, Surrey, the scene of racing-car testing between 1905 and 1914 but now a concrete-flanked highway. Stockport Corporation still employ a 1926 solid-tyred lorry for towing in broken-down ‘buses, although it is now in semi-retirement. It was pictured in the Stockport County Express in September— make unknown but no doubt a keen reader will soon tell us? Another 32/34 Minerva has come to light, in running order.

Historic commercial vehicle enthusiasts are now catered for by a new monthly, Vintage Commercial. This magazine, scarcely more than the size of a Club journal, is well produced on artpaper with many rare illustrations. It provides just enough reading matter to whet the appetite for more and has the refreshing distinction of not being cluttered up with advertisements, which is not to suggest that these would not be welcomed by the publishers, who are North London Artists, 18A, High Street, East Finchley, London, N.2.

The September issue contained, amongst other good things, an article on Austin farm tractors, the October issue a description of the model-J Thornycroft of 1913-26, and the current issue a discourse by R. J. Wyatt on the Austin twin-prop.-shaft lorries. A subsequent issue will carry an article on Foden steam-wagons in the 1914-18 war, by the Editor of MOTOR SPORT. Single issues cost 2s. 6d.; the annual subscription is 32s. 6d.

The Vintage Motor Cycle Club is a flourishing organisation with over 1,500 members, which those who find the vintage-car movement beyond their means might well support. There are 19 active regional sections and an excellent printed magazine appears promptly every month. The Hon. Secretary is Frank Bussey, 38, Station Road, Kenilworth, Warwicks. Incidentally, does anyone want to make a corner in those big vee-twin farnily sidecar outfits that were a feature of the ‘twenties? The cycle-car killed them off but more than a few survive which is rather surprising. For example, those advertised for sale in The Vintage Motor Cycle, official organ of the V.M.C.C., in the past year or so have included 1927 Royal Enfield, 1926 Ariel twin (valued at 50s.), 1925 Matchless model-H (£5), 1924 1,000-c.c. Matchless J.A.P. (£17 10s), 1928 1,000-c.c. B.S.A., 1923 A.J.S. (£12 10s), 1923 976-c.c. Royal Enfield, Clyno, etc. While on the subject of historic motorcycles, we hear that a McEvoy-J.A.P., once ridden at Brooklands by Le Vack, is safe and sound somewhere in Sussex.

The Bentley D.C. issues a very comprehensive journal, its Review, every quarter, that covers almost every facet of Bentley activity and history—the new Editor is Cameron Jarvis, 9, Clock House, Forty Hill, Enfield, who would no doubt appreciate any appropriate photographs and news items. The Veteran C.C. has ” face-lifted ” its Gazette, and the new Editor is J. C. Munro, 60, Coronation Road, East Grinstead. While looking for a new Secretary the V.C.C.’s Acting Secretary is Mrs. M. Simpson. The next big fixture is the Brighton Run for pre-1905 cars, in conjunction with the R.A.C., on November 4th. The Vintage Austin Register now embraces vintage Austin Sevens. Monthly meetings are held at the “Coach & Horses” in London—next one is on Nov. 30th. The current issue of the Club’s magazine reveals that four really early (1919/20) Austin Twenties are in existence, one in Tokio. The Hon. Secretary is R. J. Wyatt, 82, Coleshill Flats, Pimlico Road, London, S.W.1.

Last month’s V.S.C.C. night at “The Phoenix,” Hartley Wintney„ saw a fine assembly of very well-turned-out vintage cars, including a very original 4.5-litre Bentley open tourer, a 3-litre Bentley and Barker’s well-known Lancia Dilambda coupe de ville, in the closed part of which rode Louis Giron and his wife. Dames-Longworth came in a splendid 30/98 Vauxhall Velox in lieu of his 30/98 2-seater, the Chain Gang was well represented, and an enormous Sunbeam 25 saloon and the 4.7-litres of Jenkinson/ Boddy Siddeley Special helped to fill the yard in which a very stark A.C. Six, a sports 2-litre Alta, a 1750 Alfa Romeo 4-seater, a 9/15 Humber tourer, a smart latish Rolls-Royce 20/25 saloon, and a twin-cam Rapier were to be seen. In such company an A.C. Ace and an Elva stood out like exhibits at a far-distant motor show.

Recent discoveries reported by readers embrace a 1923 Coventry-Premier engine (with radiator) and 1926 Swift and Singer engines, some old magnetos, carburetters and a magdyno for sale cheaply in Kent; a 1928 Austin 12/4 “Windsor” saloon, generally sound but with a cracked block, offered for £25 in Berkshire; a Star saloon, possibly sans engine, languishing behind a cafe in Dorset; a Sunbeam 20 with poor body in a Glasgow breaker’s; and two 250-c.c. Sunbeams (presumably vintage) and a Grazeley adjustable s/c chassis in Devon. A complete G.W.K. engine and two vintage motorcycles are for sale cheaply near Kidderminster. A very early milk-float was seen at an auction ground in Ambergate, while someone else knows of a Talbot 75 chassis, an Austin 12/4 converted into a pick-up and a pre-war Merryweather fire-engine, in Dorset. A 27 x 4.40 Clincher Balloon tyre is offered free to anyone who has a use for it.

As to wants, a young enthusiast seeks a car to take a 1910 de Dion engine and drawings or photographs are requested to enable a 1914-18 ex-Army Vickers-Wolseley lorry to be provided with a body, the chassis, which is in Essex, being in first-rate order. Letters can be forwarded.

V.S.C.C. MADRESFIELD RALLY (Sept. 9th)

Concours d’Elegance,

     Vintage Class Winner:                         C. P. Marsh (1925 Austin 7)

     P.V.T. Class Winner:                             S. R. Terry (1928 Rolls-Royce)

Driving tests,

     Vintage Touring Cars:                          1st  : K. A. Hill (1930 A.J.S.)

                                                                 2nd : I. R. Cardy (1925 Austin)

                                                                 3rd  : C. P. Marsh (1925 Austin)

     Vintage Standard Sports cars:             1st  : N. R. Buckle (1928/9 Lagonda)

                                                                 2nd : P. J. E. Binns (1927 O.M.)

                                                                 3rd  : D. R. Marsh (1927 M.G.)

     Vintage Sports Cars:                            1st  : B. M. Clarke (1924/9 Austin)

     P.V.T. Cars:                                           1st  : A. R. Buck (1935/38 Alvis)

                                                                 2nd : B. Sismey (1934 Alvis)

                                                                 3rd  : S. R. Waine (1939 Alvis)

     Ladies Award:                                     Mrs Cardy (1925 Austin Seven)

     Frazer Nash Award:                             Dr. Stretton (1929 Model) 

     Light Car Award:                                  I. C. M. Hill (1930 A.J.S.)

     Inter-Section Contest:                           1st  : South-West Section

                                                                  2nd : Midland Section

                                                                  3rd  : Southern Section

VETERAN CAR TYRES

There has recently been a recurrence of the persistent rumour that Dunlop intends to abandon the manufacture of those tyres, principally the beaded-edge type, which are fitted to veteran cars. The rumour probably has its foundation in the considerable difficulty surrounding the manufacture of these tyres. Because they are required in comparatively small quantities, and because of their obsolete design, the cost of modern plant cannot be justified and they must continue to be made in plant which is very old and by processes which have long since been superseded for modern tyres. ‘Their construction requires special, scarce skills, and they take up valuable factory space. As any company must have regard to sound economic principles in its operations, the position of these tyres in the range is regularly reviewed. However, the Dunlop Company is alive to the importance of the veteran car movement and regards the manufacture of tyres for these cars as a sound investment, in present conditions. No plans have been made to discontinue the range, nor one contemplated.

The Company cannot make promises which would limit its future freedom of action, and must reaffirm its position, made clear on several previous occasions, that where plant becomes irreparably unserviceable it will not normally be possible to replace it; but in the light of all the facts at present available, it is able to say that there is no reason to fear any imminent interruption to the supply of Dunlop beaded-edge car tyres.

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