I hope I may comment on the letter from my friend Charles Mortimer in your September issue, because you were a little hard on him in your article on GO 52.
All the early spadework in collecting, identifying and restoring the Talbots was done by Charles, and if he had provided the initial inspiration I am sure I should never have had the courage to take over from him when private circumstances obliged him to give up.
At that point he had gathered together the Team 4-seater then known as GO 51, the Team single-seater with saloon body APF 999, and the later Mike Courier car of the 1934 Alpine Team, BGH 23. I had meanwhile acquired GO 52, which he rightly says never belonged to him, and we were very nearly in partnership on the whole project. When Charles passed his cars on to me they were all partly restored, and as is inevitable in such cases he ended up quite a bit out of pocket.
The confusion between GO 51 and 53 started at birth, and I have only recently been able to unravel it. Very simply, the car raced as 51 was registered 53, and vice versa, until Talbots put them right at the beginning of 1932. Unfortunately the registration books themselves were never altered, so that when the cars passed into private ownership at the end of 1932 they remained wrongly registered. This has now been put right once more, so that the car Charles Mortimer owned as GO 51 is the car now carrying the number GO 53, and the missing car of the team is not 53 but 51, the Number One of the three 4-seaters (GO 54 being spare).
Through the medium of the Editor I have been able to trace the decline and fall of GO 51, which was taken off the road in 1937 by its owner, who had an interest in the newly formed Atalanta Motor Company. The engine and gearbox of GO 51 went into a special Atalanta coupé, itself quite a famous car, but now powered by a different engine again. The rest of GO 51 was bought by the then owner of GO 52 as spares, and was last seen in his uncle’s garage early in the War. By the end of the War it had vanished, and one can only assume it had been taken for scrap.
If GO 51 has gone for ever, its number-plates will be used for the Team single-seater which is now being rebuilt as an open car, and has a legitimate claim to them as the Team leader at Brooklands.