A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters


This year’s popular Presteigne Rally had an entry of 90. although p.v.t. cars were not included. The population of the little Welsh town seemed as interested as ever in the assembly of vintage cars, with a scattering of Edwardians, which descends on them every October, and no-lights parking was readily found in the side streets and outside the Police House.

On the Saturday afternoon the Concours d’Elegance was judged on the basis of originality, cleanliness and elegance. Condon’s Anzani-A.C. again scoring highest marks, and one elementary driving-test was held, in the yard of a hospitable aluminium factory.

Chadwick produced a 1928 14/40 Lea-Francis 2-seater with a 12/40 Meadows engine in lieu of the original 6-cylinder power unit, Essex’s 1926 Rolls-Royce Twenty had been re-bodied by Hooper?) Laurie’s 3-litre Invicta had two modern Solex carburetters, a neat central hand-brake lever, the usual data plates on its engine and a spare wheel from a Soda Squirt. Mrs. Blakeney-Edwards’ 1930 Austin 7 Chummy was splendidly presented, the originality of Howarth’s 1925 Lancia Lambda was marred by a modern S.U. carburetter, and Vessey’s 1927 Lancia Lambda was nearly as broad as it was long, being his special competition model. It, too, has a non-standard S.U. carburetter.

Macmillan’s 1928 Rolls-Royce Twenty Cockshoot coupe with Tickford head was of a very high standard but had a rather ugly boot. Mellor’s 1930 18/80 M.G. 2-seater possessed many interesting features including a remote gear-lever with blanking-plate where the standard Morris lever would have been and Yale thief-proof lock, gaps in fron wing valances and bonnet put there by the stylist, and rather handsome lines.

Ryley’s 1925 3-litre Bentley with Jarvis boat-tail 2-seater body was a bit gimmicky. Bendall’s 1911 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost exuded an enormous pool of gearbox oil and is said to have got its body-stripes from a film company. Langton drove his 1904 2-cylinder 10-h.p. Rolls-Royce with replica body to the rally so was on his “driving” not original, sparking plugs, and Mann’s Straker-Squire (he now has two, having acquired a tourer) was as smart as it is exciting. Stradling’s 1913 Series V Georges-Richard has a drip-feed by the side of the cylinder block and had shed its multitude of badges but was still the mobile Christmas-tree of the party.

Five cars failed to check-in, including two Lagondas and the Roamer, but Warburton’s 1920 Star arrived later, delayed by domestic affairs.

The rain of recent days obligingly kept away and Sunday’s trial was held in delightful weather, although the hills were so, muddy that marshals’ instructions commencing “If wet, start on road….” had a faintly humorous ring about them

A Saturday casualty was Chris Winder, whose Humber Special broke its crown-wheel and pinion at Brackley. Father Winder, feeling guilty, could not stop because of the time schedule, so hiss more civilised Humber continued and Chris went home by by train. Forest Wood proved a very tough section, a Land-Rover was needed at Crug, and Cwmheyope was a long, grassy ascent. Observing and marshalling at Llangoch, run in one section with a restart halfway, as the local farmer was troubled about his grass on Llangoch II, Arnold-Forster, alter delays to dry out his Frazer Nash’s magneto after taking a flood too fast at Forest Wood, showed how it should he done, and Footit, with two in the dickey of his 1930 Jowett, made a fine restart and motored sedately over the curving summit, after which he set about repairing a slow puncture. Milner disdained to lower the pressure in the enormous tyres of his 30/98 Vauxhall but slowly made the section. Day’s 4.5-litre Bentley stopped low down, Howard’s bullnose Morris-Cowley, helped by bouncers in the dickey seat. just did the restart before wheelspin set in, but applause greeted Buckle’s fine climb in his Lancia Lambda.

Nottingham’s 14/40 Vauxhall tailwagged up to the restart. Hill’s O.M. 4-seater failed early, as did Copson’s very sporting Riley 9 tourer with twin S.U’s aero-screens and side-protruding exhaust system. Batho took it oh-so-slowly in the Amilcar-Riley, handling his car very nicely indeed.

Bell’s 10/23 Talbot 2-seater found it very difficult indeed to reach the restart and had a terrible struggle thereafter, Mitchell’s 1927 Austin 7 Chummy with ” Old Bill ” mascot and brassed lamps was o.k., whereas Bendall’s 30/98 Vauxhall, four-up, required a push. Graham Bryce’s 1930 Alves Silver Eagle coupe stopped before the restart, but Morgan’s 1930 Austin 7 Special, complete with external trials’ hand-brake lever, stormed up, albeit aided by big-section rear tyres, on which the V.S.C.C. is beginning to frown.

A splendid ascent was made by the President John Rowley, in his 30/98 Vauxhall, Hill’s A.J.S. went up very fast to the restart, then, barely moving. fought its way to the finish. and Whitehouse, blipping his Ballot’s throttle, made a very similar ascent, then stuck firmly when just clear of the observed section. Miss Wood’s 1930 Austin 7 stopped low down, Hamish Moffatt’s Bugatti overshot the restart and stalled, and was stuck for a long time after the restart with a sticking clutch, Winder’s Humber was very fast and had no trouble making the best show to date, but Mills Trojan, lacking power, failed before the restart.

Blake’s 1927 Austin 7 Chummy, which had been delayed 14 hours by magneto trouble near M1 on the way down, failed, but got quite high up the hill, Doc. Harris in his Frazer Nash obviously thought he was at Prescott, and T.W.P. Harris also had no trouble, his Stadium-like 1930 Austin 7 having an Ulster-style exhaust system with high outside tail-pipe, inclined sparking plugs, a modern carburettor and the inevitable oversize back tyres.

Mrs. Ure’s slightly-shortened 5th/8th series Lancia Lambda failed halfway from above the restart, Lilley’s 1927 Jowett 2-seater made an excellent ascent but its engine was reluctant to restart thereafter, Fletcher’s 1926 Alvis 12/50 was slow but just made it. Harry Bowler, with his wife as passenger, had to work hard to get his 1929 4.5-litre Bentley up but blipped it through the slime to the summit, and Cardy’s 1925 Austin 7 was extremely good.

Croome’s Trojan conquered Crug and Llangoch, Barry Clarke had no anxieties in an Ulster Austin with standard camshaft which went up like a racer, but May had to disembark his entire family and repair a rear tyre, his Frazer Nash also needing oil and water. Welch’s 1930 Lea-Francis failed immediately after restarting, Danaher’s Austin 12 tourer went up as if ascending a casual main-road hill. Laxton’s yellow 1927 Austin 7 Chummy failed a few lengths above the restart, but May shot up the family now accommodated in the stern of his Frazer Nash.

Stretton’s Lea-Francis made a very good climb, a beetle-back 12/50 Alvis got up, but Faulkner’s beetle-back 12/50 Alvis was u/s at the r/s, if you can follow our notes!

From Llangoch the cars came down in bunches of six to tackle the long, steep ascent of Lloyds, before going on to try Cwmheyope. A brake-test, the Discoed special test and the two sections of Upper Discoed came, before that dreaded hill, The SMatcher, near New Radnor had to be attempted. And so another very enjoyable Welsh Trial came to an end. – W.B.