While the dragsters were devouring Blackbushe in the International Dragfest a few miles away, the S.T.D. Register was quietly conducting its annual Concours d’Elegance and driving-test meeting at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, a dignified setting for dignified motor cars.
Judging the 14 Concours d’Elegance entries were Sir F. Phillip-son-Stow, Georges Roesch and the President, Winifred Boddy, her husband judging for “best engine,” and P. Howarth for original condition, while concurrently six gentle tests (gently at the Army’s request) were run by Roger Carter. The oldest competitor was C. South’s 1913 12/16 Sunbeam, which had unfortunately scraped off its hood passing under a bridge at Marlow, when startled by the hooting of impatient modern cars. Most recent was A. Scates’ 1936 Talbot 110. There were four twin-cam 3-litre Sunbeams present, one a non-competing visitor, and a couple of 1934 Sunbeam Dawns, while Talbots were well represented, including a couple of 1925 10/23 2-seaters. Carnegie and Charlton brought their 1926 Sunbeam 25 with 20/60 touring body all the way from Newcastle, the former driving blindfolded in a zig-zag test better than many people do it with full vision. An early very original Sunbeam 16 saloon had an unlucky prang en route, but vintage cars are tough and it duly arrived at Sandhurst. The under-bonnet condition of some cars was terrible, suggesting they are in daily use and not intended for quick and profitable disposal at some auction sale! The best was thought to be that of D. Whiting’s ex-Barry Dove 1929: Sunbeam 16 tourer, but the complicated bi-block engine of Peter Moore’s 1921 24-h.p. 6-cylinder Sunbeam ran it very close, oil-smear by one of the valve caps just docking it of first place. As only one prize could be won, this section was headed by Gp. Capt. Welsh’s, 1926 twin-cam 3-litre Sunbeam, the complicated engine of which was very presentable but not pristine. As usual, Ivor Foulkes’ 1933 Talbot 90 engine looked all ready for the Talbot stand at Olympia, until one looked closer and found the well under the petrol pump full of oil, a little petrol staining under the carburetter and an apparently non-standard ornate roof-lamp on the bulkhead serving as an under-bonnet light. These four engines were really commendable, however.
R. Pearce-Boby lost marks for having grafted an S.U. carburetter onto the inlet manifold of his 1933 Sunbeam 16, which also had a non-original coil (but do any Delco coils in working order exist ?) and a kinky top water-hose. Victor Rawlings had contrived to graft a modern S.U. petrol pump onto the crankcase of his 1931 Talbot 90 saloon. But on the whole the 28 entries made a brave show. This time a Firestone-shod Morgan-JAP 3-wheeler came to look at them. W.B