VETERAN EDWARDIAN VINTAGE
A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
V.S.C.C. WELSH RALLY (Oct. 7th/8th)
THE Father Figure of all the Motor Clubs does not make life exactly easy these days for all the lesser clubs it is supposed to succour and assist. The R.A.C. has refused the V.S.C.C. permission to hold its Eastern Thal next month, although this has been for years an annual fixture, and the Welsh Rally, centred on Presteigne, which dates back to before the war, was only permitted providing it was darkly concealed that part of the proceedings went anywhere near that ancient Welsh town, or was centred on the " Radnorshire Arms."
However, the event did take place. On the Saturday most of the 95 competitors converged on the "Radnor Arms," Presteigne, some to take part in a Concours d'Elegance in the derelict railway-station yard and driving tests in a near-by builders' yard, others to await the morrow's trial, having amassed marks by being en route for varying diStances.
Thus was Presteigne once again transformed into a very decent replica of market-day in the 19305. Except that outside the " Radnor Arms " stood a modern sports M.G. driven by an attractive girl—it must surely have been a B.M.C. publicity stunt... ?
Three judges grappled with the Concours marks, unaided by President Barker, whose Lancia had broken a drive-shalt near Newbury. Quite the most outstanding examples of clean, original vintage cars were Malyan's recently restored 1927 22/90 Alfa Romeo tourer, with drysump engine, only modern twin-Zeniths marring its originality, which was complete even to a Rene Thomas steering wheel carrying a caricature or this great racing driver and " Alfa Romeo " in script on the nit.: headlamp—without written permission, Malyan claims, no-one will risk writing this trade mark on the other lamp (did you know these cars have a radiator with a square honeycomb ?), and Bottle's 1928 single o.h.c. x,500-c.c. Alfa Romeo coupe.
Running these Alfas close were Condon's 1923 A.C., which arrived late for no more ominous reason than that its driver had Overslept after a pre-breathalyser party, and Macmillan's 1928 Rolls-Royce. Highly recommended was Mrs. Cherrett's 1928 Alfa Romeo. McEwen's 1929 fabric saloon Riley Nine had a too-recent carburettor at the far end of its inlet manifold, Tutton's 3-litre Bentley is clearly used so regularly there is no time in which to clean it, McDonald's duck's back 12/5o Alvis almost fooled with its replica body. Price's 1926 14/46 Vauxhall tourer is very original and took the prize for the maximum of original dirt, Batte's sporting DISS Delage was notably spick and span, and Diffey's 9/20 Humber tourer was carburetted by Cox-Atmos. The radiator of Nightingale's De Soto Chrysler still affronted the Judges by being too forward. Windsor's 1920 Rolls-Royce Maythorn twoseater displayed an interesting assortment of tyres, of which I was glad to note that its 33 >: 5 Dunlop was Reinforced for Heavy Service. A mark was lost for a non-original coil, replacing a burnt-out R.-R. coil. Back in Presteigne, that obliging local garage had Lee's 12/50 Alvis tourer on the hoist, .a scraper-ring having broken in the track-along Ma. Luckily a piston of the same size was lying around and the engine was satisfactorily reassembled, to the accompaniment of a big party of
beer-drinking onlookers. Acrossthe road Barry Clarke was performing a lightning change of gearbox on his Ulster-bodied Austin 7, so as to have the advantage of a 22 TO I " underdrive-second " instead of the normal t9 to I bottom cog in the forthcoming mud-storm. Sunday dawned warm but wet, as the cars assembled at Llangoeh to tackle tile first three " sections," consisting of a downhill swoop on to a grass acclivity up the side of the common, with an ominous gulley halt-way up, a part-grass climb, and a more normal trials-mud track. Only three drivers managed the first one clean—Spence in his 1930 Lea-Francis Special with the power well and truly turned on after the gulley. Clarke in his Austin, and Hamish Moffatt, who had put ss:all chokes and jets in, the better to control the power of his
The next " section" was also difficult, only Bowman (1930 Frazer Nash), Harris (1930 Austin 7), Arnold-Forster in his Anzani Frazer Nash and Winder in his 1930 Austin 7 joining Spence, Clarke and Moffatt in getting right to the top. The track was easier, 22 " cleaning it," as modern rally crews phrase it.
Across the road, Devil's Elbow and Lloyd's Old Hill were ascended, respectively, by ten and 12 competitors, Miss Stocken turning right round in her Trojan on the slippery descent. Incidentally, Trojans and Jowetts Were well represented and Croome got up LlangoCh III and Lloyd's in his solid-tyred Trojan, which has the doubtful help of " knobblies " when these are barred to pneumatically-shod motor cars.
The next hill was Lower Hill, which 43 cars got up, including Croome's Trojan on those very slight bands of hard rubber. A stopand-restart and brake-test reached up steep and tenuous Knucklass hill with a fine viaduct below in the valley, concluded the morning's work.
As far as could be ascertained, the vintage and p.v.t. entry had experienced very little alarm and despondency, although Harper's 1928 Austin 7 Chummy lost its fan belt and had a leaking radiator, Bowman had the floorboards out Of his Frazer Nash after the last test, and before the first hill the .driver of a 1930 Riley Nine, so odd-looking that he has had the decency to invent his own type-name for it, prodding about in the tops of its Amals.
In the afternoon that wily oktstopper, the Smatcher, at New Radnor, was the only observed section, Discoed not being included this year. It was in a bad condition and only 13 got away from the stop and restart. These were the five Frazer Nashes of Bowman, Harris, ArnoldForster, Stretton and Russell, the Austin 7s of Geoff Winder and Sutcliffe, the Austin Special of Barry Clarke, Batho's Amilcar-Riley, Croome's solid-tyred Trojan, Moffatt's Bugatti, Spence's Lea-Francis Special, and only one car in the long-chassis section, Blake's 12150 Alvis. The Smatcher has an enormous reputation, so that people drove out from miles around to witness the fun,_ parking their cars for hundreds of yards along the verges of A44, so that a passer-by unacquainted (his loss) with the V.S.C.C. might well have believed that an aeroplane has crashed up in the woods or that a successor of Lloyd George was preaching Free Rule for the Welsh, or that one of limes Ireland's practical jokes had misfired in a sensational manner. . . .
In fact, it was only the "old crocks going up Smatcher," with a policeman on point duty, very smart examples of vee-radiatOr Armstrong Siddeley tourer, 21S6o Wolseley County saloon and Rugatti Elektron coupe looking on, and Martin changing a plug in readiness in his 1927 nth-Series Lancia Lambda two-seater, while the Bowlers sheltered under a golf-umbrella in their 1929 4i-litre Bentley. Before the real attempts started an aged Vauxhall which, although it had flutes along its bonnet, certainly wasn't a 30/98, gave a frenzied demonstration of how to get bogged down. Then the contest commenced, round the rightand left-band corners and up into the woods— although the stop-and-restart had wisely been abandoned. Spence blipped his way up, Clarke left the smell of burnt " R " in the wake of his confident Austin, but Raspin's Austin 12/4, Bulletes beetle-back Silver Eagle Alvis and Box's 1929 Jowett two-stater with fabric trip to its tail, failed early. Footitt drove Winder's Frazer Nash, hare's Atizani Frazer Nash was on b.e. tyres. The only real casualty was Hilts Silver Eagle Alvis, from which sparks showered, as a toggle detached itself from the clutch. But the family was not defeated, for Papa Hill was in his 0.M., with Peter Hull in the hot seat. and Mrs. Hill had her effective A.J.S. Miss Footitt's 1930 jowett, with 66 c.c. more than Box's, disappeared round the second corner, motoring well, and Macpherson's 1929 Hyper Lea-Francis Was another obviously lubricated with castor oil. The total failures at this dreaded acclivity numbered 53. The 1967 Welsh Rally was over, the results being as follows :—
The Smatcher Trophy : C. P. V. Itussa (1926 :Frazer Nash). Trial r: H. Spence (1930 Lea-Francis). 19rst.(dass Awards : K. A. BOW:I-MI 1930 Frazer Nash). N. Arnold-Forster (1925 Frazer Nash), R. C. Bath° 1.917 fiani1ear Riley B. M. Clarke (1929 Austin 7 Spl.), 11. P. Moffatt (1923 Bugat J. K. Miler (I92: 30:ol2 Vauxhall). P. Lire (19251S Lancia Lambda), istOrth 0929 Alvis)
and IL P. Bowler 0929 .0-litre nendeY). Seeond Glass Awards : D. P. Harris (i920 l•razer Nash), 12, J. Winder t 1930 Austin 7), P. D. Harper (1928 Austin 7), . Macpherson ,192o Lea-Francis:, and A. D. Jones (103 10/9S Vauxhall;. Third (lass Awards P. W. P. Harris i1930 Austin 7), D. 12. Maish i'1926 Morris Spl.:, K. M. UM (1939 Alvis Silver Eagle) and D. Bell (1924 Alvis 12%0). Concours &Elegance and Tests : Trophy : C. Butte 0925 HISS Delag6. Oass Awards: C. D. Macmillan (1928 Rolls-Royce; and R. Macdonald c1930 AlviS)„,iivoird Glass AWard.. ;K. Bottle (1928 Alfa Romeo) and 5, Warburton (1925 Star). Third claSS 4?L'.41' : J. A. Knight (i9zS 0.M.) and R. A. Collins (1912 IS Prixia-Zust).
Best Edwardian R. A. Collins /1912/13 firixia-Zust).
The Chummy Austins mostly had big rear boots but Harris' Ulster was mechanically original, Stretton used 5.50 >: 16. Michelin " X " on the back wheels of his Frazer Nash and one Of the Chiunmies also relied on the subtle .secrets of" * * .• Winder's 8128 Humber was a Somewhat reluctant starter, on the
handle, in the Welsh mist but was later seen to be boiling, and the aforesaid Ulster Austin required a posh start. Cameron -Millar's Lea-Francis tourer, with two-port Meadows engine but " soft " -camshaft. climbed well up Langoch I. *
Hick's 1928 1440 M.G. had a horizontally-Mounted spare tyre-, useful for marshals to bounce on, Marsh's ex-Rowley 026 Morris accommodated two spare wheels in its manxed tail, Lilley looked through a -are of wiped screen on his 1927 Joys-at and Giles' Morris-Cowley had a Dagenite battery held on by elastic straps. Wilde's 1929 ArmstrongSiddeley looked far too clean to attempt muddy hills. At Llangoch a solid-tyred pram competed with CrOOMC'S Trojan. • • • •
The R.A.C. now insists that children under 16 must not ride as passengers in cars taking part in such events. Consequently. Mr. and Mrs. May and Dr. and Mrs. Curdy had to leave their kids behind while indulging in the death-defying feats which the Presteigne Rally involves ! So far the R.S.P.C.A. hasn't taken similar action, Si) an Afghanistan hound was able to ride in Waleson's Austin 12/4 tourer Throughout this risky tin t with annihilation. .
V-E-V Odds and Ends.—The Rapier Register is anxious to trace the de Clifford Special Lagonda Rapier which ran at Le Mans in 1935. It is BMG 2, last heard of in the Southampton area, in the I950s. The mystery car illustrated last month in "Vintage Postbag" is apparently a Clement Talbot of 15 h.p. R.A.C. rating, first registered in 1923. although it may have been a hybrid, as in that year there was no Talbot model of this h.p. An Opperman 3-speed constant-mesh gearbox with 8 in. cone clutch is for sale in Somerset.
The German magazine Nate lllustrierte Revue depicts a Dixie version of the Austin 7. It looks just like a British Chummy Austin with a different badge and plated headlamps, which makes the reader who sent it to us wonder if Dixies really looked like that—and we with the occupants wouldn't hang on to its windscreen! V-E-V Miscellany —Rumour speaks of a bogus 1924 Lk' Mans Bentley which may come on the market. In WelSlipool recently Aveling 4S: Porter and Ruston-Hornsby steam rollers were up for sale. Ketple.S11( NOT Mlle in for an engine 'Or a Supereharged z-litre Lavinia and an inlet manifold for a 35/120 six-cylinder sleeve-valVe Daimler.. both needed for cars which are being rebuilt. Letters can be forwarded. Would the correspondent. named Edge, who Worked on the original Austin 7s, kindly let us have his present address ? The trouble which retired Talbot G05z from the second race at the V.S.C.C. Castle Combe Meeting is thought to have bee; .‘Ezitre of the front cani.halt
bearing. A touring G.N., tormerly owned by Mr. Harbutt of plasticine fame and used by him in many M.C.C. trials, was found in a bed of nettles near Bristol just before the war and is now being restored. Apparently it will soon be on the road again, still with its trials ratios and Walter Watkins-tuned engine. Any information leading to the discover y of one of the Liao Gillett cars, of which 25 were produced by the British Ensign Motor Co., and of which the prototype was registered YO 7698, would be appreciated by a grandson of the founder of the firm, who is at present restoring a RaiIton Fairmile cl/h coupe. J. Colbourne-Baber still has his vintage 4,t-litre Bentley and is rebuilding an Austin 12/4 doctor's coupe. A 1923 Gwynne Eight
" hipbath " 3-seater, which was in the hands of its original owner until he died in 1962, has recently been restored in Ireland. A vintage Morris Commercial lorry is in danger of being broken up in Oxfordshire, where early International tractors, one on its original Dunlop tyres, are still in running order. An American collector offers a very high price for an original, as distinct from replica, Alvis hare radiator mascot. Enquiries can be forwarded. SUNBEAMS AT SANDHURST (Sept. 24) AN excellent entry was obtained for this annual S.T.D. Register driving test and concours &elegance held in the grounds of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. The standard of the competing cars seems to improve each year and their pristine Condition was scarcely marred by heavy rain which did its best to wash away the competitors in this, the near-by Farnborough Rag Week concours &cult and, one supposes,
the " Vintage Car of the Year " Contest at Beaulieu.
The S:T.D. newsheet had promised four interesting cars for Sa»dhurSt, not seen previously. Of these, a 1922 G.P. Sunbeam now owned by a member in Sevenoaks did not materialise but the " very beautiful Edwardian " was undoubtedly R. F. Woollen's 1914 16/20 cabriolet, the " very rare Sunbeam " could have been Roger Oates' 1924 24/70 Sports but as its new timing chains had not arrived he substituted his 1922 Darraeq 18DV V8 saloon, which is even more rare, while the fourth rumoured rarity was unquestionably D. S. Johnson's 1908 Ilillman Coatalen, which friends brought on a trailer and which did the tests, while its owner wrestled with a Lagonda C.C. A.G.M. On second thoughts, the 24170 is surely the ex-Cameron Millar car, so maybe P. A. Roberts' 1923 16/40 Sunbeam was implied—this was an absentee because new back axle thrust races were being manufactured for it.
No fewer than five twin-cam 3-litre Sunbeams were present. if I counted aright, but only two had entered officially. Sunbeam 14140s were also well represented, to the tune of four, if you include R. Crawford's sports 14/52. As oppostition, they faced three Talbot 14/455, of which P. Scarsbrook's was a delectable 1929 doctor's coupe. Peter Moores came in his 1921 Sunbeam limousine and his 1936 Talbot ito Airline saloon was brought by A. J. Scales who worked at the Talbot factor from 1927-37, appropriately from Ladbroke Grove.
Carstairs' 1933 23.8 Sunbeam had a mysterious box-tailed body, Charlton's 1927 Sunbeam 25 tourer carried a deed-box up behind, Rawlings' Falbot had Roesch's clever winking-arrow direction indicators working properly and Stone's 1934 Sunbeam Dawn had a nude athlete as a mascot. A. Barker had a very delectable Talbot .75 saloon; Neate's smart 14/40 Sunbeam had to scratch from the tests because of starter trouble.
The cars duly returned to the Hawley Hotel at Blackwatcr or tea, after which the Register's President, Mrs. Winifred Buddy, presented the prises.