What Was It?
I have carried out some research and it is my opinion that it is a production tourer version of the 28/95 Mercedes sports racer raced successfully in 1921. The car in the photograph was probably made in 1923, at the time Ferdinand Porsche joined Mercedes, one of the first of a line of truly enormous Mercedes cars.
I am almost certain the car is not a Benz as it was not until June 1926 that the Benz Company amalgamated with Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, the manufacturers of “Mercedes” cars. Incidentally, the registration number should be 111A — 1911 and not 11A — 1911, the photograph must be obscured in some way.
Llangynidr. John H. K. Forster.
I wonder if this could be one of the aero-engined cars which appeared in Germany after the First World War ? Two of these appeared as production cars, not one-off specials. One was the Joswin, produced in Berlin from 1921 to 1924. This was powered by a Mercedes aeroengine from military stores, of 7,290 c.c. and rated at 95 h.p., with the usual Mercedes steel cylinders in pairs, and welded-on water jackets. This could have been the D1 aircraft engine, rated at 100 h.p. for aircraft use. One of these cars, in the Henry Ford Museum at Dearborn, is said to have been in the Kaiser’s stable.
Another example was the Stoewer D7 or Grosse Stoewer which appeared just after the war, and had a six-cylinder aircraft engine of 11,200 c.c., rated at 120 h.p. This car competed in the speed trials at Fanoe Island. It had push-rods and developed 120 h.p. at 1,400 r.p.m.
If my theory is correct, a likely engine for this car would be the Benz B2 IV, which was rated at 220 h.p. and was fitted to many German military planes.
Erayton . G. P. Clemons.
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One comes across many errors and omissions committed by motor writers these days, that one is apt to shrug them off as a sign of the times, along with half-truth politicians, half-finished motor cars. etc. However I must protest when I read in Motor Sport that “A 16-valve Bugatti could only just exceed 58 m.p.h.”
Between 1924 and 1937 I owned three of these cars: (1) 1923 16-valve, 68 x 100, plain ali bronze bearings. Engine No. 1517. (2) 1924 Mod. Brescia, 69 x 100, 16 valves, ball-hearing crank. Engine No. 2052. (3) 1926 Mod. Brescia, four-wheel brakes. Engine No. 2364. Front wheel brakes.
All these cars would exceed 70 m.p.h. (which was also cruising speed) at about 3,200 r.p.m. They would also exceed 60 in 3rd gear at about 3,500 r.p.m.
I think there was nothing better in small cars, until the Lancia Aprilia came along with civilisation and more brakes, in 1937. This in turn was out-dated by its descendent, the Lancia Fulvia 1300 coupé in 1967.
Crayke. J. A. Fawcett.
[We expected this response but the fact remains that just over 58 m.p.h. was as much as The Autocar could extract from the 16-valve Bugarti it tested in 1922, presumably timed on Brooklands Track. Incidentally, how nice to hear from Mr. Fawcett again. — Ed.]
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The “write-up” of the 1910 Maudslay was very interesting to me as a former Maudslay employee, especially as Maudslay’s history pre-1902 was unknown to me.
All engines produced by Maudslay Motor Co. were o.h.c. until proprietary diesels were fitted about 1936. Even engines for generating sets had o.h.c. pre-1914.
The twin o.h.c. six-cylinder commercial of 1927 was what you so rightly describe as “twin underhead camshafts”. It also had an “Ali” block with liners. I believe this was the fastest coach chassis available at the time (it went into general production in 1929). A new works for assembly was built in Maudslay Road around 1926.
I believe that Reg Maudslay, who founded Standard Motor Co. and was Managing Director for 30 or so years, was of the same family. Is this correct ?
New Haw. R. Radford.
[Yes, R. W. Maudslay’s grandfather was Henry Maudslay of the Maudslay Co. and the Maudslay engine designer, Alex Craig, had designed the first Standard cars. — Ed.]
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As a former apprentice working as a young man for the then Sir Herbert Austin, my memories of my Repairs Department days at Longbridge were awakened by Mr. W. R. Chapman’s letter in your September issue, in which he states that many veteran and vintage cars were never provided with facilities for track-rod adjustment.
I can confirm that the first Austin model that was provided with such a refinement was the Austin Twenty of the P2 type, of 1919.
On all other models we had to “set” the cross-tube arms in the swivel arms by bending them cold with suitable setting levers kept for that purpose. I stress that we set them cold and never used heat, either from a blacksmith’s fire or blowlamp.
Onchan. R. W. Burgess.
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Frazer Nash AHX 733
What a wonderful surprise to open Motor Sport and find a photograph of my old friend “Freddy”, Frazer Nash AHX 733. I was so taken aback that I had to get out photographs and check Thirlby’s book to make sure I had once owned AHX 733. Unfortunately it was not driven for several years owing to the war. After that spot of bother pool petrol made a replacement of the deflector head with the standard head necessary, the deflector head had been ground and ran a compression ratio of approximately 9 to 1.
“Freddy” gave me very little trouble, only breaking 2nd gear chain twice—my fault of course. The engine was rebored, crank ground and balanced by Laystalls at the modest cost of twenty-six pounds. Freddy was only sold because of a growing family, to be replaced by a long-chassis 15.98 Aston Martin. A come-down after a Frazer Nash. How easy they were to work on.
Since coming to Canada I have owned a Jaguar Mk. V for fifteen years; a good reliable car apart from the SU pump. Present mounts: Volvo 122S, no trouble in 50,000, still does not use any oil and gives 32-35 m.p.g. corrected for inaccurate odometer on long runs; Rover 2000 TC, minor troubles, gearbox, etc., in 22,000 miles; BMW 2002 TI, a fun car but a bit low slung for use of the back country mountain roads. Not one of these has a place in my heart like “Freddy.” has but then he was one’s youth.
Victoria DC, Canada. N. S. Lockyer (Dr.).
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Vintage Cars and the EEC
Mr. Mertens’ letter in the September issue is alarming. However, I have travelled on autoroutes in my vintage car, albeit two years ago as a visitor, and in the last month or so on motorways in Belgium and Holland, and extensively on German autobahns. I have not (yet) been stopped by the Police although I was followed on the autobahn near Kassel the other day—curiosity I hope!
Being stationed in Germany with the British Forces I am in the process of preparing the car (a 1930 Crossley) to pass the technical test for registration with the British Forces Germany (BFG) Authorities, which all servicemen in Germany have to do if they run a car. The test ensures that the car complies with German Law (i.e., that a 1930 Crossley is the same standard as a 1972 BMW 2002, etc.!). The modifications which I will have to do could indicate what joining the EEC may mean to those of us who continue to run vintage motor cars. They are as follows :
1. Double-dipping headlamps, dipping to the right (fair enough—a five-minute job).
2. Brake lights (fair enough).
3. Windscreen washers (already fitted after winter motoring in the West Riding).
4. Flashing indicators, with dashboard-mounted pilot light. (Four-way flashers are required on new cars.)
5. Dashboard-mounted main beam pilot light.
6. Method of immobilising the car (i.e., Krook-lok or something similar; steering column or transmission lock is too difficult).
7. Earless RW centre-lock wheel nuts where the hub protrudes beyond the edge of the car.
8: 1-mm. depth of tread over the whole width of the tyre, including the spare.
With care it should be possible to do all this without spoiling the appearance of the car, but, who knows, there may be more problems yet.
BFPO 39. S. C. E. Weld (Capt.).
Your correspondent, Mr. Mertens, states that he believes vintage cars are not permitted on French Motorways. This is not so, as my wife and I have just returned from a Continental tour in our 1925 R-R “20” touring through France, Italy and Switzerland, including Motorways.
The car was welcomed everywhere and on all toll roads including the Grand St. Bernard road tunnel. We travelled over 2,000 completely trouble-free miles, having a wonderful time, and know that the appearance of the car gave great pleasure to so many others.
This surely is the spirit of vintage motoring; how nice it would be if your correspondents could write again of their cars and experiences, not the financial and other matters that seem to be mentioned only too frequently recently.
West Hampstead. Richard H. Shaw.
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The problem of restoration is not one confined to the old-car movement, it is common to all branches of archaeology. Do you leave your castle as a ruin or rebuild it so that you can live in it ?
With cars there seem to be two extremes. The chap who starts with a couple of nuts and bolts, makes the rest, and ends up with a Silver Ghost. Or the chap who has an original Silver Ghost except for one vital part, which he refuses to replace with a modern replica, so the car never sees the light of day.
It seems to me that the important thing is to keep the cars in use, to encourage their owners to drive them, and to take part in concours and other events, so that people can take pleasure in seeing them and studying them. What we must not do is to build a barrier to prevent the man who has spent years and years or pounds and pounds rescuing an old car from the scrapyard from entering in concours and letting us see his car, even if it has some replica parts.
We must find a way to encourage the Mr. Neves to show their cars in appropriate events.
Churchdown. D. MacLean.
I have noted with interest the correspondence re Mr. Evans of the Manx Motor Museum and Mr. Bird’s letters in relation to replica or fake veteran cars. I feel I would like to make some comments accordingly.
I am writing as a private individual, but yet I have been an active member of the Veteran Car Club Dating Committee for some ten years. I would like Mr. Bird to know that the Veteran Car Club Dating Committee have been very actively concerned over the problems arising from dating a repro, fake or replica, whatever wording one cares to use, car. As I am sure Mr. Bird can appreciate, it is almost impossible to lay down a set of rules that will apply to all cases. The dating committee and myself particularly have been involved in trying to arrive at a satisfactory equable points system that would be fair. This points system would determine the eligibility of a “veteran car” for a dating certificate, we would have to arrive at a level of penalty points above which a car would not have a certificate issued with or without the “M” classification. At the moment we are experimentally using this points system on cars being dated during the current year and at the end of the year we intend to review the position and make, we hope, a recommendation to the Veteran Car Club Executive Committee on the practicability of using a points system. So please do not think we are all asleep over this matter, far from it; a lot of discussion, a lot of thought and now a lot of practical application is going on in this field.
Another problem is not only arriving at a fair points system, but when applicants fill in a dating form we have to rely on their filling the form in with full honesty. We can only work from the information they give us, and our problem is not truthfully the honest owner who declares all his modifications or replica components, such as Mr. Evans, but on the individual who happens to omit the fact that the back axle was found one place, the chassis another place, and the engine a third place. He does not declare, in effect, that he is assembling a bitser. Conversely we do not always get declared the fact that a certain component was missing and has been manufactured. This, as you can imagine, will create an enormous problem and we have to rely on the declaration of the owners when making out the form, and as you can well imagine 90 something per cent. of them do this with strict honesty, but it is the remainder that can cause a severe problem. The Committee can without information to the contrary possibly proceed on a case where they should have had further information, but this problem will always exist.
Please bear in mind I am answering this letter as an, individual, not on behalf of the Veteran Car Club.
Hassocks. D. R. Grossmark.
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Austin Ulster Memories
It was with particular pleasure that I saw the picture of the beautifully preserved Austin in your current issue. I use the word preserved with respect, because it could be a photograph of a new car, having just left the factory, but for the licence disc.
I was a very proud owner of a similar model (RG 1764) and, I think, of the many cars I have owned this is the one I would like to have in my garage now as a tangible reminder of “Times remembered” and for the pleasure this car could still provide.
As I write I have the maker’s leaflet in front of me, as well as correspondence from the factory on some points of maintenance which must have been puzzling me at the time. It is extraordinary to think this all took place over 40 years ago. I don’t feel all that old!
This car had real character and I clearly remember the rather “tinny” exhaust note and the peculiar rumble which was transmitted through the car when the ignition lever on the steering column was “advanced”, indicating that she was “on form”.
All clearances appeared to be very critical and I feel sure that tappet adjustment was carried out by the removal or addition of circular shims.
From the maker’s leaflet I read that the weight was 8½ cwt. and this fact coupled with the gear ratios of 1st 13.5, 2nd 7.5 and top 4.9 to 1, must have contributed greatly to the performance, which was sparkling.
The road-holding was good, too, with a lowered chassis and the road springs bound with cord. I don’t remember getting into any difficulties at speed, though, as with all Austin Sevens, you “balanced” them along, like a bicycle, rather than steering them.
At the time I was keen to compete in car trials and found the high bottom gear of the Austin a handicap in the driving tests which were often the deciding factor in such events, and as Austin had told me it was impossible to fit their new 4-speed gearbox, I reluctantly changed over to one of the then new “Le Mans” Singer Nines, which had a bottom gear of 23 to 1 and hydraulic brakes, but I well remember how sluggish the Singer appeared to be in comparison with the Austin.
About a year ago I tried to find out if the little car was still in being but drew a blank at the last known address, a motor dealer in Kirkcaldy, Fife, who had gone out of business. I wonder if any of your readers might be able to “help me with my enquiries”, and are there many other examples still on the road ?
Dirleton, W. Keith Elliot.
When my wife saw the wonderful photo of the 1930 Austin Ulster she said “Happy memories”.
In 1932 I had a black Ulster with Cozette blower and carburetter which I believe worked at about 5/7 lb. per sq. in. pressure. Pressure to the petrol tank on the scuttle was maintained by a hand pump on the passenger side of the dash, and often in the excitement of a challenge my wife would forget to pump until I felt nothing under my foot when I would yell “Pump you silly b . . . h”! The exhaust pipe ran nearly straight to the rear mudguard and thus near the entry to the passenger’s seat, and had a guard of sorts adjacent to the lowest part of the dip acting as a good hand and fanny warmer. Of course it was Castrol R in the sump and XXL for the blower and I believe it did either 76.48 or 74.68 m.p.h. timed and I used to pass my friend’s Willy Knight at 48 m.p.h. when he recorded 55 m.p.h.!
Have now a cooking version BMW—a second-hand 1968 1600. Really, one of the best cars I’ve ever had. It cruises at a very cornfortable 75 to 80 m.p.h. and with 50/50 long and short runs returns on a monthly check 31 or plus m.p.g. A very effortless and satisfying car.
With many thanks for your excellent journal—always a pleasure to read.
Southampton. Gerald L. Adams.