Getting Down To It!

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A news-release from Stan Nowak of New York informs us that there was an important break-through in vintage car racing last month, when a race for such cars was permitted at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix meeting. This race, we are told, was confined to VSCCA members, driving rare and unusual sports:racing ears which had to be pre-1959, which is a date to warm the cockles of Lord Montagu’s heart. In fact, the Americans arc following our JCB concept but in view of the activity of the VSCC in this little off-shore scrap of Europe we are pained to be told by Mr. Nowak that although vintage-car racing (sic!) is in its infancy in America, they are now likely to follow the lead set by “the two massive races” held before this year’s Le Mans 24-hour Race and the JCB Historic Racing Car Series, which “draws 30,000 to 40,000 spectators”. We should not have been told about this at all by Mr. Nowak if his client, Lowenbrau Beer, hadn’t been behind two of the entries, which we are told were from Lowenbrau patron Dieter Halterbosch. They were a 1954 GP Ferrari driven by said, who is said to have “established a speed record of 176 m.p.h.” at Daytona with this Ferrari in 1956, and Mr. Haiterbosch’s own 1951 4.1-litre Mille Miglia Ferrari. We cannot think what record the aged Ferrari captured but we note that the 1973 race was divided into prewar and post-war categories—just as well with such fist stuff in the latter class.

It is now expected that a series of such races will take place in the U.S. next year, wide the hand-out. We hope this will be so, because the more the old cars are raced, the more likely they are to blow up expensively, and this may encourage others Of them to make a return journey back to Europe, of which we are a tiny part. But it would seem that the thing has a long way to go before it rivals VSCC racing over here, because although Lowenbrau Beer gave trophies to all entrants, who apparently didn’t have to start to receive one, and it may be assumed that those who did race and win were given beer in the trophies more deservedly gained, this is a far cry from the magnums of Cordon Rouge which flow at British vintage-car race meetings!

Getting Rid of Old Cars

A rather disturbing story has reached us from a long-standing reader of Motor Sport. He tells us that he discovered a 1948 Rover 75 which had been in use at a Far Eastern theological college as a shopping car, until it proved better for them to employ a van. It was then laid to rest on consecrated ground. Our friend saw it and, as a Rover enthusiast who had owned a 1936 Fourteen and a 1947 Twelve tourer, left a note on its windscreen asking if it was for sale. It was, so our correspondent bought it, for the equivalent of £25. The theologians told him the log-book was with the Authorities. In this they were correct. What they did not tell him was that the book was stamped with the word Scrapped. The purchaser was informed that there was nothing he could do to get the car back on the road, although after a lamp bulb had been replaced and the exhaust pipe welded it was 100%, road worthy. It appears that although there is no law against retaxing the car, the Authorities are anxious to get all cars over five years old off the roads and this is their way of going about it. If this is so, it is not only the EEC which is tightening up on the older cars!

We are informed that American buyers are showing interest in the Rover but that it could be shipped to the land of its birth for about £150 if anyone would like to save a rough but running Rover from being scrapped or taken to the U.S.A. It seems that in 1953 this car left Ross-on-Wye for the office of a Chief of Police in Negri Sembilan. We cannot vouch for the story but it Points a warning.

VMCC Saundersfoot Run

Since 1955 the Saundersfoot Run of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club has been a welcome event for those who like riding their motorcycles as much as winning beauty prizes with them. Organised by the West South Wales Section, the 75-mile run takes place over little-used roads between Llandovery and Saundersfoot on the Saturday, with a Concours d’Elegance at Saundersfoot Harbour on the Sunday. This year a record entry of over 100 was obtained, the road-section taking place in alternate sunshine and heavy. shower. Significant machines were the 1936 four-inline ohc 746 c.c. Nimbus with telescopic front forks and a girder frame, and a 1911 single-gear 499 c.c. Triumph which the irrepressible Johnnie Thomas had bought two days beforehand and which, given new tyres and a new belt, ran splendidly, although it had not been used since 1922. It had the two barrel Triumph carburetter and light-pedal-assistance.

We decided to observe at the hill up to Cain, which for maximum marks had to be climbed non-stop over the various sections, feet up. It was more difficult than it looked, many stopping On the straight initial gradient. Williams’ 1923 Model-L BSA was slow but sure, Moore changed up rather early on his 1919 vee-twin Rudge and nearly stopped, but recovered, and Mills’ Model-P Triumph and the 1919 Calthorpe-JAP both failed early. Stringer changed the plug on his 1916 Royal Enfield, with its handle-controlled two-speed gear, before trying the hill, Jordan’s 1923 Model-5 Raleigh laid smoke, and West’s 1928 Model-E28 770 c.c. vee-twin BSA combination made a splendid ascent. Empsall had built his 1928 Model-N Triumph from a box of bits two years ago and fitted it with a very sporting sidecar but it soon stopped and had to be eased into the bank before restarting.

Cope push-started his two-speed ModelTS Douglas and Was last seen running beside it up the hill. Tiso’s 1918 Model-H Triumph puttered-puttered up, his coat tails flying and Cummings’ 1938 986 c.c. BSA sidecar outfit made light work of things, in spite of carrying three persons and their luggage. Although Mealing’s 1929 Royal-Enfield was obviously well-used and seemed to have a split in its silencer, it made a splendid ascent. Mills’ TT Sports Triumph was very fast, with lots of smoke, Tookey, whose Triumph Tiger 70 has done 100,000 from new in his hands, was disguised by a face mask, Ore’s Arid l Red Hunter with Noxal sidecar, three up, and Cox’s Rudge, nearly stopped, but Underhill’s Model-B6 AJS accelerated up and Fazakerley, his Model-8 Sunbeam wearing an L-plate, made a very good climb indeed. Rowcliffe rode solo a very quick sidecar-type 996 c.c. AJS, which explained the leg-shields, contrasting exhaust notes were emitted by a Scott and a two-stroke Excelsior, and Adams’ OEC sported a rear chaincase. Garland had apparently lost first speed on his 1,140 c.c. Royal Enfield, but got up all right, and Kelly’s Sunbeam, a Model-9 with 90 head, sounding very nice, elected to change into a higher gear.

A 600 c.c. Ariel combo which has been in every Saundersfoot Run made a very healthy ascent, with a neat gear-change, and the 1911 Triumph and Miss Taylor’s ABC Skootamota with a 124 c.c. ioe engine arrived in good order, being excused the hill. Indeed, the only casualties seemed to have been a broken inlet valve on Burge’s 1926 350 c.c. sv BSA and a sheared magneto-drive on Barnett’s 1931 S8 AJS. Typical of this event, the former was taken on a trailer by the travelling marshal’ and Guy’s 996 c.c. Model-X Matchless took the AJS in tow, diverted to a garage, then continued the event with Barnett on the pillion. Marks are awarded for passengers in this happy Run, so most of the sidecar outfits were fully stocked and many machines carried pillion riders. Girls also compete, Maureen ‘Puffy, for instance, from Bootle, riding a 1929 two-stroke 147 c.c. Radco, the L-type Ladies’ model which cost 19 gns. new, lamps 50/extra! To complete the enthusiastic atmosphere, the Control marshal’ at the hill had driven 300 miles from Hull to officiate, in his 1933 side-valve Morris Minor saloon.—W.B.

V-E-V Miscellany. – In the outbacks of Norfolk two Alvis cars are lying in the open, a 12/50 Cross & Ellis tourer and a circa-1934 Speed Twenty Corsica drophead. It seems they are not for sale as it is hoped one day to restore them. The latest publication to contain an article on Brooklands as it was and as it is today is “Cable”, a Pirelli house journal, the October issue of which devoted eight pages to such an article, with pictures, by Dave Skinner. Richard Heald, Treasurer of the Bristol Austin 7 Club, and John Fitch have imported to this country a couple of Rosengarts, one a 1928 model, the other 1929, which they discovered in Brittany while on a Club camping holiday last summer. They would like to hear from other Rosengart owners. Theirs are in very bad order but are to be restored. This raises the question of what happened to that brand-new Rosengart chassis which we found in a Watford factory many years ago and in which we couldn’t interest the 750 MC at the time ? Michael Elmer, who has completely rebuilt a 1935 Morris Cunard Special, queries the statement sent out at the time of the Morris Jubilee Endurance Run at Silverstone that these cars were made in 1936. He thinks they were only made in 1934 and 1935, and wonders whether the example, said to be the only other in existence besides the car in the Run, is his ?

It was good to see the Magazine of The Austin Seven, journal of the A7 Clubs Association, out again. The issue numbered 1973C is largely devoted to Austin 65s and Nipples. The Trojan OC soldiers on, its current duplicated magazine containing an interesting account of fifteen years of Trojaning and a report of the Club’s recent Gloucester Trial, which was won by Patricia Stocken’s 1924 Trojan Utility model. There were eleven starters, comprising seven two-stroke Trojans, in the Club’s Petersfield event and their next gathering will be at the “Learthern Bottle” on A281 on November 13th. Tom Wheateroft has added two works racing Austins, on loan from British Leyland, to his splendid Collection of Racing Cars which can be visited at Donington. One is the ex-Kay Petre sidevalve, the other is one of the twin-cam 750-c.c. Austins; both are to be restored to Wheat-croft standards.

Another Beaulieu Rally

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the passing of the Motor Car Act of 1903, when the registration of motor vehicles was first introduced, the National Motor Museum is organising a special “No. l’s Rally” to take place at Beaulieu on Sunday, 30th December. Its purpose is to bring together all veteran and vintage cars, motorcycles or commercial motor vehicles which carry No. 1 registrations, or a 1904 registration, plus selected modern vehicles with No. 1 registrations. In particular the Motor Museum wishes to locate the oldest motor vehicle in the country which is still roadworthy and still carries its original registration—ideally a No. 1 registration dated January 1904—for which a special Trophy will be awarded. There will he a Concours d’Elegance, and prizes awarded for each class.

Congratulations

In the words of the one-time Cliff Richard’s song-hit, congratulations to the Daimler/ Lanchester OC for publishing in its magazine an interesting article on the shortcomings and eventual success of the early Royal Daimlers, of pre-1907, and how they compared with the King’s Mercedes. This article is based on Royal correspondence published with the gracious consent of HM the Queen. This sets a new standard for articles in club magazines and is in keeping with Daimler dignity. – W.B.

Getting It Right

The Editor and Assistant Editor apologise for the many printing errors beyond their control in last month’s issue. They would like especially to point out that there never was a “Belfast banking” at Brooklands, that Nigel Arnold-Forster is still the VSCC’s President, and an active President at that, and that there is no VSCC Chairman, this garbled reference being to Mrs. Skinner, whose first name is Charmian. Also that the first picture of the Russ-Turner blower-4.1/2 single-seater Bentley is as the car was in the winter of 1929/30, not 1939/40. Etc.! — W.B.

V-E-V Odds & Ends. – As the Founder and former Secretary of the Pre-1940 Triumph OC is emigrating to Australia, the Hon. Sec. is now C. T. V. Watson, 14 Castlefields Drive, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, Glos. The annual rally of the Salmson Register was won by I. S. Maxwell’s 1925 GP model, 13. Goodman’s Amilcar won the Amilcar section and of the ladies in these cars, Robbie Hewitt beat Mrs. Drake to the big bottle of bubbly. In Scotland a rather unusual 1926 GP Salmson has come to light, in fair condition. It has triple carburetters, Rudge-Whitworth hubs and a four-speed gearbox. One of the Alastair Miller Wolseley Moths, converted for road use into a two-seater, which we tried hard to locate when it was reported to be in the Henley-on-Thames region during the war; without success, has now turned up, or its chassis has, in Cornwall. It is likely to be rebuilt and rebodied in Berkshire.

Apart from the possibility of Wyatt’s Austin History appearing, Lagonda and Fiat one-make books are pending, the latter actually with the printers, and the Humber history may well yet happen, while Peter Hull’s Salmson story cannot be far distant. History is much in evidence at the moment, Lord Montagu now being engaged on a book to be called a “Social History of Motoring”. The next VSCC fixture, usually a hairy event, is their Lakeland trial on November 3rd.

Vintage Postbag on page 1290