Vetaran Edwardian Vintage

A section devoted to old-car matters

VSCC Welsh Rally and Trial

This traditional autumn event, dating back to 1939, attracted 98 entries in spite of the prevailing hard times, 33 doing the beauty show and driving-tests respectively at Presteigne and Knighton, the remainder, divided into two classes, long and shortwheelbase cars, the distance event and Sunday mud trial. For the latter there was an imposing turn-out of 30/98 Vauxhalls, E and OE, and five fiat-twin Jowetts, one of them the Sports replica, these being just outnumbered by Austin 7s, not counting non-starters. Roger Collings had entered his 1903 Sixty Mercedes but, perhaps wisely, did not appear.

Almost all the runners were old favourites but John Swainson, who had organised the first Welsh event for the VS CC, came in a 1923 Riley Redwing two-seater with the authentic unpainted aluminium mudguards, red scuttle Petrol tank and firewall, and inclined plugs. It had spent most of its life in the care of a Cheltenham headmaster. Condon’s smart Empire-model AC was on beaded-edge tyres as usual, Hill had that three-seater Triumph Super Seven, Malyan the white 22/90 Alfa Romeo that used to tow a caravan, and Golding a very neat 2-litre Lagonda tourer equipped with the luxury of a heater. Another smart and very well-kept fabric-bodied car was McNab’s V-type Lea-Francis Weymann Coupe. Morgan had the ex-Stanford 30198 Vauxhall with the late-type proper hydraulic front brakes, so altogether, with the trial eztries, there were eight of these cars present and there would have been nine had JeddereFisher not had half-shaft difficulties with his. But Mrs. Fisher was going as well as ever in the only Edwardian, the 1913 Lancia Theta.

Collins’ Star was well covered up, only its steering wheel protruding from its tonneau cover and there seemed to have been little trouble en route, apart from Harper’s 1924 Morris-Oxford coupe having blown an exhaust manifold gasket, which also happened to Diffey’s 9/20 Humber, the front axle of which was alleged to be coming adrift. This did not prevent either car from competing in the driving tests in a factory yard in Knighton.

Here Grant’s Chapuis-Dornier-engined Vernon-Derby must have been very quick and accurate as although it was not exactly in Concours d’Elegance condition, it took the top prize in Saturday’s event. During these manoeuvres Macmillan’s Rolls-Royce was seen to flex its tyres at the swerves, J. C. Batte to go faster than C. Batte, DE Delage against DISS, and the Vernon-Derby, as we thought, to go decently quickly.

Fine weather changed to heavy rain for most of the duration of the Sunday trial. On Pentre, a mud hill climbing up between banks under overhanging trees, which the shortchassis cars had to tackle in the afternoon, Winder’s little Humber Chummy had no trouble, but Holbrook’s M-type MG wouldn’t leave the start. Buttle’s Jowett 7/17 got up neatly, the sports Jowett made a good start and blipped up, but Clifton’s Jowett squeaked to a failure. The Cup-model Austin stopped near the top, but the AmiIcar-Riley, tyres well down, Winder’s Ulster Austin, Parker’s creditably rebuilt fabric Austin 7 saloon and Hami1E011-Gould’s Austin all made it, the last-named in spite of a radiator holed by the fan. Packer’s nicely original Chummy Austin failed, Thomas’ Beck Special Riley refused to look at it, but Hill, in his Alvis with three passengers, Giles in the “coupe de vile” Frazer Nash with odd front track, Mays’ Anzani Nash, Spence’s noisy LeaFrancis Hyper Special, Moffat, naturally, the ON, which had had its silencers replaced at the lunch stop, and the rest of the “Chain Gang” except for Tarring and Lock, treated the hill with disdain. Not Calvert’s Invicta, however, which, in spite of outside exhausts and a pointed tail, got well and truly stuck. Brash’s M-type MG stopped early and Lilley’s twoseater Jowett about half way up. Skinner’s Austin also failed.

At the last observed section, put in in lieu of The Smatcher, only Moffatt’s Type 13 Bugatti, was clean and even that combination did not get all the way up beyond the last marker although it repeated its splendid ascent on a demonstration run. McEwen made a good attempt in his Riley 9 tourer, the bouncing passengers’ heads making periodic indentations in the hood.—W.B.


Presteigne Trophy : W. S. May (Frazer Nash).

Rally Award :I. Grant (Vernon-Derby).

First Class Awards : P. Diffey (Humber), R. Hark (Lea-Francis), D. T. Harris (Frazer Nash). R. G. Winder (Austin Seven), J. A. Knight (OM) and J. A. MeEwen (Riley Nine).

Second Class Awards : D. R. Marsh (Bentley?. J. R. Hill (Triumph Super Seven), K. M. Hill (Alva Silver Eagle), N. Arnold Forster (Fraser Nash), M. T. joseland (Frazer Nash). A. G. Templeton (Vauxhall), J. Burnell (Alvis) and J. E. Meeks (Austin Twenty).

Third Class Awards: A. W. K. Condon (AC), C. A. Mann (Ails Romeo). J. Malyan (Alfa Rome6), H. F. Moffatt (13ugatti), R. C. Batho (Amilear-Riley), R. 5. Nice (Frazer Nash), N. J* W. Stayel (Frazer Nash). 1. Barwell (Vauxhall) and M. Hies; (Alva).