A section devoted to old-car matters
VSCC— “The Welsh” (October 8 /9th)
This is the title by which the Vintage SCC’s Presteigne Week-End is now generally known. The formula was as before, however, with the choice of a minimum 200-mile road run on the Saturday and a trial on the Sunday (entry=70) or a Concours d’Elegance and driving-tests at Presteigne/Knighton on the Saturday only (entry=27). There were some non-starters, including an HE, a Salmson and a Morris-Oxford in the former and a Vernon-Derby and a Zedel in the latter category, while the unfortunate Harper had to push his newly-acquired 1923 o.h.v. 16/40 Sunbeam tourer to the check point of the Saturday frolics due to a broken halfshaft, later jury-rigged to get him home. Roger Collings had changed an inner tube on the 1912/13 4.7-litre Brixia-Zust en route, with the road wheel it situ.
Across Presteigne High Street, banner, put up by the Radnorshire Arms, h/q of the event, welcomed the VSCC to this 39th rally (actually, it was the 29th, surely?) and a cafe displayed a welcome notice to all VSCC crews—a nice touch of Continental hospitality in remote, wet Welsh-Wales.
While the serious contestants were inflicting the road section on themselves and their cars, Rosemary Burke going to Donington in the Morris Minor as her 200-mile contribution, to watch the Allen Crankshaft Team win the 750 MC’s Birkett 6-Hour Relay Race, we went to see the driving-tests. There were two Crossleys, Warburton’s 1923 20/70 two-seater and Mellish’s 1914 RFC-type twin-rear-tyred tourer. Angela Cherrett had brought her 6C Alfa Romeo, Hancock his outside-handbrake 15/60 OM, and Shapland’s 1924 Lanchester 21 saloon competed in ghostly-progression with Macmillan’s well-known Rolls-Royce 20 all-weather. Jeremy Collins and Bill Sant were light-car mounted, respectively in 1.7-litre Star Scorpio and Clyno Eleven, Brooks had brought his generously-tyred 1924 Darracq 12 tourer and Howard his more-sporting Type 40 Bugatti. Diffy’s Huber 9/20 was presumably running on Pratts Perfection Spirit . . .
Some parked trucks slightly restricted the pylon-swerving, causing those on the wrong line or with restricted steering lock (Diffy, Mellish) to reverse, and it was left to Peacop in the Morris Minor to really lift an inner front wheel. The Royce was hurried round as usual, Diffy didn’t hang about, Williams made his Alvis 12/50’s tyres protest and Hartnell changed-down at the first pylon in order to give his smart 1925 Austin 7 Chummy more steam—talking of which, it appeared to have been boiling. The Bugatti understeered, and Roger Collings caused amusement by referring to the plan of the test as he drove through it we hoped the policeman present realised that the lusty Zust exhaust-note was due to an open cutout, which Roger would, of course, never use on the public road . . .
Sunday was showery, with sunny intervals, as the Weathercasters say, so entirely suitable for a Trial. The observed-sections were much as before, starting with Llangogh. There had apparently been little drama on the road-section, except for what befell the luckless Arnold-Forsters, whose GN shed a wheel, which had to be wired-on, Nigel then driving back to Basset Down to get another hub cap. The petrol level was found to be low on the Sunday morning and an oil-pipe was leaking. Which is perhaps why he drove, instead of Pam. Mrs. Crabbe, who was due to make her trials debut in the Ulster Austin, shared it with Colin, leaving Rosemary as the only girl to go-it-alone, for the distance. Again the 30/98s turned out in force, 14 being entered (no Bentleys), Townsend having a suitcase and rolled umbrella strapped to the back of his. A newcomer was Weeks’ GN, which has discarded its flat-twin ABC engine for an air-cooled, vee-twin out of a BSA three-wheeler (the type used also in BSA f.w.d. and r.w.d. four-wheelers), so that it can now be designated a Hotchkiss-GN.
There is little point in discussing all the antics on the various hills. Concentrating on Pilleth 1, at that beautifully-situated farm where the VSCC is made to welcome and the many spectators are provided with a free car park, Bullett’s 30/98 Vauxhall cleaned it, Winder’s Chummy Austin walked it, actually accelerating, Spence’s Lea-Francis indulged in a racing ascent of this long grassy climb, and Freddie Giles’ Boulogne Frazer Nash took it slowly but successfully. The enthusiastic onlookers applauded clean ascents, like that of Stoyel’s Super Sports Frazer Nash, which was blipped up, and the slow but so-sure climb by Laxton’s Chummy Austin. Barry Clarke in an odd-looking Chummy made a determined onslaught and Hamish Moffatt, with Sir John Venables-Llewelyn in the other danger-seat, after traumatic experiences in a water-splash, arrived to set what must surely have been FTD in the Type 13 Bugatti, had the watches been out. Tom Threlfall’s lofty Model-A Ford saloon was also in very good form.
Mrs. Burke, with Skinner bouncing (as he had ruptured his “wooden” Austin he should have been driving), made a very good job of getting to marker-9, and other good efforts can be credited to Lyles’ Cup-Model Austin 7, McEwen’s hooded Riley 9, Hamilton-Gould’s Super Sports Frazer Nash which, at low revs, got further than Boyce’s Frazer Nash, the latter’s headlamps protected by Lucas covers, Elsom’s sliding, smoking, revving 1922 Morris Sports, Lang’s Chummy that picked its way carefully to marker-7, Parker’s fabric saloon Austin 7 that did likewise, and the steaming Humber Special of Winder, Senr., which slowly dragged itself almost to marker-9. Fone’s fabric-bodied Austin 7 two-seater was experiencing a less-good day, having discarded a wing-stay and its brake pedal in morning, and now failing low down. Ryley’s Hyper Lea-Francis went quite nicely and Sellers’ M-type MG, with elaborate bonnet louvres, got to marker-9— all these observations are, of course, unofficial. But it was left to Adnams’ Ulster Austin, proudly bearing the Union flag in competition with Mrs. Diffy’s Jubilee umbrella, to challenge Moffatt’s FTD clean ascent.—W.B.
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At Presteigne Shapland’s 1924 Leech ester 21 was joined in the car-park by a later Lanchester 21 with higher radiator, and two spectating Daimlers, one of which teas the ex-Jolmny Thomas’ 1925 sleeve-valve 35/120 Hamshaw limousine, now in very nice condition and complete even to the filter in its radiator orifice, and with no maker’s name outwardly visible except for the script on the Motometer. We understand that 7.00 x 23 inner tubes are required as spares for it.
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One Of the 1905 Gordon Bennett Star racing cars has been unearthed. It is apparently Car No. 1 with engine No. 2 and Seems possibly to have been the one involved in an accident when Mr. Lisle was testing it along Wergs Road in Wolverhampton. prior to the race. Does anyone know its post-race history. A 1907 35 h.p. Type A1 Vanderbilt Series-C Renault is being rebuilt in America and information is sought about these cars. Since his letter was published last month. Michael Worthington-Williams reports hearing of two more derelict Angus-Sandersons. He is full of praise for Kent CC, which has filed its Registration records dating from 1904 and makes these available for inspection, enabling a new Log-Book to be issued for the Angus-Sanderson that is being restored. To celebrate the centenary of William Morris (Lord Nuffield), a special Exhibition has been staged in Thames Street, Oxford, by the Thames & Chilterns Tourist Board and the Oxfordshire CC Museum Services. Exhibits include an 1893 Morris bicycle and a 1913 Morris-Oxford It remains open until November 27th.