V to C: No mystery

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No Mystery!

In my discourse in the September issue on the successes and failures of the Ulster A7s when they were entered for races by the manufacturers, I wrote that in 1931 Goodacre took one of these little sports/racing cars to Italy and with it won a 1,000-mile race. Other A7 historians have referred to this, and the accomplishment was advertised by the Austin Motor Company. However, on reflection I felt that it most unlikely that there would have been two such races, the celebrated Mille Miglia and another over this same formidable distance, in one year, even in enthusiastic Italy.

A little research shows that what actually took place was that an A7 ran in the 1931 Mille Miglia. It did not win, leaving that to Caracciola and the 38/250 Mercedes-Benz, which averaged 62.85 mph. It finished in 34th place, in fact, out of 50 finishers, those that it beat numbering eight Fiat 509s, a 2-1/2-litre OM, a 2-litre Itala, a 1-1/2-litre and a 1-3/4-litre Alfa Romeo, a Lancia Lambda, a Rally, and one of the Bianchis from the team of these cars entered by the Italian Flying Squad. Not bad, for a 747 cc car.

The Austin advertisement, saying the car had finished first, implied first in its class: but there was no 750cc category in the race and what the Ulster A7 had done, in fact, was to finish second in the 1,100 cc-class, behind a Maserati but ahead of the Rally, taking only 40 minutes more than that of the 1927 outright Mille Miglia winner. I think it likely that Charles Goodacre drove the car out to Italy, sharing it in the race with the Italian driver Trevisan.— W.B.