Veteran to classic

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It seems that Lickey Grange, Bromsgrove, home of Lord Austin and where the Austin 7 was designed, is lost to the nation, following explanatory letters we have received from the Department of the Environment and Sir Hal Miller, MP, to whom we wrote. The D of E says “Lickey Grange is simply not sufficiently special to warrant inclusion in the statutory list”. Thus does Britain disregard, and destroy, its historic heirlooms …

We are sad to hear, from Richard Odell, that Don Wood has died, aged 78. He was involved with Horace Grave in work on the prototype Riley 1500 at Abingdon and his hobby was running his vintage cars, a 1923 side-valve Riley coupe, and the Riley Sand racer later passed to Odell, in VSCC events in the 1950s and ’60s. He took part in our “Boxing Night Exeters” and passengered Odell on last year’s VSCC Welsh Trial.

After 20 years, the MGCC will be moving its headquarters back to Abinigdon-on-Thames in 1990, its Diamond Jubilee year, fund-raising having realised nearly £175,000 towards an office  just outside the old MG factory perimeter, on the very road along which all new MGs left the works up to 1950. The Club will be delighted to return to Abingdon, although a further £75,000 is needled to restore and equip the new office building.

David Sewell has put much hard work into compiling a new British Bugatti Register. It lists three eight-valve cars, one Garros Bugatti, 53 sixteen-valve Brescias, eight T30s, 58 T35/39s, 28 T37s, two T38s, 25 T40s, 19 T43s, 22 T44s, 12 T46s, 11 T49s, four T50s, 18 T51s, two T54s, three T55s, 43 T57/57Ss, six T59s, two T73s and a few lone types. Data on history, present owners, and bodywork, colour and registration numbers where known are given, with a list of cars that have gone overseas. Brief specifications are also included. Sewell has been careful to distinguish Bugattis with a continuous history from those being built on replica chassis, etc; it is sad to note that no fewer than 111 of the Bugattis listed have no continuous history, which shows how far the fake movement is spreading. BOC Prescott have copies for sales.

Bruce Dowell has got out a 334-page photocopy register of all known Sunbeam cars from 1899 to 1935, with estimated production runs of the different models, which also constitutes a list of Sunbeam-owning members of the STD Register. Copies are available for £11.00 post free, from Fairview, Charlton Adam, Somerset TA11 7AS.

VMCC is raffling an unrestored he 23/4-hp Raleigh motorcycle to aid its funds. Its official journal is now edited by Dr DO Styles.

Skoda has been recalling in its GB house magazine some of its history and features the Skoda Popular of 1933 to 1945 and the later Tudor models, also sporting successes dating back to Alpine Trial achievements by Laurin et Klement cars, forerunners of the Skoda. Successes in the Monte Carlo Rallies of the 1960s are also remembered, together with more recent ones in the RAC Rally, in which the first factory-prepared 1100MB driven by Mike Hindle won its class in 1969, since when this has become something of a habit!

To commemorate the centenary of the FTA, Freight produced a special issue last August, with articles on early steam waggons and petrol-engined commercial vehicles, etc., and with a fine front cover depicting London when horse-drawn carts mingled with solid-tyred omnibuses displaying advertisements for Pears Soap, Maples and Schweppes Ginger Ale, etc.

The Darracq which was used in the Rank film Genevieve (1954), has been sold in Australia for a remarkable £290,000. In fact, the car is an early Edwardian (1905) and not elegible for the RAC Brighton Run, although its co-star, a Hotchkiss, dated as 1904 was a “Brighton” car. In the film the “veterans” had a race from Brighton to London, so a bogus Brighton run; perhaps there is little need to grieve for a car which has been down-under for 30 years and is destined apparently for a Museum. WB