Miscellany, November 1997

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The 1100cc Alta two-seater which was raced at Le Mans and in the Ulster IT by J L Ford and M H Baumer in 1932 turned up at a recent auction sale, after apparently having disappeared for 27 years. At Le Mans it retired and in the IT it lasted for only five laps before the back-axle packed up. The pair then turned to an MG Midget and were sixth at Le Mans in 1933 but in the TT they retired with engine and steering problems. After which an 1100cc MG was used at Le Mans but it, too, retired.

* * *

The RAF register is anxious to trace the present wherabouts of Mike Tenbosch, one-time competition exponent with a Fiat Balilla. Letters can be forwarded.

* * *

The new classic motoring organisation (CMO) announces a 1998 celebration of the Mini Cooper on its 35th birthday, in the form of a Mini Tour des Alpes, commemorating also Rauno Aaltonen’s success in the 1963 Coupe des Alpes. Open to every sort of Mini, details are available from the CMO, 55a Belmont Road, Wallington, Surrey, SM6 8TH.

* * *

I hear that the famous single-overhead-camshaft 16-valve AC which J A Joyce raced so successfully at Brooklands in the early 1920s, and which was the first light car to do 100 miles in the hour, is being restored by the enthusiast R A R Smith. It held the Test Hill record three times, until finally beaten by the Frazer Nashes. In later times it was raced on Southport sands by Aked, in whose garage in Lytham St Armes Mrs Robbie Hewitt found it. By then it had a porous cylinder block but Jenks drove it once at VSCC Prescott, using a Riley 9 engine.

* * *

Apart from being the venue for VSCC monthly meetings, The Verzons near Ledbuty is an ideal setting for the larger New Year and Summer ‘Serendipities’ also organised by Mark Garfitt. In spite of foul weather on the most recent, on August 24, 30 of the older cars ventured out. They numbered five Alvis, mostly 12/50s, with one 12/70, four Rileys, Sprite, Gamecock, that smart disc-wheeled Nine coupe and a 12/4 Special, and three A7s, Chummy, Pearl and Swallow. There were two each of Frazer Nash, FN/BMW (Mark’s 319/55 sports and a 326 from Bristol), Lagonda (Rapier and 3-litre), and MG (PA and F2).

* * *

‘Singles’ at the Verzons included 3-litre Bentley, T35B Bugatti, a Chrysler which won the ‘Landlady’s Choice’ award, a Clark Lanchester, a Morris 8 export tourer, Rendal’s Invicta, Moore’s Railton and a Sunbeam tourer. The Solsey-6 band played (indoors) and there were three autojumble stands. The Distance Prize was won easily by the Bentley which John and Pauline Maylan had brought from Wisborough Green, Sussex.