Miscellany, November 2003

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The annual Brooklands Society dinner and prize presentation is to be held in the Chequered Flag Room of the Brooklands Museum on November 13. Guest speaker will be Simon Taylor. The Society publishes a quarterly Brooklands Gazette full of nostalgic memories of the Track; the membership secretary is Bryan Reynolds, 4 Blackstone Hill, Redhill, Surrey RH1 6BE.

* * *

The magazine of the Early MG Society, which looks after four- and six-cylinder vintage MGs, and whose secretary is David Hutchison, 61 Maguire Drive, Frimley, Surrey GU16 5RY, has in its current issue the first part of a lecture which Eric Findon gave at an MAC meeting in 1939, about his broadcasts of Shelsley Walsh of 1931 on, from ‘Vox Villa’, the BBC hut at the famous Worcestershire venue. There are emotive pictures of this little building and of Findon, with descriptions of problems involved and of how his wife and daughter helped. His Riley and a Jensen saloon also served. I used to listen avidly to Findon on 2LO, by headphones.

* * *

Murray Walker never minds the gaffes in his television commentaries of motor races being recalled. I think he would have enjoyed one made by Findon, his predecessor, in the pre-war (Hitler, not Iranian) days. Of Glegg’s front-wheel-drive ‘Dorcas’ he said it had “twin-rear wheels at the front”!

* * *

Noel Stokoe has persuaded 115 Jowett owners to contribute memories of their cars to My Car was a Jowett (Tempus Publishing Ltd, ISBN 0-75242796-2, £12.99). I like vintage 7hp Jowetts, and the ‘open road’ pictures are pleasing, but readers will have to be very keen on the make to wade through these 160 pages, covering also Bradford, Javelin, Jupiter, and the ‘last-dice’ CD! Tempus was perhaps brave to embark on this project. It presumably feels that Jowett nostalgia may repay it…

* * *

I am informed that the new Austin 7 Racing Organisation has been formed, not in opposition to the 750MC, the Pre-War A7 Club or the VSCC, but to support them by uniting A7 racing enthusiasts and their interests and concerns, such as using 15in wheels, etc. Those in favour should get in touch with NJ Hayward Cook, Hampton Chase, Little Hampden, Great Missenden, Bucks HP16 9PT (tel: 01494 488959).

* * *

Listening to Alistair Cooke’s Letter From America on Radio 4, his subject was the golfer, traveller, sportsman and talented journalist Henry Longhurst. But inevitably motor racing was omitted. Well, I suppose Longhurst only experienced a modicum of it. But I took down from the shelves his book My Life and Soft Times and read again the chapter The Last Double-Twelve in which he tells of partnering Jim Byrom in 1931 in an Amilcar Six. It drew a rod on the second day. Longhurst had gone as passenger in Byrom’s T35 Bugatti in a Southport sand race. He had seen the Byrom boys race their Austin 7, all part of what he calls “the strange, all-by-itself world of motor racing”. He reminds me that the Oatlands Park Hotel, where many Brooklands’ drivers stayed, was once home to one of the Dukes of York.

* * *

The Dellow Register, for those fun trials cars, had a good turn out at Shelsley Walsh this summer. Seventeen cars were there, including the one that won the 1952 MCC Daily Express Rally. Present too were the son of Ken Delinpole, the ‘Del’ of the car’s name, Margery Evans, who drove Mike Webb’s once-yellow car in events and is the widow of Lionel Evans who made the Dellow bodies, and Mrs Pauline Warden, another competitor. Dellows won the rally championship and the British trials drivers’ championship in the 1950s.

* * *

The annual mid-season social rally of vintage cars at The Verzons hotel near Ledbury was well-supported, with 78 arrivals. As some visitors had come from the VSCC Harrogate Rally, the Verzons distance prize was replaced by the ‘most desirable car’ award: winner David Hales’ 1913 Cadillac coupe. The Brave Four jazz band earned funds for charity.

* * *

Dreoilin Publications Ltd of Tankardstown, Garristown, County Meath, has provided a useful reference to Irish motor racing with its high-class small albums. These have now been followed by the large-format Racing in the Park by Bob Montgomery. Covering activities at Phoenix Park over the last 100 years, with rare pictures, much subsidiary material, colour pictures of the various trophies, and even shots of the great Phoenix monument being moved to permit the 1929-31 races — a significant recognition of the importance of motor racing! — plus the race reports and some good pictures, this is a necessary addition to any enthusiast’s library. It costs £30 plus £3 P&P (ISBN 1-902773-15-2). A £10 soft-back edition is available while stocks last.

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