Club news, October 1938

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Otia, /lewd ,m,,„„.,…?1111111r

SCOTTISH A.C.

We have always felt that there should be a few more antique cars tucked away in the wilds of Scotland and North Wales, even though all the pre-1905 examples have long since been unearthed from their resting places in this country and only change hands at exorbitant prices. Consequently, interest attaches to the Veteran Car Rim from Edinburgh to Glasgow, put over last month by the Scottish A.C. in conjunction with the Empire Exhibition at Glasgow. The route avoided the main roads and was of fifty miles duration. Nineteen veterans started, the oldest an 1897 4. h.p. Argyll, and seventeen finished the course. The retirements were a 1905 White steamer and a 1902 ArrolJohnston. The run was open to cars of later than Veteran C.C. age, and. amongst the runners were a 1900 Albion, a 1900 Panhard, a 1901 Albion, a 1901 Panhard, a 1902 Panhard, a 1903 .Arrol-Johnston, a 1903 Peugeot, a 1904 Humber, a 1906 Albion, a 1908 Renault, a 1907 Darracq, a 1908 De Dion, a 1908 Renault, a 1900 De Dion tricycle, and a 1902 Cadillac. It is interesting that much practical enthusiasm has been shown in Ireland and Scotland over initial runs of this nature, yet when the Vintage S.C.C. attempted a rally for their members’ more reliable already-taxed cars, only

a few souls supported it. We should like to know whether all the cars in the recent Scottish rim were taxed and insured, or whether Authority kindly failed to distinguish between ordinary number plates, limited Trade plates and full Trade plates.

VINTAGE S.C.C.

The Vintage S.C.C. has just issued another of its inimitable Bulletins, splendidly illustrated with photographs and excellent pen drawings. The contents include reports of Club meetings, at Donington, Lewes, and Prescott, the Northern Notes, Veteran Notes and Phcenix Notes, a description of the Lagonda-engined Barson-Special, a list of new members, and lots of general matter wherein one tastes Cecil Clutton’s special brand of wit. Since May thirtyone new members have enrolled, Of whom seven are associates, and the others number amongst them four 4-litre Bentleys, an M.G., three Delages, a Vernon-Derby, a 33-180 Mercedes-Benz, two Austin Sevens, an Alfa-Romeo, several Bugattis, a 2-litre Lagonda, an Amilcar, an Aston-Martin, a Salinson, a 1922 Sunbeam, two specials, and a 1914 Of-litre Peugeot. Boddy became a full member when he acquired his 1923 Rhode. Dick Nash has fitted a set of new cast-iron pistons to the big Lorraine, and it has just transpired that Clutton’s Itala was driven by Cagno in the 1908

Dieppe G.P. and that it won the AllComer’s Plate Race of seven laps at Brooklands in 1910 at 971 rn.p.h., lapping at 102 m.p.h. In those days it carried a different body. The Itala which Pope drove in the 1906 St. Petersburgh-Moscow race has come to light in the Isle of Wight and has been visited by Heal and Clutton. Properly printed results of the August Prescott meeting have been issued. The Club will have participated in the United Hospitals Donington Meeting of October 8th and its next fixture is the Gloucestershire Trial of November 27th. All owners of pre-1931 cars may enrol. Membership costs 12/6 per annum ; associate membership 7/6 per annum, with an entry fee of 5/in each instance.

Hon. Secretary : Tim Carson, “The Phamix.,” Hartley Whitney, Hants.

INVICTA C.C.

The Committee has asked for a vote as to whether or not the Invicta Car Club should be absorbed by the Bugatti Owners’ Club. The terms of such an absorption would be that the Bugatti Owners’ Club take over all assets and liabilities as from J anuary 1st, 1939. Present assets comprise approximately 05 in cash and thirty badges and liabilities an obligation to buy about /9 worth of badges already

ordered. Members would pay a subscription rate of 4-1 Is. instead of the 1:3 3s. fee and 9 3s. subscription which non-Bugatti owners pay for B.O.C. privileges. This would be very nice for Invicta folk and doubtless lots of other small clubs would like a similar chance. Some years ago a friend of ours, who had .owned a Bugatti and two AstonMartina, suggested that the B.O.C. should absorb the Aston-Martin Owners’ Club, on the grounds that the A.M. is the English Bugatti. In those days the B.O.C. Was not interested in any such amal

gamation or absorption. It seems to us that Invicta folk will gain far more than the B.O.C. if the absorption goes through, quite apart from what one feels about the loss of the keenly enthusiastic tone in which Donald Monro conducted What was his own personal club. But Monro is nowadays too busy to edit “The Gauntlet,” and altogether it appears that the short-lived Invicta C.C. must be absorbed or abandoned.

BUGATTI OWNERS’ CLUB

The Club’s next fixture is the well established Welsh Trial on October 23rd. The September issue of ” Bugantics ” contained a beautifully illustrated report of Prescott, the second part of R. L. de B. Walkerley’s article on Grand Prix Racing under the old l’ormula, a humorous article, and a description of Col. Giles’s latest Type 57S Bugatti “La Petite Sezarme.” The new 575 is bodied like Therese,” weighs 27 cwt. 3 qrs., has perfect road-clinging qualities, and does 60, 80, 100 and 120 m.p.h. on. the gears, while running down to under 10 m.p.h. in top. The engine gives some 180 b.h.p., and has a compression ratio of 10 to 1, and Col. Giles has done a 324-mile run in 5 hours 56 mins., putting 64.4 miles into one hour—and, as we know from personal experience, no driver takes greater notice of the legal limit in built-up areas or drives with a greater minimum of apparent haste. Club membership is 9 3s. entry fee and Z:3 3s. per annum subscription for non-Bugatti owners and 2s. entry fee and 2s. subscription for Bugatti owners, which permits of

valuable Prescott privileges. Another issue of ” Bugantics ” is due next month and will contain another of Boddy’s ” Special Bugatti Types” articles.

Hon. Secretary : E. L. Giles, 2, Queen Street, Mayfair, WA.

FORD ENTHUSIASTS’ CLUB

The Club had its own enclosures at Donington for both the T.T. and the Grand Prix. On September 18th the Club participated in the Kentish Border C.C. meeting at Brand’s Hatch and several members attended. In the near future a novel social event will be held, plans are afoot for a very ambitious trial, and the Boxing Day Trial, one of the last trials under the old regime, will probably be held on private ground. It is possible that K. Hutchison will resign as joint secretary with Sydney Allard and that his place will be taken by W. Boddy.

Hon. Secretary : S. H. Allard, 15, Millbrooke Court, London, S.W.15.

THE HERTS COUNTY AUTO & AERO CLUB

Speed Trials were again held at Beechwood on Sunday, September 18th. Best time of the day was made by E. Winterbottom, who has mended his Alta’s rear axle, and clocked 18.5 secs. Haesendonck’s M.G. record of 19.5 secs. was smashed half-a-dozen times, Haesendonck himself clocking 18.9 secs. Wilkes’s polished V-twin G.N. upheld G.N. tradition by losing both magnetos before it ran and seizing its transmission after it had run, but while in action it at least made best 1,100 c.c. time, in 19.4 secs. Several special Austins ran, of which Jarvis’s did 19.6 secs., and covered a greater distance than the organisers stipulated, in a series of interesting slides. Miss Stanley-Turner graced the meeting with her PB M.G. and Dunham ran his Rover Sixteen in the saloon car class, which was won by F. S. Cotton’s 4-litre Talbot-Darracq. J. E. Clowes and the

McEvoy-Special made best club-member’s time, in 19.3 secs.—McEvoy, by the way, has been at Brooklands of late—sans beard.

CHILTERN CAR CLUB

There were thirteen starters for the Chiltern. Hills Trial, held on 24th September, and they were dispatched from the Mill Stream, Amersham, at minute intervals, the first competitor being away at 3.15 p.m. The first observed section was a hundred yards acceleration test on Mop End Lane, which included a sharp corner. E. H. Goodenough (M.G.9 Supercharged) put up the fastest time of 13 secs., R. G. Bradshaw (M.G.10) was second with 141 secs. and C. W. Taylor (M.G.10 Supercharged) third with 151 secs. The second test was a reversing movement on Featherbed Lane, where the extreme narrowness of the track put the larger cars at some disadvantage. E. H. Goodenough achieved 131 secs., C. W. Taylor 14 secs. and C. B. Ballard (M.G.8) 14* secs Rignal was the first non-stop hill and only failed one car, and this was having chronic plug trouble. Then followed a timed road section to Tunnel Slide, on which two competitors lost marks for late

arrival. Tunnel Slide did not stop a single car and the remaining non-stop hill, Jacob’s Ladder, was no more successful. The .failure of the non-stop sections was entirely due to extreme dryness of the course, which also had its effect on the special tests.

The last of these was a reversing test round an acute left-hand bend with bad camber, and. took place at Heming’s Farm. E. H. Goodenough was again the fastest with 311 secs., C. B. Ballard second with 371 secs. and C. W. Taylor third with 38 secs.

Three competitors lost marks for late arrival at the final control, where results were soon available. The Premier Award was won by E. H. Goodenough with 2421 marks, First Class Awards by C. W. Taylor with 2321 marks, R. G. Bradshaw with 2311 marks and S. M. Kent (Ford 8) with 2261 marks. Second Class Awards went to C. B. Ballard with 2251 marks, W. E. Edgar (Alvis 12/50) 2241 marks and R. Whitfield (Wolseley 12) with 2241 marks.

GENERAL NOTES

Well, we duly went again to the breaker’s yard where you sound a big bulb-horn by way of gaining admittance, and demanded the Bebe Pug. First we were led through and over throngs of derelict cars to an ordinary small Peugeot, circa 1925, of which there are still a number in regular service. No, we said, we wanted a pre-war baby. Another detour through masses of mangled motorcars and there, sure enough, it was. Very like a toy, it had a narrow body with a pointed tail which looked like the outer end of a 1920 G.N. touring body chopped

off and put into place. Certainly our hopes that it was the car which. Leno drove in the very first 200-Mile Race were dashed to the ground and we were not pleased to learn that so interned was the machine that it would be months before we could have it, anyway, and then not before we had parted with a fiver. Curiously, the little car had quite biggish boots, as distinct from those on another touring G.N. which O’Reilly has tinearthed, which lives at ” The Phcenix ” and could, it appears, quite happily swop tyres with any man-size pedal bicycle I Our spirits were somewhat re-elated, when, just as we were about to vacate the yard, we came upon a 18 h.p. pre-war two-seater Decauville, the licence of which proclaimed that it had been in use as late as 1929, and which announced the car’s colour, accurately enough, in a single word : ” drab.” Then back to the Track to watch practice for the ” 200,” when the enclosure that you reach by turning off the tunnel road just by Beart’s tuning shed was very much appreciated. Not only do you get an excellent view of cars taking the turn from the Railway Straight onto the road circuit, which calls for some excitingly heavy braking, but the view as a whole is most picturesque, with the dullsweep of the Byffeet Banking backing the aerodrome, trains running past high on the embankment in the foreground, and the Members’ Hill rising on the other flank, grass-grown and with the pine trees silhouetted against the afternoon sky. Curiously, a rapid run up to town and almost immediately back again to pick up a friend who was working on one of the racing cars proved thoroughly enjoyable, although the car was but a Standard Austin Seven, not capable of more than about 55 m.p.h. and with a hardly ideal driving position and a body now so much in need of repair that when a cyclist leant on its stern at some hostile traffic lamps—as cyclists will—the flexion sent the engine almost up to full revs. ! There is a wealth of difference between pottering in a really rapid motor-car and undertaking an urgent journey, when time presses, in a car which is incapable of putting up a decent average unless humoured by its driver. Under such circumstances the Austin Seven is ever a fascinating. proposition. Indeed, we bought one for ourselves shortly afterwards and promptly snapped the remote control gear-lever in the first mile’s motoring, a happening somewhat embarrassing as it happened in Chiswick High Street and rendered the car quite unpushable as it was jambed in cog. Perhaps, however, not quite as embarrassing as the Rhode on its last real run, when it commenced instantly on the starter after weeks of idleness, as is its wont, and was duly filled up with quite expensive oil and fuel. Whereupon the Starting handle fell out and the starter simultaneously ceased to function. Seeing no means of recovering the commodities just purchased, we refused to be defeated, and set off city-wards in the old car. Miraculously the engine did not stall once and we duly came home safely again through the busiest rush hour of the Moorgate traffic, the only incident occurring when a City policeman on point duty made himself look foolish by demanding that the ” oil be turned off at once,” because we were ejecting a slight haze during a traffic stop. We replied sweetly, when asked how we would like to sit behind it, that it would be much nicer than sitting behind one of the L. P. T. B. ‘s diesel-motored buses, and when

the constable said he supposed the bores were had we said, absolutely truthfully, oh no, but please the oil comes down past the valves. Whereat he let us go, and we were received gleefully at the othei end. of the crossing by his opposite number, who sought to add his meed of praise to what he thought had been a complimentary chat about our old motor. To revert to the Austin, it had one amusing characteristic, namely, from the front, with Ulster-type axle, .a tiny radiator from an Almack racing job, and cycle wings, it looked truly fierce, whereas from the rear the low and rather dumpy racing body looked a thorough homebuilt and ” imitation rater.” Now the writer likes nothing less than a vehicle of the latter sort, especially if its performance is unimpressive, but he consoled himself with the thought that at least passers-by would look keenly at his car and not until he had gone would their expressions turn to derision. Alau, one day a Salmson stopped alongside, looking quite the real thing and making less Own half the noise, and beat us nicely away from some Belisha lamps. That, of course, finished it, and very soon the Austin will appear with a sober twoseater body possessed of lots of side curtains, a hood, screenwiper and other utility paraphernalia. Albeit the lower .axles will be retained to afford reasonable powers of control. At first the engine would only run for a few seconds at a stretch, which we traced to a most imposing induction manifold, from which hung a Solex carburetter large enough for a 12/50 Alvis, and both arranged so that they could never get warm. A friend substituted another rather special manifold of less ambitious proportions and a little Zenith gas-producer, and off we went. Moreover, the exhaust note was immense, not only recalling the gallant exploits of the Ulster Austins in the T.T. and at Brook lands in the hands of the Earl of March and Sammy Davis, but being almost as potent as that of Hadley’s car going up Shelsley. Quite why this should be so is as yet unexplained, as the 1910 type engine is standard save for an outside exhaust system, enlarged ports and a quick-opening camshaft— though stronger valve springs, an h.c. gasket and an alloy head will be added

without delay. The little car had an excellent display of spirit and proved lots of fun to handle, even if one did have to search for spent matches with which to prop open the throttle when restarting on one’s own, and if the wings did foul the tyres so that a front one burst, necessitating the use of very odd-size covers on the front wheels. The writer hopes to develop the Austin into quite a reasonable hack, able to hold 45 to 50 m.p.h. indefinitely on long runs while shutting up very snugly when required, which is so much more preferable to rushing about at sixty behind a lot of louvres, with rain and wind howling all around you—don’t tell me that old age is leaving its mark after only twentyfive summers . . . . Suddenly, in the midst of thinking and acting Austin, we realised that, somehow, we had never seen a T.T. and that on the morrow the 10th of the series was being contested a mere 130 miles away at DoningtOn Park„ Luckily, a seat was forthcoming in the demonstrator two-seater V8 Allard-Special, even though that ” Seat ” comprised the narrow luggage space behind the bucket seats occupied by Leslie and Mrs. Allard, in emphasis of which we still carry the bruises. Notwithstanding, it was a great day’s motoring, with a a.m. start, and a spirited duel with an Atalanta for a good deal of the run up—the Atalanta with the 3-valve engine, not the new V12, as was evident from the intruding note of high-efficiency machinery when our aggressor was idling. The run to Donington via Towcester and Hiekley embraces excellent, fast and typically English roads and the Allard is no sluggard. Indeed, the speedometer, reputed to read considerably slow as special rear wheels were in use, lived in the “over eighties” for prolonged spells, and from the gale which dragged at our close-fitting flying hat, the gait was conceded to be around 90 m.p.h. Couple this with excellent roadclinging qualities, immense acceleration, and very smooth, silent functioning, and you realise why these Allard-Specials are becoming increasingly popular amongst those who favour modern high-performance cars. Incidentally, the telecontrol enables maximum comfort to be aohieved under a variety of conditions and the bodywork is commendably well .finished and rigid, though Allard was bewailing a slight tremor of the facia and hardly noticeable steering kick-back which, he says, has been eliminated from the latest model. Coming home, dusk fell early, bringing with it fitful rain storms, and, after a meal, we came down rapidly enough, leading for a while one of the Continental racing jobs, left hand drive, with

very business-like crew and beautifully handled. Although we dallied quite a while after leaving the course at the conclusion of the race, we were right home in South London by 9.30 pan. Then came some journeys to Brooklands to watch preparations for the B.R.D.C. Meeting, in the course of one of which we found Gerard on our tail at the conclusion of the Kingston By-Pass with the beautiful T.T. winning Delage, so that we were able to lead him to the Track via the tWiggily route instead of straight on through Esher, which in our opinion is the better way and along which, on this auspicious occasion, the Opel saloon cornered as it has never been cornered before. The race itself was visited in the effortless comfort of an old model Ford V8 drop-head coup& which made us think once again how very pleasant is V8 motoring and what wonderful value in the way of worry-free high performance Dagenham offers, albeit the ordinary V8 certainly cannot compete with an Allard Special in driving visibility, steering accuracy Or absolute performance. The evening was spent watching an enthusiast rend asunder a Chummy Austin Seven body with the construction of a special in view and on the Sunday we were seized, at 6 p.m., with a sudden desire to do a longish flip in our own Austin. Years earlier we had located a 1904 single-lunger De Dion in a small Buckinghamshire village and had intended to negotiate with the owner at once. sowhow the chance to revisit the veteran never came, though every time we passed through the village anxious eyes were cast at the chimp beside the small shed where the old car had lain. So now, at last, we left London, slumbering in the early evening of a September Sunday, to see if we could acquire this se, desirable property. Alas, it had long since vanished, and we spent a miserable time coming home, a jet choked, no jet-key available, and the passenger rendered sick and ill at ease by the pungent exhaust fumes from the outside drainpipe. Even so, the time from Aylesbury to Marble Arch was equal to that which the writer reckoned to take over this journey on much hotter motors, in the days, adventurous days, when he was just feeling his feet

as a sports-car driver. Next, it was Prescott Sunday once again, and this time we set off alone in the little sports Austin, not feeling too good about the rain, because we had been drenched to the skin very thoroughly coining up from Brooklands on the Saturday. Once again, a trouble-free run was not to be. First the throttle control came adrift, then a jet choked repeatedly, finally, we got lost, for Prescott approaches could be better indicated. A taunt in daylight seemed indicated, especially as there were unpleasant indications that one’s own internal machinery was not too happy and running a temperature, as medical evidence subsequently proved to be correct. At first, all was well, and the run up through Burford. to Witney was delightful, September sunshine brightening the cornfields and shadows painting weird pictures on the Cotswolds,. But at Witney it tried to rain again, So that we were glad to crack in real earnest along the Oxford By-Pass, rendered steadily deaf by the metallic twang of the exhaust. Thereafter it was one long battle against choked jets and. Loudon was not made until nearly 11 pan., the driver almost all in. Yet somehow we know we shall do it all again next time, and enjoy doing it, if circumstances permit.