Club news, October 1941



Otti4 /lewd

750 CLUB

The 750 Club held yet another war-time meeting on September 7th at the Ashdown Park Hotel. Amongst those present were Secretary Capon, in his Riley saloon ; Birkett and Kipps (” Ulster ” Austin) ; Lieut. Moon (” Nippy” Austin) ; 2nd Lieut. Malloek and friend (special Austin Seven 2-seater, with 4-speed engine, Silvertop head and a weight of 8 cwt.) ; Harmer, the Bugatti exponent, in an S.S. saloon, with Lawrence and lady friends ; Ashwood and carburetter (Lea-Francis), with Merrilese and ladies ; Douglas Tubbs (D.K.W.) ; Lush and Mrs. Lush (Austin Seven) ; Frost and Chiles (unblown ” Ulster ” Austin Seven): Mrs. Cowell and Fall and Judge (Frazer-Nash) ; Butler (” Chummy” Austin Seven) ; and Boddy (V 12 Lagonda), who brought Lowrey and Jenkinson. The party went over to L.M.B. Motors to inspect special Fords, blowers, etc., where Hart and a member of the W.A.A.F. appeared, in an ex-Billy Cotton 1,100-c.c. Riley, now unblown with twin Solex carburetters, eowled radiator, double sets of front shock-absorbers, upside down rear springs and a re-calibrated rev.-counter now reading to 7,000 r.p.m.—does the engine really do the odd 1,000 r.p.m. we wonder? After this Boddy found the Lagonda filled with humanity and went for a brief fast tour in company with Mrs. Cowell’s FrazerNash, Lowrey passengering. The ‘Nash is a 1932 Meadows-engined job with an odd 4-seater body and the 3-branch outside exhaust system. The two S. U. carburetters were well provided against lack of lubrication of the pistons. It was very rapid until the plugs felt unhappy and we were hard put to it to get away or pass, over give-and-take going. Finally, quite a few members went to Capon’s home, where Mrs. Capon and Mrs. Frost had gallantly prepared a communal tea. A very fine effort this. Stuart-Wilton (Fiat 500) joined in here. The party finally broke up about 8 p.m., when a trial of getaway happened, in which a motor-car with a pointed tail was beaten by one which hadn’t a pointed tail, and an ILE, bomb went off. The club co-operated with the Vintage, E.R.A. and Bugatti Owners’ Club in the meeting in London on October 5th. Hon. Sec., S. H. Capon, 159, Upper Tulse Hill, London, S.E.

WE HEAR . . .

. . . At last some interesting sports cars seem to be for disposal. We have heard of a twin o.h.c. 3-litre Sunbeam tourer, body in poor condition but chassis apparently sound, and with excellent tyres, at a Surrey garage for £20 (since sold), while Neve has a” 19/1100″ Austro-Dairrtler for 2.30. He reports the body condition poor, but ha.s had the engine down, and says the chassis and brakes are good and two of the tyres brand new. Then there is an early four-cylinder o.h.v. Powerplus Frazer-Nash, sans tyres and needing some attention, for under 212. There is also an Invicta in a Newbury showroom, while K. N. Hutchison has for disposal a very fine open touring, normally-suspended 1935 44-litre Lagonda ” Rapide,” recently Lagonda overhauled. He craves a 328 B.M.W. An Isotta-Fraschini is in use by an R.A.F. man, there is an HispanoSuiza utility car reported in Cornwall, and a vintage Delage has been seen in Marlborough. A garage near Hindhead is reported to have a very beautiful 1909 Delage in running order, and not for sale. Late type Clyno, Swift Ten and old Humber Nine have been encountered recently, and Speed Services boast four very attractive Bentleys of the old school. Douglas Tubbs modestly describes himself as “office boy” on the staff of ” The

Motor” — congratulations. Gordon Wilkins and Stanley Tett seem to be turning into motor-traders in between doing work of national importance: Mrs. Cowell has at last found her Frazer-Nash–see 750 Club report above. Laurence Pomeroy’s Type 22 (pre-Brescia) Bugatti has been bought by John Saunders, who used to ride at motor-cycle grass-track meetings. Peter Clark is one of the latest recruits to the two-wheeler world, riding a 1931 500-c.c. ” Longstroke ” Sunbeam, notably on vigorous Home Guard duties. Cecil Clutton, too, is rumoured to travel this way and is alleged to have got up Red Roads non-stop and to have ridden over a 10-ft. precipice—also non-stop, until he reached the bottom. In London, a 41-litre Lagonda, a 6i-litre Bentley and one of the old ” 11/9 ” oil. inlet, side exhaust Lagondas became available as damaged chassis in consequence of the ” blitz,” while a 1908 Unic taxi-chassis, sans radiator, was also amongst them. Neve’s 1914 TN. Humber is running well, and he also has a 19/3-14 12-h.p. Zust. Breen has been offering an E-type “30/98” Vauxhall, reported in clean condition and with O.E. f.w.b. front axle, for £5.

Stuart-Wilton is very pleased with his recently acquired Lancia “Agusta” saloon, which he has bought from Keville-Davies and March, Ltd. W. D. Castello., who raced the ex-“Mrs. Jock” Austin Seven at Brooklands, is now a Flying Officer, R.A.F., and we offer congratulations on his Winning of the D.F.C., awarded for gallantry and devotion to duty with a bomber squadron in the Far East. his father is u Lt-Col. F. Noel Drewett is now in possession of the ex-Hartwell M.G. Magnette and is debating whether to dispose of it for a small stun or to fit a 2-seater body and run it on the road at some future date. An old ” 5/7 ” V-twin Indian solo motor-cycle with o.h. inlet and side exhaust valves, inlet manifold taking a flanged carburetter, leaf spring front forks and three-speed gearbox, seems to be abandoned in a country garage if anyone is interested ; the tyres have plenty of tread, but the gasworks are missing. Specials are few and far between these days, but someone is using an early Wolseley Hornet with sports 2-seater body, Austin Seven engine and lowered radiator. A ” 30/98 ” Vauxhall 4-seater was seen motoring very beautifully on to the Hartford Bridge flats during the morning of September 28th (whose ?), followed shortly afterwards, though not at the same speed, by a fantastic black and yellow Jol.;vett coupe of about 1927 vintage. Other unusual cars include an early A.C. Six, and a Lanchester tourer of the old school, while several vintage six-cylinder Alvis have been noted, one driven by a lady. A 41-1itre Bentley saloon and an 8-litre Bentley saloon are rumoured to be for sale for £5 in both instances 1928 T.T. Lea-Francis (now unblown), side-valve Aston-Martin and six-cylinder Frazer-Nash are reported seen in and around Stockport, where 41-,

and 8-litre Bentley saloons are for sale, and also a. fine 1910 Leon-Bollet limousine, destined to be broken up, for sale at £17. Telephone Heaton Moor 3838 re the last named.


With winter approaching and the longer hours of black-out imminent, it is good to be able to look back on some quite varied, if not very extensive, motoring ; albeit, who would not return to the days of peace and security ? One summer evening a pilgrimage had to be made to Basingstoke in an unsuccessful attempt to locate an early racing light car, and news of a 3-litre Sunbeam some miles away led to more interesting cross-country evening journeying, the Gwynne behaving impeccably in both instances, as it did again on the occasion of a fast run to London on a purely social mission. The afternoon before that there had been an 80-mile run of the most exhilarating kind in that most satisfying of big, open moderns, the 4f litre ” Rapide ” Lagonda, when really warm sun, family motorists seeking relaxation along the Hog’s Back and shopping crowds in Dorking made the war recede a trifle. And brief spells at over 80, quite long spells at over 70 in third gear, together with very spirited cornering, constituted a splendid tonic for jaded outlooks. That week-end’s motoring concluded with a moonlight run down from town, the passenger contacted to schedttle, his light-weight bicycle quickly dismantled and the frame strapped on to the spare wheel, that 40 interesting miles could be not sluggishly disposed of, albeit with no terrible expenditure of fuel. There was, too, a journey up to London, by motor-coach, and an evening spent in delving deeply into racing scrapbooks at an enthusiast’s house, prior to taking a most intriguing old 41-litre Bentley utility car out of the still dignified West End to those long, straight roads up to Cambridge, whose character and presence we had almost forgotten. Prudence in a rationed age bade us retrace our tracks at Royston, and after lunch we ran easily home, stopping to seek out the H.R.D. motor-cycle factory at Stevenage, which somehow we have always passed by. The Several fast cars encountered along the Barnet By-pass, the Sunday afternoon snugness of Suburbia as exemplified in side streets around Hendon, na less than the pleasure of handling a thoroughbred of the old order and the many appreciative glances east at it, linger as he ppy memories. Even if there were queues outside every cinema at which we sought to see “Target for To-night,” while waiting for the evening coach home. . . . Incidentally, we still ponder on whether the fellow and girl whom we took aboard at a London ‘bus stop held hands at “70” platon ically or because they always do so in a ‘bus, anyway . . . ! Another Saturday found us motoring in a sports Austin Seven of 1934 basis to meet a friend up from the West Country on a 1,000 c.c. ” Square Four ” Ariel, and, the very next day, aecornpanying a friend in his 1,100 c.c. II.R.G. to Staines, that the magnificent V 12 Lagonda demonstra tar might convey a party Of enthusiasts to the 750 Club gathering ; whieh it did, ta the tune of 90 m.p.h. in extreme security and no loss of dignity along the Kingston By-pass, and a later repetition, in (infrequent) company with a Frazer-Nash, Clown the Caterham arterial. Even when the 11.11.G. had been put away that evening our motoring was not over, for the Gwynne was brought out and driven to a favourite rendezvous and more motoring topics debated during a moonlight walk over unspoiled heathltind. Nor must a run One Saturday afternoon to see a 1922 G. P. Sunbeam be overlooked, taking U.S as it did through Slough (surely its congested as ever it was in peace time) and past a field in which reposed a 10/Ford. (moth-eaten model “T “) ere we ran through Windsor Park and out to ” our own ” fast roads home. One of these runs was enlivened by the curious sight of a very pretty girl driving a big Austin Seven saloon more slowly than even we have seen a modern car taken along the road before—Brighton veterans nuld be rapid by comparison. Our guess is, that she was an artist attached to Elstree studios, but certainly she was not a fast young lady. Another astonishing business was the prompt rescue job done by French-Canadian soldiers with an Army

truck, when an old A.J.S. coach put a big-end through its crankcase a score. of miles from London, late at night, on a run from Salisbury, and left its thirty or so Cockney ladies stranded. They say the Army to the rescue, or is it the King’s Navee ? As it happened the driver had to be shown the road into town, but all agreed it was ” nice work.” The next personal undertaking was a journey up to Yorkshire to bring down a 19:31 Austin Seven saloon for someone who was unable to go up and fetch it himself from an R.A.F. station, where it had for some months been garaged. These (lays a long run of’ this nature was much too good to miss, even in so humble a car. The ” Night Scotsman ” steamed out of a dismally black King’s Cross at 10.25 p.m. and we talked cars and then slept in an unlit compartment until it was necessary to change, at, some ghastly hour, into a local train at York, with no time to visit the inviting restaurant. A long wait at a small station, devoid even of a waiting room, and a jerky workmen’s train took us on, now in the dawn, in company with sonic Australian Air Force personnel, to our destination. A long walk in torrential rain to the aerodrome led to ific discovery that the car (solid ‘Mt be released fin some hours, so hack we walked to the village, where a quite excellent breakfast was partaken of, after we had been driven nearly to distraction by repeated refusals to fed us. Then back again, an interview with sonie very helpful R.A.F. oflicers, and at last we had run the gauntlet of the challenging bayonet for the last time and were outside the gates in possession of the Austin. A leaking petrol tap was hurriedly attended to and, going over the car at this wet, windswept spot ” somewhere in Yorkshire,” the oh fascination, amounting almost to a thrill, came over one as the prospect. ()I the 250-nlile run, with none too much time in t hail to accomplish it, was contemplated. ‘Ve had not gone far, at our cruising speed of a doubtful 40 m.p.h., when the engine died and went on doing so at intervals, until a daring expedient with the temporarily repaired petrol tap, from which some of our so valuable fuel had, already been lost, cured the trouble for good. Thereafter it was just a ease of keeping steadily on, overtaking an immense lorry convoy, entering towns, some large, some small, leaving them again for the never-verybusy open road. . . . .Even so, motoring interest was not, entirely lacking, for coming past a certain garage the driver

reported excitedly a Sizaire-Naudin, just as the writer had fantastically reported catching sight of it when passing the same spot, in the same company, in another Austin Seven, sonic years ago. Here it still stands, flag-badge still proudly gracing the remarkable radiator, a veteran of the utmost technical interest, with transverse leaf-spring, independent front Suspension and 1Flitre single-cylinder engine, left, alas, to rot in the open by a garagist who will not sell. We resumed our journey sadly.

The next Sunday a strong desire to expend just a gallon of fuel in a hill-storm obsessed us, so a friend’s 2-seater Austin Seven was commandeered, because of a four-speed gearbox with a usefully low bottom ratio and excellent 4.50 in. by 19 in. rear boots, albeit the engine is perfectly standard and the chassis the 6 ft. 9 in. wheelbase type and consequently heavier than we desired. The day, should have been of tonic value, for early that morning we chanced upon a Brescia Bugatti, most healthy as to exhaust and going well, in full flight in Balham High Road, driven by an R.A.F. officer—it would be most interesting to know whose car this is. Alas, the haze Of early morning gave way to sun too warm for effective mud-slinging, the police objected to our vehicle on the Kingston By-pass, and nearly all the sections we had intended to try were closed to us. We contented ourselves with taking the car down the famous Goat Track, which runs off from the top of Box Hill and which was once used frequently in the MIME of MOTOR SPORT road tests in the happy, if less easy, age of 17 years ago. Then two ascents were made and immense fun they preyed, the little car climbing strongly, now in second, now in bottom, taking the deep !arta quite unconcernedly, although a ” difficult ” tree branch contacted the sereen-frame and sent a shower of glass into the cockpit and the bonnet was all but off at the summit. It seemed only fair not to disturb further the rest-seekers at this delightful spot, so we took the 2-seater to a garage and made London in the security of a car possessed of roof and windable glass windows, returning to the country late that night after collecting some spares for a ‘Nash and pausing to hunt an elusive ” A.B.C.” This month, it seems, country right at hand will need to suffice, in whatever economy vehicle is found to be in keep-going order, and that will really be no hardship, for Hampshire in the autumn is very lovely.