Cars I have owned

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Clive Windsor Richards has a decided preference for really big four-cylinder engines, as he emphasises very clearly in this article. Before the war he was a prominent competitor in races and trials with a diversity of cars and, up to the war, was captain of that great club, Vintage S.C.C. – Ed.

I suppose under a title such as the above one may be permitted to include one’s earliest recollections which have a bearing on introductions to motoring. Therefore, I feel I must mention the family barouche in which I took an intense interest at the age of seven; it was a 1907 (or thereabouts) 35-h.p. four-cylinder Beeston Humber landaulet, painted black with thick red vertical stripes and it went like a bomb. I always contrived to sit next to the chauffeur. We lived in Yorkshire and used to go for runs which included Sutton Bank, which the old car took in its stride. The one fault with these cars was a tendency to break axle shafts, so my father, who was manager of Bolckow Vaughan’s steelworks, designed some special steel and had shafts made in the works which never afterwards broke, and as a result he made shafts for friends who had Beeston Humbers. Our car was timed on Saltburn Sands with five up (plus myself) and did 65 m.p.h.

My next recollection is of an Arrol-Johnston which belonged to some friends of the family living in Bournemouth, and my main interest here was that once the chauffeur took me out into the New Forest and at the tender age of twelve I took the wheel; actually the chauffeur let me do this in desperation. I had sat with him so often, had watched his hands and feet and had assured him that I must by then be able to drive and worried him so much that to get peace he gave in. I think I drove about two miles and count this as one of the major thrills of my motoring life!

The first joy of ownership was in 1921, when I became the proud possessor of a 1919 “7/9” Harley-Davidson; the Harley was undoubtedly the “30/98” of motor-cycles, and for reliability there was nothing to touch them in those days. The old bike used to do 68 m.p.h. over a measured mile and was the fastest at Manchester University with the exception of a T.T. Sunbeam.

I had altogether three other Harleys, all “7/9s,” and never had to tinker with them much, and I had a lot of fun out of them. Their main advantages in those days were proper enclosed-pump lubrication, twist grips, the super foot clutch, and acceleration, speed and reliability.

Away in Paris for two years, working as a somewhat impecunious engineer. I was unable to own a bike or car, but managed to borrow various vehicles from time to time and to gravitate Montlhèry way on many occasions. When I returned to England I started a private car-hire business and consequently came to own my first car, which was a 1924 30-h.p. Armstrong-Siddeley. This was rough, but had quite a turn of speed. I also acquired another Armstrong-Siddeley, a saloon which was a little faster than the landaulet, and some of the clients took exception to the velocity at times! Later on I had a “10/15” Fiat saloon, which had a remarkable performance for so small a car and gave little trouble with the exception of the starter, which was located in the sump and was consequently awkward to service. The next car was a 1924 Sunbeam “16” saloon; all these cars did yeoman service in the business and seldom gave any trouble. The private hire racket palled after a time, so I sold out and migrated to the country to start my present business. For this I purchased a 1924 16-h.p. Wolseley side-valve 2-seater, which gave me no performance whatsoever, but which took me over fields, lanes, tracks and roads in search of farmers and business. The Wolseley was always driven flat out (about 55 m.p.h.) and never let me down mechanically, but it had a disconcerting habit of bursting into flames, due to “electrical trouble”; this happened one pitch dark night when motoring along the main road near Basingstoke – all the lights went out and, as there was a paucity of braking on the model, I finished up in the hedge.

Feeling the urge for a little performance, and being very short of cash, I then discovered an incredible Essex, the date of which was circa 1924 – the old four-cylinder model with square radiator. It had a home-made aluminium 4-seater body which looked something like a bath and the ensemble was painted bright blue and was known as the “Flying Fish.” Actually, it went rather well and clocked over 70 m.p.h., but the snag was that the beaded-edge tyres used to part company with the rims at times. I was once going along at sixtyish when suddenly there was a clanking noise at the rear and a divergence from the straight and narrow, whereupon I slowed down and, much to my surprise, an 815 x 105 mm. cover passed me at speed on the near side! The tyre went on for quite a long way and then disappeared over the hedge. This car also burst into flames at times, and it will be seen as the reader progresses that the writer has been dogged with “electrical trouble” all his motoring life; in fact, every car that I owned at some time gave forth ominous odoriferous effluvia, necessitating immediate stoppage of the vehicle and a hectic unloading of piles of accumulated junk, floorboards and whatnot, in order to carry out frantic tugging at the starter lead, for which one can never find a spanner.

One day in London I found a 1923 Morris-Cowley 2-seater with a 1924 Morris-Oxford engine, which had been slightly hotted by Davis & Matthews, of Acton. This I acquired, and I had quite a lot of fun. It did 37 m.p.h. in second gear, which was, of course, a phenomenal velocity for a Cowley; the step-off was really quite nice and the maximum about 68 m.p.h. Naturally the engine shed big-ends all over the place, also axle shafts – still, it was fun while it lasted.

I now come to THE BIG EVENT, having dreamed for a long time of owning one of “those.” I went to the wicked city and called on the late Geoffrey Daybell, of Modern Cars, in the street of the 40 motor traders, and his very excellent mechanic and tester took me out in “it,” and then I had a go. “Gosh!” thought I, “this is the car,” so I came back to the emporium with my eyes popping out and paid quite a large sum of money over without even arguing and took delivery of my first “30/98” Vauxhall. At this stage I would like to mention that it had not rained in London for some weeks, but that it did so whilst I was in the “office,” and when I departed from the showrooms the roads were in that state which only a person who knows London roads under the above conditions can appreciate. Previously to the ensuing ride I used to have a sort of vague idea that I could handle a motorcar, but the things that that “30/98” did to me were nobody’s business; to start off with I turned completely round in Great Portland Street, went sideways down Marylebone Road, and generally positively scared myself stiff. Eventually, after many hair-raising incidents and phenomenal avoidances, I arrived whole at Bentley, in the county of Southampton. It took a day or two to get the idea, and I have brought in the experiences mentioned as no doubt others have found the same thing has happened to them, but I would like to say, for the first time in print but by no means for the first time verbally (as many of my friends know to their state of almost nauseation), that the “30/98” Vauxhall was, and is, and always will be, the finest sports car of its type ever made. There is something about these cars that “gets you,” and in spite of their faults they are in a class by themselves to drive; any “30/98” enthusiast will lay down the law by the hour and bear me out in this. I think the first thing is that one has got to drive the car and not just press buttons; then the acceleration is a big attraction, coupled with a pleasant gearbox and some real speed; one never seems to have a dull moment when piloting these cars. Skids are manageable, when you know how! The lack of braking can be overcome by judicious use of the change-speed lever, and altogether a lot of fun and games may be had, one of the chief of which is to beat amazed owners of modern chromium-plated atrocities; so much for the standard model.

To return to my number one “30/98,” this was a standard 1924 “Velox” tourer, which I ran for about a year; I never altered her or had to do much tinkering, and my first introduction to real motoring was a joy never to be forgotten. It engendered the subsequent passion for more and more urge. One Sunday I went to Welwyn to see the one and only Pat (“Pint-Please”) Reilly, and on the way the “30/98” burst into flames and burnt out all the wiring, so, in order to get back home in the dark, I had to do a deal with Pat, and so I left number one behind and came away with a very nice 1926 “Wensum” 2-seater. It had a lovely pair of large Zeiss headlamps, was faster than the old one and was very comfortable and sedate-looking. It was with this car that I started competition work by entering for the M.C.C. One Hour High Speed Trial, in which I covered 72 miles in the hour which was fair enough for a perfectly standard 1926 sports car carrying a heavy coachbuilt 2-seater body and a large passenger – one Bill Selby, who helped me a lot in the early days. This car won a J.C.C. club race at Brooklands, averaging 76 m.p.h., and did a flying half mile at 85 m.p.h., still in the same standard trim.

When up at T. & T.’s at Brooklands I saw a large bulge under a sheet. Enquiries were made, the sheet removed and, through popping optics, I beheld a huge piece of white motor-car, with 9′ 6″ bonnet from the tip of the pointed radiator to the scuttle, then a cockpit and a huge tail in white fabric; it was “Chitty-Bang-Bang the Third.” Actually an aero engined chain drive Mercédès of Zborowski’s, modernised for racing by Capt. Noel. Deciding that I would pawn everything to own this car, I asked about prices, etc., whilst it was brought outside. It had not been started for some years, but the old T. & T. Trojan was hitched up in front, and the cortège proceeded. When the clutch was let in, the engine backfired and the Trojan was pulled backwards, so a 4 1/2-litre Invicta was found, and thus was the Mercedes started. It was found that the clutch would not free, which was a little difficult, so that it was not possible to try the car then, but I made an offer to the owner through T. & T.’s, and two days later they rang me to say, “Offer accepted.” So off Bill Selby and I went to Brooklands with the 2-seater “30/98,” at high speed in case owner changed his mind or something. We hitched up behind the Vauxhall and towed the Mercédès home. It proved a terrific car. It had a rear axle ratio of 1.24 to 1, giving 72 1/2 m.p.h. at 1,000 r.p.m. in top gear; engine speed was approximately 1,850 r.p.m. = 130 m.p.h. It had, of course, a Zeppelin engine, with six separate cylinders connected together by an overhead camshaft, two Zenith “Aero” (“30/98”-type) carburetters, magneto ignition assisted by a 6-volt Ford coil for starting, a self-starter which always worked and started engine from cold (when the engine was hot it was only necessary to switch on and press the button which passed h.t. from the coil to the magneto and the engine started), dry-sump lubrication, and a compression ratio of 6.14 to 1. The steering was light and the brakes (Bendix on all four wheels) excellent; at about 100 m.p.h. one could hear a gentle burble from the back, and although the car was so long – 19′ overall – it was a delight to handle and the only trouble was that one did not realise the speed; 80 m.p.h. seemed like 50 m.p.h. and 100 m.p.h. like 75 m.p.h. Snags were that the gearbox and rear axle would not stand the strain, and I had to renew various cogs from time to time, which made things a bit expensive, as they had to be made specially. Selby, who was with me at the time, will bear me out in that we went from Pat Reilly’s at Welwyn to Baker Street Station one Sunday evening (24 miles) in 23 minutes; one did not always drive the car in this manner, but I mention it to show what she could do.

She averaged 95 m.p.h. in the “500” once, when owned by Capt. Noel and driven by some hero whose name I do not recall. I had to sell her after about two years because of lack of space, financial need and what-not, but I have bitterly regretted it ever since, as of the old cars of its type I am sure that it was without compare. [Lord Carlow had her for a time, but she is said to have since been broken up. – Ed.]

A 3-litre Sunbeam was acquired and gave quite a lot of fun, but I was always rather scared of driving it hard in view of the various horrible things people told me would happen if I did; the gearbox was a delight, as was the steering. Brakes – well, not so good. Top speed, in the eighties. Finding an enthusiast who gave me, much to my surprise, a lot of money, I sold it and got a blown Lea-Francis. I should add at this stage that I still used the “30/98” for my regular motoring; the Leaf was, well, just a blown Leaf. When it worked it was quite rapid, but I never liked it.

I was offered soon after this for a low sum what had once been a very beautiful 2-litre Full G.P. Bugatti, a pukka racing job. Unfortunately, however, it had been owned by a variety of maniacs (somewhat like myself, I fear), who had done it no good at all; I never could make it go properly. It used to start up in a most amazingly efficient manner and would motor along quite nicely at ordinary speeds, but would never go really properly unless one went along gradually increasing speed up to about 70 m.p.h., then shut off for a few seconds and again opened up. Things really happened then; there was a real Bugatti whine from the engine, a healthy crackle from the exhaust and she simply shot away; but, unfortunately, this only lasted for about 5 secs. and up to about 85 m.p.h. Not understanding the workings of these mysterious machines I never got to the bottom of this. I entered this car once in a J.C.C. show at Brooklands, why I have never been able to understand, as it was probably the most unsuitable car in the whole world at the time, as the events consisted of the R.A.C. Rally test, hill-climb, easy starting, etc. It fared well in the easy starting test, but failed miserably in everything else; the plugs oiled up and everything nasty happened. Leslie Hawthorn, of the T.T. Garage, Farnham, who owned the Bugatti at one time (one of the maniacs!) was always very fond of telling a lurid story of how he was driving Arthur Dobson back from the “Queen’s” at Farnborough one evening at a very excessive speed, and for some reason (about which L.H. never seems quite clear) he decided to motor on the pavement, dodging trees, lamp-posts and other obstacles, and finally overturned in the ditch. He explains that this woke up Arthur, who was apparently at the time asleep; there was no damage done to either men or car. I have always been of the opinion that the Bugatti had had a lot of this sort of thing to contend with in the hands of the aforesaid owners, some of whom I knew, and hence the dissimilarity between its general performance when I had it and the original.

Shortly after this I sold the “30/98” 2-seater to Leslie Hawthorn in the hope of converting that worthy small-engine enthusiast to real motoring, but the conversion did not happen, as Leslie was, and is, a die-hard maximum 1 1/2-litre man. I can quite see his point of view – namely, speed and efficiency from a small engine by means of clever design and what-not; but personally, in spite of having had a lot of fun from modern high-speed engines, I remain solidly in favour of the large slow-speed “four.”

The next “30/98” Vauxhall was the 1925 blue 2-seater, which I bought from Pat (“Austin”) Driscoll, and the one which has, I think, made quite a name for itself amongst that select band of enthusiasts who know what’s what! The chassis was perfectly standard when I bought it, but Pat had had a special fabric body made to his own specification; Scintilla equipment had been installed, both lighting and ignition, and the result was just about what the doctor ordered. I used the car in a number of Club events and as an ordinary road vehicle for some time, and on the road a speed of well over 90 m.p.h. was obtained. As it was such a good chassis, and wishing to go in for more serious competition work, I decided to carry out several modifications to it and tune the engine for racing. So for road work I got a 1928 4 1/2-litre Bentley coupé. In spite of my mania for “30/98s,” I had shortly to admit that the 4 1/2-litre Bentley is certainly a very nice motor-car. The road-holding was, of course, superb, as were the steering and brakes, but the Bentley has not the getaway of the Vauxhall. On the average it is slightly faster (that is, talking about maker’s standard productions) and the high speeds obtainable on the intermediate ratios on the Bentley, coupled with the other factors mentioned above, combine to give one a very high average speed without undue effort, and, anyway, the “4 1/2” has “got something” all of its own.

About this time Bryan Gush got me interested in his perfectly amazing scheme for breaking records in International Class J. I could write reams about this, but, briefly, he built two machines, one (“Mickey Mouse”) which he drove, and “Vitesse,” which I drove; the lovely scheme was for Bryan to hire Brooklands and break lots of World’s and British records in Class J, which stood nice and low. Then we waited for a month, and I would proceed to do my stuff with the able assistance of Bill Selby, with carefully calculated margins of 1.000001 m.p.h. better than Bryan’s, then he would do it again, and so on ad infinitum. It was rather a pity that the excellent companies who paid us such large sums of money for all this decided at the end of the season to alter the whole system of “boni,” as Bryan and I could have gone on like this for years and finally retired! I must say, however, in our defence, that it was not all bees and honey, because the vehicles weighed just 4 cwt., there were no springs to speak of, no shock absorbers, no brakes worth mentioning, shocking steering, hand-operated throttles, and, in my case, it took about four strong men to force my unwieldy bulk into the cockpit, where once installed I could not move. I had to drive with my hands crossed on the wheel, and at the end of about six hours on the Track I would come in deafened, with positively every bone aching, and after a day or so one’s whole body would have made a modern artist swoon at the sight of the incredible colours of the bruises! The engine was a 350-c.c. Blackburne, 13 1/2 to 1 compression ratio, the top speed was over 90 m.p.h., and at that speed things were quite exciting. However, it was all great fun and I feel sorry that I am unable to relate some of the more hectic and amusing incidents which befell us. It might be of interest just to remark that on one day 19 records were obtained, 12 British and 7 World’s, up to 12 and 24 hours. Later Bryan took the standing and flying mile and kilometre records on “Vitesse.”

To return to saner matters, and to the racing “30/98” Vauxhall. At various different times we fitted a Delage front axle; late type Vauxhall rear axle and big brake drums; vacuum servo braking on the four road wheels; transmission hand brake; extra cross members; Hardy Spicer universals; underslung rear springs, and sundry other chassis modifications. The engine was stripped and Laystall overhauled, the compression raised with specialloid pistons (Aerolite, Laystall and Martlett pistons were also tried and used) and special valve timing, larger diameter inlet ports and valves, and special valve springs, etc., incorporated. The carburetters used and tried were (apart from the standard “Aero” Zenith, which wants a lot of beating for the “30/98”) two Solex; two R.A.G.s; two Zenith Triple “Confusers”; and, finally, two S.U.s, ex-4 1/2-litre Bentley, with 4 1/2-litre Bentley induction manifold adapted and lengthened.

The car is perfectly docile in London traffic, one could leave the engine ticking over without any subsequent troubles, and yet when urge was required it was all there, the lap speed being nearly 114 m.p.h.; Shelsley Walsh time, 48 secs.; Lewes time, 25 secs.; while the car was used for over five years consistently for the Outer Circuit, Campbell Circuit, Mountain Circuit, Donington, Crystal Palace (not so good – lap speed, 48 m.p.h.), Lewes, Prescott and many speed trials and ordinary trials, and the old car has won quite a few odds and ends for me. It was a delight to handle on the road, and with all equipment on and hood up it will do over 110 m.p.h. So what more one wants I cannot imagine, and the car is now 16 years old. I have had so many thrills and so much fun from the car I would like to write of them, but space does not permit.

Another “30/98” Vauxhall used extensively and successfully for trials was an early 1924 standard model. This car was grossly abused, but would do 90 m.p.h., had better acceleration than a sports 2-litre B.M.W. (which I once wiped-up in a trial, much to my delight!), never had any attention, but was always ready to do astonishing things in trials and has the distinction of having conquered “Abster’s Hollow” three times, and still lives to tell the tale. Anyone who knows the afore-mentioned spot of bother will agree that this is saying something for the staying power of any car.

Seeing a very nice 4 1/2-litre Invicta four-door Weymann saloon going cheap once I acquired it, but only kept it 10 days, as I found that funny things happened on corners. The acceleration was really surprising and, provided that the driver was wary, it was quite a nice car.

To return to the Bentley. The chassis wore out the coupé body and “Mac.” of Ebury Street sold me a nice 4-seater touring body, which was fitted, and the car was used for many races and trials; she averaged 72.5 m.p.h. for 20 laps of the J.C.C. International Trophy course at Brooklands, which is quite something for a standard touring car; the only nasty thing that happened to the Bentley was a connecting-rod fracture at speed on the Track. Luckily, very little damage was done, and Nobby Clark of Bentley’s fitted me up with some special rods and no more trouble was had. When fitting these the compression ratio was raised to 6.3 to 1 and the top speed in touring trim was then 97 m.p.h. These cars also have urge, but yet are perfectly docile when docility is required. This factor is such a delight when one considers the performance necessary when coping with a hotted-up small engine; the “revving-up” to stop plugs oiling, incessant plug changing, intense susceptibility to carburation difficulties and fuss and general bother. Again, it is practically impossible to use a really hotted small engine on the road, whereas the impecunious amateur can race and use his “30/98” Vauxhall or old-school Bentley quite happily.

Altogether I think I have owned about 15 “30/98s” at one time or another, and still have three now, one of which is a 1928 model, which used to have a very nice 4-seater close-coupled drop-head coupé body. The car was fitted with radio, which was hardly suitable but nevertheless amusing at times. Another unusual “30/98” Vauxhall was a 1925 saloon, with coil ignition; a pleasant car, but rather slower than most. This car is now, I hear, doing yeoman service hauling a grass-trailer on an aerodrome; the trailer weighs about 15 cwt. and carries a load of about 1 ton, and the only trouble experienced apparently is that of persuading the driver to keep the speeds within reasonable limits!

Quite a bit of fun was experienced with a 1928 26-h.p. Chrysler left-hand-drive “Roadster,” purchased from the aforesaid Bill Selby. He bashed it about for over a year and I bashed it for some time after, but it refused to be broken, would do 84 m.p.h. and has for some years since functioned as an excellent “crash-waggon” in my business. There is a lot to be said for Yanks; for purely business motoring they leave little to be desired, and as our American friends apparently look upon motor-cars as necessities I feel sure that I will be forgiven by them for remarking that the enthusiast must turn to something rather different to gratify his desires.

Although I did not actually own it, I was given the use for two months, by the very excellent “Bunty” Scott-Moncrieff, of a “38/250” genuine S.S.K. Mercédès-Benz. This car had the usual S.S.K. body – namely, a comfortable 2-seater, no doors and all bonnet. This car is really a shattering performer and leaves nothing to be desired (that is, by those who take a delight in enormous power, noise and what have you). Although large the car handles very well, the steering is heavy but good on the whole, although wheel bounce occurs at times; the braking is not so good as one would like on a car with such a high speed, but all this is amply compensated by the performance. Acceleration with the blower, the noise of which always attracted me a lot, is very interesting, as is also a speed of well over 60 m.p.h. in second gear and an easy 100 m.p.h. in third gear. Unfortunately the car had the usual clutch trouble, and this component would slip at about 110 m.p.h., so that I was never able to go really fast on her, but I am given to understand that she would do 130 m.p.h. when in full working order. A very high average speed could be put up without effort or danger, as even “Tim” Carson had to admit when motored from the “Phoenix” to Winchester (25 miles) in some 23 minutes. For some reason I have never been able to understand, “Tim” would insist on holding that I was a menace and would always gracefully decline to ride with me, but on the above occasion he admitted, reluctantly nevertheless, that everything was “under control.” The blower noise reminded me of “Bunty’s” classic remark when trying to sell a “30/98” Vauxhall: “Damn it, dear boy, the sex-appeal of the exhaust note alone is worth £50!”

I think the last real motor-car I acquired before the bother was the 1922 5-litre Delage; this was, of course, the one turned out by the Delage works for record-breaking, and driven originally by Divo, Benoist and others. It took several records and was finally brought to England by, I think, Capt. Alastair Millar and raced successfully by him. After he had it its history is somewhat obscure, until finally Jack Lawson bought it, furnished with a Singer saloon body! He removed this and had made a wicked looking sheet-iron 2-seater. I bought the car from Jack and proceeded to strip the engine, which is a six-cylinder en bloc motor with unit gearbox, push-rod operated o.h. valves and a stroke of 180 mm. We thoroughly overhauled the engine, grinding the crankshaft, renewing bearings and boring the block and fitting higher compression pistons (which brought the ratio up to 8 1/2 to 1). The work was finished at 1 a.m. on the morning of a Lewes meeting and motored quietly down; she clocked 23.33 secs., this time being obtained without by any means opening out the engine to its full extent, as it was in the process of being run in. Unfortunately, at Donington the following Saturday a con.-rod folded up on the first lap of the first race; this was about a week before the war, and so I towed the remains home, and “there the matter rests.” This car has the “makings,” however; the gearbox was without question the finest crash-box I have ever handled; changes could be made, both down and up, just as fast as the lever could be moved, and the results were the equivalent of a “self-abusing cog-box.” The steering was heavy but the braking excellent, and I should estimate that with some better connecting rods and a few adjustments the car should be capable of 150 m.p.h. She used to do 125 to 130 m.p.h. in the earlier days with a compression ratio of 6 to 1. and the power available after our modifications was really terrific.

Upon the outbreak of war I became the possessor of a 1929 Austin Twelve, a truly remarkable motor-car, unbreakable and utterly reliable. This was followed by a 1938 Morris Eight (38 m.p.g.), which was quite a good Morris Eight. The New Zealand Army evidently did not think so, as one of their stalwarts bent it some what; so, pending repairs, I acquired a 1936 2 1/2-litre S.S. “Jaguar.” In spite of prejudice and what-not, I soon found this car to be highly efficient. It was fast, held the road well, the braking was everything to be desired, and, strange to relate, it all held together and was run for 19 months, during which time it had a lot to put up with, being used by my staff as well as myself for collecting heavy parts at high speeds to feed a fleet of lorries hungry for unobtainable spares. The car is now laid up, as my final and present mount was purchased to save petrol and is a surprisingly excellent, little motor-car, namely, a 1939 Morgan “4/4” 4-seater. I feel that the “vintage” reader will forgive me for a word about this little car: road-holding is astonishing, there is great steadiness at all speeds, plenty of speed and quite good acceleration, and, to cap it all, I get 35 m.p.g.! There is a good future for these cars in the racing world, as I feel that some really interesting data could be obtained by judicious alteration and tuning. Talking about racing, I would like to mention two Rileys which were not mine, but were raced by me on behalf of the excellent-minded and indulgent owners; one was Freddie Dixon’s early 1,100-c.c. “Brooklands” model, which the worthy Freddie used to urge along at about 125 m.p.h., but which neither the owner – Leslie Hawthorn – nor I could persuade to do more than about 110 m.p.h. We tried very hard, and even went to see Freddie to ask him “how,” but that worthy man was sadly uncommunicative; still it was all great fun.

Rather more success was achieved, however, with the 1,808.c.c. ex-Dobbs car, property of Gordon Watson. We managed to collect a “second” on the Campbell Circuit at 66 odd m.p.h.; this was a very well-behaved car, with six Amals and some very pleasant performance, but the braking was smnewhat in the “vintage” class. Great fun has been had in a variety of racing and competition work, but nothing has ever come up to the old “30/98” Vauxhall hurtling round the “outer,” and upon that note I will end, but not without paying tribute to that staunch supporter, Cecil Choate, who has helped me on so many occasions; to “Nubby” Robson, my mechanic, who has worked so hard; and to all those other enthusiastic friends who have made the game so worth while. Here’s hoping that the great day will not be too far away when we can all get together again, having burnt the last coupon.

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