Vintage Veerings

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60

Since we published a photograph of two Gwynne Eights last June, news of them has come in to a surprising degree. Not only has Walter J. F. Griffiths acquired a 1925 chassis which Boddy once owned [It was a coupé of very odd appearance, then, and, endowed with twin Amals, four-speed A.B.C. gearbox and a front-brake axle, went very decently. — Ed], which is going to be restored, but, very exciting, to Gwynne addicts at all events, is a letter from C. Thomas, of the Far East Oxygen & Acetylene Co., Ltd., Singapore, about his sports model. It is obviously one of the genuine polished-aluminium, pointed-tail sports two-seaters. Years ago “Runabout” of the Light Car and Cyclecar one week devoted his entire feature to Gwynnes and quoted some promising performance figures for the sports model. These have eluded us, but a correspondent says that the makers guaranteed a Brooklands lap at 65 m.p.h., a lap-speed which Bamford & Martin specified for their Aston-Martin of the same period. As the “hipbath” three-seater Gwynne was good for 60 m.p.h., this claim didn’t seem unreasonable.

Mr. Thomas’ car looks in very good condition but isn’t entirely original. Modern wheels and tyres have been fitted, the magneto has been replaced by a coil system adapted from an Austin Seven Ignition and dynamo unit, and the early-type S.U. carburetter has given place to a new Zenith, as used on an Austin Eight but with larger jets. The engine runs hot, in the good old Gwynne tradition, but no fan is deemed necessary and the pre-heating of the inlet manifold (which could be by water-jacket in summer and exhaust gas in winter merely by transfering the pipes!) is retained. Mr. Thomas adds that the car was saved from an up-country scrap heap and has since competed in a Singapore C.C. Rally. He says the Chinese community display tremendous interest in this vintage small car and that it stands out as a tribute to the fundamental soundness of British engineering, in a land of large, sleek, chromiumed cars. He concludes: “I have it in mind that these cars were made by Gwynne Pumps Ltd., who still manufacture pumps for practically every British ship that goes to sea and whose work has always been highly esteemed by engineers?” How right he is! They even turned out some of their famous Eights as small fire-engines, thus putting Gwynne pumps to yet another good use.

Gordon Fairbanks, of Quebec, comments on the DV-32 four-valves-per-cylinder straight-eight Stutz after seeing a photograph of a 1928 model in a back issue of Motor Sport. He remarks that they were rated at 36 h.p., gave 115.8 b.h.p. at 3,900 r.p.m., and had o.h.c. engine, Timken worm-drive rear axle hydraulic brakes with vacuum booster, Bijur chassis lubrication, rev.-counter, etc. The open “Super Bearcat” apparently had a wheelbase of only 9 ft. 8 in. and, with English Weymann coachwork, sold with an affidavit of being good for over 100 m.p.h. Fairbanks remarks that these cars are rarer in the States today than are good “Red Label” Bentleys in England. He should tell that one to the Bentley Drivers’ Club!

Vintage sports cars may be expensive, but the less sprightly old cars are no longer commanding exorbitant prices. Listen to Lieut. D. C. Godfrey, R.N. He recently bought a 1928 12/30-h.p., Type UF Galloway saloon in running order, for £30. It had had two previous owners, the latter of whom was a cripple who only went short distances, maintained the old Galloway beautifully, and had stored it for ten years on account of the war. So the 27,000 miles on the mileometer can be believed. The maroon fabric body responded well to “Nu-agene” and the remaining restoration cost only £16 10s. The engine is a four-cylinder, push-rod o.h.v. unit, with Zenith carburetter and chain-driven magneto and dynamo, remarkable for h.t. leads which, like the induction manifold, pass through the cylinder block. Fortunately, the water, in the radiator at all events, rarely exceeds 50 deg. C., aided by a combined fan and pump. Gear-change is r.h. gate and a Lucas 12-volt double-pole system looks after lighting and starting. The enclosed propeller-shaft possesses a universal coupling of yoke and trunnion type at its forward end that would serve a heavy lorry. Suspension is 1/2-elliptic at the front, 1/4-elliptic at the back, and we learn that the Smith’s shock-absorbers are now merely decorative! The car is slow, 45 m.p.h. being the self-imposed maximum, but it starts easily, has exceeded 30 m.p.g. over 210 miles without resort to coasting, and was apparently well worth buying — even if, as its owner has it, the sloping screen gives it the air of “a parson in a panama hat.” Indeed, its owner would like to hear of other Galloway and Arrol-Johnston/Aster cars still in service. There must be some, for we met a Galloway tourer in Aldershot last year, and a reader living in Horsham was seeking half-shafts for his 1927 Galloway last month.

Shortly after reading Lieut. Godfrey’s letter we encountered a fine old Austin Heavy Twelve tourer, of the “railway-carriage door handles” era, proceeding at a purposeful 30 m.p.h. along a Hampshire byway. It is good to see and hear of such hale and hearty old-timers! And, judging by prevailing conditions, they will long be with us.

A. H. Walker, who got such good results from an early A.C.-Anzani, is receiving similar service from his 1925 A.C. Six. Not only does it convey him to business each day, a mileage of 80, with perfect regularity, but it has recently completed a tour, from Havre, through France to Germany, along the Autobahn to Salzburg in Austria, down the Brenner Pass into Italy, and thence over the Stelvio to the Halrain Lakes. This A.C. then went into Switzerland via the Simplon Pass and descended into France over the Forclat Pass in bottom gear and clouds of dust. A few days in the French Alps, then swiftly across France for home — a fortnight’s motoring in a 24-year-old car, and no trouble of any sort. Not a drop of oil seemed to have vanished from the sump and not a tyre punctured. During this tour, Mr. Walker kept his eyes open for vintage cars but they seemed of interest only to impoverished farmers. The “bag” was confined to a “Brescia” Bugatti, some Lancias and Alfa-Romeos in Switzerland, a couple of Amilcars and a Georges Irat.

Not unnaturally, Mr. Walker is keen on A.C.s and has acquired another vintage Six ; this one he is endowing with Lancia i.f.s. after stiffening the front end of the somewhat slender chassis.

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