Club News, October 1949

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We Hear
There are, or were, some beaded-edge tyres and oil lamps for sale at the Grosvenor Garage, Worplesdon. However many Vernon-Derbys are there? K. A. Bradley of Ash Villa, Frampton, By Boston, Lincs, has recently acquired one and would like to contact other owners, while another, Ruby-engined, is reported in Birmingham. Regular readers will recall reference to others, in “Vintage Veerings ” of recent months.

A 30, which surely constitutes the easiest and most pleasant exit from London, has yielded some remarkable cars lately, for instance, an old “12/24” Citroën tourer followed by an Edwardian Charron and an “11/22” Lea-Francis with van body occupied by an elderly couple and climbing Bagshot hill very sedately. And, proceeding against the traffic on its way to the S.B.A.C. Show, we were definitely impressed by the number of “40/50” Rolls-Royce cars used by executives of the Aircraft Industry. A 1925 “8/18” Humber tourer in a good state of repair was seen in a Hampshire garage priced at £75.

Peter Sharp of “Gilwyns,” Chiddingstone, Kent, says that it is through reading Motor Sport that he has paid £8 for a 1928 15.7-h.p. o.h.c. Wolseley, fitted a new axle shaft to get it on the road, and now it is up to us to tell him whether the axle should whine on the over-run, how to adjust this axle and how to time the valves and set the tappets. Can anyone who knows these cars oblige?

R. B. Bicknell is running a beautifully preserved 1924 28-h.p. Lanchester polished aluminium drophead coupé and at the other end of the scale, C. Weswall has acquired a nicely-preserved 1926 F.I.A.T. Eight.

Comdr. L. A. Cubitt, R.N., craves a handbook for the 1927 “14/40” Vauxhall he acquired recently in specimen condition, with only 52,000 miles on the odometer. A good article on “The Racing Gerards” (Bob and Joan) appeared in Everybody’s dated September 10th, and constitutes useful propaganda. Unfortunately the sensational element crept into a picture caption, making Gerard end up in a corn-field after his Frazer-Nash lost a back wheel practising for the Daily Express Sports Car Race, and the wheel “narrowly missing spectators,” whereas Bob stopped on the grass verge, while refuel stops are shown as centring about the Frazer-Nash, the E.R.A. not being illustrated, but otherwise the article is entertaining and well written. P. B. Reece is anxious to contact previous owners of his ex-Crozier Type 51A, 1 1/2-litre, twin-cam G.P. Bugatti, No. 51138. The car was at one time taxed — registered number FWP 556.

One of the cars which ran at Jersey last month had an S.U.-carburetted Ford Ten engine behind the driver, cooled by a large radiator set upright in the tail, with ducts leading air to it.

A. T. Norton has considerably modified his Mephistophelgatti, having brought its Lincoln Zephyr engine back almost to standard specification, shortened and considerably lowered the Bugatti chassis, to which he has fitted i.f.s. from a fifth series Lancia “Lambda.” Leslie Howard of 50, Cathcart Road, S.W.10, who recently acquired a rather rough Z10 “10/23” Talbot two-seater from Ireland, would like to contact the present owner of a “10/23” four-seater, YK9172, at present registered in Kent, as this car was his father’s from 1926 until 1942. He is also willing to help owners of these cars with spares from a collection in his possession.

British Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee Overall Report No. 21 (H.M. Stationery Office, 2s.) deals with the German Motor Industry from 1939-1945. It is by Maurice Olley and contains a special contribution by Cameron Earl on German racing cars of the 1934-39 era.

We were wrong in saying A. S. Lusty’s “TC” M.G. has a Marshall supercharger — it uses a Shorrocks.

It really is surprising how aged cars continue to turn up, all hale and hearty. For instance, in Worcester a 1921 Calcott drophead coupé which has been stored in a shed for ten years, has come to light and started at the second turn of the handle, running quietly and without smoking. Apparently it was bought for 170s. in the middle twenties and run until the war and, our informant remarks, shows a very high standard of workmanship (the list price was £525) and the body is upholstered like a Rolls-Royce of the same period. Then A. B. de Sutton is getting excellent service from a 1931 Series T.80 24-h.p. Vauxhall with a Grosvenor coupé body, which has, it is thought, run some 130,000 miles, while in Sydney, Australia, Harvey Clift has found a 1929 twin-cam. Salmson and hopes to do some racing with it.

In reply to repeated inquiries, Boddy has commenced Vol. III of his “Story of Brooklands” and publication is expected next year. Vol. II is still available and Vol. I is being reprinted. Orders should be sent to the Grenville Publishing Co., Ltd., 15, City Road, London, E.C.1.

Out in Los Angeles, D. C. Fairchild has a Type 40 Bugatti which he hopes to convert to Type 37 specification. We recently took a short spin in Graeme Naish’s 1924 “14/40” Sunbeam coupé and were quite charmed by its quiet, dignified running, the ability of the o.h.v. four-cylinder engine to steam away from low speeds in top gear and the pleasantly vintage panorama of short, broad bonnet and substantial mudguards, seen from the front seat. On long runs 26 m.p.g. is obtained, and the owner would be glad to hear from other “14/40” Sunbeam owners — his address is Shipley Gate, Horsham, Sussex.

V.S.C.C. OF A.
The journal of the Vintage Sports Car Club of Australia has made a welcome reappearance and possesses similar spirit to our V.S.C.C. Bulletin, but is not quite so lavish. R. Shepherd resumes his beautifully-illustrated “Vintage Types” articles, dealing this time with the “Hyper Sports” Lea-Francis. Future fixtures include speed trials at Killam Park or Laverton on October 16th, a trial in November, and picnic-meets. The N.S.W. secretary is B. Helsham, 56, Milner Crescent, Wallstonecroft; for Victoria, Lt. D. George, 10, Tech. Maint. Sect., Signal Depot, Albert Park; and for South Australia, D. G. Howard, 17, Davonport Terrace, Hazlewood Park.

B.D.C.
The astonishing Bentley Drivers’ Club issued its splendidly produced “Review” on September 1st, as usual. It now has still more new members, bringing the total to 825. The annual dinner and dance will take place at the Dorchester on October 8th.

R.A.C. Trials Championship
This will be contested between invited drivers from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, limited to a total of 65, over a course of some 50 miles in the Cotswolds near Cheltenham. Here we may observe that great enjoyment is to be had marshalling or spectating at winter trials and few better ways suggest themselves of using your “standard ration.” Most clubs are able to allot jobs as marshals, even to non-members, providing they can be assured that the applicant will do the job seriously, arriving in good time at his or her “section,” seeing all the competitors through it, marking score-cards conscientiously (if the job involves that) and not departing for home until these cards and any club equipment is handed in at the finish. If you are interested, write to the club organising the next trial in which you would like to marshal, offering to help. Spectating can be good fun, too, and often, by judicious employment of a one-inch Ordnance Survey map, it is possible to see the cars tackle two or even three “sections ” on the same day. Organisers will usually give details of the route and times of arrival of competitors to such bona fide inquirers as ask for this information at the start. Points to remember: please park well clear of “sections” and narrow approach roads; don’t try to climb a “section” just because you would like to be at the top and then block the hill as the first competitor arrives. Don’t dash noisily down narrow lanes — you can make trials unpopular by drawing unnecessary attention to them — and be polite to locals in whose fields, etc., you may park. Don’t forget that trials often run behind schedule, so come prepared for long waits in the cold. A car with proper lights will avoid having to leave before dark, a supply of food and drink will be very much to the point, and raincoats, gum-boots, shooting-sticks, torches, and umbrellas for the fair sex, are useful items of equipment. You will probably find the car has to be left some way from a “section” and it isn’t always easy for your party to return to it in a hurry should the weather turn nasty. Anyway, try it — and, if you enjoy it, make sure your M.P. insists on the continuance of the “standard” petrol ration, that this harmless winter sport may continue and not be cut short . . .

More Persian Gulf News
The Club in the Persian Gulf recently held its first event, at Muharrag, one of the Bahrein group of islands. The Awali Motor Section staged its event there on August 12th, consisting of a stop and restart plus acceleration test, a parking test and a wiggle-woggle. A 1941 Ford V8 sedan won the first, in 26 sec., from another Ford V8, a Standard “Vanguard” and an A40 Austin. Sixteen ran, including a “30/98” Vauxhall, Morgan “4/4,” 1 1/2-litre Riley and a 1949 Ford V8. The Austin won the parking test, a Ford V8 the wiggle-woggle, the A40 winning the entire competition on aggregate marks. Masses of Arabs came to watch the “mad sahibs” in action. Future events were to include another rally, a hill-climb on August 26th and a Monte Carlo-style rally over some tough going. Our correspondent would appreciate particulars of similar events, marking systems, etc., suitable for flat, sandy, sometimes rocky, terrain with no hills or mud. Club secretaries should address him: E. M. Main, c/o B.A.P.C.O., Box 473, Awali, Bahrein Island, Persian Gulf.

American Enthusiasm
From time to time we have referred to articles on British sports cars in the American Press. But the July issue of True really surpasses itself. The cover is a reproduction of a beautiful painting by Peter Helck of the 1914 Santa Monica Vanderbilt Cup Race, showing Ralph de Palma in the 1908 120-h.p. Grand Prix Mercédès (with angular radiator cowl befitting a German car) leading Barney Oldfield’s yellow Mercer. Inside is an article by True’s motor-minded Editor, Ken. W. Purdy, who owns a 1912 Mercer Raceabout. Entitled “The Big White Cars” this article is full of Mercédès lore, some of which may have been culled from the books of George Monkhouse, Cameron Earl and Alex Ulmann (and there’s nothing against that), and also contains an interesting description of the Type 770K straight-eight 7.7-litre Mercédès-Benz which was shown at our Motor Show in 1938 and later used by Adolf Hitler as his personal car. To-day it is owned by Christopher Janus of Chicago, who swapped it for 20,000 dollars’ worth of ball-bearings with the Swedish company into whose possession it had come.

Such well-informed motor racing articles in American papers are indeed good to see and we extend our congratulations to Ken. Purdy. The only error we spotted concerns a picture of one of the 1914 G.P. Mercédès, captioned as having won the Elgin road race of 1912, whereas the text makes plain that this honour belonged to de Palma’s 1908 G.P. Mercédès, pictured beneath the other illustration in its 1913 Indianapolis guise, Ralph Mulford up.

Falcon M.C.
We have received the following from the Press Secretary of this newly-formed club:

“I should like to thank you for your insertion in Motor Sport of our letter on the formation, some time ago, of a motor club at Puckeridge, Hertfordshire.

“This club has now been recognised by the R.A.C., and will be known as the Falcon Motor Club.

“Meetings are held at 8.00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the Crown and Falcon Hotel, Puckeridge, when new members will be welcome. The annual subscription is 10s. 6d.

Correspondence should be addressed to D. Chiles, Esq., Honorary Secretary, 16, Owles Lane, Buntingford.

“We propose to hold a number of events in the future, including a closed trial in October, and a closed invitation trial early next year, both in Hertfordshire.”

Miscellany
We noticed recently that boys from a local grammar school were acting as course-marshals at a race meeting. Now we are all for encouraging the rising generation to take an active interest in competition motoring, but we wonder if it is wise to let them do the more dangerous jobs. If they do them, it would seem advisable to ensure that the headmaster concerned is aware of the nature of the task and that parents’ permission has been obtained. Even then, “marshalling for the local motor club” may not sound so dangerous as, for instance, flying or riding in a racing car, for which any headmaster would presumably call for parental sanction. We do not wish to seem needlessly finicky, but cars do leave the road at speed events and course-patrols are nearer the accident than those the public side of the fence. By all means let schoolboys and school girls do marshal’s jobs, such as paddock marshalling, message conveying, programme selling, etc., but think twice, organisers, before you give them dangerous tasks. The thought of a school-team “taking over” a hill during a trial is a rather different matter, worthy of consideration.

The Tooley Special which ran in the V.S.C.C. High Speed Trial has apparently puzzled lots of people. It has a “12/40” Meadows 4ED engine out of a Lea-Francis, converted to two carburetters, a “Brescia” Bugatti back axle, Singer coil-spring i.f.s. and a 1929 Armstrong-Siddeley self-change gearbox.

The B.B.C. Silverstone broadcast was a disappointment, after all we had been told about an improved commentary this year. Listeners were apparently introduced to new cars such as Ferrari’s Farina and metaphorically thousands of licence holders (wireless) could be heard calling “Give us Walkerley,” while race-spectators, again metaphorically but equally loudly, were yelling back “Leave him for us.” Another Silverstone flashback — we said Johnson dented his Jaguar and lost time hitting the straw, but actually he did so because a Javelin went out of control in front of him. On that occasion, and later in avoiding “Bira’s” sliding Jaguar, Johnson displayed very great skill

The Harrow C.C. have “noggins and flatters” at the “Hopbine,” North Wembley, at 7.30 p.m. on October 6th and November 3rd for those interested.

Apathy Over Old-Car Museum
It is a pretty open secret that R. G. J. Nash has stored in a shed at Brooklands and elsewhere a remarkable collection of early transport vehicles, including 105 historic bicycles, cars and aeroplanes, and many documents and mementos. It has been a better-kept secret that he has been hoping to found a museum, open to the public, for their display, and publicity has been given to his altogether creditable desire by a news-item which appeared in the Surrey Advertiser dated July 23rd. Alas, the news was bad news, the Surrey Town Planning and County Planning Committee backing the Guildford Rural Council in refusing Nash permission to erect a single-storey building of 38,000 ft. floor space and lay out flower-beds, car park and lawns for his museum on three acres of ground at Burnt Common, Send, on the Portsmouth Road. The Chairman of the S.T. & C.P.C., Alderman Wykeham-Price, said: “It was decided that a museum for such a dull subject in that particular situation would not have a single visitor.”

We are surprised that anyone in an official position can condone such nonsense. It is obvious that interest in mechanical transport has grown tremendously since the war and that veteran-car events have proved particularly attractive, as many town councils fully recognise. We are glad to see that Nash was able to prove this in a letter of his which appeared in the Surrey Advertiser of September 5th, when he stated that just before the war the Science Museum asked him to arrange a display of early aeroplanes, when, although only four were shown, 46,000 people attended and the world’s Press was very interested.

We infinitely prefer to see veteran cars in action to forming static shows in a museum, but while cars belonging to V.C.C. members and others are idle they could, it seems, profitably be shown to the public, and many owners would willingly garage their cars thus, if proper supervision were provided. This could result in the exhibits being changed sufficiently frequently to maintain interest, while one visualises a library, lectures, demonstrations, etc. — indeed, the possibilities seem limitless. America has found that such museums, run commercially or as a hobby, attract not only the motoring enthusiast and the man-in-the-street, but school-parties, students and historians. Yet we have no such museums and Nash’s collection remains jumbled in an old shed. Perhaps other counties, especially those with seaside towns, may care to benefit from Surrey’s apathy and provide the modest site Nash requires to launch his scheme.

M.C.C.
The 22nd Sporting Trial of the Motor Cycling Club is open to members of the Lancashire, Lanes & Cheshire, Liverpool, Yorkshire, M.G., Sheffield & Hallamshire and S.U.N.B.A.C. clubs, besides M.C.C. members. It counts for the 1949 B.T.D.A. “Star.” Entries close on October 1st and cost £2 per car. The start will be at 9 a.m. from Buxton, on October 22nd, and the route of about 60 miles takes in Jenkins’ Chapel, Washgates, Cowlow, Taddington Moor, Pilsbury and Litton Slack. Practice is wisely forbidden. Details from: The M.C.C. Ltd. 26, Bloomsbury Way, W.C.1 (Tel.: Holborn 4761).

The A.C. Owners’ Club
There will be a general (informal) meeting at the “Coach and Horses,” Avery Row, London, W.1, from 7 to 10.30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 11th.

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