CARS I HAVE OWNED
CARS I HAVE OWNED AFTER agreeing to the request to write this article, I suddenly realised that I had quite a formidable task on hand. Firstly, because it is generally thought amongst my friends that I cannot even read, let alone write, and secondly because of the quantity and
variety of the subject, which ranges over a total of 34 or 33 ears, depending on what date I manage to finish this article, with prices from 2s. (3d. upwards, I have kept a photograph album of them all, and so will run through this, commenting on them, but there will be no dates, As L can never remember any, except 1009, and I have not got a car going back that far. It was not intended to mention any motor-eyeles in this article, but there is one that I feel slonIld not be left out. It
was a Cerra:in twin with shaft drive, and it was f.ai ?tured in the desert. As there was an Army control at the gates of Alexandria confiscating all Captured material, we flew it inside the control, on the torpedo rack of a Swordfish. I did 0,000 miles on that bicycle and as they have a very narrow petrol tank we used to be able to ride five-up–two on the tank, one on the saddleand two on the pillion. One night we were leaving a joint in Haifa about midnight, four-up climbing Mount Cannel, when a soldier on the side gave us the hitch-hike sign, but we did not stop that time !
My first car was a 1924 Morris coupe, with a Hotchkiss engine, I believe. It was given to Me by My Mother for Christmas when I was 12 ; I think she thought it would be a good idea for me to get plenty of practice in. on our drive at home, before I was allowed on the road. My mother had commissioned somebody to buy it for her in Bristol. It cost £10, but no registration book was forthcoming, so my mother got the idea that it was a stolen car. Personally,.i very much doubt It, although I did hear of a sailor who murdered a child for the Is-. 0d, in its pocket! After several years of trusted service the Morris took to throwing its fan through the radiator, and when this (torrid no longer be repaired, we sold her for 10s.
No. 2 was a 1922 two-cylinder Belsize Bradshaw two-seater. I bargained for the whole of the summer term at Sherborne for this, with the cycle shop, and eventually knocked it down from £10 to £3, and towed it hinne for the holidays. It always went. very well. but When I had to go back to school, since my brother had A driving licence and no car my mother gave it to him, and he did many miles on it until it hecame a bad starter, and eventually broke his wrist ; it served him right for taking it from me !
No. 3 was a 1924 10-h.p. Morgan threewheeler, with a water-cooled Blackburn engine. Now I was coming to the real thing, as I was just 16 and allowed to drive a three-wheeler on the road. My mother gave Me £30 and I found it. in Yeovil. In design it had no front wheel brakes, and in practice it had no back wheel brake either. It was reputed to have lapped Brooklanda at 94 m.p.h. and to have had four fatal accidents ; for the life of me I cannot understand Why it did not have more, unless it had .only had fear previous owners.
R. R. C. Walker is an enthusiast with good taste in cars. Associated today with the very fast 3i-litre sports racing Delahaye, the G.P. Delage with E-type E.R.A. engine and a DB II Aston-Martin with ” Vantage engine, nevertheless like so many of us he started his motoring career with lesser fry. Here he tells, most entertainingly, how he progressed from a 1924 Morris-Cow ey to his present stable. As Rob Walker’s account is rather long it will a2paar in two parts. What follows descr bes his experiences up to the outbreak of the Second World War. Part 2, dealing with the cars he has owned since the
war will appear next month—Ed.
No. 4 was a 1022 air-cooled AnzaniMorgan, and was bought at school just before the master came into class: The price was half-a-crown, and just as I handed over the money the master walked in to take the class, but the owner hastily made out a receipt and handed it. under the desk in ease I should change my mind and ask for my money back. For some unknown reason this car never went very well, and after some time I was forded to Leave it in a passing tield as it refused to go any further. I believe it. is there to this day. Perhaps I should have asked for my money back anyway. I had now reached the age of 17 so it was time to put three-wheelers away and get on to the more serious stuff. My mother, being a Rolls enthusiast, went to Phil Paddon, and as I had specified a Sports par, a very nice -fourseater Hyper
Sports Lea-Francis, with blower removed, was procured for £60. .It ran perfectly for six months, the only Mishap being that a stub-axle broke. The. Wheel plus brake drum shot past me, and narrowly missed an old woman the other side of the road, before I came to earth. Eventually it blew to bits, and after having it repaired I sold it for £45. The buyer nipped smartly off to South Africa without paying ine. And he had been a friend of mine . . . I
Therefollowed another Lea-Francis, this time a 1228 ” Ulster T.T.” model with supercharger. I bought it from Michael Erskine, who hits the distinction of being the only dirt track rider who has ridden for England and is an old Etonian, and to this clay he is still riding for 1Vimbledon, and is in the very top class. Men I took delivery cif this car I found that it boiled very badly owing to a blacked radiator, but I soon fixed all that by running into the back of the Countess of Denbigh’s parked car in Duke Street. Unfortunately for my insurance company the Countess was sitting in the back and suffered shock to the tune of £100; also they had to pay for a new radiator, which cured all the boiling trouble. As we had a drive at home about a kilometre long, with everything one could want—a short straight. an S bend through a dip, and then a hairpin—I thought it was time I constructed somethite, to take the ” drive record.” This resulted in alterations to two 1920 Chumaty ” Austin Sevens, bought for t3 and £7, respectively. They had their chassis underslung, flYwheels greatly lightened, two Soles carintrettery, and eiiimiression raised. They went extremely well and the record for the drive was coming down rapidly ; so was the surface, much to my parents’ dismay. The end panne when one Sunday, my mother, returning from church, found blaok lines on mu. corner, then a fence demolished and, finally. an Austin hanging on the remaining post in the fence. I was lent my mot hers Bolls and told to dispose a the Austins, No I hooked them On and set off for my friend Arthur Baron in Dorking; whom I knew would buy them. When I got there he