The Bugatti Owners’ Club can be relied upon to produce a fine collection of sporting carriages, but an International meeting at Prescott is an occasion when even this illustrious club surpasses itself.
On entering the paddock a row of multi-coloured Bugatti’s confronted one, as did the E.R.A.s, which were also present en masse. Coopers, both 500 and 1,100 cc abounded, with rather fewer Loti and a moderate sprinkling of TR2s and Healeys, plus the numerous “only one” makes.
Small cars rolled up first at the start. Heading the programme in the up-to-1,100cc class was A. Cleave’s humble-sounding machine, a Morris Ten. This car is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, however, for it is a regular competitor at Prescott and has a pleasant exhaust note to go with its satisfying performance. Best time in this class was returned by Tony Marsh in the 1,100cc Cooper-Climax; start to finish in 47.87 sec., failing to beat his previous record by 1.18 sec. R. F. Bloxham was the 1 1/2 litre class winner in the famous ex-Chapman, ex-Nurse Lotus SAR 5. T. G. Cunane’s Mk. IX Lotus was second. The Ecurie Les Zebres Alfa-Romeo Guiliettas unfortunately failed to appear, along with Steve Wilder’s Porsche from America.
The first mishap occurred at the beginning of the 2-litre class, when D. R. Good overturned his TR2, resulting only in a very slightly dented front wing. W. S. Perkins made a steady run in his Lotus, with 328 BMW engine seemingly in need of a rebore judging by the clouds of smoke which pursued it up the hill. Another mishap occurred when J. McKechnie took to the bank in his Morgan, resulting in a damaged wheel and suspension unit. Fastest Austin-Healey was that of J. F. Dalton, the car being the 100S model. Hill and McDonald were both driving 100Ms with no disc brakes, and W. A. Bemrose, who came unstuck in the Esses on his first run, was in a slightly modified standard model.
K. Rudd in the Bristol-engined A.C. Ace was the class winner with a best time of 49.21 sec., and P. Everard in the Cooper Aston Martin was second. J. Fask of Sweden, driving a 300SL Mercedes-Benz, demonstrated some fine power slides at Pardon. Ken Wharton did likewise in the works Austin-Healey, the ex-Moss/Macklin Sebring car, and was placed third in his class.
An unusual entry in the 3-litre category was the 57SC Bugatti saloon, brought over from Switzerland by C.G.Renaud. This magnificent black and yellow two-seater saloon was closely scrutinised by all and sundry in the paddock. The tortuous nature of Prescott defeated this long car, however; it failed to gain even third place. The blue and red blown 2.3-litre Type 51 Bugattis of Wall and Robins and the blown 2-litre Type 35C of Haworth added atmosphere, but the opposition was too much for them in this class and none was placed. Raymond Fielding in his HWM Jaguar found little competition for first position with a best time of 49.40 sec. Scragg’s Alta-Jaguar came second in 50.51 sec.
Racing cars were again much in evidence on the hill. Michael Christie driving Rob Walker’s Connaught made f.t.d (55.20 sec.), taking the Staniland Trophy. C. A. N. May was awarded the 500-c.c. Trophy for his performance in his Cooper. R. W . Colton’s car conked out before he reached Orchard on his second run, and Welton and Guest in a Cooper and E.G.S., respectively found their mounts somewhat temperamental.
Good, Stuart, Broad and Wharton turned up with their ERA’s for the Formula Libre class. John Broad winning his own trophy, which he later handed to Good. Ken Wharton was the class winner (45.85 sec.) Last to ascend was the De Haviland/A.T.N., an inverted aero engine in an M.G.- Morris chassis, all together a terrifying machine which went up the hill in leaps and bounds.
In the Formula Libre (two cylinders) class fastest time of the day was made by Michael Christie in a 1,100 Cooper (44.45 sec.). Tony Marsh was second with 44.98 see. and in similar car Rivers – Fletcher came third, having made an excellent first run but spoiled his average on his second at Orchard Corner, where he got into difficulties.
Finally came the Bugatti handicap. Fourteen Bugattis in all were present and made nice progressive noises on their way up the hill. Honours went to Haworth (1928 35C), Somerset (1928 37A) and Vickers Jones (1927 35A), respectively.
Thus ended a traditional Prescott, the fine sunny weather providing a welcome change in this year of gloom; many excellent vintage cars were espied en route in the morning,notably two 14/45 Talbots, two Rolls Royce Phantom tourers, and an Austin Heavy 12/4, its paintwork in eau-de-nil green, with gleaming brass radiator.