Railtons at Play

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On the last Sunday in August—about the first hot one of the summer—the Railton Owners’ Club held a Concours d’Elegance, driving tests and a short road parade, based on that useful if hardly salubrious rallying centre, Heston aerodrome.

When we looked in on this gathering about midday there were a couple of dozen of Reid A. Railton’s Anglo-American automobiles present. Of these, a dozen, which included one of the Standard ten-engined baby Railtons, were onlookers and a citizen of the smarter ones were lined-up for the beauty show. The fascinating thing about these Railtons is their great variety of bodywork. For example, these twelve cars consisted of a 1935 Stratton saloon, a 1935 Stratton University saloon—these having long American-style gear-levers—a 1935 Abbott sports tourer, a 1936 Fairmile drophead coupe, a 1936 Carbodies sports tourer, a 1937 Coachcraft drophead coupe, a 1937 straight-eight Carrington drophead coupe, a 1938 straight-eight Fairmile drophead coupe, a 1938 Coachcraft saloon, a 1939 Fairmile saloon, a 1939 Coventry Carriage Co. Sandown saloon, and a 1946 straight-eight Wittingharn and Mitchell saloon with blue-painted power unit. All these cars had very neat remote-control central gear-levers.

We were disappointed not to see one of the original light Railton tourers—with the passage of time this make, like others, increased in size and weight, although, unlike many others, it retained an excellent performance—or the special Light Sports two-seater as raced at Brooklands, etc., by Charles Follett. Perhaps these turned up after we had left. Certainly on the way home we encountered what appeared to be an Alsatian dog driving very fast in another open Railton, presumably anxious to get to the meeting.

At Heston, apart from the fact that the Editor’s name was painted on the loud-hailer van in big letters(!), forebears of the Railton were lending support to the gathering, in the form of a Hudson coupe de ville with spatted back wheels and a red open Terraplane with fold-flat windscreen. The former was displaying a full V.S.C.C. badge. perhaps in defiance of the fact that the V.S.C.C. does not recognise Railtons and the like as post-vintage thoroughbreds.—W. B.