A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
V.S.C.C. Madresfield Driving Tests (Sept. 12th)
The Driving Tests and Concours d’Elegance which the Vintage S.C.C. holds at Madresfield, by permission of the Rt. Hon. Earl Beauchamp and Mr. H. R. Tolley, who place the tarmac Gloucester Drive at the Club’s disposal, take place in delightful surroundings and with commendable informality. And on historic ground, for in the old days speed trials were held over this course.
Although having only the straight, narrow drive at their disposal, the officials contrive interesting, car-searching tests and vary them each year. This year, after the Concours d’Elegance et d’Etat had been judged by Brian Morgan and R. C. Wheatley, who have learned the hard way how cars should be reconditioned and presented, the first of the tests took place, comprising a wiggle-woggle, slow-running and acceleration test, interspersed with braking at various lines.
There was an excellent entry and six of the cars were driven by the girls—an excellent trend. Perhaps some of them respond to the friendly atmosphere at Madresfield.
As usual, Condon’s Anzani-A.C., bought originally from Thames Ditton and driven to North Wales, was immaculate, and Arnold drove a very nice 1930 Riley fabric saloon. Hirons produced yet another G.N., a decently original i.o.e. touring 2-seater of 1922 vintage. A very interesting and smart newcomer was Noolt’s 1925 Derby light car, rather like a well-nourished version of 7.5 Citroen, even to a transverse front spring. In fact, the engine is a 1,098 c.c. Coventry-Climax, there are Brolt electrics and an agent’s plate on the dash proclaiming this to be “the most economical light car in the World.”
Eastwood’s 1925 Austin Chummy had a spare, blank, rear number plate, Fuller was very enterprising through the wiggle-woggle in his 1933 Park Ward Rolls-Royce, the creaking wheels of which were the only sound from it in the slow-running test, as was the case with Terry’s 1938 Thrupp & Maberly-bodied 25/30.
Some cars, like Clark’s Humber Special, needed a push-start, and Jenkins’ big 3-litre Invicta tourer expired entirely and spent the afternoon on the grass verge. Denton’s 1930 Rolls-Royce 20/25 tourer was very smart, even to coconut mat on the running board and spare wheel cover, Meyers’ Riley was a very smart 1929 Monaco fabric saloon with a Solex at one end of its manifold, Maskell’s 1931 Riley 9 fabric saloon and Howe’s 1932 Riley Gamecock went very slowly in the appropriate test, and doing likewise caused Collins’ 1921 Star to flex its back springs. Moffat tried some really clever coaxing to get his Crossley-Bugatti to run at near-zero revs, and Arnold-Forster so nearly extinguished the Anzani engine of his Fraser Nash in performing this test. Bullett’s 1930 12/60 Alvis was also notably slow, whereas Pilkington’s blown 1750 Alfa Romeo and Buck’s 1939 Speed 20 Alvis coupe tended to gallop. Samson got his 30/98 Vauxhall into a 45 slide at the end of the wiggle. It was nice to see two 14/40 Delage cars running, both with boat-tail bodies, Batte’s 1925 car with told-flat screen and Barton in the 1926 ex-Ewen car. Barker’s 1934 RaiIton didn’t accelerate as rapidly as expected, while Lander’s 1935 Lagonda Rapier seemed almost to stop several times in the slow bit and change-down to get away. Mrs. Ure’s nicely original 1925/8 Lancia Lambda had an Alvis-like exhaust rasp, Waine drove a 328 B.M.W., and Mrs. Hill her husband’s A.J.S.
Altogether, it was a highly enjoyable afternoon of motor-gambolling.—W. B.
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The 750 Motor Club is holding a National Open Speed Hill-Climb at Wiscombe Park, Devon, on October 9/10th. There is a very large vintage entry, including five s/c Alfa Romeos and about a dozen Bentleys. The vintage entry totals about 25 and there is also a very interesting entry from sports/racing and racing cars.
The V.S.C.C. evening at “The Phoenix,” Hartley Whitney, saw Don Dear serving alcoholic refreshment to a very big gathering of vintage-car supporters. Outside, 3-litre Bentley parked with V12 Lagonda, 12/50 Alvis beside Brescia Bugatti, chain-drive was represented by a Morgan and a couple of typical ‘Nashes, and there was a Lancia Lambda tourer with leopard-skin upholstery, a Delage tourer, 12/60 beetle-back Alvis, D. S. J.’s 328 B.M.W. in defiance of an amusing cartoon in the current V.S.C.C. Bulletin —in fact, a typical vintage evening.
Vintage miscellany—The 1923 10.5-litre V12 Deluge, which caught fire and crashed at Silverstone many years ago, is being rebuilt and is likely to make a welcome reappearance in V.S.C.C. races next year, in the hands of its joint owners, Clutton and Williamson. It should make a formidable competitor for the 1925 4-litre V12 supercharged Sunbeam “Tiger,” so admirably restored by Sir Ralph Millais, as it did at Brooklands, driven by John Cobb, when both were comparatively new cars. A 1925/6 Type V.S.C. Vulcan with caravan body has been discovered in Scotland and is to be restored to correct commercial vehicle form. Someone else has unearthed an early de Dion Bouton single-cylinder engine, its bearings ruined by driving a band-saw. A 1929 Austin 7 saloon set off on a round-the-World tour, leaving Dover on September 5th, and was given a send off by an escort of Austin 7s of all kinds, driven by members of the 750 M.C.’s Austin Seven Register. D. Salusbury-Hughes has restored a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, for which he requires a dashboard petrol pressure pump.
Over August Bank Holiday Lord Montagu moved into the top spot in the Stately Homes chart, from the Duke of Bedford, when he welcomed his half-millionth visitor to Beaulieu. The expected attendance at Beaulieu this year is 600,000.
The Museum of British Transport at Clapham, S.W. London, will have another special Sunday opening, from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. on October 10th. Admission costs 5s. for adults, 2s. 6d. for children and there will be several special attractions. This Museum, in danger of closure if Government approval isn’t secured, is deserving of support; the last Sunday opening attracted over 4,000 visitors. Atkinson Vehicles Ltd. are looking for an Atkinson steam wagon for preservation. Jack Marshall of the 750 M.C. is another reader who recalls seeing the Cuffley airship shot down, when living as a boy 1.5 miles front the Hayes munition factory. A 1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost has turned up in Cornwall and a 1935 Austin 20/6, late property of the Mayor of Harrogate, has found a new home in the same county.
In their advertisement in Paris Match B.P. illustrate a 5 c.v. Citroen amongst various modern cars.
A T.T. Replica Frazer Nash was mentioned in the B.B.C. serial “Mrs. Dale’s Diary” recently. [Thinking in terms of realistic prices for old cars, a 750 M.C. member arrived in this country on a bicycle; was able to buy an Austin Ruby saloon for £15, dismantle his bicycle and pack it inside, catch the night ferry and return home in his first car.] Hugh Eaton, who raced Gwynne-engined G.N., Aston Martin and Talbot cars at Brooklands, spent some time in this country again recently, before returning to Australia. John Goddard has been using his “Chain-Gang” Frazer Nash as everyday transport while in England and has acquired the ex-Thorpe “Shelsley” Frazer Nash single-seater, which he proposes to ship out to Australia and rebuild. Peter Hull is writing an erudite history of Alvis cars and becoming intrigued by the history of front-wheel drive. In Malvern Link a 1930 Austin 16/6 saloon which retains its original engine and components was encountered being hosed down preparatory to spectating at the V.S.C.C. Madresfield driving tests.
An early-vintage Vermorel is still in use near Strasbourg. Brian Morgan is thinking of selling the 200.h.p. Benz. The Regent Trophy, overall prize in the Armstrong Siddeley O.C. Rally at Gailey on September 5th, was won by Reason’s 1951 18-h.p. I.w.b. Armstrong Siddeley limousine, second place going to a pre-war 16-h.p. and the Visitor’s Prize to Roberts’ Daimler E20-alas, no vintage Armstrong Siddeleys were present. The Acting Secretary of the Wolseley Register, on the disappearance of Mr. Clements, is R. S. Burrows, 17, Hills Avenue, Cambridge, who owns a 1927 16/45 Wolseley landaulette and is restoring a 1925 11/22 Wolseley tourer. Another 1925 2-seater is being restored in Oxfordshire and a 1924 15-h.p. Wolseley has been almost completely resuscitated by a Register member. Since MOTOR SPORT mentioned the Austin Ten D.C. its membership has increased by 25% and includes two overseas members. Like certain other one-make organisations it will soon have its own 10/4 truck, actually owned by three of its members. The Club has regular first-Sunday meetings at “The Telegraph,” Putney Heath, and the Secretary’s new address is : A. A. Milliner, 1, Walton Avenue, New Malden, Surrey. The Popular Flying Association has a recently formed Vintage Aircraft Section, which aims to restore and preserve in flying condition pre-1939 aeroplanes. Details from the P.F.A., Elstree Aerodrome, Boreham Wood, Herts. The ex-Fane 328 B.M.W. has been purchased by someone in Hampshire and was recently driven down from Scotland.