"Lost Causes" Rally, Beaulieu
LORD MONTAGU held another of his unique “Lost Causes” rallies at Beaulieu on September 4th, using classes based on the chapters in his famous book of that title. Thus you had the 3As of Scotland, or would if anyone had entered any, the Birmingham-built cars, a Crossley class, an Invicta-Railton class, sections for Jowetts, Lanchesters, Lea-Francis, Trojan, Armstrong Siddelcy, Standard (which has so recently become a “lost cause”), H.R.G. (an even more recent admission) and Napier, a Wolverhampton class, a “Jam Factory ” division and “Others.” This naturally makes for a very varied and wideranging assembly, and no fewer than 115 were entered this time.
Alas, the weather did its best to drown the Judges, this scribe included, but the driving downpour relented in time for the prize-giving.
The Birmingham class was, as previously, B.S.A. dominated, the B.S.A. Club obviously having a very effective whipper-in. Three- and four-wheeled cars of this make were there in impressive numbers, although mostly they were a bit tatty or non-original or both, keen as their owners are. The class was won by the oldest of them, a 1933. three-wheeler, with the sole Marauder as runner-up, a clean Rover-engined fixed-head coupe with high hoot, a “lost cause” indeed, nicely preserved. A B.S.A. Scout took third place, a trio of Dellows not quite matching up. The Crossleys were too bashful to enter the Concours d’Elegance, which was odd, because a 2.6-litre tourer and a neat 15.9 saloon, both vintage, impressed the Judges favourably. Lots of Invictas met several Railtons in the next class but as it was essentially a lost-causes day, the prize went to a white Black Prince Invicta, with the Brockhouse transmission, the “gear lever” on the right of its facia being no bigger than a Derby-Bentley’s headlamps’ switch. This 1949, not entirely immaculate, Invicta was challenged by many older Invietas, but odd mods., or too much polish discredited them, although a 100-m.p.h. low-chassis model was the best of them. Only two of the Railtons were good representatives, and one of them had some neat but non-standard bonnet surgery to accommodate the exhaust system of a larger-than-original Terraplane engine. Or that is how the sodden Barker and Boddy, seeking a winner, saw it. . . .
Of the Jowetts, the only flat-twins were a cut-down yellow 1925 two-seater and an uninspiring 1934 saloon, but it was nice that the latter took the Distance Award, after phuttering down from Edinburgh. The Javelins were mostly well presented, one by its original owner, but a Tulip-rally car with its special tool-kit in the cavernous boot and competition-equipped facia, just had the edge over a white Jupiter coupe.
Only one Lanchester arrived, Best’s serviceable straight-eight. But there was a reasonable array of Lea-Francis, mostly post-war, ponderous (looking) saloons, of which a 1950 version, re-upholstered very skilfully by its owner, just beat a vintage, but rather “brassed” out Fram-equipped 12/40 two-seater. A nice 12/40 saloon of the same age was too modest to concours, otherwise it might have been second.
The Trojan class was well stocked with presentable mid-engined models, including a fabric Saloon and the R.A.F. tender, with the Montagu Motor Museum’s 1912 model on view. It was won by a blue tourer on trade plates, with brass lamps and displaying its plaques on a sideboard. . . .
The Wolvethampton/”Jam Factory “/Napier classes were combined on account of sparsity of entries, and Collins’ very smart, unobtrusive 1921 Star two-seater naturally, and deservedly, took the honours, although a 4-cylinder 1921 friction-drive G.W.K. and the Museum’s 1914 Napier 15-h.p. estate car, painted in stripes to a colour-scheme chosen by Lady Montagu, which took the Judges and other guests to lunch in the “Bournemouth Belle,” were strong contenders.
The Armstrong Siddeleys were mainly the dull post-war species, but the winner, a 1938 Fourteen, came 300 Miles and left before receiving its prize, while Turner’s 1933 Fourteen tourer was outstandingly clean and possessed necessary all-weather equipment. The Standards ranged rom a fine 1926 tourer to a .seven-year-old Vanguard; the class was won by a 1935 Ten saloon, such as you are apt to meet on the road serving some elderly owner and dismiss without comment.
The H.R.G.s put on a fine show, from Monica Whincop’s 1939 1100 onwards, Dennis’ 1949 1 1/2-litre with “comp.” rear tyres, Union Jacks on its bonnet sides and wind-deflectors on its screen, carrying off the loot.
The “Others,” or miscellaneous, category was especially interesting. Entries ranged from a 5.4-litre Allard with a cockpit that looked excessively cramped but which its owner claimed to have given him a comfortable ride to Spain and back, to Parkinson’s 98-cc. much-travelled Rytecraft, its diminutive wheels Michelin-shod. There was a bright Bean, some good and some indifferent British Salmsons, two immaculate Charron-Laycocks, a Ferrari-grilled Gordano, a presumably Palm Beach Allard with very lofty vee-screen and a permanent twist to the off-side, a Hampton coupe, Swifts ranging from a 1925 disc-wheeled Ten with its registration numbers in italics, to a ribbon-radiator 1930 saloon-bodied Ten, and, extremely interesting, the one-off Lincoln Zephyr V12-powered 1938 Brough Superior saloon, personal property of George Brough, with a most unusual radiator and long, full-width saloon body, which the V.S.C.C. has just accepted as a p.v.t. However, it was Allaway’s well-known 1926 Swift Fourteen tourer which took this strongly-contested section. The runner-up was an imposing 1937 Atalanta, a highly polished Aston Martin Vantage engine replacing its original Gough power unit. Third place went to the better of the pair of Charron-Laycocks.
It was all over by about 4 p.m., the Judges—Messrs. Ronald Barker, William Boddy and Ray May—being by then like drowned rats, although it should go on record that May drove his Allard with the hood down, only erecting this useful piece of equipment when the car was stationary, and that Barker had come in his beautiful Lancia Augusta coupe de ville, which gives not much more protection to the driver. (Our intended “lost cause” having failed to get its king-pins past the M.o.T. taster, we came in the M.G. 1100, compensated by the very enjoyable handling on wet roads, this worthy car running as well after 10,000 miles as when it was new—certainly not a lost cause?) So it was all over until 1968—but what fun this Unique rally is, and no inistake!—W. B.