The annual driving tests and Concours d’Etat took place on the Earl of Beauchamp’s Gloucester Drive at Madresfield Court, where speed trials were once allowed, in which Morgan three-wheelers went very fast – we thought we saw the ghost of one of them perambulating during this year’s tamer proceedings!
If the entry was somewhat thinner than usual, there were interesting cars present. Edwardians were well represented, Jeddere-Fisher, Junr. driving the Lancia Theta which lurched through the compulsory slow-fast test, making rude rear-end noises, only to stall just before the acceleration line, the 1911 7.9 Renault which was given to the writer by a retired BMW-riding solicitor back in the dim ages was present, and of the two R-R Ghosts, Fildes had a two-seater body which once graced an air-cooled Franklin, and Neale had his own very creditable replica sporting two-seater body with fold-in-halves screen on his 1911 chassis. Moreover, Hardy’s Arrol-Johnston, which has full-elliptic back springs, was there again.
Of vintage cars, Patrick Marsh’s splendid 1922 CO2 Delage touring car stood out. Hardy drove his father’s later re-bodied open DM Delage, and Austin 75 were well portrayed by Colledge’s nice Chummy, Costigan’s coupe and Elsom’s metal top-hat saloon. In the parking test Hides was neat with an R-R Phantom two-seater, Heath’s very smart Chevrolet coupe was quick, aided by a rolled-up rear “window”, but Sant was less successful in the Clyno. We were not certain whether the spare wheel on the 1921 Citroen was so placed to let the driver escape or to hold the back part of the body together. March was applauded for a neat run in the Delage, as was his brother in the Bentley. The Fiat 509A was no sluggard, revving happily, and Cherrett was truly fast in the blown 1½-litre Alfa Romeo.Anson tried driving his 9/20 Humber from the left-hand seat for better vision but without success, Neale was acclaimed for a neat run, Mrs. Bell was neat, alter a gentleman had cranked up her 10/23 ‘Talbot, and Arnold-Forster had a discussion with the linesman after just overshooting the finish box, after a rapid arrival in his Frazer Nash. Giles had lost a chain earlier, Tarring seemed to be treating his Nash roughly, and Milling was having a lot of fun of the kind which ends soonest the better it is. In other words, his 30/98 was fast. Another 30/98, wearing a pre-war Brooklands badge, was obviously unaccustomed to driving tests.
Dickie’s MG-M wore MG registration letters, Marshall’s 18/80 MG was smoking, and Hancock elected not to use the outside hand-brake of his OM. Knight conducted his smart two-colour OM in a trilby hat,. Pack’s hybrid Aston went through the slow-fast thing in a series of thrusts, and Hill’s Bugatti was quick, inspite of adjusters being required on its brake cables, the Marendaz Special elected not to park.
Of spectators’ mounts we noticed an Edwardian Austin, two Humber Snipes in close proximity, could compare an Austin 12/4 with an imposing early Riley tourer and saw a Rudge combination arrive. It was a typically enjoyable Madresfield. – W.B.