Motor Sport and Bentleys
Perhaps to justify your confidence in our records relating to Vintage Bentleys, I thought you might like to have the following information concerning those bought new by your predecessor, the late T. G. Moore.
1. 3-litre, purchased January 1927: Speed Model (i.e. “Red Label”) Vanden Plas 4-seater. Chassis No. LT 1593. Registration No. YE 812. This car is still in existence and belongs to C. R. Kidd, of Aberdeen.
2. 4 1/2-litre, purchased November 1927: 10 ft. 10 in. wheelbase. Vanden Plas 4-seater. Chassis No. SL 3073. Registration No. YU 3243. This car was rebuilt on to a 3-litre 9 ft. 9 in. wheelbase chassis in 1953 in Singapore and has been in the Gibbs Pancheri family for almost 30 years. It was used regularly by Gibbs (our Executive Director) in competitions in Malaya and is now shared by son Michael who can be seen motoring it round Silverstone to no mean effect at VSCC and BDC meetings.
3. 4 1/2-litre (Supercharged), purchased April, 1931 (not mentioned by you): Vanden Plas 4-seater. Chassis No. MS 3926. Registration No. GO 1400. This car still exists and has been in the ownership of R. K. Carter in Ohio, USA, since 1957.
As to John Stevens’ 3-litre (Chassis No. 759) it was delivered new to Godfrey Davis in September, 1924. Pre-war owners were Capt. H. A. Young, J. E. Rutter, L. Arkwright, H. R. Collins, K. G. Bergin, R. W. Johnston, G. Sutton, R. F. Turner and W. S. Gibbard. Since the war it has been owned by N. O. Kendall, Major M. J. Mathews, J. Edwards and A. A. Haywood. Any of the above owners among your readers will feel a glow of pride (and nostalgic regret) to know that this 14th-hand Bentley has been restored to such perfection by its present owner.
President, Bentley DC
Please refer to two adverts in your August Motor Sport, one by David Scott-Moncrieff on inside of back cover showing a Blue Label appreciating from £895 to £6,750, nearly 600% in four years. The second advert is on page 977 by Keeler Motor Company for the ex-Woolf Barnato 3-litre for sale at £12,500 and worth every penny. Enclosed is a photograph I took in 1956 or ’57 of the same car PE 3200 which was for sale at £285! I considered buying the car but did not; I should have. That is appreciation of about 4,400% in 18 or 19 years. The Bentley was for sale somewhere down the Bayswater Road area, not even under cover, and was in a very fine condition.
Keep going with wonderful Motor Sport.
AYL 2 and JJ 93
I cannot add a great deal to Anthony Blight’s factual letter in your August issue, but I can confirm that JJ 93 carried Dr. Roth’s Talbot body on a standard 105 saloon chassis.
I bought the car from Rowland Smith’s in 1936 or ’37 for, if I remember rightly, £130 soon after the Roth body had been mounted; the car was not sold to me as an Alpine and it was obviously not one as a number of minor features betrayed it, not did I know at the time that it was the Roth body. However, I lived within a few doors of Dr. Roth and he spotted at once that it was his car’s old body and, if proof were needed, he gave me back the unique name badge which the cowling had carried and which he had kept as a souvenir and this fitted immediately the existing holes.
JJ 93 was a fascinating car with a magnificent performance even though it was not an Alpine chassis. I sold it after a year or two as I could not face the cost of the impending replacement of the double twelve-volt battery which was fantastic by the standards of the day! Incidentally, I still have the instruction book though not original to the car.
I saw the Talbot advertised after the war as an Alpine and wrote to the trader concerned but I do not know whether he modified his claims.
D. S. Handley
I refer to your report of the Brooklands Reunion in the August issue, and in particular your mention of glimpsing the six Amals on the Dixon Riley. For the record I would point out that this car is in fact fitted with the original Dixon set-up of six SU carburetters worked by a sliding throttle.
As an avid reader of Motor Sport since I discovered that it fitted neatly behind the school atlas some years ago, I congratulate you on your Golden Jubilee and look forward to the next 50 years with great interest.
[Yes, I know. Like Homer, I nodded. — Ed.]
Driving a 2.3 Alfa Romeo
I have just read your fascinating Golden Jubilee issue, on which I heartily congratulate you. I was particularly interested, for a reason given below, in an impression by Stirling Moss of the handling qualities of the Tyrrell 006/2. The passage to which I refer reads “. . . under normal cornering you were not conscious of turning the steering wheel and you literally ‘wished’ it through corners”.
Now it so happened that from early 1936 to the outbreak of war I was fortunate enough to own a 1933 supercharged straight-eight 2.3-litre Alfa Romeo in touring trim. I drove this car for many thousand fast and trouble-free miles and can even remember the registration number, GP 3752.
In 1945 I was stationed at Verona in northern Italy and became friendly with an Italian ex-officer who shared my interest in the world of fast cars and motor racing. He told me that he was a close friend of no less a person than Nuvolari and when he suggested that a meeting could easily be arranged, I naturally jumped at the offer. Accordingly, a few days later found us driving a long-suffering and elderly Jeep from Verona to Nuvolari’s home in Mantua.
This journey, some twenty-five miles of fast road, took us an unconscionably long and noisy time since the Jeep’s two auxiliary gear levers were irretrievably jammed in the low ratio and four-wheel-drive positions and there was also a lamentable failure in the silencing system. Altogether a singularly inappropriate vehicle in which to visit Nuvolari. However, at long last we arrived and were excellently wined and lunched by the great man, who proved to be a most charming and considerate host.
On account of my understandable interest in the 2.3 Alfa, I asked Nuvolari’s advice as to the best way of handling this car under varying conditions. I can remember verbatim his comment on how to rake a 2.3 through fast corners and S-bends. He simply said, “Rest your hands lightly on the wheel, look where you want to go and the car will take you there”.
I find it strikingly interesting that two drivers, probably the two finest drivers the motor racing world has ever known, should have made what amount to identical comments on the normal handling qualities of two cars designed some forty-five years apart and being so vastly different both in performance and in design philosophy.
FWD Alvis TT Cars
I was really intrigued by Mr. Hugh Torren’s article about the 1928 FWD Alvis TT cars. And when I spotted a reference to a FWD Alvis two-seater in Tokyo, I thought, as a Japanese member of Alvis Owners’ Club, I ought to take up a pen.
Yes, a 1928 12/75 FWD Alvis still exists in Tokyo. The late owner, Mr. Tokutaro Hama who died only recently, once told me that he bought her secondhand in Great Portland Street for £85 in 1935 and shipped her home. The body was a rather stark two-seater by Carbodies Ltd. with a very abbreviated tail with a spare tyre attached. It looked as if some previous owner chopped off a part of a boat tail but I think it was original. However, the owner removed the body and subsequently sold it to an American resident called Mr. Preston Hopkins in about 1960. The thought is that Mr. Hama wanted to have a new body built to his own idea but it did not materialise until his death. So, now only the chassis remains in a complete and original condition. It seems to be a standard short chassis FA with a blown engine.
The most intriguing fact about her is that the British registration number is WK 6950. That is to say, this car could well be one of the two “missing” 1928 ‘TT racing cars. Unfortunately, chassis and car number plate is on the scuttle of the body which as I mentioned was sold separately many years ago and supposed to be living in California on the “cut and shut” 1928 4 1/2-litre Invicta chassis!
Recently I examined Mr. Hama’s chassis again in the hope of finding any clue to identify herself. However, all that I could find on the chassis frame was an obscure stamping “1089 N” on the right-hand side-member, near the front spring anchorage point. The present engine is, of course, a standard unit with SOHC detachable ‘head and bears “ALVIS .J1828” on the block. Interesting points about the chassis are that the steering has a flexible disc joint and the handbrake is outside, which are the features of the FC.
I should be most grateful if any reader could enlighten me as to where to look for the chassis number on the FWD Alvis. Better still, I hope, Mr. Hopkins who supposedly owns the original body now, would throw the light to this issue, by telling us the chassis number from the plate on the scuttle.
Morris and Hoyal
You may be interested by the following information, prompted by your report (Motor Sport, August 1975) of the Prescott “Classic” Meeting, and the brief article about the coachbuilding firm of Hoyal in the same issue.
Firstly, you were correct in your identification of my Morris at Prescott as the Ashley Cleave car. I bought it from Mr. Cleave in March 1974, intending to use it as a Summer “fun” car. However, it refused to be retired, and I have run it in all the Prescott meetings this season (except the VSCC meeting — it is not an eligible car — which, nevertheless, I came to watch); and at Shelsley Walsh (where I hope to run it again this coming weekend).
There was a Morris Oxford of 1928 with a Hoyal body in a beautiful state of preservation (restoration?) at the Morris Register’s Stanford Hall rally and concours last year. The Morris Register Journal Autumn 1974 issue carried an article on Hoyal, and the firm’s relationship with Morris motor cars; and a photograph of the car in question appeared therein.
Please accept my belated congratulations on the half-century of your excellent magazine.
F/O R. Mathew
I was most interested to read your reference to our mutual friend, Bunty Scott-Moncrieff in the recent edition of Motor Sport. I thought perhaps you would like a photograph of our friend riding the ostrich mentioned in your account.
I would mention that I have enjoyed your magazine continuously for many years with the exception of one period when I got tired of the “Eternal Beetle”, Perhaps the reason why I don’t notice this so much now is that I also own a BMW.
[We hope the ostrich didn’t suffer.— Ed]