THIS YEAR’s Model T Register Chilterns Rally attracted a very good entry of ten pre-1917 cars and even more after this date as well as a selection of commercials. The two day event embraced social happenings, a non-competitive road section of 52 miles and driving tests at the well appointed premises of the Lorch Foundation (part of the Elga Group) at Lane End, after an excellent lunch served by that organisation.
The only unlucky competitor was a black radiator tourer that broke a stub axle; when we left, repairs were well in hand. The longest distance to the rally was covered by Les Croft’s 1921 tourer, with 185 miles. The “Brazil” one-tonner butcher’s van was crewed by correctly-attired driver and mate and had wicker baskets on its roof for excess loads of sausages and pies, but its engine expired during the driving tests. One driver was aided in the tests by a small boy who expertly grappled with the ball that had to be picked up and deposited on a pylon, opening the door of a 1920 mid-door Sedan to do this: does this body count as a Tudor? Incidentally, this was quite a family occasion, many other children riding in the cars and sometimes helping in the tests.
Reg Tildesley came in his 7 cwt., 1916 pick-up — apparently this 7 cwt. designation includes the driver — and Clifford Gott’s very smart 1923 tourer carried a Shell-Mex petrol can. It is int’eresting to note that one brass radiator tourer had very small section Firestone front tyres and Ward’s Riverside rears. Pat Saunders’ 1913 two-seater was very well turned out, the “C.”, “B” and “R clearly readable on its pedals, its front springs bound, while Peter Minhinnett’s 1913 tourer had Ford Model 16 brass gas headlamps and the benefit of KW “road smoothers” on the front axle. Les Croft’s 1924 7 cwt. van wore the Model-T Ford register insignia, Philip Toler’s 1916 tourer carried baggage behind a lazy tongs retained on its nearside running board and possessed a Klaxon horn.
Bruce Lilleker’s 1915 tourer needed two bites at the reversing test, in spite of shouted instructions to the driver from the tonneau-lady; Minhinnett, with two children in his tonneau hit two pylons, while Frank Baker’s very presentable 1916 runabout was hampered when reversing by a hood furled at 45 degrees, although its screen had the top panel folded down, and it sported an anonymous petrol tin. The very nice 1926 saloon with nickel-plated radiator, in which I rode on a former rally, had an energetic girl passenger who cranked it up after the driver stalled its engine.
Model-T’s are well suited to such driving tests, and this Rally was notably well organised. W.B.