Veteran to classic

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Mystery solved after fifty years

It is not often that a mystery remains unsolved for 50 years, yet one such mystery directly involves Motor Sport.

Back in 1938 we published a photograph of a car which a reader had seen at a race meeting and could not identify. Neither could I. Nor did any solution present itself. The problem had also troubled Peter Hull, Acting Secretary of the VSCC, until he happened to come across the answer in a 1987 edition of the American Old Cars Weekly.

Apparently the mystery car was one of three Pokora & Spols, made in 1927-28, using a straight-eight 3.5-litre Continental engine. The car in question is said to have been raced by the Czechoslovakian racing driver Mrs Pokora, who had associations with the Steyr Company.

This particular Pokora was a short-chassis hill-climb car; Mrs Pokora came to England in 1938 and it was registered EWX 459 in 1945, after war. storage. It was rediscovered in 1980, and last year it was advertised in Berlin for the best offer over $50,000.

Of the other two Pokoras, one is said to have been destroyed by a bomb during the war, the other lost when being flown to England. Mrs Pokora seems to have founded the Delta Motor Research Co in Potton, Bedfordshire. Has anyone anything to add? WB

V-to-C miscellany

The MCC Edinburgh Trial takes place on October 1, with scrutineering at Weedon near Daventry before competitors go on to Bamford in Derbyshire for the start at 7.15am. The finish is at Buxton. Those who intend to watch the entry of some 250 tackle the observed sections might care to note that the first motorcycles are expected at Bamford clough at 7.20am, at Pilsley at 10.10am an at Litton Slack at 11.30am, followed by the cars, which have to do seven other sections.

Brooklands Museum has been presented by the widow of John Cobb with the fine Trophy he won for his ultimate lap-record with Napier Railton, 143.44 mph in 1935 (the car itself is an exhibit in the Midland Motor Museum at Bridgnorth). The Daily Herald bronze statue was won successively by Kaye Don, Sir Henry Birkin, Oliver Bertram and, three . s, by Cobb. A car club’s picnic will be held at the Tack on October 9.

Following our article on the Old Mill light-car (Motor Sport, August 1988), Mrs Lexa Dudley, whose father worked on these cars, identifies the people in our photograph as Cyril Bignell standing behind the car, foreman Leslie Jones behind the wheel, Jack Chandler beside him and Bert Pichnell at the back. She thinks the lad sitting on the running board might be her father, and would be glad to hear any further information.

The Bull Nose Morris Club’s magazine reports an entry of 34 pre-1930 cars at its Spring Rally (including a one-ton truck), the oldest being a 1917 Cowley coupé. The distance award was won by McWilliam, who drove his 1926 Morris Oxford tourer 282 ½ miles from Yorkshire; runner-up was Cooke’s 1925 Oxford tourer after 327 miles. An interesting non-Morris was a fine Arrol-Aster fixed-head coupé. Club Secretary is R Harris, P O Box 383,Hove, Sussex BN3 4FX.

By all accounts this year’s Lea-Francis Owners’ Club Stanford Hall Rally was a great occasion, with nine Hypers (in spite of Tom Delaney’s latest one from Australia not being ready), 22 Lower Ford Street cars, 23 Much Park Street cars and a twin-cam Vulcan-engined router among the large assembly. The “long haul” award was won by Walpole’s Hyper Replica, and in the post-vintage class by the Ramseys, who came 350 miles with a 14hp saloon and a second Leaf, which they had bought only a week before.

The National Motor Boat Museum is restoring the recently discovered hydroplane “Little Bea” and badly needs the engine used both in this boat and in the 1928 Laystall Special racing car. If anyone can help, Kevin Desmond would be glad to hear from them. We can forward letters. WB

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