Vintage fun and games in perfect weather at Madresfield Court near Malvern could not have been more pleasant, on September 2nd. This enjoyable annual Concours d'Elegance and Driving Tests assembly is the responsibility of the VSCC Midlands Section, held on the long, straight, narrow drive of this one time speed-trial venue by permission of the Trustees of the Estate and Mr C Tolley; Rosemary Adams manages to run it with pleasant informality, yet the marshalls handle the entries (nearly 90 drivers this time) efficiently. There were even some happy doggies present, as they are allowed here on their leads.
There were the traditional five tests, the second of which was that Slow/Fast business, giving some young officials much exercise as they walked/ran beside cars at the crawl, to make sure drivers didn't dip clutch pedals or stroke foot-brakes. The warm weather seemed to have a beneficial effect. No-one stalled in the slow bit, and in test 3, the Pit Stop (in which the once compulsory check of the tyre pressure in one tyre had been abandoned) only one bollard was bowled over (ten marks lost).
Some random notes: Veterans and Edwardians joined in the frolics. Rosoman had substituted his little De Dion Bouton for his vintage Humber, Jane Arnold-Forster courageously mounted the driving seat of that big 1914 Renault, and Roger Collings drove Gray's 1904 18/22hp Mercedes, a car notably original as to carburetter, scroll clutch and l.t. magneto ignition, in fact, a scaled down edition of the Sixty Roger usually drives. Mitchell had the ancestor of all existing GNs, Chris Gordon ran the 1915 Hudson that is still advertising on its back panel the services a garage long gone could have effected for you, and Walker again elected to bring his impressive 1913 R-R Ghost, thus cocking a snoot at those who have decided that the only place for such expensive machinery is in static, centrally-heated auction-rooms. Adnams rushed along in the 1912 25/50hp sporting Talbot. The driver of the A-M 'Green Pea' wore a topee, as if fearful of a sudden increase in Global warming.
The Threlfalls shared their nice BSA two-lunger lightcar, Di just beating Tom in the first test, involving 'unparking', and David Marsh was the star of the slow part of the second test, his Brescia Bugatti, a car designed to go fast, managing a miraculous 101 sec, not even approached until Maeers' 1930 Morris Minor saloon lost 48.8sec it then accelerated well for its size and Miss Winder's Riley Monaco went a bit slower than Maeers. This reminds me of how good it is to see so many girls, and sons of VSCC fathers, competing. For example, Roger Collings' youngest son Ben was doing his first ever competition in a 1931 Riley Monaco saloon seemingly in 'as just rescued' condition, its exhaust manifold down-pipe repaired with a Heineken beer can, proving once again that this is the beer which reaches the parts other beers cannot reach! Colquhoun's 2-litre Lagonda tourer could be sedate when required to be, Peter Harris' 3-litre Bentley was another temporarily slow one, smoking under pick-up, as was P Sutcliffe's 1750 Alfa Romeo two-seater. President Bruce Spollon made his 30/98 trot meekly in that slow test but got its gears a bit mixed up in Test 3. I Rendall's 6 1/2-litre Bentley tourer overshot the stop line. However, its long wheelbase would already have earned it bonus marks.
Mrs Moore was neat, in her smart Type 319 Frazer Nash-BMW, one of nine entries in the Beauty Contest, Garfitt was fast in his FN/BMW. Mrs Brewster handled her A7 Nippy very well indeed, the Morris Sports set the biggest smoke-screen I remember, Mrs Mitchell failed to curb her A7 Chummy's gallop in the slow bit and then stopped too soon, Hall's Ulster-like A7 grumbled at having to go slowly, Parkin's A7 Chummy was extremely clean, as was C Hancock's impressive Royal Series-R1/6/30 Daimler, which exhibited no signs of objecting to the strange Madresfield treatment and didn't even smoke. Miss Hooke's A7 had a Swallow's beak, Marsh's daughter's A7 went very well but had not quite given up smoking, A Saunders' 1921 24hp Sunbeam tourer, with a second windscreen for its remote tonneau, had the longest bonnet I have seen for quite a while and hesitated slightly when asked to get a move on and Mrs Brerston had full control of her A7 but I can only comment on what I saw.
The Pit Stop test saw the Hudson hit that marker cone, the 1913 GN reversed by two pushers, in lieu of a reverse gear, Keith Hill do a determined run in the Crouch Helix, Bond's Morris Oxford cabriolet emit one loud brake shriek to remind us of its make, Brewster's P-type Lea Francis stall momentarily in the 'garage'. A late type 30/98 seemed to have as good brakes as Rouses' 1932 Alvis Speed 20. Taylor and his wife were doing well in the rare Drance, Mrs Walker was again taming the Frazer Nash Special, the vintage Rolls-Royce was represented by A Mitchell's varnish & wood Twenty Estate, It was good to see an OM competing again (Knight's smart 15/60), and variety was all around. WB
Concours d 'Elegance - Montagu Trophy:
J Ryde 1933 3-litre Lagonda.
1st Class awards: D Marsh (Bugatti). C Marsh (Morris). A Hall (A7). P Bullett (GN). K Hill (Crouch-Helix). M Walker (Hispano-Suiza)
2nd Class awards: T Tarring (Frazer Nash). M Parkin (A7). A Jones (30/98). Mrs Threlfall (BSA). Mrs Walker (Frazer Nash Special). J Walker (Rolls-Royce). R Adnams (Talbot).
Ladies award: Mrs Walker
3rd class awards: A Moore (FN/BMW). P Tebbitt (Riley). M Bullett (GN). K Stinson (Riley). B Collings (Riley). M Lemon (30/98). M Garfift (FN/BMW).