V-to-C miscellany, October 1994, October 1994
With not much of Brooklands Track left to preserve and most of the concentration now on the industrialised Museum venture in 30 acres of the 360-acre site, and with the future of the banked Montlhery Track nest Paris under threat of demolition to make way for a new road circuit — although we hear that lack of finance makes a reprieve likely — it was interesting to hear from Lindsay P Clark of Barcelona that the Sitges banked track, which was opened in 1923, could be saved. Although semiderelict (it was last used for car racing in the 1950s), its future appears to be secure, until creeping industrial development involves it. At present, we are informed, the grandstand is used for storing carnival floats, the main straight is overgrown but could be uncovered, and the bankings are only just beginning to deteriorate. The infield is partly orchard, partly arable land. The important Barcelona-Sitges vintage-car rally finishes at the disused track.
In the past, although the bankings were unsuited to high speeds, winners there included Diva (Sunbeam), Resta (Talbot) and Benoist (Salmson), with Zborowski (Miller and Aston-Martin) well in the running. If some wealthy businessman saw fit, Sitges Terramar might become a useful commercial centre for European vintage car meetings and so be saved from destruction.
I hear on good authority that the newly opened opened museum in Monaco is worth a visit. It has been moved to the second-floor of an office building, the Centre Commercial, in Fontvielle. The Director is Yves Naquin and this collection of HSH Prince Rainier III contains some 85 exhibits, put together over 30 years, with family cars and a representative display of 20th century vehicles from 1903 De Dion to Trabant, and from WW2 to the present, including American classics and a 1986 Lamborghini Countach. Vintage and earlier cars form a large part of a glittering collection. The museum is open from 10 until 6 every day except Friday, but closed in November, apart from special openings, by telephone (92052856). Admission costs 30f for adults, 15f per enfant of 8 to 14.
This year’s Brooklands Society Reunion, the 27th, was devoted to the usual banking runs and Test Hill ascents, the entry including a number of cars and motorcycles that raced at the Track before it closed in 1939. Stafford-East had his 1922 Akela GN which was third in the 1922 “200”, R Bradford an ex-works Riley, and other appropriate cars were Flood’s Bentley, the Amilcar-Riley, the ex-Harris 1929 Morgan 3-wheeler, a DI 2 Alfa Romeo, the D12 MG Midget once driven by Miss V Worsley, the Pat Driscoll Lea-Francis, Tom Delaney’s well-known ex-Esplen Hyper Lea-Francis, the famous Lones’ Morgan, the Dobson ERA of Dudley Gahagan and ex-Brooklands’ Frazer Nash and MGs, together with Cotton, New Imperial and Norton motorcycles ridden at the old motor course.
The Society, which pioneered the “Save Brooklands” theme thus keeps its independence from the more commercialised Museum which encourages things like wedding receptions, company conferences, trade shows, etc foreign to Brooklands pre-war, and which believes in Dame Barbara Cartland. It is said the Museum received a Council grant of £600,000 for three years and other grants to assist promotion, where the older Society remains an independent body. Which you join is a matter of preference and conscience: Society Secretary, Len Battyl, Cleeve Cottage, Cobham Way, E Horsley, Surrey KT24 5BH: Museum Curator, Mrs M Barton, Brooklands Road, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 0QN.
It is a measure of the survival of the A7 that the Tunbridge Wells Centre of the 750 MC received 61 entries for its SE Rally on August 28, an event started 25 years ago. Outright winner was K Leverington, who took the Challenge Shield. Ann Howe had the best pre1930 A7, T Clift the best front-tank model, the winning 1930/39 tourer was that of the Edendens, best Ruby Leverington’s, the outright victor. M Gillah won the sports class, R Miles the Big-Seven Trophy, D Howes the van prize and Chris Gould brought the winning Special. Brenda Marris took home the Ladies’ Award. Best rear-tank A7 was M Jarrett’s, who won the Vince Leek Cup, M Gillah had the winning coachbuilt-bodied A7 and other trophy winners were Leek, Annan, and visitor M Collimore.
A Morgan 3-wheeler which won a 1933 2-lap sprint for Ben Hicks at Brooklands won a race 61 years later at VSCC Donington Park, driven by D Hibbert. This Super Aero (PL 9248) was driven to and from Donington. When purchased in a sorry state by Nigel Mills, by lucky co-incidence Col Hicks was enquiring whether his old Morgan had survived; sadly, this former owner died before he could be united with PL 9248. The Morgan TWC will hold its Night Trial in N Wales on November 12/13.
The Mark Garfitt/NSCC Summer Serendipity on August 14 brought about 60 cars of the right kind to the Versons. Ledbury, where Mike Roff supplied many bottles and six flagons of Weston’s cider to the arrivals and winners, Westons’ Ford Thames pick-up truck among the assembly. Drivers came from as far afield as Penarth, Oxford and Ellesmere, and Ian Parsons rode his Scott from Droitwich. Notable attendants included Keith Knight’s 30/98, three Bugattis, Tony Mitchell’s twin-cam 3-litre Sunbeam, a Cluley, the Sima-Violet Rochet-Schneider and Ron Rossi’s HE. Most popular make seemed to be Lagonda A jazz-band performed and a good lunch was provided by the landlord, who is a VSCC member: meetings are held at this venue on the last Thursday of each month. W.B.