RUMBLINGS, September 1936
Belonging to a Past Decade
Seaman’s old Delage has certainly caught the racing-public’s imagination and it again more than gave the E.R.A. drivers a run for their money at Donington, on the occasion of the 200-Mile Race. For that event Seaman made use of his second engine, which is a few c.c. larger than the unit he was running earlier this year. The Delage, by the way, is the car which Senechal drove in the British Grand Prix at Brooklands in 1926, and not the one with which Campbell won the ” 200 ” in 19’28. Both passed into the hands of Earl Howe, and he wrapped the later job round a tree at Dieppe, you recall. Seaman’s Delage now has new Lockheed brakes, chassis modifications and other alterations, but the fact remains that it is heavier than modern fifteenhundreds, usually carries, in addition, enough fuel to complete its races non-stop, is virtually a two-seater, and is maintained in a quite small workshop. It was -once taken for a test-run by Ramponi, who drove out of the mews, and ” round-the-houses,” without mudguards, wings, number-plates and silencer. A wonderful sight to enliven the enthusiast’s Sunday morning and perhaps the police purposely shut their eyes, knowing the prestige of the car’s young English -owner on the Continent. Last season, when he was
E.R.A. exponent, Seaman travelled to his different races frequently by air, in his own D.H. ” Moth” or by air-liner. This season he has made more use of his Ford V-8, which has a Columbia two-speed axle. The Delage goes about in a Dodge van. This stable is rumoured to be contemplating developments, and they cannot help but be intriguing. At present, mum’s the word . . .
The Real Thing
It is curious how even a brief association with what we enthusiasts term the “real thing” completely spoils one for anything else, at all events temporarily. After quite a satisfying day with a very snappy British eleven-hundred, I had occasion to make a brief journey in an old Type 40 Bugatti. Thereafter the other motor brought no joy. Similarly, the driver of a very hot, small trials car was introduced to a road-equipped 2-litre G.P. Bugatti. His first difficulty was to attain the driving seat, and when finally settled he wanted to know where to put his feet. He was more than mildly surprised to discover that he would need lighter shoes and that he would still have to rest his clutch foot on the pedal, for which, he was
assured, Mr. Bugatti had provided. Subsequent surprises were the discovery that pressure had to be pumped up before starting, that there was no speedometer and, worse still, no starter, that the ignition required manual attention and that by means of a lever about the size of his own car’s gear-lever . . . Perhaps by this time the fact that a hood and screen were fitted ‘also constituted a surprise.
The trials driver detached himself from the machinery with a final enquiry as to where he could put his and his passenger’s luggage. You see, the tail was full of fuel tank.
For the 500-Mile Race
The Duesenburg is quite a fancied car for this year’s “.500.” Recent alterations embrace the widening of the rear spring-track, which improves the stability of the car at the high speeds of which it is capable, though in spite of its low weight it is not
really difficult to handle. Formerly the rear springs ran flush with the frame, but they have now been moved outwards along the axle. New leaves and shockabsorbers have been fitted at the same time.
Last year the Duesenberg created a very good impression until the new shell-type fuel-tank split beyonda’repair when Seaman was at the wheel.
Roping Them In
A party of members of the Vintage Sports Car Club met on a recent Sunday at the Phcenix Hotel, Hartley Wintney, near Basingstoke, to watch Cecil Clutton set off for a run with his 1908 12-litre Itala ” Floretta.” What excitement the mighty red four-seater occasioned amongst passing motorists! There are usually to be found at the ” Phcenix ” members of the V.S.C.C. discussing each other’s motors and exchanging motoring lure. They are just the right sort of enthusiasts, who delight in showing up certain so-called modern sports-cars with properly turned-out vintage motors, though if their pockets necessitate running something which is hardly in a decent state of preservation, they have that pleasantly humorous motoring outlook that enables them to enjoy thoroughly the divers troubles and experiences that come their way. Clutton tells us that membership is growing steadily, and I can see no reason why one day it should not reach four Ifigures, when the Club could do things on a scale that would make other clubs turn the British racing-colour with envy. You have only to observe the numbers of vintage motors that attend Brooklands and similar venues to agree. Probably the only reason why more owners do not join can be put down to 80 per cent. apathy and 20 per cent. the feeling that they are running individual motors because they want something different from the majority and that to join a club will take away something of this independent outlook. So far as the latter are concerned, many people have joined who never show up at the Phcenix and only seldom at the Club’s speed trials and reliability trials, and they still have the satisfaction of knowing that they ‘have taken tangible steps to associate themselves with a movement that favours vintage and individual motors. Incidentally, this is one of the few clubs other than one-make clubs, where qualifications are necessary before joining, i.e., you must own a vintage motor or be passed by the committee as having the “right ideas.” There is no entry fee, the annual sub. is
or 5/for those with the required enthusiasm, but with the wrong cars (” we must have a saloon, dear ! “) or no cars at all. Details from C. Clutton, The Old Manor House, Shepperton, Middlesex.
A vintage car is defined as one made before 1981, and while this might be expected to let in certain undesirable types, in practice it seems to work out well enough, as examination of an early list of members’ cars showed them to include, amongst others, thirteen ” 80/98 ” Vauxhalls, eleven Bentleys, six ” 12-50 ” Alvises, four Frazer-Nashes, three Alfas, two Amilcars, two Salmsons, two Mercs., five Lambda Lancias, two Austro-Daimlers, two 41-litre Invictab, two Sunbeams, a Ballot, a Bugatti, a 14/40 Delage, a big Minerva and eight “specials.”
We hope to discuss the Club’s interesting handicap which they use for pre-1914 cars at speed trials, in a future MoToR SPORT.
Timing at Sprint Meetings
At the last Lewes meetings, runs were timed by hand-timing apparatus, and it seems that if results are to be given to two places of decimals a more definite method would be desirable. It is difficult to appreciate that any form of hand timing can be as satisfactory as electrical timing, and this is particularlk the case over a short course, where high speeds are attained and many cars are capable of times closely approaching that of the recognised course record.
Now that the proven Bachelier electrical apparatus is available, beautifully cased, for I,;12 10s., exclusive of watches, no club can defend itself on the grounds that the necessary apparatus is beyond its reach. Bachelier has lent his sets on many occasions to prove their efficiency, and even sent a man 100 miles to a venue by road, where the cable was laid and the apparatus operated all the afternoon. On that occasion we understand that he was offered five shillings by way of return . . . Surely it is time that all clubs running serious speed events possessed their own timing apparatus ? Establishing course records costs a deal in money and labour and aspirants and holders have a right to demand timing that cannot be questioned.
The R.A.C. might do something in this matter. Incidentally, Bachelier apparatus should be useful for those short-timed tests that are a feature of presentday trials.
The Fourth Estate Behind The Wheel
What cars do the technical motoring-scribes employ for their personal travels ? ” Sammy ” Davis of ” The Autocar ” has long owned a 14-litre Invicta
saloon and an open Aston-Martin. Mr. Geoffrey Smith, of Messrs. Iliffe and Sons, Ltd., has a weakness for the new Bentleys, and the editor of “The Motor” used to drive an Armstrong-Siddeley, and the technical editor a Zoller-blown Alvis Speed Twenty. John Dugdale of “The Autocar ” uses an M.G. Magnette, artist to the same paper, a Ford V-8. Humphrey Symons of The Times, etc. ran an Armstrong-Siddeley Twelve for many years. “The Blower” of “Light Car ” had an M.G. Magnette and “Grande Vitesse ” of “The Motor” a Ford V-8. The editor of “Light Car” recently disposed of a Wolseley Hornet. F. L. M. Harris, head of the M.G. journal “The Sports Car,” possesses two of the old-type M.G. Sixes, while Alan Hess, pilot of the B.R.D.C. paper “Speed,” is usually found behind the wheel of a British Salmson. C. G. Grey, outspoken and consequently widely-respected editor of “The Aeroplane,” does his earthly motoring in a 20 h.p. Armstrong-Siddeley, his technical editor uses a ‘Hillman Minx, his chief advertising man a Ford V-8. We know of one motoring scribe who uses anything he can borrow . . .