Club News, September 1939



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Really, the Vintage Sports Cat Club is an astounding institution. At a time when club membership is tending to fall and new members are almost unheard of, it enrolled no fewer than forty-eight Full Members, one Competing Associate and three Associates, between May and July last. The cars embraced include three more 30/98 Vauxhalls, four Bentleys, a 1903 Martini, a 1925 Darracq, three Lea-Francis, four Lancias, a Lagonda, a Fiat Nine, a Rolls-Royce, a 1922 G.N., a Salmson, and Hispano and Renault Edwardians. Three of these new members are ladies, a small proportion of the total, which bears out our contention that the fair-sex is not terribly keen on sports motoring, for few, if any, non-car-owning girls think of becoming associates to a motor club as they would to a tennis, cycling, hiking, swimming or flying club of which the boy friend of the moment is a member. In the ” Bulletin” of the Vintage S.C.C. is given not only a list of new members’ addresses and their

motors, hut an up-to-date list of changes ot address, which is invaluable to those keen owners who derive much pleasure from corresponding with owners of cars similar to their own. The last ” Bulletin” is up to the usual high standard and advertising space seems to be more fully utilised—how important is this no one knows better than ourselves. Sam Clutton is preserv ing a very fine model O.E. 30/98 Vauxhall, a pre-war Humber is owned by a Northern vintagent, Shakspeare, Heal and Clutton now share a 1911 57 h.p. six-cylinder sleeve-valve Daimler between them, and Robertson-Roger has actually acquired

the ex-Birkin single-seater blower Bentley. Does this imply the appearance of the oft-discussed big-port block on his fourseater 41-litre ? An interesting Edwardian which made its racing debut at Lewes in July was Samuelson.’s 1914 Peugeot, now for sale. Used up to 1925 by a director of Kia-Ora Ltd., it was later used to tow broken-down lorries by a Blackfriars garage and was found by Samuelson. at Laystall’s, where the apprentices had had great games with it. Known as the “40/50,” this Peugeot is rated at 33 h.p. and was a stock line

before the War. The bore and stroke are identical to that of a ” Silver Ghost ” Rolls-Royce, giving a capacity of If litres. Top gear is 2.6 to 1 and third as high as 3.6 to 1, and the maximum speed Is about 70 m.p.h. The front seats are re-upholstered and a tonneau cover hides the tattered rear compartment, so the car is quite smart. It sounds like a ” 30/ 98 ” and has brakes that hiss like those of a 13-litre Sunbeam, and it devoured the Lewes course in 44.71 secs. Our query re the commencement of road events for these Et’ lwardians is answered by the announcement that such

a road contest will take place in conjunction with the Club’s Prescott meeting of August 26th, for which we hope space will be found for a report elsewhere In this issue. Those who own sports cars built before December 31st, 1930 should bear in mind the address of the Secretary of this unique club.

Tim Carson, ” Egarston,” Park Lane, Basingstoke, Hants.


The Ford Enthusiasts’ Club came into being in the autumn of 1937, under the joint secretaryship of S. H. Allard and K. N. Hutchison. Every attempt was made to interest the ordinary family car owner of a Ford Eight or Ford Ten in club life, and if this had been successful, the F.E.C. might have developed into a very far-reaching institution indeed. As it was, membership was confined almost entirely to sporting owners of V8 Ford cars, including Allards’ many trials participating friends. Two excellent Christmas trials and several Driving

Test meetings at the Autodrome School of Motoring at Croydon are to the Club’s credit, as well as many smaller events. But all the time Allard was not too happy about the future of the Club, arguing, sensibly, that it only existed as a sporting club, of which there were already sufficient in existence, the presence of new clubs of this nature only increasing congestion in the trials calender and reducing entries all round. Moreover, the P.E.C. suffered from lack of active committee members although W. Boddy assisted Allard when Hutchison resigned, because all were, themselves, competition drivers with very little spare time and the Club did not attract the equally keen, but non-parcipitive motorist. Consequently, Stanley Tett, Captain of the well-established Harrow C.C. has put up the suggestion that his Club should take over all paid up P.E.C. members until the end of this year, after which such persons would be asked to pay the Harrow C.C. subscription, which is only sixpence more, and be regarded as Harrow C.C. members. The Harrow C.C. proposes to use the remaining R.A.C.-granted dates of the F.E.C., which include that for a speed event on October 1st and for trials on September 10th and December 30th. F.E.C. members would gain full amenities of the Harrow C.C. and, moreover, the Harrow C.C. would endeavour to carry on in the future those Fixtures associated with the F.E.C. This seems to us a very desirable move, which should appeal to existing F.E.C. members, benefit the Harrow C.C. by some extra members and new dates, and assist in reducing Fixture-congestion in the future. The old atmosphere of the P.E.C. would not be entirely lost, especially as it would be permissible to continue

to display the distinctive badge of this club for quite a while. So we hope the idea will go through. The only person who can grouse, we imagine, will be he, or she, who has paid a 1939 subscription to both clubs, to whom Mr. Tett will doubtless give some credit.


The Mid-Surrey Barnstaple Trial is a classic event, and one for which the regulations are very stiff indeed, so that to gain an award of any sort is truly praiseworthy. The sixteenth event of the series was held on August Holiday Saturday and, alas, attracted only eighteen entries, of whom sixteen started— one would have thought that the call of the West Country at this period of the year would have attracted more sportsmen to an event held in this area. R. Kemp’s Lagoncla Rapier stripped its axle while climbing Tarr Steps, and J. A. Bastock broke an engine bearer on his M.G., so there were only fourteen finishers. Failures on the hills were sparse, but V. R. Symons (1f-litre Alvis) stopped on Tarr Steps, Southern Wood and Kipseombe, and Fitt’s Ford V8 also

failed on the latter. W. J. Green’s T-type M.G. made best time in the Mannacot brake test and he won the Surbiton Challenge Cup. The Committee Challenge Cup was won by the “Toddlers Team,” comprising Uglow’S H.R.G., Cleave, with a Morris Eight, and Scriven’s Austin Seven. First class awards became the property of C. W. Taylor’s T-type M.G., Scroggs’s wonderful Trojan, Uglow’s H.R.G., Cleave’s Morris, Prices’s Ford V8, Burrough’s Ford V8 and Flower’s J2 M.G. Second class awards—and they were difficult enough to capture—went to Murkett’s PB M.G., Langley’s T-type M.G., and Scriven’s Austin Seven.


There will be further speed trials at Wetherby on September 10th, but nonmembers of the organising club will not be admitted to this meeting.


London resident enthusiasts should bear in mind that the BerkJaamsted & D. M.C. is holding another speed hill climb at Dancer’s End, on September 3rd, and that the Hefts County A. and A.C. is putting on further speed trials at Markyate on September 17th—both Sunday fixtures. Dancer’s End is about thirty miles from the Metropolis—you turn left into country lanes on the far side of Tring.

750 CLUB

The 750 Club, which is pritnarily the Austin Seven owners’ club, continues to organise social events on a lavish scale. On Sunday, September 10th, it will hold

a freak hill climb at Brand’s Hatch. This is an Invitation event and the N.W. London M.C., Coition M.C, Kentish Border C.C., and Harrow C.C. are expected to accept. Details from : P. H. Hunter, 39, Warland Road, S.E.18.


1 hat very excellent institution, the M.C.C. Outer-Circuit trial of speed and reliability, will take place at Brooklauds on September 9th, unfortunately clashing with Shelsley Walsh. Entries dosed on August 28th, and some very fast, road-equipped cars are likely to run. We know of one amateur who is hoping to win a friendly bet by exceeding 80 miles in the hour with a bored-out li-litre M.G. tourer—which exactly emphasises the spirit of this event. The first One Hour High Speed Trial happens at 11 a.m., two lap handicaps start at 1 p.m., one-lap handicaps at 2 p.m., the second High Speed Trial at 3 p.m., and flying kilometre trials at 6 p.m. Premier award speeds vary from 60.87 to 80.2 m.p.h. and entry fees for the One Hour events were Li is. Od., closing August 28th


Veteran car events continue to be popular and, apart front the races at the August B.A.R.C. meeting, the Ulster A.C. recently held a Rally which attracted nineteen starters. E. Wilkinson’s Riley was most successful, followed by a Renault and a De Dion. A Clement .did especially well and Thompson, Lynch and McCaughan actually took the Team Award with a team of Belsize.


R. A. Macdermid, the famous M.G. trials exponent, has recently undertaken two very important tasks. He has got married and he has built a special and extremely unconventional carriage for slime-storming expeditions. The engine of Macdermid’s new car is a Lancia Aprilia, showing that this great trials driver shares our admiration for this remarkable unit. It is supercharged with a vane-type compressor. The engine is set in the centre oi the frame and the occupants sit out in front, with no appreciable bonnet before them, —which is most courageous of Mac. and his passenger when you reflect how the experts have preached at us that even, a decent road vanishing under your toes will result in giddiness—what of Widlake streaming beneath one’s nose ? The chassis is actually M.G. Magna L-type, turned back to front and boxed in where the urge is accommodated. The radiator, just ahead of the engine, is cooled via Scoops, and controls are connected up by Bowden cables, including the gearshift, while the brakes are operated hydraulically. The front suspension is Morgan type. There is an 11 gallon

fuel tank in the tail and a single headlamp in the nose. The weight is believed to be about 12 cwt. All extremely interesting and an added incentive, in increasing senility, to go out and spectate at yet a further season of trials.


If anyone thinks the jotter of these jottings is a silly little squirt who thinks he does the most wonderful things, all of intense interest to others, he would remark that this is not the case and that it is very difficult to keep doing even slightly interesting motoring things week by week without a break, but that quite a lot of readers are kind enough to want this feature to continue, so continue it does. Well, one evening a Ford V8 was borrowed tor a short flip and was interesting because this was one of the elderly coupes like those made famous by Messrs. Norton, Loackr and Koppenhagen. It even had oversize front wheels and competition wheelwear at the rear. Now this old car was really effortless to drive, it had a nice cosy body, all the acceleration anyone could desire, ample speed, and was treated with real respect by other understanding road users. I can think of very few more efiettive ways of buying real per

formance. I believe this Ford cost a humble fiver, complete with a heavytype rear axle and a bit of an .overhaul and that it completed a Welsh tour last Whitsun with no bothers at all. Really, it does make you think, when you compare its performance with many modern cars equally expensive to tax and operate and costing four-figure sums. Given a Marks high-ratio steering box and, perhaps, a pair of de Rain shockers at the back you would have a really firstclass sporting car for a very modest out

lay indeed. Writing of those magic de Rain dampers, the intricities of which we cleared up in this paper years ago, there was an interesting run some time ago in a Rover Fourteen saloon so equipped, when rapid negotiation of kerbS and really bad surfaces proved that these shock absorbers not only materially improve road-holding, but comfort as well. Incidentally, if you appreciate exquisite detail workmanship, ask the Chalfont Motor Works to show you one Of these shock absorbers dismantled, When next you motor that way. Then there was an afternoon’s pottering about Surrey, during which we discovered that whereas Redhill aerodrome welcomes the public with open arms, Gatwick clu.rges. So we later attended an Air Display at the former ground, held in aid of that deserving Cause the Civil Aviation Benevolent Fund. The arrival, not very long before the time scheduled for the fly-past of civil aircraft, of the German Focke-Wulf Condor of the Deutsche Luft Hansa, and Kapn. Klaus’s subsequent shoot-up, somehow seemed symbolic of that German efficiency we first witnessed when Mereedes-Benz and Auto-Union visited DOnington in 1937. We liked the inspired -flying of R. I.. Porteous in the 10 h.p. Train-engined Chilton. There was a long run to Backwell in a very useful small saloon and, the very next day, a very ” Sunday-Tripper ” run to Eastbourne in a disgustingly rough Austin Seven, which added to the worry of avoiding bumps with the appallingly bad drivers all around, that of shorting its dynamo cable and attempting to shed a front wing. Some 160 miles, by the way, were completed on the battery alone, and that with Coil ignition. It says much, surely, for the young lady who Came as passenger that the only criticism she found was its tendency to show up bad road surfaces and its ability of collect, in record time, when innocently parked by Eastbourne pier, a bigger crowd of gaping imbeciles than any genuine veteran has surely ever done. Such enthusiasm is quite refreshing in an age when the fair sex, now that what you and I call ” fug, boxes ” and motor-dealers term ” ginpalaces ” are so common, usually scorn any but the fastest and most expensive of open motors ; and even then expect the all-weather protection to be 100 per cent and the hour, of leaving home so late that even a fast driver has fears of missing the first race, or the trial at the intended hill . . . Always, of course, excepting the pillion fairy, who is a being almost unbelievable, dancing like a myth before the eyes of he who happens to prefer two bucket seats and four wheels to a saddle and two wheels. Which gives rise to the thought that lots of really keen youngsters would readily pawn their souls to attend race meetings and haven’t the opportunity, and that they would do lots to restore flagging enthusiasm by their keeness to accept a lift in any car, no matter if the hood be absent and the side screens in tatters and the hour of

starting in the ungodly a.m. Perhaps those with such facilities to offer would let it be known, so that true enthusiasts of the younger generation may benefit ? On the return from this coastal excursion we once again took tea at “Highlands,” by the prominent fork junction on the Lewes-Crowborough road and that such an excellent tea, in such pleasing surroundings, can be managed at the price, is something else which is almost unbelieveable. Next, Prescott came round again and this time determined attempts were made to get both there and back under our own steam. We used the special ” Chummy ” Austin Seven and left quite early, in conjunction with friends bravely making the journey in a 1928 car of the same make, which had once been a Gordon England two-seater, but to which some previous owner had done queer things to the rear parts. All went well, if slowly to Uxbridge, when the other Austin, purchased a few days before for 60/by the way, choked a jet. We took the opportunity of notching up the ignition advance Of the ” Chummy ‘s ” 1934 engine with not inconsiderable increase in speed and urge. On again, until, some miles from the beginning of the Oxford By-Pass the two-seater again stopped to secure a loose wing. Another friend went by, in the orange ex-works T.T. Austin Seven he has recently acquired. and later he ran with us, so that we voted the little car one of the nicest-looking small cars we have ever seen, it sounding, moreover, absolutely the real thing, it had had certain bothers with choked jets and oiled plugs, having stood idle for some while, but it had walked up to 75 m.p.h. quite easily, on this, its first long rim

the hands of its new owner. Quite a dice happened between our car and the two-Seater from Burford. onwards, and we were actually beaten on both flat-out going and acceleration, which says whole heaps for the old magneto-ignition Austin Seven. The homeward run was not entirely uneventful, for after filling all three oil apertures and the fuel tank of the T.T. car, the humbler Austins found it a very long run to our usual port of call at Sturt Farm, though actually we had averaged about 84 m.p.h. running time going down, and were going faster now. At Sturt we found Sydney Allard, very cheery after having broken not only parts of the Allard, but the Prescott Car Record as well, and the May family, with one of their palatial” Southern Motor Co.” rebuilt 20 h.p. RollsRoyces—Alan’s 30/98 Vauxhall being still dismantled for purpose of installing a commercial vehicle clutch. We also contacted with two Sahnson enthusiasts, and talked until a late hour of curious motors of various kinds, and of the four

push-rod Sammy in particular. Also, I recall, of steam bicycles . . .

Resuming, the Chummy first decided to show more charge with the lights on than with them off and to cut its ignition circuit momentarily at intervals and then to deflate a quite new rear tyre. The T.T. Austin was then seen going back to save a friend whose Riley was missing—in both senses of the word, for it had stripped its distributor drive. So its driver came home, with us, the run proving slow, because repeated pauses had to be called to inflate the duff tyre, which went down for apparently no better reason than that a garage had been entrusted with the fitting thereof. So we did do Prescott and back all on our own, and we now, have high hopes of a troublefree day on September 24th . . . Going down to retrieve the Riley, we used a modern Austin Seven saloon, for which there is quite a lot to be said representing as it does one of the most economic and dependable means of individual transport, and notably so in view of the remarks expressed above anent open cars of low performance 1 The Riley rescued, we went in search of a veteran of which we had heard tell, after getting our bearings from that fascinating field full of old school Bentleys near the beginning of Oxfords’ bleak by-pass. Picturesque country lanes led us to the village of Benson and there, in a farmyard, bearing the name-board of an “Official Horse Slaughter,” we came upon a De Dion tourer of more than usually-typical veteran lines ; its actual age was, perhaps, 1907. It looked just the sort of thing depicted as a motor-car by ” Punch’s “artists over thirty summers

ago. Enquiry at a big shed wherein hung a just-dead cow, ended in the all too early reminder that there are, indeed, very few places in England, whether motor-dealer or not, where the value of pre-war automobiles is not clearly realised. However, the car we were on the track of had been described as an Itala, so we investigated further and duly came upon it in a garage beside an aerodrome, where the dazzle-painted hangars smacked of 1914-18 and the Fairy ” Battle ” coming in to land did not. The car was not pre-war, it turned out to be none other than the ex-Karslake 1924 Targa 2-litre, now fitted with an o.le v. 30/98 Vauxhall engine. Then there was the night of the great Black Out when, remindful of the request that cars should be used as little as possible, we crammed one very diminutive automobile very full of humanity and, experiencing electrical shorts and overheating, fell to discussing exactly what would result if the whole issue lit-up, revealing very clearly our position to all and sundry. It was on this very night too, that the writer’s car was apprehended by the police for being parked without illumination . . 1

There have been several really good runs in one of the actual works, ex-T.T. Austins, the little orange machine absolutely alive, feeling every bit the thoroughbred, and its steering, roadholding and braking qualities having to be experienced to be properly aRpreciated, so that the miles just melted, and cruising at 50 or more, to the whine of the blower gears and metallic crackle of exhaust, was sheer exhilaration. More especially so, as the facia is a mass of dials, each one therefore a definite purpose, and the big fuel tank filler, the oil filler caps, and radiator cap and overflow tube ride dead steady before one, a pleasing silhoutte in the beam of the lamps, after dark. The years may roll on, but this sports motoring and race-going loses nothing of its appeal. There are all the autumn runs to and from Shelsley, Prescott and. Donington, yet, before, winter returns and racing gives place to slime-storming. Make the most of them