Club News, September 1946



We Hear
Donald Pitt has acquired the ex-Bellevue, ex-John Dugdale racing M.G. Magnette, and actually taxed it and drove it home from Monaco, Ltd., to Gloucestershire. Its thirst is about 8 m.p.g.! Gloucestershire is quite a spot. We hear of a Meadows-engined sports-bodied Gwynne, a Straker-Squire Six (yes, yet one more), a Zoller-blown f.w.d. Alvis, an early Talbot, etc., in that area, while Hampton’s, just before they expired, apparently built two all-independently-sprung cars which were used by two of the directors. In Kent a beautifully-preserved 1923 8/18-h.p. Humber tourer has come to light, having been stored for 14 years at Harrods, of all places. It has only run 17,000 miles, and is for sale at one of the present inflated figures.

N. J. Bower-Lowe, M.J.Inst.E., has changed the lubricating arrangements of his “12/60” Alvis so that he now gets a pressure of 80 lb./sq. in. cold and 65 lb./sq. in. hot, using Essolube 40 and Redex — which is a nice thing to see on a gauge. Felix Mullinger has bought Julian Fall’s 3-litre Invicta 2-seater, and Andrew Wilson attends events in a super-sports Morgan 3-wheeler, although, he says, the weather at Shelsley Walsh rather damped the motor-racing enthusiasm of his American wife, but, fortunately, only temporarily. Edward Hyde, having disposed of his 327 B.M.W., patiently motors in a Morris Eight while awaiting delivery of a new 15-h.p. f.w.d. Citroen. Congratulations to Miss Ena Smith on her marriage to Pat Stilley. Post-1918 class Hispano-Suizas, mostly 37.2-h.p. models, are with us still — a saloon was seen at the V.S.C.C. Bisley Rally, and a fine all-weather was in the car park at the July Prescott meeting. Tom Bolt has been taking a small cruiser through the canals and rivers of Eire, but still has his 1924 duck’s-back “12/50” Alvis and 1927 4-seater “12/50” Alvis. He reports seeing a pre-1914 Martini chassis at a Mayworth breakers. K. Watkins, of Ivybridge, Devon, owns a Frazer-Nash, 4 1/2-litre Bentley, Types 45 and 56 B.M.W.s and an S.S.I00, and hopes to enter for any local speed events. The Rev. C. McCarter, chaplain to the R.N. Air Station, Eglinton, has a 1930-31 twin o.h.c., 1 1/2-litre Alfa-Romeo. Motor Sport is taken by the mess of this station, incidentally. Major Dove is running a 1928 Lea-Francis tourer, bought from Ian Metcalfe, while waiting the arrival of his new T.C. M.G. Midget. Consequently he wishes to dispose of his very sound 1924, Swift Ten 2-seater to a good home, at about £50, although it may already be sold. Mr. Catty taxed his 1924 Rolls-Royce Twenty, 1932 M.G. Magna, and 3-litre Sunbeam for July, and may dispose of his 1936 1 1/2-litre Aston-Martin, which has done under 4,000 miles since new.

We also hear of an open Speed-Six Bentley, said to be 100 per cent., for sale at £850. The C.S.M.A. Gazette for July had as its editorial a plea on behalf of the Sport. A 1912-type Rover Twelve is on view in a Fleet Rover-agents’ showroom, and a 1908 2-cylinder, 7-h.p. Renault was sold at a local auction sale recently. At other sales an early Mille Miglia s.v. Fiat, a sports Senechal, a V8 Tatra, a 1921 Rover flat-twin, an Anzani A.C., and the ex-Glen Kidston single-seater “38/250 Mercédès-Benz, and V8 Cadillac came up for auction. Vaughan Davies has acquired the body from the single-seater Birkin “blower” Bentley and intends to use it on a road car. A s.v. Sunbeam Sixteen tourer, circa 1921, has been seen on the road recently. K. W. Bear’s “4.9” sports Bugatti has three rear lamps — this appears to be a legacy from Le Mans days, the other cars of the team having one, and two, rear lamps, respectively, thus providing for recognition from the rear after darkness had fallen.

Prevailing conditions favour the old cars, and “Porlock” Singer Juniors, Fiat Eight, Fiat Eleven, 15.9 Humber, pre-1914 Daimler, Clyno, Bull-nose Morris, etc., have been encountered recently. Frazer-Nashes have been changing hands. Bulmer has acquired Jenkinson’s “T.T. Replica” Meadows, and Newton, forsaking his Singer “Le Mans,” has been to Bristol and bought MacCormack’s blown Nurburg-Special. The latest person to form a motor business, that of automobile and marine engineer in this case, is the Alvis enthusiast, Norman Riddle. You will find him at Clarence Road, Gosport.

Apologies to Mrs. Whittet for changing her name in the last issue — by omitting the “r” from Mary. The Editor, apart from being very appreciative of any historical motoring literature for the Motor Sport files, is doing all he can to enlarge his private collection of Brooklands’ data now that the Track is no more, and would be glad of any pictures, cuttings, correspondence, etc., relating to outer-circuit racing, particularly of the 1920-25 era.

A very early G.P. Salmson, appearing to have the “push-pull” engine, was encountered last month on the Hog’s Back, which reminds , us that there seems to be plenty of Salmson spares about these days, should anyone wish to make a corner in such things. In Surrey a 6 ft. 6 in. wheelbase Brescia Bugatti chassis, with Type 22 engine, is being assembled, and at Peasmarsh there remain for sale a 1910 Gobron-Brillé landaulette, an Anzani A.C. coupé and several “7.5” Citroens. Birkett was contemplating the purchase of a Type 44 Bugatti chassis from Continental Cars, Ltd., and, in spite of his interest in the Mk. VI Bentley at the Cavalcade, Col. G. M. Giles still drives a Bugatti saloon. In Australia G. H. Brooks has a 1910 38-h.p. Daimler in readiness for the annual Old Cars’ Run, but seeks tyres for it. He is putting a light body from a 20-h.p. 4-cylinder Straker-Squire on his “24/80” Straker-Squire Six. Dunlop’s Brixton depot had some 710 by 90 tubes for sale, at 10s. each, new. Yet another automobile engineering establishment run by enthusiasts has opened at Sheffield — that of James Fairley & Sons, Ltd., Shoreham Works, Bramall Lane. R. Truscott has his f.w.d. Tracta coupé motoring, and is very anxious to hear from other Tracta enthusiasts, especially as he has a large number of parts, including a complete engine and transmission assembly, which might help other owners to get on the road. He is also working on his 1 1/2-litre Alfa-Romeo, late Axel-Berg. His address is “White Gates,” Horne, Horley, Surrey.

Another Shelsley Walsh
Leslie Wilson is organising another Shelsley Walsh hill-climb on October 5th. This time entries will be by invitation only, limited to 30 cars, 25 solo motorcycles, and 10 side-car machines. Only the “aces” will compete at this, the first car-cum-motor-cycle Shelsley, at which the amateur is not wanted. All vehicles will run singly. The first part of the programme will consist of class contests, and then the three fastest cars, motor-cycles and sidecar outfits will run for f.t.d. A separate motor-cycle absolute record will be recognised, of course.

Brighton Speed Trials
It is particularly good news that the famous speed trials along the Madeira Drive, Brighton, will happen again on September 7th. The fixture is an open one and the distance of the course has been altered from half a mile to one kilometre, to encourage record attempts. As is traditional, many classes are due to be contested. The event starts at 10.30 a.m. The morning will be devoted to the classes for members of the Brighton and Hove M.C. driving standard, unsupercharged sports cars, and for unblown trials cars up to 1 1/2 litres, unblown and blown fully-equipped sports cars of up to 1,100 c.c., 1,500 c.c., over 1,500 c.c., and unlimited sports cars driven by ladies, unlimited racing cars driven by ladies, and motor-cycle combinations and 3-wheelers of up to 600 c.c. and unlimited. In the afternoon the racing cars, divided at 850, 1,100, 1,500, 3,000 c.c. and unlimited, get going, together with racing cars built before 1915 (touring Edwardians are apparently barred), London-Brighton veterans of up to 20 h.p., and experts and amateurs on solo motorcycles sub-divided at 850, 600 and unlimited c.c. There will also be a fastest car versus fastest motor-cycle race. Entries have already closed. Entrants will run in pairs. Sports cars are deemed to be standard models equipped with mudguards, lamps and all standard equipment — screens may be flat. Supercharged sports cars can use 50/50 petrol-benzole. This should be one of the finest of our 1946 fixtures — make a note to be present! The British s.s. kilometre class records are as follows: 350 c.c., Jappic, 52.9 m.p.h., 42.27 sec.; 500 c.c., not attempted; 750 c.c., Austin, 83.6 m.p.h., 26.75 sec.; 1,100 c.c., Appleton-Riley, 82.1 m.p.h., 27.26 sec.; 1,500 c.c., E.R.A., 85.3 m.p.h., 26.21 sec.; 2,000 c.c., E.R.A., 89.7 m.p.h., 24.93 sec.; 3,000 c.c., Bugatti, 80.3 m.p.h., 27.85 Sec.; 5,000 c.c., Sunbeam, 85.7 m.p.h., 26.14 sec.; 8,000 c.c., Bentley, 81.5 m.p.h., 27.46 sec.; Unlimited, Napier-Railton, 88.5 m.p.h., 25.27 sec. You may care to copy these out and have them with you on September 7th to check if National records fall.

International Prescott
Do not forget that on September 22nd the International fixture happens at Prescott. The usual efficient Bugatti Club organisation allied to an International entry means you cannot afford not to spectate on this occasion.

“It’s the spurt of black cinders or silver sand . . . the hero-worship, the badges, coloured scarves and hats, death lurking round the bend, the pit of the stomach exhilaration to six million Britons. Its fan mail, flowers and autographs, bobby-sox girls and dances, broken bones, and sometimes death. . . . It is more of a religion than a liking. The safety fence four feet high, petrol at 8s. a gallon, the 80,000 crowd, the show goes on even if the track is flooded. Here you have the open throttle, the grand manner, the reckless gambler, but no betting. A sport made by riding buccaneers which lives through steady technicians. It is fast . . . it is modern. . . . They call it — Speedway.” — Heading to an article, in the Daily Express, by Warwick Charlton. What would he do if he had to report an I.O.M. T.T.?

National Colours
There is a fearful move afoot to change the British racing colour to blue, with Union Jacks on the cars’ sides to distinguish our entries from those of the French. British green was good enough for Segrave’s Sunbeam, the Le Mans Bentleys, Gardner’s M.G. — let it remain. This change is unpalatable and must be quelled.

Vintage S.C.C.
The Prescott hill-climb on August 31st received an excellent entry, as befits this economic excursion into the realm of speed. We shall report on it in the next issue. Our Stop Press report of the Bisley Rally contained certain inaccuracies. Actually Dixon’s Austin Seven tied for 3rd place with Gambles’s M.G. The placings in the tests were: Clutchless flexibility test — Yeats (Austin Seven), Webb (Lagonda), Wilkinson (Mercédès). Reversing wiggle-woggle — Dixon (Austin), Yeats (Austin Seven), Birkett (Austin). Parking test — Gamble’s (M.G.), Birkett, Yeats. The best-kept car up to 2 litres was Dixon’s “Ulster” Austin Seven. Another “Bulletin” is due this month. Hon. secretary, T. W. Carson, 1, Downsland Court, Worting Road, Basingstoke, Hants.

The Brooklands A.R.C. has announced that, to mark in some way their appreciation of the manner in which so many members stood by them throughout the war years, and have continued to pay their subscriptions, the directors of Brooklands (Weybridge), Ltd., are returning all war-years’ subscriptions.

For the time being the Junior Car Club will not promote competitions, preferring to wait for a really serious event. Nevertheless, a lot of new members have been enrolled, as announced in the April-June Gazette. The annual subscription is now £1 1s., or £2 2s. combined J.C.C./R.A.C. membership. Secretary, H. J. Morgan, Melbourne House, Aldwych, London, W.C.2. (Temple Bar 4546.)

By courtesy of the Austin Motor Co., Ltd., the Veteran Car Club, which did so much good work in connection with the Cavalcade, now has London headquarters at 479-483, Oxford Street, London, W.1, open to members.

For this year, 1947 and 1948 fuels for formula racing are restricted as follows: supercharged engines: (a) 70 per cent. methanol, 15 per cent. benzole, 10 per cent. acetone, plus 5 per cent. high volatile petrol by volume, or (b) 85 per cent. methanol, 6 per cent. acetone, 7.5 per cent. petrol ether, 1.5 per cent. castor oil. To each can be added up to 5 per cent. of water, castor oil or petrol ether, or any combination of these. Unsupercharged cars: 60/15 premium petrol and benzole, plus 25 per cent. ethanol.

Cover Picture
Lady drivers have been in evidence at , most of the post-war sprint events — Mrs. Gerard, Mrs. Mortimer, Lady Mary Grosvenor, Miss Broadhead, Mrs. Jason-Henry, Mrs. Cowell, Miss King, Miss Patten, Mrs. Scott-Moncrieff and Mrs. Billie Clarke. The last-named is shown on the cover this month, driving her husband’s single cam, “3.3” Bugatti, at Prescott. Fastest ladies’ time at this hill would appear to he Mrs. Palethorpe’s 54.62 sec., with the single-seater “SheIsley” Frazer-Nash, before the war.

The A.I.A.C.R. has changed its title to Federation Internationale de l’Auto-mobile (F.I.A.)

At Prescott a reader handed us the Twelfth Annual Report of the British Film Institute, dated 1945, in which is listed films acquired by the National Film Library. These include Gaumont news reel of Easter racing at Brooklands, 1930; a Patthé “short” of motor-car racing at Boulogne, 1910; a Pathé “short” of motor-car racing in France, 1910; and a Topical Budget of Percy Lambert motor-racing at Brooklands, 1913. The last-named is probably of Lambert’s historic Hour Record. The Institute has an extensive loan scheme, and clubs desiring to organise motor-racing film shows might benefit by contact with it.

The Junior announces it has completed arrangements for the incorporation of the Brooklands Automobile Racing Club as part of the J.C.C. At first it might seem desirable for the unfortunate B.A.R.C. to remain dead and buried, now that Brooklands is no more. However, the loss of certain club supporters to the Sport might then arise, while someone should certainly do something to preserve the Brooklands’ records. So this amalgamation is to be regarded as not at all a bad move. We hope the J.C.C. will set about compiling the results of all Brooklands’ contests and otherwise preserving the paper, photographic and more concrete Brooklatids’ records.

V.S.C.C. of A.
The May Vintage Car was distinguished by a photograph of a Wensum “30/98” Vauxhall on its cover, and contains a vintage-car article by Shepherd on the Type 35 “10/20” Salmson, with an excellent illustration of this car. The South Australian Speed-Judging contest was won by Tillett’s “14/40” Vauxhall, with Evarard’s Hispano-Suiza and Godfrey’s Twenty Rolls-Royce runners-up.

The Bentley Drivers’ Club held several socials last month, and is doing so again this month, at Taunton on the 1st and at Bournemouth on the 22nd, while a dinner-dance at the Dorchester is fixed for October 5th. Details from S. Sedgwick, “The Cobb,” Stoke Close, Cobham, Surrey (Cobham 2501).

V. M.C.C.
The Vintage Motorcycle Club is holding, another rally at the Lounge Café, Hog’s Back, on September 15th. Its monthly “Bulletin” provides an admirable medium for the exchange of spares and acquisition of mounts. The Royston Rally resulted in Saunders getting first prize, a Wooler motor-cycle. He rode his 1930 Sunbeam from Ludlow, 155 miles, and did outstandingly in the contests. Runner-up was Edwards, who came 70 miles on a 1923 16H Norton; 3rd, Garrard’s 1926 250-c.c. Raleigh; and 4th. Gover’s 1925 2-speed Scott, which made f.t.d. in one event. New members’ mounts include two more A,B.C.s, 1928 Norton, 1921 Beardmore Precision, 1926 A.J.S. and Sunbeam, 1916 P. & M., four Scotts, 1930 S.O.S., 1921 Rudge, etc. As soon as 100 members are enrolled, A.C.U. affiliation will be possible. Details from C. E. Allen, 43, King’s Avenue, Loughborough; or C. S. Burney, Cedar Cottage, Marlow.

General Notes
A tedious run to one evening from London, in an Austin Seven, with a horrid hum in its rear end and a persistent bearing-lap at the other, followed an instructive visit to the Police Driving School at Hendon, where they ensure that policemen really understand motor cars and teach them skid control that foxes even your sports-car driver, ask Rivers-Fletcher, who tried his hand on the skid-patch! Next day there was more joy, going up to South London, itself a nightmare on a hot, stuffy Saturday afternoon, to retrieve my venerable 1913 “Alphonso” Hispano-Suiza. It started quite reasonably and came through the traffic like a good vintage sports car, as far as Putney that is. Here adjustment of the float level in the original 3-jet gas-works overcame starvation, of which “Alphonso” had been loudly objecting, and we continued in style. After Staines was disposed of, the thing became really enjoyable, 50 m.p.h. cruising proving not in the least troublesome, so that, if we never quite lost the Austin-Special accompanying us, at least it never passed us. As was only appropriate, the level in the huge radiator was checked at a garage on Bagshot hill, outside which stood a 1902 de Dion.

The following day there was a short, spirited run to the V.S.C.C. “do” at Bisley in the same Hispano, and an even more spirited run home, the day enlivened because, as before Elstree, the Frazer-Nash tender-car cooked its magneto and had to he towed to the venue by an obviously astonished “Alphonso.” Then, cleaning and painting the old car, we got him ready for the London Cavalcade, a pleasing day, memorable for the heavy traffic encountered coming in the opposite direction to ours on the run up A30, the appallingly low gait at which London motors and the unfortunate lack of courtesy now displayed to drivers of veterans, and for the fact that the fuel level remained correct right up to the time we got clear of London on the run home. Even then, a few moments with a pair of pliers corrected it, so that, without trying, we left behind a friend in a Ford Eight.

Next morning to Prescott in a fantastic 5-litre Bugatti with six happy mortals aboard. The fixing of lamps and odds and ends evaporated the intended early start, but, away about 10.30 a.m., and stopping to substitute smaller rear wheels for the oversize ones which fouled the mudguards, by an enthusiast’s emporium at Twyford, we were at the hill comfortably before the starting time. The run home will not be easily forgotten. The 5-litre and a Meadows-‘Nash ran in company, with Leslie Johnson’s Darracq and B.M.W. with us, obviously able to pass had they wished, but being driven with notable restraint. We waved them on to turn into Sturt Farm, where so many Prescott parties had gathered – Robin Jackson, Eason Gibson and family out of a very rapid Standard Eight, and others – that service was very much overwhelmed. It was becoming dark ere we left, and torrential rain – something to do with sun-spots, they say – was to be our lot. But the fortunates in the front seat kept as dry as if they were in a saloon, the Bugatti so fast that the driving rain was projected well over and round the screen. It was a grand run all right, of a really rapid order, the big engine smooth, silent, so very willing.

Next, a sunny, sleepy afternoon midweek, found us off in search, unsuccessfully as it happened, of an elusive veteran. Using the basic-burning Austin Seven, we took back lanes from Fleet to Basingstoke, as is our wont, to avoid A30. In that town, barely had we begun to enter it than we went right, then left, over the tricky, badly-signposted cross-roads, and away up the hill on the Newbury road. Immediately it seemed the downs opened out around us. At Kingsclere, we turned down the lanes, well-surfaced, flanked hy gracious country houses standing in orderly grounds, and seemingly quite devoid of traffic. The latest. Handley-Page transport flew noisily overhead but, even so, we did not find it difficult to believe that time had for years, stood still (actually, we did not meet any Cardens and Cluleys, and we were in a 1934 Austin Seven, but this was merely incidental, we are sure). We fell to reflecting what a lot of motoring must still remain to be chronicled, considering how the motor car must have been adopted cautiously in these parts, and then used more and more as a matter of fact, by folk living far from railway stations and shops. How they must have discussed the respective merits of their various cars and praised or criticised their chauffeurs. Perhaps some day someone will recall all these happenings. Now the garages hereabouts disgorge V8s and suchlike, and no comment is aroused, but, on that hot, dreamy afternoon, had we encountered E. K. H. Karslake on his “Flying Fifteen” Darracq, we should not have been unduly surprised. These reflections developed into a strong desire to he able to describe the pleasures of motoring in out-of-the-way parts of this pleasant land. It isn’t easy. Re-reading old issues of the weekly Motoring press, nowhere have we found the ideal touring article. Some authors are too “guide book,” others cover too great a distance to note the details that matter so much, none seem quite to catch the atmosphere of motoring for motoring’s sake. We enjoyed our lazy afternoon in Berkshire’s back-ways, on the borders of Hampshire, even if the veteran remained elusive. Let us leave it at that.

Owing to pressure on space “Personality Parade” has had to be omitted this month. It will be included in the October issue, and we hope will be a regular feature of Motor Sport.