Club News, September 1947
Group-Captain Tom Evans would appear to possess a most interesting motor-car, in the form of his Centric-supercharged, ex-Donaldson O.E. “30/98” Vauxhall, and, moreover, ’tis said that he has actually made the hydraulic front brakes work superbly! Those pessimists who consider that all the “discoverable” veterans have been found should note that a year ago a 1914 Bebe Peugeot in brand new condition was offered for a “fiver” (unfortunately to someone who tore out its engine and is rumoured to be using it to drive a generator), while a 1910 11-h.p. Delage 2-seater is, or was, available in the same locality, where, incidentally, lives a dismantled Newton Ceirano tourer with spare engine. Then, stored in East London but available, apparently, to anyone who would care for them, are a 1911 Peugeot van, a 1923 Hupmobile coupé and a 1907 24.8-h.p. Renault landaulette — all, however, sans tyres. These vehicles are said to have been carefully stored since 1923. In addition, there was a 1910 20-h.p. Wolseley landaulette on good tyres, in Staffordshire, for sale for 150s., with a 1912 30-h.p. 6-cylinder Wolseley for spares, which will be broken up if not saved.
Returning to this present day and age, P. N. Richards is fitting an Alvis rear-axle to his interesting R.L.F., which is basically a 1928 six-cylinder Lea-Francis, bored out to 1,991 c.c., and with shortened chassis. His brother is engaged in construction of a Ford V8 trials car, while Richards Bros., the firm at Walton-on-Naze run by these two enthusiasts, is rebuilding Dyke-Acland’s M.G. Magnette “Porthos” for next winter’s trials. Last month we remarked that Michael May has his own Auster; “Bira” is another who aviates thus. P. J. Monend has almost completed a rebuild of a Type 37 Bugatti, while his friend B. Forsyth is installing a G.S.S. Salmson engine in a “Surbaisse” Amilcar chassis — a pretty problem, he says. He reports that near Edinburgh has been seen an Austin Seven engine with push-rod o.h.v. conversion (presumably Boyd-Carpenter), while there also a sound “12/50” Alvis of 1929 vintage changed hands for a mere £20 — because its owner is preoccupied with a twin-o.h.c. 3-litre Sunbeam, which Forsyth considers is a car which, “however ‘Red Label’ or short-chassis, no Bentley can touch.” A Pescara, which sounds like one of the cars which once came over for a Shelsley Walsh meeting, has been discovered in a Midlands garage. It has 4 litres of straight-eight engine, folding steering wheel, external-contracting brakes and a small 2-seater, quickly detachable body.
C. E. Allen now rides a 1930 spring-frame 1,000-c.c. s.v. solo Brough and likens it to a Bentley or “30/98,” remarking that “it rumbles along like a gentleman.” Perret is now with Trojan Ltd., and both Packman and Boddy have rid themselves (not without reluctance) of their early Trojans, Packman now running a Sunbeam “Sixteen” 2-seater and having half shares in an early aluminium Anzani Frazer-Nash with widened front axle and “J2” M.G. wheels and brakes. An almost complete 1921 20-h.p. Belsize Light Tourer and an 11.9 Lagonda seek new owners, in the south. Axel Berg has now re-shod his beautiful E-type “30/98” Vauxhall. Mike Hewland is making a good job of rebuilding the 16-valve, twin-cam Aston-Martin once owned by Bunny Tubbs, and someone else has acquired a s.v. Aston-Martin which he hopes to run in vintage speed events. John Batten, Eastbourne’s Director of Publicity, has at last taken delivery of his “TC” M.G. and has consequently disposed of his “Silver Eagle” Alvis to Geoffrey Kramer — Batten remarks that he could have sold the Alvis twenty times over after advertising it in Motor Sport. He is also disposing of his 1933 “12/60” Alvis four-seater. Good news is that Eastbourne’s Publicity Committee is putting up a 25-guinea trophy for the 1948 J.C.C. Rally and Concours, and they intend to revive the Eastbourne Concours next year. Eastbourne, indeed, will welcome any club that cares to stage a rally thereat, and we gather that its police force does not take unkindly to such activities.
R. Athol Milne gets good service from his 1930 Morris-Cowley saloon, but craves a Trojan or something similar as a second string. In searching for b.e. tyres, of which he has found quite a number, of assorted sizes, E. G. Emmett also unearthed two pre-1914 Rolls-Royce chassis, a “Twenty” Rolls, a host of Gwynne Eight spares, some G.N. engines, a pre-1914 Straker-Squire engine and, not for sale, a 1902 Progress and 1905 Talbot. He is searching for an elusive Le Zebra, last seen in Herefordshire in 1942. Mention of G.N. reminds us that one or two people talk of building up touring versions of same; Godfrey himself is working on just such a project (as well as on a “Kim”) and, as we have said. Stafford-East’s is complete. As late as 1930 none other than Bill Aldington bought a 1922 o.h.v. V-twin G.N. for £12, inclusive of a quarter’s tax. “Aldy” used this car quite seriously, getting 55 m.p.g. at times on benzoic mixture and 55 m.p.h. He climbed Anerley Hill in top speed three up, and, cruising at 35-40 m.p.h. went to N. Devon and back from London for 15s., doing 50 m.p.g. of fuel and over 1,600 m.p.g. of oil. Grand days! Or do you prefer your Bristol, “Aldy”? At the present time R. W. White has a touring G.N. which used to run in M.C.C. and Welsh trials, etc., and was said to do its 67 m.p.h. and, on one memorable occasion, 88 m.p.g.! He hopes to restore its bodywork and may install a spare V-twin engine having h.c. pistons, high-lift cams and oversize valves, etc. Incidentally, White has his 1924 Metallurgique on the road again, by dint of using an Austin 12/4 rear axle. M. Warr has made a very fine job of installing a 2-litre 4-cylinder Gough engine from an Atalanta in a red G.P. Bugatti that he acquired without a power-unit. He has used a Studebaker gearbox and a Warner overdrive, which gives a large selection of ratios and enables clutchless changes to be made if desired. Externally, the car is practically indistinguishable from a normal G.P. and it was for sale for around £300 — we suspect it has a new owner by now. Warr told us of many interesting “finds,” including a 2-litre Schneider used as a lorry and now available for spares, a G.N. chassis, Meadows spares and a number of veterans near Lowestoft. Yet another 2-litre Ballot — an early coupé needing some attention, but with excellent high-pressure tyres — turned up in Hertfordshire recently, priced at about £30. Two elderly ladies were seen manipulating an old Ariel light-car at Ascot recently — the second example of this rare make which we have seen in recent months. The proprietor of Motor Sport has on order a new Jowett “Javelin.”
Miss Betty Haig has had her left-hand-drive, ex-Oscar Moore 328 B.M.W. restored to good order and put into as standard a state as possible. She has reverted to the standard compression ratio as she hopes to compete in many of next year’s Continental road trials, as well as in British sprint events, and she quite rightly says that 9-to-1 compression ratios do not usually take you beyond the first control, in an “Alpine” A. G. Ryan has recently acquired a “Blue Label” Bentley (KU 6138) in really good order, which he located in Dublin. He made the journey in a friend’s 1928 T.T. “19/100” Austro Daimler, the car Callingham drove in the T.T., and which is running beautifully. The owner of this Austro-Daimler also has a very fine 1923 7-litre Mercédès, the engine of which has recently been rebored. In spite of an 11 ft. wheelbase, Ryan says this car handles very lightly and will turn in almost exactly the same space as his M.G.
Martin Brunt has bought Harold Smith’s “Brooklands” Riley-engined Ridgley Special and intends to carry out further modifications to it. Shillitoe has overhauled an old “14/40” Sunbeam tourer and uses it for business journeys all over the country. Old cars really are coming out of retirement — latest to he noted are a Rover Fourteen 2-seater, the sort with its headlamps carried on its radiator, seen in Fleet outside a garage wherein resides, as we have previously observed, an even earlier Rover Twelve, another tourer of the same ilk, a fine Bean Fourteen coupé and a Gwynne Eight on A.30, with home-brewed 2-seater body. Another fine example of the last-named make was a red four-seater with four-wheel brakes, light wings and central headlamp, seen at the B.D.C. Tangmere dice. Until present-day prices drop Harry Ashwood is forsaking fourwheels and hopes to ride a 1936 250-c.c. racing Sunbeam in motorcycle sprint events. We have heard of another source of good second-hand b.e. tyres.
D. G. Vigor’s Vauxhall Special, which has run in recent M.C.C. trials, has a Marshall-blown, S.U.-fed Vauxhall Ten engine, out of a 5/6-cwt. Bedford van which forms the chassis. George Mottle has acquired a 1930 1 1/2-litre unblown single-cam Alfa-Romeo, while Myles Wadham has changed his f.w.d. Citroen for an Armstromr-Siddeley “Lancaster,” which be took to Switzerland recently.
When he is not testing Mk. VI Bentleys, D. D. Clapham motors in an old Calcott, on b.e. tyres, and even covers quite long distances in it. At Alton Garage, Rodger is building a “special,” using the engine and high-ratio axle from the 2 1/2-litre Invicta in which. Violet Cordery once undertook a long-distance run at Brooklands; the chassis is that of this car, now underslung at the rear and with Humber i.f.s. giving a slight crab-track. Michael Bull has one of the straight-eight Amilcars, but badly needs a clutch housing and gearbox for it, otherwise he may have to install a “foreign” engine. A 1903 Wolseley and another veteran of like age have come to light in Suffolk, as well as an odd 1912 rotary aero-engine with rotary valves.
F.C.C. of A.
Yet another new club is reported from America, the Foreign Car Club, which meets once a month about 75 miles from Hollywood. It already has some 50 members and caters for owners of non-American cars, mostly British sports cars and French and German cars, both sports and saloon. We have not received the address of the Secretary, but W. F. Anthony, Junr., 1,775, El Cerrito Place, Hollywood 28, California, will forward any enquiries.
V. M. C.C.
One cannot but admire the enthusiasm of those responsible for the Vintage Motor Cycle Club. They have just announced quite a host of fixtures up to December next, while their monthly Bulletin has grown in size and is, if possible, more interesting than ever — that for July contained an intriguing article on Martinsydes. Hon. Sec.: M. F. Walker, 170, Woodcock Hill, Kenton, Harrow, Middlesex.
Unquestionably the Secretary of the B.R.D.C. knows his job when it comes to publicity, but we confess to being badly shaken by a recent hand-out of his, headed “For Favour of Editorial Mention,” in which that excellent racing car, the Emeryson-Special, is described as “this land-bound doodlebug.” Apparently this is the way to the Fleet Street heart, and if less lurid phraseology were emloyed all hope of obtaining a line or two in British newspapers might be negatived. Nevertheless, it makes us very, very sad . . .
Preserve the Unique
At one time it was accepted, particularly amongst members of the Vintage Sports Car Club, that old cars were not worth preserving merely because they were aged, but only if their performance and reliability would enable them to do honourable battle with be-chromiumed tin-ware. A case of Alvis rather than Autocrat, Vauxhall not Vermorel, as it were. The time has gone, however, when normal vintage sports cars of the better sort can match the faster moderns in respect of performance. This fact in no way belittles the pleasure which is to be derived from running a vintage car, but it does suggest that those of lesser performance can now come into their own, serving owners who appreciate honest, hand-assembled machinery along with faster, better-known examples of the same era, and adding their quota of interest to roads which are becoming increasingly infested with mass-produced tin boxes of identical appearance and lack of character. Strength is lent to this argument when it is remembered that many of the more obscure makes of small car, with no particularly sporting tendencies, were used for competition work in the days when they were current productions. They obviously did not achieve such spectacular performances as their faster, more costly brethren, but the fact persists that they were used by enthusiasts not only in trials but in speed events. This being the case, surely such cars should not be beneath the notice of the present-day impecunious enthusiast. Each one preserved represents another unique car to enliven our roads and remind us of a happier age, now all but forgotten. Here we may digress to observe that amongst the true veterans — built prior to 1914 — many still remain to be restored to good order, like that Thirty Napier at Staines, and, if they are allowed to rot, one day those seeking such cars will suffer remorse that they were not saved in time. Therefore, do not scorn the earlier light cars of mediocre performance, but rather accept the fact that they had their place in history even in the history of the Sport — and that, to-day particularly, with high prices and rationed petrol, those that remain should be in use, hale, hearty and unashamed, as, indeed, quite a few of them are. We do not propose to recommend a search for any specific examples, but we have before us an excellent photograph of the start of a J.C.C. High Speed Trial at Brooklands, circa 1925, and we will go so far as to add that, lined up ready for the one-hour run round the Track can be seen touring examples of Gwynne Eight, “10/23” Talbot, Salmson, Ceirano, 16-valve Bugatti, “12/50” Alvis, A.C., O.M., s.v. Aston-Martin, Anzani-Frazer-Nash, A.B.C., “Redwing” Riley, “12/22” Lea-Francis, Rhode, Amilcar, “10/15” Fiat, Senechal, bull-nose Morris-Cowley, “9/20” Rover, Windsor and BaylissThomas. The Fiat even has closed bodywork — Verb sap.
Lagonda Car Club
Yet another new one-make car club has happened, that catering for owners of Lagonda cars of all types. This club, which is quite distinct from the Densham Spares Register, aims to perpetuate Lagonda tradition, maintain contact between owners, promote competitions and socials, and possibly circulate instruction books, technical information and a magazine. At a meeting at the house of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Davies on June 29th a Provisional Committee was elected as follows: Sqn.-Ldr. C. E. L. Powell, J. H. Paston-Green, Mrs. Davies, Major Pillitz, T. P. Child, A. W. Deller and J. H. Nicholass. The entrance fee is 10s. and the annual subscription £1 1s. 0d. A Rally is scheduled at Bournemouth at the week-end of September 27-28th. Full details from: Sqn.-Ldr. C. E. L. Powell, 2-20, Northwood Hall, Hornsey Lane, London, N.6. (Mountview 7719.)
V.M.C.C. of A.
Members of the Veteran Motor Car Club of America really do enjoy themselves. Their “Bulb Horn” for April contained some most interesting articles and illustrations, including a description of various early Ford and Daimler cars; indeed, quite a history of the Daimler Company, a quotation from a 1910 Maryland catalogue, and lots of news of members’ activities. The club has some 350 supporters and meetings are frequently two-day affairs, at someone’s country house or a trotting track, where the veterans really can be displayed. It is not unknown for brief talks to be delivered during a social on some specialised aspect of the veteran-car game, such as the development of a particular model, or for a list of 100 available veterans to be read out, and before the Antique Auto Show the police closed one side of Commonwealth Avenue for a veteran-car relay race, in which the famous Marmon Wasp racer took part. There is to be another Antique Auto Show at New York this autumn. Certainly no need to pull-up-those-socks, here. Secretary, D. C. White, 173, Cedar Street, Roxbury 19, Mass.
Last year the S.M.M.T. organised a most interesting series of Cavalcades in this country, to commemorate the Jubilee of the British Motor Industry. Last spring the Australian Sporting Car Club tried something similar, just for the fun of it, at the sea front at Bondi. Edwardians were represented by a Humberette on a trailer, a 1912 Renault and a 1908 Armstrong-Whitworth, of which the last-named took the prize. Ewing’s Buick-Special, Snow’s 2-litre, six-carburetter Riley, and Najar’s monoposto M.G. represented the racing cars, and two “30/98” Vauxhalls, a “12/60” Alvis, an F.N., a Frazer-Nash, a Fiat “501 B,” and a Chevrolet the vintage element. Of the post-war cars, such Britishers as 1 1/2-litre Riley saloon, Triumph “1800,” Lea-Francis, Morris, Singer “Super Ten,” Humber “Super Snipe,” Hillman “Minx” drophead, Austin, “TC” M.G. and Jaguar were displayed by the Trade, while there were private-owner entries of TA, TB, TC and P-type M.G.s, a Morgan 3-wheeler, a 4.3-litre open Alvis, Austin Seven, Vauxhall tourer, 2-litre M.G. and Wolseley 25 h.p. First prizes were won by the racing Buick, Dent’s vintage Frazer-Nash, the new Riley saloon, the “4.3” Alvis, and a 3 1/2-litre drophead Jaguar, while a ‘Nash “Ambassador Six” won a special award for a really outstanding car. In view of our vital need to export motor cars, we should not overlook Australia’s interest in British productions. Incidentally, in a copy of Motor Sports, the Australian sporting monthly, are to be found advertisements relating to such familiar products as Lucas electrical equipment, Jaguar, Morgan, Lea-Francis and Alvis cars, Panther, A.J.S. Royal Enfield and Velocette motor cycles, J.A.P. engines and Amal carburetters.
Another issue of “Bugantics” has been published by the Bugatti Owners’ Club and contains, in particular, some excellent Prescott photographs contributed by Griffiths. Twenty new members are listed as having been enrolled, and it is emphasised that the club now has a new Secretary and Treasurer who resides close to Prescott and to whom all enquiries should be addressed: Lt.-Col. R. F. Harkood Browne, Little Chantry, Winchcombe, Glos. (Winchcombe 50).
In the V.S.C.C. of A. Killara 1/4-mile speed trial an 18.5 sec. handicap allocation was adopted, and Carron’s “G.S.S.” Salmson was 1st, Lane’s “30/98” Vauxhall 2nd and Davison’s Alfa-Romeo 3rd. F.t.d. was made by Lane, in 21.6 sec. actual time. Davidson’s V8-engined M.G. “Magna” was fastest of the non-vintage cars, in 18.8 sec., a course record.
At the Mount Tarrangower hill-climb, Head beat the old course record in a speed-car powered with a model-A Ford engine. Class winners were: Head, Phillips (Austin), Hawker (Chamberlain 4-cylinder, eight-piston, supercharged two-stroke), and Nutt (Grimes-Special).
Over a 1 3/4-mile circuit with five corners at Gawler airstrip, the S.C.C. of A. held a series of handicap sprint races. The winners were: Vinall’s “30/98” Vauxhall (two races), McDonough’s “TC” M.G., Howard’s Austin and Uffindell’s “K3” M.G.
B.D.C. in Scotland
The first Bentley Drivers’ Club meeting in Scotland is a lunch (tickets 4s. 6d.) at the Castle Hotel, Glendevon, on September 21st. All Bentley owners welcome. Details from L. W. Campbell-Colquhoun, Ballaig, Crieff, Perthshire.
The London Centre of the Riley Motor Club have been paid a very high honour by the Brentford and Chiswick Town Council, for in October next they are holding a Safety First Week, and as a piece de resistance, they have asked the club to organise a Gymkhana on Saturday, October 25th.
The venue is the Brentford Market, situated at the start of the Great West Road, roughly five miles from Hyde Park Corner. This is a magnificently paved area and ideal for the purpose.
During an interval it is anticipated that the Metropolitan Police will stage their Safety First Demonstration, which, apart from its educational value, is in itself first-class entertainment. The event is open to all Riley owners, and further particulars will be published at a later date. In the meantime, any communications should be made to the Trials Secretary, R. C. Porter, 161, Castelnau,. Barnes, S.W.13.
V.S.C.C. of A.
The latest issue to hand of the Vintage Sports Car Club of Australia’s journal has a fine picture of a 4 1/2-litre, 100 m.p.h.model Invicta. Within is news of seven recently enrolled new members owning two “30/98” O.E. Vauxhalls, a “Grand Sport” Amilcar, a Buick-engined 3-litre Sunbeam, a Riley Nine and a 1908 Armstrong-Whitworth between them, one of Shepherd’s articles on the Type 40 Bugatti, some notes on pre-1914 Siddeley-Deasys and lengthy reports of recent events. They seem very “special” minded in Australia just now. There is news of a Riley “Redwing” powered with a six-cylinder o.h.c. Ansaldo engine, and another hybrid with 4-litre o.h.c., 7-bearing Maybach engine endowed with twin Amals, in a tubular chassis having Dodge i.f.s. Fiat gearbox and Lancia-like back end. The energy of it!
This month’s cover picture shows “Bira’s” Simca-Gordini cornering in the Manx Cup Race, which it won. The photograph is a Motor Sport T.G.M. picture, flown back by Air Kruise Ltd.
R.A.C. Hill-Climb Championship
The leaders in the R.A.C. British HillClimb Championship up to and including the Bouley Bay event were: 1st Raymond Mays (E.R.A.), 0 Marks lost; 2nd F. R. Gerard (E.R.A.), 17 1/2 marks lost; 3rd G. Abecassis (Bugatti), 20 1/2 marks lost. The remaining positions, in order of merit, were: Hutchison, Poore, Bear, Allard, Fairman and Mrs. Wisdom. Craigantlet on August 30th may have altered the position, and the deciding meeting will happen at Prescott on September 14th.
The Shelsley Walsh hill-climb on September 27th will be confined to racing cars and will not be a combined car and motor cycle meeting, as was intended.
British Trials Championship
The R.A.C. announces that a series of zonal trials will be held this year, culminating in a final event on December 13th, in order to determine who is our champion trials driver. This follows on the Club’s Hill-Climb Championship introduced this season, and is an excellent idea. The rules are as follows:
This competition will take the form of four zonal trials and a final to be held as follows:
Oct. 11th. — Southern England (organised by the Mid-Surrey A.C.).
Oct. 19th. — Northern England (organised by the Lancashire A.C.).
Oct. 25th. — Scotland (organised by the Royal Scottish A.C.).
Oct. 18th. — Ulster (organised by the Ulster A.C.).
Dec. 13th. — The Final (organised by the S.U.N.B.A.C,).
A thoroughly sporting course of at least 50 miles In length will be used.
The number of entries in each Zonal Trial will be limited by selection to 60.
There will be no qualification clause.
A number of observed sections each of which may be covered once only will be included, and will be covered non-stop.
At least two special tests will be included (one of which will embody restarting on a gradient) and the results of these tests will be used only to determine order of merit in the case of ties in the observed sections.
Entries will be accepted only from members of the R.A.C. or members of clubs associated with or “recognised” by the R.A.C., and then only from entrants normally residing in the zone concerned. The first ten competitors, in order of merit, in each Zonal Trial will be eligible for the Final, making a possible entry of 40 for that event.
The entry fee will be £3 3s., which will cover both the Zonal and Final Events.
The R.A.C. will provide a suitable trophy to be held annually by the ultimate winner of the Final (who will be nominated as the Champion “Expert” driver for that year), and such other awards as it may deem advisable to offer.
Full particulars and entry forms are obtainable from the Secretary, R.A.C., Pall Mall, London, S.W.1, or any of the clubs deputed by the R.A.C. to organise the Zonal Trials.
Somehow journeys do not seem to have been so extensive of late, but there has been variety for all that. A chance encounter with an O.E. “30/98” Vauxhall, beautifully preserved, resulted in a brief ride, sitting in lofty dignity behind one of the most shapely bonnets and scuttles ever devised. Some time afterwards there was another run, along well-known local by-ways, in a surprisingly fleet E-type “30/98,” which attained quite astonishing speeds of engine rotation on the indirect gears, with pick-up to match, yet which would amble most sedately when required to do so, and which rode with all the pliable stolidity of the really good vintage car. Then a touring “12/50” Alvis motored us along in unflurried willingness, while a “Speed Twenty” Alvis saloon offered ample accommodation for many mortals, a combination of vintage and non-vintage attributes, and an ability to cruise unconcernedly at 60 m.p.h., with brakes in keeping, on two longish runs under a boiling sun. From that we went to being driven down deserted local lanes — one never seems to tire of exploring them, and are they not the ideal of old-car addicts, not only because they are free from troublesome onlookers, but because aged vehicles seem so much more at home therein than in towns or on crowded main roads? — in the back of a Triumph “Gloria” saloon, all replete with freewheel; nor must we forget a Saturday run from Hampshire along the amazing North Circular road round London and out to Essex, in the Austin Seven, acting as tender to a racing motorcycle. Nor overlook mention of divers excursions undertaken, reluctantly, from country to Metropolis, on one of which were encountered an old de Dion Bouton saloon, circa 1925, and a “14/40” Delage converted into a lorry. Finally, a desire to see the sea coincided with a modern 1 1/2-litre Riley saloon, so that we were able to cruise southwards at a genuine 60 m.p.h. changing gear with or without the clutch as the mood took us, cornering fast, backed by brakes that were really up to their task. That night we came home in the dark, through Chichester, Midhurst, Haslemere and Frensham and so to Farnham and home, a run that whetted the appetite for going over the same ground again, in daylight, as soon as possible.