The Oxford University Motor Drivers Club has a few new badges for disposal to any old members who crave them. Barry Eaglesfield, of 48, Sedborough Lane, Beaconsfield, needs a Type 40 Bugatti oil-level indicator for his Type 87 Bugatti, which is engine no. 239, chassis no. 3733, if any one can dig out its history. Eagles. field is thinking of having his Type 40 instruction book translated and printed, if there is sufficient demand. Besides his Bugatti he has a 500-c.c. special consisting of a lightened and modified Skirrow chassis with independent suspension front and back, and 1/c Martlet pistons. Charles Brackenbury was referred to in the daily press recently as “Charles Brankenberg.” Besides the 1908 Standard at Tvvyford, to which we made reference last month, there is a well-kept pre-1914 Hupmobile, with massive continental engine as found in Garford lorries. A reader in Kano uses a 1936 Plymouth coupe with every satisfaction and has recently ridden in a 1923 “Silver Ghost” Rolls-Royce. In his opinion a ” Yank ” or a Humber Staff car is the wear for Kano, many of the new ” export ” cars being on the lightly-built side or too expensive and twelve years out of date, others too heavy. His opinions, not ours 1 G. de Jongh has a 1909 Wolseley and a 1923 ” 10/28 ” Talbot four.’-mater, the latter in daily use. An o.h.c., separate-pots Sageengine -has come to light and may go into a Riley chassis. Peter Rosser has ‘sold his 1932 TL ” 12/60 ” Alvis and acquired a very nice 1922 E-type “80/98 ” Vauxhall, first registered in 1925 and run for a total of 8,600 miles since. New valve springs of the correct strength are badly needed by the new owner. Copies of Alec Ulmann’s “Birth of an Industry,” which we reviewed last month, are obtainable in this country from Ronald Foote, Midland Bank Chambers, 84, High Street, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, price 17s 6d., post paid. In the States the big Wisconsin Special that was alleged to have done 180 mp.h. at Daytona in 1920, is for sale. Hugh M. Sutherland, now in Montreal, is restoring a model 125F Auburn to good order and would appreciate a handbook. He reports a local club, limited to cars of up to 1,750 ex-, which embraces Hillman Minx, Austin, Standard, an M.G. and a Triumph Roadster and specialises in social events, but he has also noted such cars as a Frenchregistered V12 Hispano-Suiza drop-head, a V12 Lagonda, a two-seater” Phantom” Rolls-Royce, a new Bentley and quite a few 1948 M.Gs.
An Edwardian two-cylinder Briton has turned up near Birmingham, its discoverer seeking “any information or remembrances of vices of this Wolverhampton make,” while a 12-h.p. Darracq of about 1926 vintage, with lorry body but very nicely preserved, was seen near London last month. Apart from the ” Ninety ” Mercedes which ran at Bo’ness, another, of 1912 type with modernised Corsica four-seater body, is, or was, for sale in Chelsea. Even in mid July the impecunious could again buy cars –of a sort. We noticed a Mathis Twelve Saloon for 165, a reconditioned 1927 Humber Nine tourer for 250, a sports Morgan for 285, a 1980 Morris Minor tourer for 245 or offer and quite a few Austin Sevens at under 2100. In Surrey, B. M. F. Samuelson has bought a breaker’s yard with the idea of finding interesting cars, his early discoveries including a very fleet 1914 Darracq Fourteen, and a well-kept 1912 ” 18/20 ” SiddeleyDeasy landaulette. Other ears being kept” in the family “are a 1925″ 12/40″ Darracq, for which new brake back-plates are required, and a 1913 ” London-Edinburgh ” Rolls-Royce, at present with a lorry body.
Geoffrey Deason, whose old-car reminiscences we have published in the past, now relies on a model-18 Norton as daily transport. Godfrey King is rebuilding a tw.d. Alvis and needs spares and a handbook and C. Kay has a most interesting car, about which he seeks data, in the form of a 1922 Type 23s 2-litre S.P.A. drop-head coupe, which was found dismantled, after only 18,000 miles’ use up to 1981, and assembled and run for a while last year. From Essex we learn of many early Austin ” Chummies ” and bull nose Hotchkiss engined MorrisCowleys also an Austin “Heavy 12″ taxi, besides a 1928 James motor-cycle used to drive a saw-mill, a 1934 3i-h.p. Humber motor-cycle engine in a motor mower and a 1903 de Dion engine which gets a petrol ration for driving a circular saw. A ” 20/60 ” Vauxhall saloon, which was the first model to be made after General Motors took over the old Luton concern, was recently for sale in Egham, at 2150.
J. R. Coonabe,s, who is with Sunbeam Commercial Vehicles, Ltd., the only surviving part of the old Sunbeam Company, runs a 1931 Singer Junior saloon which has recently had its first re-bore, at 48,000 miles. He remarks on the longevity of these ears, of which at least six 1930-82 examples are in daily use in and around Wolverhampton, while he encountered “literally dozens” when on holiday in North Devon. J. R. de Wurstemberger, whose address is 10, Rue Charles-Bonnet, Geneva, requires an instruction book for a K-type M.G. Magnette, if anyone can oblige.
. Julian Fall, having disposed of his “8/18″ Talbot, has purchased a truly immaculate 1918 Sunbeam tourer, which he drove to the Vintage Prescott Meeting and which he intends to enter in Edwardian contests when he is better acquainted with it. The car had been standing in a coach-house for years, found itself at an auction-sale following the demise of two old ladies and was mercifully discovered by Fall. A Surrey veterinary surgeon uses a rear-braked three-speed Rolls-Royce Twenty most effectively as a casualty-van, its immediate former role having been that of local ambulance !
Inman-Hunter reports the discovery, in Australia, of another s.v. Bamford and Martin Aston-Martin, in better condition than the one he had when he was out there. This brings the total known examples of this famous vintage car to 25.
A garage near Birmingham has a 45-h.p. Isotta Fraschini converted from a four-seater into a fierce red two-seater with slab fuel tank. Mick Sheppard has a 1912 ” 40/50 ” Rolls-Royce for disposal and seeks a crown-wheel and pinion for his 1911 two-cylinder Renault.
I. B. Wicksteed, holder of the Brooklands motorcycle 500-c.c. lap record, is looking for a 500-c.c. car-enthusiast who wants some work doing in the way of engine tuning, chassis building, or adapting, as he is very keen to do this as a paying hobby, and has excellent workshop facilities with welding, etc.
Another ” 14/40 ” Sunbeam has turned up, this time a 1926 saloon in Bath, making the number known still to exist, after checking identities of those mentioned previously, at least five.
P. D. Walters has acquired a 1927 A.C. ” Royal ” two-seater.
Racing cars for sale include A. T. Darbishire’s Type 51 Bugatti and Parnell’s ex-Abecassis 1i-litre E.R.A. and his 2-litre E.R.A.
A 1928-29 ” 14/40 ” Bean two-seater, with the immediately pre-Hadfield radiator and f.w.b., was a rare bird encountered recently in a London car park. To the several dreams of the impecunious add a 1923 Morris-Cowley at £35 and a 1928 Standard tourer for about £20. Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. (V.M.C.C.) Allen on the birth of a son.
The disbanded E.R.A. Club is having a sort of last-fling on October 26th, when its Trophy will be formally handed over to the B.R.D.C. This function takes place at 7 p.m. for 7.30 p.m. at the Rembrandt and any “sometime members” who wish to attend are asked to contact A. F. Rivers Fletcher, 4, Eversleigh Road, New Barnet; Herts.
The Chiltern Car Club is running a special Concours d’Elegance at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 5th, 1948. The event will be run on the lines of the R.A.C. Jubilee Concours and will include a class for veterans, pre-1917, and also a special class for sports cars. This latter class will be judged on the basis of the suitability of the car for the event in which it would be likely to compete, more than on the look and high polish of the vehicle.
Another interesting point with this Concours is that the Amersham Police have given permission for the event to be held in the main High Street of Old Amersham. The event is open to persons who are not necessarily members of any recognised clubs.
Any communications in connection with this particular event should be sent to the Secretary of the meeting—Mr. S. H. Statham’ 70a, Strand on the Green, Chiswick, W. t.
The Wrotham Cup trial of the above club will be held on October 24th, and the invited clubs will be : Bericharnsted, Cemian, Hants & Berks, Kentish Border, Maidstone & Mid-Kent, Tunbridge Wells, and N.W. London and Vintage S.C.C.
Aston-Martin Owners’ Club
Mr. Dudley Coram, press secretary, is filling the post of honorary secretary as a temporary measure pending the appointment of a permanent officer, to be elected at the next general meeting. Mr. E. S. Powers has been appointed treasurer in similar circumstances. These appointments have been made necessary by the death of Richard Stallebrass at Spa during the 24-hour race, who was both hon. secretary and treasurer of the club.
The new secretary’s address is : Mr-. Dudley Coram, 554, Limpsfield Road, Upper Warlingham, Surrey, to whom all matters appertaining to the club should be addressed.
The Lancashire A.C. Davis Trophy trial is to be run over an almost entirely new course and the mileage kept as low as possible. Several really good new hills have been discovered after much field research by Maurice Toulmin and Co., who have gallantly sacrificed a goodly portion of their “basic” during the past week-end or two in a search for something new—something better. The start will be near Blackburn and the trial finishes in Blackburn itself, at a good hotel, where a meal has been arranged.
Hon. secretary : J. Taylor, County Bank Chambers, New Market Street, Blackburn.
Bristol M.C. & L.C.C.
This very active club announces that the Weston-Super-Mare Borough Council has agreed to co-operate in the running of a speed trial on October 9th along half-a-mile of the sea front. This sounds like a sprint in the traditional manner, and there will be cash prizes. At the suggestion of the R.A.C., only racing. cars will be eligible. The Fedden Trophy Trial has accordingly been postponed front October 9th to December 18th, and the Trial proposed for December 11th cancelled. The latest issue of the Club’s Journal contains an account of how W. H. Goodenough won the first Chappell Cup Trial in a Bean Fourteen. Hon. Sec. : L. D. Atkinson. 118a, Pembroke Road, Bristol 8 (3:196 t).
Tunbridge Wells M.C.
This Club is holding a Rally and Concours d’Elegance in support of the R.A.F. Association “Battle of Britain” week on September 18th. Invited clubs are the V.S.C.C., B.D.C., Maidstone and Mid-Kent, Kentish Birder and 750 Club. Details from : H. H. Luckhurst, 58, Hilden Park Road, Tonbridge.
The Assoc. of Northern Car Clubs
This association has been formed by the majority of the car clubs in the north of England with the objects of liaison and discussion to the members’ mutual advantage.
Meetings take place in cities in the north of England by rotation, each car club in turn being organisers. As a result of these meetings it has been possible to avoid duplication of events of similar type being held in the same area on the same day, and the R.A.C. has appreciated this assistance in arranging the year’s calendar.
Amongst matters discussed at recent meetings have been the types of trials which should be organised, and “Trial Specials.” Although the need for encouragement of the enthusiasts with the energy and skill to build and run such a car was without question, the opinion of the majority of club representatives is that most members of car clubs own more or less standard cars which they use for normal purposes. Competitions should, therefore, cater for them, as well as the ” special ” owner, by the type of event or by handicapping.
It was agreed that the following recommended specification should be sent to member clubs for the guidance of” special builders.” It was not intended that this specification should be included in the competition regulations.
- Vehicle to comply with the Road Traffic Act.
- Bonnet top and sides to be of metal. (8) Bulkhead to be of metal construction.
- Body to be of metal, doors and sides of a minimum height of 12 in. above the floorboard level.
- Seats : the driver and passenger should occupy fixed seats within the body.
- Transmission to be enclosed so that neither driver nor passenger, nor their clothes, should come into contact with any moving parts.
- Floorboards : the floor to be covered within the driving compartment.
- Wings : to have beaded or wired edges, as sharp edges are dangerous.
The A.G.M. of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club revealed that membership is up to 160. It was agreed to run the Club on a Regional basis in future. J. J. Hall was re-elected as President, Messrs. Allen, Bennett, Burney, Graham Walker, Arthur Bourne, and Boddy as Vice-Presidents, while A. R. Lowry, C. J. Day, Rex Judd and T. A. Roberts were elected Vice-Presidents. Bob Thomas scored a double victory in the Hog’s Back and Nanpantan Rallies, winning both on his 1913 A.B.C., which covered 147 miles to the latter, a ride which the National Press enthused over. C. J. H. Day again rode from Nottingham to the Hog’s Back on his 1920 Sunbeam. Hon. Sec. : M. F. Walker. 170, Woodcock Hill, Kenton, Harrow, Middlesex.
In our Bo’ness report we mentioned that a keen clergyman was amongst those spectating. This has brought the following from the Motor World, which will be a surprise, and of interest, to many :—
” With the Radio Padre we are all familiar but I wonder how many of us realise that here in Scotland we have a divine who not only enjoys our motor competitions but on occasions sees fit to mention them from his pulpit. The recent Kinneil meeting inspired him to describe to his worshippers the background of a speed trial, with special emphasis on the sportsmanship of motor racing. He then stressed the fact that there were no serious accidents despite the high speeds and the nature of the course and compared this with the number of accidents that happen on the roads. This freedom from mishap he said was due (1) because cars and drivers were fit and had undergone tests before the actual event ; and (2) everyone obeyed the rules. The spiritual application of the facts of the ‘Hill climb of Life’ is obvious. The Rev. George Bell, whose charge is Allan Church, Bannockburn, near Stirling, is an experienced motorist and, one gathers, a very modern minister.”
The Singapore M.C. recently staged Singapore’s first speed hill-climb since the liberation, more than 40 competitors taking part. The course at Bukit Batok, half-a-mile long, with a steep slope for a third of the distance and a sharp hairpin at the finish. F.t.d. was made by Lim Peng Han’s L.A. Special, in 42.6 sec., which would appear to be a form of Ford V8 Special. This gentleman also prepared the M.G. with which E. Q. Chia won the if racing-cars class. According to the Sunday Times Mr. Lim is one of “Malaya’s best racing motorists,” having taken to the sport while studying law in England in 1930. He is reported as having raced at Brooklands. Apparently he hid his nine racing cars before the Japanese occupation, dismantling them and hiding the bits, most of which he has been able to retrieve. The results of the event follow, and it is pleasing to know that the prizes were awarded by P. G. Pentheri, one of the persons forced by the Japanese to build the hill-road during the war. Note, too, the preponderance of British vehicles I
Lemat bin Chunick (Triumph), 47 sec.
J. Robson (A.J.S.)
Unlimited Class Motorcycles
J. Skakke (H.R.D.), 41.2 sec.
1,100-c.c. Sports Cars
Norman Chow Ah Ting (M.G.) 56.2 sec.
1,500-c.c. Sports Cars
1st. Lim Peng Han (M.G.), 52.8 see.
2nd.-J. -N. Monerietf (M.G.) 53.4 sec.
1,500-c.c. Touring Car
P. Williams (Austin).
2,000-c.c. Touring Car
P. D. O. Liddell (Wolseley), 61.2 sec.
3,000-c.c. Touring Car
S. A. Dawood (Riley), 52.2 sec.
Unlimited Touring Cars
J. A. Milne (Ford), 50.0 sec.
1,500-c.c. Racing Cars
B. Q. Chia (M.G.) 48,0 sec.
Unlimited Racing Cars
Lim Peng Han (” Special “), 42.0 sec.
Basic is back!
All excellent indication of the voting and rcVelltle value of the ” basic” ration has been obtainable from intelligent observation of the traffic on British roads during recent week-ends. On the sunny Sunday morning of July 25th, for instance, traffic flowed along A 80 at the rate of approximately 200 private cars per hour. Most of them carried three or more occupants and, if motor-cycles are included, at least 800 voters motored by during each round of the clock on this highway alone, happy that petrol has been restored to them. A census of makes that we took gave the following results ; it emphasises how stereotyped our traffic is becoming—all strength to those enthusiasts who occasionally enliven the scene with vintage, and occasionally veteran, cars ! :
Another census, taken when the August Bank Holiday traffic flow had reached 400 private cars and utilities an hour, gave :
Motor-cycles (17% had sidecars) came out as :—
These loggings may not mean very much when sales successes are under discussion, because the average age of the cars that went by was twelve years ; on the other hand, owners are very often staunch to former makes when the time arrives to buy a new car. And those contemplating a service-station or garage may find some guidance in the makes for which it is worth catering. Certainly our roads abound in dull cars—out of 200 specifically noted, on a fine holiday afternoon, only one was an open model ! A friend has contributed a similar list compiled in Brussels, which makes an interesting comparison :
V.M.C.C. of A.
We are reminded again of the immense enthusiasm for veteran cars that prevails in America, by the arrival of the April issue of the Bulb Horn, official organ of the Veteran Motor Car Club of America.
The ambitious New York Antique Auto Show to which we referred in our July issue is reported—there were prizes for the best-kept cars, most expensive veteran, best race-about, best chassis and engine, best racing car (won by Cameron Peck’s 1914 Peugeot from a 1910 Breeze and 1923 Mercedes), best Model-T Ford, best Buick, best Maxwell, distance prizes, restoration prizes, and so on. Britain please copy ! This issue of the Bulb Horn also contains a spectator’s memories of the 1902 Circuit des Ardennes race (which aroused immense enthusiasm, clergymen and farmers amongst those who journeyed by train to see the start), a paper published in 1916 on “Steam Motor Vehicles,” and many photographs of members’ cars. Sec. : G. A. Donald, Wellesley Farms 82, Mass.
Wisconsin Centennial Tour
This happy happening took place on August 18th, each car participating being issued with a free licence plate for the day, honoured in the Wisconsin area. Apart from a medallion for every competing car and the usual rally prizes based on the age of car and distance covered, the happy idea was instituted of presenting additional awards for the oldest steamer, electric car, one, two, four, six, and eight-cylinder cars completing the parade under their own power. The event was open to “antique” ‘ automobiles and, in view of our remarks last month on the various datings applied in this country to old cars, it is interesting to note that “any automobile 25 years or older (i.e., up to and including 1923) ” was eligible. Apparently no entry fees were charged, a stamped postcard for entry-registration came with the regulations, and sponsored meals, entertainment, police protection for cars, and parking facilities were promised to all competitors. We were glad to observe that — “No advertising of any kind will be allowed, and all nonantiques, jalopies or ‘hot-rod’ creations will absolutely be barred, as will anyone not in keeping with the spirit of this event.” A tour, starting on August 8th from Flint, Michigan, led via Chicago to Milwaukee. If this event was as good as it sounds it was very good indeed—all credit to the Wisconsin Centennial Automotive Committee, Inc., who organised it. Alas, remembering the free licences and food, etc.’ there is little point in saying British Clubs please copy.
Well, this life goes on, and if there is petrol in the tank and one hasn’t seen a newspaper for quite a while, things can seem almost as good as they did before the war. With but a day’s “breather” after the Bo’ness journey we found ourselves in possession of a nearly brand-new 8i-litre Jaguar saloon, which took us through the London traffic and along the familiar roads home in fine style. That evening the fuel situation precluded more than a gentle potter on the borders of Hampshire and Berkshire but the next morning this Jaguar proved well able to hold its own with the Metropolisbound traffic. Thereafter it headed for Goodwood, as already recounted, • and, so far as this writer is concerned, he bid it good-bye in the Waterloo Road, after a strenuous but absorbing day, a London taxi, entered so soon after the Jaguar’s rapid progress, seeming to be stationary, but for all that contacting successfully with that anachronism, the “5.9.”
Next, an unexpected ‘phone call resulted in a change of plan, so that the following Sunday found us away early along familiar roads in the Austin bound for Hanworth aerodrome, with its memories of pre-war aerial garden-parties and the comings and goings of General Aircraft’s gliders and light aeroplanes during the war. Rain was falling persistently, but astonishing numbers of motor-cyclists, many on early combinations, were indulging in their Sunday out, further proof of the vote-value of “basic.”
Around 11 a.m. we climbed into the austere interior of an Avro “Anson I.” The communicating door casually lashed open with a length of cleaning cloth, we sat awaiting warm oil to the engines—as if anything could get warm on such a morning ! At long last we taxied out and were soon over the straggling area of Hounslow and Feltham, bound for the North. Brough and the 500-c.c. Club’s motor racing was the objective. The wireless operator thought as little of the manual undercarriage retraction as we did, and left that strong-arm job to his pilot. Once the name of an R.A.F. Station beneath us was passed back to we silent passengers, but mostly we were unaware of our location as we were flown through the murk. However, without incident, save for some hearty bumps, we came to Brough, the winding process was reversed, the wheels came down and over the line of cars and motor-cycles streaming into the venue, we landed-72 minutes from London and the bar not too far from the landing area ! Tantalisingly, the rain gave over after the meeting, and that evening we set out in fine weather in a D.H. “Dragon Rapide,” with the knowledge that really bad conditions prevailed round London—although we did not know that long-distance air-liners were deserting our airports for the Continent rather than land, or that that unfortunate collision had happened over Northolt . .
With Directors and high-ranking R.A.F. officers of the firm who owned the aircraft reading and dozing in the rear seats, we sat forward, immediately behind the open inter-communicating door, the starboard engine and airscrew ” disc ” appearing to be at remarkably close quarters to the fuselage, and the radio operator frequently tuning a set situated right beneath our feet. Thus we flew peacefully down England, the pilot, grey-haired, in lounge suit, seemingly casual, actually alert, at the controls. Mostly, we were at 1,300 feet, bumps increasing as we flew South to the bad weather, the “Gipsy” engines subdued but purposeful, the oil gauge of one reading 65, that of the other 72 lb./sq. in., we noticed.
After some time the pilot spotted the ” Anson ” which had flown us up that morning overtaking to starboard, its cabin now occupied by the successful Moss equipe, for they had travelled up by train, the Cooper in the guard’s van and fuel in their suitcases, or so the story went, and were glad of a lift home. The sky grew more inky, the ” Dragon ” protesting at times, and the sunset to starboard most awe-inspiring. Luton came up, was left behind, and soon familiar landmarks appeared, until the broad runways of Heath Row lay to port and the Staines and Queen Mary reservoirs showed ahead, the jetty of the latter looking most intriguing from the air. Then the radio aerial was wound-in, the last morse messages were transmitted, and we were circling over the untidy back gardens of Feltham, until a firm application of the long flaps lever killed the ” Dragon’s ” desire to glide and we dropped over the boundary hedge on to the field beyond. The journey had taken 89 minutes and we had effectively bamboozled the weather, for had we been much earlier we should have met the worst of the day’s storm. As we drove over Staines Bridge for home, week-end motorists were pressing on Londonwards along A 30, viewing with apprehension a solid wall of thunder cloud that we were thankful to leave behind us. A Jowett ” Javelin ” was taken over next, its brisk pick-up and modern ease of handling making light of London’s West-End traffic. Next day, in teeming rain, we used the Javelin for a pocket tour of Surrey and were amazed with ourselves for not having explored this area previously. It is a noted beauty area, it is true, doubtless over-visited at summer week-ends and its proximity of London may mar the illusion of remoteness that its quiet woods and tucked-away villages bring. For all that, it is magnificent scenery, in such concentration that those short of petrol would do well to consider it—go on a week-day, preferably in an open car. For our part, the Javelin’s transparent roof filled the bill admirably. The suggestion of height, and of having projected ourselves into some hitherto unexplored foreign clime, was played-up-to by the mist that swirled about the trees, blotting out views of the valleys below the road. For those who are interested, we took tea along with all the other week-end motorists, in Redhill, then drove along the main road (A 25) towards Dorking, turning off for Betchworth and on to Newdigate. Here a tricky righthand turn brought us to the main Horsham road (A 24), where we turned left, then right (at Arnolds), and so towards Ockley. Off this road we turned right up B 2120 through Jayes Park to Forest Green, where we forked right to run past the foot of Leith Hill (the hill lane itself a happy hunting ground with special Austin Sevens in pre-war days). Before reaching the picturesque Abinger we right-handed to Feldemore, to Holmbury St. Mary, and went straight on at the X-roads. Here the run becomes interesting, following a winding road through Hurt Wood, to Peaslake. The latter part is “Impracticable for Motors,” but the Javelin rode comfortably over the rough surface, surprising a Singer “Le Mans” and later encountering a parked Ford Eight saloon that had apparently made light of the bad going. From Peaslake we explored other lanes leading back in the direction of Hurtwood village. Good country indeed, and an excellent pocket-tour—you will find it on sheet 170 of the One-Inch Ordnance Survey map.
A week later the sun shone from a cloudless sky and cars were poked down lanes and into hedgerows at almost every turn as we drove through Berkshire, their owners picnicking, while cows waded in the streams and horses sheltered under the trees—such is England and its fickle climate.
It was to combat the heat wave that we accompanied the driver of a potent Austin-Seven Special on a brief expedition that involved a descent of the original Hog’s Back road into Guildford, as. distinct from the ribbon of tarmac we now call the Hog’s Back, an excursion to investigate odd markings on the map which turned out to be a disused waterway near the site of the single-track Guildford and Horsham railway at Run Common, and a run via shady lanes to Albury, when an “Impassable for Motors” sign was followed and Newland& Corner reached up a route reminiscent of a London-Edinburgh observed section.. That evening there was more variety, in the form of a short drive in a Tipo 6C Alfa-Romeo fabric saloon, the twincam 1,750-c.c. engine simply inviting double-declutching of the gears, controlled by a long but rigid control lever spring-loaded towards 1st and 2nd in its open gate, and the noise of the valvegear dying away at anything over 40 m.p.h. The car settled down to unobtrusive cruising at over 55 m.p.h. with the rear Telecontrols tight, after we had paused to admire its many attractive items of detail design. The Vintage Prescott entailed collection of a Vauxhall Ten from Essex and its propulsion over to Hampshire in a heatwave, a miserable journey in all conscience, on account of the engine needing new points and an ignition check-over. That job accomplished next day, the Bank Holiday run was satisfactorily completed, even to the return journey in a thunderstorm, the road flooded along the Cheltenham-Witney stretch, which we have always regarded as high ground. Then an excursion to Birmingham became due, to collect one of those brisk, up-to-the-minute and much-sought-after A40 Austins for analysis. We even contrived to locate and remain on the ring road away from Longbridge, but it is easy to see why so many travellers dive off it and become hopelessly lost in the city’s environs. At best this loopway looks like
a series of short suburban two-way avenues leading nowhere in particular. Then you go over a cross-road and the thing deteriorates to what is patently a back street in a built-up area, except that islands and signs indicate a one-way road. Continuing hopefully you reach a T-junction and only tiny, ill-placed arrows tell you whether to go left or right, or that a few yards after turning you are expected to turn again, out of the main road just joined. That is as a visitor sees it, but doubtless the ringroads are salvation to dwellers in or around Birmingham.
In any case, in an A40 one is soon clear of such things and three fine towns, Stratford-on-Avon, Oxford and Henley, lay on our route, the last-named really nicely decorated for the Olympic Games. The A40 impressed many critics with its combination of excellent features that week-end. After a run in teeming rain up from the Boscombe Speed Trials, the Bugatti which preceded us all but hidden in spray, its unfortunate occupants drenched, we pottered in the Chalfonts on Sunday, then set out for Longbridge again on Monday, this time direct to the works past a turning beyond Stratford leading to Anne Hathaway’s cottage and on through Redditch. It was pleasing to discover that the Advertising Department, where a team of artists and draughtsmen prepare “copy,” compile technical data and illustrate catalogues, occupies Austin’s original erecting shop, and that the ” round-the-globe ” Austin Twenty tourer and two ” Chummy ” Sevens, one believed to be the third production model, are preserved there. Pleasant, too, to find Austin’s veterans proudly displayed in the spacious and quietly elegant showroom, alongside the new models and display chassis, the 1908 G.P. car dominating the array. One showery afternoon was devoted to driving an 1898 Columbia electric car in a country town, steering it by a central tiller and increasing or decreasing speed by means of a left-hand controller, a tiny press-button in the centre of which rang a melodious warning bell. This was followed by a brisk ride on an 18thcentury Stailey Sociable bicycle. The next day there was an unexpected drive in a stark G.N., an experience one wouldn’t have missed for worlds, as the air-cooled V-twin engine (actually an o.h.v. J.A.P.) sang its lusty war-song or crackled noisily on the over-run, the latent performance obviously immense, although the only dials before one were an ammeter, rev-counter and air-pressure gauges, while the tail was prone to slide and the brakes went virtually unnoticed. But with a weight of about 7 cwt., ample b.h.p. on petrol/benzole and a fuel consumption in the region of 50 m.p.g., this was altogether out-of-the-ordinary motoring, and a taste of what Godfrey and Nash enjoyed in the early twentiesvibration, hot-smell, wind unbroken by any form of screen, dust and all the rest of it. What a lot the present generation is missing ! That day’s motoring concluded, most satisfactorily, after tea in Chichester, with a run in the sternsheets of an immaculate Type 40 Bugatti through the by-ways of Sussex and Hampshire on a perfect summer evening.