Club News, September 1949

We Hear
In a dry barn in Wales, R. L. Simms has unearthed a well-preserved side-by side two-seater, V-twin two-stroke Carden cyclecar. Last registered in 1924, there was still oil in the engine, which had good compression — the new owner is now grappling with timing the ML magneto to suit the engine. In the same loft which had sheltered this cyclecar are a number of early motor-cycles. Then Patrick Felton, who is running a 1928 “Silver Eagle” Alvis, has found a four-cylinder Benz lorry of about 1914 vintage in Hereford, with a typical Benz “lubricator box” beside its engine. H. K. Place has acquired the famous ex-Munday “fiat-iron ” Thomas-Special, and has somehow contrived to have a Mercury V8 engine, complete with American “hotting-up” devices, fitted into it, the car also having been lightened — it is due to appear in next season’s sprint events. In view of Clutton’s article on the G.N., published last month, it is interesting that Basil Davenport recently discovered a touring example which has run only 5,000 miles or so throughout its life, and which he hopes to use as family transport when he has removed some of the rust. A. Smith of Coventry is rebuilding a 3-litre pushrod Alfa-Romeo and would like to hear from other owners of these cars. Journeying to Bristol in a Sunbeam-Talbot “80” to cover the Veteran Car Trial, we encountered a fairly reasonable 1925 Humber Eight two-seater at a garage in Wick.

K. N. Hutchison announces that, as a director of the largest die-casting company in this country, director of an engineering company, and being associated with a wholesale tyre factors, busy developing a fruit and flower business, anxious to take over a farm and possessing a desire to travel, he finds, not surprisingly, that he cannot devote proper time and attention to motor racing. Consequently, we regret to learn, he is retiring from the game. Boshier & Pattenden, Ltd., of Norwich, intend to concentrate on “cars of distinction” at the garage they have taken over in Chapelfield Road. A. F. Carlisle, who owns a 1908 single-cylinder de Dion, is restoring an 1899 or thereabouts de Dion-engined Progress Forecar for the Brighton Run. Birkett has sold his ex-Kaye Don “4.9” Bugatti and his 2-litre Bugatti chassis, the former to an enthusiast who has several Frazer-Nashes and who intends to install a 4-litre Daimler “Light Sports” engine taken from a “Shelsley” Frazer-Nash, in which it had acted as a substitute for the Gough power-unit.

R. W. Stroude sends out a frantic S.O.S. for half-shafts for his 1927 12-h.p. Galloway — can anyone help, please? Graham Lloyd reports any number of interesting antiques in the Cheltenham/ Gloucester district, including a 1933 12-11.p. f.w.d. Derby saloon, 1924 “10/23” Talbot, 1927 Star, 1929 Triumph Super Seven, 1926 “14/40” Vauxhall, 1927 sleeve-valve Daimler Sixteen, 1925-26 Humber Sixteen, 1928 Swift Ten (we think we know this one — if it is the well-preserved tourer you see as you leave Prescott on Sunday evenings), a utility-bodied Straight-eight Stutz, a 1926 Packard Six, a 1930 Marquette, a Marendaz-Special, and, very rare, a 1932 Hampton straight-eight with the German-made Rohr engine of about 16 h.p., this car having 1/2-elliptic suspension and not the i.f.s. of the last of the Hamptons.

B. Raine has a Smith’s shaft-driven screen-wiper which might be useful to someone rebuilding a vintage car; he offers it to the first applicant who will defray the postage. He is looking for a set of friction shock-absorbers for a 1935 Ford Ten. His address is: “Domus,” 282, Thornton Road, Thornton, Bradford. Referring to our report of the July Prescott Meeting, T. W. Dargue points out that his 1,433-c.c. M.G Magnette still retains its basic 1934 T.T. specification, apart from having been bored out to 1,433 c.c. before the car came into his possession. The Allard Motor Co., Ltd., received a cable from Brazil stating that Bonini’s Allard was second to a blown Alfa-Romeo in the 25-mile Interlagos sports car race.

M. Meo still has his Meo-Special, virtually a G.N., which he ran in 1933-4, but now has the engine from the Laystall Special, of pre-war Brooklands memory, installed therin, and has added Lancia i.f.s. and knock-off wheels on O.M. hubs. He is also building up a twin-cam Sahnson with cut-down four-seater body from an “18/80” M.G. On August Bank Holiday anyone who had occasion to use A.30 was reminded that there was a motorcycle meeting at Blandford — besides the sporting solos and combinations en route from London, we saw a very fierce Morgan. But sports cars were conspicuous by their absence amongst the holiday traffic. We noticed only a few M.G.s, a “12/50” Lea-Francis with some of its body panels missing and, along A.30, a “30/98” Vauxhall going in one direction and a late-type “Grand Prix” Salmon in the opposite direction. And the only signs of accidents we saw in a fair mileage were one girl pillion passenger mildly hurt through a skid on a wet surface and a not-too-badly battered Austin saloon parked on a grass verge. A reader sends a “pipe-dream” anent air-cooled engines for trials cars — why not a Vincent H.R.D. unit in a new Lloyd chassis, he asks? Godfrey Imhof broke the class record at the Develiers les Rangies Swiss Hill-Climb when his Allard won the 3-5-litre class.

It is with deep regret that we learn of the death of Comdr. Antony Yorke, R.N., who took such a keen interest in the 500 Club. A book consisting of catalogue-type photographs of all the modern cars, beautifully reproduced, together with tables of prices and specifications is available at 8s. 6d. from W. and D. Willett, Ltd., 406, Strand, W.C.2. Runbaken Electrical Products are continually introducing worthwhile accessories, their latest, of obvious interest to our world, being an electronic tachometer, for accurately measuring the speeds or four, six and eight-cylinder engines up to 5,000 r.p.m., no external electrical supply being needed. A. Corbett intends to strip and rebuild a 1929 “Speed Six” Bentley he has acquired and one of the aluminium-bodied sports Gwynne Eights, somewhat modified, is hale and hearty out in Singapore. The G.N. history published last month has aroused widespread interest, even if there are not so many G.N.s about as all that — although H. R. Godfrey tells us he knows of quite a few. Incidentally, the picture of the G.P. model referred to a 1918/14 car, not a 1915 as captioned, the later version having a dummy V-radiator, while the first item of the detailed specifications referred to “Late 1910 and early 1911” cars, not “Late and early 1911” while the owner of a 1919-21 G.N. credited with doing 72 m.p.h. over 8,000 miles actually got 72 m.p.g. — and very useful that would be in these days!

“Mort” Morris-Goodall is off to the East. A fabric saloon Salmson was seen motoring along A 30 recently, with two spare wheels strapped to its side. A rusty, but possibly saveable Douglas light car exists near Loughborough.

Gordon Fairbanks, of Quebec, has a 1982 f.w.d. Cord, the “pre-streamliner job,” and he is contemplating installing a Buick engine in his Auburn Speedster, as it weighs 4,300 lb. and so is rather lost with a mere 125 b.h.p.; Fairbanks craves 150 or 175 b.h.p. In Ireland, Paddy Halion has acquired a Bugatti said to have run in the 1935 T.T., possibly at Brooklands. It is a Type 57, engine No. S 7283, registered No. ZA 4638. It needs a respray, but hood, tyres, battery, etc., are reported as first-rate, as the mileage is only about 16,000 and only its high tax kept the secondhand price low. It is one of two Type 57s in Ireland, being first registered there in May, 1935, and Halion would like to know more of its racing history.

Scott-Moncrieff has duly got his 1924 3-litre o.h.c. Chenard-Walcker on the road and has covered some 1,300 miles in it, including the delivery journey of 438 miles. The old car puts a very honest 80 miles into every hour, does slightly over 20 m.p.g., has quite good Ballot-licence front (no rear) brakes, and has used not one drop of oil! “Bunty” craves an instruction book if anyone has one. And J. F. Taylor hopes to have his Senechal on the road this month; it is the usual 59 by 100 mm., four-cylinder model with a 4.1-to-1 back axle.

Knowland Trophy Trial
The Cemian M.C. Knowland Trophy Trial will start from the Royal Huts Hotel, Hindhead, Surrey, at 11 a.m.. on September 18th. The Chiltern C.C., Hants and Berks M.C., Harrow CC., Horsham and D.M.C. and L.C.C., Kentish Border C.C., South:sea M.C., and W. Hants and Dorset C.C. are invited. Details from: F. B. Dryden, 5, The Drive, Orpington, Kent.

Popular Motor Racing
Some time ago, when the Editor was wandering nostalgically in the Weybridge area of Surrey, drinking in the atmosphere that was to give him the courage to embark on his “Story of Brooklands,” which has now reached two volumes, he came into conversation with a dear old grey-haired lady in the council offices of that town. “Tell me,” he said, with sudden inspiration, “did Brooklands Track seem a nuisance to you — noise, traffic and all that — and is the Vickers factory preferable?” “Good gracious, no,” came the answer. “Why, we were very proud of the old Track. It was the first in the world, you know, and although I didn’t go to race meetings there, whenever visitors came to stay, as soon as they had had tea, the request was always, ‘Can we go to look at Brooklands?’ “

About a couple of years later, in a hairdresser’s off Finsbury Pavement, an elderly gentleman was telling the assistant that he was returning from his holidays by September 17th so as not to miss the B.A.R.C. Meeting at Goodwood. There followed a graphic and reasonably accurate description of how fast cars take the corners of the Sussex circuit.

Only last month, lunching in an insignificant public house in the City, a lady, again elderly, was heard remarking to her escort that speedway didn’t appeal to her, but,”I do enjoy a horse race and I like a motor race. At Brooklands you used to get a very good view of almost the entire course for your money.”

Now experiences like this, which shake your Editor pretty thoroughly, don’t happen without reason. The fact is that of recent-times, perhaps as never before, the British public has taken to motor racing. If the Government doesn’t do anything criminal in respect to the standard petrol ration, 1950 should indeed be a wonderful year for the Sport.

Bulldog Breed
From an article in a contemporary: — ” . . . cows two meadows away bate their chewing in awe and a ton and threequarters of ferrous metal tears a jagged hole in the atmosphere.” Guided missile, explosion … ? No, merely a “blower 4 1/2” Bentley at full bore!

Royal Scottish A.C.
The General Committee of the R.A.S.C. has much pleasure in announcing that H.R.H. The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, have honoured the Royal Scottish Automobile Club by accepting Honorary Membership.

We Wonder
A Press Bulletin issued on August 2nd by the publicity department of the Allard Motor Company Ltd., reports that the Interlagos Sports Car Race, in which an Allard finished second, was won by Leite, driving a two-stage Alfa-Romeo. The italics are ours. And we are still wondering . . .

Motor Sport
The following appeared in the Motor dated August 3rd: —

Sporting events have an indirect as well as a direct influence on motor car sales. Not everyone wants a car of sporting make, and not every motorist can find time to go to trials, hill-climbs and races. Yet the chances are that when one of these “non-competitive” drivers wants to buy a new car, the first thing he will do is consult some keen friend. “Let’s ask old George — he goes to Silverstone and places, and is bound to know if there’s anything wrong with this new Hokum Blizzard they are advertising.” So old George is consulted, and his friends buy an Oakum Eight instead, on his say-so. To-day more people go to motoring events in this country than ever before, and so what I may call the “enthusiast vote” is very well worth cultivating. It will sell a great many cars (and “unsell” a lot, too) in the next year or so, when the home market gets its share of the output.

Without Comment
The following appeared in the excellent magazine published monthly by the Bristol M.C. & L.C.C., and we reproduce it with due acknowledgment, and without comment:

“My car is an old car, it looks old. It has no ‘new look,’ it looks like a car. The radiator is in the front and the thing you put the water in is on top. You cannot confuse the front with the back. The back has no hump like the front and the spare wheel is on it. Also the lights are different; the ones in front light up the road, they are not part of the wings or the body. The rear lamp is red and is fixed to the number plate; when I back into things I beat the plate straight again. There is no glass to crack or tail to crumple. The steering wheel is for steering with; it is round; it has no cigarette lighters or gear-levers to confuse one. The gear-lever is comfortable for the left hand; it does not slip out of gear. There is no need to preselect your gear, you just change it when required. One can see all four wheels, they are quite ugly; you can change a wheel in evening dress in two minutes (if you have evening dress). It is not necessary to crawl under the car to do this. The wheels are outside the chassis and it is not necessary to jack the body up to see which tyre is punctured.

“There are no modern improvements on my car. There is very little tin or steel on it either. There is no independent front suspension to wear the tyres out, in fact the tyres last longer than some modern engines. I have no radio fitted to annoy others when parked; if you want music there is the xylophonic rattle of the timing wheels, the groaning of the springs, and the eternal tympani from the crankcase. It is better to listen to this in motion, the strings drown the percussion better. When I drive, my heart sings. I have no hydraulic master cylinder I have neglected to fill. I have no built-in jacks to work themselves down on to the road. When it rains, I can put the hood up, I am not at the mercy of switches, relays and a flat battery. I can look in the tank and see how little petrol I have; I do not have to trust a little needle on a dial. When I am nearly out, I switch on to a reserve supply. The starting handle goes in at the front, there is a hole provided for it. It is just a hole, it is not disguised as a lion’s head, trapdoor or name badge. In spite of its age, my car seems to perform quite well. No one would say it was effortless at speed, but it still seems to have more speed of a different sort than most of the moderns, provided the road-test figures are not prejudiced.

“I’m glad everybody hasn’t got my sort of car. The motor industry would be in a mess and I should be even more broke. Where should I be without the broken. crown-wheels and crankshafts, the brake relines, the gasket blowers, the oil drinkers, the petrol drinkers, the beer drinkers?

“I will be good. I am thankful for the wishbones that wear out the tyres. I rejoice in the radio that ruins the battery. Given time I love those brakes which won’t work when the car goes backways. I hanker after the narrow camshaft bearings that loose all the oil pressure. I love the built-in headlights, which want better reflectors and bigger bulbs, or else a separate spotlight that I can sell. I love all that curved tin, I can spend hours and hours beating and billing and spraying and polishing, and the customer will be ever so pleased.

“I love all the modern trends because, but for progress, I should be ruined and not even able to run my car. — D. V. C.”