Rally Review - Lombard RAC Rally of Great Britain, January 1980
Statistics, it is said, can be made to prove anything, but be would be a…
H. Birkett has sold his Type 44 Bugatti to Norman Sharp, a former 3-litre Bentley owner, and now motors in a series of Austin Sevens. The early lightcars are certainly getting out and about. We saw a beaded-edge-shod “8/18” Talbot two-seater and a Charron-Laycock two-seater recently, and encountered a “hip-bath” Gwynne Eight in Chiswick. It seems that the remains of a Sizaire-Naudin still lie at a garage near Stilton, and parts of a Sizaire-Freres were found in someone’s field recently. A prowl round Berkshire last month revealed some Unic spares, a F.I.A.T. Eight at a breakers, also useful for spares, and a clean 1926 “10/15” F.I.A.T. tourer for sale for £35.
R. Barker is restoring an interesting Type 30 Bugatti two-seater in between searching for early Napiers as stable companions for his 1909 car of this make which forms the subject of a “Veteran Types” article in this issue. Lt. Naish, besides running a 1924 “14/40” Sunbeam, has taken vintage motor-cycling in his stride, with a 1922 M.A.G.-engined, V-twin i.o.c. Lea-Francis. He refers to a 1906 Rover motor-cycle and a two-cylinder Brasier car with Napier radiator at Wickenham, and to driving a 20-h.p. side-valve Austro-Daimler tourer which is believed to be Edwardian and is quite exciting at that.
Australian enthusiasts will be glad to learn that the Editor of Motor Sport was able to discover for George Brooks, who is in this country with his vintage ” 24/90 ” Straker-Squire, another of these cars in use in London. A pleasing sight at Camberley Car Services recently was a straight-eight Lanchester with a most attractive Kellner coupé body, the roof line very low, the interior appointments magnificent and the dickey-seat opening-up in the most ingenious and satisfactory manner, further manipulation opening a panel in the back of the fixed head, thus enabling the dickey-seat occupants to feel less isolated from their more fortunate brethren in the snug front compartment than is usually the case.
A Hampshire antique dealer has a number of old cars on display comprising a very early two-cylinder, chain-drive, automatic-inlet-valve Star two-seater, a later four-cylinder Star, a Calcott fourseater of circa 1920, a Humberette, a Unic landaulette, an Austro-Daimler Kaiser-war tourer, two Wolseley Ten two-seaters, and a pre-1914 Rover Twelve tourer. All would require very appreciable renovation, in our opinion, before being eligible for V.C.C. events, and were stored in the open when we saw them. Those who like to see old cars in action should note that Edwardians and veterans are expected to take part in the Wokingham (Berkshire) Carnival on September 13th. In sending in his solution to the July “Quiz,” D. E. Wrattall remarks that he collects vintage furniture and typewriters, being an antique dealer, as well as cars; his present vehicle is a 1929 Austin “Heavy Twelve,” in which he covers some 200 miles a week and which he describes as ideal for work in the hilly district of Kendal, although he hopes one day to run sontething rather more exciting.
A. F. Rivers Fletcher has bought the ex-im Thurn 4-1/2-litre Bentley for his own use. A very fine 1914 “12/16” Sunbeam two-seater, which had been standing in a stable in Scotland for a quarter-of-a-century, ran at the Bo’ness Hill Climb last summer. Another £100 New Carden two-cylitcler, two-stroke cyele-car has turned up, this one a 1924 model in Sussex, carefully stored in a dry shed after doing an initial mileage of only about 1,000. And a 1923 Ariel light-car has been discovered, under similar conditions, also in Sussex. August Bank Holiday produced a spate of early Wolseley saloons – two or three “11/22s” and a Ten – while a smart Humber Twelve saloon made its way manfully into Brands Hatch.
“Peterborough,” of the Daily Telegraph, obviously hasn’t. quite sorted out his motor-racing! Commenting on August 2nd in his “London Day by Day” column on his paper’s forthcoming meeting for Formula III 500-c.c. cars at Brands Hatch, he wrote: “Also present will be Johnnie Claes, a ‘swing’ trumpeter from Belgiuin, who is bringing over his Talbot, already a Veteran at many European Grand Prix. France will send M. Bayol with his two assistant drivers, MM. Bonnet and Aunnard, whose DB cars with Dyna-Panhard engines won the team prize at the Alpine trial.”
John Muller is reconditioning a 1922 “10/15 ” F.I.A.T. tourer and seeks data. Incidentally, Kent Karslake uses a later Type 503 F.I.A.T. two-seater as a very willing hack. A brass-radiator model-T Ford tourer was seen by a reader in use in Wickham, Hants, last year. Joan Beale hopes someone can give her the history of a “Brooklands” Riley, Reg. No. VC 6788. It has twin S.U.s and is said to do 55-60 m.p.h. in second, 75 in third and 85 in top, accelerate well and give 34 m.p.g.
A Sizaire-Freres is reported rotting in a field “somewhere in England.” L. P. Upton has a 1929 “16/68” Darracq, with utility body, which serves him splendidly as a business car.
Shell have issued a most attractive book, containing only one sentence, 52 photographs and no advertising matter: apply for your copy to Shell Mex House, London, W.C.2. Sunbeam owners may care to know that copies of the Sunbeam Register are available from “Carmel,” Wood Lane, Fleet, Hants, at 2s. post free.
G. H. Deason of Model Cars runs a 1930 o.h.c. Morris Minor. The Hull Corporation preserves five veteran cars in its Museum at High Street, these being an 1897 Panhard, 1900 Sturmey, 1900 Cleveland Electric, 1901 White Steamer and a 1900 Lanchester. These are to run in the V.C.C. Hull-Scarborough Rally on September 3rd. There is also an Avro 504 aeroplane in the collection.
East Anglian M.C.
Butlin’s Motor Rally, which comences on Friday, September 29th, to Sunday, October 1st, 1950, will be organised by the East Anglian M.C. This Rally is claimed to be the first of its kind in Britain since the war. Starting points are the Car Mart, Staples Corner, Edgware, and Messrs. H. and .J. Quick, Ltd., Chester Road, Manchester – zero hour 11 p.m. The routes (approximately 375 miles) will be via Sleaford to Skegness, where the competitors will do a 440 yards sprint between 3.30 a.m. and 4.30 a.m. floodlit by neon lighting and a figure of eight test, marked by storm lamps. Breakfast with one hour’s rest is laid on and the return route is by Stoke-by-Nayland to Halstead. This is a twisty route to be observed in a similar way to Continental tests. At Halstead there will be a 350 yards driving test and one hour’s rest. Finally, a short route to Butlin’s at Clacton with an arrival test, lunch and further tests in the afternoon. An average of 30 m.p.h. is stipulated, inclusive of all stops, and marks will be lost at the finish for car defects.
Saturday evening will be fully occupied with a theatre show and dance, Sunday by a concours and competitions in the Fun Fair using dodgem ears and Butlin’s fancy cycles. Finally, a tea dance and presentation of prizes will be made by the Club President, The Rt. Hon. R. A. Butler, M.P.
Free accommodation will be provided for two competing members of each car. There are seven classes, the entry fee is 25s. and cut lies close first post September 9th or at £2 2s. by September 16th. The invited Clubs are: B.A.R.C., M.C.C., Harrow, N.W. London, M.G., Herts County and Maidstone. Details from: R. K. N. Clarkson, The Chase, Halstead, Essex.
A Job for Lockheed?
We quote the following, from the Daily Telegraph of August 1st:
“The Lord Mayor’s state coach, which for nearly 200 years has travelled along London’s streets on his show day without brakes, is to be fitted with them. They will be used in time for this year’s procession to steady the coach’s progress down Ludgate Hill.
“In last year’s procession horses drawing the carriage of the retiring Lord Mayor, Sir George Aylwen, bolted into the crowd, almost overturning the coach. Twenty-one people were injured.
“Mr. George Holliday, the City surveyor, said: ‘This type of coach was not built for brakes. There is no chassis, the body being merely slung on leather straps, and a method had to be found by which the brakes could be fitted.’ “
A New Circuit
The following appeared in the Daily Telegraph of August 8th:
“Plans to construct a £20,000 racing track at Rivenhall airfield are being made by the recently formed Essex Motor Racing Club. Financial backing is available but Air Ministry approval must be obtained before the work starts.
“The club, formed by a group of local business men and racing enthusiasts, already has a membership of nearly 200. They hope to hold their first meeting in 1952.
“The chairman of the club, Mr. Monty Vere, 70, is confident of the success of the venture. Twice a winner of the London-Brighton veteran-car race [This presumably refers to the London-Brighton Veteran Car Run, which is not a race and does not have an outright winner, although in its early form competitors did go as fast as they could. – ED.], he claims to be Britain’s oldest driver. He started driving in 1896 and has held a licence since 1903.
” ‘I believe we shall build a really fine track,’ he said. “The airfield is ideally situated and there is no lack of local backing for the project. We are also hoping to interest British motor manufacturers.”
Speed by the Seaside
The Brighton Speed Trials will be held on September 2nd, cars running in pairs, over the Madeira Drive, which was specially built for motor speed events before most of us were even a twinkle. The cars are going really fast at the end of the straight kilometre course and this is an excellent excuse for a day beside the sea and an ideal event at which to introduce the lukewarm wife or girlfriend to her first taste of motor-racing. The sports cars run in the morning, starting at 10.30 a.m., the racing cars after lunch.
The Motor Cycling Club’s One-Hour High Speed Trials held round the outer-circuit at Brooklands every September prior to the war, were exceedingly enjoyable and a very good introduction to serious racing. Consequently, it is extremely heartening to learn that, this old-established club is including three one-hour events of this kind in its race meeting at Silverstone on September 9th. One is for motor-cycles, combinations and three-wheelers, the other for cars. As in pre-war times, competitors compete against the club, the required average speeds ranging from 29.64 m.p.h, to qualify for a Third-Class Award on a 125-c.c. motor-cycle, to 59.28 m.p.h. to win a First-Class Award in the unlimited-capacity car class. Besides these high-speed trials the programme embraces 5-lap scratch and handicap races for two, three and four-wheeled vehicles. The meeting is confined to M.C.C. members and admission will be by ticket., car-parking charges being 7s. 6d. for cars, 2s. 6d. for motor-cycles. Racing commences at 11 a.m. and a very entertaining day’s sport should result. Entries have already closed. Details from: M.C.C. Ltd., 26, Bloomsbury Way, W.C.1 (Holborn 4761).
Edwardianism run riot
A recent number of Mechanix Illustrated carried an article entitled “World’s Champion Old-Car Collector,” which is liable to make even the most enthusiastic member of the V.C.C. blanch. The “champion” is Barney J. Pollard, of Detroit, dealer in building materials, who has so many old cars, some 2,000, that he stacks them vertically in his sheds “like cards in a filing cabinet.” Pollard normally drives a modern Cadillac in his searches for more and more veterans, but he keeps a dozen or so of the latter in running order. His favourite is it 1922 Locomobile, said to have “600 lb. of brass in its crankcase.” Others are a 1923 Stutz, a tiller-steered Stanley steamer, a 1904 two-cylinder Lambert, a 1965 Oldsmobile and a 1910 Cadillac. At least Pollard seems to have many of his cars in sheds, others covered over, unlike some of the “collectors” of old cars that we have encountered recently in the South of England.
The Aston-Martin O.C. received a good entry for its St. John Horsfall Meeting at Silverstone on July 29th and provided the competitors with plenty of variety. The longest race was a 25-lap handicap for sports cars, with a compulsory wheel change, the contestants picked from two 5-lap heats. P. Scott-Russell’s 4-3/4-litre Bentley proved unbeatable, winning at 61.97 m.p.h. D. Parker again demonstrated the fantastic cornering power and good brakes of the old Frazer-Nash “Patience,” with Dubonnet (ex: Vauxhall) i.f.s., and, although its deflector-head Meadows engine, with 12-to-1 compression ratio, disliked more than 4,500 r.p.m., it won the final of the 5-lap Open Car Handicap, at 67.88 m.p.h.
A relay race for the David Brown Challenge Cup was run off in the best Brooklands tradition, except that there were teams of’ four cars and the slowest was started first(!) As few broke down the race was keenly contested, the V.S.C.C. team of Frazer-Nashes beating the M.G.s and Lagondas. A saloon-car race was notable for the wheels-lifting cornering of Carefoot’s Aprilia and Goodman’s Augusta Lancias, but Read’s neat Aston-Martin “International” had too easy a handicap not to succeed. It won at 52.65 m.p.h. The only scratch race saw a good duel between the special B.M.W.s of Willis and Tyrer, the latter snatching victory by 1.2 sec. and making best average – 75.46 m.p.h. – and fastest lap – 76.85 m.p.h. – of the day, in his “Mille Miglia” car.
The big race was the 10-lap St. John Horsfall Trophy Handicap, which attracted 27 Aston-Martins, from Ford’s 1930 “International” to Miss Bean’s 1940 C-type. It was won by J. Rowley’s 1936 2-litre Speed Model at 70.33 m.p.h., ably followed home by Elwell-Smith’s 1928 L.M.2, the slides of some of the others being astonishing in the extreme. Pratt’s Type 37 Bugatti and Greenall’s “Le Mans” Aston-Martin put in sonic good motoring during the day, but Miss Bean’s Aston-Martin and J. Haslam’s ex-Tyrer “382s” B.M.W. were more useful to their owners as travelling grandstands than as racing cars.
The “pit-stops,” both intentional and otherwise, in the 25-lap race produced some enlightening incidents. Clearly Tony Crook has never changed a wheel by himself before and, on finding it difficult, after a rapid drive in his modern Frazer-Nash, before retiring he gave an exhibition more befitted to a music-hall comedian than a racing driver. Mrs. Binns drew in with zero oil-pressure in her Riley, not knowing whether to blame gauge or engine! The professional turnout of many of the drivers (not always the fastest!) was another feature, for which the prize undoubtedly goes to Kemp-Place, who was disguised as an Italian “ace,” all in blue Pirelli overalls.
At it again
Illustrated dated July 15th contained a two-page spread of motor racing horror pictures. They comprised that hoary old shot of Raymond Mays losing a rear wheel from his “Brescia” Bugatti at Caerphilly in 1924 which we have seen so often, May Cunliffe’s G.P. Sunbeam rolling over at Southport in 1928 and killing her father who was acting as mechanic, Skimp Hershey being. burned to death beside his wrecked car at Atlanta speedway, Georgia (a particularly nasty one, this!), two shots of Freddie Dixon going through the hedge in his Riley during the 1932 Ulster T.T. race, and Foresti rolling over at Pendine during a record attempt in 1927. This last-named “shot” is captioned as showing a “baby Italian racing car… out to break the small car speed record.” In fact, it shows “Deljmo,” a straight-eight record-breaking special of some 10 litres, attempting to break British Class A short-distance records.
We can only suggest that genuine lovers of motor racing shun journals that carry horror pictures such as these. The photographers of the “death scenes” who have allowed their negatives to be used in this way deserve to go on record – they are Frederick Hopwood and Tom Aldred.
Publicity for a Vintage Car
The Naval correspondent of the Evening News temporarily turned motoring correspondent in the issue dated July 19th last, with the following story:
“A Rolls-Royce car of ancient vintage, understood to have been bought for £25 in the Middle East, was brought to Portsmouth in the light Seat aircraft carrier Ocean, which returned from a Far East trooping trip today.
In honour of the car, and of some of the other strange assortment of cargo lashed to the flight deck, a Royal Marine Commando band on board played “Any Old Iron” as the ship entered harbour.
Officers and men knew little about the Rolls, except that it was embarked at Port Said. It was freighted as an ordinary item in the long bill of lading.
From the Dockyard authorities I learned that the owner is Brigadier J. W. Racket, whose present address is the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.
An open tourer with a dilapidated hood, exterior brakes and petrol tank, and batteries on the running-board, the car, which was originally supplied by a London firm, bears traces of heavy work in the desert. There is a good deal of sand caked on to it. No licence is to be seen.
On passage, the men of the Ocean have been staring at the curio and speculating about its age and history. Most popular view is that it is over 30 years old. It might even have been used by some famous character such as Lawrence of Arabia, they think.
The Rolls will be collected by its owner from the Superintending Naval Stores Officer, Portsmouth.”
50 Car Club, Cambridge
We have received the following information about this club:
The need had long been felt in Cambridge for a club to cater for the interests of resident enthusiasts and also those in the surrounding districts. Accordingly, following several informal meetings, the 50 Car Club, Cambridge, was launched in January of this year, and members are now looking back with satisfaction on the first six months of their Club’s life.
From the outset, club meetings have been held weekly; this has resulted in good liaison between the committee and members and in excellent support for the events so far undertaken. These have included a Touring Trial, which embraced tests of driving skill; a combined Navigation Trial and Treasure Hunt; an afternoon of timed sprints, suitable for all types of car; and a 100-miles night trial, whose organisers placed the accent on horror (if paddling in an icy stream at 2 a.m. isn’t horror, what is?). A hillclimb had been planned for the end of July, and it is hoped to stage other events before the end of the season.
It is hoped that all car enthusiasts within reach of Cambridge, and also members of neighbouring clubs will contact the Secretary, Mr. P. A. Langford, 262, Milton Road, Cambridge, telephone 55501; or will drop in at any weekly meeting of’ the Club, Fridays at 8.15 p.m., at The Milton Arms Hotel, Milton Road, Cambridge.
We had a record entry for last month’s guessing contest, but very few got it right. We tried it ourselves and, like 28 per cent of our readers, decided the car was a D.F.P. It wasn’t! More sackcloth and loads of ashes! Scott Moncrieff, who sent the picture, tells us it depicts a Rolland-Pilain. These cars were first manufactured in 1907 and the Lavallois-Perret firm even entered some very good-looking racers for the French G.P. of 1923. The first correct solution came from John A. Lloyd, of St. Ncots, and we will forgive him for leaving an “I” out of Rolland! The others who were correct were: S. H. Green, of Sidcup; P. L. K. Bird, of London, N.W.3, and Paul Frere, of Brussels. Mr. Green made the same spelling error as Mr. Lloyd. We congratulate these readers on their knowledge, for the Quiz was a very difficult one – obviously, for did we not fail ourselves!
Incorrect solutions were diverse. Four per cent. voted for Imperia. and Darracq; 6 per cent. for Bean and H.E.; and 2 per cent. for Ballot, Peugeot, Cubitt, and Delaunay-Belleville; the last-named apparently hoping the Editor had vainly inserted a picture of his latest acquisition but not noticing the van body! Single shots covered Cottin et Desgouttes, Hurtu, Buchet, Vinot, La Licorne, Whitlock, Minerva, Marendaz-Special, Lorraine-Dietrich, Crossley, F.N., Charron-Laycock, Mors, Austro-Daimler, Talbot-Darracq, Unic, Alfa-Romeo and Hotchkiss. So “Bunty” certainly had them guessing! One reader suggested “Overlander,” presumably meaning Overland.
The One-Make Clubs
The one-make clubs do admirable work and deserve to be better known. The A.C. Owners’ Club, for example, with a membership, as at July last, of 134, presses on, with a Bulletin, Spares Register, badge, competition events, and hopes of regular monthly meetings – incidentally, it also makes the excellent and unselfish suggestion, which originated in a P.O.W. camp in Siam, of organising a run to the coast for disabled ex-Service men. [A job for which some of the big vintage closed cars should be particularly suitable. – ED.] To assist these one-make clubs and registers to recruit new members and to assist owners of cars thus catered for to avail themselves of the fun and practical advantages of joining such organisations, we list below the names and addresses of the secretaries and registrars of those that occur to us:
A. C. Owners’ Club: G. R. Grigg, 72, Radcliffe Gardens, 8.W.10.
Allard Owners’ Club: Allard Motor Co., Ltd.
Alvis Register: P. Quiggin, 8, Grantchester Road, Cambridge.
Aston-Martin Owners’ Club: D. Coram, 554, Limpsfield Road, Upper Warlingham, Surrey.
750 Club (Austin Sevens): K. Bickle, 4, Pelham Court, Staines, Middlesex.
Bentley Drivers’ Club: Lt.-Col. C. H. D. Berthon, “Madges,” Long Crendon, near Aylesbury, Bucks.
Bugatti Owners’ Club: Major G. Dixon-Spain, O.B.E., Prescott House, Gotherington, Glos.
Citroen Car Club: J. B. Layton, 103, Kingston Hill, Kingston, Surrey.
“14/40” Delage Register: M. Vaughan, 9, Clarence Crescent, Windsor, Berks.
F.I.A.T. 500 Club: J. A. James, 29, The Grampians, Western Gate, W.9.
Frazer-Nash and B.M.W. Club: H. Cundey, A.F.N. Ltd., Falcon Works, London Road, Isleworth, Middlesex.
Frazer-Nash Section of V.S.C.C.: P. Douglas Osborn, Pedmore Court, Pedmore, Worcs.
Lagonda Car Club: L. Leo, 58, Holtspur Top Lane, Beaconsfield, Bucks.
Lagonda Register: P. A. Densham, Damers Farm, Martin, Fordingbridge, Hants.
Lancia Car Club: F. G. Barkway, 22, Queen’s Gate, Place Mews, S.W.7.
Lea-Francis Register: A. B. Price, 9, Granshaw Close, Kings Norton, Birmingham, 30.
M.G. Car Club: G. S. Gardiner, M.G. Car Co., Ltd, Abingdon-oh-Thames, Berkshire.
Morgan Three-Wheeler Club: G. Evans, 19, Chestnut Walk, Worcester.
Riley Motor Club: A. Farrar, 21, Poultney Road, Radford, Coventry.
Rover Eight Register: R. A. M. Dale, 142, Chesterton Road, Cambridge.
Sunbeam Register: Mrs. W. Boddy, “Carmel,” Wood Lane, Fleet, Hampshire.
Sunbeam-Talbot Owners’ Club: N. Garrad, Sunbeam-Talbot Ltd. near Coventry.
Salmson Register: K. C. Radburn, 67, London Avenue, Radford, Coventry.
Most of these clubs have magazines or bulletins, many, apart from those listed as Registers, compile records of members’ cars, and in various ways these organisations serve owners of the appropriate cars exceedingly well. In the winter, when motoring, at 3s. 1d. a gallon, may be a trifle less inviting than in summer, the meetings organised by such clubs keep enthusiasm going, and if a greater shadow should again fall, such meetings may be the sole means of keeping us sane. In short, you are advised to join! It isn’t a selfish move, for other members with similar cars welcome and benefit by meeting newcomers with mutual ideas.
The Cemian M.C. President’s Closed Cup Trial will start from the King’s Head, Holtspur, at 2 p.m. on Sept. 17th, and finish at the White Hart, Beaconsfield. In order to cater for the majority of club members it will be a main road trial necessitating good map reading and timekeeping, with a few special tests. The course will be 45 miles and there will be both open and closed classes.
* * *
The Chiltern C.C. Concours d’Elegance for cars ranging from veterans to moderns through six classes will be held in Amersham High Street, Bucks, commencing at 2.15 p.m. on September 3rd. Entries have closed.
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