TIIIS month this feature goes a bit American. Whether the majority of vintage-cur enthusiasts will consider this permissible is a matter for debate. Much of the charm of owning a vintage car is derived from the honest, straightforward design and licitutiful workmanship and finish found under its bonnet and about its chassis. This is particularly true today, when even the faster vintage specimens, with the isolated exceptions such as Forrest Lyeett’s immortal 8-litre Bentley, Stun Clutton’s 10-litre Deluge and the Edwardian Itala, are no longer superior in performance to their equivalent contemporaries. (If the Deluge and Ita.la have equivalents!)
If you admit into the exclusive vintage circle early small cars and pre-1931 American automobiles you diminish to some extent the unassailable argument of ” vintage for quality,” because small cars were obviously built as inexpensive vehicles and so were the majority of American ears of the nineteen-twenties.
On the other hand, with more and more post-I930 cars coming daily into the secondhand market and fresh scrapmetal drives looming large, it surely behoves us to save all the historic ears we can, and on this basis early light cars and the all-very-similar pre-1931 Americans should be preserved. Not many vintage Yankees exist, either because they didn’t wear too well or because the savage English h.p. tax sent most of them early to the
:.;«,-.’wreckerS’ yards. On the question of whether they wore out quicker than others it seems only fair to remark that they were probably driven over greater distances, in fact used far more ‘ seriously as regular transport than were contemporary light cars. I recall that an uriele of mine, although using an Austin Twenty landau lette for state occasions, was out and about far more frequently in his American tourers, first a Chevrolet which replaced an 11.4 Citroen, then an Overland, followed by a British WillysOverland. .
Perhaps it is childhood memories of holidays spent in these comfortable, if somewhat tiny tourers, with their flappy hoods and side-curtains, big woolly plentyof-low-speed-torque engines, and their all-so-similar round-topped bonnets and radiators, ribbon speedometers, ball-gate gear levers and detachable rims that have prompted me to feature this month a heading picture of a 1928 Page and Hunt bodied Buick and a letter from the owner of an Oakland. The small boy gazing at the Buick, by the way, is four-year-old Tony Coleman, and Lon Pullen, who sent me the photograph. tells me he was a bit, puzzled at first when confronted by the car, but after a moment or two’s hesitation named it corre(‘tly. Child prodigy 1 a a * Apart frOnt, the More bread-and
butter touring Yanks, America has, of course, produced some notable vintage sports ears. The supercharged ‘Stutz ” Beareat ” which Dr. .1. 1). Benzaield drove at Le Maus comes to mind—it is at present being restored. Chrysler, Huescaberg, du Pont and Willys-Knight also ran at Le Mans, and Fords, both in 1n6del-A and V3 form, and Stutz have been seen in that .other classic sports-car race, the Ulster T.T. At Brooklands Watney raced a Stutz, Campbell a Chrysler, Miller a Buick, Ifornsted a Dodge, Glentworth an Essex, Barna° a Locomobilei and Studebakers featured in the first ” Double Twelve ” Race. There are the Stutz and Mercer Raceabouts beloved by American Edwardian fans,. the Auburns and Cords, and that Kissel we saw in London recently . . . * *
Thiti month we have something rather Special in the vintage flavour, for the Editor was permitted by the Nuffield Organisation to drive No. 1 M.G., the forerunner of all M.G.s and a car very much in the vintage tradition. The account will be found on page 439. The M.O. is today in first-class order Originally Fe 7900 when the late Cecil Kimber drove it in trials, it has since been reregistered FM() 849.