A heat-wave rendered the A.M.O.C. Silverstone Meeting a warm business, with sun-bronzed backs (female) and sports shirts (male) much in evidence. Apart from some excellent racing, which included the St. John Horsfall Trophy Race for Aston Martins and the David Brown Challenge Cup Relay Team Race, an added attraction was a display of well-kept vintage and thoroughbred cars.
This comprised a nice example of Riley Sprite, a 1930 3-litre Lagonda Special Six tourer, an Alvis Speed Twenty-five, a 1935 Riley Imp, a 1934 Lagonda Rapier with Abbot four-seater body, an ex-Woolf Barneto open 8-litre Bentley of majestic and flamboyant appearance, a 1937 Rolls-Royce 25/30 Chapron fixed-head coupé, a 1933 Alvis Speed Twenty Mayfair saloon, one of the rare C-type single o.h.c. 2-litre Aston Martin two-seaters, LM7 (the Aston Martin team car), a 1 ½-litre Aston Martin long-chassis 2/4-seater, a 3 ½-litre Jaguar 100 sports two-seater, a 1934 NE M.G. Magnette two-seater, a very nicely preserved 1925 A.C. Royal two-seater, a truly beautiful 1925 TB 12/50 Alvis two-seater, a 1925 ex-Brooklands Cottin-et-Desgouttes two-seater with a massive single o.h.c. Stutz straight-eight engine installed, a 1930 Aston Martin International two-seater, a 1931 2-litre Lagonda tourer, an unspoilt 3-litre Bentley Red Label tourer, a “duck’s-back” 12/50 Alvis in polished aluminium, but lacking outside exhaust system and with unauthentic rear fuel tank, the 1934 ex-Couper Brooklands Talbot 110 rebodied into a mere travesty of its former self, a 1934/36 Mk. II Aston Martin 2/4-seater, a very fine 1927 14/40 M.G. tourer, a 1934 side-valve Aston Martin 2/4-seater, “N***** II,” and a 1937 low-chassis 100-m.p.h. Invicta.
After a couple of regularity trials for sports and touring cars, wisely restricted to half an hour each, racing proper commenced with combined 5-lap scratch events for 750 and 1,172 Formula cars. In the latter J. Whitehouse’s Arden managed to defeat MacDowers Mk. IX Lotus, winning at 67.73 m.p.h., with Laverton’s Mk. VI Lotus third, while the 750-c.c, division was won by D. Rees, at 60.33 m.p.h., from Henderson and Taylor, all in Austins.
A combined handicap for Bentleys and scratch race for Aston Martins, both 5-lappers, saw S. Pile commence the first of a series of very impressive drives in his immaculate blue Ulster Aston Martin, authentic to the long row of tiny tumbler switches along the near side of the instrument panel, which he cornered with tremendous abandon, sawing at the steering wheel through Woodcote. He won the A.M. race at 63.64 m.p.h. from McNab-Meredith’s Ulster, which had become possessed of a supercharger, with Fowler’s 1933 Le Mans model, which shed its starting handle, third. The Bentley race was won by Chaffey’s 1926 3-litre at 56.97 m.p.h. from Bradley’s 1923/4 Speed Model 3-litre and Hollis’ 1925 4 ½-litre.
Lewis’ Lotus beat Liddell’s Buckler DD1 in the 1,250-c.c. 5-lap scratch race, winning at 70.94 m.p.h., with Ashdown’s Lotus third. Naylor’s Lotus-Connaught Mk. VIII led from Nurse’s ex-Chapman Lotus-M.G. Mk. VIII throughout the 1,500-c.c. scratch race, with Kasterine’s Mk. IX Lotus-Climax third. Naylor averaged 73.48 m.p.h.
The first over-1,500-c.c, scratch race promised the first appearance of the day of Parnell, Salvadori and Collins in DB3S Aston Martins. In fact, Collins was absent, flying to Milan to obtain a new gearbox for the Owen Maserati, and although John Wyer was present, Parnell was driving a 1954 privately-owned DB3S instead of a works car. He had a good fight with Salvadori in the Green Eng. DB3S, Salvadori leading into the initial corners but Parnell out of them, Reg winning at 79.08 m.p.h. after a lap at 81.08 m.p.h. McMillan kept Salvadori in sight to take third place in his Bristol Barb, but once again it fell sick later and was taken away in its ‘bus without completing its full programme of races. Towse indulged in tail slides in his XK120 Jaguar and Cunningham-Reid’s Lister-Bristol, which spun at Copse during the regularity test, and Stevens’ DB3S Aston Martin found the pace too hot, the latter appearing in later races with a badly crumpled near-side back wing.
In the second over-1,500-c.c. scratch race Stratton built up a commanding lead in his Austin-Healey without any fireworks, to win at 67.86 m.p.h., with Grant-Norton’s A.C. Ace out of sight. Sliding wildly side-by-side through Woodcote, West’s A.C. Ace took third place from Norman’s Austin-Healey, while Lewis’ blown 2.6 Monza Alfa-Romeo spun, and Miss White, smiling happily, brought up the tail end in her TR2. Barker’s special Lancia Astura disposed of the Bentleys, including Lord Ebury’s T.T. 3 ½-litre.
Pile again drove his Aston Martin Ulster very well in the 10-lap St. John Horsfall Trophy Race, but had to be content with third place behind J. Bekeart’s 1948 understeering, tyre-bending DB1, winner at 60.88 m.p.h., and McNab-Meredith’s blown Ulster, this being an all-A.M. race. Miss Jean Bloxam earned applause for skilfully avoiding Sidney’s DB2 when it spun at Woodcote, her DB2 taking to the grass to do so, while Angela Brown really pressed-on in her short coupé-bodied DB3. Burton held tail slides with no counterslides in his 1935 Ulster and Twentyman’s DB2 was losing water, while Elwell-Smith retired his well-known 1929 International. Sadly, Weston’s 1936 Speed Model 2-litre shed a complete con.-rod going into Woodcote on lap three.
The Frazer-Nash team took the David Brown Challenge Cup at 52.63 m.p.h. from the 750 M.C. Lotus team and the M.G. C.C. team. Three 5-lap handicaps finished a long day’s sport, notable for good and varied entries.
Millard’s Millard Special Austin Seven led until the last lap in the first of these, this neat car with twin 45-deg. S.U. carburetters, strut shock-absorbers and cooling ducts for the brakes, being passed by Parkes’ Frazer-Nash “Patience,” which won at 67.63 m.p.h. in a close finish from Mrs. Gibbs’ H.R.G. Barker’s Lancia spun at Becketts but disposed of Owen’s TD M.G., which was running sans bonnet sides. Attenborough’s Riley Ulster Special retired. Barrett’s Mk.V Buckler had the next race to itself, taking Woodcote mostly in neutral, to win at 60.77 m.p.h. from Corlett’s Austin-Healey, but by far the most meritorious driving was done by Kasterine, whose Lotus finished third. Barron’s B.B.S. Buckler-M.G. became u/s.
The last race saw a fine scrap between Naylor’s Lotus-Connaught and Cunningham-Reid’s Lister-Bristol, the Lotus winning at 73.23 m.p.h. and both passing, one on each side, Sims’ ex-Wallis B.M.W. Special coming into Woodcote for the last time. Stevens’ unsightly DB3S Aston Martin was third. Ozier held his sliding XK120 Jaguar well, but Porteous’ Cooper-M.G. retired. — W. B.