A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
The month of September is a busy one for Vintage and Edwardian enthusiasts. On the 1st the V.C.C. has its Hull-Scarborough rally and run. On the 8th the V.S.C.C. Madresfield Rally takes place at Madresfield Court, where competitors arrive at 1.30 p.m. for a Concours d’Elegance and driving tests. The day prior to this the Cranborne Church Restoration Fund is asking owners of old cars to rally to Pond Hall, Cranborne, Dorset, for souvenir plaques after inspection by Lord Cranborne at 2.45 p.m. (details from J. Crabb, 100, Greenwood Ave., Laverstoke, Wilts.), while at Silverstone S.U.N.B.A.C. will have a vintage-car race.
On September 8th the aforementioned Sunbeam M.C.C. Veteran and Vintage Rally goes on at Eastbourne. The V.S.C.C. Goodwood Rally and Races occupy the 14th, to which non-members will be admitted for 4s. each adult, 2s. each child, car parking 2s. 6d. The following day the V.S.C.C. rallies to Beaulieu Museum for driving tests and a Concours d’Elegance to be judged by, amongst others, His Grace the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. The road section has, alas, been deleted, competitors now being required to assemble five miles from Palace House by 11.30 a.m. and then drive to Beaulieu at regular intervals.
The Wallasey Round Table Road Safety Rally on the 22nd will include a vintage class if sufficient entries are received from V.M.C.C. and V.S.C.C. members (distance 16 miles, entry fee 5s., details from K. A. Davies, 91, Grove Road, Wallasey, Cheshire) and on September 28th the Peterborough M.C. have a five-lap Vintage Sports-Car Race and a 15-lap race for Vintage and Historic Racing Cars (for this no entry fee, but cash awards) at their Silverstone Race Meeting. The V.S.C.C. Presteigne Week-End is scheduled for October 5th/6th. Good motoring!
Writing of Concours d’Elegance, when we were young these were contested between excessively expensive Hispano-Suiza, Delage and Rolls-Royce motor cars accompanied by excessively elegant ladies wearing the latest creations from Paris, at places like Nice and Cannes. The thing seems these days to be merely a matter of car condition and cleanliness . . .
The veteran, Edwardian and vintage Concours d’Elegance class-winners at the Rochdale Cavalcade of Motoring (July 13th) were, respectively, Collinge’s 1899 Clement-Panhard, Hemmings’ 1910 Standard and H. Clarke’s 1925 Alvis. Ditto, in the tests, Major Gardiner’s 1902 Wolseley, Taylor’s 1913 Adler and the Alvis.
At the recent Hastings Carnival a 1923 Jowett two-seater took the first prize — alas, there was talk of it being a 1910 model, which it obviously wasn’t, and it was covered with silly comments crudely painted on the body.
The V.S.C.C. Light Car Section held its Surrey Trial on July 20th. J. D. Rogers’ 1923 Jowett took first place and D. Alexander’s 1929 12-h.p. Armstrong-Siddeley was runner-up.
The Veteran C.C. Blenheim Palace Rally (July 28th)
This Rally, held by kind permission of His Grace the Duke of Marlborough, attracted the fourth largest entry ever for a V.C.C. fixture. namely 121 pre-1917 cars although it was purely social, the only obligation on competitors being to arrive before 12 noon. The cars were entirely protected from the public within a fenced-in enclosure, where they remained static for some four hours — some form of parade would have enlivened proceedings even though competition capers were verboten.
Blenheim Palace, as ugly from outside as its grounds are beautiful, was an added attraction for sightseers but the V.C.C. enclosure was sited rather unimaginatively, so that the house did not form a background to the veteran assembly.
Most of the well-known vehicles had arrived to receive their plaques from the Marchioness of Bedford, but non-arrivals seemed to number Sharman’s 1905 Swift, Ahern’s 1905 Mass, Newens’ 1904. Star, Rowden’s 1908 de Dion Bouton, Cook’s 1908 Mercedes, Milligen’s 1909 Renault, Jackson’s 1910 Phanomobile and Harrison’s 1900 Phebus Aster.
Of the others, we admired Gunn’s 1912 16/20 Wolseley landaulette, noted an Andre steering damper on Major Pitt’s 1912 Rolls-Royce tourer and were intrigued by the 1912 15.9 h.p. Motobloc of H. R. Wilkins, which has its cylinders in two pairs of two with the inlet pipe from a Vac carburetter entering between them, o.h. inlet valves with exposed push-rods and rockers, and a wonderful radiator badge. Skerman’s 1911 8 h.p. Renault carried a couple of spare plugs on the dash, the 1911 Darracqs of Acock and Grimmer had the “double D” radiator emblem, and very fine was Burchell’s 1911 Daimler 15 tourer with upstanding gear-lever and startlingly small steering wheel.
Paget brought a rare yellow 1911 10 h.p. Austin, Major Miller’s 1908 Swift bore the name “Emmy” and the Bevan/Chambers’ 1908 15 h.p. Delaunay-Belleville possessed the quick-action radiator cap of this marque. Particularly splendid was the majestic 1909 35/45 Renault tourer of Adams, which we had the pleasure of seeing as it was driven home to Leatherhead, a sight to satisfy any enthusiast. We liked the little box on the chassis inscribed “Oil often,” and the slot into which the accelerator fits at full-throttle. White’s 1908 Adams had its body hinged up to display the machinery, which surely inspired the designer of the Trojan?
Judge’s 1906 14/18 Gladiator landaulette had a man-sized radiator and clock-spring back shock-absorbers, Beaumont’s 1906 Darracq sported huge B.R.C. Alpha headlamps on massive brackets, and Reece’s 1905 Spyker a useful umbrella basket, as did Craig’s 1904 de Dion. Cmdr. Davies’ 1904 Renault had suspiciously vintage mudguards, Quirk’s 1904 Darracq a crude but no doubt correct gilled-tube radiator, and Simons’ 1903 Sunbeam was a chain-drive model. Lightfoot’s 1902 Panhard bore the name of “The Monster,” the Inchley/Williamson 1899 Beeston Quadricycle was very splendidly turned out, and Evan Cook’s 1916 Jowett was equipped with Lodge “see-the-spark” plugs and has ¾-elliptic back springs.
The only “commercial” was Ephgrave’s 1915 model-T Ford van, Dudley’s 1915 Rolls-Royce had a fine bulbous-back sports-tourer body and Cole’s 1915 Bedford-Buick period side-curtains! The vast C.A.V. headlamps, delightful detail work and friction electric starter of Hutt’ s 1914 Sizaire-Berwick were intriguing. Some people will paint names on old cars; Outridge’s 1914 model-T Ford, with proprietary pointed radiator, had “Priscilla born 1911” on its bonnet!
We enjoyed looking at the veterans but would have enjoyed the day more had some competitive activity taken place. Impressions formed were that some somewhat scruffy cars still attend V.C.C. rallies and that many cars are spoilt because they are covered with far too many plaques and badges, Stradling’s 1913 Unic, for example, being a veritable travelling showcase.
One interesting car not in the enclosure was Goodman’s 1911 chain-drive Cottin et Desgoutte “giant racer,” which we enjoyed following from Henley to Blenheim. The V.C.C. has another non-competitive rally, the Hull-to-Scarborough, on September 1st, when cars will commence the run from Ferensway, Hull, at 10.30 a.m.
Humber Register Midlands Rally (August 4th)
On August Bank Holiday Sunday your Editor, hoping to prove that his enthusiasm is not on the wane, rose at 5.30 a.m. and drove through parts of Hampshire, Surrey, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire to keep a rendezvous at Bicester with two entrants in the annual Humber Register Midlands Rally which starts from far-away Great Witley.
In this way it was possible to journey out as passenger in R. F. Carter’s imposing 1921 Sunbeam limousine, the only known survivor of the six-cylinder 24-h.p. side-valve model. This great car — and that is in every way an apt description — was in use up to 1929 as the personal transport of the High Sheriff of Glamorgan, who then presented it to his chauffeur, after which, a few years ago, that arch-Sunbeamist, Ron Carter retrieved it in scrap condition, restoring it in the manner that gives vintage motoring its crowning dignity, thereby saving a fine British motor car from a fate worse than the breaker’s hammer.
Containing three adults, two children and a couple of dogs this lofty and majestic carriage, from the front seat of which you have a panoramic view through a vast vee-windscreen, of the long, wide bonnet behind a brass radiator and wide wings from which brass side lamps rise from stalk-like brackets, took us silently and securely towards Droitwich at a relentless 40 m.p.h.
It was reassuring to discover that although only the back wheels carry brake drums, the Mintex-lined foot-applied transmission brake, in diameter as large as the big four-spoke steering wheel, is extremely powerful, arresting this appreciable weight of vehicle, to the accompaniment of under-floor rumbling and the smell of hot brake lining, very strongly. Indeed, the handbrake is seldom used and the foot brake is perfectly capable of locking the back wheels on a dry road.
The big six-cylinder engine works silently and pulls away from a crawl in third gear and its Claudel carburetter, with separate sets of chokes and jets for each block of three cylinders, undisturbed during the restoration, gives an entirely satisfactory 15 m.p.h.
So we progressed, past any number of uncertain, unpredictable drivers of “mimsing” baby cars until, arrived at the start, we were able to buy ale for the humans and Cleveland for the Sunbeam in the aura of vintage enthusiasm that surrounded the car park of Hundred House Hotel.
The Rally, which is really a trial, is now a joint effort of the Humber and Fiat Registers. This year it also formed the first round of a friendly inter-team contest between these and the 12/50 Alvis and Sunbeam S.T.D. Registers. This was just as well, because of the starters there were only three Fiats and two Humbers, supplemented, however, by two V.M.C.C. motor-cycle entrants, five Alvis, three Sunbeams and two Talbots.
The route, over which 15 m.p.h. had to be averaged, is worthwhile because it takes in hills which figured in the Colmore and Victory Cup Trials of the old days — thus we saw the steep Flagstaff hill on three occasions, climbing it twice in a timed regularity contest and taking it downwards in a brake-test which carried bonus marks for the rear-wheel-braked-only and which the heavily-laden Sunbeam managed very safely. There was, too, a restart test on Noah’s Ark and a slow hill-climb beyond a water-splash. Some delightful scenery was seen, albeit by means of much neck-twisting because I had now transferred to one of the interior occasional seats, which on this car are very high set as well as rather hard!
After tea the results were announced, as given below. I returned as passenger in E. Price’s 1926 Sunbeam Twenty tourer, enjoying fresh air and the delightful smoothness of its o.h.v. six-cylinder power unit. Although suffering from a sticking valve its performance was sufficient to dispose of countless modern cars, uphill and round corners as well as on the level. And as the 1921 Sunbeam proved equal in acceleration between about 40 and 50 m.p.h. to one of the new Fiat 500s which was returning from a dramatic appearance amongst the vintage Fiats at Great Witley, we regarded this as a satisfactory Sunbeam Sunday. — W. B.
Fiat Cup for best overall performance: I. R. Grant (1926 Fiat).
Best Individual performance: V. Rawlings (1930 14/45 Talbot).
Best vintage motor-cycle: Beggs (1930 Velocette).
Fiat Register Cup: Jones (1940 Fiat Balilla).
Inter-team winners: Humber Register Team: Dames-Longworth (1928 14/40 Humber) and K. Davis (1926 12/25 Humber).
Vintage S.C.C. Oulton Park Race Meeting (August 5th)
By staging its Seaman Trophy Meeting at Oulton Park on Bank Holiday the V.S.C.C. mingled a large gate with its exclusive vintage cars. Four E.R.A.s, two Alfa-Romeos and Spero’s Maserati were amongst the historic racing cars which contested the 23-lap Richard Seaman Trophies Race. W. F. Moss in the E.R.A. Remus led Spero’s Maserati, also ex-Bira, chased by Vesey’s monoposto Alfa-Romeo. Eventually Spero left the wet track, Carson (E.R.A.) passed Vesey, and Vesey then collided with Eminson’s Bugatti, both cars overturning. The drivers were not seriously hurt, but accidents involving historic cars are always regrettable. Tozer’s Amilcar Six led home McDonald’s Special 4½-litre Bentley in the vintage section of the race.
Seaman Trophies Race: 1st: W. F. Moss (E.R.A.), 74.88 m.p.h.; 2nd : T. T. Carson (E.R.A.); 3rd: J. C. Tozer (Amilcar).
Fastest Lap: Moss, 78.12 m.p.h.
Five-Lap Handicap, A: W. Burton (Aston Martin), 55.97 m.p.h.
Five-Lap Handicap, B: M. Hatton (Bugatti), 62.50 m.p.h.
Five-Lap Handicap, C: L. S. Richards (Riley), 65.53 m.p.h.
Five-Lap “Chain-Gang” Handicap: N. A. Forster (1923 Anzani). 67.21 m.p.h.
Five-Lap Vintage-Car Scratch Race: G. H. G. Burton (Bentley), 67.60 m.p.h.
Five-Lap All-Comers’ Handicap: W. F. Moss (E.R.A.), 72.36 m.p.h.
Concours d’Elegance: M. Roderick (20/60 Sunbeam).
V.S.C.C. Light Car Section Social (August 8th)
The first vintage small car we saw as we neared the rendezvous at the “Thatched Tavern,” near Ascot was Henderson’s delightfully original, polished aluminium 1924 sports Bayliss-Thomas, which a jovial policeman referred to as an “ancient monurnent,” — which shows how far we have progressed from the “old crocks” era.
Amongst the cars in the hotel yard were Secretary Victor Side’s and D. T. R. Dighton’s 9/20 Humber tourers, a long-chassis 7/17 Jowett two-seater with period bulb horn, a later Jowett saloon that looked as if it toils hard for its keep, one of those 1929 Austin Seven saloons that never seem to age and Dickins’ very nice, sedate 9.7 Swift two-seater. A four-seater Riley Nine represented the more powerful and practical vintage-light-car-brigade and, parked discreetly in the road without, were two handsome 2-litre open Lagondas. Duncan Hamilton was also present — not in a vintage light car but in a Jaguar, and talking of yacht racing on the morrow. — W. B.
Two Minervas, both of which seem to be 1907 K-type 40-h.p. six-cylinder models, have come to light, one restored in Yorkshire and the other, originally owned by Lady Geraldine St. Lawrence, a relative of the Lee-Guinness family, awaiting rebuilding in Hampshire.
In the Lake District there exists a 10/23 Talbot 210 coupe which is in use for a fortnight every year, when its owner arrives there from London on holiday!
At the recent Mercedes-Benz Club Concours d’Elegance, the Prix d’Honneur was won by N. Powell’s 1929 SSK 38/250. The pre-1919 Class was won by Hutton-Stott’s 1899 Constatt Daimler.
We regret to learn of the death, at the age of 69, of Mr. H. E. Hands, Chief Inspector for Trojan Ltd. Mr. Hands served his apprenticeship with Vauxhall Motors, joining them in 1908 and assisting in the production of the Prince Henry model. He was later employed by Unic, Clement-Talbot and G.N., etc., before joining the Trojan Co. in 1929.
Still they are unearthed! This month’s discoveries include a very smart little Citroen-like Derby two-seater and an early Mors chassis found recently by an Oxfordshire garage, the remains of a 25/50 Talbot chassis (said to have been intended for ambulance duties in Russia when the Kaiser War terminated) in Edinburgh, a vintage Arrol-Johnston tourer (rough but restorable, with frost-damaged radiator but unseized engine) in an Inverness scrapyard and, for vintage commercial-vehicle hunters, a back-braked Mercedes commercial chassis with crude van body at a cross-roads garage at Tarleton, Lancs. A rare 1919/20 s.v. Wolseley Fifteen two-seater, just about restorable, is offered by a breaker at just above scrap-price.
A garage near Leatherhead has a bull-nose Morris-Cowley in its yard — but the car isn’t for sale, for the excellent reason that the owners hope to find time to restore it themselves.
Three Servicemen have bought a 1928 Star tourer for £45 from a scrap-yard in Nicosia, according to the Times of Cyprus, and are preparing it for a journey to England via Turkey, Greece, Yugoslavia, Austria, Switzerland and France. Apparently the preparation incIudes painting the car a startling canary yellow, with the name “Iron Duchess” on the bonnet.
In Bristol the designer of the Straker-Squire Six still occasionally meets some of the people who built those interesting cars.