Nothing much has been encountered in this direction lately, apart from a chapter on “I buy a Velocette” in Anne Treater’s unimportant book “A Stranger in the Midlands,” which contains a tedious account of an accident involving her pale yellow Austin Seven which turned this school-teacher from cars to pedal bicycles, and reference to many cars in the unnecessarily pornographic novel “Room at the Top,” by an author whose technical facts ring true. We have received the following letter from the well-known author LTC Rolt which also bears on literary matters :—
“The Ishmael of the motor car”
Your remarks in your July issue are a little hard on Mr. Leonard Russell of the Sunday Times. You ought not to be astonished by his statement that he does not understand the first thing about motor cars. For the Literary Editor of a great newspaper to admit even a nodding acquaintance with any form of machinery, let alone motor cars, would produce an effect upon the Literary Establishment comparable with that of a Bishop who discoursed to his flock upon the finer points of Devil worship. One of the favourite quotations of the aesthetes of the ‘nineties was Villiers de L’isle Adams’ “As for living, our servants will do that for us.” The aesthetes of today inherit this attitude with the difference that in the interim their servants have become machines. It is not an enviable attitude to life in the mid-twentieth century because it means, quite simply, that the mechanical servant is in fact the master. Yet it seems that this is unlikely to occur to the Establishment unless or until “The Machine Stops,” as that great writer EM Forster so brilliantly forecast in his short story of that title.
Proust is Proust and pistons are pistons and never the twain shall meet. Happily the diehards who hold this view are a small and dwindling band for, did they but know it, they do a much greater disservice to the arts than to the sciences. As for Mr. Russell, I suspect him of lip-service and believe that if his machine stopped in the middle of Bodmin Moor on a dark night he would not prove quite such a helpless victim as he would have us suppose—at least, I hope so.
I am, Yours, etc,
LTC Rolt, Stanley Pontlarge
It is good to learn that Elstree Flying Club will not have vacancies for student pilots until early next month, for this shows that here at any rate private flying isn’t moribund. Elstree is working to capacity from 8.45 am each day, seven days a week. They have just put their first Auster J1/N Alpha with Gipsy Major 1c engine into service; it can he hired for £4 10s an hour. If you want to head the queue for those September flying lesson vacancies, their telephone number is Elstree 3070.
Juke box Stirl
Stirling Moss appeared last month on BBC Television in the “Juke Box Jury” programme, the Radio Times remarking that he had cut down his revs to synchronise with the spinning discs in “Juke Box Jury.” He also drove in the T.T. and other motor races.
Modern motoring requirements!
Woman recently imparted this advice to those about to embark on the hazardous adventure of motoring : “Don’t start out on a journey without checking you’ve a torch, key to the motoring organisation box if you’re a member, screwdriver, jack and spare wheel. Also a first-aid kit, plus book on first-aid.”
Some September Sprints and Hill-climbs
As the racing season begins to tail off so the sprints and hill-climbs come into prominence and a large number are held during September and October. On Saturday, September 3rd, the Brighton and Hove MC hold their famous Brighton Speed Trials on Madeira Drive at the popular seaside resort. This is a National meeting and one can expect to see all the best-known sprint drivers competing. On the same day a fairly new hill-climb venue will be used by the Severn Valley M.C. This is the Loton Park Hill-Climb, which is situated about 81/2 miles west of Shrewsbury and can be approached from Shrewsbury on the B4393 road.
On September 4th the Jaguar DC hold a sprint meeting at North Weald, near Ongar in Essex, and the MG Car Club will also be sprinting at Brands Hatch on the some day. Two hill-climbs are also scheduled for this day, the Bentley Drivers’ Club being at Fide, which is 41/2 miles SE of Lewes in Sussex on A274, and the Coventry and Warwickshire MC going to Mansetter, which is situated 11/2 miles south of Atherstone near the A5. The following weekend, on September 10th, the Midlands Motoring Enthusiast Club will be holding a closed sprint at Wellshourne, 5 miles east of Stratford-upon-Avon, approached from Stratford on B4086. On Sunday, September 11th, the Bugatti Owners’ Club hold one of their National meetings at the popular Prescott venue on the A435 north of Cheltenham, while the London Motor Club will be at Brands Hatch for a sprint meeting.
Ragley Park, near Alcester, Warwickshire, is the venue of a hillclimb meeting organised by SUNBAC on Saturday, September 17th, and on the same day the Yorkshire Sports Car Club hold a hillclimb at Castle Howard, 5 miles west of Malton in Yorkshire. The next day, at Harleyford Manor’ near Marlow, Bucks, the Singer OC, Oxford MC, Chiltern CC and Southsea MC will hold their popular Four Clubs Hill-Climb, starting at 2 pm.
To sound off the month’s sprints and hill-climbs the Wirral 100 MC will hold their sprint meeting at the unpronounceable Rhydymwyn, which is 3 miles NW of Mold in Flintshire, on September 24th, and on the next day the Thames Estuary AC will visit North Weald, the Hagley and District MC will go to Chateau Impney, near Droitwich, for a sprint, and the South Wales AC will be hill-climbing at Castel Farm, which is 71/2miles NW of Bridgend on the A4053.
The other Bluebird
The latest exhibit in The Montagu Motor Museum is Donald Campbell’s boat “Bluebird,” which holds the Water Speed Record at 260.5 mph.