Veteran Edwardian Vintage, September 1962

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A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters

V.S.C.C. Prescott Speed Hill-Climb (August 19th)

This is always a pleasant occasion and, in spite of an overcast sky and one shower of rain, this year’s event was no exception. It was enjoyed by a very big crowd of spectators-and their dogs. Although the vintage course record of 44.57 sec. held by Hull (E.R.A.) wasn’t broken, Chapman with his Tecnauto i.f.s. R2A E.R.A. made a very creditable f.t.d. in 45.86 sec. Lindsay, driving the E.R.A. “Remus” in one gear on Broad’s recommendation, found take-off tricky and couldn’t get the hang of Prescott’s acute corners; he was 4th in the class, behind Cottam (48.49 sec.) and Waller (48.76 sec.), having to be content with 51.23 sec. on his only ascent. In this class Lambton’s Alta was a non-runner, due to valve trouble, nor did Gardner’s ex-Fane Frazer Nash single-seater appear.

The course having been opened by Dudley Johns’ very sporting 1907 Mercedes, Lockhart’s Michelin-shod back-braked Peugeot-J.A.P. beat vintage and p.v.t. entries alike, to win the 1,100 c.c. Sports Car Class in 54.51 sec. On his second run the magneto timing slipped… Miles’ tyre-bending Austin was 2nd, Rolt’s Ulster Austin 3rd in spite of misfiring.

Ashley’s Frazer Nash (it arrived on a trailer – how “professional” can you get?) took the shortest possible course to win the 5,500 c.c. Sports Car Class in 50.58 sec. from Bromley-Johnson’s G.N. Special, which took 50.65 sec. Again, these vintage ‘Nashes were quicker than Gibson’s 1939 Lea-Francis-powered car of this make (51.43 sec.). Cobb’s 3-seater ‘Nash, with British Salmson engine, was appreciably slower (58.09 sec.) than FN Section Leader Skirrow with some neat tail-sliding in his 1930 car (53.66 sec.), but quicker than Joseland’s 1926 car with smart replica alloy body (60.17 sec.) and Smith in the 1932 “Nurburg” ‘Nash (62.58 sec.).

St. John’s 1929 A.C.-powered ‘Nash took the 1,500-3,000 c.c. Sports Car Class in 49.32 sec., from Footit’s splendid A.C.-G.N. (51.07 sec.), both vanquishing the best p.v.t., which was Bishop’s 1933 2-litre Alta (52.30 sec.). Madlin drove a 20/90 British Salmson, Boulton a Sunbeam 20 coupe. A class record fell to Charnock, who won the big Sports Car Class in his alloy Alvis in 48.92 sec., beating Burton’s de Dion Bentley by 1.38 sec. Williamson upheld Bentley prestige by winning the vintage section in 51.94 sec., from tile Bentleys of Bradley and Pounds.

Mrs. Fisher thoroughly deserved her victory on handicap in the Edwardian Class, her husband far away in Fiji, so that she had to cure an ailing pressure pump in practice without his help. Her Lancia Theta coupe climbed in 81.91 sec. Clutton and his umbrella broke his own record in the 1908 Itala with 54.58 sec. but not 1 he handicap.

Hardy made his annual appearance in the 1,100 c.c. Racing Car Class and broke his class record in the blown J.A.P.-engined Hardy Special in 48.09 sec. Harding’s ex-Finch Amilcar Six Was 2nd (51.63 sec.), Binns’ stripped Riley Nine 3rd (51.91 sec.). The p.v.t.s were quite outclassed, best being Watton’s nice ex-Bread Austin Seven (52.58 sec.), another ex-Brooklands’ car, McCall’s ex-Eccles’ blown Rapier, taking 55.63 sec. Alas, Dowson’s Lightweight was a non-starter, its crown and pinion succumbing to the poke of its blown experimental Wolseley o.h.c. 748 c.c. engine on its third practice run.

The 1½-litre Racing Car Class has already been described but its vintage section produced a fine needle-match between Paxton’s A.B.C. and Ban’s Salome. The former proved that the day of inexpensive hill-climb specials isn’t over, for his £25 A.B.C., standard save for lowered steering column, cranked-back gearlever, S.U. carburetter and a sketchy body, clocked a crackling 63.24 sec. (compared with 71.17 sec. for Brewer’s Austin, the exCostello Brooklands’ racer), retarded by contracting rear brakes. Salome, which also has an A.B.C. flat-twin engine, in a G.N. chassis with Morgan i.f.s., was evolved by Jan Breyer in 5925 with a J.A.P. engine. It cocked a snoot at Paxton’s A.B.C. with a time of 58.67 sec., in spite of a 45° slide at Pardon hairpin, just beating Wood’s 1922 sand-racing s.v. Riley (58.75 sec.).

Taylor was on form again with the Caesar Special, winning the 1,500-3,000 c.c. Racing Car Class in 47.84 sec., from Gahagan, who clocked 48.49 sec. on a clean run in his 2-litre E.R.A. Clifford’s Alta spewed rods but just grasped 3rd place from the Semmene Special, Ridley overshooting at Pardon on his first run. Beacham found a *litre push-rod Jaguar engine too woolly for the ex-Whitehead Alta, now converted to a high single-seater with oil-cooler on its nose. The big Racing Car Class was a well-deserved victory for Arnold-Forster, who drove the immaculate Delage II fearlessly, but only 0.48 sec. faster than J. T. Williamson in the sports 41-litre Bentley. However, the big French racer lowered the class record by 6.49 sec.

 – W.B.

* * *

Commercials at Coventry

On Sunday, September 16th, in conjunction with the 10th Annual Finals Contest of the Lorry Driver of the Year Competition, the Historic Commercial Vehicle Club is organising a parade and subsequent driving competitions for elderly ‘buses, lorries, fire-engines, steam lorries and vans, etc.

The vintage vehicles are to assemble at the Rootes Factory in Ryton-on-Dunsmore (on the A45 road connecting Coventry with the M1) from 9 a.m. and will leave at approximately 11 a.m. by way of London Road, Inner Ring Road, St. Patrick’s Road, Warwick Road, Hertford Street, Broadgate, The Burgess, Corporation Street, Fleets Street, Spon Street, Hearsall Lane, Hearsall Common and Tile Hill Lane, to arrive about midday at the Massey-Fergusson Works in Banner Lane. During the afternoon, from 2-4 p.m., there will be driving tests and competitions where it is expected that 30-40 vintage commercial vehicles will be taking part.

* * *

Motoring in the ‘Twenties

Although Vista Books ignored our request for a review copy of Richard Bennett’s “A Picture of the ‘Twenties” published last year and therefore do not deserve any sales this mention may bring them, it is hard for me to ignore a book the dust-jacket of which pictures an Edwardian Metallurgique, and what I take to be a side-valve s-h.p. Riley 2-seater, a Gafford(?) lorry sans mudguards, an early Austin 20 tourer and an unidentified lightcar.

How many people can recognise all the cars illustrated in this book, I wonder? There is a Charron(?) landaulette going to the Derby beside a B-type L.G.O.C. ‘bus, an air-cooled vee-twin Humberette 2-seater (wrongly intended to show that early postwar cars differed little from pre-1914 models, for surely it is a pre-war model; it must have felt the brunt of having to carry the weight of Mrs. Jolliffe’ Sec. of the Isle of Wight Foxhounds!), and an unusual-bodied 40/50 Rolls-Royce in a Piccadilly Circus traffic block, beside a Tilling-Stevens ‘bus and many period taxis.

Another Derby-day scene includes pre-war Austin tourer and Daimler landaulette, Brooklands gets two pictures as a matter of course, in one of which early radio experiments and two G.N.s appear, there is a terrific double-spread of Campbell’s 350-h.p. Sunbeam at Pendine, a General Strike scene showing Rolls-Royce and Peerless armoured cars followed incongruously by a big Darracq tourer and a Bean, while naturally the Austin Seven “Chummy” gets a picture to itself.

Segrave is shown at Southport in the 4-litre Sunbeam “Ladybird” but the author slips up in saying he “scored the last world record in a normal production car at 150.87 m.p.h.”—you can’t call a V12 with twin o.h.c. per block and twin blowers a production car! He also thinks the first Trojans were rear-engined.

In fact, errors in motoring references shake my faith in the book as a reference work. Bennett refers to Campbell’s “Blue Bell,” says he did 203 m.p.h. in 1927 when this was Segrave’s honour, calls Ray Keech Day Keech, and gives the debut of the 3-litre Bentley in a race as 1922 when it first raced in 1921. But this is a pleasing pictorial record of the “gay ‘twenties” fascinating to identifiers of old cars. Incidentally, traffic jams seem to have started before 1924, reaching a peak during the General Strike of 1926 which foretold of London traffic problems to come, the Brighton Road had become congested by 1925, while in /929 motorists were complaining of the difficulty of finding parking space in big cities, casualties rose and drivers complained that the police spent too much time harrying them and not enough fighting crime, which has a modern ring about it! Tramway enthusiasts will love the picture of a Midland Electric Tram crossing a field between Burton-on-Trent and Ashby de la Zouch—I wonder if any traces remain of track and overhead wires ?—W. B.

* * *

Traction Engine Rallies in September will be held at Ickleton, near Saffron Walden, Essex on the 8th, at Raynham, Fakenham, Norfolk on the 14/15th, and at East Thorpe, Kelvedone, Essex on the 22nd.

* * *

We hear that a circa 1928 small rear-wheel-braked Thornycroft platform lorry lies at a farm in Radnorshire, as does a rough Rolls-Royce 20 chassis in a field near Pembroke. A salesroom on A5 is said to have a Leyland lorry of the 19205, in use until recently, which is reputed to have run a million miles. In Yorkshire a 2927 Lanchester 21 saloon in very fine order, is for sale at a modest price and a Kent breaker had one of the rare Triumph Fifteen fabric saloons circa 1927, with contracting front brakes, also an Austin 20/6 hearse and old vintage side lamps etc. Rare indeed was the 1930 3-litre Meadows-engined Whitlock sun saloon discovered literally walled-up in Pinner recently.

* * *

Owners of Scott motorcycles will assemble from noon on Sept. 2nd, in the field behind the Bridgefoot Car Park at Stratford-Upon-Avon, to take part in a Concours d’Elegance and meet Scott personalities. Machines from the earliest two-speeders to the latest 600 c.c. “Flying Squirrel,” covering the years 1912 to 1962, are expected.

* * *

Further to recent comments on cars climbing the steps at Clovelly, a reader tells us that a big photograph of the Maxwell doing this on August 20th. 1920, hangs in the bar of the “Red Lion” there.

* * *

Laurence Mathews has acquired an early A.C. Autocarrier box tricar found in the forests of Kent. He thus has a set of those vehicles—a Warwick box carrier, a Warwick passenger model, an A.C. Sociable and now this A.C. box carrier.

* * *

Pardon a return to vintage lawn-mowers, but it’s fun to know that Jim Wallace types on an 1898 Blickensderfer, sews on an 1894 Jones sewing machine, keeps the grass down with a 1922 Atco and also has a very early Ransomes mower with automatic inlet valve engine. Anyone got a quill-pen?

* * *

A reader offers to supply Searchlight oil for oil lamps for about 1s. 6d. per bottle, to any veteran car owner in need of it.

* * *

The more popular old cars become the more errors they trap people into. Harp Larger Ltd. sent us a picture of “Miss Harp Larger” touring E. Anglia in what their Press and Public Relations Department describes as a “1927 vintage Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud!” And Caltex, in a Life advertisement featuring “Old Pet or Newest Yet,” dub a picture of an old Ford as a 1932 model-B when it is a 1930 model-A. Worse by far, B.P.s Tank in Bild news-sheet for July illustrated an Edwardian Rolls-Royce and captioned it as a Ford “Tin Lizzy”!

* * *

We learn from Alvibatics that the Alvis Car Club of Australia knows of “two complete and relatively original” 12/40 Alvis cars and that three others were known of some time ago. It also has seven original 12/50 “ducks backs” and five “beetle backs.”

* * *

Nigel Arnold-Forster asks us to explain that we were not quite correct in saying that he rebuilt Delage II. Hofmann and Burton of Henley-on-Thames carried out the painstaking task of restoration, nearly all this work being done by David Kingsmill. Tuckers of Bristol made the new radiator entirely from photographs and the body panelling was undertaken by Johnnie Offord of Crowthome. Incidentally we note that when Delage II returned last month to its original habitat of the speed hill-climb, at Great Auclum, it enabled its owner to beat a D-type Jaguar.

* * *

It was a nice gesture of the Vintage Austin Register to invite other members of the Inter-Register Club to take part in their social run of August 12th. Their own members’ cars ranged from a very presentable early Austin 7 “Chummy” to a vintage Austin 20/6 landaulette with typical Bedford cord upholstery and folding occasional seats, and included a couple of Austin taxis supported by a 1932 Beardmore London taxi owned until recently by an actor. After a picnic lunch the cars set off in convoy to visit a stately home—and let those who enjoy such harmless pleasure ponder on whether the control which the new Road Traffic Bill seeks to impose on motoring competitions will render illegal rally assemblies such as these

* * *

Two Beaulieu Rallies this month are that for Swift cars on the 9th and for the model-T Ford Register on the 22nd. The latter will comprise a Concours d’Elegance and a short drive in country near to the Montagu Motor Museum. We are sorry to hear that the Register magazine T-Topics will appear quarterly instead of monthly in future.

* * *

If you enjoy Air Displays in the vintage tradition, the Tiger Club has displays this month at Southampton on the 16th and at Shoreham on the 22nd, and is due to fly in to the lovely old aerodrome at Rochester on the 29th.

* * *

Stop Press we hear that a one-owner high-chassis 2-litre Lagonda and an open S.S. languish in a Cornish garage but with little hope of being released, that a circa 1927 Vauxhall converted into a breakdown truck, probably a 20/60, with 76,000 miles behind it, is for sale in Wadebridge, that a vintage Essex may be for sale in the same town and that at Tintagel two vintage 14-seater Willys soft-top coaches are said to be pensioned off. In Somerset a circa 1928 Austin 12 fabric saloon is for sale at a country garage and the same reader knows of spares for these cars, and for bull-nose Morris and vintage A.C. A model-B Ford saloon was for sale last month on the Bath Road near Maidenhead.

* * *

Regulations are now available for the 7th Tradition Run of the Pioneer A.C. of Holland, which takes place on October 14th. Entries at single fees have closed but late entries will be taken up to Sept. 7th. The event, which comprises a 73 km. run starting from Utrecht, and a demonstration at Zandvoort circuit, is open to pre1931 cars, in four classes. Entry fees cover some free meals. Period dress is strongly discouraged. Details from: Evenementer Commisse, Pioneer A.C. Keizersgracht 484 Amsterdam C.

* * *

The Early Standard Car Register had the 1929 Standard Nine “Teignmouth” saloon that has been rebuilt by Standard-Triumph apprentice in the Coventry Cathedral Festival Parade, along with their 1907 Standard. Recent additions to the Register’s ranks include a 1924 13.9 h.p. saloon in New Zealand, a 1929 15 h.p. 6-cylinder tourer found in the bush in W. Australia, a 1925 13.9 h.p. “Warwick” tourer in Lancashire and the only known survivor of 1929 15 h.p. 6-cylinder “Exmouth ” fabric saloon rescued from a scrap yard near Maidstone. Lodge Plugs Ltd., on the advice of the Early Standard Car Register, have bought a 1929 Teignmouth and a 1930 all-metal Nine saloon, both found in Walton-on-Thames. There is another 1929 “Teignmouth” fabric saloon available in Salisbury and possibly yet another at Downton.

* * *

Miscellaneous A reader offers for sale a Lucas Duplex “King of the Road” lamp thought to be some 60 years old and someone else a sound Youst typewriter probably 80 years old, A DIS or DISS Delage with Rippon 2-seater body is reported for sale in Essex, while an hotel near Lyons wants to dispose of a 1929 Donnet saloon for a small sum. A 1928 Morris, immaculately restored and believed originally to have been a gift to Lord Nuffield, lives at a garage in Kidderminster.