A section devoted to old-car matters
V.S.C.C. “Second Silverstone” (July 27th)
Ideal weather conditions contributed to the success of the second Vintage S.C.C. Race Meeting of 1963. Apart from a broken arm sustained when two cars touched in practice and one of them rolled, there were no human race casualties. The crowds and the entry were large, but no “new” vintage cars appear these days.
The Inter-Team Relay Race, the change-over moved to the straight in view of recent fatalities at Silverstone’s dangerously-sited pits, was difficult to follow. Brogden’s Bentley developed trouble, and in the end an Alvis team came through victorious, from Frazer Nash and larger Alvis trios.
The first 5-lap Handicap incorporated the annual Light Car Race. Appleby’s yellow 1922 Morris-Cowley 2-seater won this and led the main race until the final lap, aided by its credit lap which all the light car entry were conceded except for Riddle’s G.N. Williams’ 1939 H.R.G. 1100 won the main race, from Goodman’s Lea-Francis Special with Alvis Silver Eagle engine and Barry Clarke’s “flying pram” Austin Seven. The light car entry included Marsh’s 1926 “perpendicular” Austin Seven metal saloon.
Barr’s 1932/37 4.3 Alvis, having recovered from “drowning” at Oulton Park, came through to win the next 5-lap Handicap, taking the lead on lap four, its driver looking back to see how much lead he had from Barton’s fast 1932 Frazer Nash, which was taking Woodcote very fast and was second, third place going to Archdale’s post-vintage-something-or-other Frazer Nash which made fastest lap, at 71.82 m.p.h., from scratch, passing Rose’s grand blower-4 1/2 Bentley on the last lap in spite of a poor start. Brett’s 14/45 Talbot tourer started first, finished last. Burke’s 1937 Frazer Nash finally lost a race-long duel with Fearnley’s 1933 Frazer Nash, both way back in the field, however.
Yet another “5-lapper” followed. Smith’s ex-R. G. J. Nash 1927 A.C.-engined Frazer Nash led from lap two to the finish, but Elwell-Smith’s well-known 1932 Aston Martin, its carburetters exposed by absence of bonnet sides, came through rapidly from scratch to take second place. Harry Spence drove the noisy and very pleasing Goodman Lea-Francis Special well to take third position, ahead of Bill Mason’s 4 1/2-litre Bentley. Curiously, it wasn’t Elwell-Smith who made fastest lap, Brewer’s ex-Lycett 4 1/2-litre Bentley having hurried to the tune of 68.43 m.p.h., without getting amongst the leaders.
The 12-lap All-Comers’ Scratch Race was far more lively, although the hoped-for E.R.A./Connaught duel wasn’t resumed, for Horton’s Connaught bilked on the grid. Bertie Brown led the opening lap in his E.R.A., closely pursued by the Hon. Patrick Lindsay in the blue E.R.A. “Remus.” Thereafter “Remus” built up a safe lead, Brown holding station ahead of Waller’s E.R.A., with Cottam’s E.R.A. fourth, followed by Clifford’s ex-Abecassis 1 1/2-litre Alta and Mudd’s ex-Mille Miglia Monza Alfa Romeo—all supercharged cars.
A long way behind Mudd, Brewer had Morin Scott’s 6C Maserati in eighth place. At half-distance, with the E.R.A.s looking and sounding splendid, smoke poured from the Alta’s cockpit and Clifford was out. By lap nine Lindsay lapped Morris in the E.R.A. “Hannuman” and the four leading E.R.A.s were spaced out but far ahead of Mudd’s Alfa. This held to the end, although Cottam’s RIB began to sound horribly sick, probably with valve trouble, and right at the end the ill-fated Maserati also made expensive noises, as if the timing had slipped. So this fast race was a convincing E.R.A. walk-over, Lindsay averaging 77.53 m.p.h., with fastest lap at 77.52 m.p.h. For part of the race Bromley-Johnson’s 4 1/4-litre Bentley-powered Frazer Nash ran well, but Holland’s pansy G.N./A.C. stopped for momentary attention from its driver on the straight.
Hardly had this exciting race ended when the vintage racing and sports cars lined-up for the 12-lap Boulogne Trophy Race. Schellenberg’s new “Brooklands replica” 6 1/2-litre Bentley having been mislaid somewhere between Yorkshire and Silverstone, he borrowed Sowden’s smart 8-litre 4-seater and managed to keep it comfortably ahead of Morley’s 8-litre Bentley 2-seater throughout the race. But nicely and imperturbably in the lead was Nigel Arnold-Forster in his immaculate Delage II, which seems to gain potency with every race it competes in. Apart from Clutton, in Bergel’s ex-Kay Petre Type 35T 2.3 Bugatti, picking up two places from Footitt’s A.C./G.N. and Ashley’s 1930 Frazer Nash, the order of the first six remained unchanged from laps 1 to 12. Hollis’ Bentley was in trouble, Askew’s blown 1750 Alfa Romeo retired, as did Carmichael’s ex-Sibbald Type 37A Bugatti, and Rippon’s Type 37A Bugatti began smoking and fell back. A good race, the winning Delage II, sounding like an aeroplane down the back straight, lapping Mann’s ex-Lanfranchi 22/90 Alfa Romeo in four circuits! The 750 class went to Rolt’s Austin Seven, the 1,100 class to Binns’ Riley, the 1 1/2-litre class to Ashley’s Frazer Nash, the 3-litre division to Clutton. The Delage made fastest lap at 72.36 m.p.h. You’ll never believe it—once again Tony Brooke’s Vauxhall Villiers was a non-starter!
Now it was back to a 5-lap Handicap, the seventh race being won by Marsh’s business-like low-chassis 4 1/2-litre Invicta in a most exciting finish round Woodcote, because it only just caught Barton’s aluminium-bonneted Frazer Nash, which was only half-a-leneth or so from the 1931 Aston Martin of Riseley. One of the few incidents that day occurred when Fearnley so nearly inverted his 1933 Frazer Nash in the Woodcote ditch, the car surviving the impact with very little apparent damage other than a splintered aero-screen. Some of the Express poster was demolished, which would probably have amused H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh.
The next race was equally exciting, being for All-Comers over live laps. The front row began to creep, the flag remained aloft, which put Lindsay off, so that he got away badly in “Remus.” This enabled Brown’s E.R.A. to lead for the first two laps, but Lindsay, cornering on the limit, got past, to win at 77.23 m.p.h. from Brown, Waller’s E.R.A. third, sideways on! This time Lindsay’s fastest lap was at 78.87 m.p.h. The Delage deservedly took the vintage award. Once again the Morin Scott Maserati defaulted, Brewer dropping back after holding fourth place until near the end.
A more gentle 3-lap Edwardian Handicap had a field of six, out of which Clutton’s great 1908 G.P. Itala won commandingly. Kenneth Neve was a splendid second from the scratch mark in his 1914 T.T. Humber, richly deserved after his lone support of recent Edwardianism. Sir Francis Samuelson, in spite of some cog-swapping difficulties, drove his 1914 T.T. Sunbeam into third place, ahead of Bolster’s big 1911 Rolls-Royce, Rowley in Lord Montagu’s 1932 Coupe de l’Auto Sunbeam and Collings’ noisy 1913 Brixia-Zust which you can read about in Motor Sport dated December, 1958.
There were still two 5-lap Handicaps to go. In the first of these Overy’s 4 1/2-litre Lagonda was overtaken by Rippon’s Bugatti after two laps. The Bugatti built up a decent lead, but second place was hotly contested, Russ-Turner’s blown 4 1/4-litre Bentley, Cottam’s E.R.A., and Delage II arriving over the line in a bunch in that order, with Arnold-Forster coming up so urgently that smoke rose from the spinning back wheels of Delage II, as it tail-slid over the finishing line. Before the start some hasty work had been necessary on the Delage gear selectors. Cottam lapped at 76.17 m.p.h. What was a Riley with belt-driven supercharger doing in this V.S.C.C. race?
The final event of this entirely satisfactory meeting was won by Kain’s Type 37 Bugatti, in the lead two laps from home. Harris’ Austin Seven was second, Clarke’s Austin Seven third, Clarke hugely enjoying a dice with Fleming in Marchant’s blown Austin Seven. Wickham’s beetle-back 12/50 Alvis was fourth. The opening laps were led by the bearded Abrahams’ jolly Singer Junior Special, now with double valve springs and cut-down valve guides, a car very much in the spirit of vintage motor racing.—W.B.
That doyen of motoring writers, 88-year-old W. F. Bradley, who was the European Correspondent of The Autocar for many years and who still writes occasionally for Autocar, was present and did a lap of honour beside Cecil Clutton in the Itala. Bradley had watched this car racing in the G.P. at Dieppe in 1908. Charles Lytle was also present, with his inevitable cameras.
There have been fatalities in the Silverstone pits recently, so it was surprising to see people still standing on the counters during the racing. This time, fortunately, the only casualty was someone who fell off the pit-counter and broke his arm!
Riddle’s G.N. still retains cast-iron pistons. Quartermain made a welcome re-appearance with his E/OE 30/98 Vauxhall. S. F. Beer entered a nicely original 1934 T.T. M.G. NE Magnette. A. C. M. Millar drove his ugly Twin-Cam 3-litre Sunbeam as re-bodied by Macnaughtan.
E. H. Sutton had forsaken horses to drive his 1937 A.G. and Abson came down from Scotland to complete the Lagonda Rapier team. J. B. Kibble’s 1934 ex-Fox and Nichol Lagonda was, according to the commentator, in the correct shade of red, as it ran at Le Mans.
Murray’s E.R.A. non-started due to a fuel feed and brake maladies. D. C. Pitt drove his ex-Penn-Hughes/Kaye Don K3 M.G. Magnette, now a single-seater, running it on fuel left behind after the Oulton Park pre-war G.P. Mercedes-Benz demonstration! We didn’t actually smell the “boot-polish.”
The Hon. Patrick Lindsay, who had such a successful day, drove up from London in his ex-Brian Lewis/Powys Lybbe Monza Alfa Romeo—at 50 m.p.h., naturally. Keith Schellenberg had broken his holiday in Nice to compete—in the best Brooklands tradition; you recall how Sir Henry Birkin, Bt., used to fly straight back to Cannes after driving the blower-4 1/2 Bentley single-seater!
R. A. Hutchings drove the ex-Jim Berry Type 55 3.3-litreengined racing Bugatti and A. H. Brooking drove a Talbot 105 with white imitation outer-circuit body, which was noisy for a Talbot.
An interesting spectator’s car was a vivid French blue La Licorne Type H02, Series 9 2-seater, which started silently under the influence of its efficient dynastarter.
Tom Goodman’s 1930 Alvis-engined Lea-Francis Special looked right, sounded right, and was driven with verve by its entrant and Harry Spence. As Poynter was driving his 1928 replica Le Mans Lea-Francis this make was well represented.
Roesch Talbot enthusiast J. A. F. Blight was up from Cornwall with two of his beautifully-restored Talbots, GO 52, which Peter Moores drove, and one of the most famous of all these Talbots, the 1934 Pass and Joyce-sponsored Alpine 105 team car, with a replica body except for smaller tank. Leading the team in the 1934 Alpine Rally this Talbot won a Coupe des Alpes without penalty and was later raced at Brooklands by Mike Couper, winning three outer-circuit races in 3.3-litre form and lapping at 129.7 m.p.h. in 4-seater form in 1938. Blight’s GO 53 wasn’t present as it was still suffering from the gudgeon-pin breakage which happened at Oulton Park.
If an Historic Racing Car is one that was raced before 1952, only one Connaught, chassis no. A1, is eligible. If cars built during 1951/52 are regarded as eligible, four more Connaughts, chassis nos. A3, A4, A5 and A6 could just scrape in. Where are they?
V-to-C Miscellany, February 1996, February 1996
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