V.S.C.C Prescott

THERE is no more pleasant venue than Prescott hill on a fine day, and the V.S.C.C. had ideal conditions for its meeting of August 15th. An entry of 100 cars, ranging from 1908 to 1956, had two runs up the hill, inclusive of a short interval, between 12 noon and 5 p.m.

Peter Moores’ 1930/32 Austin Ulster, aided by remote gear lever, hydraulic brakes, short exhaust system and an S.U. carburetter protruding from its bonnet, won the class for 1,100-c.c. Sports Cars from Ely’s 1934 Riley and the fastest of several Fiat Balillas, driven by Carrington. So as not to overtire itself the victorious Ulster went home on a trailer behind a B.M.C. 1100 Baker’s Amilcar, with two-pipe exhaust system, took the vintage section from Winder’s Humber Special. The Amilcar-Riley ran its big-ends and was pushed away. McEwen’s ex-Mary Grosvenor Riley Sprite beat Parson’s Frazer Nash, perhaps hampered by its high windscreen, to victory in the 1,101-1,500-c.c. Sports Car class. Riseley’s Aston Martin was third, while best-vintage was Smith’s polished aluminium Frazer Nash, appreciably quicker than Poynter’s Lea-Francis.

Footit’s A.C./G.N.—what a splendid sports car!—climbed in 50.13 sec. to take vintage and outright first place in the 1,501-3,000-c.c. Sports Car class, beating no less a combination than Hutchings’ 328 B.M.W. Hine’s fabric 2-seater 3-litre Bentley went well, to take second vintage place. The Big Sports Car class was very well supported, Symondson’s beautiful Type 57SC Bugatti 2-seater emerging as the winner (48.32 sec.), a quite outstanding run, eclipsing most of the racing cars, Black’s painstakingly restored 1931 Monza Alfa Romeo taking second place (49.57 sec.), and third place going to Sir Ralph Millais’ Le Mans 2.3 Alfa Romeo, after a very good getaway, in 52.36 sec. Blight’s Talbot 110, BGH 23, using the Arthur Fox twin S.U. carburetter layout from the single-seater Talbot 105, clocked 52.76 sec., while the fastest vintage car was Marsh’s Invicta (53.3 sec.), which beat Conway’s Type 43 Bugatti, which took off with spinning wheels, by 0.58 sec. Three Edwardian cars, Lord Montagu’s Prince Henry Vauxhall, driven by Giron, the Straker-Squire and Clutton’s vast Itala contested a handicap, the Itala adding yet another award to an extremely impressive collection since Sam started racing it, its actual time being 54.85 sec., or 0.3 sec. outside the Edwardian record.

Dowson’s rubber-sprung o.h.c. Lightweight dominated the 1,100-c.c. Racing Cars (49.78 sec.), Peter Waller’s E.R.A. won the 1,101-/1,500-c.c. Racing Car class (46.97 sec.) from Marsh’s E.R.A. (49.0 sec.), but put a front wheel up the Pardon Corner bank on its second ascent. It was left to Cottam in his ex-Horton A-type 1953 fuel-injection 2-litre Connaught to make E.T.D. in the Big Racing Car class, in 44.41 sec., a new class record and only 0.27 sec. outside the V.S.C.C. course record by Peter Hull (E.R.A.) in 1959. Lockhart’s 1946 Rover Special went very fast (46.38 sec.) to take third place. Doc Taylor’s Caesar Special took the vintage section in 47.95 sec. from Kain’s Bugatti (48.5 sec.).

Basil Davenport drove his original G.N. Spider with a 1930 2-valve engine, with one bronze and one iron head, pulling a 12 to 1 bottom gear, but lack of front brakes was a big handicap and he couldn’t better 54.32 sec. There was only one accident, when Riddle rolled his 1921 push-rod o.h.v. G.N. over and onto its wheels again at Orchard Corner, on its second run (first. run, 59.62 sec.), fortunately with very little damage to himself or his cyclecar; he was driven home in it. The Arnold-Forsters had a satisfactory day, Mrs. A-F doing 59.14 sec. in the Anzani Nash and A-F 49.99 sec. in Delage II.

The car parks contained many interesting vintage and p.v.t. cars, Riley, Alvis and Lagonda predominating. There was a spotless yellow i.o.e. G.N., thought to be the only remaining Legere model, an A.B.C., a bull-nose Crossley saloon and a later Crossley tourer, four very sporting vee-twin Morgan 3-wheelers, etc.

Interesting competing cars included Delves-Broughton’s 1923 racing-bodied s.v. Aston-Martin, with twin S.U.s and outside exhaust (65.09 sec.) and Harwood-Matthews’ very passable imitation 1928 Alvis duck’s-back (62.49 sec.). S.T.D. was scored by Court (82.81 sec.), harassed by shedding chains on his twinblower Shelsley Frazer Nash.–W. B.