A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
VSCC Silverstone race meeting (July 22nd)
Torrential rain for practice, a slippery track for the first race, dull but dry weather thereafter, could not dampen the enjoyment of another VSCC race meeting, which was well supported by spectators. Longest thrash was the 15-lap Allcomers, in which Wilks’ Lotus 16 provided the only challenge to Corner’s ex-Lucas Maserati 250F. Indeed, the Lotus got ahead of the Maserati on lap 2, lost its slight advantage the next time round, but was alongside for the next two laps, after which a determined Corner drew away somewhat and it was all over for the luckless Wilks by lap 6 when his gearbox decided to function only in neutral. Corner went on to an incredibly easy victory, at 86.16 m.p.h., taking the Hawthorn Trophy. Cottam’s Connaught, after dropping back behind Roberts, who was going very well indeed in the Cooper-Bristol, and Bergel’s Maserati 250F on lap 7, picked these cars off to occupy second place from lap 9 to the finish, ahead of Bergel and Roberts. It is interesting that Wilks and Corner shared fastest lap.
The 10-lap Boulogne Trophy Race for vintage rating cars tan true to form, with plenty of excitement. Llewellyn was never challenged in the 3/8.3-litre Bentley but Moffatt in Wall’s Bugatti held second place for four laps until the plugs cooked, whereupon Hare, going very impressively in Footitt’s AC/GN, took and stayed in this place, followed by Stewart’s aluminium 4 1/2-litre Bentley and Arnold-Forster in the sprint Delage. Morley in the Pacey-Hassan Bentley went well until it turned rough, as did Palmer’s Targa Florio Mercedes, which, too, found ten laps almost too far.
This was a meeting of longer races, the Pre-War Allcomers lasting for 8 laps. It became a piece of splendid speculation as to what would be the outcome between the three leading cars, Fielding’s 6C Maserati leading for the first two laps (all races were over the Club circuit) after which the two ERAs, Curtis in Martin Morris’ car and Waller in Lindsay’s car, got by. But on the final lap of this close-fought race Fielding slipped past Waller to take second place, losing by 0.2 sec. to the brilliant Curtis. Hine, driving the big Llewellyn Bentley, was a more discreet fourth. We then had an over-3-litres Sports Car race over the same distance, rather like those Brooklands’ TT Handicaps, except for the intrusion of the cheeky GN-Powered-by-Ford.
The outcome was clouded for many of us by the fact that several competitors had but seven laps to run, which Jenkinson deemed too far for the TT Luganda, which is prone to over-heating. When it had all been worked out it transpired that Hamish Morten had come quietly into the picture on the seventh lap, to win from Stewart’s Bentley, with which Blight in Talbot BGH 23 had had a hard struggle, losing it by 1.8 sec. Quartermaine’s 30/98 Vauxhall was fourth.
The rest of the programme was made up of 5-lap handicaps and a Parade of Austin Sevens, the latter including British Leyland’s early Chummy listed as 1922 but bearing a 1923 registration apparently, and their single-seater side valve racer of the pre-war period. Many A7 celebrities watched, including Bert Hadley, and Sammy Davis drove an Ulster. There was even a 1929/32 Dixie BMW….
The first handicap was a very easy victory for Brown’s 1936 Riley 9 Special, but it was so close for second place that the time-keepers could not separate Kirby’s imitation Austin Ulster which took Woodcote close, from Graham’s replica sports Delage which went very wide, its subsequent acceleration ending in a photo-finish. The next five lapper was won by Fairley’s Fraser Nash from Guyatt in an unusual Talbot 105, the ex-Husband car, once blown but now with three dirty great carburetters, and strut-dampers supporting its Roesch suspension. Crocker brought his Lagonda Rapier fast into third place. Various Edwardians competed in the next handicap, Charmian May driving the nice little Singer Ten which went like a sewing machine. The Edwardian Racing Trophy and Napier Trophy were won by Mann Straker-Squire. The race proper was won by Quartermaine’s 30/98 Vauxhall from Tovell’s fastest-lapping Treen Riley and Brown’s Riley Special. The GN-Powered-by-Ford (Skinner) was vanquished by the GN/HRD (Giles) at the expense, unhappily of the latter’s engine.
After Pugh had opened the next race in twitchy fashion. Cook’s 1 1/2-litre Riley came through fast, to win from Gunn’s blown PB Q-like MG, followed by the Fraser Nashes of Still and Wheatley. The final race of a packed afternoon went to Fletcher-Jones’ Lagonda Rapier, Readey’s Riley finishing second and Fowler’s Aston Martin, its mechanicals exposed, third. The only accident befell French, whose Austin Seven slaughtered itself against Woodcote’s inside wall during the Boulogne Trophy Race, its driver shaken but unbowed. Rumour says the Austin’s licence-disc, which had blown away in the crash, was worn for the rest of that race by Stewart’s Bentley! And will the RAC please tell us why the outside of Woodcote has been rendered dangerous by the erection of Armco and wire-netting for those driving on the much-used Club circuit, where once a ditch did much to alleviate or obviate damage to cars which ran wide ? — W. B.
Silverstone Situations.—The exciting 24-litre Napier Lion-engined car of the Llewellyn/Morley stable has been revamped. The former Sunbeam chassis has been replaced by one of Bentley pedigree, with a normal clutch, 6 1/2-litre Bentley gearbox, 4-litre Bentley side members, hydraulic brakes and a Bentley shell over the radiator. The back axle ratio is now 2.46 to 1. An external starter battery is no longer required and the big car is now as docile as a Mini. When the engine’s reluctance to fire on all twelve cylinders in sequence has been cured we should see some fireworks. The Whittaker Chrysler now sports a big sump, copied from that used on the Chrysler 72 which took records at Montlhéry in 1928, both cars apparently having suffered from excessive oil temperature. The ex-Hodge single-seater Singer Nine was out again, but looked as if it could have done with more damping on the front end. Avril Scott-Moncrieff drove the ex-Whincop Type 57 Bugatti, now with four SU gas-works.,and the GN Powered-by-Model-A Ford ran on 16 in. tyres. Harpley is preparing a 12/50 Alvis engine bored out to 1.724 c.c. for his Avon-Alvis but was running it meanwhile with a long-stroke cooking 12/50. Peter Moores’ single seater Austin made its usual alluring power-whine but was doing its best to roast its magneto, and Andrews’ Brooklands Riley 9 lost all its sparks. You can see most of them again at Thruxton on September 9th. — W. B.
V-E-V- Miscellany.—An Anzani-engined Crouch has been unearthed in West Wales, but the back part of its chassis has rotted away. The restorer would appreciate any information and especially chassis drawings. Also in Wales, a Calthorpe engine, radiator, steering column and odd parts, probably from a 10.8 h.p. model, were found in a shed some time ago and have been safely stored. Last June a 1934 Model-G Wolseley Hornet saloon (Reg. No. AEL 637) was stolen from its garage while its elderly lady owner was in a nursing home. It has, according to a report in the Bournemouth Evening Echo, run only 1,100 miles since new and they put its present value at—over £1,000! A 1921 4 1/2 h.p. BSA motorcycle combination in running order was found recently by a reader in a garage not one-and-a-half miles from where he has been living in Surrey for 35 years. It is to be fully restored to keep the new owner’s 1918 BSA of the same h.p. company, Two Dodge two-tonner lorries, one a 1939 SWB and the other a 1947 LWB, both with side valve six-cylinder engines, the older one in use until a few years ago when the plating provisions caught up with it, were looking for a home to avoid being scrapped. They are, or were, in West Bromwich. There are rumours of a new motor museum in Newquay, Cornwall, not Wales as was stated in one Club circular.
We are sorry to have to report the deaths of three more personalities associated with the early days of motoring. George Schuster who drove a Thomas Flyer to victory in the 1908 New York-Paris race, died in July in a Springfield nursing home, aged 99. Born in 1873. Mr. Schuster was keen on bicycling before joining the Thomas Company. He went to Pierce-Arrow when the Thomas organisation went out of business around 1912 and subsequently became a Ford and then a Dodge dealer. The well-known lady Bugatti enthusiast Miss Cynthia Turner, who competed in speed trials and at Brooklands, died, also in July, in Scarborough Hospital, at the age of 67. Although at one time she made regular runs between Scarborough and London in her Bugattis, of which she said that Ettore Bugatti made cars to please himself and not the public, they had been less frequently used after 1947 and in recent years her 3-litre and 5-litre cars were on show in a local showroom. The 1928 Harrington-bodied 3-litre was sold only three days before she died. Another personality of the vintage years who has passed on is Mr. Vivian Graham Loyd, who was responsible for the two-stroke Loyd-Lord car, one of which ventured to race at Brooklands in 1923, driven by the Vickers test-pilot Capt. S. Cockerell.
Following on recent correspondence about Rolls-Rovce armoured cars, according to the Star Johannesberg a 1971 example is still in Dublin, at an Irish Army cavalry barracks, and is said to have been brought out of retirement recently to take part in celebrations in memory of Michael Collins, ex-Commander of the IRA, who was killed in an ambush in Cork in 1922. The story says that he was accidently shot after stepping from this vehicle as his gunner fired the Vickers gun into the road to clear it, but other reports have it that Collins was killed while using a Leyland Eight tourer. Apparently he commandeered the Rolls-Royce from the departing British Forces after the Treaty of Ireland had been signed. It has spent most of the ensuing years in Dublin and is said to be in good working order. The paper says the Army has just refused a recent high offer for it.
The Armstrong Siddeley has-emerged from being the “Car Nobody Wants” to being a car which is now catered for by an active Club which has nearly 500 members, has purchased all the new spares for these cars from Rolls-Royce Ltd., Coventry, so that it needs some 20,000 sq. ft. in which to store them—the Club covers all Armstrong Siddeleys from vintage to the last models built—publishes a newsletter “Pre-selector” and a printed magazine “Sphinx”, and runs the usual rallies and socials. Yet you can still buy the more recent Armstrong Siddeleys at low prices. The Secretary is John Hubbuck, 90 Alumhurst Road, Bournemouth. (Tel. 63413). The Sixth “Lost Causes” Rally, that fascinating gathering of defunct makes, takes place at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, on September 2nd/3rd. It is organised by the Jowett CC and the cunningly-devised classes should bring a variety of cars. Entries have closed but details are available, from J. Watkinson, “Blyth”, Shepherds Road, Bartley, near Southampton (Cadnum 2270). Membership of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club is expected to pass the 4,000 figure this year. Like the VMCC, the Alvis CC has recently published a comprehensive Membership List, from which we see that it had 1,210 members last March, owning between them 742 post-war and 605 pre-war Alvis cars, together with 16 Alvis Specials. The pre-war breakdown is: 12/40, one; 12/50, 46; 12/60, 30; 14/74, one; FWD, nine; Silver Eagle-20, two; Silver Eagle, 45; Firefly, 46; Firebird, 37; Speed-20, 164; Crested Eagle, 11; 3 1/2-litre, eight; 4.3-litre, 38; Silver Crest, 14; 12/70, 46 and Speed-25, 107.
The Trojan OC has seemingly been at a low ebb but intends to have its Petersfield Rally on September 24th, so if you are in Hampshire that day and see and hear any of these unique cars, wish them well! The ABC Register has its third annual rally this year, when all ABC products and any other Granville Bradshaw designs, including engine units, will be welcome to display themselves at Hoar Cross Hall near Burton-on-Trent on September 10th. The Bean CC is behind this and if any so-far-unregistered ABC or Bradshaw-engined vehicles exist, the Registrar, D. Hales, 20 Langbourne Way, Claygate, Surrey, would like to hear about them.