A Section Devoted To Old-Car Matters
Looking back at VSCC Silverstone
The second VSCC Silverstone Meeting was plagued by heavy rain showers, which was unfortunate, because there was a record entry and because the wet track was directly responsible for the Bentley-Napier leaving the course and being badly damaged, with David Llewellyn being slightly injured.
The traditional races at this meeting were the 10-lap Boulogne Trophy Race for vintage racing cars and the 15-lap Hawthorn Trophy Race for historic racing cars. In the former Llewellyn bravely drove the Bentley-Napier in very slippery conditions and had it well in the lead for six laps. He was taking it very carefully through Woodcote and at this stage in the race was challenged by Footitt in the AC-GN Cognac Special, who had passed Moffatt in Wall’s single-seater Type 35B Bugatti a lap earlier and then overtook the luckless Bentley-Napier. Llewellyn soon afterwards lost his big car at Maggott’s, where it slid into the earth bank forwards, stewed round to clout it backwards, throwing the driver onto the grass, then rolled across the track. Llewellyn was taken to hospital for his face to be stitched and the car was seriously impaired. However, as small consolation, it shares its accident with the Brooklands aero-engined hybrids, for the Cooper-Clerget, Chitty 1, the Sunbeam-Napier and the 350-h.p. Sunbeam all left the track at one time or another, as did the Napier-Railton at Montlhery, and the Wolseley-Viper narrowly escaped doing so.
This unhappy crash left the flying Footitt in possession of the Boulogne Trophy, Moffatt for once being out-paced, although the Club now refrains from telling us by how big a margin. Kain was third in his 35B Bugatti. Schellenberg drove the Barnato Hassan with courage into fourth place, although it is a pity the car is now painted a dull black, although in case this makes it unrecognisable, its name is emblazoned on it. The class winners were Dodds (Riley), Dean (Bugatti), Footitt and Schellenberg.
Neil Corner, of course, had the Hawthorn Trophy all nicely buttoned up, leading all the way in his 1959 GP Aston Martin, which he drove very fast indeed, working away at the steering wheel. On lap 9 he had moments at Woodcote but the issue was never in doubt and when Bailey slid his Cooper-Bristol mildly backwards into the bank at Woodcote, Corner acknowledged the yellow flag. He won at 86.47 m.p.h. but fastest lap was set by his only possible adversary, Roberts in the ex-Wilks Lotus 16, at 88.79 m.p.h. It was a processional race with a big and historic field, Cottam being third in one of Millar’s Maserati 250Fs, with Millar himself fourth in another.
The other big event was the 8-lap Pre-War All-Comers’ Scratch Race. This was won impeccably by the Hon. Patrick Lindsay in the ERA “Remus”, which led all the way, pursued very fast indeed by Venables-Llewelyn’s 2-litre ERA, with an equally determined Patrick Marsh (ERA) third. Lindsay says modestly that “Remus” is going so well this season but as one of the Judges I had no compunction in insisting that he be named “Driver of the Meeting”. He went equally well at Oulton Park and for one who has had some nasty accidents he remains fast, cheerful and a polite driver to his rivals. In this instance he kept the bigger-engined ERA at bay, although in a previous race “Remus” had not gone the distance. In this one, however, it made fastest lap, its best ever, at 82.7 m.p.h.
The Fox and Nicholl Trophy Race over 8 laps was for vintage and p.v.t. sports cars over 3-litres. Anthony Blight made a great effort to win it, in Talbot BGH 23, which rumour says has Jaguar con-rods and a light-alloy body, but to no avail. The most appropriate winner would have been a 4 1/2-litre Lagonda, as F & N raced these, and in a race difficult to follow on account of credit laps, it was one of these, although not a team-car, which did finish first, in the form of Macdonald’s 1937 model, at 67.31 m.p.h., with Brown’s 1936 4 1/2 litre Lagonda second and Nutter’s fastest lap (74.22 m.p.h.) 8-litre Bentley third, its engine a specially devised one, using a 6 1/2-litre crankcase. Llewellyn would have driven his notorious big Bentley, now with 6 1/2-litre instead of the former 8-litre engine, but for his earlier crash. Incidentally, he had all but sold the aero-engined monster, rumour says because he is graduating to an exciting imported GP Alfa Romeo.
The supporting races were the customary 5-lap handicaps and in that incorporating Edwardian cars it was good to see more of these appearing and all three places occupied by them. Michael Ware in the NMM Coupe de L’Auto Sunbeam led Barry Clarke’s sporting Singer Ten and Barker’s 11-litre Napier over the line in that order, the last-named having for much of the race held off a f.w.d. l.h.d. Citroen roadster. Another handicap was devoted to Italian cars, in honour of the visiting Lancia owners from Italy, France, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland and America, for the Lancia Motor Clubs International Rally, held here for the first time. It also included Rileys, as there had been a Grand Parade of these cars to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the birth of this make. The winner, appropriately, was Brown’s 1936 1 1/2-litre and it was followed home by Clifford’s V8 Special, Fleming’s 1937 11/2-litre and Cook’s 1935 1 1/2-litre so for once it was a “British benefit”. The Lancia contingent included Wigglesworth’s interesting 1929 Lambda with prototype Astura 3-litre V8 engine. Giles won another handicap very convincingly in the GN “Salome” but when “potential customer” Cherrett tried it in another race it retired. The first event, a 5-lap scratch race, was a victory-for Cranage’s N-type MG Magnette. Perhaps the slowest car racing was Odell’s 1923 Lagonda cabriolet, which had had to be given one 1921 big-end after a practice calamity.
The MOTOR SPORT Brooklands Memorial Trophy points have now stabilised, prior to the Final at Llandow circuit on September 8th, and are detailed overleaf.
The Riley Parade, for which the rain kept off, was excellent. It was led by a 1904 4 1/8-h.p. Forecar and a round-radiator 18-h.p. vee-twin tourer from Coventry Museum, brought on a BL transporter, and it embraced almost every kind of Riley. Wood’s 1922 10.8 two-seater, a fine 1922 10.8 tourer and a very rare Redwing two-seater were there. Nines of all kinds predominated, followed by 14/6s, the White Riley, the many variants of 11-litre p.v.t..Rileys and a rare 15/6 Kestrel, a Big-4 six-light Kestrel saloon and the Appleton Special. Perhaps the best item was a young Maclure being towed on a bar at no mean speed in the model Brooklands Riley behind the Ely 1934 9-h.p. Ulster Imp. – W.B.
Facets of History
Some interesting pieces of history have come to light in recent club magazines. The Summer Journal of the Morris Register contained an illustrated account of the firm Bonallack and Sons, who pioneered the use of aluminium bodies o Morris One-Tonners and other commercial vehicles, etc. The Alvis Owner Club Bulletin for July had a long article, which is to be continued, on A.J. Linnell’s racing 12/50 Alvis No.1, and the June issue of the Malaysian and Singapore Vintage Car Register Magazine of all things, contained a very good reminiscent piece by H.A. Stonor about the nineteen-thirties, exactly capturing life and motoring exactly as it was in those times.
The Ford V8 van mentioned some months ago as derelict in London has been acquired by Thamesbrook Transport of Slough, who own many Fords. A 1920 Calthorpe two-seater body and a 1916 Chevrolet tourer body are available from a reader who is restoring a pre-1914 Model-T Ford. The Calthorpe body had been stored since the mid-1920s and is by Offord & Son. C. Koehn, 3628 Herbert Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio is compiling a register of American and Canadian owners of pre-War Austin 7s, from whom he would like to hear. A 1937 Tatra 97 imported into the UK in 1949 and owned from 1952-54 by Harry Ferguson Research, is now being restored in Jersey. It is the 1,750 c.c. flat-4 air-cooled rear-engined model. A small motor museum has opened in Jersey. The reader who owned a Daimler Light-15, Reg, No. BPL 40 about eight years ago and sold it to someone in Henley is anxious to know if the car has survived. The ex-Whitney Straight straight-eight 2½-litre GP Maserati was brought out of storage in Durban recently to take part in a parade, and another of these cars has turned up in France. A 1922 8h.p. Talbot-Darracq is being restored in Dorset.
A Seabrook radiator imported from Australia and, through the agency of MOTOR SPORT, a straight-eight Hooker-Thomas engine from Canada, will assist the restoration of a Seabrook tourer and a racing “flat-iron” Thomas Special, respectively. The STD Register’s traditional Sandhurst Rally at the Royal Military Academy is scheduled fur September 30th. The Registrar of the Morgan Three-Wheeler Club has published a most interesting breakdown of the situation. He can account for a total of 1,185 Morgan 3-wheelers and thinks a further 500 probably exist. The Club knows of 286 two-speeders, 609 three-speeders, 274 Ford-powered models, a dozen specials and four Darmont Morgans. The membership includes a couple of pre-1914 Morgans, 139 Aeros, 96 Super Sports Aeros and nine pre-1925 Grand Prix models. Good show indeed!
National Bean Day
The Bean CC’s National Bean Day happens at Dodington House, Glos., on the A46 on September 23rd. It is open to Bean, Swift, ABC, Perry, Bradshaw-engined vehicles and Vulcan and we hear that about 20 Vulcans have been traced.
No, not Gillian Fortescue-Thomas or Rosemary Smith or it wouldn’t be on this page. But the other day I met Miss G. Halewood. Not that she thinks of herself as a racing driver. But she won her class in the 1923 Caerphilly Hill-Climb and has a cup to prove it.
Miss Halewood’s father commenced motoring with a single-cylinder 8h.p. De Dion Bouton which was the 17th car to carry the Cardiff registration letters. That dates it as 1904. Some of the local hills defeated the veteran and the occupants had to walk up behind it, scrambling in as it regained speed. Miss Halewood says her father was never a very good driver and eventually he “tumbled them all out of the car”. Rescue was effected by an almost equally primitive Alldays & Onions driven by a lady, which happened to arrive on the scene of the accident.
The De Dion was followed by an Arrol-Johnston tourer, with the coal-scuttle bonnet, a fine set of brass lamps, and white-wall tyres, one of them steel-studded. It was so big that to get it in the garage the headlamps had to be removed. One day Miss Halewood’s father was taking it round to the garage, which involved a turn into a lane, and somehow he managed to pinion a man who was standing by the wall with his leg in one of the headlamp brackets. The car was reversed to free him and he walked away without saying a word. It was an episode which delighted the Halewood children. After the war, in 1919, a 30h.p. seven-seater Armstrong Siddeley became the family car. Miss Halewood learned to drive on a 11 h.p. Hillman two-seater; that is, when it could he persuaded to start. She then began to take over the chore of driving the family. They had a Singer fabric saloon which belied the sluggish reputation of the make. “We got about quite quickly”, recalls Miss Halewood, “in this warm car”. There was later an Austin and a 20h.p. Armstrong Siddeley saloon, the latter retained until after the second World War, while Miss Halewood’s brother had a late-model Alvis until this year.
A local agent for the new Gwynne Eight asked Miss Halewood to drive one in the Porthcawl sand races and the Caerphilly hill-climb, fixtures which occupied a Friday and Saturday in the Welsh sporting calendar. She had no qualms about doing so, and duly competed, with a normal two-seater Gwynne. Apart from having to hold the gear lever in gear, she had no trouble and won the Ladies’ Class, climbing in 1 min. 44.4 sec., which beat Miss Cory’s Austin 20 by 11.4 sec., and Miss Vaughan’s Humber 8 by 57.6 Sec., so that she won both on speed and Formula. That was in the hill-climb.
Delighted with the result, the Gwynne fancier lent the car again in 1924. This time Denis Wakley had a 12/50 Alvis with which the smaller-engined Gwynne could not contend. At Porthcawl it seemed that Miss Halewood might still succeed, because the girl Wakley had nominated to drive his Alvis in the appropriate class did not turn up. However, Doris Heath, who used to drive a Darracq, was present and agreed to take the Alvis, and this was allowed. New to the car, Doris muffed a gear change but managed to beat the Gwynne by two seconds. At Caerphilly she again took the Alvis but was beaten by the experienced Miss Pink in her Aston Martin. Miss Halewood and the Gwynne were third, in the Ladies’ class, with a time of 1 min. 35.2 sec. – the girl was improving! Public road speed trials were banned by the RAC early in 1925, so this likely lady racing driver had to content herself with ordinary driving.
She recalls some long runs, and remembers how deserted were the roads of the ‘twenties. On one run they left Cardiff and the first person they saw was a policeman on the bridge at Gloucester. The Armstrong Siddeley Thirty was a very big car, considered too heavy for a girl to drive. Miss Halewood remembers the first long run in their second Armstrong Siddeley, which had the new side-wound inbuilt-jacks. When a tyre burst they had no idea how this functioned, even after consulting the manual, and neither had a passing farmer’s boy. But another motorist stopped and showed them how simple it was. – W. B.
Stuart Motor Vehicles
Stuart Turner Ltd. of Henley-on-Thames, which became a private company in 1906, is well known to generations of model engineers for its models and castings of steam and i.c. engines. It is also well-established in the field of marine engines, generating sets, pumps, etc., but it may not be so well-known that the firm had vehicle associations. This will be rectified when the present Managing Director, Mr. Peter Bernard, completes his sparetime task of writing a comprehensive history of the Company.
Meanwhile, arising out of our review of “The Miniature World of Henry Greenly” MOTOR SPORT, July, the model engineer who was at one time with Stuarts, their Secretary has contacted us about some of the motor vehicles once associated with the firm. For instance, they built a petrol-engined bicycle, thought to have been called the Dayton Lightweight, in large numbers, and also the Stuart Stellar motorcycle. The latter was a very advanced 80 x 82 mm. twin-cylinder three-port two-stroke with a swept volume of 784c.c. It made its appearance, designed and built by Stuart’s, in 1912. The interesting thing is that the engine was water-cooled and placed across the frame and that the drive was by open shaft and worm gearing to the back wheel, via a unit two-speed constant-mesh gearbox. It was said to develop 8.32b.h.p. at 1,680 r.p.m. and to run up to 3,000 r.p.m. Apparently the worm final drive was not reliable but nevertheless a Stellar combination attached to the Westminster Dragoons took part with honour in the combined Army and Territorial manoeuvres which were held in England prior to the first World War. Stuart Turner have one to this day, which sometimes goes out on suitable occasions. They are trying to tempt someone to make a scale model of it and featured it in No. 5 Simec Newsletter, official organ of the Stuart International Model Engineers Club.
It is rumoured that Stuart’s once produced a car and confirmation of this would be appreciated. They have a picture of such a car but it is not known whether this was made in the Henley factory or whether it was merely the personal transport of the Company’:founder, Sidney Marmaduke Stuart Turner. If this is the same car which is illustrated in the Greenly biography as belonging to Mr. Stuart Turner, the radiator was subsequently altered. There is also preserved a picture of a three-wheeled forecar, which seems to have been known as the Rook, Spring Steel or Spring Star, but it is not known whether or not this was another Stuart Turner production. – W. B.
V-E-V Odds & Ends
A vintage Type F5-120 Renault is being restored in Rosario and information would be welcomed. An illustrated history of the Alfa Romeo 8C-35 owned by Dennis Poore and formerly raced by him has been published by Michael Lindsay and John Dooley of 38 Muswell Hill, London N10, price 30p. D. Tuersley tells us that his 1938 AC tourer is now resplendent after a five-year rebuild. It is thought to have been one of a batch of twelve which were shipped to America but returned for some reason to this country and sold here. The Reg. No. is GPL 25 and anything known about the car would be appreciated. The Bristol Austin 7 Club is anxious to trace the present whereabouts of Mr. P. Start, as he won last year’s Longleat Rally vintage saloon trophy and they want their trophy back. The Hispano-Suiza Club hope to have another rally in September. A large quantity of serviceable used spares for a 1936 Buick Big Eight, the Canadian model, are available in London. A circa 1935 Adler Trumpf d.h. coupe which had been stored for years in a disused hangar at RAF Gatow, together with assorted transport items, has been painstakingly restored by a team from the RE & ME and the RAF, assisted by a civilian mechanic, and the car, a 1.7-litre model, is to be presented to the Deutsche Automuseum in Berlin. The restored Adler was handed over to the Mayor of Berlin, Herr Klause Schutz, by the Officer Commanding RAF Gatow and the information came from our Ministry of Defence, yet another instance of the interest and good relations which the older cars promote. Liston Young, Hon. Secretary of the Fiat Register, recently swopped a 1968 Morris 1000 for a complete but delapidated Fiat 15-ton lorry. It had not run since 1939 but the engine is free and the Bosch magneto throws a fine spark, which encourages the task of refurbishment.
A Sizeable Mystery
When I queried under this heading which Mercedes chassis the late Harry Hawker could have used in 1919 for his Sunbeam aero-engined car, as it had cantilever back springs, which was unusual for Mercedes models, I had done insufficient research into my subject. Before Mercedes historians do too much digging about, I hasten to explain that Hawker had made the cantilevers out of the original Mercedes half-elliptic back springs. So there is no mystery within a mystery; he appears to have used a 35h.p. Mercedes which was, I think, better known as the 35/40. – W. B.