Veteran Edwardian Vintage, September 1974

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A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters

VSCC at Prescott, August 11th: The Vintage SCC was lucky with the weather for its once-a-year hill-climb at the Bugatti OC course at Prescott, the meeting being run off without incident before a slightly smaller “gate” than last year. Once again Alan Cottam’s A-type fue-injection, de Dion-axled Connaught made FTD, although it did not better its own VSCC course record, being 0.02 sec. slower. A new vintage course record was put up by Preston, on a splendid tyre-bending, wheels-spinning climb in his Type 35B Bugatti (45.34 sec.). The Edwardian class was supported by six fast cars, of which the fastest was Ron Barker’s 1908 11-1/2 – litre Napier (57.86 sec.), but Rowley’s 1913 Talbot 25 won on handicap.

Prescott now has noise problems, so that one has the ludicrous sight of racing cars being equipped with silencers for warming-up in the Paddock, which are removed before the cars go up the hill. Jenkinson remarked that if you must have a silencer you might as well fit a Brooklands “can” and have done with it, and this was what he had on Robbie Hewitt’s ex-Joyce 16-valve AC.

Proceedings opened with the small sports-car class, won by Nice’s Ulster Austin from Cox’s Riley, a vintage walk-over, with John’s smokey, small-booted Ulster Austin third. All this was too much for Adams’ slab-tank, four-seater Riley Special, only runner in the post-vintage category. Stephenson’s BMW-Frazer Nash took the 1-1/2 -litre sports class, beating the Rileys of Jones and McEwen. Best vintage was the ex-Penn-Hughes Interceptor Frazer Nash of McPherson, which spun at Pardon on its first run. Second vintage was Wicksteed’s famous 12/50 Alvis racer. C. Jones could hardly fail to win the 1-1/2-to-3-litre sports car class in his modern post-vintage Riley Special, but Stuart Saunders in his road-equipped GP Bugatti ran him close, with best vintage time and second place overall, third overall going to Sellers whose Citroen now sports an Arnott supercharger. Rogers’ AC-engined Frazer Nash was second-best vintage car, followed by Angela Cherrett’s ex-Benjafield 1-1/2 -litre blown Alfa Romeo, although it was spitting through its blow-off valve. Aided by 4.3-litres of engine and fat tyres, Woolstenholmes’ Alvis Special took the big sports-car class on a very impressive run, from Black’s replica Monza Alfa Romeo and Bailey’s Derby Bentley Special. Considerably slower, Nutter’s beautiful 8-litre Bentley dominated the vintage category. This class contained Gray’s very original OE 30/98 Vauxhall with kidneybox f.w.b., alloy bonnet and b.e. tyres, which is what the VSCC used to be all about. It also featured two Railtons, of which Mummery’s Coachcraft d.h. coupe has run 472,000 miles on its original engine and gearbox.

Driving impeccably, Dowson set a new 1,100 c.c. racing car record in the Lightweight (46.95 sec.), second place going to Morgan’s Rapier, one of two Eccles Special replicas competing, with McCall in the actual Eccles car. Third in class was Sutton’s ex-MaclachIan Austin, which led the vintage contingent, followed by the Hardy Special. Giles spun the GN/Morgan “Salome” on his first run. The 1-1/2-litre racing class saw Patrick Marsh make best time in his ex-Seaman ERA, which was much quicker than Jaye’s Appleton Special, with everyone else unimpressively slow. The one-time Norris Special driven by Warden was best vintage car, having only the unblown 1924 AC and Williams-Raahauge’s 1921/23 twin-SU Brescia Bugatti to beat. The latter car is regarded as good fun by its owner but is taken more seriously by the Mumm champagne people; the commentator on the hill said it was a “Cordon Rouge” replica, in spite of its smart blue paintwork! Preston’s Bugatti vanquished the Cognac Special in the up-to-3-litres racing car class, these two being first and second in the vintage category. Footitt stopped on his initial ascent when the Cognac lost a vital driving chain at Pardon, and he was 0.03 sec. slower than the Bugatti on his second attempt. Wall, watched off the line by Moffatt, was third in the single-seater Type 35B Bugatti, in 46.65 sec. Against this, St. John’s 1931 Type 51 Bugatti made a good run in the post-vintage class, but could only clock 47.73 sec., and Knight’s Riley Special made only 51.09 sec. The poorly-supported big racing class was won by Smith’s terrifyingly fast Alvis-powered Fraser Nash, the vintage section going to Arnold-Forster’s big sprint Delage, which ran out of anchors at Orchard on its first ascent and motored across the lawn, outside the marker pylons. Harley produced as a racer a huge fabric-bodied Hispano-Suiza with incorrect mascot, but it demonstrated that it was only a touring car.

The post-war racing car class had Cottam in first place (43.24 sec.) followed by Phillips Mk. II ex-Gerard Cooper-Bristol (45.87 sec.) and Walton’s A-type Connaught (46.04 sec.).

Notable ascents were made by Howard’s Surbaisse Amilcar (61.27 sec.), by Vessey in his white 8th-Series Lancia Lambda for which he had been to London the night before to obtain a replacement gasket (57.88 sec.), by Clout in the side-valve Aston Martin (62.29 sec.), by Mrs. Rolt in her late husband’s duck’s-back Alvis (69.11 sec.) and by many others, if you accept that it’s all relative and that the times alone do not tell the whole story. The runners ranged from Bowles’ comic-car Alvis and C. Jones’ modern-car Riley, to the TT replica Bentley — and even that had different “boots” front and back on this occasion.-W.B.

Lagonda Items

The Lagonda CC magazine recently contained a road-test report on his 1938 V12 Lagonda written by Michael Valentine in the style of today’s test reports, which shows how well this W. O. Bentley car stands comparison with modern cars. Incidentally, Schofield’s 4-1/2 -litre was wrongly described as a team car in our VSCC Silverstone report, which has apparently caused merriment within the Club!

That “Cordon Rouge” Bugatti Replica

It was a nice idea to build a replica of Raymond Mays’ famous Bugatti “Cordon Rouge”, so that it could support the motoring events and socials organised by Mumm, the champagne importers. Replicas are permissible when no original car of the same type is available, or the bodywork is missing from an historic chassis. Some of them are very good. Black’s Monza Replica Alfa Romeo, Willoughby’s racing AC, the Le Mans Replica Bentley in the NMM, Wadsworth’s TT Bentley for instance, or the new body on Morley’s Pacey-Hassan Bentley. Besides these, the “Cordon Rouge” replica is disappointing.

“Cordon Rouge”, Mays’ first Brescia, had a short-wheelbase chassis. That used for the replica is a Type 23 long-wheelbase car, ex-Jardine, Moffat, Somerville and Sir Jeremy Boles. The wheelbase may at some time have been shortened to that of a Type 22 but it still seems to be longer than that of the real “Cordon Rouge”. The engine is of roller-bearing type, although we understand that a more correct plain-bearing one is to be reinstalled. However, outwardly as well as technically, the car is a very long way from the real “Cordon Rouge”. As the photographs show, the fuel tank was close up to the seat on Mays’ 1922 car, and externals such as the external pressure-pump, that bulge on the bonnet, etc. have not been reproduced, and the tank seems the wrong shape. The tyres are over-size, although for about £100 or so Dunlop could surely have supplied 710 X 90s? Worst of all, the radiator is of the later ribbon-type. Now this was the radiator of Mays’ second Bugatti, “Cordon Bleu”, as it was called after a brandy which has no association with Messrs. Mumm; this is surely all wrong! Amusing, but not one of the better replica cars.—W.B.

V-E-V Miscellany:

Total Times had a piece recently on Marshalls Garage at Old Crosby, Scunthorpe, from which we learn that it was founded in 1920 by C. W. Marshall, Motor Engineer. A picture shows the premises as they were when “No. 1 Petrol and Benzole Mixture” was sold there, a car in the background being, perhaps, a big Fiat limousine? In connection with our “Where Are They Now?” feature, we are informed that W.B.’s old Lancia Lambda is still running in Sussex, that the 1914 Mors referred to by past owner Mr. Seyd is in Milton Keynes, the present user being a lady, and that the Colibri light-car remains in York Museum. Apparently after the war no owner could be traced for the last-named car, so the Civic Authority wisely took it under its wing.

The “Henry Affair” has raised considerable interest and letters from Air Commodore F. R. Banks and Henri Petiet state that they associate the twin-cam Peugeot racing engines with Ernest Henry and do not recollect Hispano-Suiza having made such an engine. Doug Baird tells us that Chris Gould has prepared an Austin 7 which he hopes will establish a 750-c.c. class 10,000-Mile record, perhaps at Monza next year. The car has a glassfibre replica Ulster body, lowered suspension with Softride dampers, twin 1-1/8 in. SU’s, and develops 21 b.h.p. at 5,000 r.p.m. It was recently driven by these two enthusiasts, both wearing crash-helmets, from Lands End to John o’ Groats in 22 hr. 59 min., which is 1 hr. 40 min. longer than the best time over this route during the 750 MC Golden Jubilee celebrations. Delays were due to navigational errors and running out of petrol, the Austin doing 20 m.p.g. instead of the estimated 30 m.p.g. John Ward takes us to task for calling his lowered Chummy Austin which ran at VSCC Oulton Park a “tin-foil special”. He says it has a normal 1926 body, but it does run on small wheels (4.50 front tyres) and modified suspension. The only genuine Ulster component, he says, is the rev-counter. The newspaper of the Liberal Party has published a picture of six motor vehicles, four at least vans, used by the Liberal candidate Sir Herbert Samuel for his campaign in 1929 and probably photographed in Banbury. They appear to be 14-h.p. Armstrong Siddeleys and the appropriate ones are labelled “The Liberal Van”.

Alan Pollard is offering a £100 reward to anyone who can supply fully authenticated information which will positively identify his vintage racing Studebaker and reveal its origin and background. The car seems to have been intended for long-distance racing and has appeared at fairly recent VSCC meetings. Having been taken to task by Alvis authorities for saying a 10/30 Alvis had been found, when it was obviously an 11/40, we now find it is indeed a 10/30—you just can’t win!

A Canadian reader who is restoring a 1923 Rolls-Royce Twenty Tourer with a Duff and Adlington body needs help over the correct step plates. If any reader can provide this information letters can be forwarded.

From the Summer Newsletter of the Wolseley Register we gather that the water pump is the weakest feature of certain Wolseley models! Fortunately they have a useful repair service for this component and it did not prevent a member coming all the way from Belgium for their annual Stamford Hall Rally, in which the Vintage class was won by J. End’s 1925 Wolseley and the Post Vintage section by S. Mapperson’s 1926 Wolseley 21.

The STD Register’s annual Sandhurst driving tests and Concours d’Elegance are scheduled to take place on September 15th. At their Wolverhampton Rally the Rootes Cup was won by Harrison’s 1924 Sunbeam 14, which came 260 miles and it was runner-up for the D’Arcy Clarke Trophy for best under-bonnet condition, the winner being G. Joberns’ 1926 Sunbeam 20/60. First-class Awards in the Pride of Ownership Competition went to A. Wiggins (1936 Talbot 105), F. Selwyn (1926 3-litre Sunbeam and the Ashen/Ecclestone 1932 23.8 Sunbeam. Bob Frost took the Perkins Trophy. Scottish Alvis Day happens on September 1st, at Bridge House, Midlothian. Blackwood’s Magazine for August contained some fascinating reminiscences about the vintage days of motoring and cars owned and remembered by R. Hudson Smith, a British Embassy Official, and an extremely nostalgic account of Graham Gilmour and Gordon England touring the West Country in a Farman Box Kite in 1911, by Harald Penrose, OBE, who glimpsed it from a train standing in Templecombe Station as a small boy. The author recently presented the rudders from this aeroplane to the RAF Museum at Hendon, it having lost them when force-landing in the grounds of Eastbury Park near Tarrant Ashton. Incidentally, Gilmour’s car at the time is described as a “grey two-seater Panhard” while the former writer had, among others, a Grand Prix Salmson, and an o.h.v. vee-twin Morgan three-wheeler. The Myreton Motor Museum (Scotland) has issued a revised catalogue, price 20p, post-free.

VCC Fixtures:The Veteran Car Club has its Cirencester Main Event on August 31st/September 1st, the Shropshire Main Event on September 28th/29th and the Brighton Run, its most important fixture, on November 3rd.

Western Mail Motor Cavalcade:

When the Western Mail organised, very efficiently, a Road Safety Run from Cardiff to Llandrindod Wells it wisely confined the entries to pre-war cars, as possibly safer than modern high-powered machines! Very often the smaller old-car events attract entries not seen elsewhere, so I agreed to act as one of the Judges, in company with the Cardiff RAC Representative and the Editor of the organising newspaper, so as to ensure a grandstand view of the proceedings. There was an excellent list of 51 runners but some non-starters. The journey presented few difficulties but Tydir James’ two-seater 1926 3-litre Bentley had some bother near the start and arrived late, and Thomas’ 1939 Austin 18 Iver saloon, with occasional seats, which had followed a funeral professionally that morning, needed urgent assistance over 20 inch tyres. Otherwise they all arrived at Builth Wells for tea at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s Showground. Melville Watts was extolling the virtues of his 1921 Overland tourer, with its oval radiator filler, over those of the Model-T Ford, a brass-radiator 1911 example of which had brought D. S. Lyddiatt and his crew. Alan King came in a stark Anzani Frazer Nash which was losing water, there was a 1930 Austin with van body, once employed as a hearse and a baker’s delivery vehicle, Kelvin Price had a very nice 1930 Morris-Cowley coachbuilt saloon and MGs predominated, including a white VA tourer with Vauxhall engine. Very pristine outwardly were Arthur James’ big Sunbeam saloon and Husband’s 1931 Morris-Cowley. A 1936 Morris Eight estate had its spare wheel mounted prominently on the n/s, Dean had substituted a very fine open 6-1/2 -litre Vanden Flag Bentley for his BMW, Beetham came in a very gaudy 1938 Rover 16, said to be a works’ prototype, and when Lawson’ a single-cylinder 1905 Star got in, its oil lamps were lit to please the judges, who were inspecting for working lights, horn and starter. Rogers had to crank-up his E20 Daimler but Johnny Thomas’ sleeve-valve 35/120 Daimler got the award for the most unusual vehicle in the Run. A Daimler lorry left before judging was over, leaving the Ford to take the veteran class. The vintage class was won by Owens’ 1929 Hilman 14 saloon, a good working specimen in spite of some blemishes. Carter’s 1926 Hillman 14 was smart apart from a dent in its radiator and I noted a very clean 1936 Standard Ten saloon. A 1934 AEC Regal Mk. I represented the buses. The Judges had the utmost difficulty in deciding the winner of the post-vintage class, because Stephens’ 1934 Morris Eight saloon, McCormack’s 1934 Austin 7 saloon and Dingley Jones’ 1931 Model-A Ford saloon were splendidly turned out. The Morris got it after long deliberation and the Star was given the award for the most meritorious effort.—W.B.

V-E-V Odds & Ends: Whereas at Brooklands they were happy with a 3-litre Bentley converted into a fire-engine (expect a model of it one day), at the VSCC Silverstone Meeting the fire-tender was that pre-production XJ12 test-car with 100,000 miles up, that was a present to the circuit from British Leyland. The one-time owner of a 14/40 Humber tourer, TX 4702, bought in Ross-on-Wye in 1949 and run until 1951, wonders where it is now? O. T. Shoosmith is hoping that the IoM authorities will permit a demonstration of genuine TT cars next year, prior to the motorcycle races, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the first car TT. It is imperative to know how many appropriate cars would be available, so their owners are asked to contact Mr. Shoosmith at Gangbridge House, St. Mary’s Bourne, Hampshire as soon as possible. The Bean CC rally for Bean-Group vehicles will take place at the Shuttleworth Collection, Biggleswade, on September 15th. This covers Bean, Swift, Vulcan, ABC and any other Bradshaw-engined vehicles and Clynos are also invited. Information is sought about the prototype Harry Hawker light car of 1921 and whether any Hawker motorcycles exist apart from the JAP and Blackburne-engined examples thought to have survived; and about the Douglas-powered Hawker light plane Miss Ivy Cummings flew in 1925.

VMCC Black Mountain Run

The West S. Wales section of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club puts on some nicely informal runs, of which the Black Mountain Rally took place on July 21st. Once, when he heard that I lived in Wales and it was raining there, Cecil Clutton remarked “That’s what Wales is for, isn’t it?”. But sunny weather greeted this Welsh ride through Brecon lanes and over the mountain road. The machines ranged from scruffy to Concours, Haynes’ Francis-Barnett Cruiser, original to its very chromium, coming definitely into the latter category. The Garlands’ big Royal Enfield sidecar outfit was there, the famous Wilmot Evans rode (appropriately) a sporty 250 square-finned Triumph, Skipps’ 347 Matchless had hairpin valve springs, the Burke’s Brough Superior combo was heavily-loaded, Adams’ 1937 OEC had an experimental sprung rear wheel and there were lots of Sunbeams, of which Owen’s 1928 model ticked over sedately in the Paddock. First away was a 1916 Calthorpe-JAP with a link-belt as its final drive. Lots of riders took pillion passengers, like Acton on his smart blue-and-black 494 Triumph. Davies’ 1926 Raleigh had a belt-rim brake and gas lamps. The oldest competitor was Flew’s 1909 Triumph. The only incident seemed to be the complete severing of the n/s handlebar on Johnny Thomas’ 1924 Triumph, which did not stop him from continuing! This 500 c.c. machine has whittle-belt drive, belt-rim rear brake, and a wheel-rim front anchor. On the mountain road Evans used his AJS’s gearbox, Rhys-Roberts’ Scott Squirrel emitted the right note, Davis’ 1946 Norton slogged up well, and a yellow Renault did its best to collide with Lewis’ BSA combination at an open minor cross-roads. Again, it was the drivers of modern vehicles who showed up badly! Jordan (1926 BSA) selected a lower gear but was very quiet, the Garlands’ Royal-Enfield soon resumed the route after a false right turn, Harries’ smart 1930 Royal-Enfield had a slight mis-fire, and Bracey’s 1935 Norton with touring sidecar climbed effortlessly. Phil Smith and E. J. Williams were keeping a watchful eye . . . Now for the Saundersfoot!—W.B.