V-E-V Odds & Ends, September 1979

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Some Welsh motoring history, additional to the comments we have been publishing about conditions there in the 1920s, has surfaced, due to the premises occupied by Ace’s of Tenby having closed after nearly a century of trading in bicycles and motor vehicles. The business was founded by George Ace, who came to Tenby in 1884, and it was carried on by his son, the late Graham Ace. The Company’s Southcliffe Street premises fell into the hands of the Pembrokeshire District CC and the site is now occupied by a block of flats. The Warren Street depot, opened in 1886, still exists, however, with much of the place unchanged, although closed last July. The Western Telegraph published a special feature on the Company and its founder George Ace, a great racing cyclist, is shown in a Standard Tourer he was using during Christmas, 1909. His first car, and the first in Pembrokeshire apparently, was a 3 ½-h.p. Benz, on which he drove to London in 1896, the 285-mile journey occupying eight days due to belt breakages. He then had a Leon Bollee, followed by a 4 1/2-h.p. De Dion Bouton and a 10-h.p. MMC. He took part in the 1,000-mile Trial and had been to the pioneer motor show, in Richmond Park, Buying the very first 8/10-h.p. Humber, Mr. Ace became an agent and at the age of 78 was the oldest living Humber agent – he drove a Humber up to the time of his death and he had had experience of every one of their models. Ace’s sold their first Wolseley in 1906 and 60 years later were the only British firm to have held the agency for that length of time.

The Weston-Super-Mare MC celebrated its 75th anniversary last June. Its President, John Rowland-Hobsons, whose late father knew C. S. Ross, held a commemorative party, the guests including two daughters of the founders, one of whom still drives regularly her Triumph 2000 and Morris Marina. The Club used to organise speed trials prior to 1914 and a picture shows what may have been the first motor-meet in Somerset, held at the residence of Commander Hippersley, RN, in June 1906. One of the ladies who attended the anniversary party is sitting in the Argyll, fifth from the left, and the Daimler on the extreme left of the picture was the Hippersley’s own car. The child on the front seat, Mr John Hippersley, still uses Reg. No. Y93 on his Land-Rover. WE think the other makes depicted are Mercedes, Darracq, Talbot, Lanchester, more Daimlers and a Swift, but can the VCC experts name them all? The Model-T Ford Register is having a two-day rally at the Lorch Foundation Seminar Centre at Lane End, Bucks., on September 15/16th. Details from: The Rally Organiser, Forge Cottage, The Green, Cuddington, Aylesbury, Bucks. A reader whose mother was a member of Lady Sybil Grey’s very first detachment of women drivers to go to France in 1916 to drive ambulances is anxious to know who took the photograph of Sunbeam and Model-T Ford ambulances which we published in the February 1979 issue. If this catches the eye of the reader who sent us the photograph, perhaps he or she would kindly communicate with us.

As a commentary on old vehicles that are in Radnor now, as distinct from those we have been recalling that were on the roads in the 1920s, the Rhayader MC held its usual veteran and vintage display at the Royal Welsh Show in Builth Wells. Rather fewer exhibits were there than in former years but some of the vintage motorcycles had been found in the area within the last twelve years or less and been restored. The most popular car was a 1911 Rolls-Royce, which took three rosettes, the rendering in the programme of the name of its (Roi be Belges) body perhaps hinting that this is a replica. It was opposed in its class only by Reg. Worthing’s 1913 Model-T Ford tourer, which has an early FO registration plate and came on its trailer. In contrast, John Carter’s 1924 Morris-Cowley two-seater had come from winning the Distance Prize in a Morris Register event in Yorkshire, so it richly deserved the Welsh award it gained – it was laid up between 1928 and 1976, incidentally. The Editorial 1922 Talbot-Darracq was preveiled upon to make the local run to be present, and this time there was a strong Austin 7 contingent, from a 1924 coupe to Seymour Price’s 1936 Nippy, and including a 1933 Opal two-seater bought for 30/- and now nearly fully restored. It was all very peaceful, a contrast perhaps to the Horsham Vintage Transport Rally, which last year attracted some 900 or more entries!

The Alvis Register, whose Bulletin now comes out in a more attractive format, in order to try to identify a racing Alvis which is puzzling them asks if any of our readers can recall the colour of the car driven by C.M. Harvey at Chinkwell and Shelsley-Walsh in 1924?

The Guildford town show takes place on Sunday September 2nd with an historic vehicles cavalcade, organised in conjunction with the Brooklands Society and incorporating a drive round the town. Details and entry forms together with a first class s.a.e. is advised from Francis Clarke, 58 Meadrow, Godalming, Surrey. – W.B.