V-E-V Miscellany, September 1985, September 1985

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Anthony Heal puts his 1926 twin-cam 3-litre Sunbeam to good use. We saw it at the Brooklands Reunion and before that, after attending the. Wolverhampton Centenary celebrations, Heal drove it up to Liverpool to mark the 40th anniversary of having bought it from J. Blake & Co in that town – see Motor Sport for September 1981, page 1242. The plea for vintage cars to be used as course-vehicles at VSCC race meetings seems to have taken effect, because at Silverstone in July Johnsone’s 4½-litre ex- Fox & Nicholl Lagonda team car was so employed. The Trojan OC, which has a nice compact membership of around 76, nevertheless continues to be active and on September 8th will hold another rally at Syon Park, where last year 17 Trojans assembled. Then, on September 22nd, it is combining with the ABC OC to hold a rally at the old Trojan works at Ham, near Kingston-on-Thames, which will mark the 75th anniversary of ABC motorcycles and cars. Those who like the most off-beat events should note these dates. David Hales is in charge of the ABC part of the event and hopes to include all the vehicles made in the Kingston area of Surrey.

A reader who bought a red 1933 Singer Nine sports four-seater at auction, near Uttoxeter, is hoping to find some parts which were sold separately from the car, or else acquire these from some other source – the parts needed are the hood frame, seats, windscreen supports and badge, etc and the history of this Singer, OY 7369, is also sought. An American reader is trying to trace the history of his 12 hp Riley which is thought to have been built in 1936/37 for hill-climb and sprint work but not registered until 1937 and used by a well-known driver who graduated to a Brooklands-model Riley. The car has a pre-selector gearbox, shortened wheelbase, aluminium body and has been kept in beautiful condition. It was bought in Dorset after being stored for some 22 years. Letters can be forwarded. Harking back to this year’s International Rally of the Jowett CC, the premier vintage award was won by D. Mitchell’s “Short Two” Jowett that was placed fifth overall behind a Javelin, a Bradford van, a Jupiter and another Javelin in the Concours d’Elegance the pre-war awards in order of merit going to N. Smith’s Ten/Four, E. Beecroft’s “Focus”, A. Benewith’s 8 hp, B. Guille’s Kestrel, and J. Eilis’s 8 hp van. In Wales a Tipo Zero Fiat that was last taxed in 1924 and which had been used since 1930 to power a chaff-cutter, for which purpose three-quarters of the rear of the chassis was cut off and scrapped, is now being rebuilt by a member of the Fiat Register, who requires many parts in order to complete this formidable task.

An idea of how the old-car movement operates in Wales was gleaned from a visit to the exhibition put on by the Rhayader MC, for the 21st time, at the Royal Welsh Show. Post-vintage and classic cars out-numbered vintage in the ratio of nine to five, and post­vintage motorcycles by 11 to four. Of the vintage cars J. Carter showed his fine 1903 12 hp Sunbeam rear-entrance tonneau, Reg Worthing a Model-T Ford racer and there were two A7s but, alas, the editorial Calthorpe defaulted because of a baffling malady, starting but refusing to open-up, in spite of much effort to cure it. Among the post-vintage contingent a partly-restored 1932 3-litre Lagonda saloon, sans instruments and with the baffling item of two exhaust tail-pipes of vastly differing dimensions, stood beside Lane’s 1932 Model-B Ford Fordor saloon which was so immaculate it might have just emerged from the showroom. Sports cars were represented by Fazakerley’s 1935 Riley pre-selector special and an AC triple-carburetter 1928 Frazer Nash. The well-known Jaguar XK140 coupe was there again, as was an immaculate Austin Ten Cambridge saloon, a Standard 8 tourer and a Standard Ten saloon-could Welsh rain have anything to do with a predominance of closed exhibits? Coming right up to modern times, well almost, BL Heritage had put in the 1964 Mini Cooper S with which Makinen won the 1965 Monte Carlo. Rally. Motorcycles were well represented, from a 1916 Douglas to a 1955 Ariel Red Hunter bought in 1964 for £40, used daily up to 1975, but now reserved for rallies only. Particularly interesting wa’s Oakley’s 1923 four-stroke Quadrant found in delapidated condition in 1970 and beautifully restored, and Fazakerley’s 1928 flat-tank Sunbeam with ohv non-production engine. Which reminds me that a census of new motorcycles registered in Radnorshire between 1923 and 1930 inclusive shows J24 BSAs, 109 Raleighs, 100 Triumphs but only 54 each of AJS and Royal-Enfield and 31 of Ariel, down to one each for Bar and Stroud, Beardmore, Brough-Superior, Calthorpe, Cedos, Cyclotracteur, Cotton, Diamond, Henderson, Indian, Levis, Martinsyde,  NSU, OK Supreme, P&M, Quadrant, Rex­Acme, SOS, Velocette and Webb. The statistics for new vehicles other than motorcycles, registered in Radnorshire between 1923 and 1930 inclusive show 186 for Morris, 149 for Austin, 87 for Ford, 53 for Overland and 34 for Standard. If you see lots of Morris cars in the Oxford area over the weekend of September 14th / 15th it will be because the Bullnose Morris Club is holding its Oxford Rally, hopefully with a return to the factory where the original bullnose radiator was made. Admission charges to the new Sparkford Motor Museum, described last month, are £1.50 for adults, £1.00 for children and OAPs, £5,00 for a family group and it is open from 10 am to 6 pm every day except Mondays.

We were very sorry to learn that Walter Gibbs died while asleep, at the age of 68, at the end of July. Taking early retirement from his post as a Water Board official Walter enjoyed driving his Alfasud and took an active interest in pre-war motor racing, which he had enthused over as a young man. He was active within the Brooklands Society and archivist to the Midland AC in respect of Shelsley Walsh history, where his loss will be keenly felt. He was also a collector of old licence discs. Our deep sympathy to his always hospitable wife and family.

The Crossley Register has begun to issue six-monthly Newsletters, the first of which relates to the six-cylinder models. It showed that 35 15.7 hp Crossleys, four 18/SOs, and 26 20.9 hp cars are known to the Register. The Newsletter contains much additional information; the Registrar is: Malcolm Jenner, 244, Odessa Road, Forest Gate, London, E7. The June issue of the Singer Owner (75p to non-members of the Singer OC) contained a useful article on the Singer Junior.

The Historic Vehicle Clubs Committee is one of those unseen bodies working in the background for the good of the old-vehicle movement, and much good has resulted, so that all enthusiasts for the older vehicles should be indebted to the HVCC. It now intends to come out more into the open, offering the clubs the facilities it has for dealing with problems relating to legal, Customs, licencing and other relevant matters. Members are encouraged to approach the HVCC either individually or through their Clubs. The Chairman is D. B. Grossmark, Danny Court, New Way Lane, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, BN6 9BA. A reader sends a pc from Munich to say that he was interested in the article “To The North” in our July Diamond Jubilee supplement, about driving a 1938 4V4-litre Bentley from London to John O’ Groats, which might be compared to a run just made in a 2-litre Renault Fuego 44 years later, from Birmingham to Munich, via Harwich-Hook, the running average being 67 mph over an identical distance (the Bentley did 50.5 mph) at 37½ mpg (Bentley =17½ mpg), using no oil or water (the Bentley needed five quarts of oil and “perhaps half-a-gallon of water”), and the Renault’s tyres were “never given a thought” (the Bentley destroyed its lndias). Well, times have changed… -W.B.