Some references to the recently-found Young Special pre-war Brooklands car which we illustrated last month suggest that its four-cylinder Hooker Thomas engine came from one of the “flat-iron” Thomas Specials of 1926/27 but this cannot be so, because both these Parry Thomas-designed racing cars had his straight-eight 1½-litre engines and the four-cylinder engine which Munday put in one of these chassis in later times was a Perkins diesel. The variously-quoted price obtained at auction for the ex-Woolf Barnato 6½-litre “Blue Train” coupe is explained by the fact that £246,000 was bid for it but that to this has to be added the buyer’s 10% premium, bringing the total to £270,600. This is, of course, the famous Bentley with which Barnato raced and beat the Blue Train from Cannes to London, as depicted in Cuneo’s famous painting, although in fact the high-speed run was made in darkness and train and car never raced side-by-side. Poetic licence if you like, although in my book you might as well depict Bleriot landing in Hyde Park after his first cross-Channel flight! Incidentally, any fear that having gone to America this Bentley might not be used again is dispelled by a news item which tells of its new owner, Bob Cole, pitting it against the Southern Pacific Peninsula commuter train from San Francisco to Burlingame last May, when the 1931 Bentley beat the twin-engine, four-carriage train by over two minutes in a run lasting 23 min 23 sec. The Bentley was also entered for the Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance.
We hear that the ex-Birkin 1927 Essex MC Six-Hour Race Bentley, Reg No YE 6029, has been found in Scotland. Two motor club anniversaries were celebrated recently. To commemorate the 82nd year of the Bury & West of England AC, M. J. Lightfoot and R. B. Ashton drove a 1902 8 hp De Dion Bouton from the Cornhill in the middle of Bury to Higham, where exactly 82 years earlier the Club had held its first meet at the Station Hotel, now a private house, several local motorists going there to greet the De Dion’s arrival, this car being similar to one that took part in the original evening run. The Club was formed on June 29th, 1903 at a meeting in the Angel Hotel, Bury, and lasted until 1911. Then to mark the fact that 95-year-old Mrs MillerBarstow, as 15-year-old Miss Evelyne Jackson-Barlow, was taken by her father to the first meet of the Somerset AC at Ston Easton Park in his Argyll, Reg No Y49, she was driven there again, exactly 80 years to the day, in an old Daimler. Incidentally, Mrs Miller-Barstow was still driving up to last year. Her father was a co-founder of the Somerset AC (of which his daughter remains a member) with Comdr Baynton-Hippisley, and besides the Argyll he owned a Daimler, Reg No YSO. The Club was formed at the Comdr’s family home, Ston Easton House, now a luxury hotel, and today’s members held a tea party there to celebrate the first meeting, at which 13 autocars took part.
In India a supercharged straight-eight six-seater Mercedes-Benz tourer, with the seats in three rows within the white open body, has been found stored behind piles of tea-chests in a house said to have been the summer residence of the German Ambassador, before he left in a hurry in 1939. Because of the new Heritage Protection Law the car cannot be exported but our Mercedes-Benz DC seeks information about it. A reader who used to own a Standard Nine Teignmouth saloon writes to say he is enjoying the Owen John item (“Motoring As It Was”), this gentleman having been known to his parents. It seems that Owen John Llewellyn was the brother-in-law of the late Major Vernon Tickell Hill who lived at Mendip Lodge, Langford where Toplady wrote the hymn “Rock of Ages” and Mrs Henry-Wood her novel “Eastlyn”. They owned a Star which frequently broke down, our correspondent says, before going over to Armstrong Siddeleys, having moved to Weston-Super-Mare. Their son played cricket for Somerset and his son sold our reader, who has had more than 80 different cars in 45 years, his first Austin-Healey. Another reader reports that a vintage Laffly fire-engine is standing in a public place in Tunis, apparently unused. Incidentally, his father was the head coachwork designer at the Riley factory in Foleshill, Coventry, responsible to Stanley Riley and he himself joined the Company as assistant to the works chemist in 1936.
We learn with sadness of the death at the end of July, aged 94, peacefully after a heart, attack, of Harry Varley, who left Vauxhall Motors to assist W.O. Bentley with the design of the 3-litre Bentley, before going on to Boulton & Paul on aeroplane work, and then re-joining Vauxhall -Motors before employment with Rollss-Royce Motors, as described in the interview with him published in Motor Sport last February. Before he died Mr Varley heard that the replacement 2.8-litre twin-cam engine he had designed for vintage 3-litre Bentleys had run successfully on the test-bench, reaching 4,500 rpm, or 1,000 more rpm than the original power unit, and this engine is likely to be revealed at the NMM at Beaulieu in the near future, we understand.
The Bean CC’s Harvest Tour is due to happen on September 29th. – W.B.