The Vintage Sports Car Club scored again at its Prescott hill-climb. In spite of running nearly 200 entries for the first time, with perhaps the biggest-ever spectator attendance, the meeting ran expeditiously — a tribute to Brian Harcourt-Smith, Ted Smith, John Warboys and all the marshals. And where else could you see such a variety of interesting cars of all ages, not only competing but in the car-parks, with an Ansaldo saloon and the ex-Kent Karslake yellow 37.2 Hispano Suiza tourer (driven by his son) among the homeward cavalcade?
Morning drizzle gave way to a perfect afternoon and incidents were few, although the 1912 GP Lorraine ran a big-end (the Zust being substituted), Valentine Lindsay’s 1914 GP Opel was denied its second run as it was dripping oil, and Bristow’s S-type 41/2-litre Invicta seized solid before it could compete. There was a momentary hold-up after Black’s 1750cc Alfa Romeo had taken the timing-cable with him, “putting up a black”, you might say!
Pre-WW1 cars are a special Prescott attraction. They were out in force, led by the £300,000 1903 GB Napier, brought from Beaulieu on a Ford transporter and demonstrated by Ron Barker. This gave uphill lifts to various lucky people, myself included; the run took 101.88 seconds, the old warrior too high-geared for Pardon Hairpin.
Clutton in the 1908 GP Itala made the best Edwardian run (56.28 sec), 0.44 seconds better than the 1908 GP Panhard. Pipkin’s Calthorpe won on handicap, however. Collings, driving a Mercedes of the kind that won the 1903 GB race, did 61.21 sec, compared with the Napier’s 98 sec on its best demonstration. That progress has been made is shown by Harrison’s 1907 Renault doing 73.34 sec, and Barker’s enormous 1922 Renault 45 tourer 68.97 sec! Guy Smith’s Alvin-powered Frazer Nash made FTD in 42.82 sec, while the best vintage climb was by Cardy’s 35B Bugatti (44.77 sec), which is going very well these days and vanquished the AC/GN and the Caesar Special, and the quickest unblown sports-car was Dunn’s Riley Falcon (47.82 sec).
Nice’s original Ulster A7 took its class (58.92 sec) from a J2 MG, Dunn’s Riley won the 11/2 litre sports-car class, Spollon’s Riley the 3-litre class (48.2 sec), and Summerfield’s very effective blown Avon-Bentley the big sports-car class (47.40 sec). The respective vintage winners were Nice, Selwyn-Smith’s Interceptor Frazer Nash, Rogers’ Frazer Nash and Craig Collings in the hairy 41/2-litre Bentley, which recorded a time of 50.16 seconds.
Brian Grey in the Hardy Special won the small-racers class (43.83 sec), and Bill Morris was best 11/2-litre, in ERA R12B (43.75 sec). Bill Summers, after much preliminary smiling, took the 3000cc class in the 8CM Maserati, in 44.45 sec, Smith the over-3000cc category.
The vintage winners of these categories were the Allt’cok (50.19 sec), J Giles in Salome (46.89 sec), Cardy, and Threlfall in the McDowell in 48.40 sec, the latter beating the fully overhead-valved Lovell Elkhart by 1.83 sec. STD was established by J Harrison at 88.97 seconds — justifiable as his 1911 De Dion has but one cylinder, of 955cc. WB