V-to-C Miscellany, September 1996, September 1996

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Awards in the STD National Rally, reported last month. were :

Rootes Age/Distance Award: T Grundy (9131 Sunbeam), 490 miles, runner-up, P Lester (1905 Sunbeam), 200 miles.

Grammer Trophy (Pride of Ownership) R Burton (Talbot 110)

Best Under-Bonnet Trophy: Wilson (Sunbeam)

President’s Rose Bowl: Jane Wignall.

Coombes Trophy: ,James Fack.

A reader who is writing a book about the Invacar/Greeves motorcycle business following the death of Bert Greeves in 1993 is anxious to obtain some background to Angus Cudden Fletcher, who raced MGs and an SS at Brooklands, and who co-operated with Mr Greeves in the design of an ingenious three cylinder two-stroke engine in 1955, which they duly patented. Letters can be forwarded.

As a link with the paragraph above, it is remembered that Bert Greeves ran a Family Morgan with 10/40hp JAP engine (UY 507) which he ran in the 1927 Madresfield speed-trials, where he later rode a CS1 Norton.

A New Zealand reader who has a decidedly derelict 1926 Buick on his mother’s farm is intending to turn it into a replica of the car of this make raced at Brooklands in 1928 by Capt (later Sir) Alistair Miller, Clowes, and the Vickers testpilot “Tiny” Scholefield; The only problem seems to be that this Buick is thought to have had a twin-cam engine, which no production Buick ever had. Its origins are unknown to me and if any Buick specialist can provide a background, it would be welcome. The car had a London registration, won two Surbiton MC races at the track, one at over 91mph and was offered for sale in 1930 for £375. It was clearly not a semistandard Buick but was possibly developed from an early 3346cc 20/60hp Buick Six; any information can be passed to the would-be constructor.

Godfrey Davis, the well-known car-hire people are celebrating their 75th anniversary. It may not be generally known that as well as the car-hire business, they began in 1922 as agents for popular makes of cars, and the first they sold was a Talbot-Darracq, hence a video is to include a surviving example of this car. WB was a pre-war customer when finding himself otherwise without transport when about to report a motoring event. In those days the fee, if memory is correct, was about 15/-(75p) per weekday, increased to £1 on a Saturday and £1.50 on a Sunday, and for the benefit of theatre-goers Godfrey Davis kept Bentley and Rolls-Royce saloons which could be hired for a modest fee from 6pm to midnight or thereabouts. From such beginnings has grown the great and respected business of Godfrey Davis Contract Hire Ltd

The Trojan OC has available to collectors a pack of four good photographs of early Trojans. It may be obtained from the Club at Thomas Blount Cottage, Hurcott Village, Kidderminster DY10 3PG (01562 747922) for £4 post free

Another historic factory site that is in danger of development is the Globe works at Northampton, where Allchin steam tractors and wagons were made. Before it was too late a number of these engines assembled there and seven drove past the old factory at South Bridge. They were photographed there and at places used for publicity pictures by the company long ago, and outside a chemist’s shop, still open, once used as a background by Allchin’s photographer. Old plates dating back to 1903 still exist, for comparison. The oldest engines present dated from 1901 and 1903 and others came from Eire and the loW.

This year’s National Austin 7 Rally at Beaulieu had 189 entries. The main awards were won by a 1923 Chummy, a 1923 van, a 1923 doctor’s coupe, a 1928 Swallow saloon and a 1929 GE Stadium two-seater. In all there were 33 such classes, from which the overall winner was Nick Turley’s 1934 Speedy from Tadcaster. The best Ulster was that of Graham Beckett, the Wragg racer won its class and the winning foreign A7 was J Harris’s 1929 BMW-Dixi, the best Ulster Replica was brought by B Higgins and the highest class award went to the aforesaid doctor’s coupe; the distance prize went to an A7 from Windermere. Tony Silvey (1927 Chummy) won the driving-tests, in which best team performance was by the Dorset A7s.

The little-explored matter of W O Bentley and the sports car he designed for Armstrong Siddeley Motors is to be the subject of a W O Bentley Society lecture by Bill Smith of the ASOC on October 12 at The Hunt House, Paulerspury, HQ of the R-R EC. Tickets from Ray Wiltshire, Southpark House, Helmingham Stow market, Suffolk, IP14 6EP. W B