miscellany, September 1997

It was good indeed that the 10.5-litre V12 Delage raced at Brooklands by Cobb, Bertram and Mrs K Petre, now owned by John and Johnty Williamson, was at the Goodwood Festival, after a major blow-up at Oulton Park in 1991. This is the second major rebuild, I think, the other being when Cecil Clutton had that accident after a cylinder had given way and caused a fire at VSCC Silverstone in 1952, after which new one-piece blocks replaced the 12 separate cylinders.

It is curious how small points about cars one knows well can escape one. For years I had wondered about an artist’s impression of the great Delage which the Williamsons now have, which showed its rear dumbirons ending in knife edges. Johnty has now explained this. In 1923, when this Delage (which took the LSR in 1924) made its debut, the rear dumb-irons were faired-in for better streamlining, which is what the artist had depicted. This had been removed when the car came to Brooklands, hence my difficulty. Thank you, Johnty, and good luck in racing the car.

This year’s 750 MC national Rally of Austin 7s at Beaulieu marked the 75th anniversary of these famous cars. It was yet again an immense success, with an amazing 345 Sevens present, with support from larger vintage Austins and others. The programme listed 36 Chummies, 28 Box saloons, 41 Ruby saloons, three genuine Ulsters, and seven Ulster Replicas, a Grasshopper, a BMW/Dixi and even an Austin pedal-car and an Austin tractor. The oldest original, unrestored entry was Nick Turley’s 1923 Chummy. Quite an occasion!

John Granger, Brooklands Museum archivist, has compiled a list of the different makes of cars that ran there between 1920 and 1930, as disclosed in the programmes. The total comes to 194, from ABC to Zedel, the most popular make being Bugatti, Mowed by the A7. A further list of 1930s cars is in hand; meanwhile there is a list from 1907 to 1939 in my Brooklands History.

After some 30 out of action an extremely rare Carltonbodied Raymond Mays drop-head coupe, which Prideaux-Brune drove in the 1938 RAC and Welsh Rallies, has completed a full restoration. The 2.6-litre V8 Flying Standard engine has special heads and other modifications. Owner D C Poulton finds that the Mays front suspension and steering give the car quite a modem feel.

Michael Ware, curator of the National Motor Museum, is justifiably proud of the new period garage display, reflecting a country garage up to the late 1930s, with sonic artifacts dating back to 1912, and some from Marston’s Garage in Crick, closed in 1939. Upstairs is a modem counterpart, the Interactive Motorworks Gallery. The pre1939 garage has a crashed bullnose Morris and a 1926 Austin 20 breakdown truck, which had been a Marlborough landaulette used as a taxi until converted by Quick’s Garage in Handcross in 1938.