WB Rumblings, September 2005

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In the commendable magazine of the Singer OC I learn that Ian North has been putting in overtime on his ex-family 1907 12-14 hp Singer tourer, with help from a colleague who worked on it in the 1950s, to get it running for the Club’s centenary Rally at Stoneleigh Abbey, Coventry on August 12-14, where it will be the oldest surviving Singer car in this country. The only other Singer car of this age is a 7-9hp model in Australia.

***

The Archie Frazer-Nash Memorial Race Meeting by the Chester MC and FN Section of the VSCC is scheduled for September 24-25 at the Anglesey circuit. Frazer-Nash’s daughter Joe will present one of her father’s Brooklands Cups as one of the prizes, and it is expected that on the Saturday the Lancaster bomber of the RAF memorial flight (with Frazer Nash gun turret) will make a fly-past. Races for Morgan three-wheelers, vintage cars and motorcycles are on the programme. Entry fees £8 for one day, £12 for both days, advance bookings £10, from Anglesey Circuit Estate Office, Bodorgan, Anglesey LL62 5LP: regs from Robin Parker,10 Earles Lane, Kelsall, Tarporley, Cheshire with an sae.

***

One of the very many attractions promised at the Shelsley Walsh Centenary hillclimb on August 2 is the appearance of a grand prix Auto Union. It will presumably make a demonstration ascent or two but it would be interesting to see how its times compare with the 45.2sec climb in the wet by Hans von Stuck in one of these cars at the same venue in 1936.

***

A new exhibit at the Bentley DC’s private archive at Long Crendon is one of the hand-grips from ‘Old No1’  which was brought back in a box of spares from Le Mans in 1929, where No1 had won the race for Barnato and Birkin. Somewhere I have a cased piece of bonnet-strap said to have been on this same Bentley when it went over the banking at Brooklands in 1932, killing Clive Dunfee, which I must, when it turns up, also give to the BDC archives.

***

Reverting to my reference to streets in Jaywick Sands near Clacton-on-Sea being named after cars, questioning whether this is still so, a reader, Richard Hinton, has kindly done some research and tells us that it is still so, the names numbering more than 18 from Alvis, Belsize and Essex to Wolseley Avenue and including Brooklands Gardens.

***

The Bentley DC’s Review is full of the most interesting articles. For those who seek information on coachbuilders, the June issue has seven pages devoted to Arnold of Manchester, while R-R fans may enjoy Ashley James’s piece about the Mark VI Bentley, described as “unquestionably the best car in the World in 1946, ousting Daimler-Benz’s one-model policy, BMW bikes, VW’s vehicles which were then under the control of the British Army, and the Cadillac, America’s best.”  It might seem worth joining the BDC to read them….

***

It is not only well-known racing cars that create interest when they survive from the past. Roger Bird is using one of the Morris Minors which he tells me once formed a trials team headed by Jack Bond in the 1930s. Its appearance differs somewhat from standard Minors of the period. For example, in 1936 larger headlamps were fitted, and the badge bar has been altered and now carries five badges, including that of the Brooklands Society. Mr Bird is a member and makes weekly trips to the Track where he has been working on the 1930s BARC timing system.

***

At the Bonham’s/VSCC Olivers Mount hill climb in July FTD was made by Robert Cobden’s 1937 Riley Falcon Special in 50.68sec, quickest pre-war car was Trevor John’s1925/28 AC/GN (51.3sec) and fastest vintage car was Charles Gillett’s1929 Frazer Nash (53.89sec). The sportscar FTD was 55.12sec by Pete Candy’s Riley Falcon.

***

The Brooklands Museum is expressing pride at the loan of another ex-Track car. It is one of the1933 works Singers which competed in the1934 LCC Relay Race, driven by Eileen Ellison. The all-woman team finished fifth in this wet race, the other drivers being Kay Petre and Mrs Tolhurst. After the race this Singer was sold through the South Wales Singer agent Charles Henwood. The donor is Charles Pilbeam. Although in the original team livery, the engine and front mudguards are missing.

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