A WHEEL ON EACH CORNER
Old AYP was our family car from 1953-57. A Pre-Series Morris Ten-Four of 1934, it was already nearly twenty years old when dad got hold of it despite which it served us well for many seaside trips and holidays until he sold it on in 1957 - we didn't have another car for about five years after that!. I thought this might be Coronation day 1953 hence the Union Flag, The old girl certainly ran a family taxi service that day to and from our home as we were the only ones with a television, but I think it rained then and the weather looks altogether better here so cannot recall the occasion. Could be 'Empire Day' of course - 24th May - when we actually had an empire we used to proudly celebrate that! Grandpa is in the front and Grandmother in the back with my mum so quite where my younger sister and I fitted in on this particular trip I'm not sure! Being probably only about nine or ten years old at the time, I confess that I didn't actually take this photo and am not at all sure who did.
I've always liked old cars but despite promising myself that I'd buy one one day I never did (you guessed it - the bus was quite enough thanks). I contented myself for years going to countless rallies up an down the country and found them, sometimes at dedicated events, and at others paraded in large numbers alongside traction engines, commercials and my preferred buses. I still seek them out occasionally today though and have to say that it comes as something of a shock to see what were the latest and best models in my younger days being paraded as present day classics. The older generations that are mostly displayed here are not seen nowadays in anything like the numbers they used to be, perhaps understandably though it does make one wonder how many of them were lost later on before their true value was realised. I started snapping them at gatherings in the early 1960's so some of the views that will eventually be on show here will be quite historic in themselves. Its inevitable I suppose that some no olonger exist, and others will be different colours if they have survived. Some will perhaps have been exported and, sadly many will have lost their original registrations. I find this particularly annoying because it often means that the genuine number has been sold off for a high price to someone who coveted it for his own initials for his modern car. What can the original owners be thinking of when they destroy the identity and authenticity of their classic at the stroke of a pen? You can even catch out the makers of otherwise meticulously researched TV dramas who use these re-registered vehicles for their productions and you see,for example, numbers before letters registered pre-war cars on film set streets. Examples I have noted are Campion, Miss Marple, Poirot, and Foyles War.
Coming somewhat more up to date, so not (by a long way) the oldest classic that you'll be seeing on this page - The Austin Vanden Plas Princess of about 1971. The various badge-engineered versions of the BMC/BLMC 1100/1300 are always a personal favourites of mine amongst later post-war offerings at rallies. I learned to drive on one! Photo taken over thirty years ago. At this time it was probably still in everyday use (its in the car park at a rally here) so is probably not still around today though I have just weeks ago had two sightings in my home town of a rather neglected but still running white example.
Nash Metropolitan, basically, I believe, an Austin A40
AUSTIN & MORRIS SELECTION
A variety of Austin and Morris preserved classics from different eras seen in (2008) at special events at the East Anglia Transport Museum at Carlton Colville Lowestoft and at the Cobham Bus Museum Open Day (Wisley Airfield) in April 2010
Ah!, just like the one I used to know! This affords a clearer view of a Pre-series Morris 10/4 c.1934/5, and basically it's identical to AYP 675 seen at the head of this page (AYP was originally black over green but dad re-painted her something like this later on. If the several that I photographed in the sixties and seventies are (hopefully) still around and the ones currently seen are added together then there is a healthy number of survivors of the type.
The Morris Marina was a much maligned car, deservedly so some of the time as it became a potent symbol of the poor workmanship during the strife torn years at British Leyland in the 1970s. At the end of that decade things got a little better however and my personal experience of using these cars ( a few were allocated to LTE's car pool) and particularly the smart yellow with black vinyl roof automatic used by my own department head which I drove a lot, was quite a happy one. It got better still, when the model was revamped and re-badged as the Ital. It is good to see examples of the Saloon and the Coupe both dating from 1971-72 being kept for posterity - rare survivors indeed, there are probably ten times as many pre-war Morris 8s/10s in safe keeping!!
A RECENT MISCELLANY
A selection of spottings at steam fairs and other gatherings in Northamptonshire during the last few years
The 1930s Morris Eight is often seen and seems to have well outlasted its Ford 8 rival of the time, (the first £100 car!) which is now rarely seen. I probably photographed down the years a couple of dozen or more of these but, to my recollection, only one Ford Y at rallies!
This was a better class of BMC saloon, badged and with different frontal appearances as (mainly) Morris Oxford, and Austin Cambridge though there were less common versions named as Riley and Wolesley.
Not very many of these Austin A40's seem to be about now. Introduced I think around 1959 and in production till the 1100 series came along. The bodywork design was inspired by Pinnin Farina.
I won't stick my neck out too far yet on this but it may be a version of the Austin Litchfield
An Austin Seven tourer - was this the one they called the 'chummy'?
Much more modern and markedly rarer now than the above, The Fiat Strada was a late sixties inspiration that suffered (as did all Fiats of the time) from poor quick to corrode construction. It was nevertheless for the time a striking design - I know that I wished for one.
Vauxhall Cresta - The two-tone paintwork and whitewall tyres were popular on this late fifties better class of car.
Here's a couple more Morris 8s. Note that in later models solid wheels replaced the spoked variety
THE RAC THOUSAND MILES TRIAL
In 1970 it was the anniversary of this famous and important endurance test for motors organised by the Royal Automobile Club (RAC). I believe the original event took place in 1900 so this would have been the seventieth anniversary commemoration. I have the brochure somewhere but could not locate it to help me with these words so cannot remember what the starting point or the actual date was. There had apparently been similar events in 1950 and 1960.
It took place on a Sunday ending in the City of London. I heard about it and went along without knowing its exact location. On enquiring at a city police station I found that they were in ignorance of the whole thing but they thanked me for telling them! Eventually I found the arrivals area to be at London Wall, a wide dual carriageway that (being a Sunday) was quite deserted of other traffic - note that at this time even single yellow lines were not seen as necessary! What follows is my record of the great variety of amazing veterans arriving. Many of the entrants were of foreign manufacture and there was a sizeable entry of overseas based cars too.
Fiat 1913 (Italy)
FN 1909 (Belgium)
Adler 1909 (Germany)
Rolls Royce 1913
Model 'T' Ford (Tin Lizzie)
Panhard-Levassor 19?? (France)
Mercedes 1902 (Germany)
Dennis 8hp 1902
Alldays & Onions 1909
Renault 1910 (France)
Motobloc 1912 (France)
Thomas Flyer 1908 (USA)
BENTLEY GATHERING (parargaph under development)
Also in aroud 1970, I can't remember exactly when, I happened along to Kensington Gardens, more or less opposite the Albert Hall to find the early stages of a gathering of the great and good of the classic automobile world in the shape of a sizeable assembly of Bentleys, almost certainly I would think, organised by the Bentley Drivers Club. I'm sure it was not an advertised public event and no information was provided ( I would think that the participants knew all that they needed to know about Bentleys) but, of course, they could not prevent the public taking a look which I did and I captured these views. I am short of much technical and other information to individually caption all the views but hope to complete this aspect soon. Thanks are due to Robert McLellan's USA website www.VintageBentleys.org for the details of some of the earlier vehicles shown below.
Serious money here, even then. Many will no doubt be different colours, have different owners and some are probably no longer on these shores, but you don't often see such a comprehensive one marque display nowadays so enjoy the spectacle even if it can only be one-dimensional.
YR 1978: 6.5ltr Mulliner bodied convertible saloon 1926. This one is now thought to be in the Netherlands
Gurney Nutting bodied Coupe - 1930
Recorded now as having a massive 8ltr engine, this is a Mulliner bodied Saloon of 1932
Shown here, another 8ltr powered monster (1931) with a super attractive saloon body by Freestone & Webb. It apparently now has a replica racing body and as such, whenever this was done, was immediately more valuable for it I suppose. Though not particularly a Bentley enthusiast I cannot but be unhappy to hear of actions like this. Anyway, I hope that the original body was saved and transferred and not just smashed up!
Coupe (1930) with Gurney Nutting bodywork
A 3ltr saloon of 1924 - body maker unknown
4.5ltr powered saloon (1929) with coachwork by Harrison
Apparently from Jersey Channel Islands
3ltr Saloon (1931) - Gurney Nutting built the body
3ltr Racer (1925) with bodywork by Jarvis
CRYSTAL PALACE LONDON
What follows is a good selection of images taken at a major event held at Crystal Palace London in around 1971-2. I cannot recall the date of the event and if I ever had a programme it is long since lost. The subject matter of several of the slides has been at least in part identified. If you know any more or can identify the event then please contact me. Other than the annual London-Brighton event which I have attended only a couple of times this must have ranked at the time as one of the largest gatherings of veterans, or what American enthusiast browsers might call 'brass cars' ever staged. I presume that it was organised by the Veteran Car Club.
This is a Toledo Steam Car of 1900, and was, I think present very soon after restoration. I think that this still runs in the London-Brighton event now, some forty years later. It is presumably the then owners here dressed wonderfully for the part. I well remember allowing the publication of this shot in Old Motor Magazine.
Star - 1909
James & Browne - 1904
Decauville - 1901
Unic - 1912
Mercedes - 1908
De Dion Bouton - 1908
Unic Coupe - 1913
Pick - 1901
N.B. - I noted recently that this is nowadays painted in a very bright yellow - I think it looked better like this
Arrol-Johnson - 1902
Wolesley - 1904
Humberette - 1904
Panhard Levassor - 1901
Wolesley - 1912
Renault - 1908
Studebaker - 1914
Clement-Talbot - 1904
Austin - 1912
Adler - 1910
De Dion Bouton - 1903
At this point I'm going to climb on my high-horse and spout about a subject that annoys me. It certainly isn't the only one such but here, above you see an example of a truly excellent veteran which may well have been restored at great expense by its owners from a total unidentifiable wreck, maybe more that one such. Having carried out all that work it would surely have been reasonable for the licencing authority of the time to be allowed to make available a period suitable registration for the car. There were and are still literally millions of defunct ones that, with a little Whitehall imagination could be made available again to classic car owners. The commercial sale of old numbers is big private business these days, also for the present day DVLA so why can't it wake its ideas up and liberalise the whole thing by letting owners choose and pay for a an appropriate number of their choice? They could still maintain perfect control and it could make lots of money! In more recent years there have been minor 'concessions' in this regard, a typical Whitehall bowler-hatted mandarin solution, but so restricted as to make a nonsense of the whole thing. These have led to scores of veterans and vintage machines with DS SV or SU numbers and a recent London-Brighton run included well over a score of entrants with BS Numbers. Most spectators may not notice, or care, but it's just not authentic is it?
Come on DVLA - the keepers of our motoring heritage deserve more support & respect!
Adams - 1908
Cadillac - 1904
Georges-Richard - 1898
Arrol-Johnson - 1913
Argyll - 1905
Humber - 1913
Humber - 1904
VETERAN CAR CLUB LONDON - BRIGHTON RUNS
As far as I can recall I have only ever attended two of these. Both times at the finish at Brighton. For some reason I photographed hardly anything running in, preferring then to snap the entrants when still and on display on Madeira Drive afterwards
Georges-Richard - 1900
Siddeley - 1903
Renault - ????
Celer - ?????
???????????????? - ?
Renault - ?????
I may be wrong about this but I think this was a 1904 Cadillac from the then collection of American Bill Harrah who had his own motor museum. At the time I think he was married to the singer who made her name with song about raindrops falling on her head!
Charette - 1901
James & Browne - 1902
Hanzer - 1902
International Charette - 1901
MORE TO COME HERE - PLEASE KEEP WATCHING
I always found it interesting to come across imported from America cars at UK rallies in the sixties and seventies, particularly pre-war ones. Unlike the current US situation where it seems, from what I have seen on television, that you can literally trip over imported Rolls Royces, Bentleys Jaguars etc at their events, American cars here were obviously not imported as collectors items but had had in previous decades running lives here before preservation. The number that survived to attain 'saved' status was always surprising suggesting a far larger 1930s and later 1940s market here for US motors than I had imagined.. I wonder how many of the cars shown here, mostly seen more than forty years ago, have not since 'gone home'?
This is a Dodge. I think the venue here and for the shots that follow was at Woburn around 1972, possibly a meet of the Classic American Auto Club
Ford Model 'B' ??
Ford Model 'A' ??
This was a Stutz, not sure which model but the registration suggests 1929 or early 1930 - looks the sort of transport Al Capone might have favoured though not with right hand drive, or was he in jail by then?
I recall that there was something not quite the same about the two huge headlight glasses and for some reason the then owner said to me, a mere spectator, that if I could find a match for either he'd pay me £50 for it - that was a lot of money then!
Buick - 1939
Ford 'T' 'Tin Lizzie'
To end this section, this was one of the 'younger' participants at Woburn that day. It was aparently a Cadillac
These few seem to be at other locations
This one I do remember was at a Southend Rally in 1966. It was a Hudson Terraplane of 1934, an earlier version of the one seen further up the page at Woburn a few years later. I did see this again about three years later by which time it was, I recall, a slightly different colour but have not come across it since - It was a rare'n over here then so I hope it's still around.
Ford V8??- It's right hand drive but bears no UK registration??
It seems that the Classic American Auto Club is still thriving which is good news indeed. I am indeed grateful to its David Munson who has kindly filled in some of the gaps in my caption information. For more information on the club contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org .
IN CONTRAST TO THE FOREGOING, ON AUGUST 9TH THIS VERY YEAR I VISITED BROOKLANDS ON THE OCCASION OF THE CLASIC AMERICAN
AUTO CLUB MAJOR EVENT THERE. THE INTERVENING FORTY OR SO YEARS HAS CERTAINLY CHANGED THE SHOW! I WAS INITIALLY DISAPPOINTED THAT VIRTUALLY NOTHING PRE-WAR WAS DISPLAYED, INDEED VERY LITTLE PRE-1960. I ONLY HOPE THAT ALL THE CARS SEEN ABOVE ARE SAFELY TUCKED AWAY SOMEWHERE.
IN KEEPING WITH THEIR BRITISH COUNTERPARTS AMERICN CAR RALLIES NOW PRESENT A PREDOMINANCE OF CARS FROM LATER DECADES AND I MUST SAY THAT I DID IN FACT FIND THIS MOST INTERESTNG AS IT HAS ENABLED ME TO ADD A SHOW OF VERY DIFFERENT MACHINES.
AMERICAN CARS AT BROOKLANDS - AUGUST 2015
Apart from the above trio everything more or less all else was of somewhat more recent origin
...and then of course there were the Mustangs! I know nothing about any of them and had no idea at all that there were so many different designs.
...and that wasn't all of them !!
ENGLISH RALLIES - LATE 1960s and EARLY 1970s
I have a significant number of images to eventually post here. In most cases I am no longer able to identify with certainty just when and where I snapped them. As has been my message on previous sections here, I have also in many cases lost the detail about each subject but where I can at least identify the make I have stated it. Model designations and year built would be useful to obtain so if you can help then please contact me.
Are you a current or past owner of anything shown here, or do you know of any of them. It would be nice to confirm that any particular vehicle is still safe and well. Bear in mind that almost all the images were taken over forty years ago. Whereas pre-war models were the accepted definition of 'vintage' at that time, today this seems to apply to anything built as late as the 1980s and present day rallies are but a shadow of their former selves., far fewer 1930s or earlier examples coming out to view. There is generally significantly less interest shown by the general public too. So where are all the cars seen in the following paragraph?? - Inevitably I suppose some owners will have lost interest and, if not sold on then the vehicles might have been scrapped, maybe a long time ago I suppose. If they still exist do they ever see the light of day? They would be significantly more valuable now of course though I think vintage vehicle ownership was not then nor is now often an investment in real terms. When you see some of the thoroughbreds openly on show above, Rolls Royces, Bentleys, Lagondas, Delages etc it is understandable, given that some will nowadays have six figure values, that their owners would perhaps no longer wish to subject them to such close public scrutiny.
High end quality cars pre-war were comparatively few and far between, and it was good that examples did get saved. Here we see nice representatives from Austin and Vauxhall
This was a Humber 14/40 of 1928 nicely identified by its owner with a windscreen plaque
This looks like a Crossley
Lea-Francis 12/40 sports coupe of 1931
Talbot Coupe 1928
Austin Heavy 12?
Austin Seven Ruby
Bull Nose Morris ??
A nice pair of 1934/5 Morris 10/4s - BVX 5 was at that time a regular on the rally scene but this was the one and only time I saw FW 4856.Probably not a correct colour, but nevertheless welcome. I hope it still survives. It might well by now be another colour and have a different registration. Someone born on 4th August 1956 might have liked the original.
Singer ?? - I can identify the views here that look as if they are in a quarry - they are just that - present at one of the Great Transport Extravaganza's held 1968-73 or thereabouts at what is now termed Crich Tramway Village - the home of the National Tramway Museum in Derbyshire. That looks like Glasgow Tram No.1115 of c.1900 passing - it still carries passengers there today!
There are legions of the little Austin Sevens in preservation but only a very small number of these with Swallow Coachworks bodies have survived.
Wolesley. I mostly remember slightly later cars of this marque and, as a kid recall that, when they still worked, that oval Wolesley badge was illuminated on some!
Austin Seven 'Chummy'
Quite rare this one I should think - Morris 10/6 'Cunard Special'
Vauxhall Fabric Saloon ??
Austin Heavy 12??
This was, even at the time, a rarity among preserved cars - a c.1932 Morris Major best known for a rather quirky and confusing three-colour trafficator light system that was ultimately not popular. When I snapped this the car was about to be sold and, I think, went to a lucky buyer for something around £125!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - but remember, that probably represented more that a months salary for many then. A lovely motor - where is it now? There are very few indeed around and, co-incidentally, I saw another only last year at the same location,The National Tramway Museum at Crich.
I recognised this one immediately as I scanned it - it is a Hotchkiss - despite its non-gallic sounding name it's French! Last year one of these (same model same colour) was, I believe, auctioned at Brooklands - they are not exactly common here so it may well have been the one shown here in the late sixties. If so I recall that it was by no means as clean and bright as this so the years have taken their toll.
Not entirely sure but I think that this was the Morris 10/4's big brother, the 12/6.
Lanchester I think? - Not sure if the black radiator was correct.
Post-war Morris 8 - Colours probably not authentic
AC - In later years A.Cedes of Thames Ditton, Surrey were known for various Sports Saloon models,the Southend Pier Trains and, of course, the high performance AC Cobra.
????????? Is it a Singer??
Looks like a late series III Morris 10 although its registration suggests it might be post-war. In London 'J' numbers did not start till 1946/7 though this was registered elsewhere.
Perhaps this one should be with the veterans above, but I'll leave it here.
c.1936/7 Morris 8 Tourer
Fiat Topolino 1939
Morris 10/4 pre-series c.1934
A nice trio of Vauxhalls - I am sure that I have photographed ANG 811 much more recently, certainly within the last six or seven years at a Northamptonshire event and it's now a sort of duck-egg blue.
PLEASE KEEP LOOKING - many more, mainly UK and European to be added here
(Kings Of The Road Forever!)
Quite a few to come here - They surely deserve a paragraph of their own! Most are obviously coach-built to order, so if anyone can help adentify the body makers it would be much appreciated
It is perhaps noteworthy that at this time the owners of these magnificent steeds felt it safe to leave their machines apparently quite unattended and (apart from one) to leave the 'spirit of ecstacy' filler caps in place. I don't think they'd risk it today!
I was originally reluctant to include this one here even though it is undoubtedly a Rolls Royce. It was actually a hearse! and this means it might be more appropriate on the vintage commercial vehicles page. It was seen at Brighton in, I think, the early seventies where it had, seemingly uninvited, joined the HCVC run. I remember it drove onto Madiera Drive with two or three men dressed as undertakers aboard and caused some concern about bad taste. It was quickly ushered to the end of the display where I later snapped it at rest. I would have thought that this will, if still extant have since been converted (or re-converted) to 'proper' car configuration though it would have a very large rear passenger area. Can anybody add anything about the past and subsequent history of Birmingham registered OV20 ??
CRYSTAL PALACE (AGAIN!)
Just thought it would be of interest to add these few views taken at the very last official motor racing meeting held at what was London's only circuit, which officially closed in 1972. I believe that small gatherings and events are occasionally still held there, though not proper racing, as much of the circuit is now incorporated in the park public pathways.