Club News

David Davies

Members of the Steam Car Club of Great Britain have received a 96 page bumper issue of the club magazine, The Steam Car, in celebration of the club's 25 year anniversary, containing articles on the beginnings of the club, the Doble steam car and many others. This issue is available for purchase, as are back numbers.

There are some useful ideas and suggestions on the choice of car ramps and lifts in the magazine of the Jupiter Owners’ Auto Club.

The British Made Car Club magazine has an enlightening article on the history and the development of the ball bearing and the ball race.

The magazine of the Bean Car Club carries a melancholy photograph of the last remaining part of the Bean (Tipton) factory before its demolition in June. An article on ‘Automobile Archaeology’ in the same publication tells us where to find the graves of Parry Thomas and of Locke-King, the builder of Brooklands.

A valiant attempt to decipher the engine numbering codes for the V-twin engines of J A Prestwich appears in the magazine of the Morgan Three Wheeler Club.

The magazine of the Triumph Razoredge Owners’ Club has an arresting photograph of a very serious ‘level twelve’ restoration project on its front cover.

In Buzzing, the magazine of the National Autocycle and Cyclemotor Club there is an illustrated article on the Bugatti cyclemotor. This was a DOHC unit of some 12.66 cc and only two are thought to survive out of the five sets of castings produced. One of the two was recently offered for sale for £25,000. There is obviously a Gallic theme to this issue as there is a favourable review of the book of the history of the Motobecane four-stroke motorcycle and a wonderfully atmospheric photograph of the Champs Elysees in the 1960s with the traffic control gendarme on his podium presiding over the traffic.

This story in the Austin A40 Farina Club magazine is worthy of more exposure. ‘Waiting in a lay-by ready to catch speeding drivers, a police officer sees a rusty old A40 puttering along the A22 at well under the 30 mph limit and thinks ‘This driver is just as dangerous as a speeder’ So he turns on his blues-and-twos and pulls the driver over.
Approaching the car, he notices that there are five elderly ladies, two in the front seats and three in the back, most of them wide-eyed and as white as ghosts.
The Driver, seemingly composed but obviously confused says to him ‘Officer, I don’t understand. I was doing exactly the speed limit! What seems to be the problem?’
‘Well Ma’am’ the officer replies ‘you weren’t speeding, but you should know that driving slower than the speed limit can also be a danger to other motorists’
‘Slower than the speed limit? No officer, I was doing the speed limit exactly; twenty-two miles per hour! ‘The driver replies.
The police officer, trying not to chuckle, explains to her that A22 is the road number- not the speed limit. A bit embarrassed, the woman smiles and thanks him for pointing out her error.
 ‘But before I let you go, Ma’am, I have to ask; is everyone in this car OK? Your passengers seems awfully shaken, and they haven’t made a sound the whole time’
‘Oh, they’ll be all right in a minute. We’ve just come off the A120’

There is an entertaining account of a successful assault on the Stelvio Pass by a 1929 Austin Chummy in the magazine of the Austin Seven Owners’ Club (London) magazine.

There is a brief but informative biography of Sir Harry Ricardo in the magazine of the Southern Daimler and Lanchester Club.

A big dose of nostalgia in the Austin Counties Car Club magazine a 1949 Austin A70 had achieved almost 100,000 miles by 1952 as The Autocar’s test car. It was then sold for £600 - a depreciation of only £8.00 in three years.

There might just be time to get your copy of a (very) limited edition of the Shelby Cobra history available from for €129,000, plus postage or, perhaps not...

Staying with the printed word. The A-Z of the first Morris-Oxford Light cars; 1913 by Peter Seymour is favourably reviewed in the magazine of the 6/80 & MO Club by Michael Ware.
In the Allard Owners’ Club magazine, there is a brief biography of Mary Wilkins, now Mrs Mary Ellis, who at 94 is one of the handful of surviving female members of the Air Transport Auxiliary. She was also no mean performer in competition with her Allard K1.

Back to books once more. Another of Michael Ware’s reviews appears in the magazine of the Association of Singer Car Owners. Manx Car Races - the golden years: 1904-1953 by Neil Hanson.

And what about ‘The 16 and 24hp Sunbeam’ by Bruce Dowell. The contact for more information is Alan Richens

Here and there, factories of the iconic, and not so iconic, manufacturers survive and one of the finest must be the former Clement Talbot factory in North Kensington which has been fully restored and modernised and is available for weddings, meetings and other celebrations

The heroic story of the restoration of an Austin Ant is recounted in the magazine of the Mini Moke Club. If you have never heard of the Ant, it is hardly surprising as only 29 were built.

Excellent old wives’ remedies in the Journal of the Cumbria Steam and Vintage Vehicle Society... mice have a great dislike of peppermint. A little peppermint oil around their hole will successfully keep the pests away. Whole cloves scattered plentifully among the clothing in drawers will keep moths away as effectively as camphor. To exterminate moths, wring out a cloth in strong turpentine and put among woollen goods, this will kill the pests (and probably lose you most of your friends).

There is a useful article on dynamos with the emphasis on the ‘third brush’ types in the Austin Ten Drivers Club magazine.

The Colchester Vintage Car Club Newsletter has an article and a photograph of another piece of our motoring heritage that has disappeared. The Kato Street, Birmingham, works of the FRS Lamps Company, is no more.

It would appear that the 50th birthday celebrations for the Mini Cooper ‘S’ were’ a right good do’ at Shelsley Walsh A splendid photo-reportage appears in Cooper World, the magazine of the Mini Cooper Register.

The Morgan Sports Car Club magazine reminds us of the Royal Mail motoring stamps which appeared in late summer -featuring (of course) a Morgan Plus 8, an Aston Martin DB5 and an E-Type Jaguar – among others.

The Reliant Scimitar Owners’ Club magazine puts forward a novel approach to fuel economy. When filling up your vehicle, do so at a low flow rate. All hoses at the pumps have a vapour return. Some of the fuel that goes into your tank immediately becomes vapour – which you have paid for-and which is recirculated back into the storage tanks – to be resold. So there!

There is a favourable report on a visit to the Atwell-Wilson Motor Museum in Calne, Wiltshire in the magazine of the Cambridge and District Classic Car Club.

There is an impressive photo-reportage on the Morris Centenary gathering – which included a Cowley-built Tiger Moth- in the Magazine of the Pre-1940 Morris Register.

A photograph which eloquently demonstrates the breadth of the movement appears on the rear cover of The Autotruck Club magazine. Tom Millard took his concours Velocette to the Fleet Carnival on his Lister platform Autotruck.

Just a couple of ‘one-liners’ from a selection that appeared in the Newsletter of the Austin Big Seven Register ‘I couldn’t repair your brakes, so I made the horn louder’; ‘If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried’.

In a search for more family history, there is a short story in the Allard Owners’ Club newsletter concerning an Allard M type, JYH 496, a Norton motorcycle and one Robert Keen. Does anyone have any records of Mr Keen’s exploits in hillclimbing at venues such as Wiscombe or Gurston Down?

The theory is propounded in the DAF Owners’ Club magazine that premium tyres are cheaper in the long run due to their lower rolling resistance improving fuel consumption figures.

There is a rather grainy photograph and a brief description in Wolseley World, from the Wolseley Register, of the 1937 Morris Wasp intended for military use as an off-road communications transport. Any more information out there, somewhere? It is also claimed by Gerald Palmer in an article in the same magazine that the Riley ‘Pathfinder’ was the first car where the radiator grill lifted with the bonnet...?

There are some depressing statistics in the Citroen Car Club’s Citroenian that prove what we suspected all along in that motorway service station prices are not only unreasonable but would appear to be pitched locally at what the market will bear.

There is an article in the H&H CVC magazine claiming that the Pontiac Aztek is one of the worst cars ever made and which destroyed the Pontiac brand and caused immense damage to the image of the parent company GMC. Any survivors and are there any other worthy contenders for the title, please?

A somewhat specialised interest, but John Sinclair’s book – Highland Buses’ receives a very favourable review in the magazine of the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum

Another (brief) reminder: the Vincent HRD Owners’ Club International Rally for 2015 will be in Italy.

There is a brief history of the origins of Michelin’s Bibendum symbol, which was originally conceived as an advertising image for a Munich brewery in ‘2CVGB News’ the magazine of the Deux Chevaux Club of GB.

There is a fully illustrated article in the magazine of the Rover P5 Club on the Leyland-Rover BS - a mid-engined experimental grand tourer which was road tested in 1968.

The Armstrong Siddeley Owners Club magazine has an interesting article which outlines the connections which link the Wolseley Sheep Shearing and machine tool company, Wolseley cars, Olympus jet engines and now Hawker Siddeley switch gear.

A sign of the times in the official Journal of the BSA Owners’ Club is an advertisement for electric starters for the much-loved A7 and A10 twins.

A nice little story with a human touch in the Alvis Owner Club Bulletin tells of two enthusiasts who had become blind in later life being given the opportunity to drive once more under full and experienced supervision on a recently closed airfield.

It does not often come to the fore, but the Hartlepool Maritime Experience and Museum is given a very favourable review in the NECPWA News. It has proved to be a very popular venue for a ‘Drive It Day’ happening.

There is a very helpful article for anyone wishing to build their own lightweight motorcycle trailer in the magazine of the British Two-Stroke Club.

Spare a thought for the trustees of the Rootes Archive Centre Trust who have begun the task of cataloguing some 20,000 photographic negatives from Rootes/Chrysler UK.

There is a fascinating article in the Mini Cooper Register magazine on the Carabus, a conversion by Harold Radford of a AEC Reliance bus into what must have been the very first really big motor home built in the UK which also incorporated the facility to carry a colour co-ordinated Mini Cooper in a special compartment at the rear. What became of it?

The rear cover of the Triumph Roadster Club Magazine has a reproduction of an impressive painting of a Roadster by member Paul Adams. It would seem that he will consider commissions - but, possibly, only for Roadsters?
Not only is 2013 the centenary year of the Morris, but it is the diamond jubilee of the Morris Minor light commercials. This is the feature of an illustrated article in the Morris Minor Owners Club magazine.

An interesting letter in the NECPWA magazine on problems with inner tubes fitted in tubeless tyres. It is claimed that the ridges inside a tubeless tyre can abrade an inner tube to destruction. Any ideas, please?

I used to think that the ‘Cart Marking’ ceremony held annually in London was something out of Monty Python, but, no, it is for real and the H & H CVC magazine reports on the first motor cycle – a 35-year old CX500 courier’s machine - to be ‘branded’ at this year’s ceremonies

The Magazine of the Wolseley Owners’ Club has reproduced an article on the planning for an Italian tour to be undertaken in a Wolseley Super Six in 1937. The availability of tourist coupons for fuel and for hotel accommodation make interesting reading: is this something that should be re-introduced?

The front cover of Safety Fast, the magazine of the MG Car Club, has a dramatic photograph of the MG SA of Timms and Stone hard at it in Ulan Bator on the 2013 Peking-Paris rally. They finished the event successfully.

In the magazine of the Association of Singer Car Owners there is a reprint of an announcement that Harry Long was to attempt to cover 20,000 miles in six months on a 4hp Singer motor cycle combination. Does anyone have any more information on this, please?

The Gay Classic Car Group is celebrating its first 25 years and in its splendid magazine is an account of a visit to the Ural Ataman Motor Museum in Istanbul (or Constantinople...)

The Triumph Roadster review has an informative article on tyres - with especial reference to Roadsters, of course, but it will be of interest to anyone with a car of that era.

The Crossley Register newsletter is as impressive and as sturdy as the vehicles it represents. Inside is a fascinating series of photographs of the fearsome machine tools and the somewhat grim interiors in their Gorton factory (plenty of flat ‘ats in evidence).

The newsletter of the Greeves Riders Association reminds us of remarkable performances of Villiers engined Greeves on the race circuits and the motocross courses of the early 1960s. An observation made without comment is that ‘Tony Davis won the Mitchell trial after Sammy Miller was disqualified for disputing marks with an observer’. There is also a useful article on techniques to correct distortion in the dreadful zinc alloy used in 600 series and similar carburettors.

There is a brief account of the annual Benson historic bicycle rally in the newsletter of Horsham Historics.

The Austin Seven Owners Club (London) describes a visit to Vintage Vacations near Ryde which has a collection of those iconic American streamlined aluminium caravans. There is also an article which discusses the descriptions applied to the many different categories of historic vehicle - replica, copy, reproduction, facsimile, hybrid, restoration, reconstruction, recreation, evocation, rebuild...

If you are on holiday in Barbados and time begins to hang heavily on your hands, the Rover P4 Owners Guild recommends a visit to the Mallalieu Motor Collection in Hastings, Christchurch.

The Register of Unusual Microcars’ Rumcar News, the publication that fearlessly reports on some of the darker sides of historic vehicles reminds us that the US Declaration of Independence contains 1,300 words while the EU Regulations on the sale of cabbages is 26,911 words.

Another excellent example of recording the history of the movement is the reminiscences of a Aveling-Barford Apprentice at the Grantham works in the Road Roller Association journal.

The AJS and Matchless Owners Club remind us that their 32 International Rally will be in Northern Germany 6-9 June 2014.
The LE Velo Club magazine informs us that the cruise liner QE2 moved only six inches for each gallon of fuel that it burned.

Welcome news in the VMCC journal: Geoff Brazendale’s book, History of the Sidecar, has been reprinted.

The Leeds and District Traction Engine Club inform is that the NTET will be celebrating its diamond jubilee next year.

The name Dixon is commonly associated with Riley motor cars. But it was not only the dreadful Freddie Dixon we should remember, but Reginald Dixon, the resident organist at the Blackpool Tower ballroom for 40 years.
His Riley Continental Sprite has survived and is now in Holland.

The Clan Owners Club magazine has an invaluable inventory giving us the sources of most of the components bought in to build a Clan.

There is a positive recommendation for Alpha Batteries in the Riley RM Club magazine.

There is an excellent photo-reportage of the Morris Centenary Rally in the magazine of the Bullnose Morris Club.

The Norfolk Military Vehicle Group newsletter explodes the myths behind the famous ‘your country needs you’ image of Lord Kitchener. It was not made up into a poster. It first appeared on the cover of a popular magazine, London Opinion, and was subsequently available as a postcard. Does anyone out there own a copy of the magazine or a postcard?

The magazine of the Model T Ford Register of GB has the sad news of the passing of Sir Terence Beckett at the age of 89, regarded as the father of the Ford Cortina.

The Cambridge and District Classic Car Club magazine tells us that 75 Hillman Imps gathered outside the Coventry Transport Museum to celebrate 50 years of the beast – including one car which had been driven the 14,000 from South Africa in 39 days!

The Alvis Register bulletin has an illustrated article on the Scottish Six Day Trials of the 1920s when cars joined with motorcycles to enjoy the fun. An Alvis SS 12/50 in the grip of Mamore gives some idea of the severity of the event.

The Fire Service Memorial Trust is trying to build up an archive of the names of firemen who were killed or who died from their wounds whilst serving their country in military service in the Great War.

Another brief, but welcome, reminiscence of life as an apprentice at ‘the Wolseley’ appears in ‘Wolseley World’

The magazine of the Ariel Owners Motorcycle Club has a useful step-by-step guide to changing a front tyre and tube.

The Austin Seven Owners Club (London) magazine has a timely reminder: now that the clocks have gone back- to check all off your lights, and especially your brake lights.

The Octagon Car Club bulletin has a very comprehensive list of tips and suggestions for storing a vehicle over the winter and resuscitating it in the spring.

There is a useful article on the repairing of cast iron components in the Wolseley Hornet Special Club magazine.

An article revealing the mysteries of the synchomesh gearbox appears in the Pre-1940 Morris Register magazine, together with a photograph of a line-up of Morris Minor vans and pick-ups used by the Shanghai Waterworks Company Limited.

There is a useful buyer’s guide in the magazine of the Rover P5 Club.

The newsletter of the Allard Owners Club reports that plans to manufacture Allard cars again after nearly sixty years are well advanced.

The Bristol Austin Seven Club newsletter has a helpful checklist for you to apply to your vehicle if it is now exempt from the MoT.

The Naylor Car Club give us advance notice of their 20th birthday weekend on 16-18 May 2014 to be held at Gaydon.

More reminiscences – this time from an employee at the Vincent factory from 1947 to 1957 in the club’s magazine.

The journal of the Ford Sidevalve Owners Club has some facts and statistics of life in 1953 when the first 103E Popular was introduced to an unsuspecting public: Selling price £275 but there was £ 115 14s 2d purchase tax to pay as well. The average house price was £2,000 but the average wage was £9 5s 11d for 45 hour week and with 47.5% basic income tax - happy days? There are also some tips and advice on correcting the tendency for elderly Fords to develop a list to port (or starboard, for that matter).

The Vintage Austin Register magazine has an article on conversion from magneto to coil ignition.

There is the intelligence in Aston Martin Owners Club News that the property in Henniker Mews where Bamford and Martin first set up shop in 1913 is now up for sale. So if you have £2.5m to spare, go for it...

The Standard Car Review has an intriguing article on the Standard Motor Company’s adventures with gas turbines.

The newsletter of the Southend & District Classic Car Club tells us of the time when the president of the USA travelled in the Cadillac that had belonged to Al Capone.

There is brief history of the ‘Mehari’ in the Deux Chevaux Club magazine. How many of these beasties have made it into the UK?

The BSA Front Wheel Drive Club has a thoughtful article on the farce that has become of the driving licence regulations as they affect three-wheeler custodians.

The Morgan Three-wheeler Club magazine has rediscovered the Morgan in which Stirling Moss started his driving career and in which he and his pet ferret came to grief after a puncture. There is also a report on what sounds to have been a really enjoyable weekend in Yvetot, Normandy in France.

A delightful tale, with a moral, appears in the newsletter of the MG Owner’s Club of Northern Ireland newsletter. “A priest was being honoured at his retirement dinner after 25 years in the parish. A leading local politician and a member of the congregation was chosen to make the presentation and to give a little speech at the dinner. However, he was delayed, so the Priest decided to say his own few words while they waited. ‘I got my first impression of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place. The very first person who entered my confessional told me he had stolen a television and, when questioned by the police, was able to lie his way out of it. He had stolen money from his parents, embezzled from his employer, had an affair with his boss’s wife, taken illegal drugs and given VD to his sister. I was appalled. But as the days went on, I learned that my people were not all like that and that I had, indeed, come to a fine parish full of good and loving people’. Just as the priest finished his talk, the politician arrived full of apologies at being late. He immediately began to make the presentation and gave his talk. ‘I’ll never forget the first day our parish priest arrived’ said the politician. ‘In fact, I had the honour of being the first person to go to him for confession’” Moral: never, never, never be late.

An illuminating article on the meanings of all those numbers and letters on the sidewalls of your tyres appears in the magazine of the Rochdale Owners Club.
In an article on the genesis of the first Morris Minor in the Pre-1940 Morris Register magazine we learn that for an extra £10.00 on the purchase price of £100 you could buy a garage to keep it in! Do any of these garages survive?

There are some thoughts on the theories for and against front wheel and rear wheel drive in the Octagon Car Club bulletin.

The Ford Classic and Capri Owners Club review tells us of the history of the Ford assembly plant in Cork which at its peak, employed 10% of the city’s population.

The Scottish Austin Seven Club magazine lists the items and the suggested actions involved in an annual safety check.

The NECPWA magazine tells us the story of the origins of the blue oval that is the symbol of the Ford company world-wide. Contrary to popular belief, the script is not Henry Ford’s signature. The magazine also recommends ‘damp traps’ available from Poundland to combat condensation/damp inside your vehicle in the winter months. There are also some other useful and imaginative suggestions for winter motoring preparations.

There is a fascinating article on the pre-war RAC rallies in the Alvis Owner Club Bulletin The inaugural event in 1932 attracted 341 competitors who had the option of nine starting points and routes each approximately 1000 miles long.

There are some thoughtful observations on the so-called green movement from the Reliant Kitten Register. Reflecting on how we recycled many forms of bottles as a matter of course, how we refilled pens with ink instead of buying a new biro, we drank water from a tap instead of demanding a plastic bottle flown in from another country - were we greener then than we are now?

LEDs are explained in simple language in the TR Register magazine.

The National Street Rod Association journal recommends a visit to Don Garlits’ Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, not too far from Orlando. This looks to be an exciting and educational experience for anyone.

There is an article and a fascinating map of the route of the 1933 Mille Miglia in the MG Car Club magazine


This interesting review of snippets from club magazines is produced for your amusement by David Davies. Updated on 30th October 2013