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VSCC Prescott Hill Climb 2019 – Part Two: The Pre-War Cars

Welcome to Part Two of our report on VSCC Prescott on 3rd and 4th August.

In Part One we looked at the racers.  Now we’ll look at the pre-war cars that we found in the car parks.  Part Three will cover the post-war cars.

As in Part One, we’ll give you a mix of pictures of the cars, stuff we know about them and stories we heard on the day.  We hope you enjoy Part Two: The Pre-War Cars…


1907 Daimler Type TP 45 ex-Earl of Craven ex-George Daniels

A very famous car.  Originally owned by the 4th Earl of Craven and his family but, perhaps with even more renown, next owned from 1983 by the greatest watchmaker of the 20th Century, George Daniels.  This 10.6-litre four-cylinder four-seater tourer pre-dates the sleeve-valve era of Daimler and is therefore a conventional side-valve car, albeit with twin plugs per cyinder.  According to George Daniels’s autobiography it was his favourite car – and he also owned the Birkin single-seater Bentley.


1927 Delage DMS with Mercedes-Benz Nürburg engine

Ian Ferguson, of the VSCC library and serial creator of fascinating vintage specials, brought this speedy machine.  It started life as a 1927 Delage and Ian fitted it with a Mercedes-Benz straight-eight engine from a Mercedes-Benz Nürburg.  The Nürburg, designated the W 08 model by Daimler, was introduced in Autumn 1928 and was Mercedes-Benz’s first eight-cylinder passenger car.  It remained in production with various modifications and upgrades until the later summer of 1939.  The car and its engine were developed by Ferdinand Porsche as a competitor for the Horch 8.

The first Nürburg model was big, old-fashioned and expensive and was replaced by a more stylish car for 1929.  It took six years for the company to sell off the 1928 inventory at discounted prices.  This perhaps explains why a stock of engines was found in Norway, being used as hospital power generators – and it is from this stock that Ian found the engine.  The cabin blower supercharger is not yet connected but possibly soon will be.  And then the car will be even more speedy.

The Mercedes-Benz Nürburg engine


Matthew Humphries

Who is this gentleman, selling mechanical watches of his own design?  Matthew is justifiably highly respected in Morgan circles as the designer of the Aeromax, the Plus 8, the Eva GT and the 3-Wheeler as well as the Aero Supersports and Aero coupé.  While still a student at Coventry University studying automotive design, Matthew famously sent a design folio to Charles Morgan.  Charles took him on, and the rest is history.

Matthew formed Matthew Humphries Design in 2013.  He also launched the MHD watch company, and this is why we found him at Prescott.


Vintage Alvises

No VSCC gathering is complete without vintage Alvis cars.  This is only a small selection of these delightful and eminently practical machines – complete with hares, of course.


1939 Delage D6-75 with Coachcraft body

In 1934 the new Delage D6-65 appeared, powered by a 6-cylinder engine with a capacity of 2678 cc.  By 1938 financial difficulties led to the takeover of Delage by by Delahaye – and a transfer of production to the Delahaye factory.  The 1939 D6-75 was the final pre-war development of the D6-65 line.  Examples such as this one, bodied in England by Coachcraft, are especially handsome machines.


1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B with Double-Phaëton body by Million-Guiet

This lovely example was ordered new by Mr. Manuel Coutinho of Sao Paulo in Brazil and delivered directly to Million-Guiet to be fitted with a Double Phaëton body.  The car stayed in the same family until the 1970s.  The H6B was considered at the time to be one of the best passenger cars in the world.  Marc Birkigt’s design included an overhead-cam 6.5-litre six-cylinder engine and four-wheel brakes with mechanical servo.


1898 De Dion-Bouton tricycle

SAHB member Dr Michael Edwards shared the SAHB stand to sell his highly acclaimed De Dion-Bouton, tricycle and Apsley cartoon books – with the blessing of the VSCC library who very kindly loaned us a part of their pitch.  The only stipulation was that Michael should bring one of his tricycles – so he did.  This is not only pre-war; it is pre-several wars.

The tricycle’s controls

The tricycle’s engine and epicyclic transmission


Beacon Lighthouse radiator temperature gauge on OE 30-98

A very attractive curiosity was this temperature gauge in the form of a lighthouse, with the appropriate name “Beacon”, found on a Vauxhall OE 30/98.  We have never seen one before, and there is only one example on the internet.


1923 Morgan Grand Prix

The Morgan Grand Prix was made between 1913 and 1926 when it was replaced by the more streamlined Aero – the Aero being available from 1921.  The engine is a MAG vee-twin of 1093cc capacity.  These engines were supplied by the Swiss company Motosacoche, founded in 1899 by Henri and Armand Dufaux in Geneva.  Motosacoche was once the biggest Swiss motorcycle manufacturer – but it was also well known for its MAG (Motosacoche Acacias Genève) proprietary engines used by other European motorcycle manufacturers and of course by Morgan.


1928 Humber 9/20 fabric saloon

In 1923 Humber adopted new inlet-over-exhaust engines (replacing the earlier side-valve units) across their entire range.  At the same time they introduced a new luxury small car, the 985cc 8hp (later called the 8/18hp).  It was very much a ‘big car in miniature’ and was generously equipped by the standards of the day.  It developed into the 1,056cc 9/20hp that we see here.


1933-1936 Raleigh Safety Seven

This model was featured in Snapshot 145 on this website, where it can still be seen.  It was a four-seat convertible with a 17 bhp vee-twin, 742 cc side-valve engine, a top speed of 55 mph (89 km/h) and a fuel consumption of 60 mpg.  Its new price was £94 10s.  Our Snapshot could not show the engine and steering arrangements under the bonnet.  We have rectified that omission here.

The Raleigh Safety Seven engine and steering


1936 Lagonda LG45

We showed a Maserati racer in Part One of our Prescott report – and here is a sporting car presented by the same dealer, Tom Hardman.  It carries its original bodywork, designed by Frank Feeley and built by the Lagonda company.


1939 Jensen S-Type Tourer

This is the 1938 Earls Court Motor Show car; it also took part in the 1939 RAC and Scottish Rallies.  It is powered by a 3½-litre Ford V8 with a twin-ratio rear axle giving six forward gears.  It is one of only eight production S-Type Tourers made, of which five survive – three of them in the UK.


1927 Donnet Model G2 Torpedo Luxe

Powered by an 1100cc, two-bearing-crankshaft side-valve engine, this car was originally registered near Avignon and was imported into England in 1981 where it was left unrestored in a field. It was rescued in 1989 and totally rebuilt.  It is one of only three known roadworthy Donnet cars in the UK.


1924 Vauxhall 23/60 with coachwork by Vincent of Reading

An imposing Vauxhall, originally owned by the Twining Tea family and sold to Switzerland from the famous Sword Collection in 1962.  It only returned in February this year.

1924 Vauxhall 23/60: coachbuilder’s plate


1919 Vinot et Deguingand Model BO

This car was in the very definition of ’Oily Rag’ condition – and all the better for it.  It had travelled from Wales to be here.  In 1898 Lucien-Marie Vinot-Préfontaine and Albert Deguingand founded the business at Puteaux for the manufacture of bicycles (the same location as the factory of De Dion-Bouton).  Less than a year after the end of the war, in October 1919, the company took a stand at the 15th Paris Motor Show and exhibited the 12CV Type BO with a 4-cylinder engine of 2603cc, the model we see here.

The upholstery of the Vinot et Deguingand Model BO.  It looks comfortable.


1931 Morris Minor Sports side-valve

Until recently the VSCC didn’t include this little car in its list of Post-Vintage Thoroughbred cars; only the overhead-cam tourers were given that distinction.  But now this type has been added to the list, which has delighted the young owner in our picture because of its relatively low-cost route into true VSCC motoring.

And on that positive note we end Part Two of our VSCC Prescott report for 2019.  Keep an eye out on this website for Part Three: The Post-War Cars.

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