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VSCC Prescott Hill Climb 2023 – Some remarkable cars

On Saturday and Sunday 5th and 6th August 2023 the SAHB was back at Prescott. Together with our good friends the VSCC Library we were thankfully back in a prime position very close to the paddock.

Thank you to all those who came to chat about cars and bikes, old and new(er).

Prescott is rightly called the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of the VSCC diary, and not only was there much to see in the racing paddock or on the track, but there was also a fine collection of cars of all ages in the car park.

The weather was not totally benign this year, but it did not dampen spirits too much, and there was plenty of sunshine between the showers (downpours, more like).

Here are some of the most remarkable cars that we saw: racers and road cars, old and new.


1933 Austin 7 Special

It looks like a miniature ERA – and that is the intention. This gem of a racer is beautifully made, with hundreds of finely machined components. We didn’t see under the bonnet, but the programme says that it is supercharged.


1939 Peugeot 202

As you can see from the rain on the body, Saturday morning was very wet. But that could not detract from this ‘oily rag’ Peugeot, a fine example of late 1930s streamlining that by then had reached everyday cars – at least those with some panache. It is thought to be one of the only 202s with right-hand drive; it was built for a veteran of World War I with no right arm, who therefore needed to be able to change gear with his left hand. It is in the ‘oily rag’ collection of The Automobile magazine.


A rear view. The streamlining extends to full rear-wheel spats


1929 6½=Litre Bentley

This is a remarkable survivor, a rare instance of a 6½-Litre that has not been converted to look like a Speed Six. It is the 1929 Olympia Motor Show car and has an H.J. Mulliner Sedanca de Ville body.


The engine.

This is a sight very seldom seen. Almost all of these cars have been converted to twin or even triple SU carburettors, but here is the proper original single updraught Smiths 5-jet carburettor. This was the reason why the 6½-litre and Speed Six had their inlet and exhaust sides reversed from all other Cricklewood Bentleys — because the steering column would have fouled the carburettor. Not a lot of people know that.


2009 Morgan Aeromax

An important car in the history of Morgan. Designed by Matt Humphries on the basis of his earlier Morgan Aero 8, it was initially a one-off coupé version built in 2005 for a wealthy Morgan enthusiast. Eventually 100 were built, all sold before the first was even constructed. The headlamps were from a Mark II Mini, and far more successful than the Mark I headlamps on the Aero 8, which notoriously faced inwards, giving a front appearance much criticised at the time.


The stunning rear view of the Aeromax. The lights are from a Lancia Thesis.


1936 Frazer Nash Shelsley

This very special car is powered by the rare Gough overhead-camshaft engine with twin Centric superchargers. The green single-seater Frazer Nash just behind it, with the bonnet raised, has the same engine.


The twin Centric superchargers


1935 Lancia Augusta

A beautiful and beuatifully engineered car from the mid-1930s, the Augusta was produced from 1933 to 1936. It is powered by a 1,196cc V4 engine. This small car was a departure from Lancia’s 1920s focus on sports cars and mid-sized saloons and helped the significant graowth of Lancia sales during the 1930s.


1926 Thomas Special 2 “The Flatiron”

This has to be the most remarkable car at 2023 VSCC Prescott. Thought by many to have been lost forever, this is the famous Thomas car. We post below a photo of the full information card that was with the car. Apart from the back axle, which has had to be built from a single photo, all the key original parts are still in existence and will be used to rebuild the car.


The information on the car


The double-reduction back axle – the only main part that has had to be made new


The gearbox

It may look new, but it is the original gearbox, designed by Thomas. It has the classic racing layout with the constant-mesh gears at the back of the box that gives extremely rapid gearchanges. This idea, thought to date to the Isotta-Fraschini FE and FENC models of 1908, was also taken up by Bugatti and Aston Martin. Great minds think alike.



One response to “VSCC Prescott Hill Climb 2023 – Some remarkable cars”

  1. Phil Marks says:

    How similar is the Flatiron engine to the engine in the Marlborough Thomas made by Hooker. I do understand that the later engine is laid on its side, so lubrication system probably differs.

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