It’s always a great pleasure to attend any event at Brooklands, which has become very much hallowed ground for motorsport enthusiasts over the years. The VSCC New Year Driving Tests are particularly suitable for some of the older vintage cars, where they are not put under any undue stress and strain.
VSCC Club President Tony Stephens was driving one of the slowest cars of the day, his 1925 Trojan Utility: ‘I’ve owned the car for about three years and it’s just a bit of fun, as prior to that I spent most of my time in an ERA,’ he enthused. ‘Going from the ERA to the Trojan is something of a culture shock and this is the car’s first time out this year.’ Also flying the flag for these curiously delightful two-stroke engined Trojan cars was Frazer Sloan with his 1924 Utility that sports a single piece windscreen.
The 12 individual Driving Tests were devised and set up the day before, and initially driven by deputy clerk of the course Mike Dawes in his stunning 1937 Frazer-Nash BMW 326 saloon. The car is powered by a 2.0-litre six-cylinder engine, with independent front suspension, rack and pinion steering, and according to Mike, simply glides along. It’s well known in VSCC circles and has recently undergone a major mechanical restoration to complement the body restoration completed some years ago.
Other Frazer-Nash BMWs entered included a 1939 328 Sports that was shared by John and Fabienne Muschamp. Their 328 Sports was one of the last to be imported into the UK in July 1939. It’s been used competitively for hillclimbs and rallies, as well as continental touring and has even been to New Zealand twice! Mark Garfitt, drove his 319/55 up from south Wales. The car won the JCC Rally at Brooklands in 1937 when driven by Don Aldington, and Mark has a period photo of the car taken on the Test Hill. Indeed, he’s has owned it since 1973, been competing at Brooklands since 1976 and has clocked up over 200,000 miles.
The delightful intoxicating cacophonous exhaust bark from several V-Twin Morgan three-wheelers definitely livened up the day’s proceedings. Gary Caroline’s 1932 Super Sports must be one of the UKs most driven examples. Its been raced from as far north as Donington and south to Angouleme and Portugal, extensively toured all over Europe and beyond, and Gary reckons things get really interesting when its driven in the snow! The event also attracted a fine line-up of early MGs including Nick Benger’s 1934 J2, which was borrowed for the day by George Ward, and has been extensively used for competition over the years. One of the day’s most interesting visiting cars was David Biggins’ 1916 Dodge Bros Four-cylinder 3.5 litre, complete with hood featuring very attractive cathedral style windows. ‘The Dodge brothers used to make parts for the Ford Model T, until they decided to make their own car, which was far superior to the Model T,’ explained David. ‘I purchased this car to use for trialling, and it was restored about 20 years ago.’
Other cars of note competing included Miss Katy Sharpe’s 1912 Sunbeam Coupe De L’Auto recreation, impressively patinated to look old, Mike Mutters’ imposing 1913 Minerva DD Tourer, Matthew Bell’s 1926 AC Royal, plus a brace of Bugatti T13 Brescias to name but a few.