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PHOENIX Number 277

JULY 2018

PHOENIX NEWSLETTER OF THE WAITEMATA BRANCH VINTAGE CAR CLUB OF NEW ZEALAND NUMBER 277

CHAIRMAN: CLUB CAPTAIN: 1st OFFICER: SECRETARY: TREASURER: BRANCH DELEGATE: EDITOR: COMMITTEE:

JULY 2018

BRENDAN LAMAIN

021 132 4557 brendan&terry@paradise.net.nz HAMISH ANDREW 027 296 9665 h.andrew@orcon.net.nz HUMPHREYS STAN SMITH 0274 775 475 vintageaircraft@xtra.co.nz VIV SCOTT 021 837 402 robandviv06@yahoo.co.nz JOHN GAIRDNER 09 480 4414 GRAEME BANKS 027 500 3806 graban@ihug.co.nz KEVIN BEESLEY 021 765 860 kandmbeesley@outlook.com ROB CHAPMAN, MAX JAMIESON, MIKE GREIG and IAN GOLDINGHAM (Scribe).

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COMING EVENTS Looking Forward……… Month JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

Waitemata

R’Oilcan 14-15

Beaded Wheels & Braced Wings VCC National Day event 26 Ryders Drive, Dine & Movie 9

Chelsea Walsh Hill Climb 18 (25)

DECEMBER

New Year’s Eve 31 Lochinver 19-20

FEBRUARY MARCH

Winter Woollies Wander Wellsford/Wkth 7-8 Balcairn Trial Banks Pen. 15 VCC National Day 26

Swap Meets

Rotorua Swap Meet 8

HRC Icebreaker – Hampton Downs 23

Monte Carlo 13-14

NOVEMBER

JANUARY

Other Events

Nat. Veteran Rally Nelson 16-18

Canterbury Swap Meet 12-14 BOP Annual Car Show & Swap Meet 4

HRC Tasman Revival - BMMP Taupo 6 HRC Tasman Revival - Pukekohe 24

HRC Legends of Speed Hampton Downs – The Roycroft 24

UP NEXT…

Club Night - Thursday 5th JULY Usual place and usual time. So, see you at the RSA Room, King George Coronation Hall, Library Lane, Albany, at 8.00 p.m.

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14 July 2018. 7 AM start at Autobahn Bombay. Note: This is the Autobahn at Bombay, not the one on the motorway near Drury.

Bring your togs for a hot dip. Get in early for the best accommodation. Entry forms have had to be in by now. If you still want to come, you’ll have to beg and plead with Barry. Good luck with that. THIS IS NOT A RALLY TO MISS, IT HAS EVERYTHING. SEE YOU THERE!! Rally organized by Barry and Heather Howard.

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BEADED WHEELS AND BRACED WINGS The Waitemata Branch event marking VCC National Day. Cancelled last year due to inclement weather, but we’re planning it again for SUNDAY 26 AUGUST, so

mark your calendars. The idea is that we meet up together with our neighbour branches at Caffeine & Classics, Smale’s Farm for a 10.00 a.m. departure to Warkworth. There we join Wellsford / Warkworth Branch’s car display before heading off at 2.00 p.m. to Kaipara Flats Airfield, Kaipara Flats Road, where there will be a range of exciting aircraft on hand for our delight and edification. A $10 donation is called for and all for a good cause – Daffodil Day - fund raising for the National Cancer Society.

Further Out….

RYDERS DRIVE, DINE & MOVIE Sunday September 9th 6pm Dinner - 7pm Movie Current plan is that we will meet in the afternoon at our Club Rooms in Albany (time to be confirmed) for an interesting little run to our destination, RYDERS of AVONDALE, 177 Riversdale Road. As always, BYO Pre-dinner Nibbles & Tipple & Vessel Price - reckon on $30pp Roast dinner - Ice-cream $3pp No eftpos or visa. Bring Cash. And bring a friend. Better still, bring both your friends. We need the numbers.

To book your dinner & movie seat Phone Ian & Jacqui Goldingham 09 445 8811 Plus…. Pag e |4


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The 2018 Monte Carlo! Saturday/Sunday 13-14 OCTOBER. An event for the true motoring enthusiast. A ‘plan your own run’ you can make as challenging or as relaxed as you like. You may start any time from 12.00 midnight on Saturday, 13 October and must be at the finish, the Nikau Café, 1779 Waikaretu Valley Rd, Tuakau 2695 Port Waikato, by 12.00 midday Sunday, 14 October. Where you start from and at what depends on how many points you you want to be. This event is open they have tops made of tin or no there and motor – be you either chested type. We want to see you

time is entirely up to you – it all want to earn and how competitive to all VCC eligible vehicles, whether tops at all. The idea is to get out the cruisy tourer or press-on hairy all out there!

Organiser Hamish Andrew has devised a cunning yet simple scoring method whereby points will be awarded per letter in place names – full details next month. This is a fantastic opportunity to get out and ‘walk the walk’, to exercise your steed in the manner of your choosing. Lunch will be available for purchase at the Nikau Café and, weather permitting, the adventurous may take a guided tour through the adjacent Nikau caves – a truly remarkable experience.

Please register your interest NOW with Hamish at h.andrew@orcon.net.nz, or on 09 276-9263 or mob: 0272 969 665

And Then….

CHELSEA W.A.L.S.H. HILL CLIMB Sunday 18th November 2018 9am – 3pm Rain Day Sunday 25th November Open to all VCC eligible vehicles pre-1945 & up to Pre-1960 by prior consultation with the Waitemata Branch Committee.

ENTRY FORMS and FULL DETAILS will be available in next month’s ‘Phoenix’.

Meanwhile, mark these dates on your calendar.

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Also… AUCKLAND BRANCH MID-WEEK RUN The July run, on the 11th, is to Ryders Cinema in Avondale for a Mid-winter dinner (lunch) and a film. For August…

Wednesday 15th August. Starts from The Drury Service Centre on the Southern Motorway. 10-00am for a 10-30am departure. John Cheale is organising this run to a collection of model trains in South Auckland. Wet or fine. BYO lunch and chairs, but hot water etc will be available.

The Dewdrops tel. 09 232 0245 email dewdrops@xtra.co.nz

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PAST EVENTS Looking Back…. The A.G.M. – 7 June. Two words best describe our A.G.M – very satisfactory. It evidenced that, as a Branch, we are in reasonable shape. There was good attendance. Finances are healthy. Our incomings continue to keep pace with our outgoings and our account is in a healthy state of credit. Most importantly, though, valued persons of honour and integrity stepped up to fill available positions such that we have a full complement of Branch officials. We even have a Chairman-in-waiting, a unique and enviable position to be in. Our thanks to all those who put their hands up. Biggest kudos to Brendan Lamain who takes over as our Chairman and Dear Leader, henceforth to be known as Brendan the Beloved. Not to overlook Rob Chapman who has volunteered to stand as chairman next year, following a year’s apprenticeship on the committee. Others to whom we owe thanks are Graeme Banks who continues as our Branch Delegate, John Gairdner as Treasurer, Jacqui Goldingham as assistant to John, Hamish Andrew Club Captain, Stan Smith 1st Mate, Ian Goldingham, assisted by Jacqui (what a helpful lady!) as Committee member and Branch Scribe and, importantly, Viv Scott who continues as our Secretary, despite other high demands on her time. And thanks also to those who continue on the committee. You know who you are. Me? Well, I remain as Editor – for another year. No promises after that. Since the A.G.M. the new Committee has met in very orderly fashion and established a calendar of events for the coming months. Something for everyone here so we expect everyone to turn out. Support those who support your interest. Kevin Beesley

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Mid-Winter Christmas Lunch – 24 June. A brief but rather wetting shower soon after departure on the pre-lunch run seemed to be the only dampener on the Mid-Winter Christmas Lunch. Otherwise, judging from the fact that the run participants arrived at the destination right on the estimated time, and from the level of chatter in the venue, it all went rather well. Most participants assembled at Onepoto Basin from where they were despatched on a 30-mile tour through Albany, Paremoremo and Riverhead so as to arrive at the Brigham Café from the west, avoiding motorways in favour of secondary roads en route. A few others chose to travel direct and

Very festive

met us there. The turn-out was very pleasing and a fine array of vehicles, gleaming in the afternoon sun, graced the Brigham Café car park. Max Jamieson’s 1925 DI Delage was a suitable European foil to the Sunbeams – Stan and Gilly Smith’s 1928 16.9 and Eddie and Shelley Simpson’s 1927 20.9. Ford was represented by Oliver and Nicola Midgley’s Model A Coupe and Keith and Diane Humphreys’ 1931 Model A Speedster. Ford numbers were matched by Riley with the 12/4 Special of Dave and Jenny Pitches and Harold and Raewyn Booth’s ‘37 Kestrel Sprite. The organiser’s AM90 Talbot made up the vintage compliment and a touch of more modern grunt was added by way of Peter and Julie Benbrook’s 1984 R5 Renault – a formidable wee machine. Thirty-seven of us sat down to a very respectable lunch and it was pleasing to have Stan and Barbara Hancock amongst our number. Stan is well known to many of us because of his considerable engineering skills and ability to think his way through the challenging tasks various of our members approach him with.

Still very festive

Amanda, our hostess at the Brigham, served us with unfailing politeness and good humour, aided by staff who met our needs with smooth efficiency. It was well into the afternoon before we all left for the drive home in pleasant sunshine. Big thanks to all those who turned out to swell our numbers and add to the noisy, convivial

A fine vintage backdrop to the editorial Talbot

atmosphere. Kevin Beesley.

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Scenes from the Mid-Winter Christmas car park

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FROM THE THRONE In this time of transition between eminent Chairmanly personnages, herewith Diane’s outgoing

President’s Report As happens, the older we get the faster the years seem to pass. The Branch remains fairly static in membership numbers with the hope of attracting more younger members becoming less and less likely although this year we have had the encouraging addition of one such youngster. Bevin Redpath has certainly embraced the Branch and its events with great gusto and it’s a startling reminder of what and how we all once were! Pag e |8


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A huge Thank You to Kevin Beesley for continuing to produce the superb and BEST Newsletter of the New Zealand Vintage Car Club. Meeting members of other Branches throughout the country as we travel around I often learn that the Waitemata Branch PHOENIX is well known and well read. I have no shame in standing tall and agreeing that it is the very BEST Branch newsletter produced. I also want to take this opportunity to thank Kevin Andrew. Kevin is a very special waitemata’ite who willingly gives so much of his time and energy to the Branch as our Branch Scrutineer. Also, thanks to Keith H for his excellent ‘out of committee’ events that he organises throughout the year. Last but not least, I would also like to thank the Committee for their continual support and the extra mile they go to when required. Being a committee member is not an arduous job, in fact the Northcote Tavern committee nights are great, some committee decisions are made a lot easier and a lot quicker after having had a pub meal and a wine! Although I remain on the committee as past chair, I pass over the reins to Brendan Lamain and look forward to another Waitemata year.

Di H. ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

FROM THE ED. A $5 levy per annum per club member would be a useful start, this levy dedicated to funding public relations and lobbying activities to protect and advance our continued rights to the free use of our vehicles on NZ roads. And the term ‘club member’ does not relate to just the VCC, but to every member of all the motoring organisations forming part of the NZ Federation of Motoring Clubs (with, perhaps, exemption from multiple payment by those who are members of more than one such club). The 8,000 members of the VCC are not enough. We need cast our net wider to ensure it covers all motoring enthusiasts. Overkill, expensive and unnecessary you say? Well, read on in this newsletter, see what NZ’s Productivity Commission would have the Government do about our pesky, inconvenient interest and be convinced otherwise. In case you are wondering, the NZ Productivity Commission “is an independent crown entity whose purpose is to provide advice to the Government on improving productivity in a way that is directed to supporting the overall wellbeing of New Zealanders, having regard to a wide range of communities of interest and population groups in New Zealand society.” Back in 2017 the Government asked the Commission to identify how New Zealand can maximise the opportunities and minimise the costs and risks of transitioning to a lower net-emissions economy. As you can see from the FOMC report further down, what the Commission have come up with makes for sobering, but unsurprising reading. Despite the fact we are a ‘community of interest’ to which they are supposed to have regard, we are to be done away with, snuffed out, swatted like an annoying bug, squeezed out of existence, sacrificed to no other meaningful purpose than enabling bureaucrats to tick off symbolic boxes on Government forms. It has been written up and railed against in these pages over several years that the biggest threat to our hobby is from petty bureaucracy serving ideologically driven political egos. Likewise, it has been stressed that our best defence in this respect is our maintaining of the sympathy and good will of the general public. This requires concentrated, targeted input and lobbying and this costs money. To be effective, this effort needs be calculated and professional. It requires research, presentation

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and representation by expert and qualified personnel. The level of expertise and input required does not all come free and does not come cheap. Declaring ourselves as the guardians of N.Z.‘s motoring heritage, laudable as that may be, is most unlikely to cut it by itself. The target of our efforts is not fellow club members, although it does not hurt to raise their level of concern and involvement. Our target must be the broader community peripheral to our motoring activities, reinforcing how our interests align with theirs; those who may not own, or have particular interest in ‘old cars’ per se, but who, for whatever reasons, have an interest in running or maintaining fossil fuelled machinery; those to whom we offer employment and livelihood, those with an appreciation of history and a general interest in heritage, akin to ours. The VCC together with FOMC are active in this space. Their efforts are to be applauded and are deserving of support – support to elevate them, to ratchet up so as to meet our existential threats on more equal terms; to ensure we do all we can to grow our community of interest to its maximum in terms of numbers and influence. We risk doing ourselves short if we don’t have sufficient wherewithal, a war chest, to do this properly and professionally.

Kevin Beesley. ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

JUST SO WE KNOW WHO WE ARE... My thanks to Tom King for sending in these articles from the Motor Sport Magazine archive, the Branch link being, of course, the Roycroft family. Many of you will recall Terry’s talk on the ‘Hooker Thomas’ given at the GB Pensions Roycroft Trophy Weekend, March 2016. (‘Phoenix’ number 252, April 2016.)

A Thomas-Special in retirement Details of one of the four-cylinder cars now in New Zealand Some light on what has become of the 1 1/2-litre Thomas-Special racing cars which the late J.G. Parry-Thomas designed and built has been given by a letter written to us by Sgt. G. Easterbrook-Smith, of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, whom readers will remember as a great Ansaldo enthusiast. His letter leaves little doubt that one of the Thomas-Special cars which Thomas raced in 1925 and 1926, and which resembled the Leyland-Thomas cars in outline and general design, has been saved from an ignominious fate and given a good home in New Zealand, where it went, it seems, about a year after its celebrated driver-designer was killed at Pendine. Douglas Kay is to be congratulated on saving it, and it is pleasing that the present owner appears to have taken some steps to correctly ascertain the car's history and status, and that he has no exaggerated ideas as to its original capabilities. This car, known to the initiated as a Hooker-Thomas, we believe, was never very adequately described in the motoring Press, and it is curious that we should have had to wait until some 16 years after its retirement to glean reasonably comprehensive details of its specification. We are not certain whether Thomas built more than one of these cars, but, if he did, no trace, with the possible exception of some engine parts still at Thompson and Taylor's, of another exists. He won the 1925 President's Gold Plate Race with the single-seater Thomas-Special at 96 3/4 m.p.h. and the "News of the World" 100 Mile Handicap the same year at 98.23 m.p.h. In 1926 he captured the Class F One Hour record at 112.78 m.p.h., so that the maximum speed (remember, the car was P a g e | 10


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unblown) must have been around 115 m.p.h. or more. Easterbrook-Smith's letter, which gives a very good idea of the design of the car (which must not be confused with the later, straight-eight "flat iron" cars, both of which are believed to be at breaker Bradleys, at Edgware), follows: – Sir, I have recently come into possession of one of the late J.G. Parry-Thomas's racing cars. The car has been in New Zealand since as far back as 1928, I believe, but most details of its history are lacking. The engine is a four-cylinder unit and bears the legend "hooker Thomas Special" cast in the aluminium camshaft cover. A brass plate riveted to the cover says, "Type 1 1/2 L, Engine No. 5," and a second plate: "Manufactured by Peter Hooker, Ltd., Walthamstow, London, England." I have reason to believe that the car originally had two crankshafts, giving swept volumes of 1,100 and 1,500 c.c., but the 1 1/2-litre shaft has vanished. [As originally raced, the capacity was 1,847 c.c. – Ed.] Valves, two per cylinder, are operated by an overhead camshaft, one cam only being provided for each cylinder. Multiple leaf springs are set transversely across the head, the valves are well and truly inclined and the camshaft is driven in the same manner as that of a 3-litre Bentley. Ignition is by coil, the generator being on the right-hand side of the engine and a similar drive on the left-hand side turns the water pump. By the use of adaptors, 14-mm. plugs have been fitted. A single Zenith carburetter is mounted on the right-hand side of the head, but there is a spare manifold with provision for two carburetters. Four separate exhaust outlets blend into a 2 1/2-in. dull-chromed pipe on the left-hand side. The flywheel is exposed, as is the drive to the separate gearbox, with its very short lever mounted centrally in the cockpit. A comprehensive set of instruments includes a Jaeger rev.-counter, calibrated up to 6,000 r.p.m., oil temperature gauge, water temperature gauge, oil pressure gauge, ammeter and fuel pressure gauge. Fuel is carried in a large tank amidships, pressure being provided by a hand pump operated by the "riding mechanic." Oil is carried in the large, heavily ribbed sump. The wheelbase is 8' 4" and the track 4' 2", suspension being by torsion bars. The chassis is extensively drilled and is set particularly low; 21" wheels are held on by four nuts each to 11" brake drums. [If the wheels are disc and only rear brakes fitted, this sounds like the single-seater car. – Ed.] An aluminium body in deplorable condition is fitted. The tail is very short, the differential and rear axle being fully exposed. I believe the car originally had a long tapering tail, but it climbed a tree at Henning's Speedway at Auckland and wiped it off. The car was discovered by Douglas Kay, who promptly bought it, under a pile of bedsteads and old iron in a shed and, as he was unfortunately posted to a station to which it would be impossible to take the car, it has come into my care until the day comes when it will be possible to spend on fast cars the time now used in keeping aircraft up in the air. P a g e | 11


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It is in really deplorable condition, having been in the hands of one vandal who was going to use it for a dirt track car and another who intended using the engine for a launch; but with a lot of loving care it should be possible to restore it to somewhere near its original condition. I believe its maximum speed in Parry-Thomas's hands was in the region of 107 m.p.h. and its fastest speed in New Zealand has been 97 m.p.h., so it is a car with distinct possibilities. If you or any of your readers could forward any particulars concerning valve and magneto timing settings, or, in fact, any information about the car, I would be very grateful. A recent spot of sick leave led to a visit by Ansaldo to my friend Errol Ansell at Carterton, some 50 miles out of Wellington. Due to the use of unsuitable plugs, three cylinders only would play, which resulted in mounting the Rimutakas, a 1,000 ft. high climb, in low gear, a rather tedious business. At the summit I transferred my wife and that future female dicer, three months old Susanne Easterbrook-Smith, to Errol's car, succeeded in persuading all four cylinders to work at once and then had a grand dice to Carterton. The car now has the 31" x 4.50" tyres and wheels of the 1923 2-litre sports Ansaldo fitted in place of the Model "A" Ford wheels at the rear only. This gives a much more reasonable gearing, bringing 70 m.p.h. within reach at 4,000 r.p.m. Unfortunately, the magneto packed up well and truly, so I was forced to leave the car at Carterton and return to Wellington by train. The car is still up there, having new piston rings and the Arnott carburetter fitted, which should result in a useful increase in performance. Two very interesting cars were seen while on this leave. The first was a very beautiful 3 1/2-litre Alvis saloon owned by a most enthusiastic gentleman, who entertained us with descriptions of racing at Donington and Brooklands. The second was a very ancient Kissel, about the first American car I have ever found interesting. Its chief attraction was a very well-proportioned 2-seater sports body, left-hand steering plainly showing its American origin. The gear lever, amazing for a Yank, was short and stiff and the driving position felt very comfortable. The engine was a big six-cylinder side-valve unit and appeared to be of some 4 to 5 litres capacity. Unusual in an American car, the inlet and exhaust were situated on opposite sides, the carburetter bolting directly into the side of the block. I believe this car was originally bought on the conditions that it could climb both sides of the Rimutakas in top gear and cover a measured mile at 85 m.p.h., both of which conditions it fulfilled. Another good car in the Wairarapa district is a 4 1/2-litre Bentley saloon, unfortunately in the hands of a rather unsympathetic owner. It is amazing how frequently good cars seem to gravitate to people who handle them unmercifully. Another example is the 1919 Indianapolis Stutz, which drags a harrow round a Taranaki farm. I trust the particulars of the Thomas will be of some interest to you. I am, Yours etc., G. Easterbrook-Smith, Sgt., R.N.Z.A.F. Wellington, New Zealand. P a g e | 12


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More about the Marlborough-Thomas in New Zealand In Motor Sport for September 1942, we published an account of a Parry-Thomas car which is now in New Zealand and which, as stated in a "Stop Press" column in the November 1942 issue, was subsequently found to be one of the Marlborough-Thomas cars. This article has inspired a letter reproduced below, from F./Sgt. Douglas E. Wood, R.N.Z.A.F., of Auckland, giving further details of this interesting car, which was at one time owned and driven by him. It will be seen that he adds further evidence to prove that the car is a Marlborough-Thomas and not one of Thomas's 4-cylinder Thomas-Special singleseaters, as we at first supposed. These Marlborough-Thomas cars were 2-seaters and were raced in this country by Parry Thomas and George Duller, one also appearing as a sports car. with abbreviated flaired wings, at the 1924 Show. In the 1923 200 Mile Race at Brooklands Thomas's car retired after 45 laps and Duller's after 60 laps, and in the 1924 200 Mile Race these cars again retired, Thomas experiencing much tyre trouble and the bodywork also coming to bits. In these races 70 x 97 mm. (1,493 c.c.) engines were used, but at Kop early in 1924 Thomas ran with a 70 x 120 mm. (1,840 c.c.) engine in one of these cars, making a rapid and steady ascent. ln its New Zealand form the car is said to be of 1,100 c.c. A letter from G. Easterbrook-Smith. joint secretary with E. Sharrock of the New Zealand Sports and Racing Car Club, dated December 12th. 1942, informs us that he was mistaken in saying that the car had a camshaft-drive reminiscent of' a 3-litre Bentley, as eccentrically-driven rods are actually employed, as used on the Leyland Eight and Leyland-Thomas cars, and, in somewhat different form, on the 6.5-litre and 8-litre Bentley engines and the twin o.h.c. Sports Maudsley. Douglas Wood's letter reads as follows: -Sir, I have just finished reading the September 1942, copy of your most excellent publication and was pleased to read the article on the Thomas-Special, written by my friend Geoffrey Easterbrook-Smith, of Wellington. As I used to own and drive this veteran. I thought a few more notes and one or two corrections might not be amiss. As "E.B." says, the car came to New Zealand in 1928, being imported by one. Paul, of Wanganui. who used to take it to the then reasonably numerous race meetings throughout the country. Most of these were beach meetings and as the gearing was exceedingly high the car never showed up its best. After about four years Paul disposed of it, and from then on it has never stayed in the hands of anyone for very long, and to my knowledge has had seven owners. Very few of them have understood the car. and when I purchased it, it was very sick. For years I had watched the car on different tracks, where it always started off well and after two or three laps started missing till it finally faded out. The car was well known as a very poor stayer. When I look delivery, a case or spares and a box of carburetters came with it. I've never seen so many different sorts of gasworks! There were Zenith, Claudels, S.U.'s., R.A.G.s, Solex. Tillottson, Stromberg, Binks Mouse Traps, Smiths and Carters, with manifolds to suit. There were three sets of' pistons of various compression ratios, spare crown wheels (two ratios), magnetos and the usual bits and pieces that go with a car of its type. The various carburetters had all P a g e | 13


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been tried by different owners in attempts to effect a cure and ensure reliability without avail. Not unnaturally, the first thing I did was to pull the engine to bits to endeavour to understand it. The workmanship was of the highest order, and internally the works were in good nick. No 1.5-litre crankshaft ever appeared, and from what I could ascertain, had ever reached the country. However, for 1,100 c.c, the car was fast enough. I decided to resort to cunning to cure the erratic running and obtained the valve timing of a fast. "Brooklands" Riley Nine, which was performing well out here, the design and performance of the two cars being similar. I fitted the medium compression pistons and used aviation spirit arid hoped for the best. Enquiry revealed that the original carburation was from a single Zenith, so acting on the presumption that Parry Thomas knew best, I fitted that and scrapped others. The results were pleasant, though not, perfect, as at about 5,500-6,000 r.p.m, an occasional cough and rough running signified trouble yet to be found. I tried the spare magneto. It was worse. To cut a long story short, I found the magneto was at fault, and after the armature was rewound I had no more trouble, and the old car would run sweetly right up to 6,000 r.p.m. without a murmur. For racing I used the highcompression pistons and a benzole mixture. The car was definitely not suitable for anything but a concrete track, as the top gear ratios are either 2 to 1 or 3 to 1, according to which crown wheel was fitted. Only once was the 2 to 1 ratio used when I had it: top gear then felt like an overdrive! You mention in parentheses in the September notes that the car may have had disc wheels and two brakes. Wrong both times. Wire wheels and very good four-corner braking. The wheel are of the old type not often seen, with which Singer Nines of 1930-32 were fitted - Dunlops with a very large hub. To lower the ratios for beach work I borrowed a complete set of similar wheels of only 20 in. diameter from a 10-h.p. Berliet, a big tourer in the French style, with the most diminutive motor. On these wheels my best lap speed on Hennings track at Mangere was 87 m.p.h. [This all confirms that the car is a Marlborough-Thomas, as it was the single-seater 4-cylinder Thomas-Special that had disc wheels and no front brakes. Ed.] Despite everything I'd been told the car was easy to drive, and the torsion bar suspension was amazing. Each axle was fitted with hydraulic shockers as well as patent spring wire rope affair wound round a drum, and by varying the shock-absorbers the car would be made to ride like a town limousine. The ground clearance also could be altered by varying the position of the radius-arms on the splines of the torsion bars. No electrical equipment was fitted, so the car was not used for much road work, although it was tractable enough; in fact, in all its phases and speeds it was a docile car. I've met many stock model cars with far more vices. I was very interested in the speeds you quoted [actually for the Thomas-Special and not the Marlborough-Thomas.-Ed.], and can well believe the car capable of the performance, especially if the engine was in tune, and left alone. A later owner fitted a makeshift electrical installation; provision had been made in the design for the fitting of a generator between the front engine foot and the magneto. A long brass shalt with Simms couplings took up the space which would otherwise have been occupied by an armature shaft. One P a g e | 14


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of' these couplings parted once, while I was running the engine at 5.500 r.p.m., and with a whizz and a clatter the shaft flew across the hangar and punched a hole in sheet iron. I will never know how it missed the dozens of Moths parked there by unsuspecting owners. Rather than risk a recurrence of the episode I mounted the magneto on the generator platform and turned up a much smaller coupling. I had remarkably few breakages, considering the experimentation I carried out on the chassis. One night coming back from the track I broke a camshaft bearing casting, due to valve bounce. Later, a so-called friend of mine broke my 3 to 1 crown wheel through getting the car stuck in the sand at a beach meeting. Easterbrook Smith says he thinks the car originally had a long tail broken off at Henning's Speedway. Wrong again. The Thomas has never had a smash. and body is still, I believe, the same shape as it was originally. [Actually, from the photographs, the tail looks different from that used at Brooklands. Ed.] The car which did climb a tree at Mangere was Dick Messenger’s "Special", a Fronty Model T Ford, developing over 100 b.h.p., which by most ingenious use or two Ford epicyclic boxes and a special differential, had four speeds with a top gear of about 2.5 to 1. Alas, the chassis failed to make the grade and the motor dragged it up the bank. Dick preserves with loving care one of the old 1914 Sunbeams, as you may know. Funny how these old cars gravitate to the Antipodes. Count Zborowski's 1924 Miller raced successfully here for many years, finally wrapping itself around a pole in Victoria, N.S.W., when it went over to Australia. One of Mrs. Wisdom's Rileys came out here a few years ago and I had a fair amount of experience with one of the last factory blown s.v singleseater Austins. In fact, throughout the country one comes across specimens of many fine marques which have a continental past. Sports motoring in this country is now practically at a standstill, and though never numerous, the sight of a pair of Rudge nuts is something to remark upon. We have a petrol ration earth month for those folk not able to obtain a petrol licence (1 gallon per month for 7-8 h.p.. 2 for big stuff), so pleasure motoring is stagnant. I myself get in a fair monthly mileage, mostly on my willing Austin Seven (very definitely vintage), the remainder being made up on Velo. 2-strokes. V 8s. 2-ton trucks, vans and tractors, plus a few yards in Oxfords and Hudsons. One of these latter is making the night hideous outside now, running up its engines and using enough petrol in doing so to propel my Seven for a year. This letter is beginning to ramble, so without wasting any more of your space, I'll wish you the brightest future for your splendid publication. I am, Yours etc., Douglas E. Wood, F/Sgt. R.N.Z.A.F. Auckland, N.Z.

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FOR SALE…. Embroidered Branch Badges…………………………………………. $10 each. Great quality and feel the width! Contact our worthy Secretary, Viv Scott for yours.

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ISSUE 28 | JUNE-JULY 2018 FOMC PO Box 24-225 Wellington 6142 www.fomc.org.

Commission’s planned electric conversion could end classic motoring The draft game plan prepared by the Productivity Commission to transform New Zealand into a low emissions economy and the threat it poses to classic motoring was a central topic of discussion at the FOMC 23rd National Conference and AGM held in Auckland in May.

To achieve the objective of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 the Productivity Commission is proposing to convert our transport fleet to all electric and phase out fossil fuels which would put most heritage vehicles amongst the targets proposed for elimination. Suggested strategies include a “freebate” scheme by which petrol and diesel vehicle owners will effectively subsidise people buying electric vehicles. Stringent exhaust emission standards would be imposed on cars coming into the country, especially used ones including collectables. Other suggestions include restricting any ongoing use of fossil fuels to the electricity system so the remaining gas or coal is only available to boost generation when there are not enough “renewables” left to top up all our Teslas at the end of a mid-winter working day. Interestingly the Commission’s report confirms that the manufacture of lithium ion batteries does generate much higher CO2 emissions than building and using fossil-fuelled vehicles. But as all the batteries are made overseas the Commission says there is no reason for New Zealand to be concerned as the CO2 emissions created to power our electric vehicles will be added to the totals of other countries.

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But the obvious practicalities of replacing the nearly four million internal combustion vehicles in the New Zealand fleet with electric-powered alternatives by 2050 would appear to be more insurmountable than the Commission apparently expects. With less than 8000 electric vehicles on the road so far and new and used imports being absorbed into our fleet at the rate of around 300,000 a year it would take a much greater economic upheaval than the Commission envisions to achieve anywhere near the net zero carbon target by 2050.

In the meantime the Commission is proposing various measures to make the use of fossil-fuelled internal combustion vehicles much more costly and inconvenient. These include pushing up the price of petrol and diesel by increasing the carbon price by as much as 12 times and basing vehicle registration fees on a vehicle’s emissions potential. Potential policy changes that could endanger the continued use of fossil-fuelled heritage and collectable vehicles were the main focus of debate at the recent FOMC Annual Conference in Auckland. There was unanimous support for a motion initiated by Norman Pointon (Riley Club) that we urge the Ministers of Transport to give due consideration to the importance of heritage vehicles and associated industries and ensure the present unrestricted use of these vehicles is retained and not compromised by any changes in Government transport policies It was also resolved that a FOMC delegation to meet with the Ministers of Transport comprise the President, Secretary and one other member, plus a representative of the Vintage Car Club of NZ. Tony Bartlett (VCC) also proposed that a response to the Productivity Commission “Low-emissions Economy” draft report should be prepared listing bullet points of concern which can be elaborated on later as the debate develops. The FOMC will then be recorded as a submitter and stakeholder for ongoing consultation on proposals potentially affecting the country’s fossil-fuelled vehicles and owners. At a rough calculation it is likely the total value of the accumulated heritage collections of just the FOMC’s membership exceeds $10 billion. For a Government to arbitrarily declare all those cherished vehicles effectively obsolete and unusable would raise constitutional issues which are not adequately addressed in the Productivity Commission’s draft report. There is also a wide range of currently successful firms comprising a nationwide industry which relies on the repairing or restoring of New Zealand’s fleet of heritage vehicles to provide jobs for many thousands of highly skilled and valued workers. Beyond the bounds of the restoration industry there are also a vast number of other commercial operators such as magazine publishers, holiday resort owners and restaurateurs who rely on the steady flow of business from motoring enthusiasts to maintain their viability.

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OTHER NEWS…… Rambling Rants of a Reminiscing Riley Motorist. I unearthed a copy of “The Crank Case”, September 2010, the newsletter of the Nelson Branch of the VCC while I was attempting to sort out excess paper at home. On the cover was the Riley 12/4 special of Mike and Helen Stanley and I reread the history of the car. It gave the owners from the mid 1970’s: Bruce McPhail, Noel Whiley and later Larry Radall who sold it to Mike Stanley. It has a transplanted 12/4 engine with a body built with assistance from the owner’s uncle, the legend, Richard Stanley. It has run in the 2010 R’Oilcan. I do remember the car running with Noel Whiley at an early North Shore Branch Chelsea Hill Climb with a basic special body and 9 engine with twin carbs. Noel also ran a post-war RMB and I returned from the 1980 Riley National Rally in Wanganui in the car. Noel was a very nice and pleasant chap P a g e | 17


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and I think he had a furniture business. I went down to the Riley rally with Tom King in his Monaco. Still have the badge and home-made leather key fob from the event. I was reminded of the origin of the car Gerald Watson has campaigned heroically for near 30 years and my brief association with this car. When I started with the WD Riley project in 1980, I was an innocent, entering into the world of the Vintage Motorist, that was wreathed in that sacred scented air of castor oil, lubricated with GP50 and Tennant’s Strong Ale (brewed in the Tui Brewery at Mangatainoka); a world populated with demigods who had branded on their heart the Make of their loyalty, the badge of affliction, usually one, but for some great souls two or more. I had the car (in a manner of speaking) but the engine was in assorted piles of incomplete parts. I saw a Riley in a Saturday morning Herald advert and went to Howick to look at the car. It was a cut down 1932 Monaco chassis with scuttle forward complete. The rear was shortened and under slung. I was told it had been from the collection of Vic Viscovich, who had cut and shunted the car to make a special but had been tempted by dinero to relinquish this now flawed jewel. It was said of Vic, (also known as ‘The Axe’, due to his skill with the oxy torch) that he was fond of cutting up the Make due to his mother being almost run over by a Riley when gravid. This, then, was a post-foetal revenge, cruelly executed. I took the remains home and used the engine in the WD, traded the front axle with Hearne (William), for the diff I was using in the WD (as the 6.75 to 1 was in many bits, which I still have). This axle with brakes was to go to Perth in Oz to be put on a Brescia to give it better braking, a common mod at the time. The autovac went to Ian Goldingham and the rest of the car went to Gerald, who added material from Chris North’s project to complete the car with a Jack Rogers Impish body. More whakapapa (genealogy) later. Mike Grieg ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

Maserati The Maserati Trident logo has remained largely unchanged since it first showed up on the 1926 Tipo 26. The iconic statue of the god of the sea stands in the Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, Italy, where Oficine Maserati was first headquartered. Neptune stands atop a fountain, powerfully wielding his famous trident scepter — and the statue served as inspiration for the emblem along with Bologna’s colours, red and blue.

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With acknowledgement to Elizabeth Andrew from whom this was first obtained.

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THE SQUEAKY WHEEL…

The Eye of the Beholder It’s tragic really. Your eyes will have already skipped past these words to the photographs below and you will have immediately identified the three Jaguars. Unmistakable. Distinctive. Style. Class. So why the picture of the Hyundai Santa Fe? Or is it a Mazda CX8? Yeah, nah, that’s a Nissan X-Trail. Wait a minute, it’s a, it’s a … Jaguar. What they apparently call an ‘I Pace’. How rather ordinary. What would Bill Lyons be thinking of what has become of his vision of the motor car. “Pace” and “space” there may be, but the “grace”? The motoring press has waxed eloquent over what, visually at least might as well be called a JAFSUV (Just Another F….. SUV). It’s electric, but does that mean it has to be so stylistically similar to so many others in the SUV class? Bland. Surely the Jag designers could have come up with something more dramatic, more loud, proud and in keeping with the bold tradition of those who have gone before them, to apply to this new electric marketing venture of theirs. If they feel compelled to enter the SUV market then go with what Jaguar used to be so good at – make it dramatic, distinctive, stylish and graceful. Electric or otherwise. Maybe it’s just me…

Kevin Beesley ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

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Thanks to Keith H. for this delightful piece of artwork. ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

DESPATCHES…. If you aren’t mentioned in despatches it means you aren’t telling the Editor what you are up to. ➢ Insult of the month, from when insults had class. "He has no enemies but is intensely disliked by his friends." - Oscar Wilde ➢ An email from a founding father in relation to the comment in the last ‘Phoenix’ as to the Branch toast to ‘June Hearne’s Knees’. “Hi Kevin, June's Legs...... or knees Well, since it was me that first proposed the toast to June’s nether reaches, I should put the matter straight. Trouble is I am buggered if I remember which part we were toasting. I am sure her ladyship, John Hearne (Hernia) or Wallace McNair will recall. I am sure Marie will recall – wives keep old scores… P a g e | 21


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I reckon it was June's Legs. It was certainly at a boozy dinner that the Waitemata Branch held in Devonport (I have in mind the restaurant on the right going down Victoria Rd that I drove the Three Litre into, much to the fury of the waitress and Marie my wife. I did say I'd go and get the car, dear). Anyway, as Chairman of the branch, I felt duty bound to propose a loyal toast-in those days gentlemen did this. Nowadays it is only the Freemasons who do, or maybe the armed services. In my usual waffling on until an end appears manner, I started out with a typical toasty sort of tirade about we are gathered here to celebrate and venerate and on and on it went with the enthusiasm mounting until I was completely lost in it and too sloshed to remember what the hell I was going to say next. So, I just said “Gentlemen, I give you Junes legs!” to much laughter and clinking of glasses. June was embarrassed, Hearne was convulsed with laughter and I had to give Marie a good long listening to. We were pricks like that in the early days of Waitemata. Just no respect for any protocols – least of all the VCC NZ.. Kindest regards, Russell Ward” ➢ The following message was received in relation to the glorious photo last month of the unclad young lady semi-concealed by the bi-plane prop,

“Dear Kevin, Thanks so much for including a bit of Aeronautica in the publication, I am not so worried as to whether she still has the shoes - but did she have the mags switched off? Alan Kerr” ➢ Yet more evidence that ’Phoenix’ actually gets read. Thanks to Ramon Farmer for enlightening us as to what we thought was a Riley in the vehicular ferry photo included last month: “Kevin;

I’m not usually given to responding to newsletter items, but you definitely have a 2 1/2 litre Riley Roadster in Keith’s ferry-boarding photo. They were known as an RMC and were developed for the American market, hence their styling departs somewhat from the usually attractive shape of a Riley. They grew from Riley’s (attractive) first post-war 2 1/2 litre saloon car, the RMB (the RMA being a 1 1/2 litre) and are far too flat and wide to be an attractive two-seater; as a three-seater the body is slab-sided and the rear end unattractive to many; they certainly had little appeal in the UK and probably raised little interest in the USA. Some were known in New Zealand. The RMC was followed by the RMD (drophead saloon) then the re-styled RME 1 1/2 litre saloon, and the upgraded RMF 2 1/2 litre saloon (100 bhp, the RMB being 90 bhp). The final fling for Riley was the early RMH Pathfinder (110 bhp), but then with the withdrawal of the Percy Riley type of Riley engine and replacement with a 6-cylinder Nuffield engine, most people lost interest; only the name remained and this too disappeared in less than two decades. Keep up the good work. Regards; Ramon.” P a g e | 22


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➢ “Gentlemen start your engines!” Take a look at this video clip of some veteran heavy metal firing up.

https://www.facebook.com/remidargegenphoto/videos/1703724246511278/UzpfSTQ5NjYxO TU0MDQ4MzQ1OToxNDAwMTE1MTEwMTMzODkz/ ➢ An important announcement to all members from Ian Goldingham:

“Dear Kevin, I have just put up the video of the 2016 Chelsea 40th Hillclimb https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wegynj_JkF0 featuring the various unwashed throwing their dashing selves up the hill on YouTube!” ➢ Now hear this. The Branch is joining the movement. It’s no longer ‘me, me, me’. From now on it’s ‘#Me Too’! So, no more gender-specific references to your car. No ‘she’ or ‘he’. Only ‘it’. No more male and female fittings. They shall be known as the ‘insert’ and the ‘recipient’. No more ball joints and, heaven forbid, no more ball cocks. ‘Spherical couplings’ and ‘spherical regulator’ please. The term ‘screwing’ is banned. ‘Fastening’ it shall be. ‘Coupling’ must be replaced with ‘articulated mechanical connection’. ‘Grease’ (I can hardly bring myself to type the word) ’nipple’ is an absolute no-no. ‘Grease point’ from now on. “Clutch’, ‘dipstick’, ‘thrust’ and certain other technical terms are under review by your committee. Needless to say, there will no longer be any social intercourse at Branch functions and no reference shall henceforth be made to Branch affairs. ➢ Now, this is worth a viewing. Top up your glass, settle back, click on the link and enjoy the next fifteen minutes or so. Thanks to Keith Humphreys.

https://www.facebook.com/casaflorio/videos/2220277761527406/UzpfSTQ5NjYxOTU0MDQ4 MzQ1OToxNDEyMDAyODA1NjExNzkw/ ➢ An item from that well-known man of two wheels, Mike Greig:

From sumpmagazine.com , an on line classic bike magazine , some observations on the Panther M100 and M120 buyers guide... “Panther 100 with a prominent steering damper that would never make it past a modern health

and safety inspector. But Panther owners were and are a tough (or reckless) breed way beyond the fear of summary emasculation. Our advice is to pass down your genes before you try anything too clever on one of these.” ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞ P a g e | 23


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PHOENIX The OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER of THE WAITEMATA BRANCH of the VINTAGE CAR CLUB OF N.Z. INC. 200A Greenhithe Road, Greenhithe, Auckland 0632

CLUB NIGHT THURSDAY 5th July 8.00 p.m. at the RSA Room, King George Coronation Hall, Library Lane, Albany. Take Exit 410 Oteha Valley Road. Travel west along Oteha Valley Road, ahead through 2 roundabouts and straight ahead at Traffic Lights into Albany Highway then almost immediately RIGHT into Library Lane then very soon go right again into the parking area. The RSA Room is at the rear.

Sent in by Graeme Banks who writes “A couple of good photos Milan Fistonic has put on Facebook from 1986 Chelsea. (Run that year by North Shore Branch, says Keith H. ed.) Do we know who it was. The latest VCC list shows it as a 1934 Riley 12/6 belonging to a Mr Barnett in Christchurch.”

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Waitemata VCC July 2018  
Waitemata VCC July 2018