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Spectating Again- VSCC Prescott Hillclimb 2022

Spectating Again- VSCC Prescott Hillclimb 2022

After July's return to selling at events post-covid, August brought a return to just spectating for the fun of it. Thanks to a last minute ticket (many thanks Roy, Elinor & Clive!) I found myself wandering among the leafy Prescott paddock under cloudless skies . Bliss!

  Oh look… A Curtiss OX5 aero engine! …and another….and another…. Blimey! How many did they make? This particular corner of the paddock, a subtle distance away from the Pur Sang of Bugattis and ERAs,  seemed packed with Edwardian cars of one sort or another all featuring these ubiquitous WW1-era V8 engines.  For some years a separate class for them has been growing in popularity and it's not hard to see why. The chassis are often from comparatively unloved (thus low value) , while the engines, which powered a large proportion of the contemporary Allied air forces offer just about the best Value for Horsepower you can find.  

Here we had (top to bottom in the photos below) a big green Berliet, a red KRIT, a trim yellow Oakland Romano, a Luxor , a La Zebre (no, I've never heard of these last four marques either!)…  and a De Dion…but not one like the usual London-Brighton type. Not at all!


They rumbled up the hill with varying degrees of drama, some flung around like rally cars, others a little more sedately, but all wonderfully eccentric in their own way. Not that Curtiss provided the only aero engines in the entry - far from it. There were three cars with DeHavilland motors (two GNs and a Delage)

 And a Pic-Pic with a Sturtevant V8 under the hood …

The combining of unlikely engines and chassis is very much a VSCC ‘thing’ and among the rather smaller engines machinery were gloriously mad creations like the Weleseley Special which featured the front of two BSA three-wheeler, which originally being a front wheel drive design meant two engines with the driver in between with all round independent suspension and four-wheel drive! The chassis in the middle was part Dexion and part Forth Bridge in style. As yet it's in the early stages of development so didn't set any records but it certainly rained many eyebrows. Ten out of Ten for original thinking, that man!

 There were also a mass of GN and Austin 7 based special with assorted JAP or Aerial engines in evidence. Paul Martin's Austin 7-J.A.P (below)being about the smartest one I have ever seen. Specials of this nature do not generally rate highly on presentation!

It wouldn't be Prescott without a few Bugattis, although perhaps a few less than in years gone by.  Strangely we have seen rather more examples appearing together at rather less high-profile events here in the past, but then you can't fit in everything I guess. 

But there was a good turn out of ERAs… one of these (the green one at the back of the line) was actually a newly built replica using a lot of original bits including an ex R4D engine that had blown to bits at Goodwood some years ago and since been stitched back together! As always they made a great noise and a wonderful spectacle on the hill.

And if you tired of watching cars at speed, there was always the car park reserved (in theory…) for pre-war cars where Bentley's Alvis', Lancias, MGs and Lagonda sparkled in the sunlight with owners picnicking in between at lunch time.

This spectating lark is rather fun…I might try it again !

The 1924 3 Litre Bentley of my good freinds Elinor & Clive

 Ian Beale's lovely Citroen Traction. He was my trusty navigator when we were rallying in the 1990s

Trojan Utility club - several cars still on original pre war solid tyres!

Aston Martins under the flawless Cotswold sky

The Pilkington family's Alfa Romeo 6C 1750