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Homepage. This page: Taking a loot at a 1940's copy of a Bristol motor & motorcycle club's magazine.

The Bristol Motor Cycle and Light Car Club.

More and more magazines and journals relating to motor clubs continue to turn up, and gradually they'll be added into the car magazine section of the site. Featured below is a July 1949 copy of the Bristol Motor Cycle and Light Car Club's journal. Now known as the Bristol Motor Club, the organisation was first formed in 1911, with the idea of gathering like-minded enthusiasts with a penchant for motorcycles together, and using their machines in club-organised competition. The "Light Car" reference was added to the club's official name in 1921, as owners of motorcycles and light cars tended to be of similar mindsets in their approach to motoring.
Magazine for the Bristol Motor Cycle and Light Car Club in 1949
Caesar Special racing car
At the time of this issue's publication, fuel rationing was still very much in evidence, yet despite this limited motorsport activity was to be found across the country, with the Bristol Motor Cycle and Light Car Club being a key player in that corner of Britain. An advertisement for Ronald Lawson & Son Ltd of Bristol features on the cover of the journal, highlighting W.A. Taylor's recent success in the Caesar Special at Naish Hill. Probably as a result of his success, a photograph of W.A. Taylor in his car appears in "Celebrity Corner" on page 25. The Caesar Special can trace its roots back to the 1930s when the car was first built as a sportscar by Dick Caesar, powered by an AC engine. In 1936 it was rebuilt as a single seater, then changed hands in readiness for the 1937 season. By 1949 it was in the hands of Tony Taylor, who was also planning to take part in an upcoming veteran event with his 1904 Peugeot, known as Jezebel.
In addition to reports on the recently-held Naish House hillclimb meeting, details were given of an upcoming veteran car "trial" which, due to the large number of entrants, was actually being staged over two separate routes. Because of this, the editor made an urgent request for marshals to help with the organisation and running of the event.
Not all of the Bristol MC's events involved actual driving. Notice of an upcoming skittles match, and a coach trip to Silverstone, both feature in the magazine, as does a reminder of a scavenge hunt due to take place on July 9th.

London to Paris by De Dion Bouton.

An interesting article on pages 9 and 11 tells the story of a Commander C.L.A. Woollard, who decided in 1939 to drive to Paris and back in his 5hp 1903 De Dion Bouton. The reasons behind his trip were to meet up with both the car's manufacturer, and also various motoring organisations in the area. The car was piloted to Dover at an average speed of 22mph, before hopping on to a ferry bound for Dunkirk, a town that would soon be in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
With the weather worsening, the plucky Commander decided to make an overnight halt in Boulogne before continuing on his mission. At mid-day on day two he arrived at the De Dion factory, where he was greeted by a number of interested parties, not least the Marquis De Dion who had travelled up especially to meet the adventurous Englander. The car's original designer, Monsieur Le Coeur, inspected the car and confirmed that it was totally to original specification. Amazingly, some of the the people who built Woollard's car were still in the firm's employment.
Several days were spent in Paris, before setting off from the Arc de Triomphe en route to Boulogne, where again he stayed over before heading to the docks and a return voyage to Folkestone by cargo steamer.
The Commander hoped that his trip would encourage other like-minded souls to join him the following year on a similar journey. Alas such a trip wouldn't become a possibility for several years to come - I wonder if he did ever make a return trip by De Dion Bouton?

The John Bull Cup Trial in Whitchurch.

Regulations for this trial, to be held in two or three fields in Whitchurch, were presented to encourage entries to come forward. It was due to take place on 23rd July 1949. Individual club members could enter for a fee of ten shillings, while a team of two cars could enter for six shillings. Details regarding the observed sections and special tests were given, as was a reminder that all competitors needed to be a member of the Bristol Motor Cycle and Light Car Club, and also be in the possession of an RAC National Competition Licence.
All competing cars had to conform to the Road Traffic Act (no MOTs in those days!), and have efficient brakes and silencer. Any car fitted with competition tyres, additional rims, or other modifications to afford extra traction, would not be permitted to take part. Only tyres listed in the RAC list of permitted tyres could be used, and no alterations - by "Pneugrippa" or other method would be accepted. Locked or "partial slip" differentials were also banned, unless where fitted as standard equipment. Four-wheel drive was also a no-no, as were fuels other than the standard ration type. Suitable insurance was also a pre-requisite for competing.

Trials regs.

Details of the John Bull Cup Trial were then followed by a communication from the RAC regarding trials, and trials vehicles, in general. This clarified some of the requirements that were in place for all competing vehicles, with regard to the design of their bodywork (eg it must be able to carry at least one passenger, within the body), seating, flooring and overhang. A fire-proof bulkhead would be required also, although no mention of specific material(s) is given in the summary, while a suitable bonnet - covering the top and the sides of the engine - must also be fitted.

The "Starling" light car.

Following on from an in-depth look at the Naish House hillclimb, there followed the members' letters section. Included was correspondence regarding the "Starling" and the "Royal Starling", an early light car produced by the Star Cycle Company of Wolverhampton, later known as the Star Cycle and Motor Company (apparently not related to the nearby Star Engineering Company, who produced the "Star" motor-cars).
Advertising within the magazine was available to local companies. The offer was taken up by the following motor-related companies, in addition to other businesses not directly related to cars:
  • Brandon Garage.
  • Tompion Oil Company Ltd.
  • Old Baker (spares).
  • Duckham's NOL oils.
  • Clifton Motors.
  • Kelston Caravan and Joinery Co.
  • Highland Square Garage (Sports car specialists).
  • Barton Motors (Bristol) Ltd.
  • Notwen Oils
  • A.T. Poeton & Son (platers).
Evidently the club had a strong following, even in the dark years following WW2. The club continued to grow and prosper, and continues to this day, organising social events, trials, sprints, hillclimbs and autotests.
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