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Alan Gascoigne Sinclair


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#1 john medley

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Posted 28 November 2002 - 05:06

It may well be that TNF is the ONLY place to ask questions about this young Englishman who ran at various Australian events prewar, and hope for some educated replies. Sinclair brought some rather odd racing cars with him, including an allegedly ex Eric Winterbottom 1100cc Alta singleseater ( these days rebuilt to its original sports car form, and alive and well in Victoria) and a Sunbeam special of obscure origin. There is quite a strong body of evidence to demonstrate that he was in Australia as a British Secret Service agent, one of his roles being ( apparently) to keep an eye on a works DKW motorcycle racing team waving the German flag at various Australian circuits and other events and travelling by coastal steamer between state capitals. There is evidence that film and photographs were taken by the DKW team of port installations etc.There have been claims that Sinclair was the son of the then head of MI5( MI6?).One story I was told by a prewar competitor who in fact had shared an overnight cell with Sinclair for boyish overexuberance in South Australia involved one who knew Sinclair prewar and walked into a wartime office in England to salute his new commanding officer -- none other than AG Sinclair, now very serious, formal and correct. Nearly 30 years ago South Australian Eric Williams who at that time owned one of the ex works DKWs became obsessed with this story and made a film of it. It may have been Eric who located Sinclair in the UK, and wrote to him seeking more detail. I'm told that Sinclair's reply denying he was ever a secret service officer was written backwards and in two different coloured inks.
So, my questions are
* who can add to this tale?
*did AGS compete prewar in the UK? ( it was Denis Jenkinson 1970s who identified the Alta as Eric Winterbottom's, so he may have known of AGS in the 1930s)
*what were the cars( and their origins) that he brought to Australia?

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#2 David McKinney

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Posted 28 November 2002 - 06:34

My records show Sinclair's Alta as being the ex-Winterbottom sportscar, and also say Sinclair raced the car in England before his Australian sortie. However, these records are probably based on Australian data, so don't help your quest much.
UK sources however have Winterbottom racing the ex-Briault Alta 1100 in 1938, which means he must have campaigned two such cars if Sinclair's was indeed ex-Winterbottom. Perhaps the key is to find whether in fact Winterbottom did have an Alta in 1936. Certainly that year he was prominent in sprint events with a Gwynne-powered car built by Emery.

#3 Criceto

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Posted 28 November 2002 - 09:10

My Brooklands records - not exhaustive, but pretty good post-1935, have the following entries for AG Sinclair.

All are 1937, there is no trace of him after that.
March 29: Easter 3rd & 4th Mountain Handicaps - Alta 1100 unplaced both races
July 10: 1st July Long Handicap & National Class Handicap - Alta 1100 non-started both races
August 2: JCC International Trophy - shared NG Wilson's MG K3. non-classified 8th on road
October 16: 2nd Campbell Circuit Handicap - Alta 1100 unplaced.

In response to David's lead, I can't find any trace of Eric Winterbottom campaigning an Alta in 1936. His only Brooklands appearance in '36 was at the LCC Relay, where he drove an unidentified MG in team number 4.

I've got to dig through my papers, because I transcribed all the entry lists that Beaulieu had for Crystal Palace and Donington the other day, and I'm blessed if I can find what I've done with my notes just at the moment....

#4 Criceto

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Posted 28 November 2002 - 09:16

Actually, hold what I just said about Winterbottom. His LCC Relay race was in 1937, so I have no Brooklands appearances for him in 1936 at all.

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 November 2002 - 09:23

I should really post a photo of the Sunbeam... it was indeed a strange beast, more in keeping with its contemporaries in Australia than a British machine.

But it strikes me this might be the right time to add into the raft of questions: "Did this car race in England and what basic parts did it comprise?"

Shame you waited so long to put these questions here, John...

#6 john medley

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Posted 28 November 2002 - 11:34

I've only just noticed that Bob King's "Bugattis in Australasia" Page 204 has a photo of the Sunbeam, as well as a bit about its earlier and later history...built up from a scrapyard Bugatti chassis, shortened, with power from a 1.5 litre 2ohc 1925 Sunbeam built to successfully attack world speedboat records and Roots-supercharged. ..built in 1936-37 by David Pearce while he was at Cambridge... sold ( according to Pearce) " to a Mr Sinclair who had something to do with Alta and who was taking a motley collection of racing cars to Australia( mostly Altas I think)...". Sinclair ( almost as usual) entered but failed to start at Lobethal early 1939 ( " sheared its blower drive minutes before the start"),the car reappearing in Tony Ohlmeyer's hands at Buckland Park ( South Australia) Feb 1940 and perhaps Glen Osmond Hillclimb, before engine damage saw a Dodge motor installed....
Wonderful info on Winterbottom and Sinclair immediately prewar from David and Criceto ( thanks!).It sounds like there might be more to come.. which I'll look forward to. And the photo Ray -- can you post that?
The amazing Nostalgia Forum strikes again!

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 November 2002 - 21:16

Originally posted by john medley
.....And the photo Ray -- can you post that?
The amazing Nostalgia Forum strikes again!


Yeah, it does, doesn't it?

As for the photo, John, I have two problems at the moment. First is that I'm away from all my reference materials and don't have a scanner here... but time will fix that.

Second? Well, honestly, I can't remember where the photo is! I sure hope it wasn't just on the proof reels from the photographer (Look! Now I've even forgotten his name!)... was there one published somewhere?

The car seemed to me to be too big to be just a 1.5... I thought it was in the 3-litre range... and with a Bugatti chassis (never knew that before!) one might have expected a bigger engine too. Again, it becomes more and more like an Australian Special of the time, which most Bugs had become or were about to become in that era as their crankshafts disintegrated etc.

Another point about the comment from David Pearce ... 'motley collection of racing cars' ... how usual! Of course, the 'usual' thing was to dump the motley items on the poor unknowing 'colonials' and make a handsome profit out of the journey, but Sinclair seems to have hung around too long to have had that motive.

If you have a photo I'm not likely to have, John, e.mail it to me ... well, I'll send you a PM about that.

#8 O Volante

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Posted 28 November 2002 - 22:32

Re: racer Sinclair = son of a secret service Sinclair
Unfortunately there are (at least!) two very important Sinclairs in the history of British secret service affairs:
- Admiral Sir Hugh "Quex" Sinclair, "C" (chief of Secret Intelligence Service = MI6) from 1923 to 1939, before DNI (= Director of Naval Intelligence)
- Major-General Sir John "Sinbad" Sinclair, "C" from 1951 ...
(Source: Christopher Andrew, Secret Service. The Making of the British Intelligence Community. Heinemann 1985)
What do the various editions of 'Who's who', 'Burke's Peerage' and 'Directory of National Biography' say on these men, and their possible children?

#9 Doug Nye

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Posted 04 December 2002 - 14:09

Originally posted by john medley
...a photo of the Sunbeam...built up from a scrapyard Bugatti chassis, shortened, with power from a 1.5 litre 2ohc 1925 Sunbeam built to successfully attack world speedboat records and Roots-supercharged. ..built in 1936-37 by David Pearce while he was at Cambridge...


John - I wonder if this was the same Sunbeam speedboat engine which my friend Guy Griffiths - the pre-war British motor racing wheeler-dealer turned pretty wonderful post-war motor racing photographer - once had for sale? He cannot recall A.G. Sinclair, but he tells me that this Sunbeam power unit was one built for the annual Duke of York Cup races for 1500cc power boats, in which George Eyston (for example) was a regular competitor, using Aston Martin power.

The Sunbeam twin-cam engine was very powerful for its size but it was cast-iron and massively heavy. The unit Guy had for sale was virtually as-new, unused, still crated. Freddy Dixon came to look at it but dismissed it out of hand for car use, "...a pity, but it's a complete non-starter because it's just too heavy".

Guy recalls eventually finding a buyer and he also recalls a subsequent letter to 'Motor Sport' - "...probably in the late '40s or early '50s" - from someone extolling the 100mph virtues of the car into which he'd fitted 'a speedboat Sunbeam engine which I'd bought from Guy Griffiths'...".

There's a project for somebody - hunt the published letter...

DCN

#10 john medley

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Posted 04 December 2002 - 22:00

Thanks Doug.The exact words in Bob King's'Bugattis in Australasia'P205 are "..Pearce thought the engine was a spare one of the type built by Sunbeam in 1925 for a successful attempt on 1 1/2 litre speedboat records in Betty Carstairs' hands.It had twin overhead camshafts running in split roller bearings and an integral cylinder head and block.Its three bearing crankshaft was supported in an aluminium crankcase with a large Roots supercharger driven from its front.It had dry sump lubrication and a gear type water pump which Pearce replaced with a centrifugal pump.Pearce contacted the designer,Stephens, who told him it gave around 100 brake horsepower at 5000 rpm.At a later date it was fitted with a Bugatti multiplate clutch." Very probable the engine was one and the same -- 'spare' on one hand, 'unused/still crated' on the other. I havent any Motor Sport of the relevant 40s - early 50s. Anyone?
Likewise " Quex" and " Sinbad". Anyone?
Another bit of the AG Sinclair story that the film focussed on( opening scene shows a handheld revolver being pointed at cars starting a 1930s race the revolver then being placed on top of a fuel drum) was the DKW team's management, as I recall a German Count and his wife in their lederhosen, she wearing pearl handled revolvers as a fashion accessory. There was some suggestion that he returned to Australia postwar to play some role in Volkswagen assembly.It is thought too that one of the team service cars was the little DKW that Bob Winley used to run in Historic events in 1970s. I have never seen a copy of the film, though I have a vague memory of its being written up in an Australian motor cycle magazine back then sometime. Again, anyone with any ideas on this wonderfully obscure piece of nostalgia trivia?

#11 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 01:55

Two further near-appearances for Sinclair, both 1937 again:

April 24th: Coronation Trophy, Crystal Palace. DNS - engine. Unidentified Alta, presumably the 1100 mentioned above.

May 1st: Campbell Trophy, Brooklands - alternative driver for Philip Jucker's new Alta 61S. Apparently didn't get a drive, possibly because the car failed before half distance with Jucker at the wheel. Philip Jucker was also entered in the Crystal Palace race, but non-started as his car wasn't ready.

Jucker was killed in practice for the RAC Light Car race at Douglas which took place on June 3rd: was there any formal connection between Jucker and Sinclair, I wonder?

#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 15 June 2003 - 12:06

Amazing what you come across when you least expect it .... I was hunting through some unsorted copies for something on John Appleton and the Appleton Special and hit on this in "The Motor", February 14th 1940, page 40:

Alan Sinclair, who used to drive a single-seater 1100cc Alta and went to Australia about a year ago, I hear came back to this country to join the London Scottish; he was married in his spare time. Before that he did some racing in Australia and then, so I heard, set sail for the South Seas to found a Utopia on some choice islet. Before that he helped to get a sailing boat across the Atlantic to the States and back, which was by way of being an epic.

The "about a year ago" doesn't quite gel with the above, of course, unless maybe he went there twice?

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 June 2003 - 20:09

"About a year ago" was just after he ran at Lobethal... Jan 2 1939. No time for him to get back to England and return to Australia in those days.

#14 john medley

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Posted 16 June 2003 - 00:01

Thanks, V2, for the bits and pieces.Perhaps there is still more to know about Mr Sinclair
.In its report on the June 13 1938 Rob Roy Hillclimb, " The Car" has a photo of Our Man returning down the hill titled " Alan Sinclair heads for the bar", and reports that "The Under 1100 cc blown class was won by Alan Sinclair(Alta), in 39.35 seconds.Sinclair who is an Englishman and who has his car out here on a visit,has had bad luck all round up to date, and those present were pleased to see him have a success, although the car was not as fast as he hoped it would be." All that verbiage appears to support the idea that AGS's record of unreliability was successfully maintained

One other point:somewhere sometime I recall that an aspiring racing car mechanic later very well known turned up at an isolated UK farmhouse to help prepare an Alta in which the driver was subsequently killed perhaps because the engine seized. This was not a surprise to the aspiring mechanic because as he arrived the Real Mechanic was driving the Alta around the farmyard without the car's sump " to bed in the bearings". I cant recall where I read the story but I have always assumed that the driver was PF Jucker. Perhaps the farmhouse incident occurred May 1937?Can anyone recall where this story was printed?

#15 eldougo

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Posted 16 June 2003 - 07:19

:lol:

Quote. j .medley

Real Mechanic was driving the Alta around the farmyard without the car's sump " to bed in the bearings".

NOW THAT,S A GOOD ONE!!!!!! i don,t think so.

#16 KJJ

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 00:15

Anything more to add about A G Sinclair?

He wasn't the son of either Quex who had two sons Hugh and Maurice, or Sinbad, also two sons Ian and Roderick. Was he the Alan Gascoigne Sinclair born in Croydon on 22nd May 1905 and who died in Cornwall in June 1995?

#17 Vitesse2

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 11:51

Looking for details about Peter Whitehead's trip to Australia, I came across this enigmatic little snippet, possibly sourced to the Australian magazine The Car from mid-1938 (perhaps the June/July edition) -

Alan Sinclair has appeared again, in Darwin, it seems, attired in blue shorts, a 20-gallon sombrero and a .45 Colt.



Autocar September 30th 1938, p613

#18 fuzzi

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 14:52

A bloke called Alan Sinclair was a friend of John Bolster pre-war and shared a number of Frazer Nash related adventures. Covered in Bolster's "Motoring is My Business"

This gives a bit of the flavour:-

"The Frazer Nash was seriously damaged, but we decided we could tow it home, provided that we drove very slowly. All went well until just before our destination, when one of the wheels came off and bounced merrily away in the darkness. We were crossing a bridge over a river at the time, and Alan instantly flung himself over the parapet and plunged into the water with a mighty splash. This, he afterwards explained, was to find the wheel before the ripples subsided, but the tidal wave occasioned by his arrival rather defeated this project. I eventually found the wheel in a hedge some distance away."

#19 GeoffE

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 17:18

Originally posted by KJJ
Anything more to add about A G Sinclair?

He wasn't the son of either Quex who had two sons Hugh and Maurice, or Sinbad, also two sons Ian and Roderick. Was he the Alan Gascoigne Sinclair born in Croydon on 22nd May 1905 and who died in Cornwall in June 1995?


The birth of AGS was actually registered in the 2nd quarter of 1906 ... the death registration index gives his birth as 22 May 1906.

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#20 Leif Snellman

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 17:58

I'm forwarding the following question I have received:

I am seeking information on Alan Sinclair. He had suffered a broken arm in a
racing accident in the Spring of 1935 and while recovering from that sailed
to North America on the 1915 vintage beam trawler "Seaplane". It had
been converted to a yacht by its owner British writer GFG (Frank)
Pollard. "Seaplane" landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (where I am)
in the third week of July 1935 then left for Boston. I'm planning to write a
brief story about the boat but wanted to fill it out with a very few details of
the crew members. In checking on the internet I have found that Mr.
Sinclair probably worked for the British Secret Service before the War. He
took an Alta to Australia to race it and shadow a German motorcycle racing
team. I assume that if he survived the War he probably has passed away
through natural causes by now. I was wondering three things:

1) What was the racing accident in 1935 where he got the broken arm?
2) Did he goon to any notable racing successes after the War?
and
3)Where might I find an obituary of him that might mention these and other things about him?

I emailed four different race tracks seeking information on AG Sinclair but
only Brooklands has responded. It is from John Pulford, Head of Collections, Brooklands

Museum:
"An A.G. Sinclair was a BARC member from 1933 to 1938. Only seems to have competed at Brooklands in 1937
in the following events:-

29/3/1937: BARC Easter Meeting . Race 7 Alta. Race 8 Alta.
1/5/1937: Campbell Trophy No. 18 Alta with P.F. Jucker.
10/7/1937: BARC Race 2 Alta. Race 3 Alta.
2/8/1937: JCC International Trophy. MG with N.G. Wilson.
16/10/1937: BARC Race No. 8 Alta."


Sincerely,
Tony Edwards
aeedwards2003@yahoo.ca



Anyone?

#21 Vitesse2

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 18:22

There are some pictures of Sinclair's Alta on the Lobethal Carnival website:

http://www.lobethalg.....938 Cars.html

#22 RAP

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 07:31

A G Sinclair at Crystal Palace, all Alta 1100
24 April Coronation Trophy non starter
17 July 37 London GP 6th in heat , retired in Final
9 Oct 37 Imperial Trophy retired in heat, dnq Final
RAP

#23 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 08:09

Originally posted by Vitesse2
There are some pictures of Sinclair's Alta on the Lobethal Carnival website:

http://www.lobethalg.....938 Cars.html


And did you download the marvellous movie?

#24 Vitesse2

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 10:31

Not yet, Ray ;)

Just spent a fruitless hour searching the Times Online Archive for a wedding announcement for Sinclair. (I did find one for Prince Chula, but that's hardly relevant). Purely on a guesswork/geographical basis, given that Ken found an AGS born in Croydon, I did find a Hugh Philip Sinclair, "second son of the late Rev RW Sinclair and Mrs Sinclair of Blackheath", who married Stella Marie Stodart of Trinidad on Aug 31st 1939. Younger brother? But I stress that's a guess.

The London Gazette was similarly unhelpful: there are two "AG Sinclair" references, but he's a junior RAF officer.

#25 David McKinney

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 12:12

Originally posted by Vitesse2
...there are two "AG Sinclair" references, but he's a junior RAF officer.

Obviously a front for his real job :lol:

#26 Vitesse2

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 12:48

Originally posted by David McKinney

Obviously a front for his real job :lol:

Well, I did consider that ;), but 352087 A/c2 John Hume Ross had done that first.

#27 Marc Ceulemans

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 22:35

24 July 1937, A.G. Sinclair / N.G. Wilson, 12-Hours of Donington, Frazer Nash n°22, DNF.

#28 Vitesse2

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 21:36

Looking for something else (as usual!) I found another piece of the Alan Sinclair jigsaw ...

From The Advertiser (Adelaide), July 10th 1939

ADVENTUROUS VOYAGE IN SMALL KETCH

Owner Hopes To Establish Colony On Pacific Island SYDNEY. July 9.

Three men and a woman reached Sydney yesterday after an adventurous voyage from Hobart in the 43-ft. ketch Connella. The ketch took 12 days to make the voyage, more than four days being spent hove to in a 50 mile-an hour gale and high seas. Those on the ketch were the owner and master, Mr. Frank Briggs, his wife, Mr. Alan Sinclair, a former English racing motorist, and Mr. Jack Milne, a miner, who travelled from Kalgoorlie to Hobart to join the Connella. They intend to make a leisurely cruise to the Great Barrier Reef and perhaps to New Guinea later. When on a visit to the South Sea Islands last year Mr. Briggs, who was formerly a survey photographer with the Royal Australian Air Force, founded an enterprise known as the International Goodwill Settlement, with the intention of establishing a colony on one of the Marquesas Islands. He set out last year in the Connella for the islands, but was forced back by adverse weather. He said today that he had not altogether abandoned the idea of founding an international colony on an island in the Pacific and would look for a suit able site on his present cruise. Storms were encountered soon after the Connella left Hobart and the weather remained bad throughout the voyage. Coming up the New South Wales coast Mr. Briggs was washed overboard when a wave struck the ketch and caught him off his balance. Mr. Milne was able to secure a hold on his clothes and lift him back on board. The Connella will remain in Sydney for several weeks.

http://newspapers.nl.....lan Sinclair"

There are similar reports in the Sydney Morning Herald, Melbourne Argus and Hobart Mercury on the same date. The Sydney Morning Herald report even includes a picture of the elusive Mr Sinclair!

http://newspapers.nl.....lan Sinclair"

The Pacific island in question was Nuku Hiva and the International Goodwill Settlement appear to have been one of the many sets of Utopian nutters who were around at the time. A search of the NLA website will reveal quite a few references.


Edited by Vitesse2, 10 August 2010 - 21:38.


#29 fivestar

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 07:53

Way back in 2003 John Medley mentioned about an Alta being driven around with no oil/sump to run it in.
The article was TAYLOR MADE by Dennis May and appeared in the November 1960 issue of Sports Car World and refers to #61s the Jucker car.

Whilst on this matter I had always assumed the car Sinclair brought to Australia was #25 because the car/engine still in Australia had chain drive to the DOHCams, however I have come across a photo of #25 at the Brighton Speed trails driven by W. Bristow in 1948.
#25 was originally owned by A.C. Lace who also owned #21 ex Cormack and both were entered in the 1935 IOM races.
I now wonder if Sinclair owned #21 with the engine from #25, as the bodywork would tie in with the bodywork at Lotherall.
I believe this car went on to become the Alta Ford V8 Special of Bill Reynolds and the engine the basis of Bill Dutton's Alta Special.

I await to be shot down.

rgds - Mike 5*

#30 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 08:06

Shot down?

Do you mean about 'Lotherall'?

#31 fivestar

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 08:21

Not inparticular, my theory is essentially guesswork from the files I have on hand.
What would be interesting is to see the photo of the car at the Rob Roy hillclimb on 13th june 1938 to see what bodywork it was sporting.
rgds

.

Shot down?

Do you mean about 'Lotherall'?



#32 john medley

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 21:28

Sinclair was back in the UK early war years, so pressed on after his reported boat trip. I am interested to note that Briggs is reported as a former survey photographer in the RAAF -- perhaps coincidentally the allegation was that while the German DKW team members were photographing port installations and other objects of interest Sinclair's associates were photographing the photographers. Conspiracy theories abound in this saga, but Briggs is reported as photographer?

I spent time recently with old friends Graeme and Betty Lowe and one of their Altas, but forgot to ask them chassis/engine numbers on the Sinclair car -- so I cant at the moment confirm 21 or 25. I have various photos of the Sinclair car prewar in both Australia and the UK, including Rob Roy 1938, and the body is the same in all, with minor mods mainly around the nose. When I last saw that body in 1953 it was still much the same. A 1938 Rob Roy pic shows a narrow tall white(?) single seater with dark wheels, driver sitting quite high, approximately oval or diamond-shaped radiator aperture having one vertical and some horizontal bars(ie same as pictures on Lobethal website). A Lobethal pic shows the tail to be the same as at a Lewes sprint 1937. A 1941 Penrith pic shows the car much tidied but still the same body.

Thanks all for the above posts. Probably we will never solve this puzzle, but the chase is interesting

#33 john medley

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 22:04

Several afterthoughts:

# thanks, fivestar, for locating the "bed in the bearings" Alta story. You restored the last tattered remnants of my pride in my memory

# Douglas Briault was mentioned as one of the possible previous owners of the Sinclair Alta. Not only did at least one of Briault's racing cars come to Australia, but so did Briault himself, living at Surfers Paradise postwar( Andrew Fellowes photographed where he used to live, Terry Walker mentioned his old scrapbooks on TNF). Briault was in the Navy Reserve during WW2(thanks DCN for this posted on TNF). Would I be drawing far too long a bow to guess at some connection other than car ownership between DLBriault and AGS's alleged spying activities? ( like I've said before, conspiracy theories abound in the Sinclair story -- see Eric Williams report of writing to Sinclair in the 1970s and the reply he received)

#34 fivestar

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 00:57

Thanks John, I was actually meant to have come down to Melbourne last june, to see both Betty and Greame plus Mike Bishop, but unfortunately had to cancell.
From previous chats with both, I believe the view was that Greame's 1100 car was #25 since it had engine #25 in the car. unfortunately Altas never had chassis numbers and this has caused confusion. One example being the ex Gaze sports car which has engine 54 in it and chassis 54 which has engine 63 in it. I have records which show chassis 63 being sold in England in 1958 which is impossible.
If there is a 1937 photo of the car at Lewes with similar bodywork to Lobethal in 1939 then it cannot be #25 which was raced post war by Bristow and sported a rounded nose cone.
As you say one will probably never get a final answer.
There is an interesting article on The Alta Ford V8 in an article Australian Specials--No. 26 in a copy of Australian Motor Sports, when under Arthur Chick's ownership. prior to that the car had been through; Alan Sinclair, Bill Reynolds, Alan Male, Ted Grey, Bill Sinclair, Ron Edgerton, Jack Jeffrey, John Read.

rgds - Mike
ps: pls note that I have spelt Lobethal correctly this time.



#35 john medley

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 05:43

I must be missing something here, because my understanding was that the Cormack car went to NZ(admittedly AFTER the date Bristow drove the car) while the Sinclair car arrived in Australia in 1937 and is still here, including engine #25, or have I misunderstood?

#36 fivestar

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 10:32

John,
The Cormack car which went to NZ was #52, the first of the 1.5L offset racing cars. it stayed there for some 25 years then back to the UK and is now owned by David Cohen, in Vancouver, B.C.

I must be missing something here, because my understanding was that the Cormack car went to NZ(admittedly AFTER the date Bristow drove the car) while the Sinclair car arrived in Australia in 1937 and is still here, including engine #25, or have I misunderstood?



#37 David McKinney

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 13:48

The Cormack car which went to NZ was #52, the first of the 1.5L offset racing cars. it stayed there for some 25 years

Closer to 35


#38 fivestar

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 23:20

John,
Any chance you can post the photo of Sinclair's Alta at the Lewes meeting in 1937?

rgds - Mike [5*]

#39 john medley

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 22:51

Mike
I cant post that pic, which appeared in Motor Sport September 1937. I have a similar pic taken from behind at Lobethal showing the "skirts lifted" appearance of the rear body as it rose over the chassis kickup over the rear axle.

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#40 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 10:40

Do you have the pics, John?

If so, e.mail them to me and I'll post them. If you have the magazine, simply take a low resolution digital pic of the page and e.mail it to me.

#41 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 20:50

Brian Lear beat you to it:

Posted Image

#42 fivestar

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 23:25

Many thanks, but the caption is incorrect as based on the exhaust this car is a 1100cc Alta.
Next request, does anyone have a front view of the car at Lewes or whilst in the UK? I would guess its the same as the ones of the car at Lobethal.
I have a frontal of both #21 and 25 which I will try and post shortly.
rgds - 5*





Brian Lear beat you to it:

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#43 fivestar

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 01:05

Here is a picture of #21 when driven by Eccles in 1935, can't find the one of 21 and 25 together.
Photo courtesy of Foto Find

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Edited by fivestar, 18 August 2010 - 01:05.


#44 john medley

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 07:07

Thanks, fivestar, for a pic I hadnt seen before.... and very much like the body Graeme and Betty put on the car this century

#45 fivestar

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 23:34

Thanks John, note the tail of this car, not much different to the Sinclair car.
Here is another picture from an Autosport article
Posted Image

Thanks, fivestar, for a pic I hadnt seen before.... and very much like the body Graeme and Betty put on the car this century


Edited by fivestar, 19 August 2010 - 01:57.


#46 eolith

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 02:19

The picture of the Cormack Alta NO 21S shows the car in its original form with a grille and nose paneling obscuring the front mounted blower.Accordihg to the Works Record kept by Griffiths the car had an accident at Donnington which required the fitting of new track.By new track I assume Griffiths is refering to steering components.All the subsequent pictures I have show the car with a nose cone where the blower is visible, closely shrouded by an aluminium cover a wide strip around the stone guard and a small cutout to clear the SU carburetter.It appears with this frontal treatment througout the later Cormack ownership as well as with Avebury and when driven in the IOM by Eccles.It also continues like this when taken over by Jucker who painted it gold.The single seater was prepared in a garage behind a pub in Hammersmith High street from where Sinclair traded cars. He had a flat close by from where he placed adverts for cars for sale. He was assisted by an Australian spanner man whose name I have forgotten.Graham Fleming told me that the car had been damaged before the single seater trasformation.When supplied by Alta to Cormack the works notes say Hardy spicer propshaft and new rear springs with torque rods. The right torque rod is visible on the Lewes rear view picture.Another interesting observation from the same picture is that the track rod is now forward of the front axle in a high position above axle level.I guess that now the car has the last engine configuration built by Taylor with the blower moved from its original forward shaft driven position to being mounted directly onto the engine front cover behind the radiator like 24S.The track rod was moved forward to avoid clouting the underside of the blower on suspension deflection..Incidentaly the earlier blown cars had a droop in their front axles and trackrods to avoid hitting the shaft between blower and engine for the same reason.The unblown 1100s had straight axles and trackrods.It is not possible to see the blower on the Australian pictures which I think confirms that it is mounted on the front engine cover.I spoke to Sinclair twice back in the eighties and he confirmed that he new the Bolsters and visited them at home in Kent.Perhaps this was where the car was drive around to run in the bearings without a sump! David Baldock

#47 fivestar

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 04:50

David, many thanks for your information. It seems to confirm my belief that the car Greame Lowe has is #21, even if it has an engine identical to #25 ie chain drive to the DOHC.
Out of interest do your Works Record for #21 end with:
27 New Square, Cambridge.
The reason I am asking is say in reference to #59, the notes end after the trade in with Jucker for #61s, whilst #59 essentially then became the Works car which Taylor drove in numerous events and one would have thought there would be further references to the car. Similarly #58 which Taylor drove initially post WWII.
Mike [5*]

#48 john medley

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 05:38

Many (belated!) thanks for these contributions. The subject continues to fascinate.

Quite accidentally I found a pic of a TT Replica Frazer Nash reportedly photographed new outside the Frazer Nash factory when "about to be collected by its purchaser A G Sinclair", in ( we assume) 1935 or 1936..... which raises the question re how many cars did AGS own in 1936/37 before heading to Australia, taking some of them with him.

Onto a slightly different track, in Australia we are able to examine summary war records online. Undoubtedly those elsewhere are able to do likewise. I searched for "Alan Gascoigne Sinclair" in Australian World War 2 records, but came up empty --- so I searched for "A G Sinclair", and this told me that there was an A G Sinclair in the Australian Army, but that no other details of his war record were able to be divulged. The mysteries continue.

Any more ideas?

#49 David McKinney

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 06:04

Quite accidentally I found a pic of a TT Replica Frazer Nash reportedly photographed new outside the Frazer Nash factory when "about to be collected by its purchaser A G Sinclair", in ( we assume) 1935 or 1936

Funny the way the brain works. I've known about Sinclair and his Australian activities (in racing) for many, many years, but it's only now clicked that he was the same bloke who owned a Frazer Nash sold to NZ in 1938. It was actually delivered to him in 1934

I wonder if it might have gone to NZ via Australia, but have just checked, and it was apparently bought direct from the factory


#50 john medley

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 07:36

David
I thought my mention of that Frazer Nash pic(in the Vercoe book) might draw you out.
In conversation with several New Zealanders last Monday I asked them about the reliablity of the info in that book not necessarily about the AGS FN but generally, because I had heard questions raised but am unable to check because my NZ knowledge lacks the necessary detail
Funny how the brain works? I realized only recently that you were one of the people who leapt forward in the 1970s to encourage Barry Lake's continuing with "Cars and Drivers Australia" at a time when he really needed encouragement( or his wallet did). A belated thanks

Now, who can search UK WW2 records?