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Salome - her creator's story


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#1 ratkinso

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Posted 16 October 2018 - 17:34

I have mentioned in a couple of other threads that the Shelsley Walsh Special "Salome" was built and competed in by my late uncle, Jan Breyer. He left a lot of photos and ephemera from that time and it includes his own detailed history of her construction and development. I have put together extracts from this and photos and press reports from the various events in which he competed. I thought this might be of interest in this forum, not only in itself, but the echoes of those times thrown up by the photos.

 

So, in his own words:

 

SALOME - HER PAST

 

Originally I had a S.V. AERO MORGAN of 1928 vintage.

 

Salome%20log%20book%20001.jpg

 

Salome%20log%20book%20002.jpg

 

 

During some rather hectic motoring the frame broke, so I jury rigged it and drove it to Bearts of Kingston, and they completely rebuilt it, making it lower and of wider track. They used heavier gauge tubing and altogether heavier and stronger bevel box. It is not an M type chassis, and therefore has the long unsupported prop. Tube, and only two speeds. The front track is 4' 3”. That was in 1931.

 

 

 

The old watercooled side valve kept losing the timing side main bearing, so I parted with that engine and obtained a fine old S.V. Racing Twin with a history. It was a 1921 J.A.P. Used by Colonel Stewart in a Trump-J.A.P. motorcycle. This old motor had a lot of urge, but the main bearings, being self-aligning ball races, were not designed to take the end thrust imposed by withdrawing the Morgan clutch. Then the crankcase started to crack. I had it welded by Barimar, but at the same time I bought a 8/30 side valve of the four cam type. This cost me £7 10 – and was promptly fitted in Salome. Incidentally, whereas the first engine was watercooled, both the last ones were aircooled. The increase in power which caused the untimely demise of the first engine was due almost entirely to fitting a very special Bowden racing carburettor. It was probably one of the first racing Bowdens, and was originally designed for a 350 c.c. Grass-track motor cycle of mine. It was modified and fitted by Bowdens to Salome's engine.

 



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#2 ratkinso

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Posted 16 October 2018 - 17:38

10015.jpg

 

 

Salome's first event was the Inter-Varsity Speed Trial on the Eynsham by-pass at Oxford in 1933. She ran as a tricycle and did one quite promising run on which the magneto blew up as she crossed the line. Now it so happened that someone had walked through the cotton, so the run was not recorded, neither could we have another run, for the magneto was beyond repair.

 

10004%20Inter-Varsity%20at%20Eynsham.jpg



#3 bradbury west

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Posted 16 October 2018 - 19:48

Brilliant stuff, you cannot beat first hand accounts, and mention of Barimar takes you back to the old adverts. I think they possibly pioneered stitch welding, from memory, unless I have it all wrong,
Many thanks for posting
Roger Lund

Edited by bradbury west, 17 October 2018 - 23:47.


#4 ratkinso

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 08:43

Thanks, Roger. I see no point in having this material just moulder away in a suitcase. So to continue....

 

"I was very intrigued at that time by an article which appeared in the “Light Car and Cyclecar” about a Morgan converted to a four-wheeler for dirt track work by Tommy Sulman. The “Light Car” people gave me his address and we met in Town. He had since sold his car as a three wheeler, removing the conversion parts. He let me have the drawings and conversion parts, and during the Easter Vacation Tommy and I converted Salome for use on the Crystal Palace Dirt Track. By dint of working 16-17 hours per diem for a fortnight we did this job, as well as rebuilding “Hank”, another hybrid G.N.-Blackburne that Tommy had built out of a chassis and bits that I gave him.

 

10016.jpg

 

We had a lot of fun and games in practice, and on the last practice day, a Wednesday, we burst both cars. Hank's big end welded itself up, and Salome cast a chain, as the chassis bent when going into an extra hearty broadside. Unfortunately that chain tore and bent most of the back end.

 

The opening Meeting was on the Saturday, so we couldn't get both cars straight in time. We decided to get Hank straight, and on Thursday dashed to Blackburne's at Bookham. They were most helpful, and fixed us up with all the bits required, as well as special tools for the job. We worked solidly for 27 hours, and got to the track just on time. The next bit was real movie drama. On arrival at the track we found both front-shocker-cum-radius-arms cracked! I went off with a wild Australian in an old Chrysler. To find a garage in Sydenham that would braze up the broken shockers on the spot on Easter Saturday afternoon was next to a miracle, but we did it. Quite by chance in a little back street we found a most ramshackle shop. The old man was about to leave, but almost by force we made him take his coat off and do the job. Then we tore back to the track, laughing at death at every cross-road. We shot through the car park and leapt over the turnstiles. There was a crowd round the paddock gates, so we shouted to Tommy Sulman and threw the shockers over the fence to him. He won his heat, but in the final the clutch disintegrated. It riddled his scuttle with holes, and pieces of the clutch were found in the grandstands."

 



#5 ratkinso

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 16:45

"I was patching up Salome for the next Meeting on the Crystal Palace Dirt Track, but while trotting across the road I twisted my ankle badly, and an X-ray disclosed a broken bone in my foot. That little fracture altered my career; Salome languished in the Mews, and I returned to Cambridge. However, my foot got no better, and I couldn't get to lectures. Under the circumstances I didn't seem very likely to pass exams. Time and money were getting short, so J.P.Smith (a John's man who raced a 250 c.c. Motorcyle special) and I decided to go down and join the de Havilland Technical School. For a long time Salome languished in the open car park. Then she was towed to Hatfield, and complete reconstruction started. The body was removed, and the chassis completely stripped. The bevel box had come adrift, and the selector rod and tube bent through a right angle. The countershaft was badly twisted and blue. So much for an errant chain! With the aid of a large soldering iron and many Bunsen burners I fixed the bevel box and put in a new selector rod and tube. I decided that the rear part of the chassis required stiffening. The angle irons which are bolted across the bevel box and carry the springs, etc. were bent. Heavier ones were substituted and a web of 20 s.w.g. Steel welded between them to stop “weaving” and distortion of the bevel box. Two 8 s.w.g. Steel plates were bent and bolted to the ends of the L irons and spring mountings. Extensions were sweated into the ends of the tube that runs across through the bottom of the bevel box. The lower ends of the 8 s.w.g. Plates were bolted to the ends of these extensions. A long ½” diameter rod passes through these plates, and through the short tubes on which the Morgan rear fork used to pivot; on this rod the GN type rear axle radius arms now pivot. To produce further stiffness two tubes run from just inside the pivot points forwards and inwards to meet on the central “backbone” tube where they are bolted to a massive clamp. The rear springs (GN quarter elliptic) were reset dead flat and bound with blind cord, doped and fabric doped on to that. No rear shockers have been found necessary! A new track rod and drag link were made of 2S2 Nickel Chrome Steel. The steering and controls were centralised and a bucket seat (out of an Avro) was fixed to the bevel box. A kind of superstructure was made to carry petrol and oil tanks, and the steering column tube with its epicyclic reduction box. The brakes are (Bowden) cable operated, and the actuating mechanism is rather unique; in fact, J.P.Smith and I did go into the question of patenting it. Roughly speaking, a pedal, on being depressed, spreads the arms of a toggle. To the ends of these arms are attached the stops for the outer part of the Bowden cables. One continuous inner cable goes from one front brake to the other. There is a gap in the middle of the outer cable, and the toggle mechanism spreads this gap, thus increasing the effective length of the whole outer cable. The advantage of the toggle is its progressive leverage; this rapidly gathers up all slack and lost movement in the brake mechanism, and yet gives great leverage when fully applied. In fact, the more the brakes wear, the harder they come on! If we had a differential in the rear axle we should operate the rear brakes in exactly the same way. It will be realised that the continuity of the inner cable ensures completely compensated braking. With regard to the rear brakes, we use one drum for the hand brake, and the other is operated by the same toggle mechanism. In this case the outer cable is stopped at the end of one toggle arm, and the inner cable at the other.

 

 

 

The engine was not touched, except for the fitting of dual ignition.

 

 

 

As to wheels, we have on the front the standard wear for Morgans of 1929 vintage with 19x4.40” tyres. On the back are standard GN “dog clutch” hubs with 18” well-base rims built on, fitted with 4.50” section tyres. I usually run the back tyres at 10-15lb/sq. Inch according to event and road surface. The fronts I run at 18-20 lb/sq.inch.

 

 

 

So, in September 1935, Salome appeared with a practically standard 8-30 J.A.P. side valve."

 

30013.jpg

 

"Did the standing half mile at Brighton in 35 seconds, …..."

 

10023%20Off%20to%20Brighton%2035.jpg

(Setting off to Brighton)

 

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(En route)

 

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(Brighton Speed Trials, Madeira Drive, 14/09/1935)

 

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30039%20Return%20from%20Brighton%2035.jp

(Back home)

 

To be continued.

 

Edited for wrong spelling of Madeira Drive.


Edited by ratkinso, 20 October 2018 - 16:50.


#6 Doug Nye

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 20:07

Great stuff.

 

DCN



#7 Steve L

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 21:51

Wonderful story and photos. Thank you for posting, it is much appreciated.

#8 john medley

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 23:14

Lovely stuff. I long ago knew from John Bolster's "Specials" this story in outline, but this detail is wonderful. I was aware of Tom Sulman's involvement too. Thanks.



#9 ratkinso

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Posted 18 October 2018 - 16:26

…. " and Shelsley in 55.2 seconds. Owing to the light weight, which was just 7lbs over the 6 cwts mark, she had a remarkable getaway, even on a 9-1 low gear. The high gears were 5.1-1 on flat events and 6.5-1 on hill climbs."

 

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(This last a lovely sketch by Frederick Gordon Crosby)

 

 

"I thought it would be amusing to see what could be done to “hot up” the old S.V. Engine, so I discussed the matter with J.A.P.'s. They fixed me up with steel internal flywheels of “longer stroke” (95mm. Instead of 85mm.) giving me a capacity of 1096cc and a slightly higher compression ratio. Incidentally, I don't think the ratio can have been much more than 3.5 to 1 on my first Shelsley effort! Now it is only 5.5 to 1, even though I had special pistons made and their crowns filled so as to clear the heads by 1.5mm. The piston in the back cylinder was given an extra scraper ring because that one gets all the splash. The inlet ports were “eased” and polished and the guides streamlined. Special valves were made; the inlets a pronounced tulip, and the exhausts mushroom, in Valchrome steel. I designed a new inlet manifold, had patterns and castings made, and finished it by hand. The sparking plugs had their positions altered. One was put over the centre of each inlet valve, and the other over the hottest corner in the space over the exhaust valve. A “snake charmer” fashioned separate exhaust pipes built to certain formulae relating to extractor effect, and “megaphones” fitted. So Salome went forth to do battle once more."

 

To be continued

 



#10 ratkinso

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 16:50

"The “Inter-Varsity” at Syston in 1936 was a rush job. Carburation was all over the place, the trouble being traced, much later, to a slow puncture in a carburettor float. Thus the getaway was awful, but once she got going she went some, and did one run in 34.5 seconds, which equalled 3rd fastest for the class, although unfortunately this run was done in the “unlimited” class, and did not count for the other."

(Event was held on 21st March 1936. Class won in 33.2 sec, so not too shabby!)

 

30020%2036.jpg

 

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10021%20At%20The%20George%20Grantham%203

(At the George in Grantham)

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(A break on the way home - doesn't specify where. Interesting tow car - Peugeot?)

 

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"Dancers End was run in the pouring rain in 30.6 secs."

 

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(10th May 1936)

 

"The carburettor trouble was cured, and at Howard Park she was the fastest unblown car, although there was no prize for this effort."

 

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30025%20Howard%20Park%2036.jpg

(5th July 1936)

To be continued.



#11 ratkinso

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 18:00

"Then came the fatal Backwell Hill climb. The road was wet and very slippery. It was the day Driscoll came unstuck. Somehow my foot slipped off the brake pedal and then braking in panic I locked the wheels and hit the bank three-quarters head on, at about 40mph. The tubes carrying the off front wheel were bent right back, and the wheel smashed. The car leapt in the air, buckling a rear wheel as well, and bounced back into the road, just 20 yards from the finish, and she had been going well enough for a class win. I was unhurt, physically, but very sad, and many things happened before I could bring myself to set about rebuilding, although the engine was removed from the chassis then and there."

 

30003.jpg

 

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(25/07/1936)

 

"A year later I met Meredith at the Bristol Aeroplane Company. He used to be Maskell's right hand man, and knows more than a thing or two about Morgans. So with the aid of a big blow lamp, borrowed from Dick Caesar, we straightened the bent tubes, and rebuilt the front end. I also spent a lot of trouble trying to obtain a more reasonable valve diagram by stoning cam followers (skid-type, not rollers). By dint of working on the car during the whole of my summer holiday, we were fully prepared, “tuned and tested”, a fortnight before Shelsley. In the rest of the time Jacqueline painted and polished, and I put in as much driving as I could on my OM.

 

 

In practice, everything went without a hitch. In the eliminating runs, the first started perfectly, and we approached the S full of hope, when there was a sudden 'ush instead of a hearty crackle. The carburettor had cracked and fallen off. So we came down again and wired it on. Usually I squirt oil on the cone clutch before each run, but having suffered clutch slip in practice I tightened the springs and did not lubricate. Consequently I nearly stalled the motor on getaway, and wasted about 5 seconds before getting under way. The rest of the climb was quite satisfactory, and we got to the finish in 53 seconds. However, a certain Riley did .8 seconds better, so we did not qualify. Very sad; I think we could have managed 48 seconds."

 

30015%20Shelsley%20paddock%2037.jpg

 

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(11/09/1937)

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To be continued.

 

 

 

 



#12 fuzzi

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 05:25

Richard,

 

The story has been terrific so far. Please keep going.

 

Best wishes :clap:  



#13 RobMk2a

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 12:10

This an excellent archive - I've posted a link to the VSCC website, I remember Freddie Giles competing in Salome at Shelsley in the 80's. Have you written an article for the VSCC Bulletin, it would make an excellent story. 

 

Rob Pennington 



#14 Vitesse2

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 17:46

After a bit of hunting through old phone books I've identified the 'mystery pub' in post 10 - it's now just The White Horse, 103 Great North Road, Eaton Socon.



#15 ratkinso

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 18:07

"The next event was Brighton. This started badly. Leaving Bristol at 6am, we promptly turned over the equip. car, an old Renault, tipping out all the spares, etc., and buckling a wheel. We got to Brighton with half an hour to spare, and did our runs. We seemed to have plenty of “pull” but no “revs” and couldn't do better than 34 seconds, so we packed up and returned straight away to Bristol. Twenty two hours motoring and speed trialling."

 

30007%20Brighton%201st%20run%2037.jpg

(Hand written on back of photo: Salome v. Q type MG Sept 25th '37 1st Run 34 secs)

 

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(Salome v. Moses at Brighton Sept. 25th '37 2nd run 35 secs)

 

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(Unfortunately showing Salome to be last in class - Moses (above) was in the next class up, so I don't know why they ran together)

(Lovely to see our old friends: Fuzzi, the Freikaiserwagen and Borborygmus)

 

30030%20Brighton%20certificate%2037.jpg

 

Thank you fuzzi and Rob - only one more episode of Jan's own account, so I guess he wrote it at the end of 1937. But I do have a few more photos closer to present day.

 

To be continued.



#16 ratkinso

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 18:13

Thanks, Vitesse - seems a likely stopping point on the long haul back to Bristol.



#17 john medley

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 20:57

This continues to be wonderful stuff, and much appreciated.

 

A small sidelight includes that "old friend" (to quote Jan Breyer) "Borborygmas" of J G Fry. I researched the Tim Joshua Frazer Nash (which lives now not far from me in Australia) to discover it may perhaps have been Borborygmas-- or that is one possibility. Probably Gough-engined  in Australia, it had links with the original Horton Special of 1931-32, was a contemporary of Salome, came to Australia 1938, and is currently the subject of a thoughtful restoration.



#18 Hse289

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 09:03

Thoroughly enjoying this story, thanks for taking the time to write this up. Pictures are great too.



#19 ratkinso

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 11:06

"The last event was a try out meeting at Naish Hill, where we managed fastest time of the day, beating a Speedway Douglas motorcycle, and “Borborygmus” the ex-Horton special with the blown Alta engine. Just prior to this event a new Scuderia had been formed roping in three other members of the Bristol Aeroplane Company, Messrs. Daniels, Hambling and Holt. At Naish, Hambling and Jacqueline also drove Salome, “Ham” making fourth fastest, and “Jac” fifth, being fastest lady."

 

3.jpg

 

4.jpg

 

2.jpg

 

 

"Next year our sprint motoring will be “on a higher plane”, we hope."

 

That is the end of Jan's manuscript, so presumably written up in late 1937. There are a couple of letters from JAP motors responding to a request for an 8/80 HP crankcase assembly with two pulley side halves instead of timing side and pulley side and would supply the parts including a flywheel assembly complete for £12!! which was subsequently ordered.

 

After passing through various hands, the next mention I have is a letter and photo from Dr. J Alderton who did a write up of the above for the Morgan Three-Wheeler Club magazine "The Bulletin" which appeared in August 1973. By this time Salome had been acquired by Freddie Giles and was campaigned by him and Jonathan Giles for many years.

 

30018.jpg

(VSCC Silverstone April 1973)

 

30035.jpg

 

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(Both at Llandow Vintage meeting September (or thereabouts) 1973)

 

58%20MorganGN%20Salome%201922-8%201100cc

(Ron Footit at Weston Speed Trials October 1987

 

027.jpg

 

028.jpg

(Shelsley July 1987)

 

011.jpg

(Shelsley 1988)

 

09.jpg

 

10.jpg

 

12.jpg

(Prescott 1995)

 

I believe Salome is now owned by a Phil Dobbin and campaigned just as vigorously as ever. I am hoping to meet up with him at some stage and perhaps Salome and her history can be re-united.



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#20 Dutchy

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 11:55

The tow car shown at the bottom of post 10 is a 1935 Riley Kestrel 



#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 13:31

Yes, it didn't look like any Peugeot to me...

While reflecting on this fascinating adventure, I had to ask myself about the apparent fitting of a rather Victorian (or Edwardian?) soft top at Syston:

30020%2036.jpg

I also have to ask, is it a sliding pillar front end?

#22 RogerFrench

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 19:58

Well I never. That first Llandow picture shows in the background my Honda S600 coupe, Minilite wheels and all. I drove an Austin Ulster at that meeting.

#23 john medley

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 22:31

Ray, Morgan sliding pillar front end, derived originally from Sizaire Naudin before 1910. Salome's origins were Morgan.

 

This is marvelous stuff, genuine original primary source material which is such a delight to historians



#24 Michael Ferner

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Posted 24 October 2018 - 09:17

Totally agree - wonderful story, many thanks for posting!! :up:


Though I have to confess I never cared much for "naked" cars in competition - porn should be confined to the bedroom (paddock that is, in car terms)!! :down:

#25 ratkinso

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Posted 24 October 2018 - 09:42

I don't know at what stage the following photos were taken (there are no captions or dates) but am including them in this thread for the sake of completeness. As I said above, if anyone has contact details for Phil Dobbin, I would very much appreciate to have them.

 

10002.jpg

 

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I'm glad so many of you have appreciated this story - it has been a privilege to be able to present it to you all.

 ;)

 



#26 Dobbo

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Posted 25 October 2018 - 09:21


"The last event was a try out meeting at Naish Hill, where we managed fastest time of the day, beating a Speedway Douglas motorcycle, and “Borborygmus” the ex-Horton special with the blown Alta engine. Just prior to this event a new Scuderia had been formed roping in three other members of the Bristol Aeroplane Company, Messrs. Daniels, Hambling and Holt. At Naish, Hambling and Jacqueline also drove Salome, “Ham” making fourth fastest, and “Jac” fifth, being fastest lady."

3.jpg

4.jpg

2.jpg


"Next year our sprint motoring will be “on a higher plane”, we hope."

That is the end of Jan's manuscript, so presumably written up in late 1937. There are a couple of letters from JAP motors responding to a request for an 8/80 HP crankcase assembly with two pulley side halves instead of timing side and pulley side and would supply the parts including a flywheel assembly complete for £12!! which was subsequently ordered.

After passing through various hands, the next mention I have is a letter and photo from Dr. J Alderton who did a write up of the above for the Morgan Three-Wheeler Club magazine "The Bulletin" which appeared in August 1973. By this time Salome had been acquired by Freddie Giles and was campaigned by him and Jonathan Giles for many years.

30018.jpg
(VSCC Silverstone April 1973)

30035.jpg

30036.jpg
(Both at Llandow Vintage meeting September (or thereabouts) 1973)

58%20MorganGN%20Salome%201922-8%201100cc
(Ron Footit at Weston Speed Trials October 1987

027.jpg

028.jpg
(Shelsley July 1987)

011.jpg
(Shelsley 1988)

09.jpg

10.jpg

12.jpg
(Prescott 1995)

I believe Salome is now owned by a Phil Dobbin and campaigned just as vigorously as ever. I am hoping to meet up with him at some stage and perhaps Salome and her history can be re-united.



#27 Dobbo

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Posted 25 October 2018 - 09:24

Hi, this is a fantastic article, I’m Phil Dobbin the current owner. I’d love to catch up and have attached my email below. As for the current state of play, we have the engine out at the moment to get it into tip top shape for next season. Kind regards Phil, phil[at]thedobbins.co.uk



#28 ratkinso

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Posted 25 October 2018 - 17:52

Thankyou whoever got Phil Dobbin to read the thread - my strong suspicion would be Rob Pennington's link on the VSCC site. Anyway, I will be in touch with him and we'll see where we go from there.

 

Cheers

 

Richard



#29 Michael Oliver

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Posted 26 October 2018 - 12:06

Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of approval for this thread. It is exactly what this forum is all about and is absolutely fascinating, thank you!



#30 DCapps

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Posted 26 October 2018 - 13:33

Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of approval for this thread. It is exactly what this forum is all about and is absolutely fascinating, thank you!

 

I just want to echo Michael's thoughts as well the others who have commented on this story. A peek into the past and a grand story.



#31 ratkinso

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Posted 26 October 2018 - 18:20

Thank you all. I just feel honoured to have been left this amazing material, not to mention having known the man himself. He was extremely sympathetic to my early rallying ambitions, although his knowledge and engineering practices didn't fit too well with the requirements of a 1293s Mini in the late 60s, early 70s!



#32 ensign14

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Posted 26 October 2018 - 19:55

41087162702_98c3b99811_b.jpg

 

Salome doing her dance at the Members' Meeting this year.



#33 ratkinso

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 17:32

I'm very pleased to report that, thanks to TNF, I met up with Phil and Oliver Dobbin yesterday and was able to re-unite all the above documentation, photos, and more with Salome and her current owner. They are presently rebuilding the engine ready for next season and I wish them great enjoyment and success with her (hopefully more than in her first few years!).

:blush:



#34 D-Type

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 19:38

Just for interest, when did Salome acquire her clothes?  Was it an organiser's requirement?



#35 bradbury west

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 01:09

John Medley, post 23. I have a photo here from a French car museum we saw a few years back , showing sliding pillar on a car built in 1898, complete with anti clockwise engine, and lovely gilled tube radiator. I will send a copy on to you.
Roger Lund

#36 john medley

john medley
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Posted 21 November 2018 - 03:14

Roger Lund, thank you.

 

I am aware of cars earlier than Morgans with sliding pillar ifs-- including a 1908 GP des Voiturettes Truffault which on lap 1 of that race rolled on the challenging kink just before the Ancours bridge and flung itself against the bridge abutments. There is even a snippet of film showing  M Scharlas( Charlas) on this lap 1 testing (failed) of his ifs.

 

Regards

 

JM



#37 ratkinso

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 19:09

D-type - According to the website www.morgan3w.de/photos/album10.htm, in 1954 a Tim Vessey owned Salome and fitted an aluminium body. I believe this was a requirement for circuit racing rather than hill-climbing.


Edited by ratkinso, 21 November 2018 - 19:10.