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Letters: More About Darracq

Letters: More About Darracq

Jerry E. Gebby
Grant H. Taylor
Antique Automobile
March-April 1972

Dear Editor:

In the current ANTIQUE AUTOMOBILE there is an extremely interesting history of the Darracq automobiles by Mr. James L. Allward.  Unfortunately, the story contains several errors which I believe are serious enough to require correction.

On page 32 the names Darracq, Sir Malcolm Campbell and Brooklands Speedway are linked with the statement "he was a regular competitor there at the turn of the century", an impossibility.  At the turn of the century, Brooklands was part of the large land holdings of the Locke-King family and the Speedway wasn't built until the winter of 1906-1907.  The first race was July 6th, 1907 and Malcolm Campbell was not present.  He did not appear at the track until the fifth year of racing, in 1911.  In his first appearance Campbell entered two short events with his 34 hp Darracq which was nick-named "The Flapper".  His car was not running at the finish of either race, going out of both with mechanical difficulties.

In the second column of page 32, Louis Wagner is credited with winning the Vanderbilt Cup race in this country, in 1905, with his Darracq.  In fact, Victor Hemery won the 1905 Vanderbilt for Darracq.  Wagner won in 1906, making it two-in-a-row for the French car in this country's most famous race of that era.

On page 37, center column it is states that Dario Resta was driver of one of the S-T-D team cars.  After World War I, Resta did not return to this country until 1923 when he was a member of the Packard team.  The third S-T-D driver was Ora Haibe and contrary to the statement that all three cars dropped out of the race because of mechanical trouble, Haibe finished his Sunbeam in fifth place.

Mr. Allward does not mention one record held by a car in this group, a record that can never be taken from it.  The car was a Talbot, the English member of the trio, which became the first car in the world to be driven one hundred miles or more within an hour of time.  100 mph for a mile had been reached in 1904, but maintaining that speed for an hour had been held back by failures of steel and rubber.  On February 9th, 1913 everything held together and Percy Lambert drove a 4½ litre Talbot almost 104 miles within the 60 minutes.  This was an outstanding achievement for a car that was developed from a stock model.  It was not a racing monster, the engine having a piston displacement of only 270 cubic inches.

Jerry E. Gebby, 310 Appalachian Drive
The Highlands, Route 6, Tucson, Arizona 85704

Dear Mr. Bomgardner:

I was very interested to read James L. Allward's story of Darracq in the November-December issue of ANTIQUE AUTOMOBILE.  I would draw your attention to the photo on page 36 showing a 1904 Darracq at an English rally.  The photo was actually taken in New Zealand on the occasion of the International Rally in March 1965, the car being the famous "Genevieve" which is owed by Gilltrap's Museum in Australia.

A similar model Darracq is in the Southmore collection in Wellington, and two further similar models are here in Auckland.  Darracqs had a very good reputation in this country at that time and I have a good photo of a 15 hp 4 cyl. touring car which was the first car registered here in Auckland, being alloted the number A1.  Another similar car, registered A5, was very successful in early reliability trials in 1906/07.

I trust this may be of interest not only to Mr. Allward but also to your readers.  I have subscribed to your excellent magazine for some years, and enjoy it very much.  I have a dozen or so cars in my collection, and am currently working on a 1913 26 hp Daimler sleeve valve touring car.

Grant H. Taylor, 106 Lawrence Cres, Hillpark Manurewa, Auckland, New Zealand

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