Paul Bussey reports from the VSCC Driving Tests at Madresfield House.
The Driving Tests at Madresfield is an iconic VSCC event, located just in front of Madresfield House set against the spectacular backdrop of the Malvern Hills. On a warm sunny day in late summer, what better place to be than amongst friends, family and fellow VSCC members all gathered together to enjoy vintage cars in a little light competition. All Five Tests take place on the driveway to Madresfield House and comprise of a series of Forwards & Backwards, Slow – Fast, Braking Ladder, Boxing – Up and Acceleration. Penalties are awarded for failure to stop astride/across lines, Hitting any marker, Failure to cross finally line DD and Failure to stop before the front wheels cross line EE. It’s all good fun and probably more stressful for the driver than the car!
The oldest car competing was Marcus Croome’s 1904 Wolseley 6 Voiturette, one of the rarest being driven by Gareth Graham was Roger Collings’ 1912 Zust Brixia, while Ian Rendall’s 1911 American Marion M30 was one of the most unusual. The car was built in Marion County, Indiana, and Ian says it can be fairly frightening to drive in traffic! Another rarity competing in the Modified and Special Class was Susan Hill’s 1926 Anzani powered Crouch Helix, built in Coventry and the sole example that has been in her family ownership since 1952. Russell Mills had entered his 1925 Bayliss-Thomas one of only a handful to reside in the UK and a typical light car of the period. It’s powered by a 1250cc OHV Meadows engine and gearbox, with Moss back axle and Mulliner body.
June Firkins brought along her imposing 1914 Darracq Tourer that was rescued from the garage of a bombed house in 1949, it took three days to clear all the debris! The car took First Place in the Driving Tests at Madresfield in 1950 and it was wonderful to see the car here again 60 years later! One of the most eyecatching cars of the day was David Boyd’s bright yellow 1925 Citroen 5CB Cloverleaf called Buttercup for obvious reasons! A few years ago the car was rescued from a barn in St Albans, Herts, where it had sat for 46 years and restored to concours condition. A previous owner was a Major Stevenson whose uncle was Robert Louis Stevenson of Treasure Island fame.