On the 4th February 1937 this Brough Superior was involved in a collision on the Oxford Bypass near Cassington Railway Station (no longer in existence). The collision ended in the car being an insurance write off. The car was being driven by an Oxford Undergraduate, who crashed the car on the Oxford Bypass, ran down a bank through a fence and turned upside down. The driver was fined £25 ordered to pay costs of £2 7s 10d and disqualified from driving for 12 months. Newspaper cutting is from the Oxford Mail March 1937 ”Three Oxford undergraduates-Mr M.H.Wills of Magdalen College, lodging at 49 high Street, Mr Arthur Budgett, of Christchurch, lodging at 7 Oriel street and the Hon N.H.Villiers of New College, lodging at 28 Beaumont street- were taken to the Radcliffe Infirmary late last night with injuries received in a collision involving three carson the By- pass road near Cassington Railway Station. It is understood that the car in which they were travelling was involved in a collision with a car being driven by Mr J.W.Hornsey, of Old Barn, Eynsham , and another car driven by Mr Littlejohn, of 80, Hendon Lane, Finchley, London, and that, after turning over, it finished up in a field. It was badly damaged and the other two cars were also damaged. Mr Hornsey stopped other cars for help and the injured men were taken to the infirmary. Other accident cases admitted to the Infirmary last night were Mr Charles Burnham of Fairacres road, Oxford aged 18 with a fractured kneecap and Mr William Collis of Freelands road, Oxford with concussion and lacerated scalp,sustained in a cycling accident.”

The following article was written by Ian Johns, after he collected the car in

1960.

My car is a Brough Superior, 1935 DHC 28.8HP registration number BYN 486. The car was owned before me by W/Cmdr R.S.Sikes of Iver, Bucks and of Porthcurnick, Portscatho, Cornwall. He bought the damaged car in 1937 from an Assurance Company, the prvious owner being an Oxford Undergraduate, who crashed the car on the Oxford Bypass, ran down a bank through a fence into a field and turned upside down. I have seen the photos, which Mr Sikes has of the car being towed out, very much bent, the owner being fined £25. Mr Sikes had the coachwork rebuilt and a front spring hanger replacedand ran the car until 1943, when petrol became scarce. Whilst on leave from the RAF he removed the 8 cylinder engine and replaced it with a 6 cylinder 16.9HP which the Reverend A Morgan Derham now has. The 8 cylinder engine was placed in Mr Sikes’ barn at Iver, where it remained until 1961. This engine change also meant changing to 6 volt electrics. Mr Sikes also put in a wind tunnel arrangement to scoop in the air,also found the axle ratio high, so he replaced it with 16:9 cown wheel and pinion. I can remember riding in the car when only a small boy and always helped Mr Sikes to load a trailer with things to take up to Iver. He ran the car until 1950, then it also went into the barn, with the original engine where it stayed until Mr Sikes sold the main house, then it had to go outside under a tarpaulin. I will also add here that the chassis had also been straightened after the accident by Blaker’s Ltd of London, as it was also found slightly bent. I became interested in the car in September 1960, so I asked what sort of state it was in. Mr Sikes assured me that with a bit of “fiddling” here and there, it would still go, but a lot of work would be required to put her back to original condition. He had to move the car and also the engine from the barn, so told me that the next time he went to Iver, he would see if the engine would start. I awaited his return, when he told me he had started the engine and as far as he could see it would motor down under its own power. It was agreed that I rode up to Iver with Mr Sikes on an occasion to bring the car down to Cornwall. It was in September 1960, on a Thursday afternoon when we set off for Iver, arriving about 9pm, the first thing to do was to go around the back of the house where the Brough was under a tarpaulin. The tarpaulin was pulled back first a little and a torch shone in to show a very rusty spare wheel cover. Next day we were up at 7.30am to inspect the Brough and prepare her for her journey after being laid up for 10 years. The hood was no more, only tattered remains hung over the frame. One side was hanging off and the chromium was “rusty as an anchor” as we say in Cornwall! Anyway, the makings were there of a very stylish motorcar. We put in an “ACC” and towed the car to start with the aid of a tractor. After a few minutes the engine was running. We dashed in for water for the radiator and after this had been put in, we motored up to the local garage for petol, oil and air for the tyres. The mechanic of the garage said “Hello Mr Sikes, haven’t seen this one out for a long while!” We put 5 gallons in the main tank and some in jerry cans, blew up the tyres and brought the cra back to the house. After bolting down breakfast, we were out again to carry out a more detailed inspection. The starter would work, but was shorting out on the pole piece and would not supply the coil with juice so that was no good. The dynamo was not charging, there were no lights, just the lamps in the front, nothing on the back and all devoid of wires. Then the hoses started to leak, but tightening the clips cured this. After a wash, she looked much better, so I tried to get the lights working but it was taking to long for my liking and i had a long way to go! So I decided to set off on my journey and to get as far as I could before dark. The time was about 1pm on a Friday afternoon, all went well for a mile or two and then I stalled her on a cross road and had to get some workmen to give me a push start. So after that I had to maintain revsat all costs when approaching lights etc. I had covered about 63 miles and all seemed to be going well, speed increased with growing confidence and I was making good time. I was getting near Andover when, splutter splutter and I pulled in. Got out and opened the bonnet and prodded the starter carburettor, and after seeing the compex rods and linkages, convinced myself that all was well here. I then checked the spark, which was ok so I thought I would try again. I ran her off and she started, all went well for about 2 miles when the same started again. This time I was going uphill and just managed to get to a lay-by, where this time I blew through the petrol pipe, but it was blocked at the tank end, and only air pressure would move it. So I got a passer-by to send out a breakdown from Andover. After about three quarters of an hours wait, a Morris pick-up arrived from Wessex Motors and towed me into Andover. As soon as I arrived the old Brough drew a crowd of people and we had a job getting into the garage. The pipes were blown through and with a push start, I was off again. By this time it was nearly dark, so just outside of Andove, I pulled into a Transport cafe for the night. Of course next morning, I needed running ground for starting, but there was none around. At last I got a crew of men to push me off, not until after a mobile policeman had gone on his way escorting a tank transporter. I thought my old Brough was an outstanding case to be picked up, but he didn’t take much notice of her. Anyway, the crew of men didn’t appreciate the privilege that was awarded them of pushing the Brough, and as it didn’t start on the first clutch out, they just walked away and left me. I then had to walk back to Andover and get the Andover Motor Company to tow me to start. It only needed a yard or two and she was away. The time was now about 10am and I wondered if I would make home that day because after a mile or so, the petrol starvation was with me again. However, I had got the drill by this time, it was as follows, left hand seeking for spanner, right hand on door handle, out of car, bonnet up, take off the pipe from the pump, suck up juice, reconnect, get back into the car and run off! Uphill or down, she would start in forward or reverse and so it went on like this all the way to Cornwall. I stopped a dozen times or so. On reaching St Austell, my last stop, I noticed the front tyre going down; however, I decided to press on. About 3 miles from home, some children pointed to the tyre indicating that it had gone down. I didn’t feel anything on the steering, so on I went. However, on getting home, the tyre was flat. and I was thoroughly “cheesed” The time was 4.30pm when I left the brough and went in for tea. After tea, I was in a better frame of mind and went out to have another look at her, and we, as by this time, had some onlookers, got some polish and cut away at the chrome. It was surprising how the rust came off and left in some places some good chrome. It was in February 1961 that I decided to dismantle the car completely; I removed the body took out the 16:9 engine and dismantled the chassis, cleaned off the rust, painted it and gradually re-built. Mr Sikes sent down the 8 cylinder engine as I had decided to fit this back again to restore it to its original condition. The axle was also fitted. The engine, after standing all those years would turn over ok, the bores didn’t seem to bad, but you should have seen the sludge in the sump, it was about 6 inches deep and stank something awful. Anyway I fitted the pistons with new rings. Has anybody ever come across these pistons with the rings gapped all in one line by a pin? The big ends were remetalled, valves ground in, and engine built up. Mine has a sandwich type head, which is cracked across the middle, but a fibre glass repair keeps the water in ok. I had to make a new water jacket cover. The clutch is ok, but i would like some “compound” if somebody could let me know where to get it from. Do Hudson’s still sell it? The gearbox used was the old one, which was on the 16:9 but works ok. This seems the same as the original one, the ratio being changed by the change of back axle ratio. Am I correct in this? I have rebuilt some woodworkin places, resprayed the body, made a new hood myself and had a lot of plating done. I am waiting the arrival of the radiator cowl atthe moment. The original radiator core was also missing, but I saw a 1936 car had been scrapped at Fremington, North Devon, so I went there one weekend and got a radiator core and side windows etc as mine had gone yellow. At the moment I have got some final paint touching in and some trimming, although the carpets are all in good condition. One more question about the manifold. When I got the 8 cylinder engine, the carburettor, which was single choke, was missing. However, in a local scrapyard, I came across a 1938-9 Hudson with a twin choke carburettor. I removed the manifolding  expecting to fit it to mine, but it was different, the ports were bigger and studs further apart. Anyway, I assumed the engine were both 28.8HP so I enlarged the ports in the block to suit the manifold and bolted it on. I enlarged the holes for the studs to fit. I have left it so that I can fit the original manifold should I require it, but the new manifold is larger so is the exhaust which I have also fitted and I should think she should breathe better. Anyhow, she starts on the button, the auto choke works ok and she run very smoothly. I have also fitted bumpers. I think the Reverend Morgan Derham’s is the same year as mine, and I wonder if his has bumpers. They add to the appearence anyway. I have also to find a spare wheel cover as I think mine got “creased” in the smash, also mine is fitted with a water gauge, yet the Reverend Morgan Derham says his is not.

(this article was first published in the Railton Bulletin in April 1965)

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Articles

4th February 1937 this Brough Superior was involved in a collision

Trials and Tribulations of my Brough Superior

Three Hurt in Crash. Undergraduates in By-Pass Collision

© Newspaper articles and writings by Ian Johns 
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