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Malcolm Jeal, automotive historian, writer and editor, died Tuesday, 5th July 2016 after a brief illness. He was 72. Although only occasionally a credited contributor to PreWarCar, his influence and assistance were more deeply felt behind the scenes, through his scholarship and knowledge of the world’s very early motor industries.
Born 20th February 1944 in Gosport, Hampshire, UK, he was a graduate of Durham University and was a schoolteacher for 20 years. Over a lifetime of career changes, he became a builder specialising in loft conversions, a restorer of historic cars and most recently researcher, journalist and consultant on motoring history. He was editor of The Gazette of the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain, and headed the Club’s Dating Committee for many years. To the latter task he brought scholarship and unfailing honesty, in a field where egos often run high. His high standards were widely recognized in the auction industry, where he consulted for several companies. He also served as commentator for the London-to-Brighton run for a number of years, and edited the British magazine The Automobile in the late 1980s.
A long-time member of the Society of Automotive Historians, he was named a Friend of Automotive History, the organisation’s highest honour, in 2007. He served as chairman of the Society of Automotive Historians in Britain, now an independent group, for four years and conceived and edited its annual scholarly publication, Aspects of Motoring History, for ten issues. In recent years he served as an organiser of the annual historians’ dinner sponsored by SAH and SAHB at the time of Rétromobile in Paris.
Although he appreciated the entire epoch of the automobile, he was particularly drawn to the early years of the industry, especially in France. Following the pioneering studies conducted by the renowned historian James Laux, he spent much time on the Continent in company and institutional archives, and collected many of the journals of the pre-1910 period. With his understanding of technology and hands-on experience he could analyze early cars in a way that academic historians frequently cannot, and was able to dissemble many a story surrounding built-up cars that posed as forgotten makes.
His assistance to fellow historians and researchers was unceasing and gladly given. A mere question would typically be answered quickly, and substantiated with copies of pertinent pages from his extensive library of early periodicals. His absence will be most deeply felt. I speak for many PreWarCar readers and contributors in expressing our sincere sympathies to his widow Eunice.
In last week's quiz, the picture shows a Belsize-Bradshaw dating from 1922/3 and of the eleven replies, eight of you were correct. We mentioned the car's designer enjoyed widespread fame and a quick visit to our search box above will take you to the 2008 story about Granville Bradshaw. His biography makes fascinating reading.
The first Belsize-Bradshaw appeared in 1921 made by Belsize Motors Ltd. of Manchester who had previously made cars going back as far as 1897 as Marshall & Co. and started using the name Belsize in 1901.
Bradshaw's work on engines during the Great War impressed Belsize and he commissioned him to design a new 9HP Light Car which initially used an OHV V twin, later models used side valves, but their oil cooling was the revolutionary idea with the cylinders sunk deep into the oil-filled base chamber where a deluge of oil continually plays upon them.
Oil leaks lead to a reputation for unreliability, but in the right hands would win a Gold Medal in the 1922 London to Edinburgh and complete the 1923 Land's End Trial.
Respected author L.T.C. Rolt's father owned one and wrote, " The engine was a beautiful piece of engineering, and when running was as smooth and silent as any four cylinder engine of the day."
We thank you for the answers sent in, especially Frank Sauerwald who confesses the information came from his 14 yr old assistant Jakob, and we confess choosing a winner was not easy, but since the best answer came from Jury member Ace Zenek, and therefore ineligible, we finally chose Kieran White for his knowledgeable answer.
Congratulations Kieran on your third win and therefore offer to become jury member. You know the procedure for claiming T shirt?
Further information about the Belsize Bradshaw can be found HERE and if you like cake... see HERE. ( Thank you Ace Zenek.) Plus this interesting letter from Bradshaw to 'Motor Sport' magazine in 1960.
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