1939 - 1970: The start of Robert Wicksteed’s involvement and a series of more practical body reincarnations
Deemed unsuitable for use with the Home Guard in 1940, Racing Car No.1 was retired to a field during the hostilities, and to quote Robert Wicksteed – the next owner of the car – was retrieved after the outbreak of peace with the help of an ex WD mine detector and a scythe. The hardier parts of the car had survived quite well, but the upholstery, floorboards and some of the instrumentation had suffered to the point that they were beyond repair. In order, a ‘40s Jag, some plywood from blackout screening and the contents of a similarly war-worn aircraft (of which there were, at the time, plenty; and in the context of Jack Linnell’s rôle as founding director of Sywell aerodrome, relatively accessible) came to the rescue. Robert fondly reminisced of his first encounter with the car as a young child as it was charging down a Northamptonshire lane with Jack at the wheel and disappearing beyond a corner without slackening pace. Robert had become friends with Jack Linnell and offered to help bring the car back to life.
Over the next three decades several body styles emerged (all more practical two seaters) and as a result the car remained in (fairly) constant use during the 50’s and 60’s as an everyday means of transport. This one, sporting the ‘V3’ mark on the bonnet with a beetleback fairing over the petrol tank and an aluminium wind deflector, is dated 1947. No picture of V2 has been found but its creator stands proudly beside it.
Another body offering, this time dated 1949, pictured outside Wilbye (Jack Linnell’s Northamtonshire home)
More carnival duties. The silver chassis paint dates this between 1949 and 1968 and is captioned ‘Carnival Winner’.
The Meteor 1840 logo is thought to refer to the Sun class GWR locomotive bearing the same name and Robert Wicksteed is the Brunel on the footplate with the pipe.
The last of the non-original incarnations of HP6161 – this time dated 1968 outside the stables at Wilbye