EMERYSONS - 1914 to 1963
Hawthorne Hill 1946
As it turned out, Military service for Peter Emery could have
been a lot worse. Peter was near enough to home to enable him
to return in the week-ends and the Officer in charge of the section
was also interested in motor racing and providing Peter was not
on duty, kept a low profile and out of the sergeant major's way
the officer did not stand in the way of Peter getting a good share
of 48 hour passes,
1100 Formula had by this time come about and in order to construct
a car, George Emery had obtained a complete singer le-mans front
suspension, a Lagonda Rapier engine, complete with the large first
stage supercharger and an MG R type fuel tank, come body tail
section along with the brakes. Peter managed to find the rear
differential unit and internal gear train for a two speed transfer
box and then fabricated a new case enabling it to be attached
to the differential unit.
The small second stage supercharger was a pressure cabin blower
from a Merlin engine that was laying around as scrap at the ATA
Paul Emery agreed to supply the Wilson pre-selector gearbox.
Working hard, only week-ends, George and Peter took the best part
of a year to get what was the Emeryson 1100 up to a motoring chassis
as in the attached photos.
out the speeds at which the superchargers needed to run in relation
to the engine, was new ground for George and Peter, though very
interesting. Peter prepared the sketches and drawings during the
week at the depot and returning to and from there to home in the
weekends on a Radial valve Rudge.
Even at the sketching stage Paul had become enthusiastic with
the cars possibilities and had wanted to become involved but other
than finding some parts, initially there was not a lot that he
could do. Neither George, or Peter however were very experienced
in panel beating and rather than being diverted from pursuing
the task at hand, they left the body work to Paul.
The car mechanically was pretty well completed by early in 1948
which was fortuitous as it was around the completion date that
returning to the Camp one Sunday night, Peter met with an accident.
A new officer of the day had decided that as the war was drawing
to an end, security should be tightened and ordered the entrance
gate to be closed. With dimmed lighting still being required at
the time and with the roads covered in snow and ice, Peter drove
straight into it at about 35 mph, the bar hitting him full in
the face. This placed Peter in the Wheatly Royal Military Hospital
at near Oxford for a few weeks, and would have been unable to
work on the car.
plus recuperation leave and allowing for the time allocation at
the Military Educational Training College, Peters had saved enough
to replace the Rudge with a Velocette KTS .
The Emeryson 1100's debut was at Gransden lodge, without the
cars bodywork being fully completed. At the time there were many
press reports saying that the Emery's had run out of money but
it was not so much a matter of money as time and opportunity to
get an early test experience. Paul having only just commenced
active participation in the project and against Peters wishes
now took the 1100 to Twickenham for completion, but had not had
time to do much about the bodywork by the time the event had come
around. Eric Winterbottom, a long term friend of George's covered
the costs of the meeting in order to give an idea of the cars
had very real concerns that Paul would take over the running of
the 1100 and whilst his Amyand Park road workshop had the required
facilities which was providing Paul with a comfortable living
and he had the connections and so was better placed than George
or Peter at the time, there were few around that believed that
the business could sponsor a racing enterprise.
Like most after the war Paul no spare money and while those that
knew Paul would have agreed that he was of a generous nature and
there was never any hint that he would not do his best for the
family, Peter thought it " It was pretty damned obvious that
Paul was expecting a free handover" of the 1100. George,
however having the major financial interest in the car persuaded
Peter that by allowing Paul to take the car that they would be
able to concentrate fully on plans and finances for the next project,
a front wheel Drive 500cc car for the new 500 formula.
Peter having fully recovered from the accident and soon to be
released from service was now job hunting. George was uncertain
how long the V.R.E would continue and having bought a plot of
land at California, near Wokingham was hoping to build a house
on it overlooking the lake. The planners clobbered it in the end
although Georges daughter Muriel and husband Ernie did manage
to get planning consent to build a very Attractive bungalow with
swimming pool about half a mile further up the road.
Eric Winterbottom again financed an entry but this time for
Paul to drive the 1100 in the Manx Cup at the IOM. Peter still
doing military service had managed to obtain leave for the event.
George was along to keep an eye on the engine department but the
most significant occurrence that Peter can remember was the beetroot
gun fight that took place amongst the entrants supporters.
George and Paul at Douglas, IOM
Manx Cup IOM. Paul and George
This had involved welding blanking plates to three inch tubes
and by letting in gas from their welding torch to a small hole
at the back of the tube and dropping in a beetroot. By Aiming
it at the garage opposite, then lighting the gas through the hole
the beetroot would explode out of the tube like a mortar supporters
had some fun.
Paul had also earlier driven the 1100 at a speed trial at Great
Auclum. It was at Great Auclum that Paul would have met Robie
Baird, as it was soon after that George and Peter heard that Baird
wanted Paul to let him enter the car for the French Coupe de Lyon.
(French GP). George and Peter thought that as constructors of
the 1100 they were included but disappointed to find they were
not included and it meant only Paul.
Before going to France Paul drove it at Prescott and was second
in the 1100cc class but the car was according to Peters not really
suitable for the Hill.
The 1100 formula was to be discontinued but Peter believes that
had it continued they would have been happy to develop the car
further. Finishes and lap times at Gransden, IOM and Leon proved
that it was the fastest thing around in Britain at that time,
irrespective of the engine capacity and that the 1100 had a lot
more development potential.
Twin supercharged Emeryson 1100 at the
French GP with Robbie Baird
After the French G.P, Paul convened a meeting with George and
Peter to discuss the best course of action for the following year.
Paul wanted to change the engine, however Peter argued against
it on the basis that there was nothing special about the chassis,
the front suspension being too heavy and the brakes were inadequate
for a larger engine and that the 1100's success was solely down
to the two staged supercharged engine.
Paul countered claimed that they would not get spares for it
and Peter contended that the Deusenberg Paul proposed for the
car would be no easier to get spares for. Through out George remained
quiet and said nothing. Unfortunately Paul resolved the impasse
by shipping the car to Ireland, leaving both George and Peter
devastated with a course of action they considered would see the
highly competitive racing cars destruction.
For Peter that was the end of an era for the first post war Emeryson
but perhaps could be the birth of a new front wheel drive sensation.
The Emeryson 1100 Post 1946
Subsequent to the car being taken to Ireland neither Peter nor
George had anything more to do with the 1100cc. Baird had Paul
convert it in the winter of 1947 into what they hoped to be a
full-scale Grand Prix Formula car. Having acquired the famous
4.5-litre, short stroke Duesenburg motor from the ex Whitney Straight
Duesenberg Brooklands car but minus the supercharger, Paul cut
through the tubular ladder frame chassis, inserting tubing just
forward of the bulkhead and increasing the overall length by eight
inches to accommodate the Duesenberg engine which was installed
together with an ENV type 110 pre-selector gearbox.
in sections of thin gauge chassis tubing is not a good idea and
Peter believes that Paul got cold feet and so added some "ghastly
superstructure" in an attempt to reinforce it. The Singer
Le Mans front and the rear suspension from the 1100cc car were
retained whilst larger brakes were fitted and eight Amal carburettors
added, raising the engine's output to around 400 bhp.
Baird raced the car occasionally but subsequently sold the Emeryson-Duesenberg
and it was used it in hill-climbs and airfield races around Ireland
for a number of years, during which time the chassis was apparently
shortened, the Singer IFS removed and replaced by 2.5-litre Riley
wishbones and torsion bars, all modifications which were carried
out after Paul had returned to Surrey.
The car in parts was latter shipped back to England, subsequently
salvaged by Dennis Jenkinson for the engine which was reunited
with the Duesenberg chassis, from which it had been taken and
is now in the Brooklands museum. The remains of what started as
the Emeryson 1100 went to Duncan Rabagliati and were later sold.
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