BTN 356 - 1934
BTN 356 has been both a road car and a race car in its long history.
The following information has been kindly supplied by former owner of BTN 356, Alan Wolton. Alan owned the car between 1979 and 1982, buying BTN from Brian Wildesmith.
Alan recalls: "Brian lived just outside Chesterfield and who I knew in the course of business, he being the sales manager for a construction machinery dealer and I at that time, a director of a plant hire company. Brian had an old chapel full of PVT cars including a couple of lovely Astons, I believe I saw a, blown Rapier amongst the collection to. He and I have long lost contact with each other - come the end of April I shall have been retired for 20 years - not I hasten to add that makes me 85! "
The photo of the car in red is me performing at a VSCC meeting at Prescott. I can't find a programme to check the date despite having a pile of them for 1983 to '86 when I was competing with a Plus 8 Morgan. That at least dates the photo to '82 or before.
When I bought BTN it had a cable controlled gear change actuated from a steering column mounted lever/quadrant which was a disaster. I got a set of drawings from what I remember as the "Rapier Register" for a floor mounted remote changer. In those days - cue for grumpy really old man - every back street in Birmingham and the Black Country had a small engineering works or machine shop which could produce anything even from a sketch on the back of an envelope, for next to no money.
One of those who did work for my company made it for me as a favour - I bet that it is still going strong. How you manage these days I cannot imagine, does anybody
know what a Whitworth or a BSF thread might be, let alone know how to cut one. If they do I presume that they can command BMW dealer hourly rates.
The biggest, certainly the most memorable problem that I had with BTN was with heavy braking. There was no difficulty with (sensible) road driving but when really trying, as at Loton Park where coming downhill to a turn the road was very bumpy and you had to leave it late, produced a quite terrifying situation. The front axle juddered, the chassis flexed - what the hell am I doing!!
I should certainly be glad to hear from BTN's current owner, particularly if the car is likely to be visible at an event not too far from Somerset - I shall also keep an eye on your website now that I have stumbled over it."
Below is a photograph of Alan's son from about the time Alan purchased the car from Brian.