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Yet another Article from the May - Jun 2010 Mascot

A RIPPING YARN and a LONGTAIL - from Nick Warren

I am indebted to Tony Raynor, who regularly telephones me from California to impart information regarding Longtails.  These leads, perhaps after a little more research, eventually end up in my Longtail Register.  Tony rang me in mid summer and told me about a 1930s film he had seen on  television, which showed a sequence of a Singer Longtail being driven. The title was either ‘Q Planes’ or ‘Clouds over Europe’.  Armed with this information I searched

the internet to see if a video of this film was available to verify Tony’s findings. Much to my amazement a DVD was available in Germany for £9.99 that was released under the titles ‘Q Planes’ for Great Britain, ‘Clouds over Europe’ for the United States, or ‘Testflug QE 97’ for German audiences, so I ordered a copy and about a week later it arrived. I slipped it into the computer and began to watch and listen .... In German!  It took me about half an hour to work out how to view it in English!

This black and white film is a British spy thriller  which  concerns  the  theft  of valuable aircraft

secrets by enemy agents. The film was made in 1939, when Europe was bracing itself against the possibility of war, and is acted with the tongue-in-cheek bravado of a ‘Boy's Own Paper’ story.

Laurence Olivier plays a dashing test pilot who falls under suspicion when several planes disappear. Co-star Ralph Richardson steals the film as a seemingly befuddled secret service operative assigned to the case, and Valerie Hobson plays his wife, a journalist, who’s car is the 1935 Singer Le Mans 4 Seater.

The sequence of Valerie Hobson driving ‘her’ 1935 Singer Le Mans Longtail is only 10 seconds long, but this is enough to see the car’s fine handling capabilities and the amazing stopping power of the hydraulic brakes to avoid collision with the factory gates. By freeze framing the DVD I was able to save some still pictures that confirmed the registration number as NJ 8602 (a Brighton registration). Although the film is in black and white, the car looks to be in the apple green and ivory colour scheme. Unfortunately the car is not known to the DVLA, Bob Dibben or myself, so we have to assume it’s no longer with us………unless you know differently!

The sequence of Valerie Hobson driving ‘her’ 1935 Singer Le Mans Longtail is only 10 seconds long,  but this is enough to see the car’s fine handling capabilities  and  the  amazing

stopping power of the hydraulic brakes to avoid collision with the factory gates. By freeze framing the DVD I was able to save some still pictures that confirmed the registration number as NJ 8602 (a Brighton registration). Although the film is in black and white, the car looks to be in the apple green and ivory colour scheme. Unfortunately the car is not known to the DVLA, Bob Dibben or myself, so we have to assume it’s no longer with us………unless you know differently!

Nick.

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