RCS Motor Club

A year in the life of Jezebel: 1960-61

Alumni of the both the Royal College of Science and the RCS Motor Club, Mike Jones and Ian Raymond have put together a short summary of their experiences with Jezebel and the RCS Motor Club.

This is an account, as best I can remember of our activities with Jezebel between 1960 and 1961.

Together with my colleague, Ian Raymond, we were reading Physics, and we were the first year to study in the new Physics Block opposite Beit Hall, where we both each later had a room. Being slightly older for a student, I was able to drive Jez, while Ian was a determined follower and polisher. He drove an M type MG in his third year. We spent many hours working on Jez and going on outings.

Jim King turns the engine over whilst Mike Johns sit ready behind the wheel.

Jim King turns the engine over whilst Mike Jones sit ready behind the wheel. Photo by Peter Yellow.

The photo was taken by a fellow student, Pete Yellow, who had aspirations of being a professional photographer and he took a superb action shot, the scene should be familiar to all drivers. I am behind the wheel and taking the classic pose, left hand on the retard for the magneto, right hand on the hand throttle, while Jim, the President of the Club, turns the engine over on the ignition coil. Once the engine started, we removed the choke; a lump of cork with a wedge cut out of it, and then turned off the coil so the engine ran on the magneto. We are about to leave on Morphy day and the fellow travellers are putting on the uniforms for the event.

We participated in the usual events, on the London-Brighton run we acted as “tender to Bo” and tried to blag our way onto Marine Parade, we were not always successful and had to park Jez in the back streets of Brighton. We attended an HCVC rally which was held at Beaulieu Abbey over the weekend. We stayed in tents with Jez in the unusual setting parked under a group of trees. In the morning we had to polish the dew off the brasses, we were at a disadvantage since the Dennis apprentices with their engine had brought a polythene tent to protect the brasses.

We took Jez up to a meeting of the Veteran Sports Car Club at Silverstone, had a sumptuous dinner afterwards and drove back in the late evening. Ian reminded me that we also attended a Rugby Match at Mottwood Park where someone stole our magnificent Brass Extinguisher. We also participated in Rag Week at Bedford College where Ian was resplendent in a bowler hat.

I’m surprised at the mechanical problems you have had with Jez over the years. From memory we had to have a new exhaust, but absolutely no major mechanical problems and we certainly never broke down. Maybe it was because we had a “low mileage vehicle, one careful owner” ?

There were many memories of those years travelling on Jezebel and acting as driver. The supreme satisfaction of a perfect gear change on the crash gearbox, the foot brake was highly inoperative in our day and we relied on the transmission brake. If we were approaching traffic lights, I would double down to first gear, the resultant deceleration causing the passengers to slide up the bench seats.

The sight of that long bonnet stretching ahead as we motored steadily home, the preparation for returning home in the winter and winding that enormous sheet of polythene round our legs to keep out the cold. The shocked faces of the pedestrians as we drove home through the streets of South London in the late evening with the clamour of that 9¼ litre engine reflecting off the shop windows.

It was a unique experience to be part of the Motor Club and to drive that wonderful engine; I shall never forget those memories.

Mike Jones
Royal College of Science, Physics 1958-61

If you were a part of the Motor Club and would like to tell us about your time in the club please send us an email: jez@imperial.ac.uk – we would love to hear from you.

Contact Us!


Email: jez@imperial.ac.uk
Write: RCS Motor Club c/o Student Activities Centre, Imperial College Union, Beit Quad, Prince Consort Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2BB
Tel: +44 (0)20 759 48085 Not always attended
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jezebel.dennis

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