Famous Test Hills

Climbing steep hills has held a fascination for the motorist since the very early days, as shown by these articles from motoring magazines of the 1920s and 1930s. The links all open new windows with the articles as PDF files.

Some Noted British Test Hills

Article from The Autocar for December 11th, 1920. This makes an interesting comparison with The Autocar article for May 16th 1924. With thanks to Jon Way.

Famous British Test Hills

Article from The Autocar for May 16th, 1924. This makes an interesting comparison with The Autocar article for December 11th 1920. With thanks to Jon Way.

Famous Test Hills

Between July 1933 and May 1934, the “MG Magazine” (the precursor to “Safety Fast”) published a series of articles by H E Symons under the headline Famous British Test Hills. These were followed, in early 1935, by at least two articles titled Famous Test Hills and How To Climb Them. Roger Thomas included text, photographs, and diagrams from both series in his M.G. Trials Cars book but the scans below have been copied, with permission, from the Retro pages of the MMM Register website.

It’s fascinating to reflect that five out of the seven hills have been in almost continuous competitive use for most of the 75+ years since the articles were written. Honister has, of course, been tarmaced for years and Doverhay is one of those almost mythic hills with a reputation which far exceeds its actual use. It was used just once (1933) for cars on the Brighton-Beer and it was always a “motorcycles only” hill on the MCC Lands End Trial (1932 to 1957), the cars going up Grabhurst instead. It’s amazing how a few famous photographs, particularly if they’re of MGs, can distort a hill’s reputation.

Famous British Test Hills

No.1 Litton Slack (July 1933)
No.2 Fingle Bridge (September 1933)
No.3 Doverhay (November 1933)
No.4 – Was there ever a Number 4? It seems unlikely with a magazine published every other month.
No.5 Simms (January 1934)
No.6 Darracott (March 1934)
No.7 Honister Pass (May 1934)

Famous Test Hills and How To Climb Them

No.1 Jenkin’s Chapel (January 1935)
No.2 Litton Slack (March 1935)

Principal Hills in Great Britain

Two pages from a book entitled “A Motoring Encyclopaedia of 1936”. Mike Furse found the original book, photocopied the pages and circulated them to the MCC committee, and Simon Woodall then passed them on to me. A fascinating comparison with the current Trials Sections Database. With thanks to Simon Woodall.

Page updated and republished : 29 December 2015

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