December 1998 -Part 1 Click here to view this page full screen in a new window

Nipper News

Nipper

Maralyn and Susan Tucker-Peake in Nipper on Bluehills

      I recently had a nice letter from Maralyn Knight with news about "The Tucker Nipper Special". For the full storey about this famous old car you need to go back to the July ‘97 Classical Gas, but there's space here for a quick resume.

    Maralyn's father was of course the late H. W. Tucker-Peake. Tucker and Betty campaigned their "Tucker-MG" for many years. The car evolving to create space for  Maralyn and Susan to ride in the back. In due course they wanted a trials car of their own so Tucker built "The Nipper", based on the running gear and chassis from a Ford 5 cwt van. With sister Susan in the passenger seat Maralyn was very successful with her car and won two triples.      Maralyn explains that until recently she hadn't heard anything about the Nipper since selling it to a lady called Rosemary Cond from Gloucestershire back in the late 60's. She knew that Rosemary had done a few competitions with it but that was that. Before Tucker passed away he had heard that the famous old car was in a barn somewhere. Sadly his detective work was never completed as tragically he couldn’t speak properly after suffering a stroke.

     However, quite by chance, a friend of Maralyn’s spotted an ad for a "Nipper" in a magazine and low and behold it was her old car. She got in touch with the person selling it and found it was Rosemary Cond's old passenger. But by then the Nipper had already been sold. Maralyn traced the new owner to Barton le Clay, close to where it was born! The car was in remarkably good condition, considering it's age, and the new owner was prepared to sell. But it would have taken a fair bit of time and money to restore it and Maralyn decided to let it go. She regrets that now, but that’s life! The latest news is that Nipper is under restoration by a gentleman in Lechlade in Gloucestershire. Maralyn is in touch with him and has provided him with some pictures of the car as it was originally built. She hopes it will soon be returned to its former and original glory, in particular that the new owner will do away with the Lotus 7 style nose and front wings that it acquired in later years.

     What we need now is a "Classic Specials" class so cars like the Nipper and Primrose can be seen on the MCC hills again.

20 June 1999 - I received an interesting E-Mail from Simon Woodall the other week, this corrects some of the facts in my original piece.

1. I am not Margaret's son, she is my Aunt. I am Victors son. This is an error Tucker made when compiling the details for the MCC book and seems to have passed into history.
2. Although Margaret was the first woman to win a Triple, it is only fair to reveal the whole truth behind this. Margaret and Maralyn both achieved their goals on the same trial but as Margaret had an earlier number she finished first and therefore it was she that took the honours of being the first woman to win a Triple.
3. Woolford Special Mk2 with which Margaret won her Triple. A typical special - A7 frame plus Ford 10 engine, but with the engine so far back in the frame that the prop shaft was only six inches long. It was the overwhelming success of this vehicle that caused the RAC to introduce the spark plug to front axle measurement and thus was the National Trials Formula born!.

Further news is that the gentleman in Letchlade has put the "Nipper" up for sale at 3,000. There is an ad in the July Practical Classics magazine.

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