A FIRM WITH A ISTORY
HE history of the motor industry contains many records of makes which have failed to stay the pace in the pioneer years, and given way to others who have grown up in the later stages of development. There
are, however, some firms who have held on from the very beginning, and proving their products in open competition in the early days, have increased in experience and efficiency to hold a place to-day which enforces the respect and admiration of their competitors. ,The firm of Clement-Talbot Ltd. started building cars in the last years of last century, and their present product has provided one of the surprises of the modern competition world. The wonderful team of white, silent cars which was such an outstanding feature of last season’s racing were, in spite of their wonderful performance, remarkably normal vehicles. They were, in;point of fact, the logical development of the extraordinarily efficient ” 14-45,” which is the first car for
A TOUR OF THE WORKS OF CLEMENTTALBOT LTD.
which Mr.. Roesch, many years designer for Talbots, was given an entirely free hand. And he has every reason to be pleased with his handiwork.
The concern has a fine record of originality and quality of design and construction, and it is this feature of always being ahead and never copying others that marked out Talbot cars from the early days. They always pass over their previous successful history as being of very minor importance compared with the allimportant task of preparing for the future. But there are some things which will never be forgotten. These go a long way towards building up a tradition which makes the employees of a firm keen to make the car as well as it can possibly be done.
No mention of the name of Talbot can be made without some thought of the achievement of the late Percy Lambert, who set up one of the milestones of motor racing when, on February 15th, 1913, he covered over 100 miles in the hour for the first time in history. [Continued overleaf]
A FIRM WITH A HISTORY—continued.
The:car was one of the famous 25 h.p. Talbots, of which there are still plenty of specimens giving good service on the roads to-day.
The actual speed of the hour record on this occasion was put up to 103.84 m.p.h., and it will always stand as one of the greatest motoring performances of all time.
In pre-War days there were many other notable Talbot successes in hill climbs and races, but this pioneer firm have now no time to sit back and consider what they once did, as under the able guidance of Mr. Roesch and his colleagues they are far too busy turning out cars for the public of to-day and to-morrow.
Experience and past records are only valuable when they are coupled with enterprise and new ideas, and although the firm are old in deeds and successes, they are essentially young and enthusiastic in their policy.
It is always a pleasure to meet people who are really keen on their product, and who are anxious for one to see and try it, and so enable one to judge for oneself of its merit.
On a recent visit to the works we were able to go round and inspect every detail of the manufacture and realise once again the myriad details which go to make the difference between a good and a mediocre car. Many of these are unseen, and the ordinary owner is never aware of their existence, but they are none the less
A FIRM WITH A HISTORY —continued.
important, as he will be very soon aware if they are lacking in the tout ensemble.
The machinery used in the works at Barlby Road, Kensington, is, of course, of the latest pattern, but it is the details and the finish that are of the greatest interest, as being distinct from the general run ef manufacturing methods. The engine is of particular interest to the motorist who is concerned in performance, as it represents one of the few examples where full tuning operations are carried out as a part of the manufacture.
The crankshaft is turned from a solid billet and is carried on seven bearings in. the crankcase. It is carefully tested on a dynamic balancer, and then the counterweights are fitted and the whole is finally balanced once more. One has only to inspect the ” 90 ” crankshaft and its mounting to realise to a great extent the reason for the silken sweetness of running of this engine.
The same care in detail covers a multitude of features that space prevents us from dealing with, but it is worthy of note that after the cylinder barrels are bored out and ground, they are then lapped on a special machine to ensure a really good working surface. The gearbox is also full of clever ideas which explain the easy changing and quiet running which we noticed in a test of the car.
Anyone who has tried one of the new Talbots will have noted the quality of the brakes, and an examination of the front axle assembly is well repaid. The adjustment of the brake shoes is extremely simple and quick, and in the latest models the whole lubrication of the track rod and swivel pins is automatic.
The thermostatically controlled radiator shutters, to which the average owner would never give a moment’s thought, form a particularly ingenious example of design. As the shutters themselves, consisting of vertical metal slats, are rotated to the closed or open position as required by the thermostat, to be satisfactory, they must be free from any possibility of sticking. To ensure this, stainless steel pins are used at the top and bottom, and these have their bearings in a special aluminium casting bolted to the radiator.
The radiator itself is mounted in an unusual manner, as instead of having flexible connections to the cylinder block and being carried on the frame, it is mounted on. the engine itself and is absolutely rigid with it. The connections are by steel pipes, and by this means the delicate structure of the radiator itself is entirely insulated from any strains due to slight distortion.
To whatever part of the car one turns one’s attention, quality and care in conception and manufacture at once become evident.
Some manufacturers, it must be admitted, are guilty of spoiling their ship for a ha’porth of tar—they make a good chassis, but equip it with accessories and auxiliaries of inferior quality. Clement Talbot Ltd. most certainly do not come into this category, and before standardising any component or fitting even of seemingly insignificant importance, they subject it to a scrutiny and test which rules out all the “just-as-goods.” We were, therefore, not surprised to find that the engine is fitted with Wellworthy piston rings (long known to racing men as a” good thing “), while Zenith, Jaeger, Smith and Sons, Luvax, Price’s, C. C. Wakefield, and other famous names figure amongst the list of suppliers, whose products assist in making the Talbot a first-rate motor car.