Rumblings, April 1933



fl II. Itumbuings

That 273 m.p.h.

IT is a permanent regret of mine that I have not had the good fortune of being present at one of Sir Malcolm Campbell’s record-breaking runs at Daytona Beach. When you come to think of it there must be very few Englishmen who have had this unique experience. I was recently talking to a man who went over with Segrave when the latter recorded 203 m.p.h. with the twin-engined Sunbeam, and who also travelled to Florida with Sir Malcolm Campbell in 1928—to wit, Mr. N. H. W. Freeman, the technical expert of the Dunlop Rubber Company.

. I happened to remark on the impossibility of being able to visualise such a colossal speed as 273 m.p.h., and Freeman told me of a very interesting (and terrifying) experience he had during his last visit to Daytona. In order to obtain the greatest possible sensation of speed, he and the Hon. Brian Lewis, who was a member of Sir Malcolm’s party, walked to the edge of the line marked by flags, at the end of the record timing strip. The rest of the few people allowed on the beach during the run were standing at the foot of the sand hills, from where the car naturally does not look so fast as in a nearer view.

To their horror, as ” Bluebird ” approached at well over 240 m.p.h. they saw the car veering towards the spot where they were standing. Neither attempted to move, for human agility is not quick enough to avoid such a projectile, and Freeman told me that his chief thought was concerning” Bluebird,” which seemed to be getting into an uncontrollable lurch. In a fraction of a second the car was past them, the gale of slipstream almost knocking them off their balance. With trembling legs they measured the distance between them and the wheelmarks of “Bluebird,” and found it to be just 20 feet !

Hustle at Brooklands.

The Brooklands people have had everyone’s sympathy over their bad luck in the track subsidence business. When all the usual winter repair work had been finally completed, and the services of the gentlemen with pneumatic drills at last dispensed with, to have to start work all over again was enough to make Mr. Bradley cast himself in despair from the observation tower of the club house. Instead, with great determination he recalled the aforesaid gentlemen with the drills and other

apparatus, and told them not to stop work until the job was finished.

The trouble was that it was difficult at first to find out the extent of the damage to the foundations of the piers of the bridge. After much work, in which a diver played an important part, the matter is now in hand. Great efforts are being made to complete the job in time for the Easter Meeting, but in any case an alternative programme, on the lines of the opening event of March 11th, will be held in reserve.

New Drivers of Fast Cars.

All this must be particularly disappointing for Oliver Bertram, who has bought John Cobb’s 10 litre Delage. Bertram was able to put in a little practice with the big car before the floods swept away the bridge-pier, but not nearly as much as he would have liked to have done. Anyway the sprint races, which have temporarily supplanted the outside-circuit races at Brooklands, give him plenty of opportunity of mastering the get-away, which he seems to have accomplished very effectively.

Incidentally, on all sides, I heard a good deal of praise for Bowes’ handling of the Bugatti once owned by Penn Hughes—one of the fastest cars of its type in this country.

A Question of Accuracy.

Here is a story from Sweden.

1st Driver : “How fast will your Chrysler go ? ” 2nd Driver : “135 k.p.h.”

1st Driver (looking at dashboard of 2nd Driver’s Chrysler) : ” But you haven’t got a rev, counter or a speedometer. How do you know you’re doing 135 k.p.h. ? “

2nd Driver, airily : “Oh, I can tell by the windpressure on my face ! “

Hidden Talent.

The band had just finished playing “God Save the King” at the end of the B.R.D.C. Banquet and Dance in honour of Sir Malcolm Campbell. Suddenly there was a familiar burst of noise, and the room was filled with the sound of a well-tuned Bugatti being revved up on the starting line, getting away, and changing up through the gears. The guests, slowly drifting out of the ballroom, stopped in amazement. Then once more came the noise, this time of a car passing the Fork, gradually

drawing near, rising to crescendo, then dying slowly away, with a slight lilt in the note as wheelspin set in after an extra large bump.

Vernon Balls clutched h s neighbour’s arm. “Marvellous, absolutely marvellous ! ” was his verdict.

Then followed a completely realistic sound of a car approaching the Fork Turn in a Mountain Race ; revving up as each lower gear was engaged, a screeching of tyres, then full bore on each ratio as the car sped up the Finishing Straight.

At the end of the room stood a young man, his face within 6 inches of the microphone, comb pressed to his lips. It was Roy Nockolds, the artist whose work is well known to readers of MoTOR SPORT, revealing a hidden talent with which he cheers up his friends during the Winter season, when no one has heard the sound j of a healthy Bugatti exhaust note for months.

Brooklands Tuning.

Good luck to Dick Nash with his new venture at Brooklands ! He has acquired a large building on the road lead ng into the Paddock from the Tunnel, and there he will be at the service of all those who require some more ” pep ” from their engines. Incidentally, his new car “the Spook” is receiving the final touches before being put into action throughout the season.

Now then, Dick, how about that Shelsley record ?

Brooklands Prospects.

People are still very reticent (and probably with good reason) about their plans for the season at the Track. John Cobb’s car is progressing favourably, but he is wisely refraining from letting any details of the car become public knowledge until the machine is completed.

Then I know of a man who has done a lot of good work at Brooklands, who has a special sprint car in course of preparation. He is keeping it “under his hat” for the moment, but has promised to let me have full details as soon as possible. I have an idea that the power unit will be Riley Nine.

And last, but by no means least, is the exciting news of a six cylinder supercharged two-stroke engine to be fitted into a well-known chassis. This is naturally what the daily newspapers love to call a ” hush-hush ” car in its present state, but great things are expected of it this summer.


Experiments are continuing on the new two-camshaft Anzani, and the head castings and other parts should be free from the distortion which used to cause trouble on the “Slug.” Chain-drive instead of the train of gears originally planned, will be used for driving the camshafts.

Another interesting engine on the way is a 1,660 c.c. Six-cylinder Meadows, which is to be tried in Frazer Nashes. In the Nash’s light chassis the combination Should provide flexibility with a brisk performance.

Stop Press.

For the first time an English driver will take part in the Alexandria C.P., to be held on April 30th—namely Sir Henry Birkin. His car has not yet been decided.