RUMBLINGS, April 1934
Races at Home.
THE regulations for the Isle of Man Races are now out and differ little from those in force last year except that mechanics will not be carried and single-seaters are eligible. Meanwhile the T.T. Races have been occupying the attention of the R.A.C. and have given rise to a considerable amount of controversy. Superchargers or no superchargers is the burning question.
Those in favour contend that superchargers are on the verge of a wider use for sports cars and even for fast touring, and it is an undoubted fact that at least three firms in the Midlands, not to speak of others in various parts of the country are experimenting with blown units At the same time I doubt very much if any of them would be in a fit state to race this year. If firms such as Alvis, Lagonda and Singer, not to speak of Aston Martin and Frazer Nash could be induced to take part in the 1934 Ulster Race, by not allowing superchargers the R.A.C. would seem quite justified in trying the experiment.
Inside Knowledge. ” “
The good old game of ” Splitting the Alf a ” continues. One firm who have looked inside are now confident that they too can build a straight-eight which will be a worldbeater. Another designer confessed mournfully that he could never build a reliable engine with the big-end loading of the” 2.3 “, and that anyhow the 1Vionopostos were certain to blow up this year if they were hard pressed. We shall see.
I am afraid I caused rather a stir last month by announcing that Penn Hughes had secured a Monoposto 2.6 Alfa. In our hurried meeting I only had time to learn the engine size, and not to discover that it was a 2.3 Grand Prix car bored out to 2.6 litres. Chiron drove it last year.
Penn Hughes is driving an Aston-Martin in the Mille Miglia, and the car is actually the one tested in MOTOR SPORT in August, 1932. An Indian driver, M. D. Pettit, has also entered an Aston, a 2-4 seater car, standard except for a second spare wheel. He has not driven before in any European competition but has done a good deal of fast driving round Bombay. Independent
springing it appears is almost essential for these conditions, and he was undecided whether to buy a Dilarnbda Lancia or a 5 litre Mercedes to take back to India with him. Esson Scott, whose black two-litre Bugatti is not unknown at Brooklands is going to Italy as spare driver.
Cobb on the War-path.
Early in April John Cobb is due to appear at Montthery with the Napier-Railton in an attempt to break the World’s 24 Hour Record. It stands at present, of course, to the credit of Jenkins and the Pierce Arrow at 117.82 m.p.h. The new Dunlop tyres specially designed for the Napier-Railton have come through their tests satisfactorily. They have a heavy task ahead of them, for the car is not really suitable for long distance records.
Molsheim’s Reply to the Formula.
The development of the 2.8 litre Bugatti, which is built under the 750 kg. rule, has been even more closely guarded than that of the earlier models, and the picture of the new car, which is the first one to be published in England is of particular interest.
As will be seen, it carries a two-seater body, and with its small radiator has something of the appear …nee of the straight-eight I and two litre G.P. cars. Lowering the chassis has brought the crankshaft in line with the dumb-iron tie bar, and the engines are started with a handle at the side. The cast aluminium wheels which have for so long been a feature of Bugatti racing cars are no longer used. In their place a special type of wire
wheels are used in which the spokes are only used to maintain their shape. The brake drums are serrated, and are bolted on to the axles. The aluminium rims have similar internal serrations, through which the drive or the braking effect is transmitted to the tyres. The new wheels are each 10 lbs. lighter than the old type of similar dimensions.
The Auto Union car with its cigarshaped body and sixteen-cylinder engine carried behind the driver is another solution to the problem, and tests carried out on the Milan-Varese autostrada last January showed that it was capable of at least 155 m.p.h. The successful attack on the World’s Hour Record is reported elsewhere in this number. The engine capacity is 3,080 c.c., it has a five-speed gear-box, and the well-known Porsche torsion-rod sus
pension is used. The car is manufactured at Zschopau, near Dresden, in the D.K.W. factory.
Follow My Leader.
One of the chief difficulties in maintaining a good average speed during the R.A.C. Rally is to negotiate a big city, like Bristol, for example, in the dead of night. There is no one about to ask the way, and policemen are few and far between. As soon as another car is sighted ahead one always assumes that the driver knows the way, and it is difficult to resist the temptation to follow along behind. In one particularly bewildering city four or five cars made a procession behind a leader who had not the foggiest idea of the correct route. They arrived at across roads roundabout,” and the leader decided to make an extra circle in
order to read the sign posts. In the end an astonished policeman came on the scene to find a string of cars, head to tail, steadily revolving in the hope that someone knew the right road !
I heard a good deal of complaints down at Bournemouth about some of the rules governing the Rally. It certainly seems a little hard to be penalised for a faulty side-lamp bulb, a fault which is no indication of the car being of bad design or preparation. One driver tried his lights while waiting to enter the final control and found them all in working order. Then she drove about 200 yards into the Ramp Garage, where
it was found that one of the side-lamp bulbs had blown ! Another bone of contention was that the Test ‘ B ‘ precluded any but small cars winning the awards given for the cars gaining the highest marks, irrespective of class, from each control. There is a certain glamour about ‘ unlimited ‘ awards, and the heavy brigade felt rather sore at being handicapped out of it. The only successful large car was a V8 Ford.
An English Bugatti Stable.
Had a visit from Afathieson in Mid-March, a day or so before he sailed on a convalescent trip to Jamaica and South America. His attack of diph theria was a very severe one, but two months of sea voyage and
sunshine of the West Indies will make him fit for a good season’s racing.
He and Lindsay Eccles have got delivery of their new Bugattis.
Eccles and Papworth went over to Niolsheim, and brought the cars back. Beyond knowing that they are two of the cars raced officially by the factory last year, their exact identity remains unknown. The ” works ” Bugattis always have the
driver’s name neatly painted on the scuttle, but their cars have been repainted. They are confining their programme at the moment to the British Empire Trophy, the Isle of Man race and Dieppe. Mathieson has entered his old 2 litre Bugatti
for the International Trophy, but the driver is at present undecided. Both of the new team may possibly run in the G.P. des Frontieres, but this is rather too near the Douglas race to be comfortable.
The 2.3 litre twin-camshaft Bugattis were capable of fully extending, if not beating any of the 1933 Grand Prix racing cats with the exception of the monoposto Alfas. Varzi’s wins at Monaco and Tripoli over 3 litre Maseratis and 2.6 litre biposto Alfas proved that. It will be very interesting to see how Ma.thieson and Eccles get on, Both of them are drivers of outstanding merit, who have graduated in the correct manner on a variety of machines including smaller and slower Bu
gattis. In both cases their driving is marked by a spirit of energy which is so often absent in Englishmen, and yet at the same time they retain the cool control necessary for a long race.
Here’s the very best of luck to them !
An Italian Prodigy.
Most of us have one particular marque which we admire more than any other, and when two fellow enthusiasts meet superlatives are apt to fly thick and fast. My own weakness is for Lancias, and I rather pride myself on the adjectives I can apply to the road holding
and steering of these wonderful cars. But I met my match at Bournemouth in Noel Rees, whom I had always considered a 100% Alfa Romeo man.
While he was at Milan, taking delivery of his new 2.3′ Alfa cabriolet, he used a Lancia ” Augusta ” for his local motoring, and he immediately became a tremendous admirer of this 4 cylinder 11.9 h.p. miracle. It will do an effortless 70 m.p.h. and handles on icy roads better than any car he has ever driven. In Italy it costs about £280. There is a possibility of a batch of six coming over to this country, fitted with special coachwork. Noel Rees is giving one to his son, and Brian Lewis will also probably have one.