Ferrari approves the 1+-litre limit.
CONSIDERING how closely the success of the Ferrari Stable has been associated with the 2.3, 2.6 and 3-litre Alfa-Romeos, it was interesting to read a letter written the other day by Signor Enzo Ferrari, the head of the famous Scuderia, in which he favoured a 1,500 c.c. limit for Grand Prix cars. He fixes it at this point not specially on the grounds of safety but because 80 per cent. of the cars at present in use in Europe have a capacity in the neighbourhood of 1+ litres. • Another proposal which should be valuable from the utilitarian point of view is that two-seaters should be compulsory, though . a mechanic would i naturally not be carried.
He considers that superchargers should be retained, since otherwise compression ratios will soar to fantastic levels, as they do in America. In spite of the restriction of engine capacity a horsepower in the neighbourhood of 200 may be expected, and this with carefully streamlined coachwork should give a top speed of 150 m.p.h.
What are Alfas doing ?
That is always the question at this time of the year. understand that neither the reversed quarter-elliptic car springing, nor the independent Porsche transverse
alf-elliptic spring has been a great success, and that the factory is at present exploring a variety of avenues, and dallying with pneumatic and torsion rod systems.
In this connection I am informed in confidence that an order for an independently sprung car has already been placed by an English racing enthusiast, while there is a chance of a three-litre Monoposto similar to the one already acquired by Shuttleworth being added to the quota of British-owned Alfas. The purchaser is a man whose name has not hitherto been associated with Grand Prix cars. For the present the racing Alfas, whether fitted with normal or independent suspension will continue to have the three-litre eight-cylinder engine, which may be bored out to 3.2 litres if you like a turn of real speed. The twelve-cylinder engines are not likely to appear until after Tripoli. Lord Howe tried to secure a Le Mans car fitted with the Monoposto engine, but I understand that the factory have decided. to do nothing more about this for the present, confining their new lines to the racing cars and the twin-engined job which Nuvolari will drive at Tripoli.
Bugattisti in England.
Lord Howe and Mr. Noel Rees have now completed their plans for the coming season, and their Bugattis are 1-sing got ready at Molsheim. Lord Howe starts the season with the Monaco Grand Prix, then he and Brian Lewis will be driving in the International Trophy on May 6th. Lord Howe then departs for the continent to take part in the Grand Prix of Picardie, Montreux and possibly the Tripoli Grand Prix as well, driving his single-seater Maserati in the last two races, while Lewis attempts to bring off the hat-trick on the Bugatti in the Mannin Moar race.
Howe and Lewis meet again at Le Mans, where they are driving an Alfa-Romeo, then the two Bugattis at the Marne and at Dieppe. The Alfa will be entered for the Targa Abruzzo, and one of the drivers will handle a Bugatti at Coppa Acerbo a few day later, and the Bug. and the Maserati in the Nice Grand Prix just afterwards, Lord Howe is taking the Maserati to Switzerland for the Grand Prix at the end of August, then there is quite a possibility that two 3.3-litre Bugattis will be entered for the Tourist Trophy, while the hard-worked pair will probably end the season by driving at Donington.
Charles Martin is daily expecting his car from Molsheim, has been doing so from the beginning of the year in fact, while Eccles’ car is also reputed to be on the way.
An International Touch.
The J.C.C. should have a really good show at the International Trophy Race, which will be held on May 6th, especially since the course has been altered to bring the cars down to a hairpin in the Finishing Straight opposite the Paddock. The start of the race incidentally has been put off from 2 o’clock until 3 to allow people more time to get down from London after seeing the jubilee procession.
The prize money is on a generous scale and for once there will be an international element in the shape of two well-known Italian drivers, Rovere and Farina, who will drive Ma.seratis, the first-named a six-cylinder 2.4-litre car, while Farina will probably drive the if litre he has handled in a number of Italian events. They were over in England last month and attended ihe opening meeting at Brooklands.
I am particularly interested to hear that Donkin has acquired an 1,100 c.c. IVIa.serati and that this will also be running. It will be the first chance we have had over here to compare its performance with that of the M.G. Magnettes.
Freddy comes back.
Reports from the well-known Yorkshire spa of Middlesbrough show that Freddy Dixon is making good progress, has been out of hospital some time, was merely suffering from shock, and should be fit in time for the International Trophy. So much the better.
Last year the race was the signal for quite a number of old two-litre Bugattis to come out of their retirement, and I hear that Esson Scott is putting in some useful work on his, which of course is a two-camshaft model and was once the property of Count Czaikowski. He has removed the blower and has fitted four S.U. carburetters, and is engaged in the by-no-means easy task of making tliern all play together.
Hydraulic Brakes for Alfas ?
Reverting for a moment to Signor Farina, I understand that his firm, the well-known Milan firm of coach, builders have lately been producing a special form of hydraulically operated brake system called the ” Ariston.” Its special feature is that all parts of the system are ,kept under pressure from a special reservoir with a
spring-loaded plunger, which prevents the possibility of air leaking into the piping when the brake pedal is released. It has been widely tested for some time and will probably be used on the new independently sprung Alfas.
Foreign Drivers for Shelsley.
As reported on another page, we may hope to see Hans Stuck on the Auto-Union over in England in May to attack the Shelsley record, which he hopes to
bring down to 38 seconds, while Mr. Wilson also expects that Kohlrausch, the German driver will take part driving the Austin with which Driscoll broke the Mountain Record the other day. Meanwhile our home Shelsley specialists have not been idle. Harker has fitted special short throw-cranks
to his eight-cylinder Special thus reducing the swept volume to 1,100 c.c. It is now fitted with an outsize in Zoller blowers, runs up to 8,000 r.p.m. and gives more horsepower than it did in its 1-litre form. With a rebuilt and strengthened chassis and new brakes the car will hardly know itself.
Though Whitney Straight has practically given up racing this year, he intends to defend his title with one of his 3-litre Maseratis. The other has been converted into a two-seater sports car, with Mille Miglia body. The greatest difficulty of course was to change over the steering from a
central position, but it should be an amazing car when it is finished. The 13-litre Hispano, which is to be run at Le Mans is also expected in England soon.
Unable to get the Auto-Union which he wanted Straight has gone in wholeheartedly for aviation, and is now interested in the Monospar, the machine which won last year’s King’s Cup.
Racing round Italy.
Lord Howe will not be taking a team of M.G.’s to the Mille Miglia, but the marque will be represented by Cecchini who had a number of successes on his M.G. last year, and Pellegrini, who drove a 2.3 Alfa in last year’s race.
The only other British car at present entered is the 41-litre Lagonda Rapide to be driven by Cholmondeley Tapper and Miss Ellison. Apart from the Talbot driven by Brian Lewis some years ago it will.be the only British entry of over 11-litres which has taken part.
All the best Sports Car Races.
This particular car will also be run in the Belgian 10-Hour Race, at the Targa Abruzzo, and possibly in one or more of the sports car races held in North Africa. It is hoped that a team of Lagondas will be entered at Ulster and Le Mans, with Rose Richards as one of the drivers.
M.G.’s are turning out in force at Le Mans, and a new departure this year will be a ladies Team entered by George Eyston and driving P-type Midgets. The names are Miss Skinner and Miss Evans, Miss Ellison and Miss Allan, and Miss Richmond and Mrs. Eaton.
Returning from our Continental survey, what of Brooklands. The famous old Track still remains for many people in the South of England the only place where real speed can be witnessed, and Mr. Bradley and his colleagues are to be congratulated on the efforts they have made this winter in improving the
surface of the track, providing better loud-speaking equipment, and various other points which appeal to drivers and spectators alike.
On the other hand I still feel that both the catering and the surroundings of the club leave much to be desired. Unfortunately the host of untidy buildings which have grown up round the Clubhouse prevents the authorities from preserving the Country Club atmosphere which one expects after entering along the new Shell Way. I feel, however, that to be asked to pay 3s. 6d. for a lunch consisting of Irish stew and complicated but cold puddings is quite excessive, and the same goes for the bar and other accommodation at the Fork.
Eightpence with Music.
At the risk of being proclaimed out of order, I will repeat my only “chestnut,” which concerns a wellknown Oxford College. Dinner on Sunday night was the ” high-spot ” of the catering and the impecunious undergraduate was charged three shillings and eightpence for his meal (including twopence for a napkin I). An enterprising young man wrote up to a well-known London ‘firm of caterers, whom we will call Messrs. Joseph’s, enclosing a menu and asking for a quotation for a meal of this type. In two days it came, Napoleonic in its briefness, ” Eightpence, including music.” While no one would expect the Club House to have the facilities to provide meals at this figure, it seems all wrong in view of the B.A.R.C. subscription that so many people should find it desirable to join the Aero Club as well in order to enjoy well-cooked food in congenial surroundings.
Reports of Recent Events, June 1949
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