Letters from Readers, April 1948
Tribute to a British Car
My copy of November Motor Sport reached me via Australia in New Zealand a week or so ago.
I was interested in your impressions of 1 1/2-litre Riley as I arranged to have one at Melbourne on arrival and have since driven it about 7,400 miles. It has 6-in. tyres, the smaller not being available. Distance record is very close to accurate but I think speed is optimistic, but it runs showing 70 easily. I have often had it above and up to 80, but have not tried for max.
Almost always we are two up and full of luggage.
I agree with most of your remarks. I do not find the horn too strong — I would prefer two-tone, one being stronger.
I do not think the steering heavy and do not find any pull to one side, but on a bad road some reaction comes back.
Some of the main roads especially in Australia are straight, towns are few so that I have done 50 miles in an hour several times, once over 100 in under 2 hours, but oil pressure keeps up well and the rad. thermometer sticks at .70°. There are quite substantial mountains to cross, especially in New Zealand, and generally very twisty and narrow, so that gears are used, but I don’t think water has reached 80° even on a hot day.
I can’t understand your m.p.g. of 18-19, as in Australia I averaged approx. 30 and in New Zealand with more climbing 28 to 29. I do some coasting. Petrol is no better than at home.
I am very pleased with the car, which attracts a lot of interest.
I am, Yours, etc.,
A. A. Pollard.
P.S. — In the matter of speed I consider my wife’s dislike of going very quickly so max. is kept down.
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I was interested to see in the December issue that Lt. McKay has definitely established his 2-litre Lagonda to be the one that ran at Le Mans in 1929. There must, however, be some mistake as I have had the Le Mans car since 1938 and have evidence of identification from Lagonda Motors (letter, August, 1938), from Mrs. Field-Richards (letter 25/11/40), who bought the car from R. R. Jackson, and from a photograph of the car at Le Mans sent to me by Mr. Culling, who was with Lagondas at the time and acted as racing mechanic.
For Lt. McKay’s information, three similar cars (not exact replicas) were prepared and raced by a syndicate consisting of C. J. Randell, W. E. Edmondson, George Roberts and others; the team was managed by A. W. Fox. The registration numbers of these cars were, I believe, PK 9201, PK 9202, and PK 9203. Mine is PK 9204. As a matter of interest I have a photograph of PK 9202 in racing trim.
If anyone has any original performance “gen” on any of these cars I should be most grateful if he would get in touch with me, as very little seems to be known of these racing models, i.e., the four 1929 cars and the three of 1928 that competed at Le Mans in such difficult circumstances. There was also W. M. Couper’s car that seemed to appear in everything from the “Land’s End” to Outer Circuit Brooklands races for very many years!
I am, Yours, etc.,
D. R. Hagen.