The Monkhouse Films

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Durirg February George Monkhouse gave a film show to members of the Harrow Car Club, in the well-appointed cinema at Kodak Hall. He showed some excellent slides of photographs of the 3-litre Grand Prix Mercédès-Benz chassis which he took last June, his well-known colour films of the German G.P. teams in action, and also some official German films of the 1938-39 seasons, one preceded by a discourse by Hitler and another taken for Mercédès-Benz. Imagine a full-length news film of motor-racing being shown in English cinemas, preceded by an address given by the Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill!

A packed hall showed great appreciation of Monkhouse’s fine show, well-known personalities present being John Bolster, Gregor Grant, Rivers-Fletcher, W. Boddy, C. D. Abbott, who owns 1903 and 1904 Mercédès cars, and Mr. Mayer, who has owned over 100 cars of this make. These films convey better than any other medium just what an immense business this Grand Prix racing on the part of the German teams was. Several shots of Lang, who in 1939 won seven races out of 10 starts, indicated the tremendous physical strain of handling a Mercédès-Benz in a race of this nature lasting some four hours. There was one dramatic colour impression of the incident when, Brauchitsch leading Dick Seaman in the 1938 German Grand Prix, both cars came in together to refuel; Brauchitsch’s caught fire, setting the driver’s overalls alight, and Seaman drove off through the smoke and fumes to victory, his life-long ambition being to win this race. Moreover, Brauchitsch got into his car when the fire had been extinguished and, finding it O.K., if swamped in fire-foam, drove on, only to crash down the road because he had forgotten to lock his detachable steering wheel, which came off in his hands.

Certainly no one should miss these films — we wish the German propaganda ones could be shown to the ordinary cinema-goer in all our news-theatres. Monkhouse divulged an interesting point about the Don Lee G.P. Mercédès-Benz that has appeared at Indianapolis. Mercédès fitted a complex system of drain pipes to the induction manifolds of their 3-litre cars, to drain away fuel deposits, otherwise there was a danger of liquid fuel entering the cylinders in considerable quantities when next the engine was started. It seems that the Americans couldn’t fathom these odd-looking pipes and discarded them, resulting in three damaged connecting-rods through compression of liquid fuel, when they attempted to run the engine.