Letters from Readers, April 1949

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44

H.R.G. Road Test
Sir,
May I say how much I enjoyed reading your H.R.G. road test?

You refer to the “high” ratios of the H.R.G., and so indeed they are; yet they are extremely wide-spaced for a sports car. Each downward change involves stepping up the engine speed by 50 per cent., which militates against making the most of the power-curve; while the maxima on the various gears (in terms of m.p.h.) are most unevenly spaced. That is to say, at 5,000 r.p.m. they would be 97, 66, 42 1/2 and 26 1/2 m.p.h., respectively. A far better spacing, for all purposes except mud-larking, would be 4, 5.4, 7.2 and 12 to 1, giving the properly-spaced maxima of 97, 73, 48 1/2 and 29 m.p.h., respectively. The number of people who buy cars primarily for trials purposes is small and not worth catering for (trials are not “motoring” in the proper sense at all). It seems a very great pity to me that this really excellent car should always have been hampered by such silly gear ratios.

I am, Yours, etc.,
Cecil Clutton.
Blackheath.

Sir,
Thank you for the road test of the 1 1/2-litre H.R.G. published in your January issue. As an owner of an “1,100” model H.R.G., I can confirm the truly astonishing roadholding of these cars. No car that I have ever owned has given me the same sense of absolute security and control at speed as has my H.R.G. A safer car on English roads would be impossible to find anywhere. In the “70s” my car can be flicked from side to side of the road without any suggestion that one is straining either the car or one’s own or the passenger’s nerves.

The “1,100” model seems to be very little short of the 1 1/2-litre car in performance. I have obtained slightly under 21 sec. (hand timing) for the “rest to 60 m.p.h.” figure. The maximum speed is a genuine 75 m.p.h., while over 80 on the speedometer can be reached with the slightest advantage of wind and gradient. 60 m.p.h. cruising at 3,000 r.p.m. with an 1,100-c.c. engine is perhaps the car’s most satisfying attribute.

It is with the greatest regret that I find I must part with my H.R.G., but at least I have experienced the joy it has to offer.

I am, Yours, etc,
P. Randall Arthur
Shrewsbury.

Sir,
I have just finished paging through a Motor Sport magazine dated February, 1946. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this fine publication of yours.

I read with much disgust the article titled “Brooklands’ Obituary.” What in the devil is the matter with the M.A.P. and Vickers Ltd.? Can’t they realise that there is so much to be learned by allowing motor racing? For some reason or another they just seem to want to cancel any kind of automotive improvement or sport as much as they can.

British automobiles are as good if not better than any other cars on the roads to-day. Imagine an American saying that. But they are perhaps not with the latest streamlining, but what counts in an automobile is what is under the hood, and here England, Germany, France, and Italy lead the world.

Perhaps by now Brooklands has returned to its rightful owners. It belongs to men who want to drive flat out and feel the thrill of high speed. True sportsmen who have done so much to further automotive progress. If great immortals in the racing sport like Birkin, Thomas, Dunfee, Lambert, Rolls, and Royce could have read the above-mentioned article, I am sure they would turn over in their graves.

Please let me know as to what has happened to Brooklands and what the chances are to ever be able to see the Bentleys, Bugattis, etc., lapping at speed again.

I am, Yours, etc.
Jack R. Schutz.
Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin.

[Well, just what answer is there to the American’s query? — Ed.]

1 1/2-Litre Gordano
Sir,
I was very interested in the description of the above car which appeared in your May issue, and I was particularly glad to find that someone in the motor car industry has at last decided to simplicate and add more lightness.

I cannot understand, however, why steel wheels are fitted when it is so necessary to keep down the unsprung weight. If wheels made of the new magnesium zirconium alloy were fitted, the weight of the wheels would certainly be half what it is at present.

I may add that I am speaking from experience with this alloy as I am the designer of the Planet Satellite aircraft which is entirely built of it and which is now ready for flying.

I am, Yours, etc.
J. N. D, Heenan.
London, W.1.

Sir,
Another fine issue of Motor Sport. Your “Reflections”extremely interesting and bring back memories, but. . .

The real Sizaire-Berwick had nothing to do with Austin. Designed by the brothers Sizaire at the instigation of F. W. Berwick & Co., it was shown to the public for the first time at the Paris Salon of 1913, with a four-cylinder 90 by 160mm. engine. At Olympia a month later it was “as fine an example of design and workmanship as can be found in the Show.”

After World War I it reappeared as the “25/50,” again with four cylinders, but with 95 by 160-mm. engine, a car of beautiful workmanship and incredible refinement of detail design.

Before 1920 it was made only in France, but later by Sizaire Berwick Ltd. in England (the firm had its own metallurgical laboratory); manufacture continued in France under licence. The car was too good: the price too high (£1,600-£2,000).

Late in 1922 a new company was formed with Sir Herbert Austin as chairman. Four models then listed — a new six-cylinder and two new four-cylinders with Austin Twelve and Twenty engines. In January, 1923, Sizaire Berwick at the Scottish Show appeared on the same stand as Austins. By the 1923 Show the old. “25/50” — the real Sizaire-Berwick — had disappeared. A car that was “almost in a class of its own” was no more. It was made too well.

Would that cars were made like that to-day!

I am, Yours, etc.
Eric G. Emmett.
Kington, Herefordshire.

Crystal Palace Road Circuit.

Sir,
Among the proposals for the rebuilding of the Crystal Palace I was pleased to see that the road circuit there is to receive attention. I have wondered for some time why there has not been any agitation amongst the motor racing. fraternity for it to be re-opened.

Now that there is a movement to that end, can you help to popularise it through your journal? As admirable as Silverstone and Goodwood are, they are open to the criticism which has been made against most speed venues in this country, i.e., that they are very inaccessible to the ordinary public. And to create interest in motor racing in this country, we must cater for the bulk of the people. Here, with Crystal Palace we have a course right in the middle of the largest group of people, and with good transport facilities in all directions.

As I lived in Derby pre-war, I was not able to visit this little circuit, and I know it is open to attack in being narrow in parts and tortuous for a short lap. Nevertheless, this should not deter us, as perhaps some of these drawbacks could be remedied if advocated by an authoritative body. In any case, it could surely be made a happy hunting ground for the 500-c.c. brigade, and would be no mean achievement now that class has attained a status in the International formula races.

One thing that would have to be watched is that the authorities at the Crystal Palace would not give road racing there a dirt track “atmosphere.”

I am, Yours, etc.
H. J. Blythe
Hemel Hempstead.

Sir,
I have been reading a reprint from Motor Sport entitled “Looking in on the Healey” (January, 1947). At the end of the article it is stated that “actual performance figures remain to be taken in the near future, when the car is submitted to the full Motor Sport road test curriculum.” I should like to know if this has since appeared in a later copy of your paper, and if so, whether you have a spare copy which you could let me have?

Of course I have read other tests of this interesting car, but none of them give such a complete report as Motor Sport.

I am, Yours, etc,
Ian Leschallas.
Haslemere.

[Since our visit to Warwick we have made application more than once for a Healey for the promised road test, without response from the manufacturers – Ed.]

Sir,
The notes relating to the Southsea Motor Club in your February issue were brought to the notice of my committee at a recent meeting. The gentlemen to whom your refer — S. R. H. Critchett and A. W. Finch — were not elected members of the committee but were admitted by the committee to club membership. I think that the blame must be attached to the club’s magazine and not to your reporter as our December issue, from which you have taken your information, was certainly rather ambiguous.

At the annual general meeting of the club, held in December, there were two new members voted to the committee by the club. These were J. E. C. Moorey as Assistant Press Secretary (well known for his admirable commentaries at events held in the south), and S. A. Faulkner as Competition Secretary (brother of R. W. Faulkner, who has become notorious with his Mercury-Special). Mr. S. A. Faulkner invariably passengers his brother in trials.

I would also mention that unfortunately the club will not be using the Goodwood Circuit this year either alone or in conjunction with other clubs, for the policy of B.A.R.C. (formerly J.C.C.) is that the circuit will not be used by other clubs for this season at least.

I am, Yours, etc.,
C. S. Dewey, Hon. Sec.,
The Southsea Motor Club.

Sir,
The article entitled “About the Adler,” published in the February issue of your journal contains several inaccuracies, quite apart from glorifying a car which would certainly much better be left unmentioned in a journal like yours.

The Adler Trumpf appeared on the market in 1932, fully two years before the f.w.d. Citroen. It had an engine of 1 1/2-litre capacity, with 71 by 95-mm. bore and stroke. This same engine was used in another model launched at the same time, the “Primus,” which was of much more conservative design and was discontinued after a few seasons. The engine of the “Trumpf” was then increased to 1,645 c.c. in 1935 and to 1,950 c.c. in 1938, to keep pace with the car’s increase in weight and bulk. The “Trumpf Junior” was introduced in 1935 and was a somewhat better car than the bigger “Trumpf.” The “Diplomat” was only a new name for the very old type “Standard Six,” when it got independent front suspension.

The ugly and clumsy streamlined car mentioned by your contributor is the 2.5-litre six-cylinder, fully independently-sprung r.w.d. car, which was the last model produced by Adlers.

Your contributor is mistaken when he says that the “Trumpf” had orthodox 1/2-elliptics at the rear. In fact, each wheel was independently sprung on a trailing arm to which was anchored the bigger end of a 1/4-elliptic spring. If the trailing arms had had a sufficient rigidity, this would have been a better arrangement than the leading arms and torsion bars of the smaller car, which becomes undriveable when the shock-absorbers are worn (which they get all too soon), and which the leading arms lift at the back under braking, thus increasing a natural tendency for a car to dip under such circumstances.

Apart from a good steering gear, I cannot find a single good feature in these front-drive Adlers. They are about the most sluggish things on wheels; the engine is much too far back in the frame, so that there is insufficient weight on the driving wheels for proper control, which is felt when cornering on any but the hardest and smoothest surface, in spite of the meagre b.h.p. given by the engine. Then, as your contributor rightly says, the tail tends to slide out on corners, which is the last thing it should do on a good f.w.d. car. Also, though the action of the steering-column gear-change is admittedly passable for its type, the gear ratios on both the “Trumpf” and the “Junior” are among the worst chosen I have ever met with.

It also seems that your contributor never had the misfortune to break a fan belt, otherwise he certainly would not have left this endearing point unmentioned! Let it only be said that unless he is prepared to put up with a most diverting tick-tick noise made by a belt incorporating a detachable link, he will have to remove the entire front suspension, differential and gearbox in order to fit a new belt which can on no account be dispensed with, because it also drives the dynamo.

But then, obviously, I cannot see what is a sports car and what is not, and I eagerly look forward to learning which are — to quote the Editor — the “sporting tendencies” in a Renault Eight.

Just the same,
I am, Yours, etc.,
Paul Frere
Brussels.
[The point is we suppose, that compared with English family boxes, the Renault Eight and similar Continental utility cars seem quite decent sort of vehicles. — Ed.]

Sir,
Your correspondent “Baladeur” seems to have had a real “Sideslip” this month.

He is usually so correct that I hesitate to contradict him but for the sake of historical accuracy it should be pointed out when mentioning Adolphe Clement’s activities that the factory at Mezieres turned out the Clement-Panhard, sold in Britain as the Stirling I believe.

Cars turned out at the new Levallor’s factory on the Quai Michelen were just Clement until about the end of 1903 (my specimen left the works on December 12th, 1903, for instance), but evidently the Clement-Gladiator firm objected to use of the name, so Clement perforce had to submit and added the name Bayard.

Duncan in the World on Wheels mentions that Clement-Bayard cars began to appear in the latter half of 1903 and shows photos of both Adolphe Clement and Clement-Bayard racers in 1904, the latter quite a streamlined effort from the front aspect. On another point.

I did not recognise Barbarod as the Benz Parsival designer. Quoting Duncan again, he calls him Barbaroux and as he must have known the man personally, or at any rate well by repute, I feel this must be the correct version.

I am, Yours, etc.,
Alan W, F. Smith
Mayfield.

Sir,
As Vauxhall-Bedford Main Dealers we should like to congratulate you on the splendidly exhaustive and scrupulously fair report on the new Velox.

We must, however, correct one small error: the panel light can be switched off by a small switch mounted on the horizontal flange below the instrument panel; but it is linked with the side-lamp circuit to the extent that it will not light unless the side-lamps are switched on, the intention being to provide a means of knowing whether the side-lamps are on or not.

I am, Yours, etc.,
pp. Mason’s Garage (Chichester) Ltd.,
Francis Shepherd
Service Manager.
Chichester.

[Other correspondents, too, have written to point out that we inadvertently dazzled ourselves with the “Velox.” — Ed.]

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