What price the ton?

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Walking round Earls Court last October the thought came to us that it would be fun to construct a Motor Sport sports car entirely from proprietary parts supplied by the components and accessories firms that where were exhibiting. The plot embraced the simplist possible construction compatible with a genuine maximum speed of 100 mph. This project was still-born within the Exibition Hall, but we were reminded of it when a reader drew our attention to an article in January’s Mechanix Illustrated about how to build a 100-mph sports car for under 500 dollars or for less than £165.

This MI Sportster, devised by RE Whitehead, follows the conventional American “hot-rod or hop-up” pattern. The basis is a 1932 Ford V8 30 two-door sedan, stripped of its body and drastically lowered so that the occupants can touch the ground with their hand. A reconditioned Ford or Mercury V8 engine up to 1948, with high-compression heads, is installed and a simple two-seater sports body of 20 and 22-gauge sheet steel on a framework of 3/4-in steel electrical conduit tubing, with 16-gauge floorboards on 1-in angle irons, is fitted. The wheelbase is unaltered but weight is reduced to “just under 1,000 lb (!–Ed), and it is claimed that only a dual carburetter manifoldld and 8.5 to 1 compression ratio are needed to enable the angular but exciting MI Sportster to “see off” such sports cars as Delage, Jaguar, MG, AC, Aston-Martin. Nash-Healey, Lagonda, Simca, Jupiter, Riley and Bentley—to quote in full this rather mixed list in the Mechanix Illustrated article. Full constructional details are available for three dollars, for what seems to us to be the least-expensive 100-mph car ever, especially as later in the article the cost estimate falls to under £135. We note, however, that in the USA 1932 Ford Vs8 sedans are available for approximately £15, which should (but, alas, probably won’t) shame those dealers in this country who ask at least fourteen times as much for these cars.