Rumblings, April 1953

May 9th

May 9th is the day reserved for the Daily Express/B.R.D.C. Silverstone meeting. A record crowd is expected and you should make your grandstand and enclosure reservations NOW to the Trophy Office, Daily Express, Fleet Street, E.C.4. Special steps are being taken to ensure free flow of traffic in and out of the circuit and the Chief Constables of Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire have promised all possible support. 


Crystal Palace Circuit

The London County Council has now issued a definite statement about racing at the new Crystal Palace circuit in South-East London. The track is shorter than pre-war, being now 1.39 miles to a lap, and on average is 30 ft. wide, with a 36 ft. wide finishing area. The following races will take place there this season :

May 25th (Whit-Monday): B.A.R.C. Fll  and Flll  (possibly Formula Libre) Racing.

June 27th: B.M.C.R.C. Motor-cycle Race Meeting.

July 11th: Half-Litre C.C. Flll Racing.

Aug. 22nd: S.E. Centre A.C.U. Motor-cycle Meeting.

Sept. 19th: International Half-Litre C.C. Flll Race Meeting,

A third motor-cycle meeting may be announced later.

The racing is going to be on a serious basis, as is evident when it is found that His Grace the Duke of Richmond and Gordon has cancelled the Goodwood meeting scheduled for Whit-Monday so that the B.A.R.C. can organise a meeting at the Crystal Palace instead. Earl Howe has given much help to the L.C.C.

The position is that the newly-formed Crystal Palace Motor Sports Committee (consisting of Messrs. S. T. Huggett (A.C.U.), W. J. Morgan (B.A.R.C.), A. E. Moss (Half-Litre C.C.), and D. J. Scannell (B.R.D.C.), nominated by the R.A.C. for the purpose) will arrange all starting fees, prizes, insurance and provision of officials, but the L.C.C. will finance the meetings, and make itself responsible for general management, facilities for the public, and box office arrangements.

The year 1953 is a trial season for motor racing at the Crystal Palace circuit and Londoners who want motor racing on their doorsteps should support the L.C.C. this year in its brave new venture. Admission charges are modest — 4s. per adult (3s. at a motor-cycle meeting), or 2s. 6d. (Is. 6d.) for a child; special enclosure 2s. 6d. extra. There is said to be room for tens of thousands of spectators and large car parks, but covered stands will not be available, so take your so’westers and umbrellas!  Disabled drivers are to be allowed to park near the course for no extra charge.

This all sounds very fair to us and we say again — Londoners, show the L.C.C. that you want racing within the Metropolis. First meeting, remember—Whit-Monday, May 25th.


Girling birthday

Girling, Limited, celebrated the 21st year of their connection with the motor industry at the end of February. Since 1932, when New Hudson, Ltd., as Girling’s then was, turned from the manufacture of cycles and motor-cycles to the machining of automobile components, the Company have earned a world-wide reputation for their brakes, dampers and other chassis equipment. Girling brakes are now fitted to 52 per cent. of private cars built in Britain, nearly 80 per cent. of vans and lorries and almost 100 per cent. of tractors.

From that first tentative incursion into the automobile field Girling’s, led by their Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Mr. Alex Fraser, are now an organisation employing 4,000 workers, in two factories, producing 40,000 brakes and 15,000 telescopic dampers a week. In addition thousands of components are produced weekly for replacements.

The original rod-operated Girling mechanical brake when introduced by New Hudson, Ltd., in the early 1930’s created something of a technical sensation. Invented by Mr. A. H. G. Girling it appeared at a time when the relatively inefficient cam-operated brake held universal sway. The new brake in which the shoes were lifted by tappets actuated by a cone and rollers was much more efficient and deservedly gained a high reputation. The Rover Company were the first firm to place a production order followed by Daimler and Lanchester. Soon many of the largest firms in the industry were fitting Girling brakes.

During the war braking requirements for tanks and military vehicles led the Company into the commercial vehicle field where Dennis, Albion, Leyland and Thornycroft were among the first manufacturers to use Girling brakes. As the war progressed new types of vehicles were developed resulting in new brake designs, an outstanding example being the disc brake used on the Daimler Armoured Fighting Vehicle.

The light aeroplane field next attracted attention and Girling brakes were designed for types of De Havilland and Taylor Aircraft.

In 1943 New Hudson, Ltd., became an associate of Joseph Lucas, Ltd., and the firm’s name was changed to Girling, Ltd. The new firm combined the resources of Bendix, another Lucas Associated Company, and New Hudson. The Luvax Shock Absorber Company was added to Girling, Ltd., in 1944, opening up a new field of activity. Subsequent rapid expansion created a need for a larger factory and production was transferred to a large modern works at Cwmbran, Monmouthshire, taken over from the Ministry of Aircraft Production. Headquarters, engineering and service departments remained at Tyseley.

The immediate post-war years were extremely busy ones for Girling’s who played a full part in the production and export drive that characterised the whole motor industry on its return to a peacetime footing. Brake design continued to advance and hydraulic systems, mainly as a result of the linkage problems inherent in independent front suspension systems, replaced mechanical brakes. Although Girling’s had long been specialists in mechanical braking they made rapid strides in hydraulic technique. Currently the majority of all brakes they produce, both front and rear, are hydraulic.

Last year, consequent upon their experience with disc brakes for fighting vehicles during the war, Girling’s, after intensive development work, introduced a disc brake (incorporating patents licensed from the Dunlop Rubber Company) for motor cars and commercial vehicles. This development, while still in its early stages, is undoubtedly the biggest step forward in brake design for many years. Its adoption as a production feature cannot be long delayed.

Mounting interest and activity in the sporting field led some years ago to the formation of a special racing department which now looks after the requirements of hundreds of racing and sports cars each year.



 From a reader comes a clipping out of The Australian Women’s Weekly containing news of Fay Taylour. She attracted the attention of that journal’s staff reporter Sheila Patrick when she was ordering special racing overalls in pretty pale blue to match her V8 60 racing car. Fay expressed the view that looking attractive is nearly as important in racing as good driving. Fay took Sheila Patrick for a 100-m.p.h. trip in her “hepped-up” TD M.G., which bears her name on its doors. It says much that the Australian lady reporter stood up to this, screen flat, until three or four fast, sliding turns caused her to suggest going home. It’s a great life, girls !  What intrigued us is that Fay looked for the nearest park in which to do her 100-m.p.h. safely fast-ing. Imagine going to one of England’s Royal parks for some dicing!

The article refers to “one of Fay’s proudest achievements” as the breaking of Sir Malcolm Campbell’s record at Brooklands Track at 124 m.p.h. Not only can we find no account of this in “The Story of Brooklands,” but Fay Taylour does not appear to have held a B.A.R.C. 120-m.p.h. badge. Did any of the ladies ?  Yes, Mrs. E. M. Thomas, Mrs. Wisdom, Kay Petre, Gwenda Stewart and Margaret Allen, while Kay and Gwenda were also entitled to display 130-m.p.h. badges. Quit shooting a line, Fay!


Photo — Triumph Sports Model

Modified — the Triumph Sports Model which was shown at Earls Court in its production form. The performance has been stepped up, in the firm’s hand-outs, from 0-50 m.p.h in 11-1/2 sec. and 0-60 m.p.h. in 15-1/2 sec. to 9 sec. and 13 sec., respectively; speed remains at 90 m.p.h. and m.p.g. at 24.