Letters From Readers

N.B. — Opinions expressed are those of our correspondents and " Motor Sport" does not necessarily associate itself with them. — Ed.

Economy Tricars

Motor Sport constantly bemoans the lack of a British "People's Car" on the market. What about the new three-wheelers on the market and in quantity production now? So far there is the Bond Mini-car (not quite in the class), the A.C. Petite and the three-wheeler "heavy," the Reliant Regal coupé. In the throes of production also are the Vernon Industries job and (see Sunday newspapers) a new "three-point " Allard! Something to look forward to, anyway.

Surely these rate a Motor Sport road test? Don't say that the motor-cycling weeklies take care of these jobs, because, truthfully, they don't.

Let us see typical test reports on these British "People's Cars" in the not too distant future.
I am. Yours, etc.,
John J. Nolan,
[We have not overlooked the modern three-wheelers and tested the original Bond exhaustively — see the issue of July, 1950, pages 326/7. We have repeatedly asked A.C. Cars Ltd. for an A.C. Petite; indeed, one was promised to us for extensive trial three years ago but it has never materialised. Nor has Reliant Engineering replied to our letters requesting a vehicle for test. On the other hand, Citroën Cars Ltd., who apparently do not fear a Motor Sport road-test, presented the Citroën 2 c.v. for an extended trial (of more than 2,000 miles). — Ed.]

The Peugeot 203

Now that the Peugeot "203" has done so well in the Monte Carlo Rally and won the Australian RedeX Rally (not the first Australian Rally it has won by any means) permit use to say a few words on behalf of this car, which seems to have been rather neglected by enthusiasts and road testers in this country.

From the utilitarian viewpoint it is an excellent family car; roomy, with a large boot, comfortable, fast, notably economical and dead reliable; also it is quite dustproof. It is comprehensively equipped, and has those little extras like built-in supports for a roof rack, accessible fuses on the instrument panel, and other common-sense features which help to endear it to its owner.

The general design has that ruggedness usually associated with the American vehicle. As a consequence it is virtually unbreakable, even though sadly abused and neglected by some oafish farmer-owner. It does not suffer when new from all these major and minor, but often expensive, defects euphemistically called "teething troubles," and even when due for an overhaul, the work is straightforward, as the car appears to have been designed with servicing accessibility in mind.

For the enthusiast, here is a car which handles and corners beautifully. As a combination of roadholding, cornering power, and riding comfort, it is approached, in my experience, only by the Mercédès-Benz. The geared-up "overdrive" gives quiet effortless cruising with low engine wear. It is easily "souped° and responsive to such work. It inspires confidence as soon as one takes the wheel and a short acquaintance with it makes one understand why. Like the Volkswagen and the Holden, it is making a dent in the sales of English cars overseas.

In some ways it takes up where the Citroën leaves off. It is a family car with sporting characteristics, but more refined, and lacking in all those, let us face it, somewhat crude features of the Citroën. The rough edges have been smoothed off, but a definite and likeable character remains.

Before the numerous Citroën fans among your readers reach, muttering, for their weapons, I would point out that I make all these admittedly sweeping assertions as the past owner of an onze legère, and the present owner of a Morris Minor (an over-rated vicious little brute in my opinion).

Price? In Belgium, slightly cheaper than English cars of comparable size, in Australia slightly dearer, due to Empire preference.

I am not in any way connected with the motor trade.
I am, Yours, etc.,
D. B. Taylor,

A Non-Standard Austin-Healey 100?

May I put forward a few belated queries-as regards the production Austin-Healey 100 tried out at the Guild of Motoring Writers annual test day at Goodwood? In your article "Rumblings" (December issue) you state that, while lapping in the Austin-Healey at the Goodwood circuit, overdrive second was used for the entire lap.

Is it not being rather hard on a car for which the humane maximum speed in overdrive second is in the region of 76 m.p.h.? While not yet having had the advantage of racing at Goodwood, or even of seeing the course. I feel that as an owner of an Austin-Healey, a speed far in excess of 76 m.p.h. could be reached by using direct top. Furthermore, you write of this "100 m.p.h. plus" sports car which hardly gives credit to a car which has a maximum of 111 m.p.h. in standard trim, and a maximum of no less than 119 m.p.h. with one up and aero screen.

All of which brings me to my main point. My references to speeds have so far been taken from the "Autocar Road Tests, 1953," not yet having been able to judge them in practice myself as my car is not yet run-in. Could it be, however, that the Austin-Healey tested in the Autocar road test, and possibly also at Goodwood, was not, in fact, a standard production "100"? I see no other way of excusing an enthusiastic driver from "holding on" to overdrive second in such a wonderful car on such a circuit as I have heard Goodwood to be, unless, of course, this production car was capable of more than 76 m.p.h. in that gear! I suggest that these cars tested were, in fact, the much more expensive and vastly superior, modified Austin-Healeys with Le Mans engine modifications. I base this statement on my careful perusal of the Autocar road test photo of the Austin Healey-engine, in which it appears to me that the car tested actually had the larger carburetters and air intake modifications of the Le Mans kit, with also no doubt highlift cams, etc. Indeed, one could go further and ask if the car did not also have a different rear-axle ratio, and race-type springs. I feel that in fairness to owners of standard "100s", perhaps expecting performance of the undoubted brilliance these road tests exemplify, it should be definitely ascertained and specified by the works concerned and by the testers whether or not the car is, in fact, a standard production model, or a more expensive modified car with its resultant advantages. As a result of these points I have made, I earnestly beg some space in your columns to clear them up. In addition, to humbly ask the writer of "Rumblings" why he was embarrassed by the automatic overdrive engagement when coming out of the chicane when in touring or racing the overdrive unit can he operated manually to great advantage. I conclude with a tribute to the Austin-Healey, modified or standard, and to your excellent magazine even though it sometimes provokes "Rumblings" by reason of its outspokenness, though scrupulous fairness.
I am, Yours, etc.,
C. B. Carter
Guebwiller. France.
[We believe that the Austin-Healey 100 referred to was a standard car. The Le Mans car which the Autocar tested and we drove also had different gear ratios and a gear change differing from standard. It was possible to get into over-drive top between the corners due to greater urge with this car. We should not expect the standard Austin-Healey 100 to clock 111 m.p.h. We have asked for an Austin-Healey 100 for test and also stated that we are interested as possible purchasers but so far the makers have not submitted a car for test. — Ed.]

Post-War M.G.s

I do not feel that Mr. G. J. Lewis can go unanswered in his criticisms of the present-day M.G.s What's wrong with the Nuffield o.h.v. push-rod engine, apart from its capacity? It is undoubtedly one of the finest mass-produced engines ever evolved. Anyway, 57 b.h.p. from 1,250 c.c. is fully better than 36 from the PA's 847 c.c. Heaven help the M.G.s if they ever fit the present-day Nuffield o.h.c. design engine, with its 21 valve-cover studs, 32s. each valves and £17 for a set of decoke tools! I have owned or part-owned during the past three years two cars with the o.h.v. push-rod design engine — a 1250-c.c. TC M.G. and a 1,558-c.c. Wolseley 12/48 (the M.G. VA engine detuned); two cars with the old o.h.c. engine — an M-type and a J2 M.G.; and one car with the new o.h.c. engine — a 2,215-c.c. Wolseley 6/80. The TC will show the 6/80 its heels any day, despite its twin carburetters!

And then there's Mr. Giers from Stockholm. I would rather change camshafts than cars; I'm damn' sure the PA would be through the hedge long before the TD's cam followers needed changing! Those M.G. cable brakes . . .
I am, Yours, etc.,
Ian W. Scott Watson

Mr. Giers' letter at one point compares the TD M.G. with, among others, the Fiat 1,100. I own a Fiat 1,100 1939 saloon and navigate and co-drive a TD on rallies, and can thus claim to know both.

The TD is an excellent rally car in this country by virtue of its good handling, comfortable suspension and handy size, and the performance is usually adequate. The comfort of the seat over long periods is outstanding. It is not so satisfactory for quick seat adjustment, elbow room (try folding a map), left foot resting space, and entry. We, the crew, are both engineers, and are not happy to cruise it above 4,000 r.p.m.

The Fiat, an ordinary "family ten," has of course more space, weighs about the same, corners at least as fast, if not faster — both of us are agreed on this, and have run in company in each other's cars to prove it — and can be happily cruised as fast or faster. Being of only three-fifths the power, it bows to the TD in performance and handling only in respect of acceleration, and has also poorer reversing vision.

My motoring has to be cheap, but I have owned Rileys, Morrises, Rover, B.M.W., Rapier and others, but when the arrival of a third child compelled me to sell my Fiat 500, I had become so impressed by the "Topolino" that the choice of the 1,100 was automatic. The whole family is pleased with it, and it takes a light four-berth caravan to Lydstep Haven in the summer with complete success, in spite of rather high gearing.

I would like a Lancia Aprilia, except that it would need more and costlier spares, but as it is I stay put for I feel confident that no one can seriously and knowledgeably suggest a comparable British car to beat the 1,100 Fiat 508C This should not be so.
I am, Yours, etc.,
W. E. Wakely,

As an owner of a 1 1/4-litre M.G. saloon I have followed the correspondence concerning post-war M.G.s with considerable interest. I am surprised to find that there has not been more criticism of the new Magnette. For instance, nobody has commented on the fact that it has a Wolseley 4/44 body.

During the Scottish Motor Show I was able to have a good look at the new model and try the driving position for size. etc. In many ways it leaves much to be desired when comparing it with the "1 1/4." Most of the really worthwhile features have disappeared, i.e., sliding roof, opening windscreen, built-in hydraulic jacks, adjustable steering wheel, separate spare wheel and tool compartment, accessible engine with a genuine radiator cap, controllable rear window blind, easily adjustable headlamps, boot lid that opens the right way to make a platform for really bulky luggage, time-lag trafficators, etc.

The instrument lay-out would hardly do credit to a much cheaper product. The "square-type" of instruments have but a few almost meaningless graduation marks. I note that some of the "woodwork" is of imitation plastic. The engine, I would say, is a "souped" up version of the A40 Sports. At the show stand the representatives could not give technical details, except that it was "an entirely new design of 2 1/2 litres capacity"!! Maintaining the breed? — "Austin" engine, "Wolseley" body!!

I judge the driving position to be inferior to that of a "1 1/4," which I consider to be a good one when compared with average modern "tin-ware." On the credit side we have a built-in heating system and sereenwash, better seating accommodation for the passengers, a sensible gear and brake lever, also, no doubt, a better performance which will probably be at great expense to petrol economy. My estimate is 24/26 m.p.g.

In closing I would like to say that a great future awaits the British manufacturer who produces a really good four-seater 1 1/2-litre sports saloon. Perhaps Jaguar, Alvis or even Singer will oblige? The 1 1/2 Singer engine with the H.R.G. head should be a good proposition. A Jaguar approach (saloon version) to the instrumentation and driving position adjustability is definitely needed (I previously owned a 2 1/2 Jaguar saloon), with perhaps the looks of a TC 21/100 Alvis.
I am. Yours, etc.,
D. Ringer,

The M.G. Controversy will soon, I fear, get out of hand, but before it does I should like to have my say.

I have owned or driven many models of the above make, both in this country and in Australia, PB, TA, TC, TD, and am the proud owner of a TC single-seater "special," and the first TF to be registered in this country. I have nothing but praise for the TF. One can surely not stand against progress. Our friends who deride the modern M.G. would be very hurt if they had to stay at a hotel with no indoor sanitation. Progress . . .

In finishing, I would like to mention that I am a vintage enthusiast, but everything in perspective.
I am, Yours, etc.,
C. R. Annesley,
Salisbury, S. Rhodesia.

I have read with very great interest the recent letters voicing the feelings of many readers with regard to the latest M.G.s. In particular, I endorse the sentiments of Mr. Gustaf L. A. Giers and Mr. E. P. Harris.

To those of us who are lucky enough to run a car by economising in many ways but to whom even the thoughts of Bentley, XK120, etc., are out of the question, the M.G. types from the earliest days to the TC offered just the car many of us wanted. The sturdy chassis, simple and straightforward general design, good all-round performance were the highlights. Front wings that finished just in front of the sidelights offered A.1 maintenance facilities, and engine accessibility was second to none. Lockheed brake adjustment was a task to be enjoyed with the aid of what I think was the perfect adjuster — a snail cam. A well-designed rear axle with three-quarter floating half-shafts needed no special tools to dismantle, and the suspension was well up to its job if well damped. I have fitted a set of telescopic shock-absorbers to my own TA model and the result is very gratifying.

Now take a look at the TD and, particularly, the TF. The independent suspension, which by its very design needs the best maintenance one can give it if high replacement expenses are to be avoided, is enshrouded in mudguard. The fixed bonnet sides, I think, should be silently efficient in frustrating one's efforts to tend the needs of the power unit. The way the rear wings protrude beyond the edge of the running-boards should prove good weapons with which to knock the hinges off the garage doors! The snail-cam brake adjusters have gone. So too has the three-quarter floating rear axle, and, instead, we have a semi-floating type with hypoid rear axle, needing extractors and a special jig to set up crown-wheel and pinion when trouble rears its ugly head. The Morris Eight type of handbrake on the seat is hardly a thing of beauty compared with its highly efficient predecessor.

I, for one, was very disappointed when the Nuffield-Austin merger took place and I wonder how long it will be before we have a T-type with large swellings on its side, a manhole inspection cover-plate just behind the radiator and a B.M.C. A40 power unit — maybe this will be the TG type.

One last paragraph: I wish the Magnette, with its Wolseley 4/44 body shell, "nearly" Austin engine, hubs, etc., and chassis by "No-More Steel Pressings Ltd.," had been provided with a large chromium dollar grin bearing a B.M.C. badge rather than the present M.G. shell and ever-famous octagonal badge.

New M.G.s may come and new M.G.s may go but the old ones look like having to go on for ever.
I am, Yours, etc.,
R. M. Knox,

Last month's edition brought us three letters in so called defence of the present-day M.G. First comes the "Young and Able Enthusiast," who reckons he has good authority on the subject, as he has owned five M.G.s. Goes on and mentions a J2 and a PA. I Wonder what the other three were? As there were about twenty different types of M.G. from 1929 to 1940, I just don't see where his authority comes from. Our friend still goes on and gives us his bitter memories of "dirty night breakdowns," with oiled up vertical-drive dynamos. No doubt most of us will agree that this was not the finest place to put a dynamo, but after all, whenever I developed a leak round this region (which was very seldom) I used to "fix" it right away, but I am only young and able, and may be not an enthusiast. Next we have Mr. Thompson's letter. He evidently does not like to bounce a little on the corners, although I must agree that a TF would probably leave a PA behind (note he is careful to say over a distance), but suppose we take an M.G. of, roughly, the same engine size as the TF, shall we say a K3 Magnette. Now, Mr. Thompson, I wonder who would leave who behind over a distance? As for our third writer, Mr. J. J. Bell. Well, he just does not make sense. Where "Goldie" Gardner fits the picture I don't know. I expect however that a TF would suit him well; after all, he could probably drive(?) it with his feet up.

No, sir, I just can't believe that our three friends are M.G. enthusiasts, but take my advice, chaps, should you ever get the chance to sit behind the rev.-counters of, say, AC, QA, K3, J3 (I won't bore you by giving all types) then you take it. One word of warning, however, to get the real enjoyment from any of these types it is imperative that you "use the stick," and I don't mean as a hot peg. Oh! I nearly forgot, all I have is a little sports car; someone said it was called a PB M.G., but I wouldn't know.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Robert M. Blythe,
London, S.E.20.
[This correspondence is now closed. — Ed.]

Ackermann Patents

The original patent was taken out in Germany in 1816 by Georg Lanckensperger, a coachbuilder of Munich; because the patent laws of that time prohibited him from taking out a subsequent patent in his own name in this country; this was put through in 1818 by his "friend," Rudolph Ackermann, who also published a 60-page explanatory pamphlet in 1819.

W. Worby Beaumont, in "Motor Vehicles and Motors," Vol. 1. 2nd edition, 1902, points out that Lanckensperger fully appreciated the arrangement of the steering arms to give differential angularity.

Lanckensperger's patent, which was a natural development of Du Quet's stub axle proposition of 1714, was of course only suggested for use with horse-drawn vehicles; it is interesting to note that the main advantages claimed were higher front wheels, small radius of turning circle and greater stability.

In addition to Pecqueur's steam lorry of 1828, both Nathan Gough, in 1830, and John Redmund, in 1833, designed their steam coaches with independent pivoting of the front steering wheels. Amedée Bollée included the same idea in his patent of April 28th, 1873.

With regard to Jeantaud, his principal interest was in electric traction, although he also built a three-wheeled steamer in 1890, and a petrol-driven vehicle towards the end of the century. Lavergne gives the date of the Ackermann-type steering patent as 1878. Grand-Carteret says that the first Jeantaud electric vehicle was built in 1881 and reconstructed in 1887, and again in 1893. His second electric vehicle, built 1894/5, competed in the 1895 Paris-Bordeaux race.
I am, Yours, etc.,
James Rowatt,
Squadron Leader (R.A.F. Regt.) Retd.
London, N.6.

I am grateful to your correspondent, Mr. Pittuck, for taking me to task regarding Ackermann steering layout. I confess that I have not had the opportunity of reading the paper he refers to, but I myself referred to the English translation of Lavergne's "L'Automobile sur Route," which is usually reliable. As Mr. Pittuck rightly points out, it is obvious that Ackermann knew all about the required differential angularity, but equally Jeantaud is responsible for the layout that has been standard motor-car practice since the earliest days.

Interestingly enough, Worby Beaumont gives Lanckensperger the credit for the primary invention, the inference being that Ackermann was merely the English patentee. Perhaps Lanckeneperger's Continental specification was not so clear on the point, and there was therefore the tendency for the French to belittle Ackermann and exaggerate the contribution of Jeantaud? It would be nice if someone better versed in history could clear up the real story.

As to whether differential angularity is necessary, I am, afraid that it would take far too long to go into details. So far as the "straight line" geometry of the thing is concerned it obviously is, but of course with flexible tyres and other practical "geometric imperfections" it may well be that some cars have steered and handled quite well without its aid. Certainly the 1900 Alfa steers jolly well, but I was unaware (during a short personal drive) of the fact that its front wheels ran parallel all the time. As regards the vehicle that Jeantaud applied his layout to, it is surely an intelligent guess to say that it was an electric one, and in this connection I am afraid that all the help I can offer Mr. Pittuck is the following short extract from Rhys Jenkins' book "Motor Cars," published in 1902, " . . The carriages described above were all propelled by primary batteries and magneto-electric machines. In 1871 Gramme discovered the reversibility of the dynamo-electric generator i.e., that it could be used for converting electrical into mechanical energy, and in 1880 Faure improved the lead-plate storage battery of Plante by covering the plates with lead oxide. Faure's invention was taken up by a company in France, who applied his storage batteries in conjunction with dynamo-electric motors for the propultion of tram cars.

"A tricycle was also so fitted, and is said to have given good results, and a four-wheeled electric dogcart was ordered by the company from Jeantaud, but nothing appears to have come of this . .

With apologies to Mr. Pittuck, and thanks to you, sir, for allowing me to intrude upon your space.
I am, Yours., etc.,
"A. B. C."
London, W1.

Cornering Ability

The following is an extract from a contemporary write-up of the 1937 Bentley in a prominent London daily paper:
"This Bentley is a model that can justly be termed a 'cornering car.' In fact, I do not think that I have lately had an opportunity of trying out a vehicle that held down so definitely on the roads and took bends in so safe and exhilarating a manner. Actually the car could be made to follow the inner edge of a curve at fully 80 m.p.h. with that delightful degree of certainty which only a faultless combination of steering and springing qualities can provide."

Fifteen years later — Year of Grace 1952 — the Autocar carried out a road test of the Continental Bentley. All that it would say of this most vital aspect of the car's behaviour was that "rather a strong effort is required to hold it into sharp bends." Not much encouragement here for anyone who is thinking of spending £7,000 on a sports car! The same thing applies to the lesser cars of similar size to the Continental — paeans of praise on acceleration and high speeds on straight roads but little or nothing about behaviour on corners. It is, in fact, only when one comes to the smaller Grand Turismo class that one can detect the sort of enthusiasm that inspired my pre-war motoring correspondent.

Now nearly all these new big saloons claim speeds in excess of 90 m.p.h. and by the time next year's models are announced it seems reasonable to expect that 100 m.p.h. will be quite the normal thing. If any car can do 100 m.p.h. it should, in my submission, be able to go into a corner as if it were enjoying itself and not under protest, for otherwise it becomes a public menace on our English roads and a pain in the neck to drive. Furthermore, I defy anyone from Stirling Moss downwards to corner fast in safety and be able to take quick evasive action if his car requires more than three revolutions of the steering wheel to take it from one full lock to the other. Here I might add that the highest ratio to be found on any of these high-speed saloons is 3 1/2 revolutions, and one particularly lethal machine that I have in mind requires no fewer than 4 3/4 revolutions.

I would also add that the 1937 Bentley weighed at least 33 cwt.. yet on a turning circle of, I believe, 39 feet, the steering ratio was a mere 2 1/4 revolutions. Considering the number of elegant-looking females who drive these cars around, I very much doubt whether the old Bentley has ever been considered heavy to manoeuvre.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Tunbridge Wells. '


Although I have the deepest sympathy with your correspondent "J. N. R." who could not get into his car because when jacked-up the driving door would not open and the other three were intentionally locked, I think he has been in the habit of driving around in very dangerous circumstances.

In the interests of "safety first," please advise all your readers never, never to drive around with any door locked! Quite innocently one may be involved in an accident from which one has to be extricated by outside assistance, and it is as well to give one's would-be rescuers every possible assistance without the necessity of having to break a window before being able to unlock a door.

Actually, I have never seen this point raised before in print, and you may consider it a good idea to give it some publicity. Perhaps some unfortunate reader has already been trapped under such circumstances?
I am, Yours, etc.,
Jack M. Reiss
Leeds. ,

Guard Our Veterans

As a keen admirer of the Veteran Car Cult., an activity which in its present form is so typically English, I could not help a feeling of misapprehension and impending doom when I heard from a friend on the "inside" of the film industry, that the recent well-known British film based on the London to Brighton run, was having an enormous success in the U.S.A. and that other films on a similar veteran car theme are being considered.

This state of affairs no doubt pleases the film magnates, but to a simple veteran fan like myself it suggests that, interest having been aroused, and our American cousins being such determined and affluent purchasers, we will in future be in graver danger of losing our veteran cars to transatlantic enthusiasts.

I would urge, therefore, that as our veteran cars are, by their very nature, irreplaceable, and from an export point of view quite priceless to us, we should guard them well and reject overseas offers no matter how attractive.

I hope that the V.S.C.C. members will not think these observations a slight on their integrity but I felt a timely warning would not be misplaced and, after all, "Forewarned is forearmed."
I am, Yours, etc.,
C. S. Groves

Guard Our Veterans

As a keen admirer of the Veteran Car Cult, an activity which in its present form is so typically English, I could not help a feeling of misapprehension and impending doom when I heard from a friend on the "inside" of the film industry, that the recent well-known British film based on the London to Brighton run, was having an enormous success in the U.S.A. and that other films on a similar veteran car theme are being considered.

This state of affairs no doubt pleases the film magnates, but to a simple veteran fan like myself it suggests that, interest having been aroused, and our American cousins being such determined and affluent purchasers, we will in future be in graver danger of losing our veteran cars to transatlantic enthusiasts.

I would urge, therefore, that as our veteran cars are, by their very nature, irreplaceable, and from an export point of view quite priceless to us, we should guard them well and reject overseas offers no matter how attractive.

I hope that the V.S.C.C. members will not think these observations a slight on their integrity but I felt a timely warning would not be misplaced and, after all, "Forewarned is forearmed."
I am, Yours, etc.,
C.S. Groves,

The Magic Century

With reference to your article "The Magic Century" in the current issue of Motor Sport, you have omitted to mention the Mercédès 300S, the short-chassis edition of the 300. It is a magnificent car capable of 112-115 m.p.h. and can "knock spots off" the Continental Bentley when it comes to cornering, steering, etc.
I am, Yours, etc.,
T. Mathieson,
[The Mercédès-Benz 300 saloon was quoted in the article concerned as capable of over 100 m.p.h. and the 300S is obviously appreciably faster — Ed.)

Acceleration And Seizure

In your March number Mr. Benenson, of New York, gives some figures for the Cunningham, quoting Car Life, as follows: 0-60 in 6.85 sec.; 0-100 in 11.01 sec.; standing 1/4-mile in 17.55 sec. On simple inspection there seemed something amiss, which my admittedly elementary mathematics appears to confirm. I suggest the figure given for 0-100 is wrong, or, rather, that the time of 11.01 sec. probably refers to 0-80; and that the car would be doing about 100 at the end of the 1/4-mile. Even this is quite quick. But it hardly seems to justify putting the Cunningham, which did not reach 140, into a special new Grandissimo Turismo class with the 4.1 Ferrari, which can probably do 140 without using top gear, not forgetting "that man Lyons" and his two special equipment Jaguars which do as much with smaller engines.

My compliments on your journal, and especially on your custom of saying what you think. I am glad to see the "Great Oil Controversy" still ventilated in your columns, particularly since I am one of the wretches (not a few, I understand) who suffered heavily from putting a much-advertised detergent oil into an elderly undrained engine. Neither the advertisements nor the dealers warned against this; but it set me back about £70. The company sent round a very pleasant gentleman to see me. He agreed it was a mistake to put that oil in that engine, and said his company had done their utmost to instruct the trade on the point. I neither asked for money, nor was it offered (reference your article, p. 138); and I must say I doubt if I would have used that oil again even if I had been offered £700 . . . so that I could buy a new car and use the oil in safety(?).
I am, Yours, etc.,
R. R. Wilson
London, N.W.11.


I should like to congratulate you on including an article on private and sporting flying in your excellent journal. Your correspondent "D. F. O." wonders why the average private pilot fights shy of competitions, preferring to fly rather aimlessly round the countryside. I think he will find that the main reason is a financial one; an aimless flight round the countryside may last an hour or possibly very much less, but to enter a club machine in any competition will probably involve keeping the machine for an unspecified time, which is unlikely to be less than three hours. The case of the private owner is, of course, quite different, but he cannot be described as "average."

If there were available a small two-seater with an engine of about 1-1 1/2 litres capacity, developing 40-50 b.h.p., giving a cruising speed of 85-90, and consumption of 2-2 1/2 gallons an hour, I am certain that private flying would become an increasingly popular sport.

This machine, if well designed, and built possibly of plastic, e.g., fibreglass, could, if mass produced, surely sell at. a price in the region of £500.

Later, racing versions could be developed for short-circuit racing; the equivalent of the 500-c.c. class in the motor-racing world.

If handled properly, preferably by one of our leading manufacturers, it could lead to a revolution in the world of flying such as occurred in the car world with the introduction of the Austin Seven and Morris Cowley. The point is that if flying is at present beyond the pocket of the average man (and woman), then it must be brought down to the financial level at which he can afford it, and the only way is to make available to him a very much smaller, more economical machine than is commonly used for private flying at the moment.

It is quite useless looking to the Government for help; even if it were given, it would be unreliable and likely to be withdrawn at the whim of the Treasury at any time.

I am quite aware that there are many difficulties in the way of developing a project like this, but the whole history of flying is full of the triumphs of men of vision over apparently insuperable barriers.

One thing is certain: the demand is there. It was proved by the amazing popularity of the "Flying Flea," lethal as it was, and the way the C. A. G. scheme was completely swamped by applicants when it was first introduced.
I am, Yours, etc.,
J. W. Rose,

The Hawthorn Hullabaloo

I should like to take this opportunity of endorsing the remarks in Motor Sport regarding the controversy over Mike Hawthorn's call-up. One does get so tired of "busybody" M.P.s asking questions in the House "on behalf of the public" — the public who often they never really trouble to consult. Speaking as one member of the public who has done his five or six years in the Forces, I could not care less about a person of Mike Hawthorn's calibre missing the call-up.

In your excellent reply to the Member for Walton you missed one point I particularly observed — that his question included the phrase "described as a motor-racing driver." If that is not studied offensiveness to our No. 1 driver I don't know what is. I wrote to Mr. Thompson saying that I considered the framing of his question deliberately discourteous to a great driver and, after stating the case against calling-up Hawthorn, invited his comments on the points made. Needless to say there was no reply. Apparently Mr. Thompson is one of the still regrettably large number of people who have no time for the importance of furthering British prestige in the sphere of Grand Prix racing.
I am, Yours, etc.,
S. C. Churton,