Gear-ratios of low-horse-power cars

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68

Sir,
I am an ardent reader of your delightfully frank magazine, and I hope that your strenuous efforts to bring the various defects and other points to the notice of the manufacturing concerns are not entirely unheeded. It is with this hope in mind that I take up my pen.

Last summer I obtained a new Austin A30. I ran it in in a matter of days, and apart from running a front-wheel bearing, due to its having been assembled without grease, it went remarkably well. The greater mileage I did, however, and consequently the faster I went the more infuriated I became with the gearbox, the indirect ratios of which seemed to be doing their level best to keep the performance down to a minimum, with maximum wear on the engine, a mere 23 m.p.h. in second and 32 m.p.h. in third.

If I wished to pass a lorry doing 30 m.p.h., a frequent occurrence on the crowded roads, it was necessary to start accelerating 200 yards behind it in order to build up enough speed in top to pass with safety; then as often as not something would have appeared from the other direction.

I fully realise that this is a family car and not a high-performance sports car, but I feel that at practically no extra cost it would be possible to manufacture an alternative gearbox for those rather more sporty bachelor owners. Exactly the same applies to the Morris Minor. At the moment the first gear on either would take four adults and luggage up a wall !

If Standard and VW have managed sensible ratios, why not B.M.C. ?

I am, Yours, etc.,

Stowe. W. Shand Kydd.

[When we road-tested the Austin A30 we set the normal change-up speeds in second and third gear as 20 and 30 m.p.h., respectively, with maxima of 28 and 45 m.p.h.—Ed.]