Your most excellent magazine is read and greatly appreciated as far afield as Ceylon, where, as in so many other parts of the world, people are tired of reading road-test reports in which every car is found to be excellent value for money, economical, fast, well-sprung, etc., etc. As we, being not very intelligent, are unable to read between the lines of road-test reports in other journals, your reports, couched in no uncertain terms, are refreshing in the extreme.
As for the “Bishop Ban,” we are surprised and amazed that a concern as big as Nuffields should be chary of submitting their products for test by you. In this respect we take off our hats to Fords (though we wouldn’t dream of buying one) for their forthrightness in continuing to submit their vehicles for testing by you, despite a certain amount of adverse criticism. If a manufacturer shows no concern at the bad points of his product being put before the public he deserves the confidence of that same public. But if his products are so damned bad(?) that he’s scared to let the public know, well . . .
We, too, have a bone to pick with Nuffields, having just heard that M.G. prices are being lowered in the U.S. but raised everywhere else. We think this a scurvy trick, so maybe we’ll buy a Fiat 1,100 TV instead of a Magnette. Incidentally, we always thought that if any British concern could market a Gran Turismo at a reasonable price it was M.G. and we hope that this may yet become a reality. Requirements.? 0-50 in under 10 sec., a central gear-lever, proper instruments, maximum speed 100 m.p.h., first-class visibility, roadholding and brakes. That’s all—not much to ask for, or is it ?
As for cars we have driven and owned over the last few years, here goes; anybody is at liberty to disagree as we’re really terribly ignorant, but readers in other parts of the world may be interested to hear how well-known makes perform in this country.
Austin A40 Sports : We don’t think about it.
Fiat 500C : A grand little car with a virtually unburstable engine; we often got 50 in third. Very economical and never let us down. Bodywork is poor and rattles like hell after a while. In this climate the interior is a Turkish bath. Leaks like a sieve in tropical downpours and a most inaccessible engine to work on.
Fiat 1400 : Rather poor acceleration but the roadholding is par excellence, as also the brakes and visibility. Never got more than 25 m.p.g. on our model. Bodywork not so hot. Needs frequent decarbonising and clutch is weak—we hear this has been rectified on the new model.
Renault 750 : Holds the road like a leech and can be revved, or rather over-revved, habitually ! Engine noisy and the gearbox lacks positiveness and is not meant for ham-handed clots. Bodywork poorish.
Humber Hawk : Lots of guts in the engine but oversteers and corners like a small boat in a heavy sea. Rear end clatters after a while.
Riley 1 1/2: Grossly underpowered. Roadholding good and steering heavy but accurate. Bodywork falls to bits in this climate.
M.G. TC, TD and TF : We like them! Engines go out of tune too easily but what a sweet gearbox. Could do with more power. Why the painted tin dashboard and toy instruments on the TF ?
Volkswagen: Nice gearbox but what an oversteer. We’d like a petrol gauge, [There is 1.1 gallons reserve fuel, however.—Ed] Solidly built.
Rover 75 : So solid that it needs two engines and redesigned springing to be any good.
Jaguar Mark VII: Lots of power. We thought the brakes good but the gear-lever and clutch-pedal have very long travels. Bodywork could be improved.
Well, that’s all. More power to your pen and may we have more road-tests, even two or three a month and at least one to be the sort of car we can own—Fiat, Rover, Standard, etc., and perhaps some day, when wiser counsels prevail, Austin Morris and Riley ?
We forgot to say that the Citroen Light Fifteen is, in our opinion, one of the finest all-round cars in existence.
May your circulation increase and your shadow never grow less.
We are, Yours, etc.,
Columbo, Ceylon. J.F.A.P. Perms, (Dr.) L.V.R. Fernando, E.S. Andrado.