New Cars

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64

A new economy sports car is announced from Jersey, to be built by Manor View Motors. To be called the M.V.M., the prototype has an air-cooled 325-c.c. two-cylinder-in-line Anzani two-stroke engine and gearbox unit at the back, driving the rear wheels. All wheels are independently-sprung, there are hydraulic four-wheel brakes and the body is of plastic, providing three-abreast seating. Rack-and-pinion steering is used and a maximum speed of 65 m.p.h. and a fuel consumption of 60-65 m.p.g. is claimed. We hope later to have the opportunity of testing an M.V.M., which sounds like a genuine attempt to fill a gap in the British market.

The Renault Dauphine was released in Acton on March 6th to the less elite amongst journalists who had not previously been allowed to drive it in secret on the Continent. It is a larger and more powerful version of the famous 4 c.v., has, we gather, been tested over enormous distances and, we hear, handles far better than its predecessor. The rear-engine-location is retained, but the capacity has gone up from 748 c.c. to 845 c.c. and the power output has been increased from 21 to 30 b.h.p. at 4,250 r.p.m. A four-door saloon, with all-round independent suspension, the Dauphine has generous accommodation for four or even five persons, by placing the rear seat in front of the back wheels, as on the VW. There is greater luggage space than in the 4 c.v. under the front “bonnet,” access to which is via a front-hinged lid. The wheelbase is 7 ft. 5 in. The lines of this new Renault are more conventional than those of the 4 c.v.; its price in this country is £769 7s. all on.

In Motor Sport for July, 1954, we drew attention to the Chevrolet Corvette as an American sports car with which British Imports to the U.S.A. would one day have to compete. The 1956 Corvette, one of America’s only true production sports cars, now has a revised V8 engine with two dual downdraught carburetters, a compression-ratio of 9.25 to 1 and a revised camshaft, the power output being increased to 225 b.h.p. at 5,200 r.p.m. from the former 195 b.h.p. A torque of 270 ft./lb. is realised at 3,600 r.p.m. The drive is taken through a new 10-in, clutch, with a coil-spring pressure-plate assembly, and the differential unit is also new, being based on that of the 1956 Chevrolet saloons. Whereas surprise was shown in the past because this sports Corvette used a Powerglide automatic transmission, an optional close-ratio three-speed gearbox with central gear-lever is now available. There is choice of alternate axle ratios –3.27 to 1 or 3.55 to 1 — and four-ply, nylon racing tyres can be supplied. The glass-fibre body has been modified to incorporate in-built headlamps, a new screen and wind-up door windows (power operation extra). The hood is power-operated and an Italian-style spring-spoke steering wheel is fitted. A hard-top will be available later. According to Road and Track, the 1956 Corvette will do 56, 95 and 117 m.p.h., respectively, in the gears with the low axle ratio, and 61, 103 and 127 m.p.h., respectively, with the high axle ratio, not allowing for tyre growth at speed, which should slightly raise these figures. In view of rumours that General Motors are contemplating taking an active part in racing, British sports-car engineers should find these Corvette performance figures significant.

A new version of the willing and reliable Standard Ten is now available, using the Ten engine in the simple body-shell formerly employed solely for the least-expensive version of the Eight, with lidless luggage boot, etc., a pleasingly functional style nevertheless. As the new car weighs 1,980 lb., less than the more elaborate body of the Super Ten and is priced at £614 17s., inclusive of p.t., it should arouse considerable interest amongst those who see in this rugged little Standard a good rally car. — W.B.

Miniatures t the B.I.F.

Many firms exhibiting at the Toy Fair at Earls Court, in conjunction with the B.I.F., showed car models and miniatures. Following our suggestion last month for a roadway layout on which owners might display their static models, we were intrigued by the working display on Victory Industries’ stand, where their well-known electrically-driven Triumph TR2s and M.G. Midgets, etc., were running on an Alpine mountain road, past a stream cascading into a miniature lake on which was anchored a model air/sea rescue launch. The cars were steered by an antennae bearing on a guard-rail at the roadside. This “Pathfinder” attachment costs 5s. 5d. for existing Victory models, and the “Roadege” model roadway is sold at 14s. 5d. per 10-ft. length. Details from Victory Industries (Surrey) Ltd., Worplesdon Road, Guildford, who, we noticed, were running lots of TR2s on the same registration plates, which must have proved awkward for the driver of the one which was abandoned in a ditch at one of the corners on this mountain road!

Meccano Limited showed a big range of “Dinky” miniatures, which include MGA, TR2 and DB3S sports models. Similar miniatures were shown by Playcraft Toys Ltd., whose “Corgi” range features Ford Consul, Austin A50, modern Morris Cowley, Vauxhall Velox, Rover 90, Riley Pathfinder, Hillman Husky, Triumph TR2, and Austin-Healey 100, prices ranging from 2s. 9d. to 3s. each, or 4s. each for saloons equipped with flywheel propulsion. These are nicely-detailed miniatures, the TR2 having a representation of the maker’s badge and the Austin-Healey that of the chrome-flash on the body side, etc.

Exakta Models Ltd. showed their now well-known die-cast metal replicas of 1907 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and 1904 Darracq on their stand, backed up by a new veteran in the form of an early Peugeot two-seater with realistic hood. The Rolls-Royce had blossomed into a cigarette lighter, a rather improbable spotlamp between the front dumb-irons pulling out for striking on the running-board! Minimodels had their range of “Scalex” clockwork cars on show, including F2 Ferrari, M.G., Aston Martin DB2/4, XK Jaguar, and a 2.4 Jaguar saloon they are adding later in the year.

The real “Genevieve” Darracq graced the stand of Die-Casting Machine Tools Ltd., who showed plastic replicas of Edwardian Daimler, model-T Ford, Morris-Oxford light car and, of course, the 1904 Darracq “Genevieve,” with occupants in keeping. These, the “Road-Masters” series, will retail at less than 6s. and the “bull-nose” Morris, measuring 4 in. in length, is especially jolly. A big “Genevieve” also graced the Plasticine Stand.

The Crescent Toy Co. had six G.P. miniatures, nicely formed and finished in correct racing colours, their all-enveloping Mercedes-Benz costing 3s. 6d. and their Mk. II B.R.M., Ferrari, Connaught, Cooper-Bristol and Gordini 2s. 9d. each. Still the car-interest was not exhausted, for we noticed a not-very-convincing large Austin-Healey and Massey-Harris farm tractor on the stand of Hollands and Blair, while Morris & Stone (London) Ltd. were showing “Morestone” road-scouts’ motor-cycle combinations, the A.A. example costing (at 3s.) 1d. more than the R.A.C.; also A.A. radio Land Rovers, 4¼ -in. long and very detailed, at 7s. each, and a 4½ -in. long Wolseley 6/80 police car, complete with detachable whip-aerial, gong and sirens, at 3s. 8d., and a Bedford Dormobile. Apart from some improbable vehicles, “Mettoy” had large-scale replicas of modern Rolls-Royce saloon (weight 12 oz.) and Austin Cambridge saloon and a futuristic American-style friction-driven saloon and sports model.

Space precludes reference to many similar commercial vehicles, ‘buses and tractors. We left Earls Court rather wistfully, realising that the boys of today are in a veritable paradise, whereas, when we were young, prolonged search of the toy shops yielded up very few, if any, good motor-car miniatures.

[After which, readers with long memories will write to me, scandalised that I appear to have forgotten the even-larger tin-plate replicas of Citroen, Delage, Panhard, Renault, Hispano-Suiza and P2 Alfa-Romeo and medium-size model-T Fords of my schooldays! Which reminds me of a delightful electric toy veteran, actually, I think, a 1905 Cadillac, which a reader kindly brought me from Hong Kong. It has a push-button hand-control for forward or reverse motoring, makes a realistic “one-lunger” noise, and its “Five Rams” dry batteries seem absolutely everlasting! The Continental Correspondent has a nice replica of his Porsche, bought in Germany, and I find myself wondering who will be the first to market miniatures of this and the Mercedes-Benz 300SL, both of which should make admirable Dinky toys. — Ed.]