Matters of moment, April 1966

Our obedient servants

On the day this issue of Motor Sport is published a new Government will have been elected to power. It is a coincidence that this happens to be April Fool’s Day. Whichever Party is returned, we can only hope, without much faith, that the motor car will be recognised as an essencial implement of progressive civilisation and that our new rulers will refrain from trying to tax and persecute its owners off the road. They must surely realise that any form of taxation by swept volume will be detrimental to British exports, in fact, there is no excuse to increase car tax at all, and any increase in the petrol tax will affect not only motorists but the entire community?

Police Chiefs are at last realising that Britain’s shocking crime wave can only be combatted effectively with the help of all law-abiding citizens and that this includes the 8-million car owners that police persecution in respect of non criminal motoring offences has antagonised into a state of apathy towards policemen. This was emphasised by a Programme on Southern Television last month and the time has come for Chief Constables to tell “our obedient servants” that they will have no more of it. Cases drawn to our attention recently range from that of a van driver fined at Grantham for speeding on the sole evidence of two policemen’s estimate of his speed (45-50 m.p.h.), to Glasgow’s announcement of £20 fines for drivers “who stop on traffic boxes” (yet in Glasgow Sheriff’s Court a 20-year-old man who repeatedly assaulted his two-year-old stepson, breaking the child’s arm, was merely remanded in custody). This hate of tax-paying motorists, most of whom cope remarkably well with Britain’s overcrowded, antiquated roads must cease. Along with the 70-limit!

Laurence Pomeroy

Laurence Pomeroy, engineer, writer, historian, epicure and motorist, died late in February of a heart attack, after a lengthy illness. He was so well known that a conventional obituary notice would be almost an insult. But we take this opportunity to grieve at his passing . . . and offer sympathy to his widow and daughter…. The address at the Memorial Service at St. Marylebone Parish Church summed up what we all felt about “Pom”. it was written by his close friend, Kent Karslake.

Two Million B.M.C. Front-Drive Cars

The crux of the hasty condemnation by the M.o.T. of the B.M.C. front-wheel-drive mechanism is the numbers of these safe-handling, enjoyable-to-drive, compact-yet-capacious cars which are in use without the slightest sniff of universal-joint failure. Qualifying what is contained in our leading article in this issue, it is significant that the two-millionth f.w.d. B.M.C. vehicle was produced in January. The total comprised 1,219,077 Minis, 734,695 1100s,and 45,228 Austin 1800s. Over 14,900 front-drive vehicles have since been leaving B.M.C. factories every week….

B.M.C. Sports Cars

Sports cars have for many years formed an extremely valuable dollar-export commodity for Britain, and such cars are amongst the safest available, no matter what the Pedestrians’ Association and certain Insurance Companies may say. None has sold better than M.G. and Austin Healey, the Abingdon factory where the former is made being the World’s largest sports car factory before the war—when it made nothing but sports cars. This being the case, it is pleasing that at Silverstone on April 16th the Austin Healey Club, M.O.C.C. and Mini-7 Club are staging a parade of past and present B.M.C. sports ears, to be driven by famous racing and rally drivers. John Thornley (“Old No. 2” M.G.), Donald Healey (Healey roadster) and Alec Issigonis (the very first production Mini Minor) have been invited to lead a cavalcade which will include Victoria Worsley (1930 “Double Twelve” M.G. Midget), Sam Nash (1935 T.T. NE M.G. Magnette), Eva Simpson (1934 M.G. Le. Mans PA), Dorothy Stanley-Turner (1937 M.G. Le Mans PB), Harvey Noble (M.G. Brooklands class lap-record-holding Q-type), Betty Haig (M.G. TF), Nancy Mitchell (M.G. ZA Magnette), “Musketeer” and “Cream Cracker” trials M.G.s, with appropriate drivers, Ted Lund (1960 M.G. Le Mans Twin-Cam), George Phillips and Dick Jacobs (M.G. TDs)„ Andrew Hedges and Alan Foster (M.G. Dick Jacobs’ Midgets) Geoff Healey (Healey Mille Miglia Elliott saloon), Tom Wisdom (1949 Healey Silverstone), Lance Macklin (Austin Healey works 100S), John Sprinzel (Sebring Sprite), John Rhodes/Paul Hawkins (Rally Sprite), Don and Eric Morley (Austin Healey works 3000), C.R. Whitcroft (T.T. Riley), J. Eason-Gibson (“Brooklands” Riley 9), Paul Easter/Tony Ambrose/Henry Liddon (European Rally Championship Mini,-they are drawing lots as to who will drive!), Warwick Banks (1964 saloon car championship Mini), etc. It takes place at noon and will cost you ten bob to watch. There are also a dozen races.