Sporting Cars on Road & Track By "Open Throttle"

No.2. The 12-30 h.p Crouch

There are many sporting cars that are everything that this description implies, that is to say, they are fast, some of them exceedingly fast, and a lot of them very ” sporty ” in appearance. They fulfil many people’s idea of what a sporting car should be, and they generally represent good value for money.

There is, however, a rapidly increasing section of motorists who are demanding something more of vehicles in this category than what is generally implied by the designation ” a sporting car.” For instance, they do not appreciate why they should sacrifice certain qualities which go far towards making motoring comfortable and enjoyable in order to secure the characteristic sporting features.

The present writer numbers himself amongst this exacting but justified crowd. He positively fails to find satisfaction in a car that is extraordinary fast and remarkably sporty to look upon, but yet does not offer its driver reasonable comfort. No sensible person, of course, expects to find limousine effects in a sporting car.

The two types are poles apart, conceived and built for entirely different motoring needs. But the writer could name in an instant several much appreciated sporting cars that are certainly not as comfortable to sit in or to drive as they could be without sacrifice of any of their sporting characteristics. Such vehicles will not be in his good books until they amend their ways.

Fully appreciated as excellent engineering jobs, they are, in his opinion, practically spoilt by their designers’ insistence on certain objectionable features which they wrongly imagine to be inherent characteristics of the sporting breed.

A car which is the very antithesis of these misguided efforts is the 12-30 h.p. Sporting Crouch. The writer recently spent a few days on the road in the latest model of this car, and he unhesitatingly acclaims it as an exceptional sporting vehicle. The Crouch was placed at his disposal by Messrs. B. S. Marshall, Ltd., of r7a, Hanover Square, London, W. 1, its accredited agents.

It was delivered in that perfect condition in which Messrs. Marshall invariably hand over cars to the Press, and, one may assume, to all their clients also. A little carelessness in respect of a demonstration car may sometimes prejudice its critic in respect of its make generally, but this is never likely to occur in cars supplied by Messrs. Marshall.

What struck one at once about the Sporting Crouch was its extreme comfort and delightful driving qualities at all speeds. Let it not be inferred from this that the Crouch is a tame or woolly machine. Far from it. The writer found it one of the fastest cars of this capacity on an all day run that he has tried for some time.

Coupled with the recognised and essential sporting qualities of such a design, the Crouch revealed features all too often absent from similar cars. Its two-seater body, with dickey to accommodate one adult, was remarkably pleasing in appearance and comfort.

The driving seat, might, perhaps, be raised a little to advantage, and its padding was certainly not on the generous side. Otherwise one can put all the points which immediately effect the driver to the credit of the Crouch. The general idea of seating position was well worked out, and with the Crouch one certainly sits in the body and not on it, as with many sporting cars.

There is plenty of leg room in each of the seats, and a fair amount of luggage accommodation. With the hood up, the driver and front seat passenger are afforded an exceptional degree of protection.

The appearance of the car is striking, but not excessively so. The colour of the body is Royal blue, and this is smartly relieved by the red finish of the chassis, wheels, and wings. Although at first thought the latter might appear a little ostentatious, the red colour of the wings really blends with the general lines of the car so well that the effect is entirely pleasing. The V-shaped instrument board, mounted with speedometer, 8-day clock, switches and carburettor air controller is appropriately attractive.

In the vital part of the car, the engine, one has a power-unit of high recommendation. It is an Anzani, and on the car the writer tried, it abundantly upheld the high repute of its eminent designers. Thoroughly sporting in its acceleration, range of power, and consistent endurance, this 1,496 c.c. engine was a real delight to drive.

The Sporting Crouch is sold with guaranteed speed of 60 miles an hour. It attains this with ease, and the manner of its attainment is such that one has that complete sense of reserve energy so beloved by any sporting driver.

One of the most outstanding virtues embodied in the Anzani engine is its excellent top gear performance. All too often very fast cars are not at all nice to drive at low speed on top gear. The Sporting Crouch will tick along at five or six miles an hour on top gear with complete smoothness, and the manner in which it picks up to high speed when the accelerator is gently depressed is entirely satisfactory.

Such is the flexibility of the Anzam engine that one can, in fact, drive almost everywhere on top gear. This is saying a lot for a purely sporting car, but it is fully merited in the case of the Crouch. The writer found that one could jump from walking pace to some 45 miles an hour on top gear in a very few yards, and that the Crouch was quite content to run at round about 40 miles an hour all day, if driving conditions would let it.

At this speed the car has an exceedingly good action, there being no perceptible engine vibration, and the body riding with a delightful gliding motion.

The general features of Anzani engines are well known. That in. the Sporting Crouch has side-by-side valves, pump lubrication from the sump, operated by a skew gear from the half-time shaft, and thermosyphon water circulation. The Cox Atmos carburettor is standardised, and ignition is by magneto.

The clutch is of the inverted cone type, lined with Ferodo, and is very easy and positive in action. The gearbox, of the Crouch special design, gives three speeds and reverse, and is controlled by a central lever. Ample braking power is provided by the foot brake of the internal expanding type, operating in exceptionally large drums on the rear wheels ; and by the hand brake of the external contracting type, operating on the same drums. The springing is both interesting and efficient, being provided by quarter elliptics at the rear and duplex quarter elliptics in front.

The Sporting Crouch is fully equipped with five detachable wire wheels, a 12 volt, lighting set with five lamps, a separate starting motor with extra large accumulator, and the accessories already mentioned. At the price of £295 it should make a strong appeal to the motorist who requires a car of essentially sporting characteristics, but embodying also features which make it an admirable light touring vehicle.

For an extra £5the Crouch can be obtained with a polished aluminium body. There is also obtainable a Super Sports Crouch, listed at £450. This is more in the nature of a pure racing car, and is guaranteed to lap Brooklands when stripped and streamlined at 90 miles an hour, and to attain 80 miles an hour on the road when fully equipped. The writer may have more to say about this model in a later issue, but meanwhile he would commend the Sporting Crouch here reviewed to the close attention of sporting motorists in general.