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Sir, Could it be that we now see the ultimate "marketing men's car" in the…
THE TYPE XII 14/35 STEYR WEYMANN SALOON.
AN INTERESTING SMALL CAR WITH SOME UNCONVENTIONAL FEATURES.
STEYR cars have long enjoyed a high reputation on the Continent as examples of sound construction and first-class design, and the Alpine Steyr has been renowned even in this country as a highpowered car with a splendid sports performance.
It was therefore with great interest and no little pleasurable anticipation that I took over a model of the Type XII 14/35 Weymann Saloon, which Mr. A. S. Forsyth, the Steyr representative for this country, kindly placed at my disposal one week-end. There is something about the very appearance of the small Steyr which exudes an air of breeding, and a glance at the accompanying illustration of the model in question will convey something of the appeal this
The main feature of the Type XII is, of course, the Articulated Rear Axle, and so remarkable are the results of this lay out that a few words of description will not be out of place.
The drive is taken to the differential via. an open propellor shaft, having two fabric universals, providing a transmission untroubled by frame distortion. The independent springing of the rear wheels is arranged by means of universal joints on the inboard side of the differential shafts, and the torque members, of novel design, are anchored at the forward end by ball-joints. The suspension at the rear is by means of a transverse spring anchored in the centre, and shackled to the torque members, thus relieving the spring from any side strain.
handsome car makes to the eye, and will suffice to show that the 14/35 is a worthy small sister of the famous Alpine Steyr.
Wherein lies this unmistakable air of distinction it is difficult preesely to say, and the features which immediately strike one are probably the very fine example of M. Weymann’s art, the handsome bonnet—so different from the old high prow-shaped one—and the double row of louvres on the bonnet sides. Even the disc wheels, so often unpopular in England, do not detract from the imposing appearance of the car. Indeed, it is difficult to realise, by just glancing at the saloon, that it is a small car of but is-litres capacity.
However, it is not in the appearance of the Type XII Steyr that interest centres, but rather in the very unconventional and clever design of the rear axle and transmission lay-out.
There is no doubt that the theoretical advantages of this arrangement are fully proved in practice, the absence of roll, whether riding light or four-up, being remarkable, while the insulation from road shock is noteworthy ; only at speed over very rough roads is there a certain amount of movement discernible, when each rear wheel bounces independently. The overhead camshaft six-cylinder engine is of but 1560 c.c. capacity, with a bore and stroke of 61.5 mms. and 88 mms., and is exceptionally silent in operation, there being a complete absence of valve clatter or other mechanical noise. The maximum speed was not found to be phenomenal, being in the region of 60 tn.p.h„ but an easy cruising speed of 45 to 50 is the feature of this car. Speeds on indirect gears I found to be about 10 m.p.h. on first, 25 m.p.h. on second and 40 on third, but there is little doubt that the engine could
THE TYPE XII STEYR SALOON—concluded.
develop much higher speeds were the gear ratios slightly raised.
Getting into the driving seat at the Upper St. Martin’s Lane Showrooms, a touch of the starter button woke the six cylinders into purring activity, and, without perceptible sound, I glided into the maelstrom which is Trafalgar Square.
Rapidly slipping through the gears, I found myself howling along the Mall at an easy 45 m.p.h. on top without the faintest indication that I was doing more than twenty ; the engine was silent and silky, the body was silent, there was just a faint hum from the wheels, while the speedometer registered 45.
Indeed, if I were asked to give in one phrase the outstanding feature of the 14/35 Steyr, I should unhesitatingly say, “Effortless cruising from 40 to 50.”
In dense traffic the 14/35 was a joy to handle, owing to the excellence of the brakes and the very useful third gear ratio. It was easily possible to start from rest on this gear without undue clutch slipping or manipulation of controls.
The Perrot Servo brakes on all wheels I found required rather more foot pressure than I should have liked, and betrayed a tendency to squeal. However, as they certainly stopped the motor car, there seems little to grumble about.
The four speed gear-box with centre ball-joint change provided ample acceleration, which was particularly gratifying in third, while the whine, inseparable from indirect gears, was never unpleasant or too audible. Indeed, for a continental box, the Steyr was notably praiseworthy. The lubrication of both gear-box and multi-disc clutch is effected ‘n one with the engine and is purely automatic.
Out on the open road I began to feel the true worth of the Steyr. Without any sign of fuss or suggestions of engine noise, the speedometer needle leapt up to 50 and stayed there for as long as traffic permitted. Brockley Hill, near Edgware, was ascended in fourth at never less than 35, which is quite extraordinaiily good for a car of this size, fitted with so large a saloon body. The top gear hill-climbing of the Steyr is very good indeed, due to the somewhat low fourth ratio of 5.8 to 1, and 30 to 35 can be maintained on almost any ordinary gradient on the very useful third.
While on the subject of gears, I must put in a plea for a rather higher first speed, the existing ratio being much too low. Something giving a maximum of 12 to 15 m.p.h. seems strongly indicated.
On the by-pass road I pushed the Steyr along to the maximum, and in the absence of a stop watch, I should estimate that the car passed the mile a minute mark, for the speedometer, which was undoubtedly slow, registered 58 m.p.h. Now, I consider a genuine mile a minute—it was probably more—is not to be scoffed at in what is undoubtedly an undergeared car with a heavy body, and a i?;-litre saloon which will carry on absolutely without fuss or noise or any indication of speed whatever at a solid 50 until further notice (and this the Steyr revelled in doing) is to be highly praised.
It is not, however, on wide, straight roads that the Steyr shows its true colours. Get on top the ordinary winding main road, and then the extraordinarily fine road holding and cornering of the Steyr becomes impressive. The Steyr can be taken round corners in a manner not discreditable in a ” pukka ” sports car, and is outstandingly good in a car of this type. Perfectly safe cornering was indulged in at speeds varying between 40 and 50 without a trace of side roll.
High Average Speed Possible.
It was obvious that in the Steyr I had a car which was capable of putting up some astonisling averages over give-and-take roads, without the least danger, and without indulging in “road-hogging.”
During the whole of the 300 miles of the test I drove the Steyr over all kinds of going, varying from bypasses to very tertiary country lanes, and there was no sign of mechanical noise, or of body rattle. The fabric saloon was quite silent, not a creak or a groan coming from any part thereof.
The body work was quite first-class, the upholstery being carried out in Bedford cord, while the large window area can be seen from the illustration. A large rear light is provided with a curtain.
A very useful feature of the body was the adjustable visor over the windscreen, which rendered driving against sun or headlights perfectly comfortable.
Altogether I found the Steyr to be a very interesting small car, which, if not capable of a highly sporting performance, could put up some remarkable crosscountry averages. it is an outstanding example of ” breed ” in automobile design, and a worthy product of the famous Viennese factory.
The ‘Weymann Saloon on test is priced at .47o, the chassis price being £325.
All particulars and demonstration runs can be had from Mr. A. S. Forsyth, 6, Upper St. Martin’s Lane, W.C.2.
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