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at the Nurburg Ring, and also during the day’s programme at Nancy, Rheims and Orleans. There are plenty of fast, sports cars available in England just now, such as the Lagonda Rapide, the Railton, the Aston-Martin and the blown Frazer-Nash, and I am surprised that someone does not acquire a couple of cars of this sort and make a round of the races and hill-climbs. I remember two or three years ago a friend of mine had a most amusing time running an old two-litre Alvis in some of the events on the French and Italian Riviera, and there should be equal opportunities in Central France and Germany.
In the Targa Abruzzo, the 24 hour race on the Acerb o circuit, England will be worthily represented this month. Hall and Faulkner are running Ulster Aston-Martins, while Lord Howe and Brian Lewis are on a blown 2.3 Alfa. Old Racing Cars
There must be a good deal of satisfaction in buying an old racing car and preparing it once more for hillclimbs and track events. One car of this type I saw the other day was a Leyland-Thomas which was supposed to be the one with which Parry Thomas secured some of his records, now fitted with shaft drive instead of side-chains, and a two-seater body which I was informed, cost a thousand pounds. No, it wasn’t gold-plated, in fact merely a sober black.
The new owner means’to try it at Brooklands and then if it shaped well, to fit one or more superchargers. The capacity is nearly eight litres, so it is not going to be easy to find suitable blowers.
One of the peculiarities of the Leyland-Thomas, you may recall, was its starting gear. These words are to be taken in their literal meaning. The starter motor was bolted to the gear box and applied its power to the engine through a special train of gears selected by the normal gear-lever. Moving the gear-lever into the special notch also depressed the starter button, but if you forgot to ease the clutch as well the resistance of the eight-litre engine was too much for the gear-train, which stripped itself without further ado. The Sunbeam Mystery
Another interesting car which was on the market a short time ago was one of the 4i-litre straight-eight Sunbeams, presumably a sister to the one which Jackson races at Southport. Talking of Sunbeams reminds me of the break in the history of the G.P. cars which I have never been able to solve. One sees from time to time the four-cylinder 1921 Talbot Darracqs, and one of the straight-eight cars of the following year is still raced regularly in Italy, and actually formed the subject of the ” What do you know ” feature some months ago. The 1922 fourcylinder two-litre Sunbeam raced by the Hon. Jock Leith last year has passed into the hands of Griffiths, who drove at this month’s Donington meeting, but what really puzzles me is what has become of the twolitre six-cylinder Sunbeams, one of which Major Segrave, as he was then, drove to victory in the French Grand Prix of 1923. No one seems to know where any of these cars have gone, and unfortunately, all
the former racing mechanics have long since left Wolverhampton.
The ” Maser” in Its Final Form. After the usual crop of rumours and false alarms, the V-8 Maserati made its first racing appearance at
Rheims, and Etancelin was able to secure second place in one of the heats, though the car blew up in the final. I have just received some interesting details of its specification, and here they are. The engine is a V-8 of approximately 4.5-litres capacity, with a single blower mounted in front of
the engine, and two carburetters. A single overheadcamshaft is used on each block of cylinders, with the plugs at the side. The engine complete weighs 43/ lbs. and develops 400 h.p. The transmission is an entirely new departure for Maserati, and follows the same lines as the German cars. The differential unit is bolted to the frame, and the rear wheels are carried on two swinging half-axles, while the four-speed gear-box is mounted
out behind, with its rear end supported on the rear chassis cross-member. With this layout, as on the Mercedes, there is only a shallow tunnel for the propshaft, and the driver sits very low. The side-members of channel section, and the front wheel suspension is by means of transverse swinging links. The torsion bars, which run parallel with the chassis are connected to the top ones. Semi-elliptic springs are used at the rear, with the half-axles
actually above them. Special pivoted shackles are, ot course, used for the ends of the springs.
The coachwork also resembles somewhat that fitted to the Mercedes-Benz cars, with the front springing enclosed and “bulges ” for the overhead-camshafts. The highest part of the coachwork is only 36 inches above the ground, the side member to inches, and
the ground clearance a mere 5 inches. The car weighs 745 Kg., and the wheelbase is 8 ft. 5 in., which is the same as that of the three-litre car.
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