THE 1;-LITRE SQUIRE
AN ALL-BRITISH SUPERCHARGED FOUR-CYLINDER CAR WHICH DOES ITS “HUNDRED.” SMOOTH RUNNING AND RIDING-COMFORT SECURED IN SPITE OF UNUSUAL CORNERING ABILITY AND GENERAL HIGH PERFORMANCE
SPORTS car owners can be divided roughly into two camps, the small-car fans and the big-car enthusiasts. Camp One naturally extols the ease with which the small car can be handled and wound round corners, while Camp Two maintain with justice the superior performance of their cars at low revs and the easy riding which goes with a long chassis. Point one can be largely overcome on small cars by fitting a supercharger, as is shown in the case of the car under review, but the problem of suspension is much more difficult to tackle, and we must congratulate Mr. A. M. Squire, who was responsible for the design of the Squire car, on the way in which this short-wheelbase machine holds the road without having recourse to harsh springing. This may seem a peculiar introduction to a road test of a sports-car in which, after all, performance is the thing which most owners look for, but on the other hand, most people do expect a certain amount of comfort in a car costing twelve hundred pounds, whatever the wheelbase, and in this respect the Squire scores quite definitely over any of the small supercharged sports cars which have previously been described in these columns. This state of affairs is due largely to the low centre of gravity of the chassis and body, which are carried little higher than the top of the wheels. There is, therefore, no tendency for the car to roll, and so it has been found possible to use flexible though unusually wide road springs, and hydraulic shock absorbers. Fast corners can be taken at 75 m.p.h. as steadily as if the chassis were held in by some invisible radius rod, and yet there was no tendency for the car to get into those treacherous slides sometimes experienced with low-built cars being cornered at the
limit of their adhesion. In a word, one can corner on the Squire as rapidly and easily as any normal driver would care to attempt. The steering is highgeared—just over two turns from lock to lock—surprisingly light to handle, and has a useful amount of caster action. The Squire engine develops over tos BRIEF SPECIFICATION Engine: Four cylinders. Bore 79 mm., stroke 100 mm. Capacity 1,496
c.c., R.A.C. rating 11.9 h.p. Two overhead camshafts. Roots type supercharger. Single SAT. carburetter. Coil ignition.
Gearbox: E.N.V. ‘self-changing. Alternative ratios 4.25. 5.7, 8.2 and 14.4 to 1, or as on the car tested 4.25, 6.25, 9.5 and 16.15 to 1.
Suspension: Half-elliptio front and rear.
Brakes: Lockheed hydraulic.
Dimensions: Wheelbase 8ft. Gins.
Track 4ft. Gins.
Weight with open two-seater body 221 cwts.
Price: L1,220. h.p., and as might be expected, the ac celeration is really striking. Tested at Brooklands from a standing start, the car reached a speed of close on go m.p.h. in half a mile, in spite of a slight head-wind, the time for the distance being 29 seconds. The engine runs quite happily up to 5,000 r.p.m., the maximum speed on the second and third gears fitted to the The A cceleration Chart of the i-litre
Squire. ….•?••?•• 90 80 70 GO 50 i 40, 30 20 10 5 10 I5 20 25 30 35 40 45 SECONDS
demonstration car being about 45 and 70 m.p.h., but closer ratios are now standardised which will permit of 52 and 76 m.p.h. on those two ratios. 5,00o r.p.m. on top gear is just one hundred miles an hour, and the average speed over several flying half-miles worked out at 100 m.p.h., no mean performance for a 1i-litre car fitted with full touring coachwork. With the screen up the speed was reduced by about 5 m.p.h.
In spite of its high performance, the car starts up readily, and after two minutes of warming up gets away cleanly without any spitting-back. It is perfectly tractable in traffic, and pulls evenly on top gear down to 20 m.p.h. and could no doubt have gone lower but
for the throttle stop. An instantaneous. change down into third or second when a gap in the traffic allows the acceleration. to be used. The bearings of the blower are automatically lubricated from the engine, and the vanes run dry, so there is no fear of the plugs. oiling up after prolonged slow-running.
So much for the town-carriage characteristics. Where the Squire comes into its own, naturally, is the open country,. and we spent a most exhilarating day of full throttle work on Salisbury Plain and beyond, a district happily almost free from lamp-posts and built-up areas. On those long straight roads the car cruised comfortably and with the minimum of fuss and noise at 75 m.p.h., and we had no difficulty in putting 6o miles in the hour, driving with due care in the few villages. on the route. With the self-changing gearbox, of course, one can drop straight down to second at the end of the limits, and the car simply swoops up to 75, 85, or whatever the speed required, on the open section beyond. Even the straightest roads are not without their fast bends, however, but on the Squire one can take them quite happily at 75. Even when we deliberately took sharp corners at what seemed to be excessive seeed the car declined to slide or to show any other sign of instability, and it was found that cornering was simply a
THE li-LITRE SQUIRE—continued.
matter of turning the steering wheel the appropriate amount. All this, moreover, with comfortable suspension such as one finds as a rule only on chassis of round about ten feet wheelbase. The brakes are smooth and progressive in action and really powerful when required, as can be gathered from the stopping distance of 51 feet from 40 m.p.h.
The top-gear acceleration is quite useful, particularly above 40 m.p.h., and good averages can be maintained with very little use of the gears. Driving in a thoroughly lazy manner on top, and not exceeding 6o m.p.h., 40 m.p.h. can be achieved even on winding roads, as corners can be dealt with without any reduction of speed.
Apart from any question of police activity, a well-silenced car is much more restful to drive on a long journey than one with a ” fruity ” exhaust note. On the Squire this point had not been neglected, and full revolutions could be used on the gears without offending anyone, while mechanically the engine was also quiet-running. The supercharger is heard as the usual whistle when using the gears at low speeds, but on top gear the sound does not rise above the rush of the wind until close on 8o m.p.h., which is the reason for giving 75 m.p.h. as the fast cruising speed. Above 4,000 r.p.m. on top or the intermediate gears a rising note is heard, finishing with a howl at peak revs, but as anyone who is driving at over 8o is probably doing so from sheer ” joie de vivre,” this stirring sound just adds to the fun. With the screen down, of course, the wind carries the sound away. The driving position is well arranged, with the Ashby spring steering wheel coming comfortably into the lap. The line
of the radiator and the bonnet have been kept low, and both wings can be seen without stretching. The windscreen is high enough to give protection to the tallest driver without detracting from the lines of the car, the scuttle is carried well back, and the body sides are not unduly cut
away, making the car equally serviceable in all weathers. The only point about which we could complain, and one that is quite usual on low-hnilt cars. is that there is no room
for the driver’s left foot, unless he likes to insinuate it between the gear and the brake pedals, so that he is compelled to rest it on the former. If this and the adjacent brake pedal could be cranked over to the right, sufficient space could probably be found between the pedal and the gear-box casing, thus avoiding possible damage to the brake bands. It would have been better, too, if the seat could have been moved furthei back, but if it had been possible to place the left foot on the ramp board, this would
only apply in the case of drivers over six feet in height. As will have been gathered, an E.N.V. self-changing gear-box is used, the gears beina pre-selected by means of a knob
control on the steering column, and engaged by what is the clutch pedal on cars fitted with ” clash-type ” gear-boxes.
The knob is compact and convenient to handle, but control becomes a little indefinite when the spring of the plunger which engages with the various notches becomes weak. At night the knob is illuminated by a narrow pencil of light from a special lamp on the steering column. The gears run quietly, and show no tendency to slip, while the change-speed pedal is light in action. The coachwork is by Vanden Plas, and as will be seen from the illustration, a delightful sweeping line has been achieved with no loss of weather protection. The body is actually 44 inches wide inside, or nearly 12 inches larger than the International Sports Car regulations demand, so there is no doubt as to its qualifications as a touring car. The body actually weighs 7 cwt., though this may be re
duced slightly on later models. If one cared to fit a light body of T.T. specification, a still higher performance could be expected.
The hood drops into a covered well behind the seat, and there is also room in this locker for a pair of small suitcases and the odd coat. The rear section of the sweeping tail panel swings back to give access to the spare wheel, the six-inch petrol filler and the tools, and the numberplate and the tail and stop lights are mounted behind a glass panel flush with the lower part. The engine is a four-cylinder unit with two overhead-camshafts, which are driven from the rear end of the crank-shaft by a train of double-helical pinions. The cams actuate the valves by means of square-section tappets, and the clearances are adjusted by means of hardened thimbles
THE 1k-LITRE SQUIRE—continued.
which fit over the tappets. The rev-counter is driven from the rear end of one of the cam-shafts, and the distributor is similarly driven from the other. 14 mm. plugs are used, and screw into pockets in the centre of the head.
The balanced crank-shaft runs in four plain bearings, the fourth being placed at the rear between the camshaft-drive and the flywheel. The two-vane Marshall supercharger is mounted at the front end ol the engine and is driven by single-helical gears from the crank-shaft. It draws its mixture from a large-bore S.U. carburetter, and forces it into the engine through a well-finned induction pipe with two blowoff valves. The compression ratio is 6 to 1, and the boost 10 lbs. maximum, but in spite of this the car runs quite happily on straight Esso Ethyl. A.S.U. petrol pump is used, and the rear tank holds 15 gallons. The finned sump holds two gallons, and the oil is forced through a Tecalmit oil filter and cleaner beneath the radiator. A reserve supply of three gallons is carried in a tank on the dash, and the level in the sump is maintained by means of a float chamber and needle valve. The sloping radiator is both handsome and efficient, and the temperature does not rise above
85 degrees even in thick traffic on a hot day. Two water pumps are fitted, and are driven off the front of the camshafts.
An extremely substantial dynamotor, which, of course, combines the functions of starter and dynamo, is fitted to the front of the engine. The two units of the twelvevolt battery are carried on either side of the propellor shaft.
The engine is coupled to the self-changeing gear-box by means of a short shaft with flexible couplings the brake-bands of the gear-box being relied upon to take up the drive. The transmission is completed through the usual open propellor shaft and bevel-driven back-axle.
The chassis is substantially built with X members amidships and in front of the engine, and is six inches deep in the centre. The semi-elliptic springs are pivoted at their inner ends and slide in trunnions at the outer ends, and Houdaille shock-absorbers are used all round. A pair of friction shock-absorbers are used on the front axle in addition to the hydraulic ones in order to steady the front-axle under heavy braking. All chassis joints are lubricated from a central pendulum pump on the dashboard. The brake drums are t6 inches in diameter, and made of ribbed aluminium with
steel brake-liners shrunk in and locked by set screws. The brakes are hydraulically operated, with a hand brake working on the rear ones through cables, and an adjustment on the latter serves to take up wear in the system. When this adjustment is fully used up, further wear is taken up by means of set-screws on the drums.
For many years there has been a demand in England for a handy small supercharged car of outstanding performance, a demand which has hitherto been met to a great extent by the import of foreign cars of this type. The Squire seems to fill the bill admirably, without the drawback of harsh suspension. Considered in terms of capacity the car is rather expensive, but its specification and performance will make an appeal to those who are only satisfied with the best.
A long-chassis car with a wheelbase of loft. sin. is now also being produced to the same general specification. The open four-seater costs £1,250.
Squire cars are manufactured by the Squire Car Manufacturing Co., Ltd., of Remenham Hill Works, Henley-on-Thames and catalogues can be obtained and roadtests arranged by communicating with that address.