Letters from Readers, August 1937



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As a spectator at last month’s meeting at Crystal Palace, I should like to utter an extremely strong protest at what I consider the exorbitant charges for car parking. I do feel, and I am sure that very many will agree with me, that the charge of 5s. for parking one’s car outside the

grounds was exorbitant, especially in view of the fact that it costs only 8s. to go in and see the racing. There must be very many besides myself who feel the same way, and who feel equally indignant about it, and will think twice before patronising another meeting of the Road Racing Club.

While I wish the club every success and am grateful for what they are doing for road racing in this country, I would respectfully suggest to them that, at least in respect of car parking charges, they are defeating their own object. I am, Yours etc.,


London, S.W.9. Sir,

With reference to the paragraph appearing in the July issue of MOTOR SPORT under the heading ” Odd Spots,” I wish to point out that I am not in partnership with Mr. Marcus Chambers.

There is absolutely no question of our being in partnership as I merely share the premises and we combine on the score of economy in advertising under the same heading.

You will appreciate that your action may have very serious consequences unless steps are taken to remedy the error. I am, Yours etc.,

Jom E. SWAINSON. [We offer our apologies to Mr. Swainson and Mr. Chambers for thus linking them in partnership. But in view of the fact that they have been using an identical business address, same business telephone number, and have issued joint advertising “copy,” we plead that such an error is not altogether inexcusable. —ED.]



As I know how keen your paper is on printing the full truth, may I venture to make two observations upon your Relay Race article ? You say that Samuel’s Nash ” . . did not seem too happy and after twenty laps retired. . . .” Now this car was lapping steadily at about 94 m.p.h. (best 96 odd), which is not bad for an unblown 1657 c.c. and was in fact quite happy till the tyre trouble, and it retired because we thought that there was some

bevel box trouble as a result of the other. The second point is this. You state that Mr. Whiddington’s Nash was Marcus Chambers tuned. While this is no doubt true we must give praise where due, and the fact is that this car was practically rebuilt by Samuel’s mechanic on the Friday. I was a member of the Samuel equipe. have enjoyed your paper for some years both in India and now at home. I am, Yours etc.,


London, S.W.11. [This is just the sort of letter we welcome. A motor-scribe cannot be everywhere at once, or get to the rock-bottom of every incident, and we gladly publish this enlargement of a fairly comprehensive Relay Race report.—Ed.] Sir,

On page 309, July MOTOR SPORT, was it not C. J. P. Thadson who was burned at Doningtou during the Empire Trophy Race ? am, Yours etc.,


Sunderland. [Quite correct I An error crept in and we are grateful to have so many wellinformed readers to lay it to rest ; one of whose letters is published.—En] Sir,

With reference to the article on the French G.P. in the July issue of MOTOR SPORT, may we point out that there is no question of the B.M.W. factory deciding to neglect the French Grand Prix this year as stated by you. In 1936 the French Grand Prix was run on an entirely different basis with the result that competing cars could content themselves with keeping in front of their immediate class rivals with the idea of winning their class, or if they had sufficient speed go all out with the sporting chance of coming home high up in the final classification. The prestige of a class win was, therefore, sufficient to

attract some entrants, and there was no loss of prestige on the other hand if they chose only to go for the class win and not attempt an outright win which in any case would not be expected of the smaller capacity cars as opposed to the very powerful French cars entered. We ourselves informed the French club this year when the new regulations were published that if they would consider throwing open the Coupe de la Commission Sportive for cars up to 2-litres, or alternatively giving a class award in the Grand Prix itself, we would definitely enter a team of cars. This suggestion

met with no response from the A.C.P. and so we could not enter for this race, and frankly we were not at all interested in the expense of competing in a race which was only a curtain-raiser to the Grand Prix itself.

As regards Le Mans, it is worth mention that the Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. driven by H. J. Aldington and A. F. P. Pane retired with ignition trouble which after the race was found to be of a very minor nature. Secondly, the three cars of this marque entered did not emanate from the German factory. The Frazer-NashB.M.W. driven by H. J. Aldington and A. F. P. Pane was entered by ourselves, while the other Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. was privately entered and the personal property of Mr. David Murray.

Regarding the Relay Race, while it is possible that you do not know the reason, as we did not know ourselves until after the race, it is interesting that Miss McOstrich was forced to retire owing to a most unusual cause after she had been going extremely well and maintaining her scheduled speed. The engine itself was perfect, and the reason for her abandoning the car, which put this team. right out of the running, was the shearing of the clamp bolt holding the Simms magneto coupling.

As you state, Mr. D. A. Aldington, who was driving Mr. Alan Marshall’s Frazer-Nash, then took over, but from that point your other remarks must be described as purely imaginary. There was actually no point in his carrying on except as a sporting gesture and an endeavour to get the team home. He covered 62 laps, not 55, at an average speed of well over 90 m.p.h., putting in a number of laps at 96 m.p.h. There was definitely no worry over such a thing as dropping oil pressure as you state, and this would appear to have been culled from other reports which made the same mistake, apparently due to a marshal standing near who presumably happened to hear the word pressure when the driver came in. The pressure that was worrying the driver, however, was not oil pressure but the hand pump petrol pressure feed—rather a different matter.

Actually the car finished in. perfect condition, and there could not be much wrong with the oil pressure of a car, which incidentally is a 1932 model, that was lapping at the above speed for almost 200 miles. The ” queer ” exhaust note was not due to anything being wrong as inferred by your report—actually this rather metallic exhaust note is typical. Regarding your J.C.C. report, Viscount Curzon, whose car was new and had completed under 1,000 miles on the road, was taking things quite easily, and your correspondent’s glimpse of Viscount Curzon stopping by the paddock and your further remark that the car “subsequently got going again” was due to nothing more serious than a punctured

tyre. It is rather surprising that your report does not actually mention that Mr.

Pane on a 13,-litre unsupercharged Six made the fastest time in the first onehour High Speed Trial and that Mr. H. J. Aldington on the Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. not only made the fastest time in the second High Speed Trial, but easily the fastest time of the day and also the fastest climb of the Test Hill. I am, Yours etc.,

W. H. .A.I.DINGTON. Frazer Nash Cars, Falcon Works,

London Road, Isleworth. [Concerning the last paragraph, our report was in the nature of a stop-press effort and the J.C.C. did not issue full results on the day of the event.—ED.]



In reply to Mr. H. M. Nerriere’s query in your June issue, on the subject of dynamic balancing, a brief explanation of the necessity for this is as follows.

Dynamic balance only follows from static balance in the case of a rotating body made of homogeneous material and symmetrical in shape about the plane passing through its centre of gravity at right angles to its axis of rotation. Consider a simple flywheel of regular uniform section like this.

If statically balanced and if made of material which is of unvarying specific gravity throughout (cast iron does not always fulfil this condition), then this wheel will also be in dynamic balance. Now consider the effect of attaching two equal weights to it, one on each side, at equal distances from the axis of rotation, and diametrically opposite each other.

The wheel remains in static balance, but when rotating the centrifugal forces due to the weights would set up an unbalanced rotating couple causing unbalanced rotating reactions at the shaft bearings, and rough running. trust that this short explanation will enable Mr. Nerriere to apply similar reasoning to the various portions of a four, six or eight throw crankshaft, and to understand why dynamic balancing

is the only alternative to such scrupulous care in manufacture, e.g., by machining the crank all over to close limits, that the necessary symmetry is obtained which renders static balancing sufficient by itself. It might be desirable to add that in a plain four throw crank like this there

are two couples which should cancel each other in their external effects on the engine as a whole, although of course they must cause crankshaft deflection or ” whip ” to a degree controlled by the stiffness of the shaft ; but if one pair of cranks is heavier than the other pair, although the shaft may still be in static balance it will not be in dynamic balance as the two opposing couples will be unequal. I am, Yours etc.,

H. L. MOSCA.RDI. Gillingham,

Kent. Sir,

I would be glad to know your opinion on the following performance, made by me on the 19th July, together with two passengers, in a J1 model M.G. (1933). Left Rhyl 5 o’clock, via :—Rhuddlan, St. Asaph, Mold, Wrexham, Ellesmere, Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, (via New

Road) to Smethwick. Arrived 7.15. The journey was made in pouring rain from Wrexham onwards, and also a thunderstorm.

My speedometer is out of order, and I cannot therefore give you the mileage covered, but I think it is in the region of 108. It seems to me to be an excellent time, and that is why I am writing to you. I am, Yours etc.,


Birmingham, 7.



An analysis of this year’s handicap for the Tourist Trophy Race, as recently published, produces some startling reflections on the efficiency of various sizes of engine, as assessed by the handicappers.

For instance, an increase of engine size of 100 c.c. (from 1,000 c.c. to 1,100 c.c.) demands an increase of speed of 5.4 m.p.h.

On this basis, one would expect a further increase of 100 c.c. (to 1,200 c.c.) to put up the speed of a car by more than 0.4 m.p.h. (about 1-14. of the previous amount).

The increase from 1,200 to 1,300 c.c. is allotted a similar low value.

What, then, are the magical properties of these next 100 c.c., after the 1-litre engine size, that they are expected to improve an engine so very much more than equal subsequent increases ?

There are similar, but not so striking, variations further up the scale.

The next 200 c.c. after 1,300 appear to be considered more efficient (though not approaching the aforesaid magical properties) as they are expected to bring about an increase of 1.4 m.p.h. ; the next 500, however (from 1 to 2-litres), seem, in the opinion of the handicappers, to be almost useless, as they can only make the car go 0.4 m.p.h. faster.

One is compelled to the conclusion that the handicappers want to make it as difficult as possible for a manufacturer specialising in engine sizes of 1,100 and 1,500 c.c. to win the race. (A 1,100, which is expected to concede 5.4 m.p.h. to its neighbour of 1-litre, will only receive 3.7 m.p.h. from cars of over 2-litres, while the allowance by the 2-litre to the 1-litre is ridiculously low in comparison with the allowance conceded by the 1/ltre to smaller cars.)

So, let it be recorded, here and now, that any fair-minded observer will regard a win by such a manufacturer as very much more deserving of praise than. a win by one whose cars fall into the very leniently treated 1-litres or the comparatively easily treated 2-litres. I am, Sir, Yours etc.,


I am in complete agreement with Mr. Ronald Prince over his request for a road test of the Austin Nippy Sports Two-Seater. It is, I think, seven years, and not three years, since this car was last tested, and surely now is the appropriate time for a road test of one of these models, especially when the new Austin racing cars are so much in the limelight. I am, Yours etc.,

J. S. DICKSON. Baden,

Germany. [We understand that this Austin model in question is no longer in regular production.—ED.]



I was delighted to see an article in your Editorial of the June issue of MOTOR SPORT devoted to steam-cars. But I disagree over some of the points mentioned.

Generally speaking the direct way of doing a job is the best and most efficient way ; but not so with a motor vehicle’s internal combustion engine. It certainly burns its fuel in the cylinders, where the work is to be done, and has a high thermal efficiency thereby ; but what an unsuitable power plant it really is for its job ! It exerts no starting torque, gains its maximum torque at 2,000-3,000 r.p.m., delivers little or no useful power at three or four hundred r.p.m., while it may have to turn over at 4,000 r.p.m. to give its maximum output. Moreover, three of every four strokes are not power strokes ; and the fact that combustion takes place in the cylinders precludes satisfactory lubrication, and necessitates efficient

cooling to prevent total failure of the engine.

The presence of those crudities, the clutch and gearbox, on every motor-car, and the fact that decoking is necessary after 10,000 miles, and reboring after 80,000 miles, is solid proof that the I.C. engine’s drawbacks for motor-vehicle use are no mere theoretical ones. By using steam, however, which, as you pointed out, is the less direct method of making fuel drive you along, you get many enormous advantages.

The Roble Steam-Car, which was built to order in California up till 1982, was typical of the best steam motor practice.

The last model—the model “F “—had 11′ 8″ wheelbase and 4′ 10″ track ; it weighed complete 88 cwts., and was rated (R.A.C.) at 26 h.p. Everything in the chassis was of the best, and the cost was consequently high—about L1,500, I think. The engine was a 4-cylinder compound, built as a unit with the back axle, which it drove through plain spurs, giving a reduction of 1.5:1. Of course, there was no clutch or gearbox. The engine made 900 r.p.m. at 60 m.p.h. The steam generator was under the bonnet and was of the ” once-through ” monotube type. Its output and working was entirely automatically controlled by a system thermo-electric, and pressure-electric regulators. The burner was on top of the generator, and quite accessible ; a turboelectric blower feeding air through a venturi tube aspirated a carburetter which in turn supplied a paraffin air mist to the combustion chamber, where a sparking-plug ignited it. The exhaust from the engine, having passed through a small turbine driving the fan, was led into a radiator or condenser at the front of the car. The performance was very remarkable. It had a maximum speed of 90-95 m.p.h., and it could accelerate from 5-25 m.p.h. in 2.3 secs., and from 0-40 m.p.h. in 7.0 secs., while owing to the power output characteristics of a steam-engine

acceleration of this order would be maintained up to approaching its maximum speed. The fuel consumption was 14 m.p.g. of paraffin, and the water consumption was about 120 m.p.g. in temperate climates.

It is an interesting sidelight on the durability of steam-engines that a Model “F ” engine was put on a dynamometer after 46,000 miles and gave 119 hp. (at 937 r.p.m.) ; and when tested after 75,000 miles, it gave 128 b.h.p. Of course, no attention is ever required on the engine, beyond giving the gland-nuts a turn up every 10,000 miles or so ; the boiler requires only very infrequent cleaning. The whole plant is practically everlasting.

The case for a steam-car, at any rate in the larger sizes, say from 12 h.p. upwards, is a very strong one from the engineering point of view ; though a tremendous amount of prejudice would have to be overcome before it could ever become popular.

As regards giving a MOTOR SPORT representative a run in a steam-car, I am afraid I cannot yet oblige, though I have nearly finished a simple ” Special ” Steam-Car. And I should be delighted to give him a run, if it should ever give a performance at all up to that which a good steam-car can give. I am, Yours etc.,

A. E. MouLToN. Wilts. [We would still appreciate an opportunity of getting normal performance figures on Brooklands.—ED.] THE PALLADIUM CAR Sir, I read your paragraph on ” Vintage ” under the heading ” Rumblings” in your June issue, and would state that undoubtedly the Palladium referred to is one that was built and delivered in 1923,

whilst I was Manager for the Palladium Autocar Company, where I played my part in the production of this model.

The car referred to (then four years old) is one which won a gold medal in the London-Lands End. in 1927.

The Palladium Autocar Company were not only the first people to advertise a standard 12 h.p. Sports Model which would do a mile a minute, but I believe were the first people to exhibit at the Olympia a 12 h.p. British car with front wheel brakes.

It was advertised as the Palladium 4-speed, 4-seater, 4-wheel brake standard Touring ” Victory” Model and was listed at what was then the modest sum of i395, giving 60 m.p.h. with a petrol consumption of 35 miles per gallon.

The same model gained a gold medal in the London-Exeter, 1921, LondonLands End, 1922, London-Edinburgh, 1922, was first amongst the 4-seaters in the 6 days Scottish Reliability Trial in 1922, and with a standard 4-seater body won the Handicap Light Car Race open to any car in 1922.

Two Palladiums got gold medals in the London-Exeter, 1922, and were the only 4-cylinder, 4-seater cars in the 1,500 c.c. class, which carried four passengers apiece. Something which was laughed at at the time.

Another remarkable performance was Simms Hill, Chudleigh, Devon ; this was reputed as being one of the steepest in England at that time, having a gradient of 1 in 2.8. Out of 36 attempts only 6 were successful. The Palladium was the only successful 4-seater car.

They also gained two gold medals in the London-Lands End Trials in 1925, again the only cars to carry four passengers apiece. I am, Yours etc.,

Putney, S.W. W. E. CASTELLO. [An interesting piece of information. And a breath of the “good old days” when gradient really did defeat most engines.—ED.]