TO THE NORTH

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36

TO THE NORTH 1,500 MILES IN THREE DAYS WITH 4+-LITRE BENTLEY. LONDON TO JOHN O’GROAT’S IN I5f HOURS

DISTANCE, lends enchantment and we had long held the opinion that a quick journey up to John o’Groat’s from London would prove almost as Worth while as taking a curtailed visit abroad. The more the matter was discussed, the more attractive the idea seemed, but unfortunately not more than three free days ever presented themselves for the job and it had to be conceded that to attempt the run with the majority of cars would either result in the time allowance being overstepped, or would necessitate such hustling as to leave no spare moments for relaxation or photography, as we wished. So, for the time being, the matter was shelved, until we were reminded of it afresh by having for trial a 4+-litre

Bentley. Knowing the capabilities of the modern Bentley, the complexion of things looked very different and we decided to have a look at John o’Groat’s in the three days during which the car was at out disposal. The party consisted of the writer (W. Boddy), Jim Brymer, who is an excellent route-finder and a splendid companion, besides being a Leica man of considerable merit, and Toni Lush, whose enthusiasm for fast motoring is allied to a useful knowledge of the mechanical aspect of the :game. The journey was occasioned Stalely because we all possessed a desire to see a little of the North of Scotland, none of us having been very far north of the Border previously. No attempt was made to set up sensational averages. We do not know whether there exists, in inner motoring circles, an unofficial London to John o’Groat’s record. If there does, we should be interested to hear of it, but we make no claim to have established or broken any figure of this nature. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that covering Such a mileage as we did in three days enables one to form an extremely accurate and critical opinion of a car’s

qualities and abilities. The ordinary road-test, which, so far as MOTOR SPORT is concerned, embraces a distance of anything from 300 to 800 miles, certainly shows up clearly the characteristics and performance of a car more than adequately, but to drive from London to John o ‘Groat ‘s and back again as we did with the Bentley goes .a little farther and throws emphasis on matters of comfort, control and maintenance in a way that could hardly be bettered. It serves, too, to show what a willing magic carpet a modern car of quality is, and constitutes an excellent test of any car destined for fast travel during a holiday tour abroad. It was these matters that we had in mind in planning our brief holiday. The writer decided to drive up singlehanded, just for fun and to see whether he could do it. The running time was carefully logged and all stops recorded, as a matter of interest and to give Brynier and Lush some work to do as well. A stop on the run up for breakfast was voted essential, but a lunch stop seemed unnecessary, as we are all used to odd mealtimes in the course of pursuing motoring

interests, so that late lunch was no hardship. The 4+-litre received no special attention, beyond filling the sump with Castrol XL, topping up the radiator, and filling the tank with 18 gallons of Shell. Cases and coats were stored in the big luggage boot and no spare fuel supplies were carried. The India covers were given :15 lb. per square inch pressure in the front and 32 lb. in the back in anticipation of some high-speed cruising. We left at the earliest convenient hour, which was midnight on June 27th, so that we could not resist posing the car before Big Ben for a picture, with the hands of the old clock approaching the magic hour and the Bentley standing sleek and majestic in the patchy light of the street lamps. At the first stroke of midnight the Bentley moved away and

fuel gauge and its warning light now indicated that a stop would shortly be necessary and at a small filling station just north of Catterick Bridge we woke the owner and, by indicating that a full tank was required, got him to condescendingly descend, and minister to the Bentley’s needs. Sixteen gallons of Power Benzoic and a quart of Castrol XL were put in, the latter solely as a precaution, and we were off in 14 nuns, dead, the writer in possession of a considerable burn on his right arm through carelessly contacting the exhaust pipe while opening a perfectly accessible oil-filler. Bowes Moor was taken at a sustained 70 m.p.h., to the surprise of the routeretainer on my left, who knows this long climb well. We were now cruising at 80 m.p.h. and at this speed our otherwise efficient wipers found it difficult to cope

prompt Iv encountered an unbelievable number of hostile traffic lamps. But at last we were off the Pinchley Road, swinging left past the ever-fascinating A.A. sign ” To the North,” and, with the suspension over-ride control flicked over to ” hard,” the writer began to settle down to it, pushing the speedometer needle into the ” seventies.” Along the first parts of ” 111 ” Brymer got out his rough schedule, which was carried in an endeavour to get us up in time for a little photography after dinner, incidentally, it is rather a tribute to Bentley suspension that he made additions to his notes at frequent intervalswithout inconvenience. The first incident was a route-error at a somewhat obscure turning north of Buckden, for which the stop-watch cheerfully ticked off 15 secs. A little rain intruded for about three miles through Grantham. By 3.14 a.m. Doncaster was accomplished, and at 4.3 a.m. we were at Boroughbridge. The

with heavy rain blown from the bonnet. Daylight came before the refuelling stop, but it was not until one and a half hours later, well north of Penrith, that an approaching car was encountered—a Ford V8 very intent on going south quickly.

Three inner men now suggested another pause. At Crawford, 2 mins. were spent discovering that .a likely hotel, was shut and another mins. were wasted for the same reason at Abington, in spite of hopefully smoking chimneys. North of Newmains there was 0. slow deviation, for reasons unknown, before the main road was rejoined. Breakfast was taken at Amulsee Hotel, at 8.45 a. mu., where the fisher-folk seemed interested almost to the verge of impoliteness in our respective beards and the writer’s fad of using talcum-powder on his hands before resuming his driving gloves. We restarted in 52 mins., after putting in 14 gallons of lisso Ethyl and

another quart of Castrol XL at an enthusiastic garage adjacent.

Up from Blair Atholl we had an argument with an L.M.S. streamlined ” Pacific” up to Drumochter Summit, the train being so easily left behind that the driver inquired of his route-retainer, who, a great railway enthusiast, had had his Leica aimed, what the devil railways were for, anyway—on the descent to Kingussie another train was overhauled ! Here we saw a parked Dormet-zedel, which, with a Chenard-Walcker, a Windsor and an Arrol-Aster, constituted our sole ” bag” of quaint motors in Scotland.

At Inverness we got lost momentarily, using the back streets, the only time Brymer slipped up in 1,500 miles. Here the swing bridge over the canal pipped us and 7 mins. were lost before it opened fully, and we all had a stretch.

Near Alness electric petrol pumps assisted towards a rapid fill-up with 4 gallons of Shell (now 1/8 a gallon), the writer staying in the seat. From the Mound Station, for some five miles, the road, in process of rebuilding, resembled, so the route-retainer said, the backbone of a dinosaur. The Bentley, even with the ride control at ” soft, ‘ underwent a severe pounding, but it was noticeable that, from the viewpoint of personal comfort, 50 m.p.h. could be maintained, cruel as this was to the car. The remainder of the run, through Helmsdale and Berriedale, was winding and very undulating, and the 41-litre showed its ability to negotiate all manner of bends at speed with no worrying characteristics to a by now rather weary driver, and time and again third was snicked in and held to 3,800 r.p.m. to

command maximum acceleration. At last we. were on the top of the hills and along the straight bits the car was worked frequently up to 90-and-a-bit, holding 80 m.p.h. for mile on mile. The oil and temperature readings remained as at the commencement, no body rattles intruded and, best of all, the inset clock on the speedometer showed us to be very considerably ahead of our self-imposed schedule.

Indeed, at 3.14 p.m. we rolled into the .court-yard of the John o’Groat’s House Hotel and, although the proprietress told of an Austin Ten owner who had done the Tun between 9 and 7 o’clock (it proved to be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. the following night !) .and of an old woman who walked from Land’s End in thirty days, we were quite pleased with the run. It is a tribute to everything about the Bentley that the writer suffered only temporary eyestrain and not a single ache or pain then or afterwards, although, his athletic pursuits now being confined to ” dicing ” and some very moderate hiking, he is quite susceptible to such things and experiences such bothers quite often in other cars. The passengers were ill once, probably because long descents, with the car held at 80 m.p.h., has much the same effect as stunting in an aeroplane—the suspension certainly was not to blame for very few cars would give such comfortable riding over a variety of surfaces at the speeds we maintained. The mileage by speedometer was 702. Although the distance is usually given as

nearer 750, this tallied to within a mile or so of the map reading and on it the average speed is based, which gives a speed of 46.0 m.p.h. overall, or 50.5 m.p.h. for the running time, with 81 mins. deducted for the breakfast and refuelling pauses. That may not sound very terrific, nor does the driver claim any particular credit, but it does enable one to appreciate the performance of the modern Bentley. If you can do this run at a similar speed and have as few criticisms to make of the car you drive as we have made about the Bentley in the notes that follow, you have a very good motor-car indeed. The excellent road-holding, great acceleration and ability to maintain really high speeds and brake safely from any speed combined to make possible the 50 m.p.h. average, and the action of the controls, the splendid suspension and the comfort and convenience of the Vanden Plas drophead body (which remained closed throughout) were undoubtedly responsible for our rather surprising and certainly pleasing lack of fatigue. The rest of the story is quickly told. That night we stayed at The Pentland Hotel, Thurso, where names like Sammy Davis and Humphrey Symons are household words, on account of the Monte Carlo Rally. During the next two days Brymer took a large number of pictures with his two Leicas, frequently chasing trains and dismounting to ” shoot” interesting locomotives, one of which, a very old Colliery loco with prominent polished dome, occasioned him great excitement. The first evening we stayed in Pitlochry and had a magnificent evening run over the Schiehallon and Lairige hill roads, the latter part wild and very ghostly in the failing light. In places we saw braking marks where Scottish Rally competitors

had prepared for tests Here the off rear India slowly deflated but we got to a garage, expressing warm admiration for the Bentley’s stability over a twisting route with the deflating cover.

Nothing had been done to the car beyond adding 6 gallons of Esso, 8 gallons of Shell and 3 quarts of Castrol XL before we left Pitlochry late the following morning, the arrival of a Mercedes-Benz type 190 with Swedish plates, a Matford with French plates and a Dodge with an American registration delaying us for further picture making. Chassis lubrication was looked after every 100 miles by the foot pump ; truly a great help on such a journey. Lush now took his spell at the wheel and the writer sampled the rear seat, in which stability is up to the standard of that of the front compartment and ample leg room is ensured by deep wells extending beneath the front seats. Having decided to have two new India covers fitted as a precaution, we made for the India factory at Inclainan, near Glasgow, crossing on the coal-fired twin-cylinder steam ferry at Erskine in company with a Speed Model Alvis and a Railton. Apart from an Invicta and a fast-travelling Lancia Aprilia and some other 41-litre Bentleys, sports-cars were conspicuous by their scarcity, but a goodly number of Rolls-Royce cars were met North of the Border. The India people hoisted the Bentley on a big hydraulic

hoist and quickly had us newly shod at the rear, while we snatched tea in their well-conducted works canteen. The discarded covers were stowed one on the rear seat and one in the rear locker, which illustrates rather nicely the space within the Vanden Plas body. After a further meal in Strathaven, 8 gallons of Shell were taken aboard, and the screen cleaned in readiness for a quick return to London, the writer resuming the wheel. We left at 6.10 p.m. and in the first hour covered 48 miles, getting near Lockerbie. In the next hour another 52 miles went comfortably by and by 9.10 we were at Catterick, with 56 miles put into the hour. Fuel was now running low and after another half-an-hour, or 31 miles, we stopped just outside Weatherby to put in 14 gallons of Shell and to adjust the fog lamp and clean the screen, wasting 101 mins. In the four hours following, the mileage per hour was 47, 46, 53 and 52 respectively, darkness falling early and the roads slippery with intermittent rain. Throughout we met a fair amount of traffic and the excellent headlamps and very well arranged dimmer again proved invaluable for fast travel by night. By 1.53 a.m. we were well into London, at Welbeck Street, with 387 miles covered at an average of 51.2 m.p.h., deducting the 10.1 mins. stop for fuel. At Marble Arch Brymer took over for the run home to South London, and a remarkably pleasant and absolutely trouble-free run terminated without incident. Indeed, we had not had a single incident or” phenomenal avoidance” throughout, and in the last hour the Bentley ran just as sweetly as it had done at the start, only the rush of wind breaking the silence at 80 m.p.h., or at 00 m.p.h. and more, speeds it reached. just as readily now as it had done over fifteen hundred miles earlier. Moreover the brakes had lost none of their power or progressiveness and only a few very minor body squeaks had developed. The total mileage from our starting place and back again was 1,585 and the fuel consumption came out at nearly 171 m.p.g.— a figure that quite candidly surprised us, for a 41-litre car driven hard all the time. As to oil, we added in all 5 quarts, at a total cost of 9/7. No work of any kind was done bar wheel changing, and adding, perhaps, half a gallon of water to the radiator. Incidentally, fast ears were few and far between and the only real tussle we had was on the run home, when we had to do 90 m.p.h. to overhaul an S.S. saloon—prestunably a 31-. litre—which then sat on our tail for a while until overshooting a deceptive right-hand fork north of Gretna, which we took fast without excitement—thereafter we did not see the S.S. again and not a single car passed us in the 387-mile run down. In conclusion we can all say that we shall long remember this very enjoyable fast holiday with the Bentley, no matter what we may try in the future in the way of blown multi-cylinder fast motor-cars. With six cylinders and push-rod valve actuation the 41-litre Bentley has all the performance needed for work of the sort we gave it to do, and not the least of its charms is its smooth, silent and quite effortless running, no matter how long and how hard it is driven. This is an age when very good cars can be bought for very little money and when cars in the moderate price classes offer extremely goad performance. Consequently, the cynic may inquire why anyone should spend the sum of fifteen hundred pounds on a motor-car. After this prolonged experience of the Bentley, the writer himself, possessed of a reputation as a cynic where cars are concerned, is able to divorce himself completely from those who question the sanity of purchasers of the more expensive cars and to say quite honestly that he now understands very well the ready market which the modern Bentley has commanded,

SOME IMPRESSIONS OF THE 4LITRE BENTLEY

The foregoing account serves to emphasise the abilities of the 41-litre Bentley very thoroughly, but so much interest does the car create that some further notes on its construction and characteristics will not constitute space wasted, particularly as there is no necessity to shower prosy paragraphs of praise on the reader where this Derby product is concerned—a straightforward descrip tion is more than adequate. The car, externally, is large and quietly impressive, the typically Bentley radiator and wide wings blending admirably with any coachwork that the chassis is called upon to carry—in the case of the car tested, the Vanden Plas two-door five-seater drop

head coupe, listed at i1,585. This dignity of appearance is particularly noteworthy, when casual treatment of bonnet-line or wing shape could so easily mar the impression of great power allied to comfortable travel. How well the coachbuilders who construct special bodywork for the Bentley appreciate this matter is evident from the beautiful appearance of the complete cars, no matter of what body style.

From the driving seat the excellent visibility and view of both front wings counteracts the long bonnet and lengthy wheelbase. The winged B away on the flat-topped filler-cap and the big Lucas headlamps alone remind one of the car’s size and provide that sense of security that is the prerogative of a large car. The driving position is excellent. The bucket seat adjusts very easily and locks securely home, so that it becomes quite normal to slide it back when using the off-side door. The wheel is raked correctly and is very well down in the driver’s lap. The right-hand gear-lever, with its slender hand-grip, is in exactly the correct location, and to reach the brake lever beside it necessitates stooping hardly at all. The pedals are fairly closely set in the same plane, yet so spaced that no embarrassment results, while one’s heels rest in a shallow well. The minor controls, both in location and action, are a sense of pride to the enthusiast. On the steering wheel centre are the small levers for throttle, mixture, and suspension over-ride controls and ignition advance and retard. They move with slight downward pressure of the thumb in complete silence and smoothness, yet lock in any desired position. The hand throttle gives notably delicate control of the tick-over. The horn button on the wheel centre is, perhaps, a trifle close set for really delicate operation. The instrument panel, of unpolished walnut, is a truly beautiful piece of work, $o infinitely more satisfying than the finest of metal facias. The instruments, with white markings on black dials, are neatly spaced across it, the smaller dials recessed, and every one easily visible to the driver. At night the concealed illumination is entirely dazzleproof yet perfectly adequate, and the dials are beautifully calibrated. A large cubby hole with lockable lid, on the _extreme left, has a separate external lamp, serving also as a map reading lap. Ammeter, fuel gauge, oil gauge and radiator thermometer are set outside the central panel, which carries the lighting and ignition switches, dash-lamp switch and ignition lock. These switches take the form of tiny clamped levers, and the dashlight switch can be operated momentarily or locked in the ” on ” position. The position of the main lighting switch is

motoring in summer or in a freezing fog. The chassis lubricator is operated by the left foot and as it rises slowly, after operation, it is possible to ascertain easily that it has been correctly used. The lamps are entirely suited to 80 m.p.h. cruising at night, but the fog-lamp and dip position would have been better for adjustment. The dimmer works lightly under a touch of the left toe ; at times it was slightly hesitant in action but not sufficiently so to worry the driver. The right-hand accelerator is very light and has a delightfully balanced action. The clutch shows no trace of slip, has moderate travel and engages smoothly, only very slight care being needed to avoid judder. The action is very light. The gear-change is one of the most pleasing -aspects of the Bentley. The synchromesh on third and top works just as rapidly as the short rigid lever can be moved, and the change from top to third is just a backward snap

clearly marked, but in any case the side lamps have visible indicators.

On the extreme right are the big speedometer with inset clock and the rev, counter reading to 110 m.p.h. and 4,500 r.p.m. respectively. In top gear, both hands move in the same plane. Interior lamp, fog lamps and wiper switches have a pleasant snap-out action, and there is a testing switch for the fuel pump and a pull-out ash-tray. The usual dynamowindow is used and adjacent to it is the warning lamp to indicate that the car is running on the last two gallons of fuel—the fuel gauge is dead accurate. Each screen wiper has its own parking control and the wipers are very effective and dead silent. They park out of the line of vision. The facia rear-view mirror is small but quite effective and the direction indicators, of self-cancelling type, are worked by a switch on the extreme right of the screen base. They cancel rather rapidly. There is no reversing light or rear blind, but neither seems really to be required. The twin interior lamps, on one of the hood sticks, provide all the light required. The screen winds well open by means of a central winder, which is a most commendable point when action, the gears going in without a trace of resistance. Passengers can scarcely detect that a change has been made, a tribute to the silence of the third gear as well as to that of the engine and the

change itself. Double-declutching is equally effective. The change from third to second requires more judgment to effect silently, but it always goes through • rapidly if a little crunch is permitted. Actually, second is very seldom required. The lower gears locate very easily if the clutch is engaged and freed. Reverse is found by pressing the lever downwards and over beyond first. The lower gears are very quiet. We found undiminishing joy in using what is unquestionably one of the most fascinating gear-changes on. any modern car. The steering is fairly heavy for traffic negotiation or holding the car round long bends, but it becomes very much lighter in open road driving, and at all times it is extremely accurate. There is a firm, smooth action and the castor return is ample for all circumstances, yet not over vigorous, so that the wheel never whips through the driver’s fingers. Only on extremely bad surfaces does very subdued column movement occur, and the

return motion transmitted likewise is never excessive. The lock is immense for so large a car and the wheel asks 2* turns lock to lock. The balance between really high gearing or a low ratio could hardly be improved.

On a car of the 4I-litre’s abilities, brakes are called upon to withstand frequent and heavy applications, yet their power governs to a very great extent the use which can be made of the available performance. The R-R type mechanical servo is, at first, very deceptive, for merely resting the foot on the pedal arrests the car, and the driver imagines that, exerting so little effort, he cannot be pulling up very efficiently. Further use of the car enlightens him and endows a warm respect for the ingenious and beautifully made servo mechanism. For, in sober fact, the brakes are very powerful indeed, yet very light to apply, and, once this servo action is understood, they are truly progressive. They do their heavy task in silence, save for tyre squeal under vigorous application, and a low hissing, and did not weaken throughout the test, nor do they have any effect on stability or steering. They can be crammed on at 80 m.p.h. on a wet surface, when needed, with impunity. The handlever is a parking brake only, working on the rear drums. It holds the car securely, never fails to release fully, and the action of the push-button release is fully up to the standard of the other Bentley controls.

Suspension on a car of the 4I-litre’s character is a major problem for a designer even as experienced as W. 0. Bentley. Not only has the springing to deal with very material variations of speed and load ; it also has to suit widely varying temperaments, for in the 41-litre the Bentley engineers have evolved a car that appeals to a variety of users. The problem is one which the Bentley people, at least, have mastered. The hall-elliptic springs have governor control of the damping and. the driver over-ride control in addition. The result is that at low speeds, with the control in the “soft” position, the riding is most comfortable, but if greater stability is needed the steering wheel lever is flicked to the ” hard ” position, when a definite stiffening is noticed. Even so, this only amounts to a moderate effect at low speeds, and, valuable as it is for increased control, does not become embarrassing to sensitive passengers, albeit the absolute town-carriage ride has vanished. The car rides thoroughly comfortably, even in its manner of taking humped bridges at high speed. A certain characteristic pitching fore and aft is the most pronounced movement. This over-ride control is extremely fascinating and of real value, particularly in increasing control when the car is being driven at upwards of 75 m.p.h. The road-holding is very good indeed, which was what we expected, Even so, the Bentley’s ability to take acute bends at between 60 and 70 m.p.h. and open corners at upwards of 75 m.p.h., and to slide bad turns at 45 m.p.h., was most impressive, and very useful from the viewpoint of covering the ground. The 4I-litre gives the satisfying impression that it will never go out of control no matter what the conditions. Given the room, you feel the worst tail slide will respond to normal corrective methods. On wet roads at over 80 m.p.h. we once or twice noticed a slight nose movement, indicating very slippery surfaces, and even then the car felt quite under control. Throughout the whole run it never once felt otherwise. It likes fast corners better than slow bends, inasmuch as it can be slid round under complete control, when the tyres ” scrub ” rather than howl, and that not

excessively. With a driver who will really drive the car it is as interesting and willing as the best short-chassis sports job, yet an ordinary owner can do some very fast cornering without apprehension. Road camber and undulations do not affect stability to any noticeable degree, and roll is only evident at low speeds on sharp corners with soft dampers.

Over all surfaces the ” frontworks ” remain rigid in true Bentley tradition, only very slight movement of lamps and wings being discernible, and none at all of radiator and bonnet, while the facia is immovable save for an occasional shudder when a .very bad road undulation is encountered—remarkable construction indeed when you reflect how modern sports-cars invariably dither and drum at half Bentley cruising speed. Turning to the engine, it is not only a magnificent piece of engineering to examine ; it functions with remarkable smoothness and silence in spite of its obviously high power output. Retard the ignition, switch on, press the facia located starter-button, and it comes to life with a low metallic burble from the tailpipe— music to the sportsman. Advance the ignition and the note becomes almost inaudible, the ammeter and oil pressure needles and a slight tremor through the steering wheel alone indicating that it is idling at 700 r.p.m. It opens up without a sound, even carburetter hiss being absent, Only at its limit of 4,000 r.p.m. does it intrude and then only with a species

of power roar. With the ignition retarded performance is diminished, but as retard is only needed when starting, or, perhaps, on foreign petrols, this is of no consequence. Using Shell, Esso and Power petrol there was not the slightest sound of pinking on full advance. The surge of acceleration, even from 70 m.p.h. in top gear, is most enthralling, and the revs, mount rapidly for gear-changing. So efficient is the engine that we frequently started without using the starter, merely opening the hand-throttle, switching on, and flicking the ignition lever from retard to advance, when the engine would fire, build and tick over. Given momentary use of the rich setting, starting, even after cold Scottish nights, was instantaneous, and warming up a matter of moments. The normal running temperature is 80°C., going very occasionally to 90°C., and dropping back rapidly as the pump gets busy. The pumping action is an extremely brisk one, and, if necessary, the thermostat control of the shutters can be easily disconnected. Oil pressure varies with engine speed and is 28 to 30 lb. per square inch at 60 to 80 m.p.h. There was a slight flat-spot in the carburation very low in the speed range. The dynamo has constant voltage control and a slight charge was recorded at night at cruising speed. Cruising speed on British roads can be said to be 80 to 90 m.p.h., which is reached and maintained quite normally on any open straight. The highest road speed reached was 95 m.p.h. by speedometer and 90 was maintained many times

and for considerable distances. No acceleration figures were taken, but second gear acceleration is so great as to reach super-sports standards and to spin the wheels on a dry surface, and third gear gives immense pick-up in uncanny silence. On the other hand, top gear performance is so good that a lot of owners would forego using the lower ratios, save when wishing to handle that delightful gear-change, for the Bentley builds rapidly from very low speeds on its 4.1 to 1 top gear and will run at 5 m.p.h. on that same ratio. At 3,500 r.p.m. in top the road speed is 78 m.p.h. On third 3,800 r.p.m. equals 65 m.p.h., so that third gear acceleration can be held to this speed when required, no protest arising from engine or gearbox, so that it is very easy to forget that top has not been engaged. Normally, one would change up at about 2,500 r.p.m. or 22 m.p.h. on first gear, at the same revs. or 31 m.p.h. in second, and at 2,000 r.p.m. or $5 m.p.h. in third. It is quite permissible to start in second gear on level ground. The bonnet is held by fairly stiff snap down catches. The finish of the engine and components reflects the immense care and first-class workmanship which has made the name of the Derby factory a household one all over the world, even in places where cars are seldom seen, so that it is invidious for any writer to emphasise them. The black finish of the block contrasts with the light alloy castings. On the off side are the two S.U. carburetters with their huge air cleaner and silencer. Forward are the twin coils, with quickly interchangeable leads to provide a stand-by in case of coil fail ure. Fuses and chassis lubrication reservoir (which takes engine oil) are very well placed and on the near side the offtake from the three-branch exhaust manifold drops between the dynamo and

oil filler. The latter is most accessible and has an excellent snap-action cap. The manner in which the tools are accommodated is typical of the car as a whole. Jack, wheel spanner, jack handle and hammer are held in special holders beneath the , bonnet, and the remainder of the tools are stored beneath the luggage space in the rear locker. The Vanden Plas drop-head coupe body gives all the protection of a saloon when closed. There are also half windows forward controlled by quick-action levers, and never once did the interior steam up. There is a useful scuttle ventilator, con trolled by a rather slow winder. upholstery is in soft leather matching the body and the pneumatic cushions have their own special inflation pump in the tool kit. There are deep pockets in the doors and with the hood erect there is additional space for small objects in the hood-stick well and plenty of space for coats, etc.,

behind the rear seat. This seat will accommodate four persons if required, with the central arm-rest folded. It is hardly necessary to add that the silence of the body is fully in keeping with the unobtrusive nature of the chassis.