Letters from readers
In the never-ending controversy that goes on in the motoring Press about the respective merits of British and foreign cars, how rarely is the " K.3" M.G. put forward in support of the home-produced car. I feel that an article about these supremely successful 1,100-c.c. cars would be much appreciated by readers of Motor Sport. How many people remember the great successes gained by the "K.3s " to wit, the winning of the T.T. and the Mille Miglia; and, later, how it was on a "K.3" that Dick Seaman did such valuable road racing ground work? If drivers like Nuvolari, Seaman, Lurani and others found them worth driving, that seems high praise to my mind. And the most praiseworthy thing about the production of the "K.3" seems to me that they could be bought by private individuals and at a price far below that of any serious racing car offered to the public, except perhaps the Alta in early years.
I am, Yours etc.,
Peter Whalley, Lt.
Army P.O. 1730.
I am continually delighted to find that you not only manage to keep publishing your paper, but that you maintain a high standard of journalism and photography. To misquote a whisky advertisement: "Not a car is seen 'till it's seven years old!" seems to be your motto Sorry if the humour is a bit laboured! But don't you recognise a car until it's 10 years old or so? Honestly, there are a number of cars which are not that old and they are still satisfactory in spite of their youth! My own M.G. "Musketeer" (genuine) is 1937, has done 60,000 miles, including many most strenuous reliability and speed trials, etc., was rebored at 50,000 miles and uses no oil whatever. Even in this "economy" tuning I get 82 m.p.h. on my checked speedometer and 30-31 m.p.g. on a run. Acceleration is equally satisfactory, too, and I'm rarely left at the traffic signals.
If you know of any enthusiasts stationed anywhere near my home ask them to call ('Phone 63884) or write to me at "Donington," Nursery Lane, Harrogate Road, Leeds.
I am, Yours etc.,
Jack M. Reiss.
I beg to draw your attention to the fact that Messrs. G.T. Foulis & Co., Ltd., will shortly be publishing a book, not by Prince Chula, but the very first one ever to have been written by Prince Birabongse. It is entitled "Bits and Pieces: Being Motor Racing Recollections of B. Bira."
In order to allay any anxieties which you may have regarding the position of Prince Chula and Prince Birabongse, I may say that they are not being treated by the British Government as enemy aliens, but, on the contrary, they are exempted from all restrictions imposed on aliens, and Prince Chula fully retains his membership of the Royal Victorian Order as a Knight Grand Cross. Moreover, both princes are serving in the local Home Guard, a privilege usually denied to all aliens.
I am, Yours etc.,
On behalf of Mr. A. Rahm.
Readers may care to comment on this list of Alvis models, compiled very roughly from what references I am able to muster:
I am, Yours etc.,
Although I have taken Motor Sport regularly for many years this is my first letter to you, and my reason for bursting into print is to tell you how much your paper is appreciated. I imagine there are very few more remote spots than this and the arrival of Motor Sport is a great occasion, causing much joy in a somewhat barren existence.
I started motoring at the illegal age of 15 on a 16-h.p. Vickers Wolseley, a well-made but somewhat clumsy vehicle, graduating to a 12-h.p.(?) Albert – this car was very undistinguished, very high, deficient in brakes and road-holding, with the worst flat-spot in the carburetter I've ever experienced. As my father was running a garage at this time, there was ample opportunity to drive many "vintage" sportswagen, and "30/98's," Leafs, "12/50" and "12/60" Alvis, 3-litre Sunbeam and many others were driven, also a number of interesting touring cars, such as Hillman "Vortic," very impressive but heavy; G.W.K., decidedly quaint; 11-h.p. Wolseleys, with gearbox and back axle combined; one could play tunes very nicely on the cogs of these. While working in the garage I owned a large number of motor-cycles which taught me a great deal at the expense of much grief, such makes as belt-driven, two-speed Calthorpe (it possessed no clutch, only a decompressor – not very helpful in London traffic); Excelsior J.A.P.; a T.T. Velocette, once owned by the late Freddie Hicks; a very gentlemanly Sunbeam, which possessed a colossal tick over, but minus road-holding, and many others.
In 1934 a "16/80" Lagonda entered the family stable, a very fine car, superlative road-holding and first-class anchors, its only drawback was excessive "pinking." Unfortunately lack of use caused this car to be sold and I went back to a motor-cycle – a 350-c.c. Norton, which was quickly followed by a Stevens. This contraption I prefer to forget never have I had such misfortune as was had with this.
A short time after this we possessed a car again – a 1935 "12/6," three-carburetter Riley, a good car spoiled by ridiculous gear ratios, they were absurdly low. Road-holding and brakes were superb and we covered many miles at quite high averages before disposing of it. Once again I reverted to a motor-cycle, a 1936 "Empire Star" B.S.A., which with a h.c. piston and carefully polished internals could achieve 83 m.p.h. any old time. This bike carried me all over the place with absolute reliability, to speed trials, Brooklands, Donington and other venues.
Then we fell for a 1927 2-litre Lagonda with "pudding-basin" body, which car we still have. When taken down it was in perfect condition, still having the original pistons. True the universals showed a regrettable tendency to fly asunder, but this was curbed by fitting a cut-down 3-litre propeller shaft.
I have it in mind to modify this car when the Axis has been abolished; Shorten the wheelbase will be the first job, I imagine. I also have a 1937 "Manx" Norton, which my brother is "doctoring" and that should achieve a much coveted "Gold Star" if all goes well. My brother is at present running a much modified 250-c.c. T.T. replica O.K. Supreme, circa 1933, but I've not seen this yet.
My brother and I have great plans for some "pukka" motoring apres la guerre. We are both Bentley fanatics and intend to buy or steal one at the first opportunity presented, as we find the modern ideas of what constitutes a motor-car very "sick making."
What with our motor-cycles, modifying the Lagonda and possibly a Bentley, our time should be well occupied, and I am sure there will be a multitude of sporting events to compete in or spectate.
Through Motor Sport I was able to meet Jack Cooper while I was stationed in Leicester and spent many interesting evenings talking "shop." Should this letter ever meet the eyes of any enthusiasts unfortunate enough to be in Iraq, I will be very glad to correspond with them.
Congratulations to those associated with Motor Sport for maintaining a very high standard under adverse conditions and best wishes for the future.
I am, Yours etc.,
Middle East Forces.
Whilst I appreciate that extended tests of machines are impossible at the present I do feel that Mr. Venables's article describing a short run on a B.M.W. motorcycle left two entirely wrong impressions, first that the machine is one only suitable for straight speed, and secondly that it is wholly unsuited to trials going.
His remark regarding B.M.W. riders "losing their tempers and their awards" in the International Six Days Trial is hardly borne out by the following list of successes gained by them in these same trials in the few years preceding this war.
In 1923 Henne, Stelzer and Mauermayer, riding 750-c.c. B.M.W.s in Wales, won the International Trophy; in 1934 the same men and machines again won the same award; in 1935 Stelzer and Henne, riding 500-c.c. solo machines, and Krause a 600-c.c. sidecar outfit, won again. British riders were successful in 1936, and in 1937 a Dutch team on B.M.W.s won the Silver Vase, which is an award open to teams of three solo riders as distinct from the Trophy teams, which are composed of two solo men and one sidecar.
The 1938 event was again staged in Wales, where Meier, Seltsam and Fastner, mounted on 494-c.c. B.M.W.s, won the Trophy. B.M.W.s also went home with the Huhnlein and Bowmaker awards, being, in addition, runners-up for the same. It is hardly necessary to say that the course for these trials, coupled with the average speed required, make it impossible for any machine not 100 per cent. suitable for trials to hope for success. May we hope for more readers' opinions of modern sports motor-cycles, such as the Vincent H.R.D. "Rapide," Triumph Speed Twin and 1,000-c.c. Ariel Square Four, coupled with, possibly, a brief technical description.
I am, Yours etc.,
I have read Motor Sport every month since 1934, When I was 14 years old.
I was given, in partnership with my brother, a 1930 o.h.v. 4-seater Morris Minor when 16, and from then until I was 20 had 15 different cars. These included an M.G. Magna, an M.G. Midget, a Grand Prix Salmson, a "Hyper" Lea-Francis, a 1931 "International" Aston-Martin (in perfect condition, for £12!), and, lastly, my one ambition in life, a Bugatti.
The last-named is a 1929 Type 37 Grand Prix 1 1/2-litre (YU2505) and is in excellent condition apart from being very much out of tune. It was bought in Scotland for a ridiculously low price and driven 420 miles a few days later in just under 11 hours' running time, devoured 2 pints of oil and 16 gallons of the now unobtainable liquid, and gave not one spot of bother, even though fitted with an incredible assortment of plugs. (This has since been rectified with Champion R. 7s.)
I can find no one who has road-tested or seems to know much about the Type 37, and the main object of this epistle is to try to get in touch with someone who could "put me wise" on many unsolved items.
It is non-standard only in that it has S.U. petrol pumps instead of pressure feed, a sports coil and Delco-Remy distributer (a Scintilla urgently required!), and wheels with 5.50" x 17" tyres instead of 4.50" x 19".
On the indirects 4,800 r.p.m. is fairly easily obtainable and 4,200 r.p.m. in top gear. It shows its tail to any standard T-type M.G., except as far as "anchors" are concerned, which would be improved with relining.
Very few people in my home county (Suffolk) seem sports-car-minded, but, before the war, regular dicing in a Meadows-engined H.R.G. and in a famous 2-litre Aston-Martin capable of well over the century mark, kept my fervent enthusiasm for real sports cars well satisfied.
Very many congratulations on keeping Motor Sport going during wartime.
I am, Yours etc.,
R.G. Staddon, Sub-Lieut.
c/o G.P.O., London.