RUMBLINGS, August 1945
Our remarks on the need for a utility sports car have aroused considerable comment. Last month we published the views of F. .J. Peter Hambling and John Haining on this Monkhouse subject. Now we are pleased to give Replies the views of Peter ,Monkhouse, of Monaco, Ltd.—even though he is an “anti.” Monkhouse—he of the hectic shirts—also gives some more information about the Monaco M.G. which will be built in limited numbers for discerning sportsmen. Gentlemen, Mr. Monkhouse
I see in ” Rumblings ” in your June issue that you were kind enough to mention my name, with others, as one who has accepted the responsibility of providing sporting motoring in various forms for the enthusiast.
To those who may be interested, we (Monaco) will again, as soon as conditions permit, continue to discharge that very pleasant (although not so profitable) responsibility, and try to enable the motor sportsman to reap some benefit from the wealth of technical development which has gone on in the war years.
“Can a ‘utility’ sports car be made from existing parts ? ” asks the Editor. My answer is “Yes “—but not a satisfactory one, and certainly not at his price-2125.
The nearest one could get, in my opinion, to this state of affairs is to buy a medium h.p. chassis in the mass-produced class of 1928-1934, and completely recondition it. In addition, the following modifications would be essential : lower and shorten chassis, flatten springs, fit good shock-absorbers of adequate size, re-build the wheels (if wire), lower steering, lengthen drop-arm, lower radiator and scuttle and make and fit very brief shell body.
Engine modifications would vary according to the actual car, but would probably entail raising compression ratio, fitting stronger valve springs, increasing the number of carburetters, fitting straight-through type of manifolds, and in most cases an oil cooler would be essential.
The chassis would be bought from the scrap heap, and every bit of work would have to be done by the enthusiast himself, plus a little hired assistance for panel beating.
After all this, and for 2120-2150, he would have a car which would come within your specification, but it would be at least 15 li.p. and would not do 35 m.p.g. A raised rear-axle ratio, if obtainable, with the great weightsaving achieved (7-8 cwt. could easily be saved), should result in Very good acceleration and a reasonable consumption, say, 24-28 m.p.g. (As instance of this, my Type 51 G.P. Bugatti does 21 m.p.g. on the road, and not driven slowly. Reason : 141 cwt., 24 m.p.h. per 1,000 r.p.m. top gear.)
I should think a 1933 Morris Major would just about fill the bill, and I am afraid an 8-10-h.p. car is right out of it, because, apart from 15-year-old wrecks, you cannot buy one to start on for less than 2150.
The next best suggestion is—any Singer, Morgan, M.G., etc., will almost exactly comply with your specification, except price, which would be 2140-2240. In any case, these are nearly all “shot,” and the enthusiast would have to strip and completely re-build it himself—he would still have value for money in view of the fact that until the supply of new cars meets the demand (which will not occur for three to four years), he will always be able to sell it well.
I agree with your final remarks—no firm could afford to undertake such work, since no one could pay for the man-hours required, and not to do the job properly would certainly lose goodwill, even if customers were given to understand that the car was bought, modified, and sold “as seen.”
No, sir, let’s face it—fast motoring costs money, almost pro rata m.p.h., and there are no short cuts. Pay out all at once and get fast reliable motoring for a long time, or pay more over a period and have fast but unreliable motoring.
The choice is yours—as the politicians are saying to-day !
Incidentally, it would seem opportune to announce the fact that we are hoping to produce in limited quantity, as soon as possible, a car with performance as its most important consideration. We feel that there will always be a demand for a car that, above all, really goes and goes reliably.
We have produced a prototype in 1989, which, after 20,000 miles of war-time use and abuse, without any attention at all (apart from spasmodic lubrication), has proved that 84-95 m.p.h. (corrected instruments) and 0-60 in 131-15 secs. is a reliable possibility. I say 84-95 m.p.h. because when new 95 m.p.h. was attainable on 8.9 to 1 compression ratio and Discol, and now 84 can still be shown on 7 to 1 compression ratio and “pool.” Similarly with the acceleration figures.
The basis is M.G. T.B., bored to 1,885 c.c., and generally fitted out with all the necessary adjustments for instant sports-car racing and, at the same time, unfussy touring on the road.
The weight is 13f cwt., and although chromium plate and cigar lighters have been discarded, nevertheless, and in spite of its performance and “racing characteristics,” comfort and practical utility are provided for satisfactorily.
The price, depending on the M.G. Car Company and the Treasury, will be approximately 2550. Three models will be available as follows : 1,885 c.c., high compression unblown ; 1,250 c.c., high compression unblown ; 1,250 c.c., supercharged, which will have a better performance than the 1934 K.3 Magnette.
Further and fuller particulars are in course of preparation and can be supplied on request. The future of Brooklands is Uncertain, but at least we thought Don ington would soon be available for a resumption of racing, at all events as Donington soon as the R.A.C. seems likely to issue the necessary permits, or Dunlops have some racing tyres available. Now we are not so sure. Military vehicles are said to be parked about the place to rot, and it is rumoured that Donington’s ultimate release as a lorry storage ground may never materialise. This is difficult to believe. A road circuit is so absolutely essential to our Motor Industry that we cannot imagine a Government blind to the need. Moreover, unlike Brooklands, Donington will not need costly repairs before it can be used for racing and testing, although the grandstands and similar buildings will need to be rebuilt. Raymond Mays has emphasised that more than 500,000 persons attended racing at Donington every year. We only hope the rumour that this—if the Crystal Palace circuit does not
re-open, our only road circuit—is also finished will soon be refuted. What is the R.A.C. doing about this ? What is Mr. F. G. Craner doing ? At least the military authorities should cower beneath the latter’s ready tongue ! And Craner has the backing of every enthusiast and, we hope, the whole Motor Industry, in anything he may do to secure Donington Park for future motor racing. At the request of many readers we publish a map of the British road circuit, as it was before the extension beyond Starkey’s Corner. Floyd Clymer has sent us a most interesting history of the U.S. Automobile Industry, “Motor History of America,” by C. B. Glasscock, price Books three dollars. It gives the history of such pioneers and big industrialists as Charles E. Duryea, Leland, Durant, Ford, Chrysler,
Dodge and many others. In particular, there are some most interesting sidelights on Henry Ford’s character. The book is indexed, and there are some historic advertisements of America’s early cars, and a full list of more than 1,500 American makes, with their makers’ addresses and period of activity, added by Clymer, who ranks as America’s Doyle. This 409-page book can be ordered now (and the money sent when currency restrictions are lifted), from Clymer Motors, 2125, W. Pico Street, Los Angeles 6, California.
The British Road Federation is very sensibly publishing a series of “Speakers’ Notes,” which will be of great value to all who are preparing speeches on road transport, roads, motor taxation, etc. Part I covers British road development, and is available free of charge from the secretary, 4a, Bloomsbury Square, London, W.C.1.