Letters from Readers

I must congratulate you on your excellent account of our (C.U.A.C.) Meeting at Gransden Lodge.

It is a frank review, and after such embarrassing torrents of praise, I am greatly relieved to see someone at last endeavouring to point out that we actually did make mistakes, which was only too true.

The purpose of my letter is, however, to straighten out two matters in the account which may mislead your public. (1) The first paragraph tends to give an impression that the C.U.A.C. is a club of recent origin. It is, in fact, one of the oldest motoring clubs in the country, and was founded in 1904. Though small, it has been the training ground for a large number of Great Britain's most brilliant drivers. (2) With no intention of taking the limelight away from Mr. Curtiss, who tackled a superhuman task in running the P.A. system successfully, I would like to say, in all fairness, that the three miles of barbed-wire fencing was laid down by members of the C.U.A.C., heroically aided by the Cambridge Centaur Club (which is the local motor-cycling club), who slaved for a week before the event in preparing the circuit, and what is more, spent an equal length of time, after the celebration, in restoring the aerodrome to its normal state. I do think that these people should be given due credit for their very hard work.

With my best wishes for the continued success of Motor Sport.
I am, Yours, etc.,
James Obryesekere.

I see that I have been the subject of another attack by an infuriated member of the 750 Brigade, all, apparently, on the strength of my article in your paper, which was merely a statement of personal opinion, after all.

Let Capt. Mallock rest assured that I am wholly contented to let others joggle around in the type of device he favours so ardently. It is perfectly possible that a light and well-tuned Austin could beat a fat Yank and elderly cars in normal road tune over a short sprint course, but I do not see that it is necessary to force the virtues of these particular contrivances, admirable though they may be within their limits, down innocent people's throats to the exclusion of all other ideas.

I quite agree that it is possible to achieve remarkable velocities from an unblown 750, and that that velocity can be highly and, I fear, frequently, dangerously exciting. I also agree that they can hold their own in trials, but maintain that that form of sport, more than anything else was responsible for the deficiencies of the small British sports car, from which was demanded the ability to follow a duck through a sewage farm, with consequently disastrous results on the choice of gear and axle ratios.

The difference of opinion between Capt. Mallock and myself has been admirably expressed in a letter written by his own hand. For the moderately rapid Railton which I built up and ran at the Cockfosters Rally last year, I used the body off a car which he had owned, buying that car complete. With it was a letter from him to the man from whom bought it, in which he stated that far too much power was available with the standard Hudson 8-cylinder engine.

To remedy this defect, he removed Nos. 1, 2,7 and 8 rods and pistons, blanked off the ports of the bereft cylinders and fitted a Willys-type Carter carburetter. The performance of this clever(?) conversion was then reduced to very little more than his favourite type of vehicle, and he was able to get off several letters to the Motor Press.

I was not surprised, when I stripped this engine out of curiosity, to find the unloaded rear throws of the crank to be bent through 7°, but I was a little horrified to find that, although it had not been touched since leaving his hands, only three of the remaining eight big-end bolts were split-pinned and that the sump contained, besides oil, one piston ring, a 2-in, long block of wood, and a loose coil spring which apparently had no place in the car at all. These curios I have added to my museum.

Let Capt. Mallock keep his unblown 750s. I will continue to build, and shortly market, fast and, in the Mallock estimation, "dangerously powerful" cars.
I am, Yours, etc.,
James Boothby (S/Ldr.).

In reply to Mr. Clutton's letter in last month's issue of Motor Sport, in which he further refutes the 25 b.h.p. figure which I estimated would be obtained from a Gregoire unit if supercharged at 7 lb. ("Observations on the Gregoire," April, 1946) I do not want to spoil a beautiful friendship over a few b.h.p. However, in fairness to a remarkable little car I have sought corroboration in my calculations, and quote hereunder an extract from a letter which I received from Mr. L. E. Newton, who is the Repair and Service Manager for Messrs. Grantham Productions, Ltd., dated July 2nd, 1946:

"In the first instance, the restriction is in the carburetter and manifold, as you suggested. Secondly, at a boost of 7 lb./sq. in. 25 b.h.p. is a very conservative estimate." Mr. Clutton is perfectly right in his argument that, if the valves were restricting the, volumetric efficiency (as in the case of most of the s.v. Mercédès-Benz models), supercharging would do little to raise the charge mass.

As it is, the Gregoire possesses highly efficient inclined o.h. valves, affording considerable potentialities for the tuner.

I feel that a Gregoire, with lightweight open bodywork and all possible weight moved forward, would suffer little or no disadvantage in hill-climbs through f.w.d., and would have so little vertical polar inertia, as to make it very handy on acute bends.
I am, Yours, etc.,
D. P.

Can anyone let me know how to keep a rev.-counter belt on a "12/60" Alvis? It is run from a pulley on the main shaft to the gearbox, on to a separate pulley operating the drive to the rev.-counter.

So far as I can determine the pulleys are in line, are of deep section, and the spring tensioner of correct strength. The belt supplied and recommended by Alvis is a metal spiral spring one. I have also tried a leather belt stitched into place on the car, but in every case the belt is shed after about 100 miles.
I am, Yours, etc.,
D. S. Hayton-Williams.

In answer to your correspondent, Mr. Hardy (June idsue), I believe the power output of Freddie Dixon's 2-litre Riley Was about 140 h.p., and he is quite incorrect when he suggests that a 2.3-litre Alfa-Romeo develops 180 h.p. I am sure no "Monza" has ever developed as much as this, and I should say absolute top weight of these cars is about 150 h.p.

Under "Fordingbridge Flashes" you refer to Wilcox's M.G. This car is a J4, and is actually a most interesting motor car. The chassis originally belonged to Michael Watson and Jim Elwes, and the body was destroyed in a fatal accident at Brooklands in which Watson, unfortunately, lost his life. In 1935 the car was rebuilt by Jim Elwes and a body put on it from Hamilton's very successful J4. Jim Elwes then raced this car successfully at Brooklands, Shelsley, Lewes, Brighton, etc., and later on it was sold to Peter Gifford Nash, who used it for a short while, after which E. Robb, the well-known Belfast driver, purchased it and raced it for a number of seasons with extreme success and reliability.

At the beginning or during the war it passed into the hands of Antell, of Brookman's Park, who completely rebuilt the car and spent a very great deal of time and trouble on it. Wilcox purchased it from Antell. I don't know much about the car's performance now, although it seems to have given a good account of itself in its first meeting, but when Monaco had the care of the car it was certainly quite an exceptional vehicle and really was capable of over 100 miles an hour on the road with full sports-car equipment, on petrol/Methanol fuel. I know this takes a bit of believing, but it definitely was the case.

I believe there were only 10 J4s built and these cars were completely different from any other J Type in that they were very fast indeed. It will be remembered that Hamilton only failed to beat Nuvolari in the 1934 T.T. because he couldn't start his car on the self-starter quickly enough when he stopped on the one lap at the end. A Powerplus supercharger and a Solex carburetter are, of course, standard on the J4, and I believe, supplied 15-18 lb./sq. in. boost. The car is none the less exceptionally reliable.

I trust these facts will interest your readers.
I am, Yours, etc.,
P. R. Monkhouse.

In view of the amount of correspondence both in Motor Sport and the weekly motoring press concerning the Sport, and in particular, the ideal of obtaining racing at reasonable cost, it seems curious that one well-tried facet of the Sport has evidently been forgotten or else has died with Brooklands. I refer, of course, to the individual handicap. Here is a form of racing in which competitors are not limited to "class-size" engines, nor is an expensive car an essential.

The supply of "class-size" engines is not bountiful nowadays, common sizes now being 900, 1,250 and 1,750 c.c., and lining is neither cheap nor good practice.

I believe if some of the more go-ahead clubs were to stage combined meetings of this kind two or three times a year, if and when Donington is available, open to sports and racing cars of all engine capacities, we would obtain excellent racing both for competitors and intelligent onlookers. A very necessary stepping stone to bigger things would also be provided.

With memories of happy days at Brooklands before the war, I hope someone will consider this aspect of the Sport seriously and that comment will not be too blistering.
I am, Yours, etc.,
E. W. Youldon (Sgt.).
India Command.
[Used by the B.A.R.C., this form of handicapping might well equal things up at events like Gransden. But most people prefer scratch, class races. — Ed.]

With reference to the report on "The Lawrence Cup Trial" in your June issue, you state that my H.R.G. failed at the very top of Red Roads. I must point out that my car was successful in both climbs of this hill, including the "S." I am not claiming any credit for myself, but feel every credit is due to the car, as you may be aware, Uglow and myself (both on H.R.G.s) won the Team Award, which I consider a fine performance for these wonderful cars, considering the bulk of the entry consisted of cars of nearly treble the c.c. of the H.R.G.s.
I am, Yours, etc.,
K. C. Delingbole.
[Apologies. — Ed.]

There is only one small inaccuracy which appeared in the article in your last month's issue, that is I commenced racing in 1926, not 1929, with the Gordon England Austin, before commencing to race M.G.s in 1931. I competed with blown and unblown Salmsons, and in 1926 and 1930 with a 6 cyl. s.c. Amilcar.
I am, Yours, etc.,
A. T. Goldie Gardner (Lt.-Col.).
S. Croydon.

I found Mr. Edisbury's letter on the Rolls-Royce "Silver Wraith" rather stimulating. I feel rather inclined to add to his queries — why not a magneto as well as a coil, to lessen one's dependence on the hard-working battery ?

I rejoice with Mr.Edisbury on the retention of the traditional radiator, but deplore the front overhang, which seems to me to spoil the efforts of the most elegant coachbuilders.
I am, Yours, etc.,
W. Stuard Best.