LETTERS from READERS, August 1953




N.B.—Opinions expressed are those of our correspondents and ” Motor Sport” does not necessarily associate itself with them— Ed.


V; ell you’ve really gone and done it now ! If this letter reaches yott before you have been strung up or shot in the Tower fur what you have been publishing lately, I hope it cheers you up. You are the only motoring paper in England, and one of the few anywhere which thinks that it may be a good idea to print the truth. Praise and criticism from MOTOR SPORT have real meaning. Letters such as Poske, myself and all the others have written, would never be published in other journals and you are the only outlet for them. I know I said I wouldn’t annoy your readers again, but there have been so many incorrect ” corrections’ made that I just can’t resist another swipe.

A friend and I had a great laugh one Sunday reading all the replies, particularly that one suggesting indignantly that I be run out of the country—just. the kind of argument expected. Re the Merlin cutting out, in aerobatics. If any readers can remember ” The Truth About the Me 109,” by Pierre Clostermann, printed some years ago in Aeronautics (unfortunately I have forgotten the date) they can verify my statement. The A.M. honk ” Elementary Flying Training ” defines aerobatics as ” any manoeuvre other than normal flying, turns, sideslips, spins, dives and landings.”

Mr. Colenbrander, the subject is R.R. 0. Cadillac. not European r. American. Therefore. just what automatic drives and i.f.s. did R.R. Originate?

Cadillac’s first steps in i.f.s. were sure-footed rather than” wobbly.” I have seen a 1934 Buick in action in road-racing hereabouts : this car has virtually the same i.f.s. and its cornering power is not too had at .all. The G.M. i.f.s, has been widely adopted byothers, including Mercedes as well as R.R. Hardly discreditable to Cadillac’s reputation ! In feet I doubt if we would be seeing Us. on mass produced ears yet if G.M. had not proved it possible at a reasonable cost in the ‘thirties.

If these greatly boosted R.R. engineers were the equal of those behind the Cadillac, then they would have been able to design their Own i.f.s.. hydramatie. and Synchromesh. etc., instead of having to admit inferierity in the most clear-cut manner, although after a long pig-headed delay. Can anyone imagine Cadillac coming out with manual gate gearshift and an external radiator ? Then which Company is the more ” sane and progressive ” ? Instead of admitting this, however, my opponents idiotically attempt to represent the adoption now of a singular engineering advancement, made over a decade ago, as reflecting greater credit on R.R. than G.M.! It’s about time that this childish anti-hydramatic propaganda came to a atop in the British Press. Incidentally, what a somersault in attitude was made when R.R. -adopted hydramatie. Previously it was no good ; overnight it became wonderful—a good example of the MR. hero worship against which these letters are directed.

The Phantom Ill record (1936-39) hardly equals the V16 (1930-40). Although it must have been a majestic car, Cadillac had already gone one better with the fabulous V16 (an o.h.v. 7.5-litre, hydraulic push-rods, dual downdraught. carburetters, two distributors, two coils, two water pumps, two fuel pumps, dual exhausting, two fan belts—each block being virtually self contained, i.f.s., synchromesh. vienum-boosted brakes and 0-110 m.p.h. in top gear). For live years all R.R. could put against this were Six-cylinder Phantoms, hopelessly outmatched in smoothness, power and performance, and having straight front axles afill no synchromesh ! ‘Did the Phantom III mate!, the complicated Magnificence of the V16 ? We won’t skip those 19i1 contns. and I wouldn’t say American ears disintegrate in ten years. Enclosed are sketches. rough as the finish of Mr. Meredith’s R.R., tof a MI and 1948 Cadillac ” jet hark.” The Bentley has combined various lines of the two with its ? 71,:(dete frontal treatment. crtical imitation radiator, and headlamps that show only half the car width. So praetical ?) Why do the makers require an agreement from the owner not to race the Continental ? some sports ” car ! W.0.” must he amused. Yet I’ll admit the C. It. i+ some car in spite of its price. The only

Indy modern I”’ us um It. It. design.

Now for the stiff-necked doctor, whose main idea seems to be to otr how many big words he knows. Dad he cut out the 171.1111 leCahillisms and Pomeranian pomposity he would have saved me ,everul trips to the dictionary and got his message across in a third of t he space: I notice he contradicted himself several times in that mass of weary verbiage. The Cadillac window lifts are “a ridiculous elegance” I agree(but the R.R. has: them too). ” Always require attention .and unfailingly

give out and drop open.” Yet everything works in the Cadillac interior !

Although his Cadillac is quite unmanageable at speed, the dear doctor unfortunately mentioned that he was still able to cover 2,000 miles with it in 48 hours. I hope he is not asking Mt to believe that he had ” an eight lane super highway without a turn ” for this distance. If he can get anywhere quicker in his R.R., it is a great pity he didn’t enter the 1950 Pan American, in which a Cadillac was a close second. His MR. would have won !

In” Cars I Have Owned,” Charles Mortimer made a most interesting statement. Wherever he went in his Rolls he was always late, and the only time he enjoyed driving was when he had all day to get there.

Regarding ” originals.” Who is busily making copies of (we’ll have to mention that word again) ” blydramatic ” ? Dr. Osborne is welcome to his built-in headwind’s and limited interior space. (All for looks, or “exquisite line.” What are looks and line these aerodynamic days ?) The envelope body is simply the only way to get maxinturn accommodation and is easy to streamline. If the worthy doctor had asked for a Cadillac convertible he could have had fme leather upholstery. If he had ordered a rustont interior he could have had anything at all, including ermine or leopard skin, gold-plated door knobs, etc. (and paid up to $30,0.00 for it). Leather upholstery is not” so good to the touch” on a freezing morning and does not hold passengers from sliding sideways. Anyway what happened to the Leather in Mr. Meredith’s RAI., Doctor ? Indeed, what happened to Mr. Meredith’s R.R. ? £350 for an overhaul after 28,000 miles An American car costing £350 would not even require a valve grind at that distance! Even were it an isolated ease there would be no excuse for it in a car costing £6,000. But it is not an isolated case. On Bentley 4.5-litres tested by the Autorar and Motor, one was found to have a wheel out of balance and the other had a derangement in the servo brake system. The Motor also noted that the tendency of earlier models to boil had been eliminated ! In the very issue of MOTOR SPORT containing the doctor’s letter a 1939 Wraith is advertised: one owner, 38,000 miles, complete top and bottom overhaul (no doubt costing several hundred pounds). What marvellous finish and quality. Doctor ! The best car in the world ! Truly my comment about fools and their money Was ” inane and thoughtless” indeed ! But not as inane and thoughtless as the sickening supremacy propaganda written about these ” magnificent ” ears by journalists and technical editors who normally write sense. but when on R.R. behave as if they were paid publicity agents, incapable of independent thinking. What’s wrong with the Nash having a bed anyway ? A handy feature. Better than a useless naked fairy.

Reid Itailton has expressed the view that American-type steering has its advantages. At high speed it is the car’s linear momentum and not its steering ratio that determines how quickly it can be handled, and the popular belief regarding ” unsafe ” American steering is an illusion according to him (the Motor, March 9th, 1949). The very softness of suspension that slows the Cadillac down over winding roads also allows higher speeds than a ” solid ” suspension over really rough surfaces, and there are still plenty about ! Since the 1939 G.P. Merteas adopted a modified G.M. front end, there is little doubt that if the majority required it, Cadillac would come up with Continental cornering powers. Mounted on sponges ? Well, R.R. use the same tyre pressures! Brakes ? Nuvolari never used his much, nor should any good driver. Pity Mr. Steinntann couldn’t learn to shut his doors Mid bonnets properly. I note the Editor thinks the Best Car in Britain is the Bristol. Where is the Ghostly leadership that was so substantial under the genius of Royce ?

About the Poke stir-11p. What he says goes equally for here. Until recently the only persons who were allowed American cars were essential users, i.e., farmers or doctors, and they had to prove they travelled 60 per cent. on unsealed roads. If they had a pre-war American car in good condition they were not allowed a new one. Significant ? One personal experience and I’ll finish. 1952 Humber. At 2,200 miles the doors are almost impossible to open or close, and keep the same amount of dust out in either position. The steering column shift is sloppier than a Plymouth’s at 50,000. The luggage lid has never fitted properly and the door handles are ahnost fallinmz1,11′. And the windshield leaks. I am, Yours. etc,

M. I). DENnav.


New Zealand. [This correspondence now elosed. End