A new car from the oldest motor-car manufacturing firm, Daimler, is always significant. Although it is by no means a sports car, we welcome the recently announced 3.8-litre, 6-cylinder, Daimler Majestic. Very fully equipped, this new limousine has Borg Warner fully-automatic transmission and the Daimler Company is to be congratulated on using Dunlop disc brakes at front and bark. Also, they provide a reserve petrol tap and a hand throttle.
A maximum speed of over 100 m.p.h. is anticipated from the Majestic, which is priced at £2,495 when purchase tax is included. We look forward to testing it. It is common knowledge that the foreign small car has gained a hold on the American market, which is alarming U.S. manufacturers. This trend is reflected in two specialised publications which have appeared in the States, namely, the monthly European Car Guide and Floyd Clymer’s pamphlets entitled The Imported Car Reports, and by Press advertising by European manufacturers. On the latter subject, it is significant that in a recent issue of a leading American trade motor journal, full-page advertisements were taken by Peugeot, Citroen, Sunbeam and Mercedes-Benz, either directly or through the U.S. concessionaire (Studebaker-Packard in the case of Mercedes-Benz), with smaller advertisements for Simca, Volvo and Triumph. Only one American manufacturer, Chevrolet, uses this magazine. In the August issue of a well-known American sporting magazine Austin-Healey Sprite, Dyna-Panhard, Triumph TR3, Porsche, Arnolt-Bristol, Morgan, D.B. and A.C. are advertised, and Jaguar have the back cover in colour. Not a single American manufacturer bought space.
Consequently, not only does the American car buyer like the small imported cars but the merits of such vehicles are brought constantly to their notice by advertisements and Editorial link-ups.
Some of this advertising in the American Press is excellent. Peugeot, for instance, list technical details and sales features of the 403 in a well laid-out advertisement headed by a pleasing picture of the 1913 Coupe de l’Auto Peugeot which “introduced the modern small, fast engine to American racing in this Indianapolis Speedway winner.” Citroen invite readers to “drive a sports Car and take the family along too,” while Simca remind buyers of their “new trans-American speed record,” a Simca proving itself “the fastest thing on wheels between New York and Los Angeles,” having completed this journey in 46 hr. 3 min. This, they claim, beats the best any U.S. monster has done by 8 hours. Other Simca stunts include 42.6 m.p.g. in officially-observed economy tests and towing a 9-ton ‘bus.
Little wonder that U.S. manufacturers are in a turmoil. Some turn a blind eye, seeing (if a blind eye can) the rising sales of imported cars as a passing phase. Others, like Ford and General Motors, are said to be experimenting with small cars. Business Week has quoted these as likely to weigh about 30 cwt., these cannot be small in the European sense. However, economy of running but not in purchase price will be wooed, if Business Week and Clymer are correct, with flat-six air-cooled engines of about 100 b.h.p. Chevrolet apparently favour a rear engine, Ford a front-mounted engine with front-wheel-drive. Chrysler isn’t certain but is said to have tooled-up for a 4-cylinder job. Late 1959 is spoken of as the release date of these cars—if they exist. Meanwhile, this is the picture U.S. manufacturers have to face:—
Imports to U.S.A. during Jan., Feb., March and April, 1958 Volkswagen
Volkswagen: 26,549 cars, an increase of 5,560 over the same period last year.
Renault: 10,716 cars, an increase of 7,319 over the same period last year.
Dagenham Ford: 7,986 cars, an increase of 4,785 over the same period last year.
Hillman: 4,724 cars.
Simca: 4,299 cars.
For steam-car enthusiasts
Those who have come under the charm of steam and think in terms of building a modern steam car, may care to note that the British Light Steam Power Society is planning to assist its members to build such cars. Chris Shorrock has agreed to design an oil burner and a number of cars are under construction, the Society’s design calling for a space frame and base of a Ford Eight engine. It is hoped to hold a rally at Lavenham on September 13th or 20th. The Hon. Sec. of the B.L.S.P.S. is R. G. Davis, 309, Arundel Street, Portsmouth, Hampshire.
Playcraft Ltd. have introduced in their Corgi Series a Lotus XI sports car, complete with wrap-round screen and seats (No. 151). This month they have two new Corgi miniatures. One is a Karrier “Bantam” Lucozade van, 4r long, priced at 5s. 3d. (No. 411) and the other a realistic Mercedes-Benz 300SL open roadster (No. 303), which is 31″ long and costs 3s. 6d., finished in white and with wrap-round screen and bailie blue cockpit interior.