Letters from Readers

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

Castrol House


We were very pleased to read Mr. R. Dowell's letter in your June issue, even though he doesn't like our new headquarters—Castrol House.

Naturally, we do not expect everyone to like this building. Even Sir Christopher Wren had his detractors among those who were otherwise people of discernment.

Our pleasure lies in the fact that Mr. Dowell, and every other individual motorist, can still say what he thinks and make his own choice—of buildings and of motor oils.

I am, Yours, etc.,
L. Sultan,
Group Public Relations Officer,
London, N.W.1.
C. C. Wakefield and Co., Ltd.

• • •

A Hunslet Solves The Parking Nightmare


I was glad to see your statement that the Hunslet Scootacar makes an ideal town carriage. In your description, however, you failed to underline the vital point that the Scootacar has the shortest wheelbase and overall length of any enclosed vehicle available today. It was on this score alone that my firm decided to buy a Scootacar some six months ago to provide transport for personnel in the centre of Birmingham. As you are no doubt aware, there are more cars per head of the population in Birmingham than anywhere else in the country and the parking situation is chaotic, to say the least. It is quite possible to spend a quarter of an hour driving a conventional car round one block waiting for someone else to move out before being able to park. Deciding that this was a great waste of time, we invested in a Scootacar and those who use it never fail to park with the greatest of ease. Its length being the same as the width of most cars it can be parked with its nose to the kerb and still not project out into the traffic stream.

In our six months of ownership we have had excellent service from our Scootacar and although I would not particularly like to go beyond the city limits without a great deal more comfort and performance, I agree with you that as a town carriage in these overcrowded times it is ideal.

I am, Yours, etc.,
B. Morgan,
Birmingham, 20.

• • •

British Fiasco At Le Mans


I hope that by now everyone has thoroughly digested the results of this year's Le Mans 24-Hour race, which from the British point of view can only be described as humiliating. I, like many other British enthusiasts, want to know why, with a minute fraction of the vast profits made by the entire British Motor Industry, a team of cars and drivers was not provided to uphold the honour of Britain, now very mud-spattered. We, the nation who make the cars that won the constructor's championship, we who make "the finest cars in the world," we who have boasted for several seasons now that our cars and drivers are completely supreme in the Sport, cannot produce a better proposition than a privately entered, two-year-old, burnt-out Aston Martin which apparently started the race with a sick engine. This, however brilliantly driven, does not really sound like a race-winning proposition alongside four impeccable works-entered Italian cars.

I am not overlooking the creditable efforts of the works-entered Austin Healey Sprite and Triumphs, but neither of these can seriously be considered potential outright winners.

Let us hope, however, for representation in next year's race that is, at least a serious threat to the opponents.

I am, Yours, etc.,
N. Remington-Hobbs.

• • •

Non-Flam Fibreglass


The letter from Mr. H. E. Billings, following pictures of burnt-out Lotus Elites. published in your June issue was noted with considerable interest. By the courtesy of your columns we would like to add some further light to this subject. The great majority of car bodies built in this country from glass fibre reinforced polyester resin are not flame resistant. The popular misconception that they are is, however, very understandable when similar, non-automotive mouldings are considered. Many mouldings made up from glass-fibre/polyester resins are in fact flame resistant, especially on the Continent and in the U.S.A., and for some (i.e. ship's lifeboats) this is compulsory.

It is quite simple to incorporate a chemicals system (for which we supply the principal ingredient) in the polyester when the moulding is being laminated up. This adds little to the cost and has a negligible effect on the mechanical properties of the moulding.

I am, Yours, etc.,

J. F. W. Craddick,
Hoechst Chemicals Limited.
London S.W.1

• • •

B.B.C. Please Note


I am in full agreement with Mr. Shrubode who wrote in your last June issue. I, too, have had the frustration of watching the television and seeing the first three cars only.

A fine example was the Goodwood "100." It was a beautiful sight to see Moss and Ireland fighting it out so magnificently but never once did I see Brooks' Vanwall or Graham Hill's B.R.M. on the screen. They may not be in the thick of a dice but I am sure many people would have been interested to see them.

If the B.B.C. is going to provide motor racing on T.V. I wish they would provide a full picture of a race.

I am, Yours, etc.,

Richard Oxley,

• • •

What is the Warranty Worth?


I would like you to publish the following tale of woe, as a warning to would-be buyers of new cars.

I own a Riley 1.5 and some time ago found pieces of metal while changing the gearbox oil. I took the car to the agents in Carlisle, as I was working in Cumberland at the time, and they said that it appeared to be flaking of the case hardening off one of the gears.

Repairs were carried out under warranty but I was asked to pay for the labour, a cost of about £9. They assured me that they would claim and as a result I would be refunded. I, innocent young thing as I was, paid. This was exactly one year ago. Repeated approaches have provided no result and a letter to the manufacturer got the following reply. " Due to the excessive mileage we decided that though we would replace the faulty part under warranty, we could not cover the labour involved."

This makes a mockery of the so-called warranty, which is supposed to cover the car for a period of one year. Nowhere does it say anything about mileage. I had covered 14,000 miles in about nine months; excessive possibly, but that is not the point, for the warranty, as I have said, is purely based on a period of time.

I am, Yours, etc.,
B. Robinson

• • •

Two Austin Sevens


Jack and I are friends and we both own Austin Sevens, and because we are friends we always park our cars side by side.

When Jack sets our two cars together it makes him laugh like anything because, he says the only thing they have in common is the name.

You see. Jack's Austin Seven is a fetching shade of powder blue and was built only a few months ago; whereas mine is a sort of rusty black and was built long ago before rubber suspension was ever thought of, and when even Jack himself was only in the planning stage.

Jack is very proud of his car and polishes it every Sunday until all the paint and glass and chrome twinkle in the sun. l sometimes give my radiator a Wipe over with an old vest, and when Jack sees this he says, "Why bother ?" a remark he imagines to be exquisitely funny, and then he laughs so much that I fear he may choke himself, with any luck. Jack has a great sense of humour. One morning recently we woke up to find a heavy mist over everything and in the car park Jack had his bonnet up and was drying everything in sight, but the car wouldn't start. When I gave Jack a lift to work he explained it was only to be expected that it was only to be expected that now and again his car wouldn't start in damp weather as it WAS a Very Advanced Design.

It makes me laugh like anything to think that the only thing the two ears have in common is the name.

I am, Yours, etc.,

D. R. Layard.

• • •

More Historic Car Races, Please


I would like to make use of your columns to publicly thank the organisers of the Whit-Monday Goodwood meeting for the magnificent display of the pre-war racing, especially the monstrous silver Barnato-Hassan Bentley, to drive which at such speeds would have scared me to death—what a lovely way to die.

As one of the younger generation (23) who bad never seen such a spectacle, the mellow roar of slow-revving engines and the cornering technique required by solid axles, makes the modern car (except when driven by Moss in a hurry) seem rather tame. This race really "made my day" and probably brought back memories of younger days to many of the older spectators who were present. Again, thank you to the. organisers (and to you for your introduction in the programme) and may we have more "blood and thunder."

I am, Yours, etc.,
W.E. Jenkins

• • •

Speed Claims


With reference to high-speed tuning of small sports cars and family saloons, I feel that most of the claims of advertisers are over ambitious.

Over the past 12 months I have encountered on the open road the super-tuned Healey Sprite, Zodiac, Riley 1.5, Cresta, A40, plus several "specials" with the Ford 100E engine. I must confess that if some readers and advertisers are convinced that claimed speeds for these cars under ordinary road conditions are correct then my own car must be at least twice as fast as I think it is.

With a 1954 Triumph TR2, super-tuned but with no modifications I have been able to whitewash all of these models either on acceleration, cornering or just a straight blind down the road.It may interest readers to know that this six-year-old car has been timed on 100-octane fuel at a maximum of 114 m.p.h. and 0-60 in 10 sec. I am now going to modify the engine and completely rebuild the. car, as .otherwise I shall.no doubt be considered "a square." May I also be allowed to add that the secret to high performance, minimum engine wear and safety is a bigger engine; and this statement will, I feel, withstand the test of time.

I am, Yours,. etc.,
Richard Gentle, (25 years Clean Licence)
London, W.8.

• • •



I presume that people who write letters to the Editor are regular readers of Motor Sport. The fact that they are regular readers would suggest that they find it readable, informative and enjoyable. A shiver runs through me every time I read at the end of an otherwise interesting letter, how much the correspondent enjoys, your magazine. It reminds me of the psychopathic ravings which concluded almost every letter sent in to a programme on "Woman's Hour."

I would add that I am not a regular listener to "Woman's Hour.'

I am, Yours, etc.,

W. Ritchie

[To show that we appreciate Mr. Ritchie's viewpoint and to save space, we have gone through the letters in this issue and deleted all Words of praise for Motor Sport. Nevertheless, these frequent reassurances that we produce the best and most fearless motoring journal in the world are, we assure those who include them, warmly appreciated by an often weary, aways over-worked. but ever enthusiastic staff!— Ed.]

• • •

The I.A.M.


In the July Motor Sport, in your story of the Pirelli BS3 tyre tests. I see you make a remark about a member of the I.A.M.: this presumably stands for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, and you say that one of their members considered himself "insufficiently experienced" to drive a mediocre modern saloon round Oulton Park. I have often wondered by what standard, the Institute of Advanced Motorists judge their members, and just what they Consider to be Advanced Motoring. Whoever is behind this self-righteous little scheme at two-guineas-a-go must presumably have some standards by which to judge his fellow motorists, but it is difficult to visualise them if one of these advanced motorists is incapable of driving round the Oulton Park circuit.

In one of your contemporary papers a reader recently asked by what right does this Institute dare to pass judgment on other motorists, and who are they anyway, to decide who can drive or who cannot. It is rather like that innocuous badge given to veteran motorists, consisting of a large V with 25 inscribed, this being the number of incident-free years they have driven. I find that most wearers of that badge have been doddering along in the middle of the road for 25 years and it is only the skill of the general public in avoiding them that gives them an accident-free record. I wonder if the I.A.M. is not a similar " head-in-the-sand " organisation.

I agree fully with your Editorial where you say that we everyday users of the highways and byways deserve credit for the small number of accidents we have in relation to the conditions. I feel that this is a realistic outlook on the situation and it should encourage everyone who enjoys driving to go on enjoying it and at the same time to see how long they can get away with it in spite of the adverse, and almost antagonistic, conditions. It seems to me to be a much more healthy outlook to the present age of motoring, than the miserable apathy of those who seem to set out on a journey determined to make use of their safety-belts, safety-helmets, crash bars, crash padding, anti-crash steering wheels, etc., etc. Recently I heard of someone being examined (!) to see if they were capable of controlling their motor vehicle and they were asked to give five reasons for looking in the rear-view mirror. The fact that any fast driver looks in his mirror as much as he looks forwards, or sideways, passed over the examiner's head, for he considered you should keep your eyes fixed on the road ahead, with occasional glances in the mirror for certain purposes, and it was these that he wanted enumerated. I append a list of five reasons :—

1. To see if the wobbling bicyclist I just carved-up actually fell off.
2. To see where the rest of the competitors are in a traffic-light drag race.
3. To look at the rear view of the pretty girl on the pavement.
4. To see if there; is any hot smoke arising from my engine. (I drive one of those cars.)
5. To see if the Veteran Motorist, whom I have just passed on the inside, has actually noticed, or even moved over.

In closing, I might say that I ant sure I would never pass a driving test, either Initiate or Advanced, and being old and grey I took out a licence long before tests were thought of. Although I have been driving 40,000 miles a year for as long as I can remember I shall never become a veteran motorist as I have too many accidents avoiding their Members.

I am, Yours, etc.,
John Kinson,

• • •

Rover Comfort


I feel compelled to question Mr. Aldrich's Claim in the June edition of this magazine.

Before eliminating the chance of any vehicle competing with the Citroen ID for "sheer comfort," what about the Rover 100? it is fast, with a cruising speed of effortless 80 m.p.h. and more; it is very comfortable, amazingly quiet, utterly reliable and fairly economical Its standard of finish, both inside and out, is, in my opinion, better than that of the Citroen. The comparison is fair as the two cars are approximately the same price in standard form. To illustrate such claims as I have just made; last week-end (July 9/10th) three of us motored to Edinburgh and back in our Rover 100 and attended a party in Edinburgh all within 48 hours. Driving down in the early hours of Saturday took us only seven hours' driving time, an average speed of over 50 m.p.h. Consumption was just 26 m.p.g. and two pints of oil for the 800 miles covered altogether in the week-end. The overdrive and servo-assisted disc brakes fitted as standard equipment, combined with the very comfortable ride, gave us a journey which brought on very little fatigue. Finally, my father and I have now owned five Rovers between us, a 1927 two-seater, a 1935 10-h.p. saloon, a 1939 14-h.p. saloon, 1956 90 and now the 100... no complaints!

I am, Yours etc.,
John A.D. Cropp,
Welwyn Garden City.

• • •

Competition Singers


The following list of Singer registration numbers are of cars which are known to have taken part competitions during the mid-'thirties:-

AMX 37, AOA 662, AHU 982, ATV 77, AVO 431, AXP 462, BBY 409, BGN 1, BPA 901, CME 250, DT 8484, KV 246, KV 7814, KY 9792, KV 9758, NJ 2026, OY 7077, WP 7040, WG 3689.

Would the present owners of the above cars please supply to the Registrar of the Singer Owners' Club, P. A. Wright, 15, Hewens Road, Hillingdon Heath, Middlesex, details of any known history, engine/chassis numbers, type of bodywork, etc. Also owners of any pre-war (1931-39) Singer Sports models, the Registrar would be glad to have details, registration number, engine/chassis numbers, type of body, any non-standard modifications.

I am, Yours, etc.,
Edna D. Quick,
Press Officer, Singer O.C.

[One Edna Quick has missed is AVC 481, one of the 1935 team cars, which ran well at Goodwood on July 9th—see photograph on this page.—Ed.]

• • •

Good Old Colin!


The disparaging and ill-informed remarks about Colin Chapman in your correspondence columns (July issue) must not be allowed to pass without comment.

Your correspondent appears to share a widely held belief that Chapman is merely a figure head and all the bright ideas are produced by brains behind the scenes for which he takes the credit.

It seems strange that successful people should so often be subjected to this sort of attack but I suppose that few people like to admit that there are others cleverer than they.

Having helped Colin Chapman with most of the Lotus designs from 1954 to 1957 I would like to refute these suggestions once and for all. Together with "Mac" McIntosh and Frank Costin (all of us, incidentally, connected at one time or another with de Havilland Aircraft) we worked with Colin in our spare time as we found the work very stimulating. Here was someone prepared to put aircraft principles of lightness and strength into a racing car and, in addition, someone who had a firm grasp of the theory of suspension.

Compared with the years between design and production experienced in most industries we were now drawing parts which were made the following week and were racing inside a month ! We also had to face the challenge of keeping as many parts as possible to be made from existing production car components to reduce delivery time and keep down cost.

Chapman himself is much more than a Chief Designer. He is the inspiration. For us was the task of converting his scheme into a production drawing. During discussion of the scheme it would often be the case that an idea of ours might result in an improvement, but his ability to appreciate the advantage of a new idea or method is astonishing and from a simple comment from us might come a design alteration which would never have occurred to us. Combine this with an inquisitive mind, and a total disregard for accepted convention and you will see why we found it fun to work with him.

I should perhaps add that Frank Costin on the body side had rather more of a free hand—but usually he, too, was brought down to earth when Colin lopped a couple of feet from each end and told him to go back and draw it again. Of course Colin has used other people's ideas—he would be a fool not to; but the real point to remember is that his influence on modern racing-car design is profound. Ask Mr. Vandervell and Mr. Berthon whose cars have cornered much more rapidly after a consultation with Chapman. To say that he never understood swing axle front suspension is quite ridiculous, and, of course, the Goggo suspension, only bears a superficial resemblance to the Chapman strut.

Let us not sling mud at Chapman, but rather indulge in joint praise of Chapman and John Cooper; both friends and great rivals, whose influence on each other has been enormous and greatly to the benefit of motor racing in this country. If you really want to know why Chapman has only now produced a rear-engined car it is summed up by his remark as long ago as 1956 when he said: "Oh, I couldn't —just think what John would say ! "

I am, Yours, etc.,
Peter T. Ross