The Affair of the Carnival Queen

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The Editor is something of a purist where motor racing is oncerned and it does not require much provocation for him to become steamed up over well-known racing drivers engaging in stunts unconnected with serious motor racing, such as staging go-kart contests, posing ostentatiously with actresses and bathing beauties, or dressing up as film stars, etc. However, he fell from grace himself not long ago, although only to the extent of driving the local Carnival Queen in a neighbouring procession, for which you may consider there was some excuse !

Asked if he could provide an open car of attractive appearance for the task, the Editor had no compunction in asking the Rootes Group to lend him a Hillman Minx convertible, of which they produced a very smart example. As Carnival Queens worry about their hair-do and as their Ladies-in-Waiting wear next to nothing, it was expedient to have the hood and windows up on the outward and return journeys but to put them down so that beauty could be admired by the spectators lining the procession route. Thus it was that we discovered how very easily the well-contrived Minx convertible opens and shuts.

We have commented previously on the unexpectedly good roadholding of the modern Minx but on the occasion in question paid more attention to not punishing the clutch too severely while proceeding at a mere 2 m.p.h. However, the rigid central gear-lever and well-placed right-hand brake-lever were appreciated. Steering and brakes were on the heavy side, and this open version is prone to considerable shimmy-shake over rough roads. The Minx’s handsome appearance drew many expressions of praise and if someone remarked cattily that the name was appropriate to the charmer sitting on the folded hood, that can be put down to jealousy or senile decay!

It can be argued that real motoring means open-air motoring and this the Hillman convertible provides very readily. It can be converted from a closed car to a fully open car in approximately two minutes or, if preferred, can be used in coupe de ville form, the hood being furled over the front compartment only. The side rails break very easily by unscrewing a knob and pushing them inwards, while the complete hood stows completely out of sight by loosening two retaining knobs and pushing down the hood sticks; to raise the hood these are pulled forward until they lock automatically, while both front and back side windows wind down fully and the large plastic rear window ensures normal visibility for reversing. The price?—872 7s. 6d. inclusive of p.t.

“X”

We read as many motoring journals and periodicals, including Club magazines, as reach the Editorial desk, for there is usually something of interest in most of them. It was coincidence that we came upon two fine testimonials to Michelin “X” tyres in two successive journals we read recently. In Road and Track, the well known American monthly, Bill Corey admits that many years ago his published experiences with “X” tyres evoked comment because his enthusiasm for them was said to have bordered on that of an advertising agency. He adds, “Since that time, nothing has transpired to alter my opinion.”

Next, picking up the current issue of The Bentley Drivers’ Club Review we found a description of how the owner of a 1939 4 1/2-litre Bentley had the wheels rebuilt to take 16 X 6.50 Michelin ” X ” tyres in place of the original 17 X 6.50 covers. This resulted in the road-holding being “unbelievably improved,” cornering speed being raised from 10 m.p.h. in the wet to a minimum of 40 m.p.h. even on ice and snow, while tyre life rose from 10-12,000 miles to rather more than 25,000 miles. so that the rebuilding of the wheels paid for itself in the course of years. All of which suggests that the Michelin ” X ” is still the best general-purpose tyre.