Letters from Readers, August 1964

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IGNORE IGNITERS?

Sir,

No doubt you are interested in the reception of wares advertised in your excellent magazine. I enclose a copy of a letter I am sending to the suppliers of Spitfire Jet Igniters. I find it difficult to believe that my experience is unique.

E. F. Foss.

Beaworthy.

The letter referred to reads as follows :-

To L.S.H. Productions Ltd.,

Mail Order Dept., 42, Park St., W.1.

Dear Sirs,

I have availed myself of your offer of a 30 day trial of your Spitfire Jet Igniters which I saw in the May 1964 copy of MOTOR SPORT. I warned you a week ago that I would probably be sending back these Igniters after two more trips with them. Here they are: will you please refund my money in accordace with your offer.

I have to report that they have not given me more miles per gallon and I have not found the slightest evidence of extra power, faster starts or more vivid acceleration as claimed in your advertisement. As far as I could see there was not the slightest difference in performance in any way.

I append petrol consumption figures before and after fitting for consecutive mileages. My car is a 1956 Daimler Century, The figures were obtained by use of the “reserve tank” fitting.

I am sending a copy of this letter to the Editor of MOTOR SPORT: I feel I owe it to his readers to do so.

Yours faithfully.

 

 

WAS THE 3-LITRE BENTLEY A CRIB?

Sir,

One of my father’s favourite stories concerned a helmsman of a vessel involved in a collision when he was under cross examination in the subsequent Court action.

He was asked by Counsel whether it was true that he had, within the space of 10 minutes, had instruction from his Captain to put the helm hard to port, hard to starboard and then to ring for Full Astern. Admitting this, he was asked if he were not surprised at receiving so many contradictory instructions, to which he replied “Surprised, Sir ? I was so surprised I could have ………. the skipper through his oilskins.” I must admit to a reaction of this order on reading your report on my good friend Alec Ullman’s suggestions on the origin of the 3-litre Bentley, as no one has before suggested that the Hispano-Suiza engine had anything to do with it nor is there any reason to suppose that this was so.

Surely the answer is that there are three kinds of designer. One, men like Lanchester, Maybach, Jano, Roesch, and my father, who can produce highly original and soundly based designs from their own head and are capable of detail design work without assistance. lssigonis the example today.

Another, who have very original ideas but need capable engineers to execute them. For example: Bugatti and Porsche in the car world and Halford in aero engines. There is a third group, including such names as Royce, Cooper and Bentley, who have an intuitive understanding of how problems may best be solved in relation to the existing state of the art but must have a close relationship with engineers with theoretical qualifications and the 1916/18 version of the Bentley and RI and II engines brought “W.O.” into close contact with F. T. Burgess at Humber who had been responsible for the Humber version of the 1913 3-litre Peugeot which ran in the 1914 T.T. races. In 1919 Burgess became Chief Engineer for Bentley and they no doubt quickly agreed on the morphology of a post-war engine, taking pre-war experience into account.

Logically such an engine would have four inclined valves per cylinder in accordance with normal racing engine design subsequent to the 1912 Peugeots. Like them (but unlike the 1913 Peugeots) it would have a drive from the crankshaft to the camshaft by means of a bevel gear and a vertical shaft with a cross-shaft for the water pump and magneto drive. All this like the 1908 Clement Bayard, 1910 Fiat, Bugatti and others.

As on the 1914 G.P. Mercedes Benz racing car and subsequent aero engines, the new car had a single overhead camshaft with rockers and being a production engine these were enclosed instead of exposed as on the earlier design.

The 1913 Peugeot had shown that 90 b.h.p. could be expected from a 3-litre engine, and a bore and stroke of 80 x 156 mm., so this would have seemed an excellent example to follow.

So far as valve angle is concerned the examples were slightly more contradictory in that the 1912 Peugeot had each valve 22 1/2° from the vertical and the 1913 Peugeot and 1914 Mercedes 30° and it was the latter which was adopted. With limited financial backing it was obviously important to get the new Bentley car into production with the shortest possible delay for design and development and it was thus sensible for “W.O.” to follow proven practice. Bentley must be congratulated on the wisdom with which he blended the principles of advanced automobile engine design at the time, and Burgess on the skill with which he unified the detail design on the drawing board.

But to deduce that the Bentley engine was a direct crib from someone else’s drawing board seems to me a completely unjustified assumption.

LAURENCE POMEROY.

London, W.1.

 

 

WORLD OR CLASS RECORDS?

Sir,

As organiser of the recent Corsair record run, and the Anglia attempt in 1962, I should like to straighten out a couple of points in your last month’s editorial.

Prior to the Anglia run I enquired of the F.I.A. officials whether we should be allowed to advertise any results as “World” records. The reply was that providing the International classification was included, this was perfectly reasonable. Their point was quite simply that if the Anglia was the fastest car in the World in its class, then it was quite legitimate to advertise the results as World records, International class “G.”

This fact was notified to the Ford Motor Company prior to the commencement of the run.

The second point is that you failed in your editorial to point out that all the 1500S Volkswagen records were more than 4 m.p.h. slower than the Anglia records set up in 1962! ! !

A. T. BROOKES.

Sutton.

(This is quite remarkable. Before the war the F.I.A. clearly defined what were World records and which were International Class records and never the twain did mix. It seems they have become lax in their old age but, rightly or wrongly, I shall continue to adopt the pre-war ruling. While the fastest car in a given class is obviously fastest anywhere in the World in its class until its speed is bettered, confusion is too easily invited by coupling the terms World and Class records. Whereas if the best time alone for a given distance or duration is entitled to the World title, irrespective of class, there is no confusion and full honour goes where full honour is due. I have an idea Mr. Dean Delamont of the R.A.C. will agree with me. – ED)

 

 

DAFs IN COMPETITIONS

Sir,

In a footnote to a letter recently published from Mr. J. R. Harding regarding the DAF you remark: “in case anyone wonders what is the DAF doing in MOTOR SPORT…”

In fact the automatic DAF, although only very recently introduced to this country from Holland, is establishing for itself quite a remarkable record in that almost every one that has been entered in an event has figured meritoriously in the Award List.

1st March. 1964 V. T. Fellows National Production Car Trial Shenstone Trophy: DAF driven by Mr. M. J. Stevens.

24th May. The London Motor Club’s Coventry Cup Trial for Production Cars. Class winner: DAF driven by Mr. M. J. Stevens.

3ist May. Mid-Surrey Automobile Club’s Grand Cup Trial for Production Cars. First-class award and fifth in general classification. Best performance under 1000c.c.: DAF driven by Colonel M. A. McEvoy.

Another lone DAF driven by Mr. A. Robertson in Scotland has also collected a premier award against strong opposition.

As a matter of interest the DAF is the only small automatic car  – or even medium sized car – to have distinguished itself in trials work. Undoubtedly more DAFs will be seen in competitions in the future.

A team of three DAFs are in the Alpine.

M. A. McEvoy.

Iver.

 

 

THE ROAD RE-SURFACING SCANDAL

Sir,

Once again, Surrey County Council have been re-surfacing their roads using tar and loose chippings, and, like many other motorists, I have had my windscreen shattered as a result.

I feel that the time has come for all motorists to make a strong protest about the use of this very unsatisfactory method of resurfacing roads.

On one portion of the A3 between Cobham and Ripley, no less than 20 broken windscreens have been seen in one day.

Flying chippings could well cause a very serious accident, especially at night, or in the case of open cars when a flying chipping may well strike a driver in the eye.

In the interests of safety, Mr. Marples and the Ministry of Transport should look into the matter without delay.

R. DUNMUR.

Gt. Bookham.

(We are in complete agreement. – ED.)

 

 

THAT LANCIA . .. AGAIN

Sir,

I am going to tell you a story. During a driven grouse shoot the guns were placed in a line of “butts.” One gun, following a bird to his left for too long, fired at it – along the line of the butts. At the end of the drive the host, coming to one of his friend’s butt, said “How did it go, Colonel ?” To which the reply was “That damned fellow on my right fired into my butt.” Host … “Good God, did he ? … What did you do ?” The Colonel … ” I returned his fire, Sir.”

And now I, likewise, am going to reply to my critics in your June issue.

To Mr. Quinton I would suggest that he takes an enormous dose of salts, because I am sure that when he wrote his letter he was suffering from a severe attack of liver. He stated “… it floats like the worst of pre-war Americans” and “… the worst finished motor car I have ever owned at any price.”

I take it that he does indeed own one? Then, may I quote from a weekly contemporary’s report on the Flavia coupe: “The body work is superbly finished” and “Driver comfort and level ride are outstanding: and the handling on twisty roads exemplary. Good manners, brisk performance and meticulous attention to detail inside make it an enjoyable car to drive or be driven in. They also justify its not inconsiderable price,” and later “One aspect of the Lancia which puts the seal on its success as a true Grand Tourer and makes such a good car to ride in as well as drive is the smooth even attitude it maintains over the roughest roads.” I told yer!

N.B. – Epsoms are stronger than Enos.

And to Mr. Merrett … please be accurate when commenting.

I (repeat, I) did not say that I thought that Jags offered too much for too little. I quoted a member of a leading motoring journal test staff … really! But I will now say that I concur with his opinion. A wonderful power unit, but among their many fine cars there do seem to be too many that do not live up to their reputation in all respects … anyhow, as I said, for my peace of mind.

I know that all the Lancias are dreadfully expensive, but one does have to pay for quality. The Italians do, if they can afford them, and they are very discerning in regard to both engineering and body styling. Nuff said.

Last week Lancias kindly brought here and I tried a Flaminia 2-seater Zagato, bodied, I think, by Bertone. Boy, what a beautiful motor car. But I could not afford it, and tho’ it handled to perfection (and one can expect perfection for £3,500) I console myself by wondering if I could get from A to B in it as quickly as in my wonderfully handy Flavia; into which I am having the 1,800-c.c. engine fitted this week.

DENZIL HOLDER (Lt.-Col.).

Newmarket.

 

 

BELATED CORRECTION

Sir, your report of the Whitsun Goodwood meeting you stated that “Chambers (Lotus Elan) failed to give way to a faster car and was pushed into the chicane wall.” Actually the facts of the incident are completely the reverse. Adrian Chambers was about to overtake another car, the driver of which waved him on but when he got alongside, the other driver accelerated leaving Chambers nowhere to go but into the wall. The other driver actually apologised afterwards and offered to pay for any damage. As you are normally so accurate in your race reports I hope you will publish this letter to prevent any unfavourable criticism of a promising young driver who to date has shown himself to be both safe and fast.

B. D. SMITH.

Twickenham.

 

 

INACCESSIBILITY

Sir,

Mr. J. A. Everett complains about Rootes Motors charge of 22s. 6d. for a starting handle kit for the Imp. His garage would undoubtedly charge him a great deal more for fitting it. This apparently simple operation involves the removal not only of the bumper but of the complete rear frame cross-member into the bargain! ! !

If the average motorist knew the amount of his money that is wasted on trivial jobs owing to the manufacturers complete disregard for even reasonable accessibility and took appropriate action he would see his repair bills drop immediately and his car would spend very much less time in the garage.

The number of times I have cursed Jaguar batteries, Sprite oil filters and Imp air cleaners is legion. These are only three examples of the effects created by cheeseparing and sheer laziness and/or stupidity on the part of designers and production “engineers” in the industry.

An article in Torque (the magazine of the Austin Apprentices Association) some time ago acknowledged this disgraceful state of affairs and had the nerve to lay the blame at the motor trade’s door for it. The writer claimed the trade insisted on these difficulties to keep repair workshops full and repair bills high. Words fail me!

No disclaimers.

MICHAEL HALLEY.

Glasgow.

 

 

CLAWS OUT

Sir,

I have been jarred out of my usual lethargy to write and report an incident which may have serious repercussions with regard to my job. A fellow motorist, approximately my age, 21, reported me to the police for the following offence, and I quote “the flashing of an oversized reversing lamp in such a way causing annoyance to following traffic whilst travelling in a forward direction.” What this pillar of self-righteousness forgot to inform the police whilst making his bigoted statement, was his own particular position on the road after I had overtaken him. This was about 3 ft. from the rear of my car, a Mini, headlights on main beam of course!

Whilst I do not condone my action for having an oversized reversing lamp on my vehicle, what really upset me was his narrow-minded attitude. He obviously saw me in his mirror travelling quite fast in a de-restricted zone and classed me as a young hooligan. I suggest that “Lord Justice Parker” reads a Highway Code himself and consider that he will have done well if the only thing he is convicted of while driving a car is having an oversized reversing lamp.

R. W. POWELL.

Poynton.

 

 

SOLD AT A SENSIBLE PRICE

Sir,

I thought perhaps the following information may be of interest to you – as thought provoking in your excellent magazine. I have recently left Widnes, Lancashire, and during my time there much admired the Mayoral Rolls-Royce – which as far as I can gather was a 25/30 limousine in excellent condition. This I intended to purchase when the Council decided to dispose of it. However, coming to Leicester made me rather out of touch with things. You can imagine my horror when I learned this week that the car had been sold by tender for £27 10s., to an “un-enthusiast” who bought it for a joke! Do we write it off as just another example of administrative incompetence or another “blur” on the good name of Rolls-Royce ?

PETER MILLER.

Leicester.

 

 

HILL v. CLARK, ON POINTS

Sir,

In your July edition, Messrs. Worsley asserted the unfairness of F.I.A. regulations in that Clark and Hill had the same number of Championship points after the Dutch Grand Prix.

Unfortunately they dismiss Clark’s effort at Monte Carlo in half a sentence. Leading for over a third of the race, having two pit stops, and only failing to finish owing to F.I.A. regulations which prevent oil being added, surely Clark drove in this race at least as well as Hill did at Zandvoort.

I fully realise that MOTOR SPORT disagrees with the F.I.A. regulations about finishing. It does seem unfair to give a driver points even though he does not finish, but conversely, it seems also unfair that having covered 97 of 100 laps one receives no points, while someone who has covered only 78 laps in the same time does.

NEIL DUNFORD.

Sedbergh.

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