If the publication of my recollections in Motor Sport did nothing more, it resulted in my renewing friendships with people who I had lost touch with for 40 years and more. For that, and the space granted me by Motor Sport, my thanks.
As far as I am aware, the only person to find fault with my article was Mr. F. Wilson McComb, who did not care for my version of happenings at the MG Car Co. However, I worked there and as he makes no claim of first-hand knowledge I feel he should back his statements by evidence. Although the matter of MG type-designation is somewhat academic I must insist that, in the drawing office, the independently-sprung sports car to which I referred was known as the “S”-type. If Mr. F. Wilson McComb looks at it objectively he will see that his own listing of MG types supports my account rather than the letter “S” being the designation of an 1,100/1,500-c.c. racing car that never got beyond the “wouldn’t it be a good idea if” stage. Regarding the suggestion that the S-type was known as the “Queen Mary” I would remind Mr. McComb that it was not until 1936 that the “Queen Mary” went into service and the use of that name for something large and unwieldy certainly did not predate that event. The car was certainly taken seriously by the drawing-office staff, who worked overtime (unpaid) all through the summer and whose jobs depended on its success. Of course, I know that the SA-type went into production with a 2.3-litre engine but the design-specification always called for a 2.6-litre engine so that the desired performance would be obtained. Unfonunattly, this engine was not available in time and the smaller engine had to be used, with the result that the car was underpowered and had a poor reception in the market. There was, however, one bright aspect of this calamity for the MG company. It lent weight to John Thontley’s plea for the re-introduction of the Midget and as everyone (including myself) knows this was brought about and saved the company from the extinguishment threatened by Leonard Lord. I am sure that Mr. McComb will agree that there was a considerable gap in production between the last of the P’s and the first of the T’s.
Mr. Charles (who was a first-class designer) may have known all about “roll centres” but if he did he kept his knowledge secret from the drawing office staff. Furthermore, having designed one car (R-type) with an unrealistic roll centre, he continued with the same layout in the S-type (as I insist on calling it). In the design stage it would have been quite easy to re-arrange the lengths of the suspension arms to raise the height of the roll centre. Surely if the importance of roll centre had been realised at the time, this would have been done. I do not intend these remarks to disparage Noel Charles, but to illustrate the state of the art of independent suspension design in 1934/5. I would add that before he left the MG Car Co. Bill Renwick made some layouts of anti-roll linkage for the S-type which could well be considered the first application of anti-roll bars. By this time, of course, Mr. Charles was no longer working at Abingdon.
St. Austell J. B. PERRETT
(Mr. Perrett’s article in the May issue was very well received. This is his reply to Mr. Wilson McComb’s Iota about MGs but in fairness to Mr. McComb it should be pointed out that he, too, worked for the MG Car Company, although not until 1959, and knew the racing staff, and he is the author of that erudite book “The Story of the MG Sports Car”. One point I missed when editing Mr. Perrett’s article was that John Cobb raced a Monza, not a P3 Alfa Romeo. -Ed.)