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Politicians at Speed.
ITALY is recognised as having produced some of the finest racing motorists in the world, but it is not generally known that Mussolini himself is a “high speed merchant.” In a report from Rome it is alleged that the Dictator frequently drives at 80 miles per hour, and an Italian newspaper has urged the Prefect of Rome to suspend the Duce’s driving licence !
That Mussolini, however, is not alone amongst speedy politicians was proved at Olympia. On his visit there, Mr. Ramsay Macdonald called at the Alvis stand and was shown a Silver Eagle saloon. When told that it was capable of 80 m.p.h. he replied. “that is fast enough for me—I enjoy speed.”
Up to date there have been no appeals for the suspension of the Prime Minister’s driving licence. Perhaps Signor Mussolini’s actions speak louder than Mr. Macdonald’s words ; perhaps it is that the more stolid British race is inclined to let its leader look after himself—or perhaps we have more confidence in the safety of our own fast cars.
Tough Going “Down Under “
That British small cars can hold their own against all comers and under any conditions, was proved conclusively by the results of the recent annual 24-hour mid-winter reliability trial conducted by the R.A.C. of Australia.
This event is recognised as one of the stiffest tests in New South Wales and hitherto the competing cars have always been grouped into five classes, according to cubic capacity, a definite speed average being fixed for each class. This year, however, no concessions were allowed ; all cars competed on equal terms, and the achievement of the two stock model Singer Juniors in finishing dead on time and in perfect condition, is all the more to their credit in that the honour was won from cars of five or six times their capacity.
Fog, intense cold, rain and greasy roads were some of the hazards encountered. The most gruelling section of the run seems to have been a stretch of 39 miles from Nowra to Robertson, which included the heights of Camberwarra and Barringay Mountains, the set speed average being 23 m.p.h. Fog again cropped up to complicate matters, followed by heavy rain, but in spite of all difficulties, Robertson was reached with three quarters of a minute to spare. The record of the run makes exciting reading. At one
point the drivers are five minutes ahead of time, again they are three minutes behind. It is worth noting that when a few moments were taken from the breakfast interval to check over the cars, this was found unnecessary, both being in perfect condition.
—And in South Africa, Too.
From Durban comes an account of a most interesting unofficial reliability trial recently undertaken by Mr. S. Healey, a local dealer, and Mr. Baron Boyel, a journalist, of that city, in a standard 2-seater Triumph Super Seven.
The course lay from Durban to Lourenco Marques and back again, and the outward journey, a distance of 548 miles, was completed in 18i hours. This is distinctly good going for so small a car since it represents an average speed of nearly 30 m.p.h. including time lost during meals and at the various frontiers crossed. Furthermore it is clear, from Mr. Boyel’s account of the trip, that some very gruelling surfaces were encountered.
The travellers left Durban at midnight and after some two hours on the road met with mist and sleet in the Mooi River district. However, the bad weather was left behind as Ladysmith was approached, and the coming of dawn further improved matters.
At 8.30 a.m. a stop was made to fill up with petrol and check the tyres, and later there was another stop for breakfast. Then the little car pressed on over a patchwork route of bad roads, wonderful scenery, great hills. From time to time various specimens of Customs Official were encountered. One of them was a Swazi, the next a Portuguese, who, although unfamiliar with the English tongue, nevertheless contrived to enquire whether the Triumph carried any gramophones or pianos !
Lourenco Marques was reached about dusk, and the city seems to have made a very favourable impression on the travellers—a view, no doubt, coloured to some extent by the satisfaction felt at the good performance of their car.
The return journey was complicated by missing the way on a ” short cut,” but back again on the right route and filled up once more at V ryheid the little car was running better than ever.
In Mr. Boyel’s own words, “the Triumph had no trouble whatsoever from start to finish of this run, one of the most strenuous tests undertaken with a light horse-power British car.”