RUMBLINGS, December 1939




They have Found us a Job

SOON after war broke out, MoToR SPORT gave careful consideration to the question of how the expert, fast car driver, wishing to offer his specialist abilities in his country’s interest, fitted into the new scheme of things. In the ” Stop Press” October issue we pointed out that fast drivers did not seem to be wanted in either military or the Civil Defence

Services. This subject is again referred to in this issue. After this reference had been written, we discovered that Temple Press,, mainly through the good offices of Graham Walker, the racing motorcyclist, and Editor of ” Motor Cycling,” had evolved a Register of Trials Drivers, from which the War Office proposes to draw commissioned and noncommissioned driving instructors for new Army driving training schools. Success in trials will definitely be taken into consideration in enrolling applicants. This is a most significant announcement, which cannot fail to please those who have taken motor-car trials seriously in the past. We wish to steal nothing of Temple Press’s thunder and would refer interested readers to the issue of “The Light Car” of November lIth for full .details. However, excellent as this scheme is, it does not .cover those who are under or over military age or otherwise exempt from militar? service, nor does it provide for really skilled specialist drivers anxious to drive fast cars on serious errands under war con

ditions. That some consideration be given in official circles to such persons is something for which we must still plead.


Fire-pumps are amongst the appliances which are very much in the news these days, on account of the widespread interest displayed in A.R.P. functions. Recently, we met a very neat installation put up by some motoring enthusiasts and, after successful test, dedicated to factory use. A centrifugal sugar-pump was mounted on an axle, carrying small disc wheels shod with ribbed Dunlop tyres. The original electric motor was removed, and its place taken by an old magneto-ignition Austin Seven unit mounted on a suitable girder-cradle. This engine was once used for racing and before being wedded to the pump, which it drives via a Rolls-Royce transmission coupling, it was given a new rear main bearing and one or two new piston rings. It has an Amal updraught .carburetter On the old-pattern manifold, and starts and picks up remarkalOy well. The controls are neatly connected by bowden-wires to a facia panel, on which the only dials are the engine oil-gauge and a waterpressure pump. Water is drawn from a tank over the pump and the Austin radiator has been replaced by

a cooling tank in circuit with this supply tank. The whole contrivance can be easily wheeled around and it gave a pressure of 40 lbs. per square inch on test and ran the factory hydrant dry. Another clever installation we saw not long ago was that carried out by Peter Clark when he tired of the supercharged 2-litre Lagonda engine in the F.IVI., which car he purchased a while back. He has put in a Ford V8 30 engine very neatly, making up an extended belt drive for the small fan that snuggles behind the Invicta radiator, leaving the original drive to merely look after the water impellers. The dynamo lives between the cylinder blocks and comes within the function of the new drive, and actuation of a rev, counter is also worked in. This F.M., which, you will recall, was a 11-litre Invicta chassis specially developed for Monte Carlo Rally work to the order of the late Sebag Montefiore, has provided lots of fun. At first it overheated furiously and a new block in the shapely radiator failed to effect a cure. The trouble was eventually traced to the undershield, which, cut away to cool the Ford sump, allowed such air-pressure to build up beneath the bonnet that hardly any was induced to flow through the radiator. A piece of old tin effected a complete cure. The Villiers supercharger of the former Lagonda engine blew-up rather completely, but Peter Clark may one day use this engine in his proposed f.w.d. hill-climb special, as the Tracta engine, with its smallish, two-bearing

crank, might dislike forced induction. Waddy has lent his advice about this special and two blowers and heaps of bits await a time when a hill-climb car can again be put to good use when completed. Odd Spots

Just prior to the war R. M. Cowell, having sold his sports Alta to Abecassis, was contemplating supercharging a 3k-litre SS. 100.

John Cobb’s Railton, holder of the world’s Land Speed Record, has returned safely to this country, travelling in a special steamer.

Amongst the successful alternate fuel appliances is the Eness anthracite-burning plant, distributed by the Wayne Tank and Pump Co. Ltd. The trailers are made by the Southern Motor Company, run by the enthusiastic May family, and we believe that two of the demonstration cars are an Armstrong-Siddeley Twenty, formerly owned by Sydney Allard ‘s father, and one of the reconditioned 20/25 Rolls-Royce cars in which the Southern Motor Co. specialise. We met an enthusiast recently who claimed to run his sports-bodied Ford Eight entirely on paraffin (now illegal)—certainly it smelt like it 1

Rover cars are still in production.

Sports cars have not entirely vanished from our roads and M.G., Bentley and Morgan 4/4 seem especially prominent.

Will Edwardian carriages become a vogue amongst Army officers in this war ? A 1910, or thereabouts, 42 h.p. Renault has appeared in Aldershot.

Marcus Chambers is said to be entering the Navy and K. B. Shaw is a policeman.