RUMBLINGS, December 1940
Another Veteran Type AMONGST the most popular articles appearing in MOTOR SPORT have been those in the “Veteran Types ” series, perpetrated by Kent Karslake ten years ago. Actually, the title chosen was not entirely logical, for ” E.K.H.K.,” as the author was known when he did not sign his name as ” Baladeur,” dealt with each old car on which be went out as an individual study, and I have no doubt that his fascinating stories of how these exciting cars were discovered and restored, to good order and investigated on the road led many an enthusiast to emulate those who thus enjoyed themselves before the Vintage S.C.C. came into being, and popularised this phase of sporting motoring quite a bit. In all, twenty-two “veteran types ” have been dealt with to date, Heal. Clutton and Clark helping out with later Instalments—incidentally, we owe a deep debt of gratitude to all those who are assisting in keeping MOTOR SPORT going by writing specialist articles for us—while, incidentally, two veterans not included in this list were written up in ” Brooklands—Track and Air ” some years ago under the same heading by the present Editor of MOTOR SPORT, these comprising “Chitty Bang Bang I,” and the 1903 G.B. Napier. Now details come to hand of another old car not so far included in the series—John Morris’s 1914 Benz. The Benz is of the type listed as standard just before the last blitz, known as the ‘200 h.p. type, and listed at £2,000 in chassis form—John Morris believes that the 100 h.p. type cost £1,000 as a chassis. The car was, it is thought, purchased by General von Hindenburg and used by him as his personal staff car during the early days of the war. Count Zborowski is said to have brought the Benz over to this country in 1920 with the intention of converting it for Brookland ‘a use,but the work was not started at the time of his death. Actually, in “The Brooklands Gazette ” of 1924 we published a photograph of Zborowski in the Paddock at Brooklands with a ‘200 h.p. Benz, and this had a two-seater body with a small tank in the tail, so maybe the Count had taken the four-seater tour ing body off for preliminary tests. Another big-car enthusiast, Capt. Alastair Miller, next acquired the Benz and successfully raced it at B.A.R.C. meetings, after fitting alloy pistons and well-base wheels. G. K. Clowes won a race at the 1928 August meeting in the car; at 102.7 m.1)11,, and Wallbank took it to victory in the very first event of the 1929 season, at 97.88 m.p.h. Later in the season Cyril Paul won two more races, at 104.1 m.p.h. and 104,0 m.p.h. respectively, and very evidently the big car was faster in long than in short handicap events. Paul netted two more races with the Benz in 1980. lapping at nearly 116 m.p.h. in spitg of the four-seater body, unstreamlined save for the faired entry of the radiator header tank and the cased-in front axle beam. After this the ban on old cars put the Benz into retirement, along with the 191.2 Lorraine-Dietrich which Wallbank was still racing, and a 1912 Excelsior which C. M. Couper had dug up with like intention (now, I believe, broken up). Amherst Villiers then bought the Benz and raced it once at Southport, where the gearbox disintegrated. John Morris was the next owner and he eventually had a new gearbox casing made, after chopping up “Chitty I,” only to find the Mercedes box useless—the present writer was generously offered the engine as a gift had he had means of transporting a unit weighing some 17 cwt. to London ! An exhaust valve seating cracked, and welding operations wrecked the huge cylinder block, so after no small delay, two new blocks were cast. By 1937 the Benz was working again. It has since climbed Shelsley in 52.4 secs., and run at Lewes. Morris overturned it at the Crystal Palace last year (yes, only last year !) but it was not badly damaged, and has now been fully restored. The four-cylinder 185 x 200 mm. (2l1-litre) engine runs up to 1,600 r.p.m. on third gear and pulls a top gear of 1.4 to 1. The two valves per cylinder are push-rod operated. Transmission is by cone clutch and side chains. This desirable touring car has twin semi-downdraught S.U. carburetters and its owner is doing his country well in these times by his association with the S.U. Carburetter Co. Ltd., who make
on aeroengines. Speed with Economy We have long been a nation of small car users, and are likely to go on being so after this war is won. Tens of thousands of users will continue to think in terms of 8 h.p., and amongst them will be enthusiasts who will crave more performance than standard cars possess, so as to have fun on the road and some chance of success in trials and speed events. In the past, tuned Morris Minors, M-type M.G.s and Austin Sevens appeared in such club events as the M,C.C. and J.C.C. Brooklands High Speed Trials and proved that 750-850 c.c. utility cars can be made to achieve speeds around the 70 m.p.h. mark. Which turns one’s thoughts to what we can expect in the way of speed with economy in the future. In the last Brescia G,P. Venturelli and Cerorti drcve a 570 c.c. Fiat to victory in the 750 c.c. class at an average of 70 88 m.p.h, It seems safe to assume that this little car, unblown, by the way, had a maximum speed of about 80 m.p.h., with a decent reliability factor, as another Fiat set a lap record of 74.64 m,p.h, They owed their speed to o.h.v. heads and full streamlining. It would not be impossible to visualise a production model able to reach 75 m.p.h., while giving some 45 m.p g., and commanding a tax of only 17 10s. Od. per annum. Moreover, the streamline bodywork would make it look a really well-proportioned job and not like a bumping-car out of a circus fair-ground. What fun you could have with a car of this sort in club speed events I
As the R.A.F. has had to deal with the Turin works, we must not expect to be able to buy faired Fiats to celebrate the Peace, even if so inclined, so I hope our own designers and technicians are working along similar lines. Of recent times we have been inclined to think in terms of 10 h.p. for our small sports-cars, in spite of the swelled tax. and in this size Continental streamlined moderns should do about 90 m p.h. with atmospheric induction and marked economy, not to mention contro:lability. So, let research proceed . . , • I Turning to used ears. as so many of us will have to do in the future, it is interesting to compare the performance figures of standard babies when speculating on what to choose for tuning, ready for when there are again entry forms to fill up. The original “8/38 “M.G. Midget did 64 m.p h., 38 m.p.g. and 10-30 m.p h. in 7 secs. That was in 1929, in which year the ” Chummy ” Austin Seven did 51 m.p.h., 411 m.p.g., and 10 sees., and the ” Porloek ” Singer Junior 56 m.p.h., 42 m.p.g. and 10.2 secs. By 1932 the supercharged 850 c.c. M.G. Midget gave 75.0 m,p.h., 25 ru p.g. and 5.4 .secs. and the 746 c e. supercharged ” Montlhery ” M.G. 87 8 in p.h, 27 m.p.g. and 5 secs. The Vale Special did 64.2 m p.h., and 7 secs. in 1933, while the R-type M.G. Midget Showed 74.3 m.p.h. and 7.2 secs. in 1934, and in 1935 the Morris Eight two-seater did 60 m.p.h. and 8 secs. Taken from “The Autocar,” these figures qualify the remarks on economy cars which appeared in the October issue of MOTOR SPORT.