NPE have refrained from asking for detailed accounts of readers’ running expenses relating. to given makes and types of fast ears, and from publishing such data in MOTOR SPORT, because such detailed information can be of interest only to a prospective owner or to a particularly rabid one-make enthusiast, and such persons can fairly easily get directly in touch with owners of the particular car in which they are interested. if we ever do decide to use up space with such statistics we could commence with no less a marque than the Aston-Martin, for a very good friend of ours, who has run three li,4itre models, has kept very well-audited accounts of his expenses ; his depreciation rate has averaged £40 a year. However, that is by the way. We do not waste space in this manner, because the ” Cars I Have Owned ” series and our own roadtest reports, which the war has not entirely curtailed, tell broadly in what respects a particular car is good or bad, and more detailed information and individual hints and tips are not generally sought.. The question of expenditure in respect of competition work spread over a season’s active participation is, however, a matter of wider interest, if only because, for all the intense pleasure that the sports-Car gives in ordinary usage, this pleasure-factor increases materially merely by attending sporting venues in the car and reaches its peak if the owner of the car is himself engaged in competition work. It can he argued that t he most economical way of operating a sports-car is by using it purely as a means of transport over a limited mileage, though enjoying its especial characteristics while it is so emploved. Although viii (tally attending sportiag motoring fixt ores in the car is in no tvav a departure from this manner of usage, in actual fact longer distances are likely to lw covered, the car will be driven faster and far more frequent ly, in regularly attending races and trials scattered about this pleasant isle, and greater reliabilit v will be sought. Running expenses will accordingly increase at all events for the owner of the cheap, low-priced sports-car. Running expenses and overall expenditure take another very big jump when the car is actually entered for competitions. for, apart from club subscriptions and entry fees, increased perform a flee becomes desira 1)1e. almost essential. and this both costs. and goes on absorbing, more money. it is a u Aid and fascinating stud 3,to consider what is the minimum outlay for which all three aspects of sports-car ownership can reasonably be enjoyed—what can be the minimum expenditure on which one can appreciate sports-car usage in its fullest sense, deriving pleasure from the car while it is in use as a means of utilitarian transport, deriving keener pleasure from it on long, fast journeys (as from London to Donington, Shelsley, Prescott, etc.) because the sports-type car is then in its element, and getting

the greatest joy of all from driving it, as a pastime, in competitions. In attempting to come to some definite standards under these headings, some rather complex economies are involved. First, consider the case of a youth with a used sports-car of 8 h.p. Perhaps he has, as yet, hardly emerged as a genuine enthusiast, but he can appreciate the appeal of the sports-type of car. if he works six days a week and does 100 miles every Sunday and takes his car away for a week’s holiday of 400 miles, his annual mileage, allowing for Sundays spent. toiling, and absorbing useful lessons, in the garage, will come out at something. like 4,500 miles. He could buy his car for £5, al° or al5, or exchange his mother’s piano for it, but we will set his expenditure in this direction down as £20. His annual outlay (assuming he has sufficient fire, derived of his burning desire to be a fast car owner, to commandeer his father’s garage. build a shed, or cadge storage in a friend’s motor house) will be somewhat as follows :—

So it seems that our young motorist can have a lot of fun, charm the local youth and beauty, annoy not a few of his elders, and learn a lot that will Stand hilll in good stead in his future motoring career, all for about £60 hi cash outlay. The writer can see no reason NVI1V a £20 M-type M.G. or Austin Seven or similar car should not do 4,500 miles on the e x penditure suggested without serious trouble. Repairs will include secondhand tyres and battery. new piston rings, lamp bulbs, gaskel , etc.. and replacement of minor breakages. The owner will not rebore, will, wrong as he may be. run his tyres long after the treads have worn away. and will not trouble unduly about weak brakes, shabby bodywork, inoperative instruments and such like. We are certainly not advocating sportsear ownership under these terms, and will pass hastily to the next stage, as we see it, only pausing to mention that the 1.’,ditor’s present war-hack, after sixteen years’ running, still does 800-1,000 m.p.g. of oil ; and to suggest that at least the figures are interesting—the more so as such a car is likely to be taxed for the summer months only, when the moneybox has only to be rattled to the tune of about £31 for three months’ fun. [How far would the Jerry aeroplane now going over, On anything but a fun mission. Ilv for that sum ?1 From such beginnings, let ns imagine that our enthusiast, having added a few years of wisdom to his outlook and an increase to his salary, decides on another car with which he can motor far and fast, in c4anfort and reliability. Doubtless he will either buy a secondhand 3-type or P-i ype M.G. or a ” Nippy” Austin Seven or something in that class, about four years old, or a rather later used version of the same sort of car, keeping to 8 h.p. in order to conserve on running expenses. A car of the former vintage is likely to let him in for about £40 and by the time it has been rebored, re-tyred, had the clutch and brakes relined and been given a decoke and top overhaul, is likely to cost another 4:20. A later model will average out in the region of 170 but, if carefully picked, should not require an overhaul in its first year. So let us set down the initial outlay at £65. By now our enthusiast Will get both Saturdays and Sundays off and will doubtless acquire the happy habit of regularly attending races and competition fixtures around the country. He will also use his car as transportation in connection with his now increasing social obligations, and will be able to afford at least a fortnight’s annual holiday. In fact, his yearly mileage will jump to around 12,000 a year. He is likely to pay a bigger insurance premium, if still third party only, and there are Still likely to be a few repairs and incidentals with the increase in mileage, in spite of the better quality of the car. A year’s motoring is now going to account for a s. d. rather to this tune

It must not be overlooked that a relatively inexpensive fast car bought in used condition will start to cost a deal more in repairs and running costs after the first year, and luck plays a great part, but these figures do seem to represent about the minimum for which you can possess a sports-car and be a serious sports-car user. respectively, or could have been before the war. The weekly expenditure for running expenses comes out at roughly 14/6 and 16/respectively. Now let us consider what will happen if our enthusiast, decides to become a competition exponent. It’ he is content. to take part in about half-ti-dozen of the smaller mud-trials in the winter months he will be able to join one club which gets reasonable invitations to other clubs’ events for a subscription and entry fee of. say, 4:1, and, taking entry fees at from 7 6 to £1. the MA of these will average out at £4 2s. 6d. No modifications to the car are exactly essential, and if our friend drives in his discarded Burberry and old trilby, we need put nothing down for personal equipment. Mileage will, if anything, decrease, so the poorer m.p.g. under

_ trials conditions can be safely disregarded. If nothing breaks, the annual expenditure has only gone up to 1125 5s. Od. But what if our imaginary competition wallah feels he must taste the real thing. Be will probably still wish to compete in these half-dozen triaLs, representing only one trial a month in the Wills season. He will not save more than a couple of pounds or so, if he restricts himself to one event every two months. But mud larks are not everything and bigger trials will come into the picture. If the three M.C.C. classics are Chosen the expenditure will be made up something as follows :—Membership £2. Entry fees at £2 per event, £6; hotel bills, meals, personal equipment, etc., £9 10s. Od.we are quoting from memory, but the figures are roughly correct. Mileage is not included, as it will be covered on holiday runs in any case, but the story does not end here. The incentive to tune the car will be very great, and fitting double valve springs, h.e. gasket and new plugs and experimenting with new carburetter settings can write off a further £2. Fuel consumption will go up, and . will probably account for at least £1 on the fuel bill. Repair items, such as garage-repaired punctures, a welded exhaust pipe, new wing stays, etc., can account for an additional £5. The total competition expenditure is now £29 12s. 6d. Even if half-a-dozen of the bigger trials are substituted for the M.C.C. classics, expenditure will be only slightly reduced, if at all, because the saving on entry fees is offset by having to join another one or two clubs, and the reduced mileage is balanced by the journeys out and home. It is worth considering, however, that if the total ordinary mileage is cut from 12,000 to around 9,000, this sum will about be saved. Taking the trials running in a year at 1,800, with the M.C.C. events, this means 7,200 miles normal dieing a year, or not much more than 150 miles each remaining week-end—which, if evenings are spent working on the car, as they may now have to be, is reasonable ; the fortnight’s motoring holiday has been allowed for. Trials, however, are not the final ambitions of the true enthusiast, who will want to throw in some high-speed experience. A speed trial twice in the summer season Win cost, say, £3 in club subscriptions and entry fees, and a club Donington meeting, run, we will assume, by one of his existing clubs, about £2. Alas, that is, again, less by far than half the story. A standard car will not. be very much fun at a speed trial, and will be unlikely to beat its handicap at Donington. To increase the performance entails either supercharging, hotting-up, or drastic weight reduction, or a combination of either of the two former aids with the latter. If the engine is first put in first-class order to gain a reason able chance of retaining reliability, such an undertaking cannot very well cost under 150. New plugs, new tyres, and relined brakes will bring the figure up to nearly £60. Let us set it at £55. Fuel consumption will now have increased from 35 to 28 m.p.g., which, in 12,000 miles, adds £6 9s. Od. to the running expenses. Even if the driver is lucky and has no further repair expenses, and if he refrains from buying overalls and crash hat (as we hope he will), his venture into the realm of speed has taken 166 9s. Od. from his banker. Supertuning has been the worst item by far, yet I do not see how it. can be avoided. Assume that the car under consideration is a used J-type M.G. The maximum speed will be about 65 or 70 m.p.h. with the mild tuning undertaken for trials, with acceleration to match. Even four seasons ago the M.C.C. expected an 850 c.c. car to average 60.87 m.p.h. to qualify for a ” Premier” in the High Speed Trial, and the J.C.C. set an average, in the same year, of 58 m.p.h. in their One HOur Blind which included corners. That calls for a sustained 70 m.p.h. everywhere, or a maximum flat-out of ’75 m.p.h. Even if we are lenient and grant a tuning expenditure of a mere £25, remembering that special pistons, valves, etc.. are likely to be required, to say nothing of re-metalled bearings, the outlay is still £37 10s. Od. including entry in the M.C.C. event to see if the car can do it ! Actually, if an owner has spent the afore-estimated 155 on buying himself real performance, he is likely to want to run in at least two more sprint events and another club Donington meeting, sending the total competition expenditure to roughly £72, if our standard of expense assessment be adhered to. Add the trials expenditure to the speed stuff, subtract. the outlay on hotting-up ports set down under the triaLs heading, and you get £98 12s. 6d. That, plus the basic cost of being a sports-car owner of the sort who has a car capable of playing this game, gives you £216 5s. Od. In other words, to be a sports-car owner you must spend on expenses at least 14/6 a week ; to be a real sports-car user you must lay out 16/a week ; to be a trials driver in a small way as well Costs 28/a week ; and to call yourself a competition motorist working on the simplest p?ssible lines involves all but 42/a week. Even on the last expenditure you are oaly doing six small trials, the three M.C.C. trials or equivalent classics, two speed trials, a clul».ace or two at a Donington Meeting, a high speed trial, and a reasonable amount of road motoring per season. That is not very much, when you think how often the names of famous drivers appear in the fixture lists. We have shown that by reducing his ordinary motoring from 12,000 to 7,200 miles a veai lie I vials exponent, running in six small trials and the M.C.C. classics, can about balance expenses. However, if an attempt is made to thus balance as well even the mild excursion into the realm of speed, road mileage will have to be brought down to 3,300 or less than 85 miles a week for those weeks when no trial or dice is contemplated. This almost smacks of keeping the car only for occasional competition work and still letting it cost 45/a week

including the car’s cost—those who really enjoy figures can work out a sliding scale of mileage for a given expenditure on combined road and competition motoring. It is now that the case for the amateur-built special comes in, which, as our economics are becoming obtuse, even to us, is probably as well. We have decided that for an expenditure of £55 our original 165 8 h.p. sports-car may be hotted-up or blown to a very reasonable performance, sufficient for advanced trials work, sprint events, club racing, and one-hour circulations of Brooklands to M.C.C. and J.C.C. schedule ; it has, in fact, become a /120 car. Looked at like that, is the proposition so appealing? Lots of current, small sports-cars costing upwards of 1200 crack up in a high-speed trial and are very dull company at speed trials and inner-circuit dices at Donington. Yet we are trying to achieve well beyond their performance on 1.120. Moreover, we are craving a car light and low-geared for trials, yet fast, stable and reliable under semiracing conditions. We question very much whether it can be done, at any rate without risk of repair bills during the season that could easily bump that weekly expenditure up to 60:a week, prolmhly much more. Allow that few people can spend more than a quarter of their income on their hobby and to cover expenses you must be in command of over £600 a year, exclusive of income tax. It may be assumed that for such an outlay reasonable success and sustained fun will be expected. Yet it is open to doubt whether the car which has so far seemed to be the most economical to run will be entirely successful. The very factors that make it ideal for trials, notably its low gear ratios and reduced weight, may well mitigate against it in sprints and racing, even leadink to expensive blow-ups, while in the former it will be classed as a super sports-car and in the latter it would start under a heavy handicap as a super-tuned job. Nor is it, likely to possess exceptional road-holding to help it round Donington and through the J.C.C. dice. And, if its fuel consumption decreases to around 25 m.p.g., as well it may it will be less attractive than before as a road motor. Consideration of the letter written to us by John Gordon, of he 4th Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment., and published in the October issue, shows that there is a strong ease for the home-brewed special. Gordon put a standard Riley Six engine into a Frazer-Nash chassis and got something like 80-85 m.p.h. and a fuel consumption of 31 m.p.g. Now assume that a search is made for a good, little worn engine of between 11-2-litres capacity out of a crashed modern car—it should by possible to get what is wanted for £13. The chassis will cost about 110 and, even allowing £40 for a body, tyres, mild tuning, and the inevitable incidentals, a ” special ” of this sort comes out at the same price as our used M.G., with the important difference that, if it is cleverly constructed, it. will outperform our former car with no additional tuning, representing a direct saving of quite £25 and quite possibly £50. Looking at the cost of operating the two cars over 12,000 miles, even granting a 14 h.p. 2-litre engine to endow the special with the desired urge, we get something like this :


Hotted-up Standard 8 h.p. Car