Letters from Readers, December 1941



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Being now fully engaged in building vessels for the R.A.F., I still greatly appreciate reading MOTOR Soar as a recreation, and have been surprised at the large aniount of correspondence that has appeared therein recently regarding the old Bentleys. I duly noted the letter from Mr. R. Bawden, who was asking for further information. It occurs to me that the information in question might be of considerable use to a number of your readers.

Longer pistons can certainly be used for most of the old Bentleys, to obtain a higher compression ratio. However, there is the great snag of considerable additional weight, which usually ends in Connecting-rod fracture. For instance, the standard replacement piston for a 3-litre in the year 1932 had increased in weight some 7 oz. each over the original piston fitted in 1926/1927. I will leave this terrific additional connecting-rod stress to readers who love playing with slide rules to work out for themselves : stroke, 149.5 mm. ; speed, 3,500 r.p.m. I am all in favour of an extremely light but strong piston as short as possible above the gudgeon-pin and with a very wide top land. Backlash in the rear asde is usually caused by wear on the thrust washers behind the sun wheels and by wear in the bushes and shafts of the planet wheels. There is no satisfactory way of eliminating backlash, except by overhauling these points. Very seldom is there appreciable backlash between the crown wheel and pinion, excepting where the axle has been run without lubrication. In regard to the crown wheel and pinion mesh-adjusters, these I would advise everyone to leave severely alone, particularly in regard to the pinion, as there is only one correct position, namely:, that to which it was set originally. The two locking bolts of this adjustment should be examined fairly frequently to see if the nuts are dead tight, as tbey have a nasty habit of bedding themselves in and allowing the adjusting sleeve to move, with disastrous results. I made a practice of boring out the holes and widening the !dots and fitting Fin, high-tensile bolts Instead of the 1-in, bolts originally used. This effectively cured the trouble. It is not generally appreciated that the considerable amount of adjustment provided for in the nose-pieces of the 3and 44-litre Bentleys was originally intended to facilitate the fitting of six different gear ratios. On the 4i-litre it is very often found that the differential easing is cracked in several places. This results in considerable backlash, although the cracked pieces are not able to get apart, being held together by the steel endplates. Some years ago I produced a

replacement differential casing to eliminate this trouble. I am, Yours etc.,

London, S.W.1. L. C. McKENKE. Sir,

I am extremely sorry to find from the current MOTOR SPORT that my -article on the World’s I-bar Reeorci contained such a large number of emirs in engine capacity. My access to my books and papers is very restricted nowadays and the article was written from a table in a notebook, which unfortunately contained a number of transcription errors made in 1937, which I had never thought to cheek up. Most of the engine capacities which are in error are actually the weight figures in pounds ! Quite unpardonable, and I am very sick about it.

I am grateful to Mr. Pomeroy for clearing matters up and for the extra information about the recent big-engined ears. Incidentally, the R.A.C. themselves couldn’t give me the capacity of the 1907 Thames.

Very many congratulations on the continued interest of your journal. I hope that the latest paper restrictions N% ill not introduce too great a problem and that you w ill be able to carry on the prodoction of your most refreshing magazine until it becomes the chronicle of the Sport cnce more.

Very many apologies for sending you that article with so many errors in it. I hope not to repeat the sin. I am, Yours etc.,


Stratford-on-Avon. [A corrected table kindly submitted by “The Motor” follOws.-Ed.]


It was with ,.great interest that I read the Editorial comments on the subject of post-war racing in the October issue of MOTOR. SPORT. Some indication of what form this is likely to take would certainly be of great interest to those who look forward to the days of peace when these things will he with us again. Major events such as Grand Prix and sports car racing it would seeni to be the business of the R.A.C. to consider, though with how this body is to be galvanised into a show of activity in this direction I do not propose to deal. But is not this uncertain state of affairs an opportunity for that .poor relation of motor racing, the ” Specials ” brigade, to make its influence felt? For of one thing I am quite eertain, and that is that, whatever form racing takes, it will not stop enthusiasts building and, if possible, racing ” Specials,” for their own amusement and edification, if for no other reason. In the same issue appeared my letter

giving the objections. I see them, to the adoption of Class I as a class for amateurs. If ” Specials ” are going to be brought a little more into the limelight would it not be better to endeavour to provide racing for ” Specials ” in general rather than for one particular section? if there were a Class I, in which the manufacturers did riot take too great an interest., so much the better, and it woukl probably be a class well supported by the Specialists, as far as it lay in their power to support any class. Plans for future racing are very much in the air. The builders of ” Specials ” would like to take a greater share in racing than they have done hitherto. Why

should not advantage be taken of this uncertainty to gain ” Specials ” a definite place in racing ?

In pre-war racing the Specialists were very much a band of individuals who built and raced their ears for the fun of it ; who provided, in general, what might be called the comedy element in meetings, and who were hardly recognised by any club, except, possibly, the Midland A.C. It seems to me that this happy band might get together as a body and formulate some plan on their own account which would ensure them greater participation in the racing of the ruture. I know personally of one “Special ” now in course of construction which will be motoring, and, it is hoped, motoring potently, at the conclusion of hostilities, and there must be a number of others as well as the group already in being headed by John Bolster’s ” Blocdy Mary.” With these it might be possible to stage some sort of event after the war long before any other machine was anything like prepared, thereby getting ” Specials ” some sort of a place In the sun for a start off. That, of course, is only a very rough idea, but it is some indication of what might be done given uniks, and a little pushinlness.

What I am suggesting is that Specialists should get together to form, not so much a club, at any rate to start with, but a sort of debating society to discuss ways and means whereby ” Specials ” may have 0, larger .share in racing and a larger number of enthusiasts may be able to participate in same. -Whilst, owing to my disability, I can take only a very minor part in the actual building of ” Specials,” and none at all in the driving of same, there would doubtless be a number of other ways in which enth siasm would come in handy. This is, of course, merely a suggestion, but if ;1 is a suggestion which others d«an worthy of consideration, any assistance I can give is there for the asking. I am, Yours etc., V. J. Giesox, 36, Dallas Road,

Lancaster. Sir,

May I be forgiven an imperceptible raising of the eyebrows at W.J.C.’s apocryphal report of the motorists’ party at the Rembrandt Hotel ? While combining a maximum of bad taste with a minimum of humour he has, moreover, so far divorced his comments from the truth as to report a speech by Forrest Lycett, who was not even present !

Turning to another matter, I am sorry to learn from Mr. Mertens that I am becoming effete ; I had long suspected it. Mr. Mertens is. of course, quite correct in saying that the principal attraction of the ‘better Vintage cars lay in that intimacy of control which existed between man and machine. As Bugatti showed, however, there is no reason why the exercise of such fine control should entail fierce physical strife, and, in any case, it is only reasonable that the output of effort should be proportional to the performance available. In fact, the labourer is worthy of his hire, and so Oir as that aspect of my otherwise admirable Bentley I am, Yours etc.,


London, S.W.5. [We offer Mr. Lyeett and anyone else similarly inconvenienced a full apology. The report seemed so genuine that, anonymous as it was, we took it to be written by Cecil Clutton’s deputy. Actually, it was not. It is to be expected that in its 17 years’ existence MOTOR SPORT has acquired a number of enemics in addition to its large circle of friends. This unfortunate episode, for which we take the blame and apologise, was undoubtedly attributable to one of them. Defences are now organised.—Ed.] Sir,

I have just received my July MOTOR SPORT and most heartily congratulate you on keeping going. You can probably imagine my delight at receiving it out here. I have not seen the May or June issues, so I am afraid that they must be feeding the fishes somewhere. With reference to the 1922 GI’. 2-litre Sunbeams I have a few words to say. No. 1, the car driven by Segrave in the race is, I believe, the one formerly owned by Burness. A friend out here says that this motor was for sale in the Hampton Court district recently. For A reason that will become apparent later, I hope this is the one owned by Mr. Johnson, of Australia. No. 3 was driven by Chassagne, and is the one formerly ow ned by Tegryd Jones, from whom I bought it at the end of 1939. Now, unfortunately, I was shot out here before I was able to take delivery, but I hope that that grand Old motor is still waiting for inc to pick her up when I get home. Now you will see why I hope that this is not the car owned by Mr. Johnson. I do not know Tegryd Jones’s address, but perhaps you would be good enough to show him this letter, if you can trace him. No. 2 was driven originally by Guinness and is, I think, the one raced by Moulden in Australia. I remember meeting Tim Joshua, who raced a monoposto Frazer-Nash with Ford V8 engine down under, and he told me that a friend of his owned the 1922 G.P. 2-litre, so this must be the one. Anyway, I definitely claim to belong to the ranks of racing Sunbeam owners and as such am very grateful for all the information on these was concerned, getting a square

London, W.11.

I didn’t feel that I was deal. I am, Yours etc.,

CECIL CuuvrroN. Sir,

Had I been present at the “Rembrandt” party on October 4th I might appreciate the delicate humour with which my ections and utterances at that, by all accounts, highly successful function are portrayed at some length in your November issue by a contributor styled by you deputy to the secretary of the Vintage Sports Car Club, and whose singular composition you claim to have purged of all matter calculated to give rise to complications. The plain truth, however, is that I was never within 50 miles of the Rembrandt Hotel upon the day in question.

magnificent old machines which you have published lately. Out here there are a 41-litre Bentley (with Vintage badge), a 1,750-c.c. Alfa-Romeo (loot ?) and an amazing racing Mere6des of, I should say, about 2 or 11-litre capacity and about 20 years old. I am hoping to find out more of this. Wishing you continued success, I am, Yours etc.,

K. J. WALLACE, Lt. By Air Mail from

the Middle East. * * * Sir, While searching for a really good sports car to “lay up” until after the war I discovered a 750-c.c. M.G. ” Montihery ” Midget in practically new condition, having been stored for seven years. The owner did not wish to sell; but I have now bought it with the intention of removing the blower and detuning for ordinary road work, but as it would be rather a pity to upset things I may be

tempted to exchange for a good “P” or “‘1′” type M.G. The car is now licensed and goes like a gun on “Pool.” I am, Yours etc.,


Aberdeenshire. STOP PRESS

C. G. Grey has published a book about bombers, folloa ing his successful “British Fighter ‘Planes “—just as we suggested he should. It was published by Faber & Faber this month, priced at 6f-, and will be reviewed next month.

Mr. Benbough asks us to say that he resigned from the Veteran C.C. in 1986, due to illness, although before that he was an “enthusiastic member.” He has unearthed two more Bollees.