Emphasis On Sports Cars - On the Road with the T.T. Chrysler-Allard

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Emphasis On Sports Cars

On the Road with the T.T. Chrysler-Allard

1 T 1,

from i leelentellis i:.. concerned you might jiist as well jump into a river. The feet that in spite of repeated drenehings driver and passenger developed a warm respect for this motor car is illaitil? attributable to the splendid cornering, roadholding aed suspension factors of the latest Allard chassis.

This is not to suggest that these cars do not GO in a very notable manner ; but wet roads strewn with, a carpet of autumn leaves do not permit. of satisfactory experimentation with 180 b.hao. in a 24 cwt.

It was the car driven by Sydney Allard in this year’s T.T. race, when it proved less potent; than he had hoped and finally retired with back axle trouble. Since the race the our carburetter Chrysler ” Fire Power ” V8engine has been replaced by a standard single-carburetter unit of this kind, so that what we had for test was virtually a normal .12X Allard, with the important proviso that most. customers would want to put back the four ” gas works ” and probably do other ” souping ” besides.

TIte engine itioart, (lie car was in T.T. guise, even to white racing number dis4.’S on the green body, atal all the more exeitieg for lieu:. It has the divided-axle coil spring i.f.s. with. Ow long radios arms running forward, a three-speed Folat gearbox with remote control arid the Allard (le Dion hank end witlt inboard brake (buns and coil spring suspension. Weather protection was confined to twin aero screens, or rattier, utica wind-breaks, but. you sit, well above these ! The tail is full of fuel tank. accessible through. a hole at the back covered with a panel I eld by quick-action fasteners. The capacity of this fuel tank constitutes a 1111110E mystery, for although. Mr. Willett, . third’s publicity man, quoted 36 gallons in his Motor Show literature, he later brought this up to 42 gallons in a Moron Seinrr advertisement, whereas technicalchap Torn Lush says no, it’s 38 gallons, plus two in reserve. Not that it really matters ; the !Mint is that the .12 Allard had a capacity of about 20 gallons, whereas the new .12X carries somethiug in the region of twiee :IS ifilteh fuel, to obviate refuelling pauses in races and to give a touring range of some 400 Miles. Continuing with detail, the car came with Dunlop racing tares on its smart mut:re-lock wire wheels, 7.1)0 by 16 at the back, 6,00 by 16 at the front and for a spare. The double-hump scuttle is backed by. an iestrument panel that carries only necessities—a 5-in. 6,000r.p.m. !entitle: rev.-counter before the driver, ntatelte(I try a Smiths speedometer ealibrabal to 140 m.p.h., and notable for a highly emitmendable steadiness of recording, Li combined oil gauge and water

thermometer dial, a happy fuel gale!:

that registered ” full eontiontally what ever the content of the lank fa pleas:Lot emdrast to that of the Editorial vehicle, which habituallyregisters all but ” empty “!), an ammeter and the usual switches and (mantis, of which those for wipers, !lane! light and mixture (autooltatie choke) were inoperative.

The gear-lever is a rather wobbly affair set a thought tar forward, the hand-brake lies iloril.ont ally neatly below the driver’s door-sill, but its thy-off action was rather difficult to appreciate after the release nwelemism had come out. loy the roots. The driving position was clearly meant for a big men like Sydney Allard and as the Editor is a medirtut man and his colleague Ion this occasion was a small man. both hail to take cushions with them. like a ‘bus driver. They refleeted a la about expensive ears with non-adjustable seats, decided that On a competition job like tais Alltted the car would be tailored to its owner, but were left wondering what would happen if said owner ever wanted to lend the car to wife or friends. A further .embarrassment, but onlybecause we were respectively medium and small, was the fact that the treadle accelerator was further forward than the other pedals, and possessed of very strong springs–even tile. clutch pedal required to toe pushed right down to obtain grate-free gear engagement and this also was awkward. Ilowever, we found more cushions.

Once properly settled in the driving seat the panorama ahead could be admired ; and admire is the right word, for in spite of the lung lift-up bonnet, with its air-intake goitre (replaeing tlw rather naughty twin affairs which Sydney itlfeeted for the T.T.) visibility is firstclass, even tlw front wheels toeing visible beneath. their helmet wings. Elbow room, too, is entirely unrestricted. Entry and egress (lees not call for slacks-for-women and tie! light, shople doors shut :oat open easily. To digress for a moment, the air-intake goitre is the new one whicti lets plenty of the surrounding atmosphere into the engine, so float it can tw used with one, two or fu our carletretters without modineat ion. We unst rapped, undid and raised the featherweight bonnet-I anel to see what one Carter carburetter looks like and there it was sitting on a scientific maze of aluminium-painted inlet and water piping too emnplex to deseribe. Room has been found for an F.4 Frain filter, ignition is by !mew( coil and A.ut oetite Splashproof distributor, and the dipstiek is very accessible providing you have mem to walk away from Ile, cur as you withdraw it, sabre-fashion. from its scald:tent. A belt over a huge pulley drives a big water inipeller and front this another belt drives .the little dynamo, from which a flexible drive via a rt7dlletiOrl gearbox gees to the rev …counter. Ti te plugs

live under metal strips along each o.li.v. cover and we wouldn’t like to have to change one during a hard-fought race. Hot air leaves the bonnet through three little peep-holes on each side, so these are not purely for show. Fuel feed is by a mechanical pump, abetted by an electric pump which also feeds the reserve fuel.

That, then, is the T.T. Allard as presented to us. Someone said that notonly has it i.f.s.’ but b.f. and i., but we professed not to understand.

There is, however, great charm in the way the 5.4-litre V8 Chrysler engine delivers the urge. It will ” nobble ” you along in top gear at 10 m.p.h. with scarcely a sound or you can open up, still in top, to the “typically Sydney” beat of those dual twin-exhausts and, after 40 m.p.h. be wafted straight up to 90 ra.p.lt, almost before you have got your eyes off the speedometer and onto the terrain ahead. On the other hand you Can rev.-up quite briskly, change down, and enjoy acceleration that journalists like myself describe as electrifying. As you lift your foot, the exhausts bellow an inspiring war song on the over-run.

Two things occur about this short-stroke V8 engine. One is that, although it looks a fearful mass of metal, which only an Allard’s broad bonnet amongst sports cars could accommodate, the total weight Of the J2X is only 24 cwt. 14 lb., ready to run, with about seven gallons of fuel but without occupants—a reasonable figure for a 5.4-litre car. The other point is that, like other many-litred cars in the past, the J2X’s big engine provides effortless cruising—this T.T. version was geared 26.5 m.p.h. per 1,000 r.p.m. in top gear, so that, cruising at 70, the crankshaft was turning at less than 2,650 r.p.m.

The remote gear-lever, which has no stop for” reverse, is not up to the best sports car standards, but as the two lower ratios are either not required at all in a downward direction, or would not be needed quickly except during a race, it is easy to .evettook the difficulty Allard has had in coupling three Ford speeds to a sports car change. The clutch tended to drag, so that some gear crunching resulted, but take-up is very smooth, although a tendency to slip was noticed when trying a standing start quarter-mile.

We have said that rain defeated accurate logging Of speed and acceleration. We got as far as checking the speedometer, finding that at 53 m.p.h. it indicated 60 and we ‘did a few very wet s.s, quarter miles and a few 0-50s, after which notebook was converted to porridge and pneumonia seemed imminent..—N.13, the Seat cushions are firmly attached to the body, annoying when you wish to wring them out We discovered two things while thus wetly engaged—the de 1 lion back axle is thoroughly worth while, reducing to a minimum wheelspin under fierce acceleration where many cars would have spun sideways, while the Chrysler develops its power at modest speeds, so that early changes out of bottom and middle cogs caught us up quickest with the stop-watch. Conditions were wholly unfavourable ; the best s.s. quarter mile time was 18.1 see., the best 0-50 m.p.h. time 8.8 see. As it happened, there was little point in logging the performance of this particular Allard, for these reasons : It is confessedly slower than the Cadillac powered cars because it. has only one .carburetter. In the States they would soon throw away the one-carburetter manifolding and pour the soup, when the performance characteristics would presumabiy be transformed. Finally, we were warned that the hydraulic tappets get a thought confused above 4,900 r.p.m. One shot at a timed quarter-mile approached through an 80-m.p.h. bend in pouring rain to be confronted by an onward-coming van, gave Us 90 m.p.h. when, in spite of the speedometer Saying 100, both driver and passenger NV011iti have settled for 75/80. In brief, 90 m.p.h. is chicken -feed to the T.T. Allard ” arkywire, anytime,” with lots more to come tinder that stiff throttle, so that a comfortable maximum of over 10(1

is definitely to he expected. Leaving performance logging for finer days we concentrated on the brilliant

handling qualities Of this he-man motor car. Here the slippery roads enhanced, rather than diminished, the .Allard’s behaviour and our esteem of it. The steering is extremely light and smooth and at first seems low-geared, asking 3.f turns, lock to lock. But the lock is generous, so that in normal motoring the. low-geared effect is not pronounced; especially as there is powerful castoraction, although the thought :persists that if a high-speed slide were to. develop, winding the ‘Allard out might prove next to impossible. Return motion is not traitsnutted except when the front wheels strike a particularly severe bump. There is, however, some movement of the scuttle which Moves the column with it on bad roads, ‘suggesting that the body frame is not So stiff as the excellent -chassis. Round bends and corners the Allard holds a predetermined ‘course impeccably ; over or under-steer not pronounced but with emphasis on the latter. Somewhat More than wrist flexion is needed to change direction, but the steering is entirely effortless. What is so very im

pressive is the way the car sits down and the manner in which the de Dion back axle kills both wheelspin and sideslip on slippery surfaces. Round a corner you can kick the power on and the car remains stable, when in other eat* correction would be necessary. In the same way the .J2X Allard rushes round corners at speed so that the driver feels that the back wheels must slip an inch or two, yet they follow Strictly the correct path. It is this safety factor that makes so pleasant to drive a car which, contemplated beforehand, looks as if it could be a ” handful.” Roll is a word outside the vocabulary of the Allard driver when discussing his own car.

Over bad roads the Allard is very comfortable, too, even when the front wheels are being encouraged to use the full travel of the Armstrong-damped front suspension. Add to this Lockheed brakes with 21.S at the front, inboard Alfin drums at the back, which can be stamped on hard front 90 m.p.h. in the wet and still pull up the car ” all-Square” and which, given fairly determined pressure, are amply powerful, and the Allard emerges as one of those desirable motor cars it is a rare pleasure to drive for driving’s sake. Sydney Allard is a past master at adapting low-stressed American-style engines to fast chassis and his Chrysler JX2 is an intriguing proposition, although no doubt the Cadillac or Ardun versions are nearly as entertaining. We believe, however, that the considerable mass of the Chrysler engine, moved 7i in. further forward in the chassis to provide a more roomy cockpit, humours weight distribution and eliminates a tendency to pitch noticeable in the earlier J2 Allard.

Purposely, this ” Competition ” model is spartan, Innly frame tubes unconcealed in places, upholstery sparse but comfortable where provided, the body not devoid of rattles. But, a slight imperfection in the gear-change apart., any criticisms we have are of a minor nature–such as a tendency for a bonnet stud to chafe the top water hose,. the hand-brake defect, and an annoying tendency for the throttle to stick partly open in spite of three throttle springs. Incidentally, the engine started impeccably and pulled away from stone cold ; it normally ran at less than 170 degrees F. and the pressure of the S.A.E. 20 oil rose with engine speed to a maximum of 50 lb./sq. in.

Details of the standard J2X model are appended in the table and we will sum up by saying that, like a Comper Swift to aviation enthusiasts, the ChryslerAllard is a fine car for the purpose for which it is intended—competition work, or for taking out in good weather for the sheer fun to be had front so doing.

Alaek, that it is for export only.— V. 13. *****