THE FIRST TO WEAR THE GREEN
A Review of Napier Racing Cars, 1900-1908
IN 1004 Napier’s produced their first six-cylinder racing car, L48. It was unfortunately not completed in time to run in the Gordon Bennett race on the Taunus circuit but made its debut early in September at the Speed Trials on Porttuarnock Sands where it put up the fastest time. Nominally of 90 h.p. (15 litres), the car represented a considerable advance on the earlier Napier designs and its performance at the Galllon Intl-climb, where its speed (76 m.p.h.) was only 0.4 see. slower than Rigolly’s 110-h.p. Gobron Brillie and Baras’ 100-h.p. Darmeg> put it straight into the front rank of European racing cars. It. was driven both at Portmarnock and at Gaillon by A. E. Macdonald, who had ridden as Edge’s mechanic in the 1904 Gordon Bennett race.
The six cylinders (159 by 127 mm.) were each cast separately, the copper water jackets being formed by electrolytic deposition. The overhead inlet valves were operated by push-rods and rockers ; the exhaust valves being at the side. A single carburetter supplied the mixture through two long serpentine pipes to the induction ports on the opposite side of the engine. Ignition was by coil. A metal-to-metal cone ehitch and two-Speed gearbox trimsmated the power to the live axle. The car only weighed 19,} cwt., and its excellent power-to-weight ratio no doubt largely contributed to its success in shortdistance events. The tubular radiators running along each side of the bonnet gave the car a most striking appearance. Non•detachable wood-spoked wheels were fitted, those at the rear being equipped with 5-inch section tyres. Petrol tank and radiator had large; quick-action filler caps. Arthur Macdonald took the big sixcylinder car to compete in races and speed by A. S. HEAL Continued from the September issue
trials held by the American Automobile Association at Daytona beach in January. 1905. Despite powerful opposition froin the 90-h.p. Mercedes cars driven by W. E. Vanderbilt, Stevens. and H. R. Thomas. a special eight-cylinder, 120-lip. Metcedes (fitted with two 60-ff.p. engines) handled by L. B. Bowden and a torpedoshaped Stanley steam car (double-acting twin-cylinder, 400-1b. steam pressure), Macdonald achieved some considerable success. The Napier is reported in the contemporary journals as having set up four ” World’sRecords” and Macdonald returned home with several ” artistic trophies.” Attempts on records were not carefully controlled in those days, but his speed of 104.65 m.p.h. for the mile was slightly higher than Baras’ record run with the 100-h.p. Darraeq at (Mend (104.53 m.p.h.). Other records claimed were : 5 miles at 91.37 m.p.h. ; 10 miles at 96.25 m.p.h. (winning the Miller Trophy) ; and 20 miles at 78.2 m.p.h. for which Macdonald gained the Thomas Trophy. In addition, he won the Bowden Cup by covering one kilometre in 27 sec., beating Ross on the Stanley and Stevens on Gray Dinsmore’s ex-Jeriatzy 90-h.p. Gordon Bennett Mercedes. Macdonald later improved his time to 23 sec. (97.26 m.p.h.). It was evident that L48 was the fastest car that .Napier’s or any other English firm had produeed up to that time and great things were therefore expected of it and its driver when they appeared in • the English Eliminating Trials for the
1905 Gordon Bennett race held in the I.O.M. This time the competitors had to cover six laps of the long mountain course within the scheduled time of eight hours, and again they were timed over a flying half mile, a -flying 21nudes, aml up the hill out of Ramsay. The big six-cylinder ‘car was again driven by Macdonald and was equipped with tangentially spoked wire wheels (nondetachable) devised and patented by Mr. John Pugh of Budge-Whitworth, Ltd. This was the first time that wire wheels had been fitted to a racing car of the speed and power of the Napier. Three other Napiers were also entered ; one, the veteran 80-11.p. 1903 machine, K5, was -handled by Cecil Edge. It had evidently been developed a good deal since S. F. Edge drove it in the 1904 Eliminating Trials for its speed over the half-mile at Ballaugh rose from 73 m.p.h. to 79.7 m.p.h. Contemporary accounts do not reveal whether the automatic inlet valves were still used, but it is interesting to note that the springs were fitted with “a special device for neutralising the rebound on bad roads.” The second car was another four-cylinder (165 by 152 nun:) 80-11.p. machine handled by C. Earp who had been so unlucky the previous year. From all appearances this seems to have been the ” 100-h.p. built for Mark Mayhew in 1904. It was very slightly slower than Edge’s car throughout the trials. The team was completed by John Hargreaves, the M.F.111. who had driven one of the 65-11.p. Napiers with some zest in
1904. A special ” car had been built for hint very much ott the lines of Mark Mayhew’s. It had the usual 165 by 152 nun. four-cylinder engine with push-rod operated overhead inlet valves mounted in detachable aluminium heads. The cast aluminium cylinder black had cast iron liners and a chain-driven water pump circulated the coolant through a honeycomb radiator. A belt-driven fan was also fitted. The carburetter, which was mounted low down on the near side, drew warm air from a muff surrounding two of the exhaust branches on the opposite side of the engine. A very long Y-shaped induction pipe carried the mixture to ports in the cylinder head. The Napier ” synchronised ” coil ignition, with its chain-driven distributor mounted on the dashboard, was employed as on the earlier cars. Engine and threespeed gearbox both served to brace the pressed steel frame and the springs were carried on brackets outside the chassis members. The rear springs were shackled at both ends and the bevel-driven rear axle was located by an aluminium torque tube that enclosed the propeller shaft. A transmission brake was mounted behind the gearbox and the hand lever operated the rear drums through cables. Like the 80-h.p. car the wheelbase was 8 ft. 10i ins., and the wooden-spoked wheels were fitted with 850 by 120 tyres at the rear and 870 by 90 at the front.
As might be imagined, Macdonald put up the highest speed over the timed half-mile (88.2 .m.p.h.) and over the 2mile stretch at Foxdale (8L8 m.p.h.) as well as the best time up the hill from Ramsey, tart he was delayed by a broken pump chain on the first lap and later by a broken tooth in the gearbox. Finally he had to retire after buckling one of his front wheels through skidding into a wall on a corner near Ramsey. Hargreaves had trouble with his brakes on his Second lap and suffered from clutch sup on the third lap. To add to his difficulties the long starting lever, that was used in place of the usual handle to turn the 6f-in. bore engine, brake in the Ramsey Control, but his new ” 90-h.p,” car pet . up the second fastest time over the Foxdale stretch (70.1 m.p.h.) and covered the half-mile at 77.6 m.p.h. The N1.10.11. completed four laps in the scheduled time and was placed fifth. Cecil Edge, on the 80-h.p. K5 that was placed first in 1904, .drove with some vigour and . his second lap. at 56 m.p.h. was the fastest of the Trials. His speeds for the half-mile and the 21 miles were 79,7 m.p.h., and 69:5 m.p.h. He led for the finst two laps but then encountered trouble with ignition and with brakes so that he only completed four laps and was placed fourth.. As some recompense for his bad luck in the previous year, Earp had a trouble-free run on the ex-Mayhew 80-11.p. Napier and, with Bianchi on the •96-11.p. Wolseley, was the Only competitor to Complete six laps. Earp took the lead on the third lap and held it to the end. He completed the six laps (811 miles) in 7 hours 52 minutes 45 seconds, five and a half minutes ahead of the Wolseley. The team selected by the A.C.G.B.I. consisted of C. Earp (Napier), C. S. Rolls (Wolseley) and Bianchi (Wolseley); with -Cecil Edge (Napier) and John Hargreaves (Napier) as reserves. As in the previous year there was some Uneasiness over the selection as the fastest car had been excluded through an accident. The Club therefore considered whether Earn should be allowed to drive the big six-cylinder Napier in the. Gordon Bennett Cup race and eventually it was decided that he should be permitted to (10 50. The Automobile Club de France chose a winding, -hilly 85-Mile circuit near Clermont .Ferrand for the 1905 Gordon Bennett race On .June 16th. Rather sensibly they held their Eliminating Trkils over four laps of the same course (the same distance us the G.13. race itself), and as a result nifty and Caillois (96-h.p. Richard Brasiers) and Minty. (130-hp. de Dietrich) were chosen to defend the Trophy for France. Germany. and Austria were each represented by three 120-h.p. Mercedes. Italy sent a trio of 100.h.p. FIATS and two 50-hp. Pope-Telodos with a 90-h.p. Locomobile carried the ‘colours of the U.S.A. Earp drove the 90-h.p. six-cylinder Napier from le Havre and Cecil Edge brought the ex-Mayhew car that Earp had driven in the Eliminating Trials as a practice car. He was only able to make four circuits on the snuffler Napier and. about the same number on the big six. As the Hon. C. S. Rolls, who drove one of the Wolsele.ys, reckoned that there were 177 corners per lap, Earp started without a
very close knowledge of the course. In addition, he was further handicapped by carburetter trouble, the engine stopped 21 times due to the mixture being upset by the tilting of the car on sharp inclines and on the steep camber of the road. The petrol tank came adrift and the petrol pipe broke. So much fuel Was lost that Earp had to buy more to get the car back to his pit. To add insult to injury the driving seat came loose and the crew had to stop the car to re-fix it. Despite these troubles, Earp drove with enthusiasm and managed to finish in ninth place, 47 seconds behind Rolls on the 96-h.p. Wolseley, having averaged 40.3 m.p.h. It was a disappointing result for the Napier was undoubtedly the fastest car in the race as its speed past the stands showed. but it suffered the same handicap that has beset British competitors in international road raciag from 1900 until the present day, namely, the impossibility of sufficiently testing ears and drivers under road racing conditions in this country.
Whether the 90,h.p. six-cylinder Napier could have been developed into a Suecessful road raping machine We shall never know, but it was undoubtedly one of the best sprint ears Of its day. During the summer of 1905 it ran in speed trials and hill-climbs with considerable success. At Brighton Earp put up the fastest time of the, day over a course 80 yards short of a mile in 45.2 sec. (79.5 m.p.h.) from a standing start. Later he made a new British record for the kilometre (flying start) at 91.2 m.p.h., winning the Daily Mail Cup. Miss Dorothy Levitt also distinguished herself at the same meeting by beating Sir Ralph Gore (100-11.p. Mercedes) and T. Schneider (100-h.p. Rocket Schneider) with the 80-h.p. Napier that Earp drove in the Eliminating Trials. Her speed for the flying kilometre was 79 m.p.h.. The AutomolOr Journal said, “her Weyer manipulation Was a source Of considerable admiration.” At Blackpool at the end of July Earp broke his own record and equalled the World’s Record (held by Bares’ Darracq) with a speed of 104.52 m.p.h. over the kilometre. His speed for the mile (90.25 m.p.h.) compares well with Cagne’S on one of the 100-hp. F.I.A.T.s that did se well in the Gordon Bennett race. The Italian car only managed 76.6 m.p.h. for the mile. Algernon Guinness on a 100-lt.p. Darracq managed 90 m.p.h. for the kilometre. Encouraged by this success and despite S. F. Edge’s announcement that he would Pell all his racing ears, Harp took the big Napier to the Chateau4’hierry hillclimb where he put up the fastest time of the day, beating at 120-11..p. Mercedes. He followed this performance with a . similar saccess at the mile and kilometre speed trials at Dourdan (where many records were established in 1902 and 1903). Taking the car to Gaillon some time before the hill-climb on October 14th, Earp made some 30 practice runs up the hill and with a higher gear ratio than Macdonald used in 1904 he found he was able to average nearly 80 m.p.h. over the kilometre on the 1 in 11 gradient, 1.2 seconds quicker than Macdonald’s time the year before and four-Mks of at second less than the record for the hill. The course was wet and rather slippery on the
day of the event and Rasp’s time was recorded as 32.8 seconds. Baron de Caters (120-h.p. Mercedes) put up the best time (31 seconds) and Villemain (120-h.p. Bayard-Clement) was runner up, 1 second slower. The Napier took third Place. a great disappointment not Only to Earp, but also to S. F. Edge who could only criticise the timekeeping by way Of “explanation.
En January, 1906, the 90-1t.p. Napier again crossed the Atlantic, this time in charge of Clifford Earp. On this occasion the ompetition at the Daytona meeting was a good deal fiercer. In addition to the “local boy” Marriott on the torpedoshaped Stanley steam car, Laneht and C,edrino had brought over 100-h.p. FIATa and Winery the 200-h.p. V8 Darracq with which he had just established the NVorld’s Record for the kilometre at 109.65 m.p.h. It Was not surprisitig, therefore, that the two-yearold Napier found itself somewhat. outclassed in the events over the flying ntile and flying kilometre. The speeds attained by the Stanley and tie. Darracq were not exceeded in Europe for over fifteen years. Hemery got involved in a dispute with the organisers of the meeting, went temperamental, and was replaced by Chevrolet, who did a kilOmetre at 115.2 m.p.h and later one mile at 117.6 m.p.h. Towards the end of the meeting the Darracq was taken over by DemegeOt who astonished everybody by beating the Stanley over two miles, averaging 122.4 m.p.h. Marriott was not loitering either, as his speed was 120.7 m.p.h. But for the shorter distances the steam car remained unbeatable, its speed of 127.66 m.p.h. for one mile being unequalled.
Although relegated to third place in the short distance events by these two phenomenal sprint ears, Earp covered one kilometre at 103.4 m.p.h. He won. the five-mile race (” for heavy petrol ears “) defeating DowneY’s 90-h.p. Mercedes, but it was in the 100 mile race for the Minneapolis Cup that both car and driver distinguished themselves. After covering 35 miles, the off-side rear tyre deflated and Earp drew off the course to remove it. The operation took some 14 Minutes and when he tried to re-start the bare rim of the Rudge Whitworth wheel spun on the loose sand without providing traction. Bater, Earp’s mechanic, pushed the Napier and as it reached the firmer sand of the course the rim began to get a grip and he climbed aboard as the car gathered momentum. Meanwhile Cedrino on the F.I.A.T. had also stopped to change a tyre and despite the bare rim Earp found himself in the lead. He Continued thus for the remaining 65 miles and eventually won the race by one minute from the Italian car, having averaged 79 m.p.1), The feet that the Rudge wheel stood up to the stresses imposed on it made a great impression. It was not until October that the Napier reappeared in public and again it was matched against the 200-h.p. VS Darracq. On this occasion, the Blackpool Speed Trials, both ears were handled by new drivers. A. Lee Guinness (who is known to us now as Sir Algernon Guinness) drove the Darracq and the sixcylinder Napier was driven in turn by
Cecil Edge and Dorothy Levitt. Edge and Guinness tied with their first runs over the standing kilometre in 33.6 seconds (66.5 m.p.h.). Guinness improved his time to 32.4 seconds (69 m.p.h.) on a re-run, but Ede was a fifth of a second slower. The Damns’ set a new World’s Record witIt this second run and Edge had to be content with second place, not only in this event but also in the Standing Mile: and Flying Kilometre trials. In the latter, Guinness did 106.4 nt.p.lt. against Edge’s 90.0 m.p.h. is sonic consolation Miss Levitt established a new Litilies’ Record with two runs on the 60-h.p. six-cylinder in exactly the stone time as Edge. Surely the height 01 good manners to match the owner’s time exactly. Some ladies we know, less tact fill than Miss 1.evitt, have tiOn iefinieF, been so thoughtless as to go faster than the gentlemen friends who have lent them their racing ears.
Gaillon saw the next meeting of the two big ears and again Guinness succeeded in putting up the fastest time of the day despite Edge’s run which equalled the previous record for the hill (20 seconds). With the opening of Brookiands track in 1907 the British motor industry was provided with a long-needed opportunity Of testing their products at. sustained high speed which had hitherto been impossible in this police-trap haunted land. At 6 p.m. on -June 28th, 1007. S. E. Edge set out on a green 65-11..p. six-cylinder Napier to average ” a mile minute ” for 24 hours. He drove singlehanded and covered 1,582 miles (an average speed of over 65 m.p.h.) and thus travelled a greater distance than any man had ever previously journeyed in a single day. Edge was accompanied by two
Napiers, one red and one white. which both succeeded in averaging more than 60 m.p.h. for the 24 hours. The red car was driven by the late F. Draper :nal F. Newton, while If. C. Tryon and A. F. Browning Itandled the white machine. The greatest distance in one hour was achieved by the red car (F. Newton driving), which covered 72 miles.
Edge’s record-breaking car was a basically standard 65-1t.p. six-cylinder Napier (127 by 127 min.) with a large petrol tank Occupying the space behind the driver’s seat. nudge WItitworth detachable wheels were ascii for the first time in a record attempt. Twelve stops were made for fresh tyres and 24 wheels were changed, the quickest wheel change took :11 seconds. Compared with the times taken in the Gordon Bennett Eliminating Trials, it was reckoned that the use of nudge Whitworth wheels saved Edge nearly 1 hours of running time. A special adjustable windscreen protected the driver and canvas mudguards were used over the front wheels. Two powerful Bleriot headlamps were fitted, and at night the track was outlined by hurricane lamps placed at intervals along the 50 ft. line. The first race meeting at 13rooklands W10.: held on ittly 6th, 1907. and the first event, Heat 1 Of the Mareel Renault Memorial Plate, was fittingly enough won by a Napier. It waS a 40-11.0. sixcylinder, stripped Afinost to the chassis, driven by ii. C. Tryon. Not, only was he successful in his heat but he went on to win the final (and :300 sovereigns). Not
only did the Acton concern gain the distinction of winning the first race on the new track, but, at the same Meeting, 45-h.p. Napier shared in the first of the very few dead heats that occurred in the long history of BrooklandS ; F. Newton caught Charles .Jarratt (60-11.p. de Dietrich) in the Finishing Straight and they crossed the line together in the race for the Ii fleet Plate and the prize money, 550 sovereigns, was divided between them. Cecil Edge who drove the 90-11.p. six-cylinder in the First Montagu Cup (12 laps) led on the second lap, but then slowed and linalty finished fourth. A team of six-cylinder Napier ears was raced at. the five Brooklands meetings held during the 1907 season and a fourcylinder 25,6-1x.p. car ran at the closing meeting. Between them they scored 12 Wins (including one (lead heat.), four seconds and four tint& and won £1,760 in prize money. It C. Tryon and F. Newton were the most successful drivers. To wind up a successful season. Newton took the 90-1t.p. six-cylinder to Gaillon (its ‘fourth visit) and put up the fastest time of the. day, 26.6 seconds (84 m.p.h.), 21 seconds faster titan the car’s best time in any of the earlier events. At Brooklands in November he also set ” Long ” (10 laps) and ” Short ” (half-mile) records for the 26-11..p. and 60-11.p. classes, and Tryon established figures for the 40-h.p. class. The speeds for the ” Short Records ” were 26-It.p., 77.92 m.p.h. ;
40-It.p., 86.75 ; and 60-1i.p., 97.3 m.p.h.. The speeds for the ” Long Records were 71.42, 80.04 and 86.40 respeetively. The year 1908 opened with an Attack on the one hour and two hour records in the 60-11.p. einSK by 11. C. Tryon. To save his tyres he kept his speed down to 85 m.p.h., but twice his off-side rear tyre burst. On the first occasion, thanks to his Rudge Whitworth detachable wheels, he was able to set off-again after a quick pit stop of 1 minute 41 seconds. The second burst occurred as he was passing under the Members* Bridge on the 24th lap. The 60-11..p. Napier turned round three times iind left the truck on
the inside near the Tunnel. Tryon was thrown clear and was only slightly injured. Although the attempt on the one. hour Record was unsuccessful, a new World’s Record was established for 50 miles at 79.43 m.p.h..
Tyres were still the limiting factor and -in an attempt; to extend their life at high speed larger section covers and lower pressures were tried with some success. On February 19th, the 69-1x.p. (127 by 127 mai.) six-cylinder Napier 801. fitted with Palmer Cord tyres of six inch section on the rear wheels, set up five World’s Records (from 50 miles at 85.4 m.p.h. to two hours at, 84.7 m.p.h..) in the capable hands of F. Newton. The tyres were run at 65 lb. sq./in. pressure (instead of 90 lb. used in the narrower covers fitted previously) and they ran the whole distance Without a change. The 50 Mile Record had been previously held by C. Jarrott’s 60-h.p. de Dietrich. The veteran 94)-hp. racer L 48 was rebuilt and fitted with a new and larger engine (155 by 152 rim). Christened ” Samson ” and driven by F. Newton, who had taken charge of the team of six ears raced by the Napier works at. Brooklands, the big six-cylinder car defeated Dario Resta (76-It.p. Mercedes) at the Easter meeting. The track was wet and slippery and as Newton passed above Resta on the banking the Napier slid downwards and the wheels of the two cars touched. A number of spokes were torn front Sit 1 11SO S • near-side wheel, but Newton carried on to win at 80.5 A feature of racing at Brooklands iii the -early days was the practice of issuing private challenges whielt, when acceptors were found, were settled by Match Races. S. F. Edge was is great. exponent of this system. and at the Whitsun meeting of 1908 three races were run in which Napier ears of 26-hp., 40-It.p. and -90-14i. were the challengers. The two smaller cars were met by Metallurgiques. (of equal rating) driven by Oscar Cupper. They both encountered trouble in the races. F. Newton brought the eh:tin-driven four cylinder 26-h. p. Napier Firefly ” over the finishing linen half-mile ahead of the
Belgian car, having w 78.75 m.p.h. for 14 miles. In the 40-11.p. match, Newton drove a six-cylinder Napier ” St. George ” and won easily at 85 m.p.h. The highlight of the meeting was the 90-h.p. Match Race between the 190 by I 60 inin. (18,145 c.c.) four-cylinder F.I. A.T. ” Mephistopheles ” driven by Felice. Nazzaro and F. Newton on ” Samson.” For the occasion a new crankshaft giving a stroke of 178 nun, was fitted to the Napier. With a rapacity of over 20 litres, the engine now gave no less than 212 b.h.p. at 2,500 r.p.m. In spite of the handicap of haying only two speeds, Newton got away from Nazzaro at the start by the end of the Finishing Straight. The Napier achieved 70 m.p.h. in bottom gear and was 19 seconds ahead of the F.LA.T. when it crossed the timing strip 490 yards away. Newton maintained a substantial lead
covering his second lap at 113 but the crankshaft broke towards the end of the third lap and he was forced to retire. Nazzaro slowed down to save his tyres and finished the 28 mile race, having averaged 94.75 m.p.h. Even though the F.I.A.T. had run the last half of the race at reduced speed, the canvas was showing on one. of its front tyres when it returned to the Paddock. Nazzaro was credited with a lap at over 120 m.p.h. during this Match Race, but to this day it is still a matter for argument whether this was not due to a fault in the electric timing. The sc.epties point to the fact that, although the F.I.A.T. remained at Brooklands for two or three weeks, the 90-h.p. Class Records held by ” Samson ” were not broken in spite of ” Mephistopheles’s ” attack on them. Another 90-lt.p. Napier, rather similar to ” Samson ” in appearance, competed at the same meeting. Driven by F. Newton in the ” 904x.p. Stakes ” (five miles), it overtook Dario Resta on the 76-h.p. Mercedes on the last lap and won by 200 yards at 91 m.p.h., having exceeded 115 m.p.h. on the Railway Straight. Known as ” Meteor ” this car was a standard ” Type 120 ” chassis with a six-cylinder (155 by 102 nun.) engine. It was heavier than ” Samson ” and was only used twice. The second occasion was in June, 1908, at the Saltburn Speed Trials, when Newton and ” Meteor ” covered a flying kilometre at 102.6
After the displacement of the Gordon Bennett Cup races by the Grand Prix de PA.C.F. in 1906, Napier’s did not take part in full scale road racing again. They entered a team for the 1908 Grand Prix, but as the French Club banned the use of detachable wheels, they were not able to run in the race. Front the speed which one of these cars showed at Brooklands, it is regrettable that they were not matched with tixe successful Ilercedes. racers in the Grand Prix itself.
In the design of these road racing ears efforts were made to keep the Weight. down to a minimum and to give them low centre of gravity. Attention was also paid to roadholding and the elimination of wheelspin. The six-cylinders (127 by 152.4 lam.) were cast. separately and each was enclosed in its own copier oatcr jacket. These were electrolytically deposited on wax formers. The traditional inlet-over-exhaust valve arrangement was maintained, but the tulip-shaped inlet. valves were given a high lift and leaf springs were used to return them to their seatings. The light steel pistons, for some obscure reason, had concave crowns and a single Napier variable choke carburetter supplied the mixture through a long V-shaped manifold. A departure front previous practice was the use of magneto ignition.The 114-litre engine was said
to develop 120 and its power was transmitted through a disc clutch and three-speed gearbox. Final drive was by propeller shaft to the live axle. The foot pedal applied a traitsmission brake behind the gearbox and the hand lever worked external contracting bands on smallish drums on the rear axle. The chassis frame was of lattice formation to reduce weight and the rear suspension consisted or two pairs of cantilever springs mounted outside the chassis in it similar manner to Cobb’s Napier-Railton.
S. F. Edge entered three four-cylinder ears for the 1908 ” Four Inch” T.T. race, thinly camouflaged under the nom-de-course of Hutton. The limitation of cylinder bore provoked much controversy and experiment as to the most suitable bore to stroke ratio. As was to be expected, most designers produced long stroke engines for the race, but the actual dimension was often a closelyguarded secret.
The winning I futton car, driven by IV. Watson, had a. bore and stroke of four by seven inches (101 by 178 trim.), but J. E. Hutton’s machine, which was the fastest of the trio, had a stroke of no less than eight inches (203 flint.). The cylinders were east in pairs and had electrolytically deposited copper water jackets. Side by side valves, placed on the near side of the engine, represented a departure from earlier Napier racing practice. The pistons were of cast iron and dual ignition (coil and magneto) was employed. The big-ends, main and camshaft bearings were lubricated under pressure by an oil pump driven off the end of the carnslutft. Gauges on the dashboard recorded the functioning of the oil, air and water pumps. The clutch was of the multi-disc type and the gearbox.
gave indirect drive on all gears as the propeller shift was driven off the end of the layshaft directly below the main shaft. The bevel-driven back axle was located by a triangulated tubular radius arm and friction ‘type shock absorbers were used all round. Rudge Whitworth detachable wheels were fitted and the complete car in racing trim weighed 28 cwt. Valson’s Hutton won the Tourist Trophy, after an exciting tussle with. two Darracqs, at 50.25 m.p.h.
At Brooklands the same car, in the hands of J. E. Hutton, set up new 26-h.p. Class Long Record (10 laps). at 76.55 m.p.h. and Short Record (halfMile) at 80 m.p.h. At the August B.A.R.C. meeting. one of the new Grand Prix Napiers and the 60-h.p. ” 804″ record breaker were. both entered for the MO Mile Race for the O’Gorman Trophy. .1. E. Hatton also ran the 26-h.p. Hutton. The principal opposition came from C. Lane driving H. G. Burford’s 76-h.p. ‘Mercedes. The day was very hot and tyres were going to be an important factor. Newton elected to drive the older, slower, 60-h.p. Napier leaving the new Grand Prix racer to be handled by J. G. Reynolds. The Mercedes took the lead at the outset and, lapping at over 100 m.p.h., it had built up a lead of more than two miles by the 17th lap, when Lane had to stop to change a tyre. Reynolds and Newton passed him, but the Grand Prix Napier had to stop for new tyres soon after and the Mercedes again took the lead on the 20th lap. Shortly afterwards the off-side rear tyre of Reynolds’ car punctured and as he slowed down the car ran off the track on to the grass where it overturned, Reynolds and his mechanic being thrown clear. Lane -continued, but he had to stop again on the 28th lap as the Mereede:s was misfiring. Getting away again Lane drove hard to make up for lost time travelling high on the banking. Three laps from the end, the white car got into a violent skid as it came off the Members’ flanking and crashed into the parapet of the bridge over the Continued on page 633
71’11E R,”I’ Ti) W EA!? VIA! GREEN
.conlinued from page (130 River Wey. Latie was badly hart and his mechanic Burke was killed. Despite these “alarms and excursions •’
Newton drove t he 60-1t.p. Napier to a predetermined schedule. . !though the IlereedCs had lapped hint twice by halfdistance he maintained his set speed and ran t he whole tlist a nee non-stop. Ile %Vim II e O’Gorman Tropltv at. 83.88 m.p.h.. The only other car still running at the finish was .1. E. Minim On the 20-It.p.
1 futton ” Lit I le Do-ri .whicli had achieved it lap at 83.6 m.p.h. Earlier in the same -meeting Newton
and ” Samson had won the 30-mile race for the Montaga Clip (and 200 sovereigns) by 400 yards front the 70-1t.p. Mereede:s, driven by Lane and another 6(1-1t p. car of I he same make driven by I). Itesta. Newton’s speed of 101.5 m.p.h. constituted It new record. As the 1908 season drew to a close
Newton set IICW records for both 00-h .p. and 90-4.p. (‘lasses. In September he improved on 1). Resta’s speed with the 60-hp. Meree&s by covering a Hying half-mile at 102.20 Trup.h. In Octether, with ” Samson.” he raised the 90-11.1). Class Long Record (10 laps) la 102.21 and the Short Record (half-mile) to 114.98 m.p.h.. Perhaps the crowning addevement iii
the career of both Frank Newton and ” Samson ” was their laSt appearance at Ilrooklands on Nctvember I 8th, 190%, WIWI% the 90-hp. Class Short Iteeard was pushed up to 119.34 m.p.h.. Running the reverse way of the track the big sixcylinder car reaetted 130 m.p.h. on the Itylleet Banking, hi it. coming int to tlie Railway Straight ” Samson ‘• gave an ugly plunge which upset the carburation and eaused misfiring. Shortly afterwards the successful com bination of Montague Napier and S. F. Edge was dissolved when the latter retired front tlw ii flit. The Acton-built cars were no It seen in races, but the had established or themselves a reputation for speed, silenve unil
Starting from the very Iwginning, without the guide of other people’s experience. handil..apped by anti-motoring prejudice and the shortcomings of the accessories they had la use. Napier’s put the British motor industry On the map :old by entering in tlw major international races they showed they were not afraid to nwel their Continental competitors an their cisiti ground.
Streatham Common touch
Reading your article on Chris Bristow brought back memories of when as a young man a friend and I went to Brands Hatch for the Kentish 100 F2 race by…
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Matters of Moment, November 1965
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