Vintage Postbag, December 1959

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76

Sir,

As a Ford model-T enthusiast, I was very interested to read the report of the 50th Anniversary Rally at Beaulieu on September 20th in the November Motor Sport. Regarding Mr. Cobbing’s vehicle, it was my privilege to be shown this car in the late autumn of 1956, when it was undergoing bodywork restoration in Norwich,

Although, by reason of its coil box mounting (directly over the cylinder head) it might be thought to be of later manufacture, it is 1922 indeed and entirely original, and the coil arrangement anticipated Ford’s own modification by some three years, this coming about in October 1925!

Incidentally, though not entirely certain, I would hazard a guess that the handsome bodywork on this car is a Gordon England product.

I am, Yours, etc., G. M. P. Wigg. Beccles.

*

Sir,

May I congratulate Mr. Jarman on his intensely interesting article on the “Bulnose” Morris?

In view of his mention of certain “specials,” the enclosed snapshot may possibly be of interest. I owned this car from 1929 to 1934, when I sold it for £5 and replaced it by a perfectly sound 3-litre Bentley which cost roe £45! It was generally taken for an M.G. but when I first knew it in 1927 it was a perfectly standard 1922 two-seater Cowley, complete with high-pressure tyres and folding dickey-seat. Subsequent alterations were the fitting of low-pressure tyres, raising the compression and fitting the body. complete with hood and screen from a Belsize Bradshaw. The wings and spare-wheel bracket were made up and rather imposing headlamps were fitted; otherwise it remained quite standard. It was much admired and the performance was well up on standard, though the lack of front-wheel brakes caused me some anxious moments. A short article about it appeared in Motor Sport dated January 1934. Its registered number was ME 1928.

I am, Yours, etc., R. Baillie. Crowborough.

*

Sir,

In his letter in your November issue, Mr. R. F. Lawrence mentions the 13.9-h.p. Renault and suggests that 30 m.p.h. was its happiest speed. My father owned one of these cars in 1924 — the first model with the streamlined bonnet, with the radiator in the scuttle sides — and with magnificently efficient Perrot front brakes. I drove this pleasing car over considerable mileages and, although its engine of 2,121 c.c. was of primeval design, the car was capable of speedometer speeds of 60 m.p.h. and would run well at 40 to 50 m.p.h. The typically French open four-seater body was very pretty, with a quasi boat-decked appearance; the instrument board was of engine-turned metal and there was an imposing five-spoked steering wheel.

The car was comfortable and handled well and safely, but I seem to recollect that the engine had aluminium pistons which had an excessive rate of wear. The four-wheel brakes (which no comparable English car had at that date) were so efficient that I doubt whether any car had better braking until comparatively modern times.

All the 1924 Renaults (the four-cylinder 17.9-h.p., for which the makers claimed 70 m.p.h., and the superb 26.9 and 45-h.p. models) had these fine brakes. One of the works drivers at the London Renault depot was so proud of them that, after taking my father for a ride in an open 45-h.p. model, he approached the blank wall of the yard of the depot at high speed, “stood” on the brake pedal and brought the car to a standstill only a few feet from the wall — a trick of which my father, as a Renault owner, seemed proud!

I am, Yours, etc., J. N. H. Pursaill. Leek.

*

Sir,

The Lamplough engine referred to by your correspondent John Coombes is described and illustrated in Flight for August 27th, 1910. Despite the impressive name, it was not a turbine at all, but an opposed piston, four-cylinder two-stroke, with bores arranged horizontally in diamond formation, two being working and two pumping cylinders. A central shaft carried a pair of swash-plates, one at either end, and each was connected to four pistons.

Lamplough made two other interesting engines at this period. In 1910 he built a V12, each bank comprising two pairs of cylinders with common heads, similar to the Puch design, plus two separate pumping cylinders. This was called a “Multiple Compound” two-cycle motor. The other was a six-cylinder rotary two-stroke with vane blower and mechanically-operated overhead exhaust valves.

Whilst I have no record of these engines being used in aircraft, photographs prove that they got beyond the drawing-board stage.

I am, Yours, etc., L. E. Shelley. East Sheen.

*

Sir,

The delightful article by Mr. Lytton P. Jarman on the old “Bullnose” is one of the high spots of the current issue, and I should like to offer my thanks and congratulations to you and, through you, to the author, and also to express the hope that it will bring forth further information.

I remember the Sports Cowley in its aluminium two-seater form, with aluminium dashboard set at an angle, which, like the copper dashboard fitted to “Imshi” (1920), brought many a blush to a short-skirted damsel who sat at her ease in the passenger seat.

Can Mr. Jarman throw any light on an experimental straight-eight that was built round about 1925-26. I remember paying a visit to the Gosford Street Works in the spring of 1926, when a friend of mine, now dead, worked at the Engines Branch, and being shown a “Bullnose” with a very long bonnet in a shed there, which was supposed to be the experimental car.

*

Sir,

I should be pleased if you could give me some information with regard to the 1904 National three-wheeler car which was recorded in the October issue of Motor Sport.

Rose Brothers, of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, built National cars, and my father, who is Sales Director of the Northern Manufacturing Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Rose Brothers, tells me that although production had ceased when he joined the firm in 1912, one model was still used as the works car. It was, however, only trusted as far as the post office and railway station without a mechanic in attendance.

One day my father and his cousin decided to find out how the car worked. They succeeded, but failed to discover how to stop it before contact was made with the end of the Northern shop. Fortunately both were well built!

Apparently no National car has survived in Gainsborough, but one engine, classed as a 40 h.p., has. It was fitted into Rose Bothers’ fire engine, which was still in use as reserve during the second World War. When the fire engine was scrapped its engine was mounted on a frame, and is kept by the firm for show purposes.

My father has no knowledge of the firm making any three-wheelers, but then, they may have done in 1904. I should be pleased if anyone could throw any light on whether or not these National cars all originated in Gainsborough.

I am, Yours, etc., E. H. Mawer. Lincoln.

*

 

 

 

Sir,

On reading through the excellent article on the ” Balluose ” Morris my mind was cast back to my early experiences in the period prior to 1930. My first encounter with Morris cars was in the period following the “lhullnose ” era, when we purchased a square-nose Morris-Oxford steel saloon in the early part of 1928. How well I recall travelling to the Horticultural Hall in Islington to view this glinting atm faseiriaLing vehicle which was purchased at the used motor mart. or the

sum of I:200. My recollections are that a friend was commis. • al to drive the car to our home, complete with all the family luxuriating in the new possession. My memory of this vehicle perhaps dwells mostly on its shortcomings, for my father never really mastered the art of driving it, having taken it into various ditches and walls, and once -suspended it on a pedestrian island in course of construction during his tutorship. It is not surprising, therefore, that its -misuse tended to make it unreliable. In the six years it was in our possession it broke no less than six half-shafts, no doubt as a result of the island stranding, and we used to scrounge the brakers’ yards for spares, which were suspended under the running-boards when not in use. The engine was first .class of course. Knowledgeable types used to aver that it was not

llotebkiss and therefore not as good. but. I could not see why; perhaps these types thought those engines were French and therefore better than the native produet, which is nonsense. However, it ran upwards of 50,000 miles without attention to the bores air bearings, and the. only replacements were to tine ‘,kiwi and exhaust valves. Coupled to the engine was that first-class multi/date ‘a ark Clutch, and it certainly was a dream. I always knew when a cork had worked oat; there would be a momentary jerk, a shori iteriod of slip, and then the drive would be on.

I learnt te drive on it and Iliad great fun on the uneongested pre20-m.p.h. roods working ..ir exuberance. The brake, were never relined and the Aiiiirlio never gave any trouble that I I’ e Cal I, it u:ed ii tierform remarkably well anal was soundly built and on the whole reliable for its time. However. every journey undertaken was something of an adventure. I well reeall an occasion changing a magnete at night in the pouring rain in VA. cuing dress. Of the thing eatching fire in the City of London. The magneto used to pack up due to radiator leaks. The radiators were never properly supported and were always a great sconce of trouble. The Lucas dynamotor gave no trouble and was beautifully silent until the engine fired, and then the: surrounding neighbourhood was assaulted with the most appalling din imaginable, and on moving off the gearbox contributed its quota, too. The noise was shocking.

A particular idiosyncrasy I remember was its propensity to wheel wobble after hitting a bump. The steering would gyrate back and forth as you wrestled with it, and the faster you were going the greater the gyration. So frequent was this trouble that you got blase about it and we used to utter a terse ” it’s off again.” The trouble was cured bv the simple expedient of letting go the steering wheel, when the wobble would iron itself out. Prior to this we had lost the Steering altogether when the box packed up en route, but in those days traffic was sparse and we escaped disaster. We could never keep the wheel nuts tight enough and one had the spectacle of seeing a rear wheel precede us down a hill. Another hazard which we were constantly encountering was that it was almost impossible to carry a full load of passengers in the car without, one or other of the rear spring shackles settling down flat on the spring with a plonk. This would immediately cause the rear brakes to lock on solid, and there we would be landed in the traffic lane until someone got underneath to slacken off the brake adjustors, as a prelude to jacking the shackle up again with a t yre lever.

We finally decided to get shot of it when ii half-shaft decided to come out complete with wheel and brake drum.

The shortcomings were largely due to our failure to understand the mechanics of the thing. For instartee, front spring leaves would go off with a resounding crack lint it never occurred to us that the shockers .may have needed adjusting. The wise may smile and muse that the fault would have been eradicated with proper use of spares and good servicing. So he it, but our motoring in those days was mostly on a shoe-string with very limited means, and it v.as a question of making. do the best way we could. Moreover, technical publications did not circulate freely as they do today and the enthusiastie amateur mechanics were few, and our efforts to repair were based purely on trial and error and hope for the best. The, good service apart provided by the car caused me to become a Morris owner again in the later years. and only lately having turned to Riley, but the memory of the first few years is a chapter in itself; remember–” One gallon of R.O.P. at is. 3d. a gallon. please.”

I enclose a snapshot depicting the car in a country lane at a Cornish cove in 1928. You will notiee the ease with which it is parked. I um, Young, etc., Cardiff. F. H. H. I3ttEN, The letter from Lord Niont ago prompts me to write of a 1921 C. V. I.. I owned ten year, ago. As the car had a particularly ‘nivel and Metro i”tat transini,sion system it may be intetTstirtg to readers. The ci.it,•1111..tlill 10-11.11. (1111r-cyliflaPT side-ralye eiwine hail no as sitell, and the prop.-shaft was.• °aided la lilt he the tlyivheel. At the ir.ir end NV,I, al 41e 1)1,111 layoal evict he billowing tirrangenierit the 1,,,s’n-,vlievl and pinion is situated. This end of the prop…11.1ft NV:1-1 m•011111,ted 01 a ’40(.1 1:i 41. or Si in diameter. and presing agaited it, at right angle, to it, was another %skit an approNiin.ii..1.,,in. ‘,Ult. rim if „„teri,,i, pressure was app hail lay :1 ….ill—Airing (or springs) pressing

agairist the spline(‘ shaft on as hula t le ,e1,,?1111 mounted. This splined shaft hail a differential at lane 111,1. and eaeli end was ….opted to the wheels through double ‘misers:II-jointed half -411afts. Thesi. jointed half-shafts permitted the dwell :wrier:. ‘eltich merely moved the secimil aieay from tlw first tigaitsst the pressure o the spring(s). ratio id this gearless drive seams altered ia moving

the seeond disc along the splines to a position nearer or farther front tIs’ centre Of the first disc while the ” clutch ” pedal was depressed, top gear. or ratio, of course, being on the outer edge of the first disc. Revers:, was obtained by moving front the off side to the near side of the first disc. This arrangement was mounted on the chassis and enclosed in a large sheet-metal box. Although virtually any ” gear ” ratio within the limits could be selected, the gear-lever, with a traditional handsbrake action, was nettled to give four suitable ratios and reverse. It is obvious that transmission relied on a fantastically small area of frictional contact, added to which, the outer edge of this must have been constantly slipping, if you think about it.

In brief, here is the rest of what I can remember about the C.W.K., or most of it Anyway. Roomy aluminium four-seater body; individual mats for each door on the running-hoard; wood-rimmed steering wheel; manual screen-wiper; magneto ignition; side’ draught Zenith carburetter: tv.vi sets Of brake shoes at the rear, 0116 for the hand brake and one for the foot brake, the wire-wheel centres being the actual brake drams; 1-elliptic springs all round; pearshaped air-tight brass lamps with peculiar pointed double-filament bulbs for side and head: 1%111;11-pul1 dashboard Switches which I think were C.A..V.; dynamo driven off the prop.-shaft by a built-up leather see-belt; six-volt eleetries: I think a starter motor, because I seem to remember being surprised at this; and brass radiator shell. The Lucas E35 dynamo is still in the shed, in very good condition apart front exterior rust. The number was NC 6428, and I should be interested to hear if anyone has come across it. The registration authorities recently told use that I was the last known registered owner. and since it had not been used since 1949 the registration laud been cancelled (possibly as as result of my request for information). My father bought we the car when I was fifteen or sixteen to tinker with. and its previous history consisted of two owners. about 10,001.1 miles. and 15 years standing idle. The first owner was, I am told, a specialist at the Devonshire Royal Hospital at Buxton. Derbyshire. ‘lite engine started very easily after its 15-year rest. a little warmth to the magneto cap, plugs and plug leads, and liedex down the plug holes making this possible. My father was the one who started it, and whenever the car is mentioned he always likes to tell how it. started ” fourth swing.” it ran very well and did a few miles running lop and down the builder’s yard, running on ” red petrol a rationiog days. and would probably have done more miles were it not for the nee,I t.. Mow up the tyres each time it was moved. It was ideal for restoration, but the restorati011 vogue Was only just beginning, and this, together with five bob a week ” spends ” and only a builder’s yard to keep it in, retotlt ed in it being considerably Anita and ,old for 01 sonic I we’ve months later. Also. to me at the time I hail the G. .K.. a vintage v.ir env b..ageil a ridieulously •-ntall open body on .t elnissis with ala enlirinon,, engine and giant eentre-leek wheels, certaittb. not a lightweight. Incidentally, it, via, tail il 11111,1101 an advertisement iii Moron Senwr, at a friend’s suggest 1 ant. 111111, rte.,

Macelesfield. BARRY 1:011B1SFILEY. • •

• • Sir, I W ,‘ very interested in reading your article ern Ike ” BillInt)Se*” Morn’, in your November issue. iii partieular the first paragraph 011

page &t mentionina the event belwyrn the Oxford liniversii) and City idoior Clubs. I think this event must be one in which I competed driving a C.N. eycleear. As it is now ii long. Hine sinee this took place my

memory may not be narticolarly accurate, but I think the event consisted of one kilometre on a road both with a flying and a standing start. Among the competitors was a Bilotti and I think Raymond Mays was there, though I cannot in fact remember whether he drove this car; another competitor was a 30(98 Vauxhall.

We all thought that the result depended on these two cars but, to our surprise, what appeared to be an ordinary Bulinose ” Morris driven by Keen won it with a speed on the flying kilometre of. I think, 93 m.p.h. My own cyclecar, I think; did 65 m.p.h. approximately with the flying start and about 53 m.p.h. with the standing start; not a great maximum speed hut a car with good acceleration.

I fitted a Vitesse engine with overhead valves and discarded the magneto originally fitted, as with a 90-deg. engine it seemed hnpossible to get an even spark on both cylinders, and had fitted an early type of coil ignition. I am, Yours. etc.,

Crewkerne. 11. W. W. HOSKYNS.