Letters from readers, December 1960



N.B. – Opinions expressed are those of our Correspondents and “Motor Sport” does not necessarily associate itself with them. – Ed

The G.P. Manufacturers’ Championship


The British attitude towards the new Formula 1 and boycott of the recent Italian G.P. at Monza confirms that any connection good sportsmanship may have in this country today with G.P. racing is either accidental or miraculous. I have no doubt at all that in doing a Khruschev with the F.I.A., the British group was inspired by the success of its cars in those races considered to be safe, and the winning of the Constructors’ Championship by the Cooper Car Company; but as an example of smug conceit it would be difficult to equal, and as such it cut no ice with the F.I.A.

I would advise the British group to think again, and on reflection they may come to realise that they are not quite the king-pins of the G.P. set-up after all. For instance, by what stretch of the imagination does the Cooper firm, and for that matter the Lotus firm, qualify for the Constructors’ Championship when neither does more than assemble cars? Surely, in order to qualify for this prize, the car, apart from the usual accessories, should be designed and built in its entirety by the firm whose name it bears? Installing a proprietary engine in a frame or chassis is just not good enough.

I trust the F.I.A. gives this point its most serious consideration, and then Messrs. Cooper and Chapman would be required to show how they really compare with Enzo Ferrari. Those who know their stuff do not bellyache when changes are announced.

I am, Yours, etc.,

Charlton. – Joseph Bayley.

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Now that the season is over I wonder if I may be permitted to raise a query about blue-flagging?

I have never driven in a motor race, but I should imagine that most drivers have quite enough on their hands taking a car into a bend at perhaps 90 m.p.h. without having their attention distracted by well-meaning gentlemen waving blue flags in their faces, very often near the apex of a bend.

I have read pieces by Moss, Hawthorn, and Jenkinson in which they have all said that overtaking is best left entirely in the hands of the more skilled and faster driver, and it is only when the slower man starts to do odd things that incidents occur. I wonder how many of these incidents have been caused by the poor man being blue-flagged until he felt like a whipped dog and, in trying to make room, did something unpredictable.

This doubtful business reached its all-time low for me at the Oulton Gold Cup meeting, when in the Formula Junior race I saw a chap blue-flagged at Old Hall when, in fact, he had himself just overtaken the man on his tail, near the pits.

Perhaps the blue flag should be reserved for people who appear to be deliberately baulking – after all, racing cars have rear-view mirrors, and presumably drivers use them.

I am, Yours, etc.,

Cheadle Heath. – R. Sandbach.

* * * * *

Rolls-Royce quality


Your almost sacrilegious remarks and comments on “The Best Car in the World” (self-styled or not) cannot pass without some feeling of heat being induced in an enthusiast’s breast.

Between the two World Wars, the price of the 40/50, depending on type and coachbuilder, was about £2,750. The modern car, similarly clad in coachbuilt form, is around £6,000 minus that fiendish tax.

It is generally agreed that the purchasing power of the modern pound is ± 1/3 the post-depression currency, or one-quarter that of vintage-era money. Comparing the price, it would seem that the modern Rolls-Royce is somewhat cheaper than pre-war cars. Necessarily so, as there are fewer rich men to buy them today, what with naughty taxes, even in the U.S.A.

Even comparing vintage and post-vintage Rolls-Royces is not on. To produce a product at the same price, which they did, Rolls-Royce were obviously able to put more time and sheer craftsmanship into the vintage years.

With the increases in labour and material costs, it would not be possible to produce a similar piece of machinery today. I don’t mean in style, obviously, but the built-in engineering features. It would be unreasonable to expect Rolls-Royce to chemically and physically analyse the test piece on every forging and casting used in every chassis produced, or to give every part that lovely machined or filed finish, even the frame, as they did in the 1920s. Or give us those marvellous operating linkages. (Aero-engine practice?)

Between the wars, the Master, Sir Henry Royce, probably saw no reason to utilise the actual design studies and engines developed in wartime, for use in his Ghosts or Phantoms. After all, he wanted silence and durability, which he achieved with his six-cylinder engine; huge, low revving and lightly stressed. Undoubtedly he must have used what aero-engine experience taught him, in making improvements in car engines, but aero-engines are, and were then, highly-stressed devices, not particularly flexible in the degree he would wish. His surely was the controlling brain in Rolls-Royce? Didn’t he (helped no doubt by lesser ones and minions) design and build the engine for the Supermarine floatplanes for the Schneider Trophy; the engine of which, legend has it, developed into the Merlin?

Of course, when he died it all changed. The rigid engineering criteria he enforced were slowly relaxed, and I shouldn’t think that even the Phantom III was his brain-child. The other side of the blanket once removed sort of thing possibly. Rolls-Royce did their best, they still do, and used aero-engine experience, but they were faced with the economic realities of the late 1930s; and the Phantom III is not the same car as the earlier 40/50s.

Ultimately, post-1945, we have ended up with Rolls-Royce cars. the engines of which have divorced themselves entirely from the basic design features considered so desirable by Sir Henry Royce for use in motor-car chassis.

Probably, with rigid control over materials, improvements in machine tools, and automatic processes, and in the application of knowledge gained in uses of steels and other alloys, the modern Rolls-Royce product is as durable as the Phantoms I and II, or even the Volkswagen, but it is certainly not the enthusiast’s dream to work on, clean or generally muck about with, as are the cars used in comparison.

I mean to say, when the shiny bit of radiator is a dummy, and the mascot got tired and knelt down! Can’t be the same car. As for the wheels, well!

I am, Yours, etc.,

“Red Enamel.” [Name and address supplied.]



We have a lot in common. As you do, I like traction engines and VW cars. I also like Rolls-Royces, and can tell you a bit about them, being somewhat of a collector.

When “Pa Royce” was cracking the whip, all crankcases, cylinder blocks and heads were hand finished to bright metal; all lugs, etc., correctly radiused. All joint faces, i.e., sump and timing cases, were hand scraped and blued, to face plate. Cylinder heads and top of block were precision, not plane, ground. All nuts and bolts were plated, many of the bolts had ground shanks, all were stamped with a part number, however small. Threads were often milled, and after 30 years’ use can still be unscrewed with the fingers after slackening off.

All gears were hand lapped and stoned until they ran inaudibly; crankshafts were bedded in by hand, big-ends similarly. Today, precision, and very expensive, machinery has replaced most of the hand work. Gears are cut and shaved to very fine limits. A lot of parts are finished by grinding all over, and a joy to behold. Most spares are packed in individual polythene bags and are cleaner than some foods we buy. We never get a dud part, the inspection is still as rigorous as ever it was. Can’t say this of all manufacturers.

Whether self-styled or not, I say Rolls-Royce do make the best car in the world. I had a 1959 de luxe VW, which I dismantled just to see what made it tick. It was beautifully made and machined, with reasonably close tolerances, much closer than any other car, excepting Rolls-Royce, that I have bothered to check, at 12,000 miles. I did think the radii on the crank journals were on the small side, proof of pudding-being-in-eating, of course. I now run a 190 Mercedes, another good car, and a 1930 Rolls-Royce which after 140,000 miles has just had its second rebore, and first re-line of brakes and clutch.

In 1938, on Empire Day, I went round the Rolls-Royce Works.

After watching an old man patiently polishing a con.-rod with emery and oil, I remarked, “What a waste of time, we would buff it.” I was told by a man in a bowler hat: “He will be looking at that rod for five hours. If there is anything wrong with the b….r he will see it.”

They are still making a fine car, not money. It may be of interest to report that most engines are tested by being coupled to a dynamo and the energy generated being used to make more engines. During the Power Cut period engines were run under full load for days to keep the works going.

I am, Yours, etc.,

“K.H.21.” [Name and address supplied.]



In your October issue, under your article “Cars of the Aircraft Manufacturers,” you refer to the Rolls-Royce 20-h.p. and the “Goshawk.”

The following may be of interest to your readers. My car is one of the first 20/25s and carries the chassis number GXO 93. I was able to quote the body number to Messrs. Hooper, some time ago and they were good enough to tell me that the car had been exhibited at the 1929 Paris Motor Show.

This helps to explain why the car carries a second chassis number and engine number. These are, respectively, GVO 32 and W 2T. This information, together with cylinder bore and stroke, capacity and weight is on a small plate fixed to the dash. What writing there is is in French and the whole thing is under the description: “Automobile RoIls-Royce Type Goshawk.”

I am, Yours, etc.,

New Malden. – J. A. Muir.

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Comments on the vehicle tests


So the time has now come for all good cars to come to the aid of 15 shillings.

Without doing anything in the way of adjustment to my 1933 Riley Kestrel Nine, I took her to a local testing station on a very wet Friday afternoon, leaving her to a mechanic rubbing his hands and collecting the testing gear of his trade.

Upon my return I was handed a certificate of roadworthinests, with a cheerful “Wish we had ’em all like that, mate.” After which I searched around for 15 shillings, paid up, and got the hell out of the place.

I am, Yours, etc.,

Cheshunt. – A happy Geoffrey A. Walker.



Some two years ago, whilst engaged on rebuilding a vintage sports car, I had occasion to want to move the vehicle to another location to be finally completed. ln view of the fact that I would be driving the car it was necessary to insure it, and so I contacted my insurance company. On completion of my proposal form they then requested that I obtained an engineer’s report, in view of the car’s age.

At that particular time the car was not mobile and when I approached a garage, now a Ministry Testing Station, I was told that they were not prepared to visit my home to inspect the car; nor were they prepared to conduct an examination on it even if I had the car towed to their workshop, because it was not actually driveable. Rather disgruntled, I prepared to leave.

As I was about to do so I was approached by the foreman mechanic, whom I did not know but who knew the purpose of my visit. He drew me aside and stated that for a consideration (30s.) he would complete the engineer’s report, on my assurance that the car was in a roadworthy condition!

I had no qualms as to the condition of my motor car, so I agreed to his proposition. The report was completed and three days later I was insured.

How often has this occurred, or will occur with vehicles that are completely unroadworthy? Incidentally, my car was later submitted to the Government Testing Station at Hendon and, except for a couple of minor faults, was O.K’d.

I am, Yours, etc.,

London, N.17. – D. A. W. Bonner.

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An insurance query


It would appear, if newspaper reports are to be believed, that insurance premiums on the Renault Dauphine are to be increased by 25 to 50%, due to their good road-holding qualities causing owners to be over-indulgent on corners!

I own a pair of cars whose road-holding qualities are also good – I shan’t state the make in case an insurance man is reading this, but they are old, and pull me around corners instead of push.

Do you think, if I removed all my near-side springs, so that it would be virtually impossible to take any sort of corner at any speed, my insurance company would give me a 25 to 50% discount?

I am, Yours, etc.,

Earls Colne, D. G. Rouse.

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Happy owners


Further to Mr. B. Searle’s letter (October 1960), I also am the happy owner of a VW (1958 model), which I purchased in Singapore.

I used it for twelve months in Singapore and covered 10,000 miles. I bought one set of points in Singapore. The car has now covered 21,000 miles, in which time I have purchased one set of sparking plugs and three tyre valves.

I feel that much praise must go to the agents here in Cambridge – Birches Garage, Victoria Road – I am only a satisfied customer and I am not connected in any way with this garage. Many times they have given me the benefit of free knowledge and advice in small matters, and large.

My only complaint with the VW is the tools, which tend to go rusty because I can find no use for them.

I am, Yours, etc.,

Cambridge. – G. H. Maclean.



There is a recession in the motor trade. The fiscal policy of the government and the impact of the American “compacts” are blamed by the manufacturers. Have they ever wondered whether the cars themselves are considerably to blame in a world sick to eternity of shoddy things? It is not German guile which sells the allegedly obsolete Volkswagen, but honest engineering and finish, plus amazing freedom from trouble.

By 1957 I had owned some 30 cars (all of them British). At that point I was considerably bored by the antics of a 1956 Ford and bought my first VW. The fourth – 1961 version – now shares the garage with a 1960 Austin Mini-Se7en. The latter is a well designed local runabout and fun to drive, but it is incredibly crudely made, and in 6,000 miles has been more trouble than all the VWs together. My brother endured a 1960 Triumph Herald for six months – it was a dreadful thing; he is now delighted with a Sunbeam Rapier. What am I to think? Are all Continentals as good as the VW and are all cheap British cars doomed to teething troubles and irritating nonsenses?

The 1961 Volkswagen is a great step forward. Mine, with 400 miles on the clock, was driven fast to Austria and back without the slightest complaint. It is superbly finished; everything is sensibly planned and well made. Were I a backwoodsman this is the only small car I would buy and with confidence commit to immediate hard work in a remote place.

I am, Yours, etc.,

Epsom. – J. M. B. Dove.

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On the subject of small cars


Having just spent twelve days touring in Eire in an Austin Se7en, I must agree with Mr. Milner’s remark about tyres – the rate of wear is terrifying. Our hire car had not done 5,000 miles and yet the near-side front tyre had lost the outside tread pattern on both sides of the crown (the other had been changed for the spare). In fairness, some of the Irish roads are abrasive and one tends to corner the Se7en at higher speeds than normal, because of its excellent cornering.

In the same breath, I would like to bring out a few points about the Se7en and defend the Continental “Minis ” against Mr. Verd. The Austin Se7en is outstanding in many respects – very roomy, very manoeuvrable, gives a wonderfully level ride, is tireless (if you drive with earplugs), and corners excellently. BUT it is shoddy (seat stitching gone inside 5,000 miles, back window wouldn’t lock open, water pouring in doors, one sliding panel catch didn’t fit – hence car unlockable, rear pocket lights didn’t work), the mirror is too small, there is no accelerator foot rest, the top gear (despite the excellent “normal driving” box) continually emits an infuriating whine, on rough surfaces the body booms appallingly (if Interior Silent Travel cures the trouble so well, why isn’t it standard!), the back window becomes dirty very easily (how about rear Lancia Flaminia-type windscreen wipers?), when the windows are open cruising at around 35 m.p.h. to see the countryside is impossible owing to a combination of wheel patter/body flexing/ booming which thunders in the ears; and it is, finally, maddening to have to tighten wheel nuts in the rain – which I had to do; they had worked loose within 5,000 miles.

Now about the Continental protagonists. Mr. Verd, like so many others, has missed the whole point of this British Mini v. Continental Mini question. Alec Issigonis was given carte blanche in 1955 to start from scratch and design a new minicar, after every motoring correspondent and magazine (not the least Motor Sport) had shouted themselves hoarse, cross-eyed and broken-winded about the march which the Continentals had stolen on us in this field. So the ADO15s are good, very good, and we can all applaud, BUT (again but “) take the Continentals in comparison (no preferential order). Volkswagen – first built over 17 years before the ADO15 was conceived – not built, but conceived. All-independent suspension, air-cooled low-revving engine good for 60,000 miles minimum (l have already seen some pretty tatty looking Mini-Minors with less than 15,000 on the clock). Renault – first built in 1942 and in regular production eight years before ADO15 was conceived. The Dauphine logical development of the 750 – of which over half a million in service) on the market in 1955 when ADO15 was first conceived. Fiat – 600; I believe the first examples were out in 1953, two years before, etc., etc. Hence our friends have got years of sales back-log up their sleeves (Renault have over 700 service stations in this country alone and sold 10,000 cars from January to May this year – despite the cheaper Minis!) and their spare parts service seems to be just as good here as B.M.C. and many times better abroad.

And now this vexed question of price. We sit on our backsides here and say – Oh yes, £717 for a VW, £689 for a Dauphine, and £613 for a Fiat 600. But these poor so-and-sos are paying 30% of their imported value before purchase tax is added on. Imagine a VW around £503, a Dauphine around £483 and a Fiat 600 around £429, and you have an idea what they’d be like on an equal footing with the Minis. A cheap Mini at £494 just doesn’t compare with a Dauphine, which has underseal, overriders, heater/dernister, windscreen washers, bonnet-lock, steering lock, engine inspection light, child-proof door handles, two-tone horn as standard; put that on a Mini and it runs out near the £575 mark. Ay – 30%, there’s the rub – and lucky for B.M.C. it’s there, too!

Lastly, a chuckle for the statistically-minded. Volkswagen are heading for four million and more; Renault have sold over a million Dauphines in four years, and, at long last, we hear that the fabulous Morris Minor has crept (via three distinct engines and three different gearboxes) past the one-million mark after twelve glorious years. I haven’t laughed so much since a friend told me a rear-engined and rear-wheel-driven car was useless for rallying!

I am, Yours, etc.,

Willesden Green. – H. G. Mackenzie-Wintle.

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Jack Brabham


To say the least, I was disgusted at the bad sportsmanship of one James A. Henderson (October issue) regarding Jack Brabham. I find it difficult to understand how any person, even with only a little knowledge of motor sport, could find fault with “quiet Jack’s” good sportsmanship, much less with his obvious driving skill.

I have noticed in my twelve months in England – the land of so-called good sportsmanship – how Jack Brabham’s continual Grand Prix wins are passed off as !ucky wins. It is also noticeable that the continued car-breaking of the so-called “Maestro,” Stirling Moss, is put down to either bad luck or the “jinx.” Is it not about time that the English press and magazines, and for that matter the English public, recognised that their beloved Stirling Moss has been receiving a thorough thrashing for several years now, not only by the “Master “, Jack Brabham, but also by many English drivers of equal calibre.

In Rome recently, Australia once again came first in the Olympic Games – on a per head of population basis, and was far ahead of England outright. Similarly, an Australian will once again win the World Drivers’ Championship. Hence the time has come, I think, for the oh so very sports and sporting English public, and especially the press, to appreciate that the “colonials” are doing them like the proverbial dinner!

Wake up, Pommies!

I am, Yours, etc.,

Earls Court. – John G. Green.

[Was our correspondent at Oulton Park on Gold Cup Day?—En.]

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“Matters of Moment” in the September edition of Motor Sport queries which town or county in Britain holds the record for the briefest bit of derestricted road.

May I proffer for these stakes Chippenham Lane, a road skirting the centre of Slough, which is frequently and frustratingly used by A4 traffic to by-pass that self-esteemed “Safety Town.” Here may be seen a derestricted run of a mere 170 yards or so – the 30-m.p.h. sign being readily visible from the previous derestriction sign when proceeding eastwards. Furthermore, the road tends to narrow at this brief derestriction point! Britain’s stifling speed restrictions and “signitis,” when coupled with such crass dissipation of the taxpayers’ money, surely represents the ubiquitous bureaucratic mind at its worst.

During my six-month visit to the U.K. I also became familiar with the 5-m.p.h. road-makers’ sign which you mention somewhat farther westwards along A4 (between Maidenhead and Reading). The only motorists complying were those reduced to a walking pace by the resulting bottleneck. Astonishment at this absurd sign can possibly be matched by reflecting on the meagre progress made in super-elevating some two hundred yards of main highway over a period of several months. This surely represents British endeavour at rather a low ebb.

I am, Yours, etc.,

Hong Kong. – Alistair D. Stewart.

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The letter from Mr. John Leaning in the October issue further illustrates the bureaucratic mind, which is fast becoming more than a nuisance in our society. May I suggest some ways of dealing with officialdom?

The first thing is to get the right attitude: one cannot do better than quote the example of those gentlemen who once pledged themselves to end all their letters to government departments with the words: “You remain, Sir, my humble and obedient servant.”

One must remember that bureaucracy is, by its very nature, so overgrown and flabby that the left hand knoweth not what the right hand doeth. This enables one to assault the aforesaid left hand without being clipped by the aforesaid right hand, and vice versa. (A shrewd blow at the soft under-belly remains merely a dream.) If one can, at the same time, have a little harmless amusement, so much the better.

To take a simple example – the M1 case raised by Mr. Leaning. Now, the girl on the telephone demanded certain facts and figures. O.K., he should have given her the facts and figures – any facts and figures; it is not her job to check them, at the time or later. Somebody else does that, long after the car is safely off M1. Furthermore, the official who does check them (if anybody does!) will have his day made; he must be bored to tears by constantly checking correct facts. So you are spreading sweetness and light among people who long for a change from dull routine. Is this not noble?

Consider, however, what happens if everyone takes my advice. The system clogs up, various incompetent officials develop nervous breakdowns and a change in procedure is rapidly introduced. Is this not also noble? Incidentally, about the only way we ever do get a change is when the system becomes too uncomfortable for the officials to work it.

Some other small and harmless ploys: The driving licence form contains the stupid question: “Have you studied the Highway Code?” It is my practice to answer “No” to this; there has never been any reaction. When travelling in France and sundry other foreign parts, one has to fill in a little form at one’s hotel. Some of the questions refer to one’s passport, and one of them is: “Issued by? Naturally, I don’t know who issued my passport, and I don’t much care, so it is my custom to write “Lord Churchill,” “Harry Pollitt,” “W. Boddy,” “D. S. Jenkinson,” or whatever comes to mind. Naturally, one has to gauge the sophistication of the locality; clearly “N. Bonaparte” or “S. Moss” will not pass in Paris, though it may do so in Pilsen.

Bearing all this in mind, one can be saved a great deal of worry and time, and have a little innocent pleasure.

I am, Yours, etc.,

London, N.W.3. – R. D. C. Taylor.

—And bureaucracy’s reply


On reading Mr. Leaning’s article of the comradeship on the M1, there are one or two points I should like to make clear.

First of all, obviously we must (if at all possible) know what is wrong with the vehicle in need of assistance, for without this knowledge how can our breakdown staff take out the necessary materials to repair the car or lorry. Or which of our breakdown vehicles to take out in case of possible towing in.

Also, if we didn’t take the precautions of asking particulars of the car and driver, we would be subject to the sort of person who would use the telephones as a hoax. This, of course, would entail a lot of unnecessary time and expense. Believe me, this sort of thing is only one of the many things that go on, on the M1.

I assure you that every possible thing is done to help drivers using this road and really the system is perfectly simple.

I am, Yours, etc.,

Moulsoe, Bucks. – P. Street (Miss).

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Jaguar comments


I cannot agree with Mr. McCluskey, and neither probably can you. I, too, have just started to use a 3.4 Mark II Jaguar but, unlike your correspondent, I have done so after 38,000 miles in a 3.4 Mark I over the last 22 months.

If Mr. McCluskey’s estimate of the wholesale price of the Jaguar of £850 is fair, is it reasonable to compare it with a Bristol, which is a very much more hand-built specialist production which for that reason alone costs considerably more. It seems a far fairer comment to me to say that if one gets virtually Aston Martin performance in lots of ways for about £1,500 then one has money in hand to spend, if one wishes, on bringing the vehicle nearer to one’s idea of what a £3,900 car should be.

To take the points raised in order:—

1. Synchromesh: it could be better, but first of all there is the question of building a production gearbox which will deal with the very large power output of the car in question, and surely anybody who drives a car of this calibre would double de-clutch anyway? A friend of mine who was employed by Bristols and had the use of a Bristol car for his job commented to me that it was quite adequate so long as “you don’t mind rowing it along with the gear-lever.” Of course this is not so much a reflection on the car as a plain matter of fact that the Bristol has far fewer horses than the Jaguar.

2. Seating: I thought the Mark I Jaguar had the most uncomfortable seating that I have ever used, and I was surprised to find that the Mark II was completely different and, from my point of view, ideal, though I did wonder how it was that Jaguars were able to go from one extreme to the other without upsetting a lot of old costumers. Mr. McCluskey is obviously one of those that they have upset. I would have thought, however, that seeing that he can buy excellent specialist seats for about £35 each he could fit them and still show a considerable saving in cost in favour of the Jaguar.

3. Roll: I found that the Mark I was not a restful car to drive and it required a large amount of physical effort in cornering. Being naturally lazy it was only sheer terror which enabled me to muster up the necessary muscular power when it was required, and to accuse the Mark II of the same vices is utter nonsense if you compare it with the Mark 1. I agree that it is quite possible that the Bristol may be considerably superior in this respect, but there is nothing to prevent any prospective purchaser of either a Mark I or II Jaguar from having a test run in these vehicles and seeing precisely what they are letting themselves in for. The remarks about cornering at ever increasing speed are all too true for the Mark I but, again, sheer terror made me, very early on adopt a rather less suicidal method of going slowly into the corner and coming out of it very fast indeed. I was assisted in this by the fitting of Koni shock-absorbers, which kept the rear wheels far more in contact with the road surface under a heavy acceleration than the standard shock-absorbers, which I regard as being entirely inadequate compared with the Koni shock-absorbers, however good they may be in their own right. The Mark II, at any rate by contrast with the Mark I, has its own private railway line round each corner and the steering, again by comparison, is pleasantly light. I have fitted a heavier anti-roll bar, which is a works extra and very reasonable in price, and I should imagine that this is well worthwhile though I have not had the opportunity of trying a Mark II without it. I would also think that the cornering and general handling of the Mark I would be improved by fitting RS5 tyres, which are fitted as standard on the Mark II, instead of the RS4s which were original equipment. The RS5 tyres appear to be very much superior in answering the problems of providing these vehicles with tyres which are adequate for their performance.

4. Suspension: Sudden stops on a diagonal line are always, in my experience, unnerving, and if stopping in general is meant I have found that it is quite unnecessary except in extreme circumstances to apply the brakes in a manner which causes the nose to dip, and if one is forced by circumstances to do so the question of dipping or not dipping is of a minor consideration compared with what may happen if the car is not stopped in time.

5. Weight Distribution: I am surprised that Mr. McCluskey complains about this because he has obviously not come across many modern vehicles, the larger Fords for example, which have for some time had precisely the same problem, and I would have thought that the excess of weight on the front end of many modern cars is not so much the product of the weight itself but the fact that engines have for many years now been placed farther forward than they used to be, with a consequent effect on the weight distribution. Precisely the same happened in the opposite direction in connection with “that car” and exactly the same sort of criticisms have been levelled at it without, in my experience (38,000 miles), any justification whatsoever.

6. Teething Troubles: I am inclined to agree with Mr. McCluskey that one must have petty troubles at the beginning of the life of such a very high-performance vehicle marketed at such a comparatively low price. I have no doubt that it would be possible to place the Jaguar in the hands of the customer in perfect condition at a considerably higher price, and possibly at some future date the manufacturers may consider saving wealthy owners the trouble of finding their own faults by doing it for them in exchange for a fee, but I cannot see that this is a matter about which there should be a complaint. All my Jaguar teething troubles to date have been dealt with very efficiently by the Jaguar agents and at no cost whatsoever to myself.

In spite of the fact that I felt at times that my Mark I Jaguar was, when used at slow speeds in suburban traffic, a bit of a nuisance once on the open road I always felt that the effort was worth it, and during 38,000 rapid miles all over the country I replaced no mechanical components whatsoever. The only replacements were a set of disc brake pads, which were replaced in toto because the pads on one wheel had worn unevenly, and a speedometer head because the needle started to flicker.

In view of the long waiting list for the Mark II Jaguar I suggest that Mr. McCluskey could very easily rid himself of something which he obviously dislikes and return to the entirely different kind of motoring offered by a Bristol, with little difficulty and presumably at greater cost.

I am, Yours, etc.,

London, E.C.3. – D. T. Harrison-Sleap.

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Driver suspension


May I through your excellent and unbiased journal explode the myth of British justice as practised in Bradford. I was caught speeding on an open deserted road devoid of traffic: even the police said so. There was no dangerous driving; again the pollee said so. Result, I was fined £3 and my licence was endorsed. (The same night a thug was lined £5 for assaulting the police and causing a distilrbance.)

On writing to the Clerk of the Court I was informed that it was a very slight fine even for a first offence, the endorsement was automatic in all speeding convictions, the conviction would stay on police record forever, and after two endorsements a motorist is automatically suspended from driving.

My point is, this is not justice decided on the merits of each case but predetermined persecution. No wonder the relationships between the police and public are at such a low ebb.

I am, Yours, etc.,

Bradford. – R. Firth.