May I, through your columns, be permitted to reply to Dr. Reynolds' letter concerning the brakes, or lack of them, on his Austin A35 saloon?
First of all I simply do not believe that there is not a garage in Sheffield that will not service an A35!
Secondly, the last sentence of the letter suggests that BMC refuse to acknowledge an illegal design but Dr. Reynolds does not make it clear whether it is the actual design or the inefficiency of the design that constitutes the illegality. In "The Book of the A30 and A35", Staton Abbey, A. M.I.M.I., states in chapter ten: "The handbrake ... providing an effective parking brake and also a second line of defence in the unlikely event of the hydraulic system failing", thus complying with the basic requirements of the law.
Let us now go back to the reported incident with the Sergeant. We must assume that the car was stopped and subsequently road-tested at the kerb side before being jacked up. Now, the only way I can think of testing rear brakes in such a situation would be to apply the hand-brake and attempt to rotate the rear wheels by hand. Anyone driving a vehicle on which this can be achieved deserves to be fined— at £5 I would think myself extremely fortunate. As for the Sergeant's remark about being able to fail EVERY A35, how come there are so many on the road with (for what they are worth, agreed) MoT test certificates?
Finally, I suggest that Dr. Reynolds climbs down off the band wagon and stops knocking BMC, that he invests in a workshop manual, replaces completely the rear brake linkage aft of the rear cylinder and cleans out the rear drums religiously once every eight weeks. If all else fails, keep out of Sheffield!
JOHN HADLEY – Leeds