Lanchester versus Citroen G.S.

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Lanchester versus Citroen G.S.

Sir,

When recently I decided to desert British Rail and commute by car between Macclesfield and my work at Stoke-on-Trent, almost 250 miles per week, well meaning motoring friends advised me to change my 22-year-old Lanchester for a modern car. I have long admired Citroen for its individuality and, as the G.S. appeared on paper to be highly suitable, I was delighted recently to have the opportunity of driving one about so miles. A person accustomed to vintage and other old cars is sufficiently adaptable not to need the acclimatization required by Marina/Cortina type drivers facing a Citroen for the first time. The comparison between the G.S. and the L.D. so was interesting and can be summarized as

t. Suspension.

The vaunted .Citroen system was a great disappointment. It is so firm to small movements that every minor bump is heard and felt, yet is overall so soft that two of my passengers felt car sick within 5 miles. There are no unmade tracks on the normal route from Macclesfield to Stoke-on-Trent to get some benefit from this system. The firm, old-fashioned suspension of the L.D. so is much superior on English main roads.

2. Road Holding and Handling.

Whilst the Citroen can be cornered very fast; all it does is to throw passengers about from side to side, which may be very clever but is of no practical benefit for day to day driving. From what I see of Marinas and Avengers on winding roads the Lanchester seems to hold the road better than them. Its handling is nicely balanced and pleasant without being inspiring.

3. Performance.

Whilst the Citroen is quicker on paper I doubt whether I could save 5 minutes on any journey from home to work. The Lanchester’s easy performance is restful and ensures that I cannot be booked for exceeding the 70 m.p.h. speed limit.

4. Gearbox.

That on the Citroen is poor even if not as bad as the average British Leyland f.w.d. The L.D. to has the best fully controllable system ever invented, the fluid flywheel and pre-selector gearbox.

5. Economy.

Both cars appear equal at about 28 m.p.g., although Lanchester owners tell me they get between 35 and 40 m.p.g., presumably through driving very gently.

6. Brakes. These arc the only feature I really liked on the Citroen, having effect proportional to effort with very little pedal movement. The Lanchester can stop effectively but its brakes need very heavy

pedal pressures and frequent adjustments. This will be corrected with a hydraulic conversion to the front.

7. Seating.

The Citroen was too soft and the cloth upholstery too warm. Passengers in the Lanchester enjoy the old-fashioned unfashionable advantage of sitting up high in comfort instead of crouching at exhaust level. I would find it very hard to improve the driving position and seat. It is of course upholstered in leather.

8. Reliability.

The owner of the O.S. apologised for certain defects with the excuse that the car had done over 20,000 miles. -The L.D. to has done over 90,000 and is unfailingly reliable. Res ipsa loquitur.

I have drawn two conclusions. The first is that progress and improvements in the purely technical sense do not necessarily bring about any tangible benefit in practise. The second is that I cannot persuade myself that technical developments, which do not add anything to the pleasure or practicalities of my motoring, are worth about £1,000 more than my present car.

Macclesfield. R. W. RAMAGE. WW1. I never thought to see a 1950s car compared to one of the best of the modern small cars, but what a turn-up for Lanchester enthusiasts,’ Of course, I agree about leather upholstery and real wood and old people usually like the upright Seats, leg-room and easy entry and exit provided by the older cars. ED.)