Cars in Books, December 1973
Cars in Books
Sir, Mr Vic Butler writes of the intriguing story of the invention of a gas turbine racing car recorded
in “Sicilian Circuit” in 1933 and wonders if this is the first fictional mention of the gas turbine as a prime mover for automobiles.
-There is a novel which anticipates “Sicilian Circuit” by some 30 years in dealing with the exploits of the inventor of a gas turbine. It is “The Motor Pirate”, by G. Sidney Paternoster, published by The Car Illustrated. There is no date in the book, which ran into at least two editions.
-The engine “worked by the expansion of liquid hydrogen”, although “apparently petrol was utilised in some way as a means of securing the necessary heat to secure the expansion of the gas for the starting of the engine”. ‘The inventor proceeds to cruise around at night, at speeds of too m.p.h. or so, holding up stray motorists he met, but eventually meeting his just deserts on the cliffs at Lands End after being chased from St Albans by the hero, who had managed to commandeer a second car of the villain’s. It is all good, stirring stuff, with romance, Royalty (one victim of a hold-up is an August Personage), and odd mention of 91-h.p. Clement, Sixty Mercedes, and Daimlers of various sizes.
Stoke Holy Cross. P. H. STARLING.