Matters of Moment
• Prospects for next year
As another dramatic motoring year draws to a close, with Chrysler floundering financially, Ford trundling along happily, and Leyland making great efforts to retrieve a difficult situation and repay Public investment, it seems that we can look to the immediate future with tepid optimism.
The rising unemployment figures and cost of living do not seem to diminish the number of cars on the road or the quantity of racing, rallying and historic-car events which continue to be supported by very encouraging numbers of spectators. The high cost of petrol, so savagely taxed, has made little difference to the motoring way of life and names like Dino, Boxer, Urraco, Countach, XJ-S, Bora, 450SLC, Camargue, 308GTB, Esprit, and 3.0CSi remain in the news and these names are bandied about as if North Sea oil were overflowing, and the threatened Wealth Tax were no more than a passing nightmare, gone with the dawn. New models continue to be announced, with the great V12 Jaguar power unit at last endowed with fuel-injection and shoe-horned into a car to which it can do justice, Ford-of-Britain enjoying the flattery of seeing its V6-cylinder formation adopted by three top Continental manufacturers (Peugeot 604, Renault 30TS and Volvo 264 GL) and Aston Martin back in business. Colin Chapman pulled out his slide-rule before it became rusty, to round off the exciting new Lotus Esprit, with prods from Giorgio Giugiaro, other mid-engined concepts are emerging, and in all price-brackets there are sound, even exciting, cars waiting to be purchased. As we keep reminding you, the true sports-car concept is far from moribund and must have been fostered by the sunny autumn weather that extended into November, and in the field of motor racing the prospects for 1976 are rosy indeed. Ferrari has already modified the car which gained Lauda this year's Drivers' World Championship and gave the Maranello marque the Constructors' World Championship. Hoping for more grip out of smooth corners and reduced drag, Forghieri's 312T2, if it works, may again bring "red" domination to the circuits, next season. Lotus have the refined version of the 72, as fully described in MOTOR SPORT last month, lighter and of better penetration, and if the revolutionary Tyrrell six-wheeler passes its proving tests, giving lower drag without loss of traction, here will be another new factor to greatly enliven interest in top-class racing next year. So the Fl scene promises great things and it should be borne in mind that although to the casual onlooker all the competing cars look very similar, akin to low-flying aeroplanes with high wing-loadings about to couch down on garden rollers, in fact Grand Prix racing remains a mechanical art, an extremely brave undertaking, from which enhanced interest can be gained by studying the subtle differences in the specifications of these F1 cars, the changes made to them at the various circuits, and the modifications carried out as race succeeds race—about which MOTOR SPORT intends to keep you well informed.
The outlook for racing in the many other categories, from which Alfa Romeo emerged this year with the Manufacturers' Championship, is also good. In the historic area the JCB-type Championship is out unless a new sponsor can be found but the VSCC is thriving, having already announced 22 leading fixtures for 1976, embracing races, trials, rallies, driving tests, speed hill-climbs, etc., although so far there is no on-the-level, cornerless sprint listed. The VCC holds its own, as the appearance of 270 pre-1905 veterans on the Brighton Road last month testified, as did the vast turnout of onlookers who maintained public interest in all things old and ancient.
Meanwhile, we have escaped being compulsorily strapped to our beloved metal (or fibreglass) possessions, the utterly stupid suggestion that headlamps should be made compulsory even on well-lit city roads has been quashed, and conscientious Policemen have far more urgent tasks to perform (and in performing them, have our heartfelt admiration and sympathy) than the bringing into Court of drivers who have transgressed in respect of purely technical, often out-dated, motoring laws—such as exceeding the quite unnecessary and uncalled for "fuel-saving" 50 and 60 m.p.h. speed-limits. So, if this little country remains sane, there is every hope that prosperity will eventually return. And that motoring will continue to be fun. But a big black mark to Chief Inspector James Long, Police Representative of the Harts District Road Safety Committee for announcing what he called "Hate Weeks" by the police against car drivers in his area of Hampshire, a most unfortunately-named check-up operation.
Not everyone can run an exotic, high-performance motor-car. But the more modest ones go extremely well these days and our readers know how to use them to good purpose. Extracting the maximum amount of enjoyment from this expensive pastime is a matter of using country lanes as well as Motorways, choosing the right times to motor, to the right sporting events, in the right company. There are many levels between the fuel-saving economy-cars (we note that a Ford Popular has won the first round of the Total Club Economy Drive, with a figure of 49.7 m.p.g.) and the very expensive top-moderns and those vintage and earlier cars for which similar, usually over-inflated, prices are demanded. Enthusiasts know this, and adjust their sights accordingly....
Among today's small cars it looks as if VW have another World-beater in the Polo, and we are gratified that they, along with Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot and others, have faith in the diesel engine for private cars, which was the subject of a leading article we published some time ago. All in all, the outlook is less bleak than was feared a few months ago. So, in offering you the seasonal greetings we would ask you to join us in anticipating better times in 1976.
We wish our readers
A Happy Christmas and New Year
January issue will be published on the 2nd.
The non-finishers in this year's London-Brighton Veteran Car Run, a report on which appears on pages 1388/1389, were as follows: L. B. Cohn (1893 Benz), D. J. Goldsmith (1894 Benz), W. G. P. Arnold (1896 Arnold), R. L. Hubbard (1896 Lutzmann), S. J. Skinner (1897 Daimler), D. E. Weeks' (1900 Ariel tricycle), C. P. Willoughby (1900 De Dion Bouton tricycle), Major A. Pownell (1901 De Dion Bouton), P. A. Brandt (1901 Locomobile steamer), M. Snapper (1901 Renault), P. Grand (1901 Renault), Sir Clive Bossom (1902 Beaufort), J. S. Corry (1902 Benz), G. von Raffay (1902 Georges-Richard), T. S. Black (1903 Gladiator), B. J. Garrett (1903 Gladiator), R. S. Lester (1903 Humber), B. Anderssen (1903 Oldsmobile), G. Larkin (1903 Phoenix Trimo), E. Cassidy (1903 Thornycroft), P. Faulkes-Halbard (1904 Peugeot) and C. F. Dumbell (1904 Turner-Miesse steamer).
VSCC Lakeland Trial
8th November, 1975
This year's Lakeland Trial, which was held under clear skies amidst breathtakingly beautiful scenery, proved that married life is conducive to trials success, for no less than five of the seven first-class award winners were accompanied by their wives.
The most difficult sections were those laid out at Lanthwaite Green, on the road to Buttermere, where wet grass caused people like Bill McDonagh and his 1932 12/60 .Alvis, loaded with enthusiasts coming all the way from County Armagh, to have difficulty in getting enough grip even to get to the various starting lines. Elliot Elder had driven his 1913 12/16 -Sunbeam, complete with new replica Coupe de l'Auto type bodywork, down from Edinburgh to compete in its first trial after having literally been buried for some 50 years. With its beaded edge tyres, it kept trying to bury itself again on most of the sections by standing stationary with the rear wheels spinning.
Doctors Tom Gjertsen and Willie Sellers had put their plates up on the former's 1929 M-type MG, writing their trials number 6 on top of the bonnet in sterile mud. They failed on the dreaded Drumhouse hill, which winds up from the slate quarry at the top of Honister Pass, by having an insufficient head of National Health petrol for their gravity feed.
Best of the 70-odd entries was the 1925 Anzani Frazer Nash of Nigel Arnold-Forster, who whizzed his wife Pam up nearer to the summits of the mountains than anyone else, to score 183 points. Next best was veteran trials ace Leslie Winder in his 1924 Humber with 175 points, while his son Geoffrey, winner of the trial for the last three years, scored 174 points in his 1930/2 Ulster Austin. Victor of the long chassis class with 160 points was VSCC President Bernard Kain accompanied by his wife Jean (no mean trials driver herself) in their 1929 Type 43A Bugatti, which has a Type 44 engine. Heroes of this class were three award winning saloons. A second class award went to Richard and Molly Parker in their brown fabric 1928 Austin Seven saloon, a marvellous effort on little narrow tyres. They scored 142 points. Winners of a third class award were Tom and Di Threlfall in their 1928 Model A Ford saloon, who had travelled from the wilds of Hampshire at a steady 50 m.p.h. up the M6 to score 140 points. A resounding first class award went to the thoroughly attractive and well-used looking 1928 TG 12/50 Alvis Carbodies saloon, with oval rear window and open skylight, crewed by Ian and Janet Woolstenholmes, who gained 150 points.
Of the eight 30/98 Vauxhalls taking part, only Humphrey Milling's won an award.
Kirkstile Trophy: N. Arnold-Forster (1925 Frazer Nash).
Kirkstile Plate: B. B. D. Rain (1929 Bugatti).
First Class: W. L. T. Winder (1924 Humber), R. G. Winder (1930/2 Austin), C. E, Ayre (1927 Alvis), J. Wolstenholmes (1928 Alvis), A. L. Nahum (1925 Salmson).
Second Class: N. J. W. Stoyel (1928 Frazer Nash), P. W. Still (1937 Frazer Nash), D. P. Harris (1926 Frazer Nash), M. U. Hirst (1928 Alvis), R. M. Parker (1928 Austin). P. B. Gledhill (1928 Austin).
Third Class: C. Hamilton-Gould (1926 Frazer Nash), R. Adnams (1927 Austin). J. S. Box (1928 Jowett), C. R. Newton (1938 H.R.G.), J. A. McEwen (1930 Riley), H. P. Milling (1924 Vauxhall). T. J. Threlfall (1928 Ford).
New and worthwhile
Every year, we at Standard House are fortunate enough to receive scores of calendars from various of our friends in the Motor Industry.
Some have rude pictures; some have superb motor racing pictures; some have dates we can read ; some have space to write on. But, without looking this herd of gift horses in the mouth, we have never found a calendar that meets all our needs at once. So this year, we decided to join Motoring News and solve the problem by producing our own calendar—a unique fixture calendar which not only meets our need but .also, we hope, ,em>your needs too!
We started by picking twelve of the most colourful, exciting and memorable Grand Prix pictures taken by our intrepid cameramen during the past season. Not just pretty pictures but occasions we will be happy to re-live for a whole month. So, for example, on the June page you will find a truly superb picture of that nose-to-tail duel between Hunt and Lauda at Zandvoort. You can spend August looking at Pryce leaping—in some pain— round the Nurburgring; drool over Lauda at Monaco in May and sympathise with Evans as he wrestles his BRM round Barcelona on the April page. Then there's Regazzoni, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jarier, Jody Scheckter and many, many more. But there's far more to our calendar than powerful pictures. On page one you will find a Grand Prix chart to tear off and on which to keep score throughout the 1976 season.
On every page you will find the major fixtures-GPs, sport cars, F2, F3 and all the big rallies printed on the big square spaces we have provided for every day. And you will also find space to jot down your own appointments—whether it's time to renew your competition licence or attend that mythical funeral during the British Grand Prix week.
And the best news of all is that this exclusive, specially-designed calendar, is one of the best value calendars on the market. So why not order one now ?
Send your name and address or that of your friend, plus £1.25 to MOTOR SPORT, Standard House, Bonhill Street, EC2A 4DA, and we guarantee that it will be posted in good time for Xmas.
I have just seen a most attractive new product—an insulated teapot. It takes away the opportunity to burn the top of your polished table and your hands and it removes the need to use a cosy. It offers you four or more lovely cups of tea, hot for up to an hour. I like a good cup of tea and now I don't have to look for a strainer—it has one built in. Manufactured by Insulex Ltd., 124 Barlby Road, London, W10 6BX, in a two-tone high gloss plastic, it is obtainable from most good hardware stores for £3.75 (including VAT).
Insulex also supply insulated cups that fit into a grooved Snack Tray, making it possible to take a sandwich or something tastier whilst holding your cup and plate, a task that has always beaten me. Beautifully finished in some most attractive colours the set of four costs £2.36 (including VAT).