The Renault 20TS

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I went one dull November day to the Lygon Arms, Broadway, that Cotswold show-village which constitutes an American pilgrimage in the summer, this being a popular place for new-eat previews. Incidentally, the row of massive garages, into which 1920s’ chauffeurs used to drive their Masters’ Rolls-Royces and Daimlers etc., are now threatened, it appears, by extensions to this well-known hotel, where the Bugatti OC. used to rally, before the War.

The car I had gone to sample was the new Renault 20TS, with an entirely new belt-drive o.h.c. 2-litre 4-cylinder engine which may later figure in EZ and F3 racing. Alan Dakers, who was due to drive a very different Renault in the Brighton Run, explained how this new car fits into the middle of Renault’s up-market range without replacing Any other Renault model, and Mr. Charles told of the ambitious area releases which had been arranged for the 20TS. It. has an 88 x 82 mm., 110 b.h.p 1,995 c.c. engine mounted normally, driving the front wheels through a 4-speed gearbox. Electric windows are controlled from facia switches, there is power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, electro-magnetic door locking, and many other amenities. How Renault know that the 20Ts will sell to men of an average age of 46, in the “AB” social group, I do not know. What I do know is that this is a compact, comfortable car, in which I felt at home immediately, under very nasty weather conditions, which goes effortlessly to 80 mph. and Well beyond (maximum quoted as over 105 m.p.h.), is perhaps; little noisier than I had anticipated, and which tended to understeer strongly until I adjusted to FWD after arriving in a Rover 3500. I did 70 miles at 23.33 m.p.g.; a longer stint will be appreciated.—W.B.

Correction

In case it is thought that I can no longer read instruments, the Straker-Squire’s oil-gauge, referred to on page 1610, indicates from 0-60 lb./sq. in., not to 10 lb. as printed.—W.B.

Unnecessary caution

A few months ago there was a minor row in print over tyres and their speed rating. The Automobile Association suggested that motorists could be prosecuted for fitting SR rated tyres instead of the HR rating installed as original equipment.

According to tyres and Accessories, a monthly British journal for the tyre industry, this is definitely not the case. They say that the “AA were wrong. There was nothing in the Traffic Construction and Use Regulations to suggest that such fittings was outside the law”. In vitriolic mood, and one that one tends to sympathise with, Tyres and Accessories add “the AA was founded to protect the motorist, and not to suggest new legislation with which to browbeat him”.

It is interesting to note that the tyro manufacturers have apparently backed the journal on this point. Meanwhile, we would be interested to hear of any eases of attempted prosecution.

Top people

Both Lotus and BMW have had good news to offer for individuals associated with them. Michael Kimberley, formerly of Jaguar engineering but a driving force behind the rather more seemly Lotus current style of customer liaison and car quality, is now Managing Director of Lotus Cars. This is very good news indeed, for Mr. Kimberley has made a terrific effort to improve boith UK and USA standards of service on a product that had Acquired some notoriety in this respect.

Over at BMW they have taken on Tom Walkinshaw, the driver of a 530i in British events and an experienced long-distance man in more powerful European BMWs. Tom is to be their General Manager, Motorsport Operation’s at the British concessionaires.

BMW Concessionaires MD Anton Hille Says, “we will be ready for a full-scale onslaught in 1978 with the 530i.” This could well mean that T. Walkinshaw’s engineering company becomes the European centre for the conversion of BMWs into European Group 1/1 1/2 racing trim. It may also mean Mr. Walkinshaw has to chose between driving and managing, but nobody is saying anything about that as yet.

Leyland Jaguar wins

The American Jaguar effort paid as big a dividend as possible to make up for some of the disappointments of Europe, which was especially Valuable in view of the importance Of the USA market. Bob Tullius won the drivers’ section of the Trans-Am Championship, but they just failed to collar the manufacturers’ title by two points; Porsche num..hers ensuring that the Jag’s three retirements in eleven outings were not enough to compensate for five category wins. The category? Production Cars, for Trans-Am also admits machinery that Is a lot more radically modified than the 475 b.h.p. Jaguar.