Clifford England has provided in his letter (Motor Sport October 1989) the reasons why the dural front axle was not used by Tom Plowman in the record breaking 30/98 Vauxhall. The only question left is where did this axle originate?
I was a seven year student in engineering at Vauxhall and one of the more interesting jobs that came through the apprentice school workshop in the late 1948/early 1949 period was the machining of this axle beam specially for Tom Plowman from a billet of dural. The majority of the work was carried out on a Genovoise universal jig borer and the overall dimensions were as per the standard beam with the exception of increasing the offset of the stub axle centreline above the spring pads no doubt to lower the front of the car. The cross section of the beam was not altered and with the more efficient hydraulic brakes combined with this greater offset no doubt caused both the front springs and the axle to wind up under breaking giving the effect described by Clifford England.
The apprentice school were also involved in making up parts to adapt the G type 25 hp brakes to the 30/98 stub axles and I do remember dural conrods also being machined. It does appear odd that these parts were made some four years before the record-breaking run at Monthlery and may indicate that Plowman did have general preparation problems.
I quite agree with your comment regarding the 30/98 Vauxhall being the finest vintage car. Apart from my high regards for the excellent training provided by Vauxhall, I owned for many years in Australia OR 274 and am presently erecting OE 221, alas around a replica chassis frame, but as the original was “T” boned by a 3-ton GMC army truck in 1943, there are no alternatives. All the mechanical parts survived this accident and were first installed in a tubular chassis, the car at this time was known as “The drain pipe special” and in the Seventies incorporated. into another non-original frame made from profile cut 23/60 side members. The tubular frame being earmarked by the late Jumbo Goddard for the basis of a Hispano aero-engined special. My work is to resurrect 221 into its pre-1943 format, but as you say, it can never, nor will it ever, be presented during my ownership as being “absolutely genuine, old boy,”
John L. Dymond, Melbourne, Australia