A DISTINCTIVE 4 CYLINDER MACHINE WHICH CRUISES EFFORTLESSLY AND HANDLES WITH NEAT ACCURACY.
THE, return to favour of the 4 cylinder engine is gaining strength. Partiticularly so is this move found in the case of manufacturers whose products of that type were outstandingly popular before the multi-cylinder engine became fashionable. Alvis, Hotchkiss, Fiat, have all declared themselves protagonists of the “four,” and anyone who has had any experience of the ” 12/50,” the ” 15.9″
and the” 10/15″ respectively will testify to the wisdom of their choice.
The ” Ardita ” Fiat is the largest 4 cylinder car on the market to-day, with a bore of 82 mm. and a stroke of 92 mm., giving a total capacity of just under 2 litres. On taking over the car in Albemarle Street we were reminded by our friend, Mr. Beresford, of Messrs. Fiat (England) Ltd., who placed the car at our disposal, that a certain amount of torque reaction would be noticeable at low engine speeds. This indeed proved to be so, but we found that the adjustable rubber mounting of the power unit absorbs most of the vibration. Once we had got on the move, however, all traces of vibration from the engine disappeared, and even when pulling slowly in top gear the engine was as smooth as one could wish. In fact it is only when pulling away from a check without engaging a lower ratio that any vibration is felt. The corresponding advantages derived from an engine of this type are, however, extremely valuable. A good power output is given off at slow engine speeds, with the result that a fairly high axle ratio can be used without loss of performance or ex
cessive gear-changing. This in turn results in reduced piston and cylinder wear, and economical running. By using the gears the ” Ardita ” can be made to accelerate in a really brisk fashion, as can be seen by the accompanying graph. Some credit is due in this respect to the remarkably fine gearchange. Low to second requires a short pause, but second to third is absolutely instantaneous, likewise third to top. The change is just as rapid as that of a self-changing box, and the surge forward is most gratifying. Third and top are, of course, of the usual synchromesh pattern, enabling downward changes to be made, if required, without speeding up the engine. Maximum speeds obtained on the gears were 42 m.p.h. on second and
50 m.p.h. on third, while on top gear we reached a timed speed of 65 m.p.h.
The whole point of the car on the road, however, is the delightful high-geared feeling one gets of effortless cruising at 55 2n.p.h., at which speed the engine is only turning over at about 2,800 r.p.m. The car is extraordinarily quiet, so that long journeys do not leave the crew with the headaches and deafness resulting from high-revving small “sixes.” At its cruising speed the Fiat is every whit as smooth as any “six.”
Like all Italian cars, the ” Ardita” Fiat is beautifully sprung, over varying road surfaces. At speed the car could be driven without any qualms along the extreme verge of a secondary road.
This brings us to the steering. Here again the typical accuracy and sensitive touch of Italian design is apparent, and results in the driver being neat and polished in all his movements, whether it be passing another vehicle on a narrow road or parking the car in a crowded garage. As befits a car produced in the shadow of the Alps, the ” Ardita ” has an exceptionally good lock, the turning circle being 38 feet. Some of this accuracy in control is due to the unusual driving position. The seat is placed very far forward, so that the driver has the wheel close to him, and his
face is much nearer the windscreen than usual. Added to this, the seat itself is high, and both front mudguards can be clearly seen. The total result makes for extraordinarily pleasant driving. Talking of the body, the ” Ardita ” carries a very cleverly designed pillarless saloon. With both doors open entry into front and rear seats is accomplished
with a minimum amount of contortion. A good point is that it does not matter which door is closed or opened first.
The brakes are of the Lockheed type, with double master cylinders, so that the front and rear sets are independent, although evenly co-ordinated. This is a safety measure which might well be copied by other manufacturers. The braking figures were of a good standard, the car pulling up from4 m.p.h. in 60 feet.
Altogether, we derived considerable pleasure from handling the Fiat” Ardita.’ It is essentially a ” different ” car, and in these days of standardisation that is saying a good deal. Points which particularly impressed us were its quiet, low revving engine, positive steering, and accuracy of control. The discerning motorist will derive more pleasure from this lively standard saloon than from many so-called ” sports ” cars. In point of fact, we are informed that a tuned-up edition of the ” Ardita ” will shortly be available. This car will have a higher compression ratio, will develop 54 h.p. at 3,800 r.p.m. and will be capable of over 70 m.p.h. The standard ” Ardita” is obtainable with either a 15 h.p. or 17 h.p. engine, the model we tested having the latter, and at £382 10s. it is good value, especially when one remembers its exceptional wearing qualities.
A Change of Name.
We are informed by Messrs. Edward Joy & Sons, Ltd., of Leeds, that they have changed the name of one of their grades, of oil, from ” Sports Filtrate” to ” Super Filtrate.”
The reason for this alteration is that the particular oil in question is their super grade, and is therefore ideal for any car whose owner is keen on the very highest quality lubrication, in addition to being a perfect lubricant for sports cars. ” Super Filtrate,” by the way, has proved to be an excellent oil for cars with heavy oil consumption.
A Racing Booklet.
No feature is more essential to the success of a racing car than its braking system, for the stress on the linings when it is being decelerated from a speed of 130 m.p.h. is tremendous. It is this experience which has largely contributed to the high standard of efficiency of Ferodo brake linings, and. to commemorate the many occasions on which their products have played a part in the motor races of 1933, they have produced a most interesting booklet called “Performance I”
This brochure gives the results of many of the races during the season, with pictures of the winners, and a limited number of free copies is available to readers who apply to Ferodo, Ltd., Chapel en le Frith, Cheshire, on mentioning MOTOR SPORT.
The B.R.D.C. has produced an interesting little handbook with the appropriate title of ” Speed.” Several well known members of the Club and their machines are briefly described, there is a Foreword by Mr. S. C. H. L avis, and a list of the motor races of 1933 reprinted from
MOTOR SPORT. “Speed ” is on sale at the bookstalls
of Messrs. W. H. Smith & Sons, Ltd., and is priced at 2d.
Supply and Demand.
It is gratifying to note that the number of people employed in the motor industry increased during the month of November by 2,500. This increase is mainly due to the large number of orders secured, not only in Gt. Britain, but from abroad, by several of the leading motor car manufacturers.
The introduction of the new Bentley 31-litre has accounted to some extent for the increase. Owing to the demand for this car, extra staff has had to be engaged in order to expedite delivery. ‘1 here was such a rush of orders when the cars were first shown, that the demand far exceeded the supply. By the employment of more men, delivery can now be given earlier in the New Year than has recently been understood.