THE 1.7-LITRE ADLER A HANDSOME FRONT-DRIVE CAR OF REMARKABLE STAMINA. ROAD-HOLDING AND STABILITY ASSURED BY HAVING ALL WHEELS INDEPENDENTLY SPRUNG
Drivers in this country are sometimes inclined to complain about the condition of our English highways, but in comparison with many of the through routes which connect important centres in Central Europe, they are veritable billiard tables. It is not surprising that Con
tinental manufacturers, particularly those operating in Germany, have long been interested in independent springing as a solution of the suspension problem of the small car, one of the best known and oldest established being that of the Adlerwerke Company, whose works are situated at Frankfort. Front-wheel drive was another interesting feature of the car tested and, as may be supposed, we took over the car with our powers of criticism and observation, as we hoped, at full bent.
Heavy rain was falling on the day appointed for the test, while the front tyres we noticed were worn almost smooth. In spite of this, there were no signs of instability or wheel-spin even on greasy wood-blocks and, by the time we had gained the open country, felt perfectly at home and happy at the helm of the neat little two-seater.
The first question asked by the prospective purchaser would be, how does the handling of the Adler, with its frontwheel drive, compare with a car of similar type fitted with orthodox transmission ? On a straight road, one can scarcely detect any difference ; the pulling power of the front wheels seems to take the place of the caster action which is relied to keep the rear-wheel-drive vehicle straight on its course, and the car holds a steady path at speed without any effort on the driver’s part. There is no detectable alteration in feeling, even when the accelerator is suddenly released.
On a corner; the pulling power of the wheels again takes the place of caster and helps to straighten up the front wheels and, actually, a certain effort is required to resist this effect, an effort only noticed however in comparison with the lightness of the steering in normal travel.
The only occasion where front-wheel drive might cause difficulties is when the car is being driven at full speed round a fast corner, and then finding the road blocked by some slow-moving car ahead. BRIEF SPECIFICATION Engine : Four cylinders. Bore 74.25 mm.,
stroke 05 mm., capacity 1,645 c.c. R.A.C. rating 14 h.p. Side valves. Coil ignition. Single Solex carburetter. Gear-box : Four speeds and reverse. All
synchro-mesh. Steering column control. Ratios 4.7, 6.86, 10.1, and 19.2 to 1. Suspension : All wheels independently sus
pended. Front wheels on transverse leaf springs. Rear springs -elliptic. Brakes : Mechanical, operated by eased cables
Dimensions : Wheelbase 9 ft. 3 in. Track 4 ft. 1 in.
Weight 18f cwt.
Price : Open two-seater MU.
Partly through zeal and partly through confidence in the car, we even attempted this manceuvre, but the only effect was to reduce the caster effect and to make the steering rather lighter. The low centre of gravity is sufficient to take the car round even without the assistance of front traction. Having thus proved the negative qutiities and general safety of the Adler system, we were then able to get on with some fast driving. Theoretically, one ought to be able to get round a corner more quickly pulling the car than pushing from behind, and we certainly managed some fast work on bends in spite of the rain and the tricky road surfaces. With
no transmission line to bother about, the engine and passengers are carried low between the side members, which helps on corners. The suspension provided good insulation against rough roads, but has not been made too supple and the car has that firm feeling on bends which the sports-car driver values so much.
Being intended primarily for longdistance work, rally driving and the like, the Adler is purposely tuned for highspeed reliability rather than maximum speed, the highest speed we reached on the level being 67 m.p.h. We were informed by the Distributors that the same car had previously been capable of reaching something like 75 m.p.h., so possibly excessive carbon or retarded ignition may have been to blame. The important point is that the car runs quite happily at 55-60 m.p.h., or even with the accelerator hard on the floor-boards, for an unlimited period and, as the car is preeminently well-sprung, roomy and comfortable, excellent average speeds may be put up.
The brakes lire powerful, and even on a wet road, Ar pulled up in 63 feet from 43 m.p.h. Considerable pedal pressure is needed to get the full effect, a factor which makes for safety on slippery surfaces.
The engine is a comparatively lowcompression side-valve unit and seems to enjoy hard pulling against the collar. Main road gradients such as fix Hill, leading out of Henley, can be taken in top gear while still accelerating, while the gear-ratio is sufficiently high to avoid any suggestion of ” buzz-box.” The engine is free from period and runs reasonably quietly, while most of the vibration inseparable from a four-cylin&If— unit is avoided by mounting it on rubber. The forward mounting of the gear-bdx on a front-wheel-drive car makes it difficult to install the orthodox type of gear-lever working in a gate. On the Adler, the gears are changed by a lever on the right side of the steering column, first and secorld gears being obtained by pulling up the lever against a spring and moving it forwards or backwards, and third and top in a similar manner with the lever in the lower position. After a
day’s practice, this method of selecting the gears offers no difficulty, but the change is made rather heavy by having stiff selector springs and a strong spring pulling the lever towards the lower position.
All the gears are fitted with synchromesh mechanism, and though the ratios are rather widely spaced, the change is practically instantanous in every case. Bottom gear is in the nature of an emergency ratio, and acceleration figures from 10 m.p.h. were taken starting in second gear. The maxima in the gears is approximately 14, 27 and 45 m.p.h., where the engine speed is about 3,800 r.p.m. No rev.-counter is fitted, but extreme revs, are not called for in any case. The engine is a straightforward sidevalve unit, with thermo-syphon cooling through short and large-bore water pipes and a belt-driven fan mounted on the front end of the dynamo. One vertical Solex carburetter is used and, in conjunc tion with the auxiliary starter device, gave easy starting from cold, and an
acceleration curve free from flat spots. The petrol tank, which holds eight gallons, is mounted underneath the bonnet and feeds the carburetter by gravity. The petrol gauge was inaccurate, but the consumption worked
cut at approximately 20 m.p.g. National Ilenzol mixture was the fuel recomntended. The compression ratio is 5.5 to 1, and the modest horse-power claimed by the
makers is 38, but with a little tuning, it should not be difficult to carry this figure substantially higher. A three-bearing crankshaft is used. A six-volt starting and lighting system is fitted. The battery is carried under
the bonnet, with only a twelve-inch lead to the starter, so the voltage drop is negligible. The head-lamps gave an even beam free from dazzle and 55-60 m.p.h. can be maintained in safety after dark. A dipped beam is obtained by the use of dual-filament bulbs, and the lights are
controlled by a lever, conveniently placed under the steering wheel. The clutch, gear-box and differential are carried in a compact unit bolted to the front end of the engine. The front
wheels are carried on two transverse leafsprings one above the other, and are driven by shafts universally jointed at the differential casing and at their outer extremities. Behind the top spring are
mounted the hydraulic shock-absorbers, and below them the steering rods, which are actuated by rack-and-pinion steering gear. The rear wheels are mounted on arms pivoted and moving parallel with the chassis, quarter-elliptic springs being
bolted to their forward ends to give the effect of cantilever springing. The brakes are of the mechanical type applied by means of encased cables. Freed from the necessity of providing
clearance for the propeller shaft and hack-axle, the chassis side-members are straight for their entire length, and of box-section. They converge towards the front to permit an exceptionally .good steering lock, and at the rear are braced by light and simple cross-members. The underside of the car is quite smooth and the ground-clearance is iq inches.
The open two-seater body fitted to the car we drove reached a standard both of comfort and appearance, and was obviously constructed to withstand hard elbow-room with the hood and sideusage. It was wide enough to give full curtains erected, and the screen, which could be folded flat down was deep enough for the tallest driver. There is plenty of room round the pedals, since there is no rear-mounted gear-box to come back into the driving compartment, and with the floor-boards slung well below the side-members, the driver sits commendably upright in the best position for fast driving. The squab was adjustable for rake, and a thin-rimmed Ashby steering wheel was fitted to the car we deove. The hand-brake is mounted on the left of the driver.
Being purely a two-seater, all the space under the sloping rear panel of the Adler is available as a luggage locker, capable of taking four large suit-cases and other travel gear. Tools are carried in a COM, partmerit under the seats. The hood has the double-folding mechanism beloved of Continental manufacturers, but is easily erected when one gets the knack of it. The spare wheel is recessed into a well in the rear panel. The car tested was put at our disposal through the courtesy of Messrs. British Adler Cars of 9, Albemarle Street, London, W.1. Apart from their activities as sole concessionaires of Adler cars for England, their intention is to enter cars for long-distance competitions such as the R.A.C. Rally, in which freedom from trouble, easy running, and maintenance of tune can be demonstrated. Unfortunately there are no really long-distance high-speed events in this country corresponding to the 2,000-Kilometre Trial in Germany or the Alpine Trial, in which Adlers have been conspicuously successful, but at any rate the ” resistance “
demonstrated there will be of value to owners in this country. Another convincing demonstration of the ability of the 1k-litre model to stand up to hard work was given by the streamlined saloon which averaged nearly 77 m.p.h. for four dayron the Avus track late last year.
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