The Aero Engine that Never Was
A motoring scribe has to be so very careful. Witness the case of the man who makes racing and sports-cars on a modest scale and who some time ago announced a flat-twin baby aero-motor. Full particulars and a power-curve were forthcoming, but when a photographer went in search of the engine it was not to be found. Subsequently it was discovered that it never got as far as the test-bench stage. That individual will have difficulty in convincing us of his latest developments.
By the time the next issue of MOTOR SPORT is in your possession the R.A.C. Rally will be under way—and providing great fun for two hundred sleepy-eyed, bearded enthusiasts. The entry is sadly down this year, but some well known drivers and interesting cars will compete. They include N. Garrard (Talbot Ten), G. Poppe (Talbot Ten), Norton Bracey (Standard Nine), Miss Joan Richmond (Fiat baby), F. S. Barnes (Singer Twelve), J. D. Barnes (Singer Twelve), C. M. Anthony (Aston-Martin), G. H. Robins (H.R.G.), A. H. Langley (Singer Twelve), A. C. Scott (H.R.G.), A. G. Imhof (M.G.), J. Eason-Gibson (Lancia), W. C. N. Norton (British Salrnson), K. Hutchison (Ford V-8), D. Monro (Invicta), T. H. Wisdom (S.S.), Hon. Brian Lewis (S.S.), Miss M. D. Patten (British-Salmson), T. V. G. Selby (A.C.), R. A. Jensen (Jensen), J. Harrison (Ford V-8), Sir Ronald Gunter (Hotchkiss), Mrs. A. C. Lace (Railton), J. A. Driskell (Pontiac), A. C. Hess (Talbot), F. R. G. Spikins (Hudson), J. W. Whalley (Ford V-8), and entries from Lord Austin (Austins) and M. A. Newnham (Triumphs).
The date is March 9th to 13th, and the finish at Hastings.
The Jean Chassagne Ballot
That “veteran type” 5-litre Ballot that has come to light is none other than the big, bolster-tank twoseater with which Jean Chassagne took the hour record at Brooklands at 115 m.p.h. The old car has recently been brought right up-to-date. The cylinders have been re-bored, the compression ratio raised, new valves fitted, of K.E. 965 for exhaust and K.E.
805 for inlet, the lubrication altered and new pistons installed.
A special Borg and Beck clutch has been designed to transmit the 200 b.h.p. now developed and a new, very light racing two-seater body and new fuel tanks fitted. New tyres and an F.W.B. front axle have also been fitted. A new radiator is now used, cowled like that of a 2.6-litre Alfa-Romeo. The Ballot has a 5-litre, eight-cylinder in-line engine with the cylinders in two blocks of four. Twin o.h. camshafts, driven from the front end, operate the thirty-two valves via direct acting enclosed ” pistons ‘ working in bronze guides. The crankshaft runs on five large ball races, and has plain big-ends. Ignition is by special Scintilla magneto, and carburation is looked after by two large Claudel-Hobsons. The car is a tool-room job throughout and has a 120 m.p.h. Southport certificate. Owing to pressure of business its present owner will be unable to use it this year, and he is prepared to dispose of it to anyone who will promise to reassemble it and race it seriously, for a two-figure sum. The Ballot was purchased just after Chassagne had finished using it for Brooklands work. Enquiries will be forwarded.
On Two Wheels
Several well known car drivers have been doing a lot of pleasure travel on B.M.W. motor-cycles. Now comes news that Michael McEvoy has been touring on a solo 100 m.p.h. ex-racing 8/45 McEvoy big-twin and thoroughly enjoying himself. His last tour per motorcycle was on a 1914 single-gear 7/9 Indian.
Motoring sport in America is vastly removed from the same interest in this country, as you will appreciate if you read “Wall Smacker” and, immediately afterwards, “Motor Racing” or ” The Lure of Speed.”
But there is at least one true enthusiast in God’s own country, in the person of Mr. Robert Lessick Heller, who recently wrote to Cecil Clutton and asked to be allowed to join the Vintage Sports Car Club.
Mr. Heller spent two years gingering-up a 22-90 Alfa-Romeo and then bought a late O.E. 80/98 Vauxhall. In this motor-car he has driven from Cleveland to New York via the Holland Tunnel in eleven hours total time for the journey of 550 miles. At the date when this trip was made this equalled the time required by the famous “Twentieth Century Limited” express. For two stretches of sixty miles and one of 100 miles an average of 60 m.p.h. was made, and 300 miles of the run were across the Allegheny Mountains, where the road rises to close on 3,000 feet and was to a large extent ice-covered. The 30/98 cruised at 80 to 90 m.p.h. to set up this average. Mr. Heller reports that 20″ x 5.50″ wheels with 31″ tyres are now fitted, and he gets a speedometer speed of 99 m.p.h. at 3,300 r.p.m., with an engine that had not been decarbonised for 40,000 miles. The compression-ratio, moreover, is only 4.57 to 1, and single plugs per cylinder are used. The fuel consumption is 15 m.p.g. (U.S. four quart gallons). Incidentally, after about 75,000 miles the cylinder bores were nowhere more than one-thousandth of an inch out of round, which should intrigue America’s
cylinder wear technicians. This Vauxhall has the hydraulic front brakes, and Mr. Heller intends to modify them, remarking that the braking is sadly inadequate to the speed of the car and that the retarding effect is simply not enough. As Clutton says, this is a fine example of verbal moderation, as English 30/98 owners are usually much more emphatic ! But it is to Mr. Heller’s credit that he is making the car safe before going into modifications to render it faster. He may employ Lockheed braking all round. The accompanying photograph shows that this 80/98— 0.E. 288—is turned out in the best English traditions, if one expects the Yankee style front bumper.
We have not had much to say about Schuco Mercedes and similar toys, because we believe that most of our readers are too busy with real cars to play on the hearthrug. But it is interesting to recall the beginning of toys representing actual ” marques.” As a small boy the writer used to play with an extremely realistic toy 7.5 Citroen, with clockwork propulsion, brakes, stub-axle steering and detachable wheels. It cost 10/6 and a four-seater 11.4 model was to be had for 15/-, both made by the Citroen Company. Shortly afterwards a French toymaker introduced tin replicas of the Delage 1 t and 13.9 Renault saloons, and a similar Hispano-Suiza was a big attraction one Christmas. There was also the 25/edition of the racing Alfa-Romeos that ran in the 1925-6 Grands Prix. Now only real models appeal. D. M. Dent, the Frazer-Nash driver, has done some fine stuff in this sphere, and we recall exhibition models made for the Wolseley and Sunbeam concerns and a
model of Woolf Barn.ato’s racing 3-litre Bentley, the last-named model powered with a tiny 1 c.c. engine. Last month we illustrated a very fine miniature Mercedes. If you feel the Schuco germ probing your bones, go to the South Kensington Science Museum and examine that model of the first ” Silver Ghost” RollsRoyce. Then set to on a show case model of a famous racing-car !
Have you ever paid much attention to the pictures that hang in the motor showrooms ? Some very interesting things are to be seen. Those rare water-colours of famous racing scenes of the early days are still to be found in certain Great Portland Street premises. S. E. Cummings has some intriguing Brooklands relics at Fulham Road, and Humphries’s Warren Street office is graced by a huge photograph of the line up for
the first J.C.C. 200-Mile Race. In the Wimbledon premises of Jarvis and Sons, the M.G. agents, hangs a framed photograph of a racing-car the identity of which baffles the majority of those to whom it is pointed out. It depicts the racing Chrysler that Malcolm Campbell drove at Brooklands when he won the 1925 Autumn 90 m.p.h. Short Handicap at 92.95 m.p.h. Like Barnato’s Bentley this Chrysler had Jarvis bodywork. I came across some almost equally baffling pictures of old-time Brooklands racing in a grubby motor-cycle shop at Stockwell last year. Mere money would not buy them.
1937 will be a very busy season and all over the place feverish preparations are in hand.
Mays, Fairfield and Howe will form the official E.R.A. team, running Zoller-blown cars, possibly with independently suspended front wheels. N. S. Embiricos, Bugatti exponent, will use a big fuel tank in his E.R.A., to obviate the limited duration that disturbed E.R.A. pilots last year. T. H. Wisdom is likely to again handle an E. R. A.
Austin Dobson has purchased the remaining bimotore Alfa-Romeo from Ferrari and is having the 2.9-litre engines installed. He plans to go out for the world’s standing mile and kilo records on the Carrigrohane straight near Cork. If he afterwards uses this Alfa for racing, things should move, as it is expected to comfortably exceed 200 m.p.h. Dobson also has on order a team of three 11-litre Maseratis, and it is said that considerable numbers of the Type 6C Maseratis are being built for 1 t-litre racing.
Charlie Martin is now rumoured to be building a special car with four single-cylinder motor-cycle engines, which is a long-awaited method of wooing real efficiency, and it is said that the Conan Doyle’s have overcome the weakness of the 2-litre Delage and will probably have it running at the Crystal Palace with independent front suspension.
L. R. Briggs is seeking to dispose of his racing M.G. Magnet, but another Irish driver is rumoured to be purchasing a works s.v. Austin Seven, and C. G. Nein has bought the 2-litre full C. P. Bugatti formerly raced by the late Hugh M’Ferran.
In rallies and similar events J. Eason-Gibson will be driving a I,ancia Aprilia and H. G. Symmons his Centric-blown Type 55 Frazer-Nash-B.M.W.