ON THE INFLUENCE OF SLIME-STORMING

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ON THE INFLUENCE OF SLIMESTORMING

In reply to Mr. S. H. Allard, whose letter appeared in the January issue :Sir, Mr. Allard jumps to an incorrect conclusion in believing that the writer deplores an Allard-Special ; in the article it was emphasised that trials adversely influenced, in the main, small sportscars costing under 000. Mr. Allard contrives to achieve excellent results by using 3.6-litres of lightly-stressed motor in a very light frame, but it costs 080 to purchase the resultant car. This car and the B.M.W. which Mr. Allard mentions and others mentioned in the article are very admirable all-round performers, simply because they incorporate certain special characteristics possible at the comparatively high prices they command. That everything done by M.G. and Austin to their trials team cars renders them better sports-cars, as Mr. Allard contends, is contrary to the argument expressed in the article ; it depends on what constitutes a sports-car in Mr. Allard’s estimation. And to say that a typical small trials car needing adjustments before being raced is no different from the adjustments necessary for racing a standard sports-car is to miss the point completely, given that the standard car is 4 thoroughbred production whose designer has not been influenced by trials requirements. Although certain alterations and adjustments may be desirable before the latter type is raced, they cannot be so extensive as those required in a car destined for slime-storming, because to achieve success in trials such a car will inevitably possess a number of features quite foreign to racing success (as the article endeavoured to make clear) excepting when the car comes into a price category that enables all conditions to be met by sheer brilliance of design and construction. Mr. Allard may be correct when he says that the M.G. and Austin cars in the 1937 12-Hour SportsCar Race at Donington were virtually the trials cars, but I believe the M.G.s used higher compression ratios, aluminium in place of steel sumps and had higher gear-ratios than they used for trials work. The fold flat screen was introduced for sports-car races, but it became universal for trials motors ; in the 12-Hour Race M.G. used single aero screens. That some competitors fit small wings for trials to preserve standard mudguards is no argument against my contention that trials killed the close-up, or cycletype, wing. Mr. Allard suggests that I am a Bugatti fan, and I confess it, for a Bugatti is a thoroughbred, though I was recently taken to task for mild criticism of the Type 37. May I return the compliment by assuming that Mr. Allard is thinking solely in terms of the Ford V8 when he mentions a car which can run with its radiator blanked off in trials, yet which overheats on Brooklands ? In this case overcooling permits of blanking off and the boiling at high speed is due to an exhaust-system, head formation and water-pump not designed for racing work. The fact still remains that most small sports motors overheat on trials hills unless they have big

” coolers,” even though they will get through an M.C.C. or j.C.C. High Speed Trial without loss of water ; a case in point is the original H.R.G., which can be driven hard on the road and in speed trials, etc., without anxiety, but which overheats on muddy hills, so that production models have a deeper radiator to humour slime-stormers—though that must increase both weight and cost. Compare an Amilcar radiator of preslime days with that of a modern M.G. or Singer . . . I am very surprised to learn that low first gears are too low for trials. Surely the ultra low bottom ratio of the typical trials car was introduced to cope with restart tests ; it is useless in ordinary motoring. On Fingle at least two of the Austin team used bottom to complete their climbs, during the ” Exeter,” when there was no question of a restart. Does Mr. Allard really tackle restart tests on

his second ratio ? And if “very lowgeared steering” is a feature of the Mercedes-Benz and Auto-Union racingcars, how do their drivers contrive to take corners such as Melbourne, or the Station Hairpin at Monaco, without changing the position of their hands on the wheel rim ? I do agree that ” thoroughbred ” types very often have small high-revving engines when there is such a lot to be said. for using a bigger engine in a chassis of equal

weight. But I contend that they are still better road cars than the cheap sports job that shines in slime-storming. Mr. Allard uses a big motor in a light frame and the resultant car is one of which I very much approve, but he does not sell his Specials at under 000. And if he still feels that racing has evolved the buzzbox class of anchorism, I would remind him that modern racing practice centres around 5 to 6-litre engines in cars weighing under 15 cwt.—surely the doctrine he himself is preaching ! To his allegation that a Ford V8 saloon is usually a lot quicker than a Bugatti or similar 11-litre car, that may be so where the majority of drivers in this country are concerned, but at least some of ug believe in Safety Fast. And if the racing-type car is as unpleasant as Mr. Allard suggests, then all little trials motors are equally so, with nasty road-holding and under-gearing thrown in, penalties one pays to slimestorming in a cheap motor, and in sonic expensive ones—see the road-test in a contemporary of the old ” Musketeer ” M.G. Magnette. I am, Yours etc.,

W. BODDV.

S.W.17.

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