ON THE ROAD WITH A LEYLAND EIGHT - continued from page 64

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44

though Thompson and Taylor who maintain the car subsequently found us a new set. The maxima on second and third are about 35 m.p.h. and 70 m.p.h. respectively. Along that undulating bit of road after one leaves the Portsmouth Road for Brooklands I discovered just how well this big car holds the road. It went up to 75 m.p.h. and stayed there, up the rises ana down the dips, and steering into the gutter for approaching traffic, not withstanding. Moreover, the brakes checked speed very smoothly and surely in emergency and the dash, bonnet and radiator remained absolutely as one piece, only the horizontal steering column showing a desire to wag about. Remember this when you take this road in any other fast, really big motor. Incidentally, the passenger finds it quite unnecessary to clasp the grip, save on sharp corners, or to drape his right arm behind the driver. At the Track repairs at the Fork made timed lappery impossible, but at just over 90 m.p.h. the Leyland rode the Byfleet like a rock, and at a paltry 2,600 r.p.m. We tried two acceleration tests, but being in a hurry they were done without giving the driver any chance to

get “warmed up,” nor had we changed the faulty plug. Under the circumstances the figures are indeed excellent : to 50 m.p.h. in 12 secs. dead ; to 70 m.p.h. in 19 secs. dead. The carburation was also by no means perfect.

Looking back on a very pleasant experience I cannot enthuse too strongly over a car which is not only an extremely interesting technical study, but one that possesses remarkably good performance and which is a practical roadcar into the bargain. We can congratulate ourselves that it has gone into such good keeping. Until we were clear of London town the revs, did not rise beyond 2,000 r.p.m. on the indirects, and mostly we sailed majestically along at about 800 r.p.m., for the top ratio is about 2.8 to 1 and the Dunlop racing covers are 6.00# x21″. By the time Putney Bridge was negotiated the oil-pressure had settled to 45 lb. per square inch and Sir Lionel had brought the water temperature up to 70T. by use of the hand-controlled radiator shutters. Along the Kingston By-Pass we consequently got moving at once at around 70 m.p.h.—a mere 2,000 r.p.m.—checking only for slower traffic, when the exhaust roar would cut out and give way to tyre hum as the brakes took hold. Although the suspension shows indications of supple action by the sound of the wheels moving over undulations, the big car rides like a rock, and in town the action is of that hardness associated with the true sports-car. If the acceleration on the indirects had been impressive before, it now became a source of joy as we negotiated one of London’s most miserable exits. The Leyland got along very fast, swinging past obstructions and going easily up to 70 m.p.h., conveying a sense of immense latent power, as only a really big car can. The second and third ratios are engaged at comparatively moderate speeds, yet the Pick-UP is terrific. On third the Tapley Performance Meter would swing up to 450 lb., and in top it presented “250 lb. ” on nearly every occasion when the throttle was opened. The small threespoke steering wheel, very thick rimmed, is set almost horizontally, a Leyland Eight feature, as the short column terminates in gearing on a vertical shaft immediately behind the facia, which operates the Marks box. The ratio is high. The disc wheel-centre carries sliding buttons around its circumference, which control ignition, mixture and throttle-opening. The mottled-silver facia, set well under the scuttle, carries, from left to right :an inspection lamp ; fuel gauge ; Ki-gass ; Tapley meter ; Jaeger rev-counter and speedometer ; with oil-pressure adjuster, oil-gauge and water thermometer above them ; dash lamp ; and lighting panel on the extreme right. The inspection lamp is certainly not out of place on this unique car, as its lead pulls out and stays out until the lamp is extinguished, when it re-winds itself on a sprung roller ! The rev-counter reads to 4,000 r.p.m. ; the

speedometer to 120 m.p.h. There are three electric horns. On the run to the Track Sir Lionel told me that the car has been in regular use since the High Speed Trial, when it averaged 97.85 m.p.h. for an hour on a wet Track, and has merely been decarbonised since. It has a hood and excellent Marchall headlainps, the latter fitted before its owner had seen the latest Lucas equipment. In the M.C.C. affair, with full equipment, it reached about 115 m.p.h. and should do 117 on larger wheels. Rather aghast I said : “What m.p.g. do you get, just touring ? ” ” Ten,” came the reply, “if I don’t keep using bottom gear ! ” R.1. plugs are used, and we ” lost ” No. 8 on the way down,

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