Letters from readers, February 1943


I should like to tell of the cars I have owned in a space of 16 years a total of 18 automobiles, which in England would class me as an enthusiast, while here it’s just plain barmy! First, I will answer the query of Mr. Ian McLardy about the Hupmobile with the Cord body. Hupmobile bought the body dies from the Cord Co. and built about four cars in time for the Automobile Shows in January, 1939, but never went into production. The same dies were acquired by Graham and used on the supercharged model.

Re your correction note in the same issue concerning the hush-hush Lockhart-Miller, it was a 16-cylinder of very unique construction, probably the most powerful engine for its size produced in this country. The following is a brief description: Two 91.5 cu. in. Miller engines, altered as to camshafts and valve-operating mechanism, mounted side by side at a small angle on a common crankcase using two crankshafts geared together to a common clutch incorporating a positive locking device of Miller’s own design; compression was standard for the period, about 6-1, with two centrifugal blowers, the h.p. was around 325 at 7,000 r.p.m., though this is from memory. This same engine was rediscovered in 1939 and ran at Indianapolis as the Alden Sampson special; in 1940, again at Indianapolis, in practice it turned a lap at 130 m.p.h.

Now to continue with the list of cars and a few comments on what seemed outstanding or unusual to me: Two 1923 Chevrolets, a sedan and a tourer; cone clutch, very bad brakes, quarter elliptic springs (as the load increased the axle moved away and applied the brakes). A 1925 Flint, 6-cylinder Continental engine quite well designed, top speed 60 m.p.h. H.C.S. (Harry C. Stutz) 1926; only a few of the 6-cylinder model were built, very low and sporty-looking, six wire wheels with large tyres, valves in head, full pressure lubrication, massive cast aluminium crankcase with cooling fins, speed 75 m.p.h., large headlamps with a magnetic dimming device that tilted the reflector. A 1929 Ford Tudor sedan acquired new; during its life had almost every type of speed equipment on it; flat heads of aluminium and steel from 5.5-1 to 8-1 compression ratio .; Miller Schoefield, Cragar and Riley overhead valves, the latter having eight inlet valves in head and using four exhaust valves in the block. The fastest was a 8-1 Winfield flat head having a 1,3/8-in. carburetter of same make with Mallory distributor, being timed in high gear at 10-40 in 11.4 sec., 10-50 in 14 sec., 10-60 in 18 sec., 85 m.p.h. in high, 65 m.p.h. in second, and 42 m.p.h. in low. It took a 4-lane highway and no wind to be able to use over 70 m.p.h. A 1932 Ford 4-cylinder Roadster with Miller-Schoefield head of 6.5-1 compression ratio, with two 1,1/4 in. Winfield carburetters was the best Ford combination for speed, pick-up and easy handling, with 91 m.p.h. on top, 60 m.p.h. in second, and 40 m.p.h. in low, 10-40 in 10, 10-50 in 15, 10-60 in 21, 20-50 in 11.5, 20-60 in 16.5. Then followed some Fords: a 1929 Roadster, 1929 Coupe, 1931 Roadster and 1932 Roadster, mostly as trading stock, a 1934 V8 Coupe geared 4.11, giving very good pick-up, but 80 m.p.h. in top, 60 m.p.h. in second, and 35 m.p.h. in low.

A 1936 V8 Tudor geared 8.54; nice riding but poor handling at speed, due to steering and new weight distributing, though 90 m.p.h. in top, 77 m.p.h. in second and 47 m.p.h. in low.

Next a ‘Model J Duesenberg 8-cylinder 7-litre; definitely the finest car built in America, with its pent-roof head with four valves per cylinder, 265 h.p. at 4,400 r.p.m., 118 m.p.h. in top, 90 m.p.h. in second, and 55 m.p.h. in low, and with its 6,200 lb. able to out-accelerate all competition. The only car with the best quality that money can buy and not bought for the quality of the engine, as not understood by the purchaser; the chassis cost was $8,500, with the cheapest car at $17,500; it had the most complete instrument panel, having 150 m.p.h. speedometer, 5,000 r.p.m. tachometer, with the rest of the standard instruments, in addition to signal lights to tell when to check the battery water, the oil level, when it was time to lubricate the chassis, then automatically a light came on telling that the chassis was being automatically lubricated, and a button on the control unit could select whether the chassis was taken care of at 60- or 120-mile periods. It had a crankshaft dynamically balanced with capsules of mercury inserted in the throws, some engines having tubular steel rods, though most had aluminium alloy rods.

At present I have a car probably unfamiliar to other than a few in the States—a 1941 Ford 6-cylinder coupe, engine very clean and neat, bore 3.3, stroke 4.4, with 90 h.p. at 3,300, 180 ft. lb. torque at 1,200 r.p.m., geared 3.44-1, with speeds of 89,, 60 and 38 m.p.h.; in the lower speed range has acceleration equal to the above hotted-up Fords, due partly to the oversize inlet valve and 6.7 to 1 compression ratio. Engine has four mains with shell liners, pressure lubrication, full-length water jacket and four inlet ports. Hoping that you will understand this gibberish. I look forward to reading your magazine.

I am, Yours etc.,

Ontario. – F. W. Murphy.