LETTERS from READERS, February 1945
LETTERS from READERS
In view of the fact that I am a fairly wide supporter, by way of advertisements, I consider it my right to criticise severely the publishing in your paper of December of the business arrangements of my firm, Continental Cars, in regard to the making of a film. I do not know quite how the writer of this passage got his information, but feel that actual financial arrangements are not the kind of thing that a reputable paper should publish, at any rate without first seeking my permission and confirmation.
In point of fact, the statement made about the remuneration of the “racing drivers” is not correct, and I expect you to publish a short note to this effect in your next issue.
Whilst on this subject, I would like you to ask yourselves whether it is at all in the interests of those “connected with motoring and the Sport to publish all the details of some action which has, up to the time of publication, been winked at by the police, but which, now being brought into the bright light of day, may cause questions in high places and further action to be taken. I am, Yours, etc., R. E. CLARKE,
For CONTINENTAL CARS. Chobham, Surrey. [We were not aware that Continental Cars were working under contract for the producers of “The Rake’s Progress,” as persons not on their staff handled and prepared some of the cars. We merely reported the happening as fully as possible as an interesting event in our world, and if some facts went a little astray, we apologise. Authority should note that if the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Fuel and Power deem motorracing for film-making purposes necessary in war-time, it can hardly bilk at the closing of roads for real motor-racing, as a means of increasing national prestige, when peace returns. So perhaps Continental Cars have done the Sport more good than even they realise by letting their cars appear in this film.—En.] Sir,
I noticed in your last issue of MOTOR Soar a short column dealing with Meadows power units. Some time ago I wrote to Henry Meadows, Ltd., in regard to an engine believed to be of that manufacture. Since then I have heard nothing from them, and I am still trying to establish whether or not this engine in question was made by Meadows.
The chassis in which this unit is fitted is, I believe, one of the earlier M.G. Midget chassis, with an aluminium body with pointed tail, which, when bought by my late brother, was advertised as having a Meadows engine.
However, it is certainly not typical of that make. Unfortunately, I have no photograph, but briefly the description is as follows : 4-cylinder, rated at 11.9 h.p., a fullycounterbalanced crankshaft is fitted. The crankcase and block being of aluminium, the latter having steel liners inserted. The valves are operated via
rockers by a single overhead camshaft, which lies in a bath of oil down the inlet side of the head. The camshaft is driven by an extremely thick chain from the front end, and a large Watford magneto is driven off the camshaft drive and is fitted at right angles. The head appears to be of cast iron. Twin S.U.s are each bolted to short, straight manifolds on the left side. The sparking plugs are mounted in pairs in between the exhaust ports, the manifold being of straightforward design discharging through a Burgess silencer. The dynamo is gear-driven off the front of the crankshaft. The engine bears a strong resemblance to the Frazer-Nash o.h.e. job, but differs in the position of the camshaft and the valve operation.
Incidentally, there are several enthusiasts here on this R.A.F. station, the most popular cars being a “Red Label” 3-litre Bentley, in excellent condition, and a much-modified M.G. Magnette.
Since MOTOR SPORT has become available in the mess, the mess secretary’s popularity has certainly increased, with us anyway. I am, Yours, etc.,
R.A.F. H. V. BLAND (F/Lt.). [Here is a problem for the experts, which someone will doubtless solve.—En.] Sir,
I am at present engaged collecting data for a book on the history of A.C. cars.
I should be most grateful to hear from any of your readers who have had experience of these cars, particularly the early models. In particular, I am anxious to have information regarding experiences in racing and trials and, if possible, I hope to devote a chapter to ” specials ” based on the A.C.
I should be very pleased to receive on loan any literature, catalogues, race descriptions, road tests, etc., which your readers may have, and would assure anyone kind enough to loan me such documents that they will be promptly returned. I am, Yours, etc.,
L. J. R. TAYLOR (Major). Shrewsbury. [Matter can be forwarded—and, meanwhile, will the writer please confirm his full address.—En.] • Sir,
I have just read “Those Were the Days,” and I would like to say how much I enjoyed it. Particularly interesting (to me) were the references to the s.v. AstonMartin “Bunny,” but now I am in the peculiar position of not knowing whether I am a vandal—having broken up what I believed to be ” Bunny “—or a liar for telling so many people about “Bunny,” when what I really owned was ” N****r.”
Well, if it really was ” N****r” I hid, I hope the lucky owner of “Bunny ” will take note of the fearful mess I have made of things and carefully preserve “Bunny.” I hope, too, Mr. Ellis and other enthusiasts will not feel too outraged by having bits of the ” N****r ” given to them in the mistaken idea that they were from “Bunny.”
As a change from this sombre subject, I have had much enjoyment lately from “doing up ” a G.P. Salmson (twin o.h.c.). I swapped this car with a friend nine years ago. Now it has been swapped back to me again. Reading from the front, it starts off as Salmson, although the radiator is Amilcar, progresses to the clutch as pure Salmson, then switches abruptly to Aston-Martin (short cardan shaft and 4-speed box). From there it gradually becomes Ford Model ” T” back axle with 3.63 to 1 ratio, culminating in Morris hubs, brakes, etc.
By the way, if any reader of MOTOR SPORT has two or more 10-in, well-base wheels to fit Rudge hubs to sell, I should like to buy them.
The engine, after its 16 years’ work, was in fair condition. The crankpins were only 2i thous. oval, and apart from lapping them round again—a slow job— and re-metalling all bearings, I have done little to it. I know definitely that during the last 12 years no oil but veterinary castor has been used, which probably explains why things have stuck it so well.
I would like to have retained the old solid back axle—my friend used to do some incredible cornering on wet roads with its aid—but I’m afraid the not-sogood tyres which we may expect to get would take a poor view of it. I am, Yours, etc.,
ALEX. S. WiLsox. Dunblane, Perthshire. [All this is most interesting. A subsequent letter from Mr. Wilson states that his car had no list of records on the dash, such as ‘Bunny” had, and so it seems possible his car wasn’t ” Bunny ” after all. Ile put in a Sunbeam back axle, and people who say ” Bunny ” is somewhere in Scotland with a Sunbeam rear end are obviously thinking of this car. We now propose, therefore, to follow up some admittedly slender clues in the hope of tracing the immortal and elusive “Bunny.”—Eq.] Sir,
Mo.roa SPORT still reaches me. Reading the correspondence columns makes me realise that there are, after all, a few motorists left at home, and it is to them that I am writing this letter, if you will be kind enough to print it.
When I left England 3f years ago I had neither the time nor the petrol to take my Lagonda home to Bournemouth for laying-up.
Although the garage where I had to leave it is being very good about it, and wrote me a letter saying all was well, I would be very grateful if one of you, living in the Dorking area, would write to me and say he was willing to go and have a look and tell me how things are. This would be very much appreciated, as I often think of the car and look forward to driving again.
With best. wishes to your paper. I am, Yours, etc.,
S.E.A.C. P. A. D ENS HAM (Lt., R.A.). [If anyone cares to help Lt. Densham we can put them in touch.—En.] Sir, As the article in the December issue of MOTOR SPORT entitled “On a Mild Disturbance in the Midlands” is inaccurate in scime major respects, I would like to make the following observations for your information and that of your readers :
The events leading tip to the meeting at Birmingham in October had no connection whatever with the effort which the M.M.E.C. made some months previously with the same ends in view. If MOTOR SPORT or its readers are interested in the latter, I shall be pleased to supply full details for publication. The position of the M.M.E.C. was fully set out in a letter from Graham Dix published in The A utocar of December 1st, and it is unnecessary to cover the same ground again.
I deny the allegation that the M.M.E.C. or, indeed, any other club, was represented at the October meeting, which was a private one, by invitation only, of individuals.
A meeting having been convened, it was necessary to provide a basis for discussion. That was the reason for Mr. Dix putting forward once again the view of the M.M.E.C. It has never been suggested by anyone connected with this club that these views are anything but a basitfor discussion.
The committee, which was elected from those present at the meeting, consisted of the following : Messrs. R. Mays (chairman), G. C. Dix, Storey, R. Czesar, H. Birkett, G. Bance, A. Heal, C. Clutton, W. R. R. Leese, A. Rivers-Fletcher, Adams, P. R. Monkhouse, L. Potter, J. Cooper, D. Jenkinson, G. Harding, W/Cdr. Lester, and Dr. W. P. Forrest.
Of the 18 members of the above committee, only two are members of the M.M.E.C., viz., Mr. Dix and Dr. Forrest.
It was this committee and not the M.M.E.C., as stated in the article, which elected the sub-committee of four— Messrs. Mays, Cassar, Heal and Dr. Forrest.
Before deciding what value the Birmingham meeting had, let us await authorised publication of the work of the sub-committee, and then we may decide if its findings and suggestions are worth while or desirable, and act or withhold action accordingly. In fairness to your readers, the M.M.E.C. and Mr. Dix, I ask that this letter receive publicity similar to that of the article in
question, so that all interested may be acquainted with the precise position. I am, Yours, etc.,
STEWART FORREST, (Chairman, M.M.E.C.). Birmingham, 16. Sir,
In view of wrong impressions -which have been brought to my notice following the article entitled ” On a Mild Disturbance in the Midlands ‘.’ in your necember issue, I should be grateful if you would permit me to make clear my own part in the Birmingham meeting.
The report gives the impression that the M.M.E.C. WWI represented at that meeting. That is not so. Those invited were present as individuals, and not club representatives. It is true that the meeting Was arranged by the .11.11.E.(7.. because their desire that any constructive ideas as to the future of motoring Sport should be formulated agreed with that of Raymond Mays. The M.M.E.C. undertook the preliminary arrangements of the meeting because the club was in a position to do so more easily than anyone else. Their definite wish not to influence such discussions as may arise in any way thereafter caused them to retire from the scene, having satisfactorily completed the only job they set out to do, namely, to convene a meeting of as many enthusiasts as possible. The private and confidential notes I sent to you prior to the meeting were intended to give you some idea of what I proposed to discuss, to assist you to formulate your own speech, as I was given to understand that you would attend in a private capacity. The meeting having taken place, there was no point in retaining notes which were preliminary personal thoughts in no way purporting to represent the views of the meeting. That is the reason why I sent you the notes, and why, later, you were asked to destroy them. The implication that I was speaking on behalf of the AI.M.E.(‘. was not justified. It is true that I referred in detail to a suggestion compiled by the M.M.E.C., but I did this because I was not able to make a more suitable one. I endeavoured, to the point of boredom, to make it quite plain that it was not my hope to get the scheme passed in full. The object in submitting it at all was to provide one suggestion which the meeting could criticise, amend, or even throw out. I said that it was submitted as a basis for discussion only. I did not submit it, as the report states, because “the M.M.E.C. wanted to reorganise the Sport now.” The M.M.E.C. does not want to reorganise the Sport. Neither do I. I think the M.M.E.C., many present at the meeting, and most certainly myself, do want activities to begin again as soon as possible. We want to begin with as little confusion as possible. If there were any pre-war aspects which it would be undesirable to repeat, we want those who are aware of them to bring them to light now, so that they may be eradicated. But we all realise that there are competent authorities to deal with them. One of the main objects of the meeting was to discuss such things. If there is general agreement, then the proper authority should be asked to act, to do any reorganisation required. I trust that no
one mentioned in this letter, including MOTOR SPORT, wishes to set up a motoring dictatorship. The IV1.M.E.C.’s suggestion, which I outlined, was not intended for publication
because it is not the policy of the club. At present the club has no policy on post-war sport. It is content to abide by the wishes of the majority, subject to the right, if it should become necessary to exercise it, of making every endeavour to safeguard its own interests. These do not include reorganisation of the Sport. In so far as they are concerned with Sport they are limited to small-car events, and any other forms of Sport which may be among the less costly types. Neither can it be said that the suggestion I made is my own policy. I, in common with most others at the meeting, am anxious to do all we can for motoring Sport, but any changes which are recommended muht be backed by a large proportion of those whom such changes are likely to concern. For this reason, I consider the publication of the discussion in Bir
mingham to be inopportune. Discussion on that discussion is a waste of time. Let us wait until we have definite authoritative proposals put before us, with the necessary support. Your report further suggests in the second column that I accepted, on behalf of the club, Wing-Commander Lester’s proposals in total. This I did not do. I have already stated that I did not represent the M.M.E.C. Neither did I accept his proposals on my own behalf. I as…limed this. like my own. to be suggesidle. only, and I duly noted them for my per-onol consideration if alld Nviwn revisit to., became necessory. ‘What I did support. and I 1110W ill11 ill entire agreement with him on this point. was his stotement„ which I qnote from
the Mo Seoul. report : ” That motorin•: Sport should be part of the national way of living. Motor racing is allied to (national) politics. The ‘lotion must get merhanically-minded ii it. is to survive future wars, and roving offers the elumee.”
Your report. shifts : ” The NI.M.EA’. . . . wanted to control motoring politic?. . . .” At the meeting I made it quite elear that. the club wished to do nothino of the sort. I now deny it again, ab‘olutely. The report of my speech conelodes : •• Nvotited to see the formation of a ctumnittee at this meeting . . .” Yes, I did. hitt not as you continue : . . . to
further these aims ” by implication. the etaitrol of motoring Sport. its reor2anisation by the ALNI.E.C., et(‘.). I said. and I repeat here, that the INmin”ham meeting. was not representative : it et add not be. for no chills were present. Tht• meeting, therefore, would not have heen in order. as some suggested. in mokins.r, any recommend:it hots upon the future of motoring Sport. Therefore, I %voluted a committee to be formed in order fi, at representative views of the dubs so t hal. ultimately. if’ it were felt to be
by those concerned, the clubs’ recommendations on lite future of the Shwa 1’4 >Uhl he made to t he proper quarters N%iii authorit y and support. I trust that this statement or iii, uwo part in the Birmingham merlin!, makes it i• icor that. the Editorial etonments in regard to the are completely ondeserved. The fact that MoTo aSeolee
dt nted so) Spilee to I his meeting is cueouraoiii!. to those interested ill the future or motoring. It is to he hoped th:it any authorised statetio’nts made by the committee or the Birmingham meeting will receive the equally careful consideration of Alo.roa Sewer and its readers. In the meantime. in the event or ally declaration of’ policy on the part of’ the M.M.E.C. or mvsell in regard to the future of I he Sport ?,ttuuill be inh,rmcd I iv the club and by tne. :tnd Von VII? receive authority to publish such Up to the present time no such have heen formtdated. I am, Yours. ele.,
GitAii.%%1 C. Dix.
Ilirminghtim. I t. I we only hope this conveys more to our readers than it does to its. The Ilirmingltain I/isturbance is fast becoming the Itirmitio.hatti 13orc. l.i .I
Sir. :1111 ‘‘ riling to COITeet all error in your relk of of the Ilirminellain meet kw. I am misquoted as having said : -• waking ovnerall no one at the meeting repre sents motor raving ” \Ind I aebtailv said \ 5peak1112 generally. thr
ill: did riot 1111(1101,1%Willg.” I ask you to correct this l)(‘(‘utuis( I alli informed that some p(‘ot)le have taken the remarl: to Wean I hat I (10 110t consider -Raymond Alzt‘..4., W1111 hails the ell:dr the meeting. to represent motor I.:whit.. policies readers of 3IoToa SeonT must know Raymond llays’s long and successful motor-racing career. and his successful efforts with the E.R.A. Company to
enhance Britain’s prestige in ill ternational motor racing, so I naturally would not, like it to be thought that I. an old friend of his. did not consider him qualified to represent the Sport.
I have sent a copy of this icttcr to Raymond Mays.
I ant. Yours, etc..
A. F. IlivEits-FLETcumt.
[We arkinm led.re Raymond Mays as one of Britoill’s ..reatest raving drivers and the sprint exponent par excellent,.. 1Vhether he is better qualified to represent the Sport than is the R.A.C. Competitions Committee, Or qualified rave organisers, is anot her issue altogether,—En.
With re.qtrd to Mr. Hutchison’s letter, I am interested in the paragraph about the suggestion of using the components of a Ford Ten to !Hoke a trials’ car. But the fact must not he overlooked that the demand for ordinary standard ears will be so great that the manufacturers will not be able to satisfy the orders of their own dealers, and will not be abk. or interested in supplying component parts to a small manufacturer. Another point that all sporting erlthosiasIs must remember is that most probahly there will be government control on all car sales, and the sporting enthusiast will not stand much chance or old :oiling a permit within one year oh’ cessation of hostilities in Europe. My company have been investigatint, the possihilities of making a 10-h.p. eu with a maximum wei”ht or 12 cwt., hut we were wistfully hoping that if a reduced
car tax were adopted. the to 2-litre class would be more satisfactory. I towever, the sterocsted 421 per 100-e.e. tax will force montifocturers again into the 10-h.p. class. ond 1111)`A Sport enthusiasts will have to forgo alum( the 100 m.p.h. cruising speeds, so often talked about , and he ‘content with a 75 SO m.p.h. maximum.
11 am. Yours. etc.. Worcester Park, S. II. .X1,1. 1:i
Sir l’reV. Sir,
W:I`t erV tereSted 10 re:Ill r. NVY”.Sutit it.1(” SW” tinie “go I was given. by Chick Fo iwler. a small blueprintett tlaht chart relating to the 1.1,-litre
I/arracq single-seater. I think the howl, contained in this arc interesting iii the light of those quoted as etanitt2front the desk of All% Ihibbs, of Sunbeams. You will s(‘e, ill particular, that the output of the 1924 1 -li I to I )arraeo cagine at LW) is veil as 91) l’•11-1)-• ” huh (.1()selY 1.’ffiTcsP1)9’is with Nil., Dobbs’s figure of 92 b.h.p. As the 11,10111’ or 108 b.h.p. at 5,500 r.p.m. appears in the satue chart. I think it can be aecepted as accurate. It. may be. of course. that the enoine for the single-seflter raeino car received stonle SpeCIZIII 1111111e.. .1110111111ntely, the earl/M.01XF setting is not slated. I note also iit the sante is,:.tte. a further reference to tuy connect ion with Autlitmy 13rooke and the Vali hall llier’s car. It may save confusion in the future if I make it clear that when All% Brooke purchased this engine he approached me to see if the supercharger system could be improved. I informed him that with the existing single-stage Itootes blower running at about. 20 11.)./ sq. in. pressure, a great deal of horsepower was being thrown away, and that,
changing over to a two-stage Itootes system it would not he Ilill’eaS011able to expect it gain in output to the extent ()I’ 30 to 40 brake horse-power, the indicated horse-power remaining the same. At the same time I said that if I could be of any assistance in making suggestions covering this re-arrangement of the gas works 1 ‘vould be pleased to do so. I am, Your4, etc., London, E.C.1. LAUB I.:NC I.’. Po M EliON% Sir,
I would like to say how much I enjoyed the illuminating article by Cecil Clutton some months ago, in which he refreslied my memory about cars or long ago. Mr. Clutton has displayed a thorough knowledge of his subject, his reasoning is sound and his facts are correct and agree with my Own knowledge and memory.
Mr. Clifton and I regret the passing or these fatuous ol(l makes and models, as theY were hand-Aulde real engineering jobs, possessing personality and individuality so unlike many modern cars which are getting increasingly dillicult. to distinguish on the road. I would like to recall for Mr. Clutton’s ideasure a few old models which had liarticularly strong features of character and type. such a5 the ” Shelsley ” Crossley 15.9 11.p. of 80 by 130. current about 1913 and 11114. The 2.; and 35 ” Hotary-valye Mikis, which made about, 40 consecutive climbs of the Mont Cenis Pass under an Italian summer sky as far hack as 1912 or 1913. The Metallurghlue
“26/50 and ” :38/90 ” and the Croire 80 by 160. Sizaire Naudin 70 by 170. D.F.P. 70 by 130, ‘iron which Capt.
V. O. Bentley broke s() it records in 1913, and the Rocha Schneider. probably the highest. class job France offered in those days. NIr. Chalon refers in his article to the Austro-Dainder which Porsche designed for the Prince Henry Trial of 1910. The same model distinguished itself in the Austrian Alpine Trials. This model was
known as the a bonny pushrod 0.11.y. 4-cylinder of’ 105 by 165 nun. Shod with 880 by 120 tyres on wire wheels, a wheelbase of 10 rt. 6 in., and a 4 rt. 8 in. track. It possessed a sharply pointed honeycomb radiator or great distinction and finish. I veil remember seeing this car exhibited (it the Manchester Motor Show, together with its larger brother, the “35,60 ” touring model. A friend of mine hall one of the ” 2780 ” type, it nd his father had it 20..30 11.p. of the sanw make, both or which were splendidly constructed and very satisfactory. Perhaps Mr. Chaton also remembers a model styled the 19/100 li.p., a very sporting 6-cylinder of low build. marketed here round about 1926.
Now to proceed. 1 had expected Mr. Chalon to mention the famous 4-in. Tourist, Trophy Race as a milestone in the evolution of the sports car. It seems to Inc that cars were being built to all sorts of sizes without a set purpose until this event.
As the title of the race suggested, it imposed a limit size of 4 in. for the bore of all 4-cylinder cars participating. It was a road race and not a track competition, and ears were equipped with reasonable latches as sports ears are understood to have. The event was well supported. I think, and it was most, noticeable that after this useful size had been established in this way, reasonable and moderate as it was for those days, that almost every maker of any standing listed a car of this bore ; many manufacturers producing a sports and also It tourer with differences only in wheelbase length and gear ratios, but, little else. Mostly these engines carried a stroke of’ 140 nim., yielding a cubic capacity of 4.1. litres. I suggest, therefore, that this size gained an unassailable position and popularity for about 15 years from 1910, I think. therefore, this was the point upon which the ” capable ” size anchored itself. I agree the Coupe de l’Auto established the 3-litre size. Does Mr. Clutton remember the I.O.M. T.T. of about 1923. when Bentley, Sunbeam and Minerva each entered a team of three’ ears all :3 litres ? This was tint repeated, as the course was too narrow, especially on the long mountain section, for cars to safely pass each other. Two other factors, I have ;ilways felt., vhmich, haVe a bearim, upon tile Manner designs haVe deVelopcd, as much as anything which we have yet, said, WCI’C (a) the nature of the country of origin, its terrain and the temperament of its people ; (5) the taxation system (of’ ears) prevailing in each land. Enlarging upon (a) the cars are primarily built for ” home ” consumption, and in our
0111′ i’Oadti have always been undulatingand curving ;111(1 our legislation antiquated. Furthermore, the powers that he have always strongly diseourage(I road racimr in any part or these islands. Touching upon (1) our system of taxation to It .A.C. formula, 1,vhich takes only the bore into consideration, has caused the matitthictorers. perforce, to cultivate
the long-stroke ” lead-pencil tyia. of cylinder, resulting in small valve diameter, long con. rods and high piston speeds.
Nlay I now make a few remarks about the Type 13 Bugatti referred to by Mr. Clutt on. We had one of’ these engaging little beasts in our family in 1913. Fitted with an English-Infilt 2-seater body and dickey, (ind no silencer, we were obliged, nay, compelled. to fit a long expansion chamber as the crackle was quite crisp for those days. It was, or course, overlwad cani, dry sump. grasshopper springs. and stood head and shoulders above ally other current design of light car at that (late. The wheelbase was 7 ft. 10, in., 710 by 90 tyres, 35-litre pressure tank ; right-hand change in a gate of minute travel, and possessed ratios of 3.4, -t.5, 6 and 10; the speeds we were able to obtain being roughly 62, 37 and 45 m.p.h. on the three higher ratios. It was earried out. in a massive and businesslike manner throughout, and was natty. The car WaS rather overcooled for this country, the large pear-shaped radiator and very big water pump were a shade too much even in hilly Wales, the brakes were untielievably bad, and flit’ dry sump system always ” passed back.It. was our first. experience of dry sump, and our difficulties were aggravated by the war being on, with no kind of service availahle. no parts, and the catalogue printed in Italian. There were only six cars of the type in the country. 11’e disposed or her, with regret, to Capt. Bayliss, of Sunbeams. I agree with Mr. Chilton with deep feeling when he says, in effect, howhe car and, moreover, I cannot ever foresee it being revived, as our pockets are now lean, and will be leaner. I think, however, that with the changing times, and car design changing to match, that we shall get more satisfactory performance in sporting cars from a reasonable design which is suitable for ” quantity ” production and supercharging it, than by a
11,e rI tined engine of racing type exeess vely sensitive to pump fuels and carbon deposit.
I will conclude by saying I am not very keen on independent springing for this country—nor do we require 4-wheel drive here, but I would like to see bigger diameter road wheels with medium-pressure tyres, and a frame dipping down underslung below the two axles and really long awl really wide-leaved semi-springs. I hope, too, that a change in the taxation system will bring us a short-stroke o.h.v. 6-,.ylinder engine which will have a durable cylinder life. I am, Yours, etc., Preston. G. If. HENRY. IThis was written before the recent announcement of a capacity tax.—En.1