More Letters From Readers, February 1948




I have just finished reading “The Meeting of the Clubs” in the January issue of Motor Sort and am in wholehearted agreement with your bracketed remarks about fighting for unrationed petrol instead of all this “basic” talk.

The motor industry has a right to a respected place in the well-being of the country and has established that right in the successful supplying of the numerous components which were vital to the defence of the country, therefore let all motoring journals combine to achieve the recognition of this right; the usual answers will, no doubt, be given, but personally as far as dollars go I am sure that the present issue of trashy films can only be described as poor value for money and certainly does not justify the deprival of a section of the populace of a clean, healthy sport.

I am, Yours, etc., B. W. Lyth.

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After reading “Without Comment” and “Also Without Comment” in recent editions of Motor Sport, drawing attention to the existence of a basic petrol ration for British motorists in Germany, I would like, if you will allow me, to add a few of the comments which your contributor omits:
(a) The ration is not 16 gallons per month. The highest rate (for cars of 20 h.p. or over) is 70 litres (15 1/2 gallons) per month. For smaller cars it is less.
(b) There are no public bus services here.
(c) In most places there are no taxis.
(d) German trains are so overcrowded that British people are requested to use only military trains, which are exceedingly few in number.
(e) No household requirement of any significance whatever can be purchased except from the N.A.A.F.I. (or C.C.G. shop), and no meal can be obtained out except at a British Club. Many families are stationed at a considerable distance from the nearest N.A.A.F.I. or Club.
(f) There are considerably less than 10,000 British private vehicles registered in the Zone.
(g) Although a W.D. vehicle can be obtained (when available) “on repayment,” it must always be driven by its appointed driver. It is, therefore, most undesirable to use a W.D. vehicle for any private journey involving long periods of waiting, particularly late at night.

Please do not think that I deprecate any effort that is calculated to restore “basic” in the U.K. Your observations imply, however, that to abolish the basic ration in B.A.O.R. would tend to accelerate its return at home. Owing to the very small quantity of petrol consumed by British motorists out here I do not think that is so, and I also feel that the different circumstances prevailing in B.A.O.R. justify the retention of a basic ration here. I hope I shall feel the same if I am posted to U.K. before the “basic” does return!

German motorists receive petrol only for essential purposes, but the decision as to what constitutes an essential purpose rests with the German Administration. Judging solely from the number of German cars seen on the roads I would imagine that it is not too difficult to find an essential purpose.

May Motor Sport, the journal, continue to flourish even while motoring sport itself is dormant, and may the reawakening of the latter be not long delayed.

I am, yours, etc., K. G. Beauchamp (Major, R.A.S.C.)

[We are glad to publish this letter, but would say that it was never our hope that the “basic” ration to Britishers in Germany be withdrawn. We merely wished to emphasise how unfair is the present system of petrol rationing to British subjects as a whole; which apparently extends to the method whereby Germans obtain their supplementary allowances. — Ed.]