/111 ” BALADEUR ” I 1 EN 1 ,va, a boy, the chief crimi by which one’s know(U: was judged by eontemporaries ca’ the ability to recognise lite differ,.nt ‘mikes by the shape of their radiators. I do net know what, for the present generation, has taken the place of this acid test. I am informed that cars still have radiators, but their makers, with one Or two notable exceptions, have evidently decided, for reasons which to them no doubt appear sufficient , that their sales will be promoted if they observe the strictestreticence on the subject, and hide what was once their proud hall-mark behind a camouflage of etmningly curved tin. It is, I suppose, all a question of fashion ; aft,er all, our grandmothers (or should I, perhaps, say your great-grandmothers ?) had no legs. But I should imagine that if anyone wanted to tell one make of -present-day car from another he would find it exceedingly difficult. He cap, however, console himSelf with the thought that at least his chances of error are considerably smaller than ours were. In 1914 there Were, I calculate, at. least 210 different makes of car on the British market. By ‘1939 the number had dropped to .about 70, and -today is reduced to leas than 40, of which several are still quite recognisable. In ease any of my reader’s have by now reached the conclusion-. that ” Baladeur “is this month somewhat above himself. I had better plead at once that there is .a good reason for it, because the Editor has .promised that on this occasion, and almost for the first time in its career, ” Sideslips:” shall have an illustration. It consists of a reproduction of part of a page from the advertisements in the .4iitocar of June 21st, 1913, on which Messrs. Metallurgique, Ltd., drew ‘pictures of a number of conteiiiporary radiators, and gave more or less cryptic clues as to the makes of ears to which they belonged. Erudite readers may perhaps like to try to solve these puzzles and see how nutny they eari score out of a possible total of 17–the radiator in the middle, I am prepared to tell them, is that of a Metallurgique. But at the same time I must confess that the -attempt has-sadly deflated my own .self-esteem. It is fairly easy to recognise a Crossley in the so-called ” GaSley,” a Morris-Oxford in ” The lIndergrad,” a Miesse from ” M-Yes,” an Austro-Daimler in ” Blue Danube,” a Panhard-Levassor in “Pancake,” a Palladium in ” Hippodrome ” and a Prince Henry Vauxhall in ” Prince ‘Arry.” In the ease of ” Comment ca va ? ” the clue is sttnieiently oltviottS to suggest a ‘SAVA, though I should not have recognised it, and my profound knowledge of Latin mythology tells me that ” The Celestial Blacksmith ” most be a Vulcan, From ” The [look” it is not too difficult to arrive . at a Marlborough, “Ventre Terre “is evidently a Swift, and I suppose that ” Eve’s ” standa-for Adams, although I should have thought that the clue should have been ” Eve ” rather than ” Eve’s.” I am afraid that only research has revealed to Me that ” ‘H L’ (naughty) “—how redolent . this, of’ 1913— represents a French car called all that ” Young England ” is a Briton and ” A Night on the Road ” a car called a Knight of the Road. I take it. that ” Dear Old Charlie ” must mean a Singer, and I should doubtless see why if I was bet ter conversant with the Edwardian music hall, but ” Ma Conseience ” is completely lost on me, unless it is by way of being ‘a paraphrase of” ma
foi ” and refers to a car called a FoySt (tele.
In any case I must leave better-informed readers to clear up these obscurities, and explain that I did net embark on this subject in order to ‘display my own ignorance, but to draw attenticin to the fact that when Metallurgique said. ” Everybody’s Doing It ! ” they were claiming that everybody was aping them. in the use of a V radiator—or at least Of a. radiator that was net flatfronted. In view of’ the subsequent history of this feature of automobile design, it is rather remarkable that in 1913 ” everybody ” in this context only comprised some seventeen makers besides Metallurgique, especially since, as we have seen, there were at the time over twohundred makes of car on the market.
Indeed, a good deal more aping of someone was to be done before the story was finished, but in the meantime it. is of interest to try to determine how good was the MOtallurgique claim to originality in the matter.
As usual, of course, it is only necessary for someone to make a claim of this sort and evidence can be found to refute it.. For example, that. astonishing sixcylinder Spyker. which was built for the Gordon-Bennett race and never ran in it, and which, not content with having six cylinders, also had four-wheel drive 111141 front-wheel brakes, undoubtedly teal a V radiator when it ‘appeared at. the Paris Salon at the end of 1903 ; but it was, to say the least of it, a freak racing car, and standard model Spykers, both then and for many years afterwards. had a round flat radiator ” in the locomotive style.” I do not know whether it was the GordonBennett Spyker which inspired the Panhard et. Levassor engineers with the idea of fitting a ” wind-cutting radiator ” to the 90-11.1). racing ears which they ran in the Eliminating Race in the Argonne for the 1904 French Gordon-Bennett team, but if so they must. have wished that they had never seen this fatal Flying Dutchman which lured them to their destruction. The tithes of the 1904 racing Panhard radiator were arranged in a sharp V. the bottom of which projected a good deal further fOrward than the top, but for Some reason the cooling capacity of the design was groSsly overestimated. The Panharils were undoubtedly the fastest ears in the race, the one driven by Henry Farman leading for the first third of it and taking the lap record at 68 m.p.h. But the similar car driven by Tart, overheated wildly from the start. Teste’s began to be affected on the second lap and Farman’s an the fourth, so that although two of them finished, neither gained a place in the French team. Small wonder it’ after that Panhard quickly replaced this V radiator with one presenting a flat surface to the breezes–and promptly won the Circuit. des Ardennes and the Vanderbilt Cup before the year was out. It is hardly surprising either that after Panlutrd’S experience other makers were chary of using V radiators even on racing ears, however much they may have wanted to ” eta the wind.” It seems that, it was the builders of racing voitnrettva who were the next to try the experiment. heartened, no doubt, by the reflection that while they needed all the assistance they could get to the progress of their productions, they luid something a good deal has formidable to cool than the engine of the 90-1t.p. Panhard ; and several competitors in the 1908 Grand Prix des Voiturettes such as Alcyon and Werner used sharply pointed radiators, By 1910 their use had become so ‘WWII lite vogue that when Ilispano-Suiza proceeded to win the Coupe de l’Auto with a car fitted with a flat radiator of the design wine! was already traditional to the man/ f e . CO Ilteitiporaries were quite shocked. ” M. Birkigt, HispanoSuiza’s so remarkable engineer,” wrote M. Charles Faroux in La Vie Automobile, ” displayed a certain coquetry in using ordinary means to achieve such a per formance … The Hispano-Suiza pushed enorrimas radiator in front of it : if it had been given the shape of a projectile it could have gained several kilometres an hour. Megevet. who made this radiator, could certainly have constructed it, as a wind-cutter, if M. Birkigt had asked him to. But, as I have said, M. Birkigt showed his coquetry in running with a chassis resembling his standard chassis ; it is a coquetry that only the rich can at
M. Faroux, it is to be feared, was labouring in this matter under a delusion. However much of’ a wital-eutter Megevet had constructed for Birkigt, the speed of the Hispano, one imagines, would not have been affected one iota. Today, at any rate, the experts take the view that even where road-racing ears far faster II an Die 1910 Hispano-Siiza racing voiturette are emicerned, it is pmetically only the frontal area which determines tIce resistance to their passage through the air and sharpening the prow has less than no effect on reducing it. I do not know whether, all the same, M. Faroux’s arguments had some effect on M. Birkigt, but certainly when the 1.910 racing Hispano-Suiza made a second appearance, in the Grand Prix de France of 1912, it was fitted with a pointed radiator of the type afterwards used on the ” de luxe overhead camshaft models of 1914. Aesthetically at least. this was not, a great. success, and one is relieved that when the six-cylinder Hispano made its bow at the Paris Salon of 1919 it ” pushed an enormous radiator in front, of it ” which had aot been ” constructed as a wind-cutter.” This consideration of racing cars, however, has led us astray fixan the hivestigation of the Melallurgique claint to have set the fashion for V radiators among standard models, and if these only are considered the claim must, I think, be Adjudged a good one. Pictures of 1907 Metallurgiques show that they were fitted with flat radiators. but in November of that year, the elutomotor Journal reputed of them that ” the principal new model for 1908, which is
rated at 26,-32 hp. . . is designed on the same lines as the 50-60 11,1). racing car with which Mr. Oscar Clipper competed during the last, season on the Brooklarids Track. It even has the sante pointed radiator and itt fact so etlivient have the manufacturers found this to be that they have discarded lice pump as 1)eing unnecessary ;tad are seriously considering its adoption on all their ears. for it has a very neat appeamme unit occupies no more room.” The result of this -serious consideration was evidently favourable and I think t hat from 1908 onwards all Metal hagiques I ad pointed radiators and continued to have them for as long as there were still Nletallurgiques. For some time, however, they had few if any imitators, at. least outside racing circles ; in April, 1909, the Aulamr published a series of drawings of the radiators and bonnets of the day, and still only the Metallurgique sported the former in the pointed style. A year later, however, there appeared the first pictures of the 3-litre Vauxhall built for the Prince Henry Trophy trials. which were in fact. bringing the sports car as such into being, and in order, perhaps, to underline itsdiameter in this respect, the new ‘Vaoxluill had a sfunply pointed radiator of very racy appearance. Thf,
already well-known Vauxhall flutes were incised in the shoulders of it, but instead of starting with a point, in the header tank of the radiator and tapering to another point immediately behind it, as in the later ” Prince I lenry ” models such as that run nowadays with so much igan In’ Mr. Laurence Ponxeroy, these flutes were continued throughout the length of the bonnet and scuttle, the section remaining imehanged for their whole length. The result, against the buckground, at any rate, of’ 1910, was a very speedy and taking appearance.
I have very lively suspicions that antOng (11.0Se taken with it was no less a judge of motor ears than Dr. Porselte. In any case, as late as June III hi, 1910, an the very eve, that is, of the Prince Henry tour, the .1alurar published mc photograph of one of the Austro-Dainders built tii take part in it ; itrid this car quite clearly has an ordinary fiat radiator. And yet the very next week the SalliC paper had a picture of the Austro-Dahaler which won the Trophy driven by Dr. Porsche himself, and this car has a V radiator of the type portrayed in the Metallurgique advertisement. If Vaiixhall was the first to copy Metallurgique, it looks very much aS it’ Atistro-Daimlet was quick to copy Vauxhall. These three makers between them, having each produced a rather famous ” Prince Henry ” MOdel. liaVe combined to give me the impressiOn that a V radiator was typical of the participants in the Tour, part iodarly as it was afterwards so typical of the German motor car. But I incline to think that the impression is a false one. In 1911. the aristocratic persons in charge of the competition decided that it was in danger of becoming coMmercialised. and decreed that in future it should be open only to members of the British and German Automobile Clubs, and not to professional drivers. The amateurs of the Edwardian Age, of eourse. were almost too polite to admit to anything so vulgar as the make of car they drove, with the result that One knows relatively little of what cars hook part. But I have seen no pictures Of German ones with V radiators, and they were apparently not remarked upon by contemporaries, as they almost certainly would have been if they hail lieen there to remark on. ” Most of the German ears 1.)-ere of high horse-power.” minimented
the Attioctir. ” The chief external characteristic feature was that which was brought So prominently before us at the last Paris Show, namely, building the bonnet to suit the body. The up-sloping bonnet. rising up to the concave extension of the dash, is a decidedly taking design, which we shall .see copied ill England ere long.” But there is no mention of pointed radiators. The 1911 Tour was OW last. of the Prince Henry series, and thereafter its place as the premier touring event of the year was taken by the Austrian Alpine Trials. The first of these, which attracted comparativelylittle attention, was actually held in this sante year, 1911, but from 1912 onwards these events secured a really International entry list. Pointed radiators, however, were in no sense a feature of the ears which took part. in them, in spite of their essentially sporting character. The ” Prince Henry ” Austro Daimler, as sold to the public after the 1910 event, had had a V radiator, but in the ease of the Alpine model it was uncompromisingly flat. Perhaps in an event where engine cooling was likely to prove a critical factor, designers were not altogether unmindful of the Panhard experience of 1904. Vauxhall, too, having used a V radiator for racing up to and including the 1912 season, abandoned it on the ears built for the 1913 Coupe de rztuto ; and when in 1914 a
” Prince Henry ” model was specially prepared for the Alpine Trials, it was fitted with a ” larger ” radiator which was also flat, or very slightly rounded. This was the radiator, or something very like it, which was used on the ” 30198 ” when, in the most literal sense, it ” grew’ out of the ” Prince Henry ” model, and Vauxhall, having been one of the pioneers of the V radiator, was not among the numerous throng wide!). used it in the 1920s.
Some time ago I mentioned the fact that, in spite of the apparently complete divorce of the Mercedes and AustritDaintier firms after the early years of the century, the Mercedes engines used in aeroplanes and racing cars on the eve of the 1914 war bore rather a striking outward resemblance to the engine of the ” Prince Henry ” Austro-Daimler ; and it is perhaps worth noting in this connection that the success of the latter model in the years after 1910 was followed by the appearance at the Paris Salon in 1912 of a 90-11.p. Mercedes with .a V radiator. This latest example of the type, however, differed, I think, rather fundamentally from all its predecessors. In all previous cases that I have come across, only the actual core of the radiator was pointed, aml the header-tank took the form of a half cone ; the Mercedes V radiator, on the other hand, was arrived at, as it were, by folding the old flat design, with the result that the vertical knife-edge was continued uncompromisingly from the top to the bottom of it. When Mercedes returned to racing in 1913, in the Grand Prix de France at Le Mans, this radiator was used for the racing cars, and was continued for the Grand Prix winner of 1914, when Opel, the other German competitor, also used a pointed design. German manufacturers, in fact, although far from being the originators of it, were evidently very much enamoured of the powerful if somewhat aggressive appearance imparted to a motor car by a sharply pointed prow ; Stoewer certainly used one as early as 1914, and in the ‘twenties there can hardly have been a German or Austrian manufacturer who did not make use of this feature. While Vauxhall had abandoned the V radiator for racing in 1913, Delage stuck to it from 1911 to 1914, and in that last pre-war Grand Prix it was also a feature of the Swiss Piceard-Pietet and of the Italian Nazzaro. The latter must have set something of a fashion in its native land, for after the war FIAT adopted a V radiator, formed by ” folding ” the ” gaping mouth ” design, for its sports models, and pointed radiators were also featured by Bala, ‘S.P.A., Alfa-Romeo and Bianchi, as well, no doubt, as by many others which do not come to mind. But in Italy the fashion was rather short lived ; and bv the middle ‘twenties all
these makers had gone over to the flat type of square radiator. In the meantime the 90-1t.p. Mercedes had not been alone in the V radiator field at the 1912 Paris Salon. The fashion had spread to French trutkers also, who, incidentally, were to prove extremely faithful to it, and among the first to succumb in this year 1912 were Panhard et Levassor, in spite Of the 1904 debacle, Tureat-Mery and D.F.P. In the case of the last-named the decision was to have iitomentons effects for others besides 1111. Doriot, Flan-drift and Parant, for their agent in England was Mr. W. 0. Bentley, who, indeed, drove one of their ears in the 1914 Tourist Trophy. It was not, therefore, surprising that when the 3-litre Bentley was exposed to the admiring eyes of the post-war world, it
was found to have a V :iIttniiti I must admit that to my way of t hinking its outline more nearly resembled the d ‘sign of the Belgian Abadal than that of the D.F.P. In any case, the Bentley edition remains nearly unaltered to the present day (although I must. admit. that I have never really seen the radiator on a Mark VI) ; but what is rather curious is that while this V radiator was consistently used on the standard models, it was abandoned on the l922 Tourist Trophy ears. In the same way Bala, when preparing for use in the 1924 Coppa Florio a special edition of their 8-litre sports model, which was normally fitted with a V radiator, gave it a flat one ; but in both cases the object of this manoeuvre is hidden from me. Of the makers pilloried by Metallurgiq tie in 1913, some ten or eleven, more tlumn half that is, seem to have been British, and before 1814 the number was further increased by such recruits as Arid, Turner, Star and A.C. ; the immediate post-war period added not only Bentley, but Napier, Riley, Douglas, Dawson, Ensign, Deemster, the Hillman Speed Model and even the G.N., if you count a radiator that was not one at. all. But in France the ” disease,” once the epidemic had started, spread even more rapidly. The ” victims of 1912 were quickly followed by such old-established makers as La Buire and Gobron-Brillie ; and if’ one turns to a picture gallery of French cars of the 1920s one can add de Dion BOuton, Lorraine-Dietrich, Mors, RochaSchneider, Th. Schneider, Delahaye,
Hautu, Unic, Leon Bollee, Rolland-Pilain, he Zebre to the list of the old-stagers affected, and count Farman, Ballot, Voisin, &thaw!) and Citroen among the newcomers who had followed suit. It was lucky, perhaps, that the Metallurgione advertisement was not published am decade later than it was ; but of course by the time that Bugatti decided to sport a V radiator, 1letallurgique, as a maker of motor ears, leul, I think, ceased to exist altogether.