MATTERS OF MOMENT, February 1956





While we are sorry to learn that many of 11.M.C.’s employees are now obliged LO work a four-day week. they might well ask themselves whether the publicity boys are not making fools of them, for cars cannot he sold, particularly today when all the export buyers are generally pretty well informed, by issuing ridiculous and untrue statements. In a leaflet publicising the TF M.G., what do we find ? A statement which reads ” Remember how, way back in 1935, George Eyston’s team of women drivers

George Eyston’s team of women drivers in M.G.0 won the Le Mans 24-Hours Race ? ” Now it is true that George Eyston entered his team of “dancing daughters” for Le Mans in 1935. But they didn’t win. They were never expected to win. They were out to put on a convincing demonstration of consistent driving and this they did, the P-type Midget driven by Joan Richmond and Mrs. G. Simpson finishing 24th, that driven by Doreen Evans and the late Barbara Skinner being placed 25th, and that driven by Margaret Allen and Mrs. C. Eaton coming in 26th—the race having been won by a Lagonda, at 77.85 m.p.h.

The didn’t even win their class, in which they were placed 8th, 9th and 10th out of twelve finishers, beating two side-valve Austin Sevens. Nor were they in the first six of the Biennial Budge-Whitworth Cup contest. Yet, as an irate overseas reader has brought to our notice, here was B.M.C. customers if asking potential customers if they

remembered M.G.s, driven by ladies, winning the Le Mans 24-Hour Race—this as a means of publicising the TF M.G., which was supposed to maintain exports until the new MCA model could be supplied to American and other markets. The leaflet to which we refer goes on to describe ” the. shining shadow of the radiator cap in the bright gleam of the bonnet, the low-pitched power, as if there were an impatient panther caged beneath the floorboards . . .” Never mind ! Some buyers may seek shining shadows and not object to panther-noises underneath them.

But please let us have no repetition of claiming race victories which, in fact, have never been gained. This sort of advertising ruins British prestige; let the Bishop of Nuffield’s New Year Resolution be ” To tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing Init the truth.”


By the time this issue of MOTOR SPORT is in your hands the 26th Monte Carlo Rally will have been won and lost. The 351 cars entered are all closed vehicles but with modifications to standard specification permitted ut the expense of having to overcome a speed handicap in the mountains. They started from Glasgow, Athens, Rome, Paris. Lisbon, Munich and Stockholm, and converged on Paris prior to taking the dreaded 630-mile regularity test and downhill-timed

run and braking test before arriving at Monte Carlo on January 19th. On January 21st the ninety highest-placed finishers on the road took another regularity test of 150 miles in the XI:WM tains behind Monte Carlo.

Success in this winter rally is important, for it is widely publicised. and victory means sales, on the assumption that only a skilled crew and a souad car can win this 2,600-mile event. In good weather almost any of our readers should be able to get well ahead of the Rally schedule (which has to be low to humour those official persons who see the motor car as a lethal weapon if it exceeds about 40 m.p.h.), at all events on the Glasgow-Dover section; the Rally is then won on navigation. 11 the weather over Europe is severe it is a different matter and cars possessing the better qualities of performance and control heat inferior vehicles, the drivers must be skilful. and electrical and tyre equipment beyond reproach. In last year’s major rallies Mercedes

Benz ears proved the best. so it. will be interesting to gee how those entered for the Monte Carlo Rally (there are 15 in all) get on, and whether Sunbeam can repeat last year’s success. B.M.C., Ford, Routes and Standard were to win, with teams or cars, mostly specially prepared, Sydney Allard (who won under difficult conditions in 1952) started from Glasgow in an Allard Monte Carlo saloon, and British lady champion. Sheila van Damm, was making her last rally appearance (for business reasons) in a Sunbeam, starting front Stockholm, as was last year’s winner Gunnar Fadum in his Sunbeam.

This year an extra 700 miles had to be covered, giving competitors the task of facing the better part of four days and three-and-a-half nights on the route. If all goes well we hope to tell you how they fared. elsewhere in this issue.