FELIX STEINMANN

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Sir.

1 agree with your Continental Correspondent that for some forms of long-distance travel and for competition the Porsche is hard to beat. However. I maintain that—as strict value for money propositions—some British sports cars can stand up to the Porsche in a free market like Switzerland. Respective prices in Switzerland :

During the last few years I have used first a Porsche and later an Austin-Healey for fast touring, business trips as well as pleasure motoring, in Switzerland and other Continental countries. The Porsche was a 1,300 c.c. coupe, 1951/52 vintage, 44 b.h.p. It was used for more than 30,000 miles. Good points of the Porsche :

Utmost reliability; extremely low maintenance cost; good average performance (cruising speed of 80 plus); no body rattles at all; no roll on corners; excellent behaviour on bad surfaces (gravel roads) and in winter; very economical-28-35 m.p.g.; very comfortable seats; light and positive steering; spacious luggage compartment behind seats, also usable for occasional passenger; top-class service; a factory-sponsored illustrated magazine, Christ°, phorus, was also greatly appreciated. Criticisms :

Unsatisfactory brakes (new linings at 5,000 miles) and always rapid fade after continued mountain work; at high revs. in the lower gears (mountain climbs) noise from engine and transmission rather tiring for passengers; real hot-house in summer, no possibility of draught-free ventilation; disagreeable for continued night-driving, the glare from oncoming cars being much more strongly felt in the Porsche than in either Austin-Healey or M.G.; crash-type gearbox no pure joy with cold engine and transmission; heating equipment insufficient on icy roads when forced to drive at low engine revolutions; considerable tyre wear; some rain entering below the facia (unable to locate source); in fairness to the makers it should be stated that some of the faults have been cured in later types of the car; the much-quoted oversteer characteristics of the car were slightly troubling at first, but with more experience I felt safe and confident in the car under all circumstances. The Austin-Healey 100, 1954, was used so far for 12,000 miles. Here is my appraisal of this car : Good points of the Austin-Henley :

Excellent road performance, adequate acceleration for emergencies; good reliability ; excellent roadholding on average roads: economical, 25-31 m.p.g. with frequent use of overdrive; five gears and delightful gear-change; excellent brakes; light and positive steering; comfortable seats but less so than in the Porsche; adequate heating; adequate luggage compartment. Criticisms :

Insufficient ground clearance (which makes the Austin-Healey unusable as successful rally car), a bad fault ; rather stiff on bud roads; some hard-to-cure body rattles; ventilation inadequate when car closed; tempestuous wind-noise when driven fast with sidescreens on; some rain entering cockpit; no possibility of fitting winding windows; battery badly situated for inspection.

I personally think that Britain offers a competitive range of highperformance cars. The situation seems less happy with Mail family saloons, where some Continental makes offer a combination of sturdiness, performance and service unmatched so far by comparable British cars. I am. Yours, etc.,

Switzerland. FELIX STEINMANN.

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