-AND KENYA COLONY

—AND KENYA COLONY Sir,

Sir,

Having read your Canadian correspondent's letter in your Novemher issue, which inevitably developed into a song of praise of the VW, may we add a few words on driving conditions in East Africa, and if this develops along tlme. same lines, then it is just. as inevitable. Never having been to Canada, we cannot say whether the local

roads are worse or better than Canadian roads. We do not, of course, experience such low temperatures; and never have snow to contend with. But, apart from that, our roads must be amongst the worst in the world. Tarmac is very rare, most of the roads being " tourram " (local red earth). During the rainy season it is very common to hear on the wireless an announcement to the effect that such-and-such a road is impassable with or without chains, due to mud, that may be IIS much as a foot or eighteen inches deep. It is an extraordinary feature of murrain roads that when they dry out they adopt a corrugated pattern at right Angles to the direction of drive. These conditions are not, of course, conducive to long life in a car and, when buying a car, one tries to ehoose a make that has got a reasonable chance of not falling apart too soon. With the possible exception of the Rover range of saloons and

four-wheel-drive vehicles, British makes just do not have that reasonable chance. Mention Austin, Ford, Morris, Humber, etc., to a discerning motorist and he will probably laugh in your face. He will say : " Good engine, but the bodywork 1'1" A highly. polished surface does not make a good strong body; a small strip of' rubber round the door does not dust-proof a car. The owner of a British make is the whole time seeking out and stopping rattles, until such time as he gives it up as a bad job. Vanguards have a habit of needing a new clutch when still comparatively new; Zephyrs new engine mountings at regular intervals; and the Morris Minor needs a new support to the top of the engine before being sold in this country, evidently to stop the engine falling out

a muddy or merely wet road, most British makes delight in Rest going sideways and eventually sliding gracefully into the ditch, there to await drier days. The American makes are no better. Their aim seems to he to put a larger and larger engine into a tinnier, lower body on smaller wheels. The new Chin,. is not a patch on the pre-war model, of which there are still a large number in use and willing to give many more thousands of miles' service. The latest Willys Jeep does not last as well as the war-time original, hence the popularity of the Land Rover. This leaves only the Continental makes to fill the gap. The VW saloon needs no praising; suffice to say that there is wait on delivery of almost two years. The VW pick-up is becoming an extremely popular farm car. MOTOR SPORT'S latest" discovery," the Peugeot '203, has been a favourite for many years, with its superb suspension, excellence in mud, simplicity of maintenance, petrol economy, and its body that really stays together, even after thousands of punishing miles. A common complaint is that its 1.290.c.c. engine has insufficient power, but this can be snore than made up for by sensible use of the gears. You failed to mention in your road report on the Peugeot that there iS also a pick-up, van, station-wagon and family limousine. The pick-up, with a paydoad of 17 cwt. and, if anything, better than the saloon in mud, must be the ideal farm car. With these two makes, and Fiats, Renaults,

the recently introduced CitroSes. Borgwards and Mercedes to enver the complete range, who, in his right mind, would buy British or American ? We admit that ears, especially farmers' ears, in this CCM atry do take a It of punishment. and the British makers might say that we

cannot expect a car to stand up to it without protesting. Rut why shouldn't we ? The Continental makers •can do it, so why cannot they ? Why do they have to build ears on the same pattern all the time ? Why not take the risk (if' risk there be) and putthe engine in the boot, or build a two-stroke engine, or an air-cooled engine, or use front-whee1 drive, or some other out-of-the-ordinary feature that has put the Continental makes into first place for reliability and performance ? Harry Ferguson's car is very muell looked forward to after the few scant reports we have heard, but which company, if any, will take the risk of putting it into production ?

Bad roads are not the only diffieulties to be contended -with. Most of our driving is done from seven thousand feet above sea-level up to nine thousand or more, at which altitude one loses anything up to a quarter of a petrel engine's power and a third of a diesel engines, due to the rarity of the air and shortage of oxygen to be burnt with the fuel. Most of the garages use Afrieau labour with European supervision, consequently it is better if one can do one's own maintenance and repairs. Also one might, have to drive a hundred miles or more before coming to the next garage or petrol pump. Hence the features one would require in a car ere. : (a) small enough to be economical and easily maintained; (b) suspension able to absorb and stand up to the rough surfaces and also to be comfortable; (47) reliable-and long-living engine; (d) bodywork to be completely dust-proof; (e) not to be deterred by a muddy surface; and (f) to hold a good secondhand value. Back where we started, we find ourselves describing the VW or the majority of other Continental makes. I am, Yours, etc.,

Naivasha. C. P. FAyruFuta.. * •*