Rumblings, February 1957




Now that Monza’s banked autodrome has been added to the Montlhery Track near Paris, record attacks should flourish, although not in Britain, where Brooklands has been broken up and Mr. Fogg doesn’t allow racing cars to run at the M.I.R.A. banked track at Lindley. At Monza a two-stroke D.K.W. has set five new International Class G (1,100 c.c.) records. Driven by Ahrens, Barbey, Meier and Thailer, it took the 4,000 miles records at 140.839 k.p.h., the 5,000 miles at 138.656 k.p.h., the 10,000 kilometres at 139.453 k.p.h., the 48 hours at 140.951 k.p.h., and the 72 hours at 139.453 k.p.h.—proof positive of high-speed reliability. At the same place Taruffi set three International Class H (750 c.c.) records with his twin-boom Tarf 1, using a four-cylinder Gilera motor-cycle engine. He set the 50 kilometres record to 211.515 k.p.h., the 50 miles to 212.469 k.p.h. and the 100 kilometres record to 212.765 k.p.h.

Speed in Other Spheres

Congratulations to Portago on breaking a 25-year-old Cresta Run record, and to Trincanelli, Vanzin, Winkler, Sgheiz and Stefanon, of the Moto-Guzzi team, on winning the four-and-cox sculling class at the Melbourne Olympics.

Emphasis on Economy

The return of petrol rationing has been the signal for several rather dreary economy demonstrations. Amongst these is the 53.7 m.p.g. at an average speed of 31.6 m.p.h. achieved by J. Lowrey in an Austin A35 over a distance of 524 miles, 103.2 m.p.g. at an average speed of 25 m.p.h. by S. Marshall in a Morris Minor over 12.9 miles, 130.8 m.p.g. from a Gordon three-wheeler and 180.8 m.p.g. from a 350-c.c. B.S.A. motor-cycle, the three latter vehicles sponsored by rally driver Ted Lambert.

These tests serve to show how careful driving of virtually standard cars benefits fuel economy. Apparently the A35 was an absolutely stock model, while Lambert’s Morris Minor had an extra-air valve, a fuel atomiser within the inlet manifold, smaller jets, no air-cleaner, and tyre pressures increased by 10 per cent. Both used Castrolite oil.

Lowrey’s run is the most important because it was R.A.C.-observed and no coasting was permitted. It is significant, however, that the figures obtained were better than those for the A35 road-tested by The Motor. On that occasion the overall fuel consumption was 37.7 m.p.g., indicating that an improvement of 16 m.p.g. can be expected with careful, as distinct from fast, driving, but The Motor’s figure for “touring fuel consumption,” calculated as m.p.g. at a steady speed midway between 30 m.p.h. and maximum speed, less 5 per cent. allowance for acceleration, was only 41.5 m.p.g. Moreover, after the economy test the R.A.C. timed the A35 to achieve a ¼-mile maximum speed of 75 m.p.h. and a two-way mean speed of 69.2 m.p.h., whereas the A35 submitted to The Motor for test achieved only 73.2 m.p.h.

Careful use of the throttle, coasting wherever possible, using thin oil in engine and gearbox and high air pressure in the tyres makes an appreciable difference to economical motoring. For example, a 375-c.c. Citroen 2 c.v. which Motor Sport tested in 1954 averaged 59.9 m.p.g. under ordinary in-a-hurry conditions, but when prepared for an economy contest it managed 83.7 m.p.g. at an average speed of about 33 m.p.h., some of the time over mountainous roads. And Lowrey subsequently covered 60 miles on a gallon in the A35 after the conclusion of the R.A.C.-observed test, coasting, but not switching off the engine.

Most Motor Sport readers will probably eschew crawling about in order to stretch their monthly ration by a few miles, but many of them will coast when possible and accelerate carefully. They will be interested in the fuel consumption of small cars in standard trim, driven normally. In view of the fact that The Motor’s figure for “touring fuel consumption” for the Austin A35, Morris Minor 1,000 and Fiat Multipla six-seater came out, respectively, at only 41.5, 42.9 and 38.4 m.p.g., there seems to be every justification for the plea, made by the Editor of Motor Sport last month in his article entitled “My Year’s Motoring,” for more economical small cars!

A Book Worth Reading

“Living Like a Lord,” by John Godley, Lord Kilbracken (Victor Gollancz, 1955), is a book which we think may appeal to many of our readers. It deals with how an Eton boy of 16½ can make a turnover of £30 to £40 a day (and the technicalities of the resultant punishment if he is caught), tells of a dramatic wartime ditching in the Atlantic when the engine of a Fleet Air Arm Fairey Swordfish ceased to function, and of a fabulous fortune which awaits salvage off the coast of Corsica. It describes delightfully the inside story of the filming of “Moby Dick,” of how a Peer of the Realm takes his seat in the House, and the motoring part is concerned with an adventurous journey of 17,707 miles from London to New Zealand in a Morris-Oxford loaned to him by the Nuffield Organisation, which suffered a damaged crankcase, loose roof-rack, two sheared stub-axle swivel-pins, a flat battery, unserviceable dynamo, broken windscreen, sanded-up engine, eight broken rear spring leaves, unserviceable right-hand shock-absorber, fractured shaft to the left-hand ball-socket steering assembly, and loss of the front bumper caused by a 124-mile tow behind a desert-‘bus which occupied a matter of 24 hours. Quetta lacked a Morris agent, but, patched up with parts from derelict Chevrolet and Ford vehicles, Godley went on the 1,100 miles to Karachi, where the car was virtually rebuilt, to arrive triumphantly, on the original tyres and battery, after a journey-time of eight months.

There are other absorbing chapters in this book and as the author devotes the proceeds from its sale (Is. 5d. out of every 16s.) to maintaining the 400-acre farm and Georgian country-house at Killegar, in Co. Leitrim, which constitutes his family seat, you who shun Subtopia and like to encourage remote estates in whose garages may lurk aged motor cars, may care to go out and hunt for a copy.


During the previous period of petrol famine, easier to bear because it was bound up with a world war, it was very often the motorcyclists who managed to carry on and we often found ourselves at their scrambles. So it was last Boxing Day; with two car race meetings cancelled, we went to the wild expanse of unspoilt country known as Tunnel Hill, Pirbright, for the Witley & Dist. M.C.C. Scramble.

This was contested over an exceedingly sporting course amongst the trees and the gorse, with some incredibly steep down- and uphill bits and a straight through the woods where the riders got up to speeds reminiscent of early Clubman’s races at Donington. Scrambles are as much a matter of riding skill as machine suitability, mud of the consistency of porridge sorting out those with more bravery than judgment. A splendid entry of 247 riders, some with more than one machine, ensured an excellent day’s sport amid the thawing snow. Wondering which bicycles are the most popular for scrambling we studied our programme: Taking all sizes, from 197 c.c. upwards, A.J.S. led with 44, followed by 38 D.O.T.s, 35 B.S.A.s, 34 Triumphs, 31 Matchless, 29 Ariels, 13 James, 11 Francis-Barnetts, 11 Greeves, seven Nortons and a mere half-dozen each of Velocette and Royal Enfield.

A big programme was promptly run off, under conditions which would have given an R.A.C. Steward kittens, because spectators crossed the course frequently and equestrian visitors were at times in close attendance. There was a thrill when European Champion Les Archer fell from his Norton and was beaten by G. Ward (A.J.S.). Other winners of the finals were: Shawyer (Triumph), Stocker (Royal Enfield s/c.), Wootten (D.O.T.), Taylor (B.S.A.), and Plummer (A.J.S. s/c.).

After which the weird transports favoured by the bicycle boys, tatty vans, overloaded sidecar outfits, small saloons, and ingenious trailers, retreated from the heath, everyone well content with good Boxing Day sport.


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