Matters of moment, February 1963

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CONGRATULATIONS—B.R.M. AND HILL

Belatedly, but none the less sincerely, we congratulate Graham Hill on clinching the 1962 Drivers’ World Championship and B.R.M. on winning the Manufacturers’ Championship. It is splendid that Sir Alfred Owen’s faith in the B.R.M. has at last been justified, after former failures and vicissitudes, especially as this all-British car has its own engine, not a proprietary unit, which is in the true tradition of Grand Prix racing—down the years Peugeot, Ballot, Bugatti, Sunbeam, Delage, Fiat, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo relied on engines built in their own works, even if Sunbeam was not adverse to borrowing the designs of Peugeot, Ballot and Fiat.

Incidentally, mention of these great foreign makes should bring home to everyone that Britain is now absolutely supreme in motor racing—in the past we raved over the victorious red, white and blue racing cars, and at least equal enthusiasm and acclaim should now be accorded to the green ones….

So warm congratulations to B.R.M. and to the Lucas electronic ignition and electrics, Dunlop brakes, wheels and tyres, Shell fuel and oil, Ferodo brake pads, Terry’s valve springs, K.L.G. plugs, Armstrong dampers, Hepolite pistons, Borg & Beck diaphragm spring clutch, Walpres mirror and other components and supplies that blended into an effective and dependable entity under the painstaking skill and devotion of Chief Engineer Tony Rudd and all the B.R.M. mechanics, not forgetting Raymond Mays who kindled the first sparks of enthusiasm for a British Racing Motor.

It is splendid, too, that a World Champion’s laurels have fallen around the neck of the modest but essentially purposeful Londoner, Graham Hill. He is very much of this generation, having come swiftly to fame through experience gained in modern lightweight Lotus racing cars (and in hairy Jaguar saloons and rally Fords) and, from his Speedwell associations, from understanding very well the ambitions of young drivers of Sprites with special heads and “hot” A35s and Minis embellished with chequer tape.

Congratulations, Graham Hill! Congratulations, B.R.M.!

AND—CONGRATULATIONS, FORD

Congratulations are due to Ford for having called in Colin Chapman to evolve for them a new car which stands a very good chance of dominating saloon-car racing, which should be a formidable rally car (as several crews, late-B.M.C., foresaw!) and from which the shortcomings we have criticised in the Cortina appear to be have been eradicated.

Chapman, whose adoption by Ford of Britain has been heralded by a lavish publicity booklet entitled “This Man Chap-Man,” has used as a basis the uninspiring Ford Cortina, of which even Ford themselves, at the time of its announcement, could find little to proclaim beyond facia demisting at the vents, long-life plastic-coated rubber floor mats, plastic-foam arm-rests and rubber bushing at the forward ends of the back cart-springs, and has completely revised it—see page 98.

We criticised the leaf-spring sprung and located back axle. Chapman has given the Cortina-Lotus a light-alloy differential casing, has located the axle by radius arms and an A-frame. He has flung away the cart suspension in favour of coil-spring struts (see diagram). The front suspension incorporates a stiffer stabilizer bar and the steering is higher geared.

Cortina performance is unexciting. Chapman has put into it a 1,558-c.c. twin-cam alloy-head 5-bearing, dual twin-choke Weber-carburetted engine developing 105 b.h.p. at 5,500 r.p.m. and has had 140 b.h.p. from the Jaguar-devouring prototypes. The uncalibrated fuel gauge has gone, in exchange for a properly fitted-out facia with tachometer (red band from 6,500-8,000 r.p.m.!) and 140-m.p.h. speedometer, etc. There are 9¾-in. servo-applied front disc brakes, nylon speed-tyres, the bodyshell has been lowered more than 2¾ in. and uses a laminated screen, and light-alloy door, bonnet and boot-lid panels saving some weight. There is a choice of four axle ratios, from 3.7 to 4.4 to 1, bucket seats, remote gear level, wood-rimmed steering wheel, etc.

The claimed perfomance is sensational: 45, 69 and 92 m.p.h. in the gears without topping 6,560 r.p.m., a maximum “close to m.p.h.” and 0-100 m.p.h. in “around 30 sec.”

This sounds like the most exciting British car since the Jaguar E-type, although perhaps not offering quite as good value-for-money. Ford, by calling in Colin Chapman, aided by Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth on the engine side, really have something. Think of it—a 110-m.p.h. Cortina! No wonder Jim Clark, Trevor Taylor and Peter Arundell want to race it. Moreover, Ford in Cologne have announced a 1,498-c.c. TS version of the Tanus 12M, developing 62 (S.A.E.) b.h.p. at 5,000 r.p.m. Incidentally, European Ford have been making engines in an astonishing variety of sizes—997 c.c., 1,183 c.c., 1,198 c.c., 1,499 c.c., 1,558 c.c., 1,698 c.c., 1,703 c.c., 1,758 c.c., and 2,553 c.c. With Colin Chapman to guide them there should soon be other ways in which they will compete with the British Motor Corporation!

 

ONE UP ON CORNFLAKES!

If you bought a Fiat FL.8 tractor from the U.K. Concessionaires, Mackay Industrial Equipment Ltd, of Feltham, during the duration of last year’s Public Works Exhibition, you received a free Fiat 500 saloon or van. As Engineering remarked: “One up on corn-flakes!”

 

STOLEN

Will readers please keep their eyes open—the Editorial Morris Mini Minor, 634 GWL, Eng. No. 2457, Chassis No. M/A2S4/4168, was stolen last month in Basingstoke. It had a wood-rim steering wheel, roof rack, radio, extra instruments and sound damping, and a mixture of Pirelli and C41 tyres. If such a car, or parts of it, are offered to you please contact us.

 

THE MOTORISTS’ FAIR, BIRMINGHAM

Organised by W. G. Appleyard, the Birmingham Motorists’ Fair was opened with fighting speeches by Air Vice Marshal D. C. T. Bennett, C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O., F.R.Ae.S. (who referred to the commendably improved record of road-safety in terms of accidents per million vehicle/road miles and the futility of speed-limits), and the Deputy Chief Constable of Birmingham. Mr. Appleyard referred to the short-sightedness of the S.M.M.T. which, with only 75% of the Motor Industry in full employment, restricts its members to exhibiting only at Earls Court.

Arden, Broadspeed and Motoquip conversion equipment, Toucan and Fairthorpe sports cars, and stands occupied by many clubs from Austin-Healey to VW, were amongst the attractions, and the Birmingham Police had a display, showing that no longer are all police and enthusiasts poles apart.

There was an excellent display of historic cars got together by the Midland Section of the 750 M.C., only one, a Connaught, being absent, in spite of the dreadful weather conditions that confronted the willing collectors. These cars included the ex-Brettel 70 b.h.p. single-seater Austin Seven (W. Watton), 1930 T.T. Ulster Austin Seven (M. Eyre), G.P. Sunbeam “The Cub” (Rootes), 1913 200-h.p. Benz (B. Morgan), Napier-Railton (Montagu Motor Museum), Becke Powerplus (Lt.-Col. Vaughan), Appleton Special (Appleton/Baker), original G.N. Spider (13. H. Davenport), Bloody Mary (J. Bolster), Amilcar Six (C. B. L. Harding), 1924 Type 35 Bugatti and 1950 2-litre AL10 Connaught (J. P. G. Horton), 1914 T.T. Humber (K. Neve), 1930 4½-blower Bentley (Hopcutt), F.2 1958/59 Fry-Climax (M. Parkes), Jaguar XKSS (M. Rigg), the scruffy s.v. racing Austin Seven and rebuilt but non-runner twin-cam racing Austin Seven (Austin Motor Co.), and, in a place of honour, the ex-Marsh B.R.M.

In addition, there were an M.G. K-Magnette, M.G. Six, David Embley’s Lotus 7A, Alex Francis’ Alexis Junior, Keith Vickery’s 750 Formula car, Ray Meredith’s Morgan Plus Four, the ex-Bradley F.J. Cooper now owned by C. A. N. May, and Lotus, Cooper and Alexis F.J. cars. Also many “hot” motorcycles. Did the London Racing Car Show do as well? The 1963 Motorists’ Fair is over but Midlands’ enthusiasts shouldn’t miss it next year.—W.B.

 

FOREIGN CAR CONCESSIONAIRES

By a typist’s error, Mr. J. M. Burn was described as General Manager of A.F.N. Ltd., in the article on Porsche service in the November issue of MOTOR SPORT. Mr. Burn is still connected with A.F.N. Ltd., in, however, a trade advisory capacity.