A Rare Sports Car


I once owned a SARA, which I traded in to Gatehouse Motors, many years ago, in part-exchange for a nearly new Standard Big-9. The SARA was, perhaps, the slowest car I ever owned, but possibly the most fun. The clutch used to slip quite a lot, but as the exposed bellhousing protruded well into the cockpit and was fitted with a very easily removed top cover plate, little difficulties like that were soon (but temporarily) cured by use of an insufflator of Fullers Earth carried for that purpose. The clutch pedal was attached to the operating shaft by a simple tapered pin which used to love to shear in traffic-driving, making get-sways interesting and sometimes spectacular. The exhaust system was put on by Gatehouse Motors—I had a straight through 2-inch dia. chromium-plated pipe running the length of the car, which had the engaging habit of blowing smoke rings while ticking over. I believe that a 1924 (or thereabouts) SARA put up the least distance ever travelled in a 24-hours Le Mans race,and I can well understand it. But as I said, it was fun.

I owned a Vale Special for quite a while, too; Triumph 8-engined, not fast, but a very good-looking car and one which I well liked.

Lee-on-Solent C. SAMPSON

[The SARA referred to was advertised by Gatehouse Motors of Hampstead Lane, as a 1,050-c.c. 4-cylinder 1,e Mans Special, first registered in 1933, “track model with two SUs and new Bosch racing magneto, 2 ft. 6 in. high, 4 speeds, weight 11 cwt., retuned for road use, £85”. Happy days! It is quite true, as our correspondent mentions, that a SARA, driven by Erb and Battagliola, finished 30th and last in the first Le Mans 24-hour Race of 1923, averaging 25.49 m.p.h.—Ed.]