Readers letters

Ten kilos of 4-star?

Sir,

You make a very valid point in January's editorial. Metrication makes calculation so much easier, but we must choose our arms of measure with care. The gallon, and litre, as a unit of measure of petroleum fuels it always been a bit of a nonsense, unless it is related to temperature. A wise man he who fills up first thing in the morning and orders the fuel oil delivered before 0800 hrs.

If we are to make a change why not do the job properly and quote in terms of kilogrammes of fuel burned per kilowatt generated to propel the vehicles kilometres, in still air, on the flat, at sea level, and several other factors becoming progressively of less interest to any but the pedantic?

Not the answer to the present question, I would suggest, but it is important that future vehicle performance is based on weight, and not volume, of fuel used. Ah, but could the oil companies ever be persuaded to sell gasoline by weight? There is no technical problem but, writing as an ex-oil company man, I am not optimistic.

When all is said and done, MPG and BHP with metric equivalents for those who prefer, will be with us for a long time yet because they are traditional units used, not so much for fussily accurate measurement of fuel conversion efficiency, but as a useful basis of performance comparison. That being so it doesn't really matter what units are used provided the conditions remain the same for each measurement.

Denis Comper, London, W4

Furlongs per cup?

Sir,

The government, having pushed through decimal coinage, has not "pushed through metrication generally". Instead, it went a bit ?f the way and then washed its hands of the issue leaving the British people to muddle along with an ambiguous and inefficient mess.

Miles per gallon, in a European context, is anachronous. Anomalous it is not; it fits in perfectly with the country's traditional measurements.

Miles per litre, litres per mile and litres per 100 miles are hybrids which combine incomparability with the rest of Europe with incomprehensibility to Britons. As for miles per 5-litres, why not push incongruity the whole way and plump for furlongs per cup or leagues per firkin? On the Continent, people use either litres per 100 km or kilometre per litre. Should Bntain ever go metric, the obvious choice is one of these

I am a strong advocate of metrication, but I cannot bring it about on my own. As long as this country does not express a will one way or the other and as long as the government refuses to give guidance, why should you wish to alter a concept with which everyone is familiar? And so, I opt for mpg.

Martin Van Mesdag, Burnham-on-Crouch

Metrication

Sir,

It is my view that the measure of a motor car's fuel consumption of mpg should be retained in our country because it is understood by one and all.

I accept that we now have petrol pumps dispensing the fuel in litres but all new motor cars have "mile" odometers and the standard unit of distance is the "mile". Consequently why bother to convert one unit, ie the "mile" to kilometre to arrive at a unit say "litres per kilometre" which we don't understand.

A simple pocket calculator with memory facility will convert gallons from litres when we calculate miles per gallon.

We must not forget George Orwell in his book "1984" wrote about a world which was far from pleasant — in fact it could be considered a warning what could happen. Let's not say "oh it's 1984, we must change" if it's not for the better.

Paul T. Moody, Rickmansworth

Lindsay's cars

Sir,

The article about the Hon. Pat Lindsay and his cars had very special memories for me personally as my pop (John Broad) owned two of Pat's current cars — namely "Remus" and the Monza Alfa.

I know reminiscing about the "good old days" is pretty pointless but it's fun too. Dad purchased "Remus" from Ken Flint in 1954— I think about £400 or £450 changed hands!, At that time, of course, it really hadn't got the fabulous "history" with which it is now associated thanks to Pat, "Bira's" sole success being at Albi — poor Jock Horsfall lost his life in her and John Bolster ended his racing days in her. Dad had two very nasty prangs too — one at Silverstone in 1954 the other at Shelsley in 1955. The mind boggles at just how many times some of the truly historic cars have been "totalled"!

I went with Dad when he purchased the Monza from Bartlett's at Pembridge Villas. What an Aladdin's Cave it was — one was almost spoilt for choice, for not only did we consider the Monza — which, as Pat said, is one of the truly historic Alfas — but we also tried a 2900B exactly as in the Agg Trojan collection and also the ex-Shuttleworth road-converted Monoposto Tipo B. The latter was rejected, it was only suitable for Midgets, with no possible chance of altering the driving seat as it was hard up against that beautiful tail / fuel tank. I was so sad that we didn't come out with that car, settling as we did for the Monza.

Incidentally, to give some idea of a Monza's performance (in 1957, admittedly) we came out of the Paddock at Prescott one day in convoy with C. A. N. ("Wheelspin") May who was in his new Jaguar XKI40 fhc and proceeded to "race" all the way home to Solihull at speeds between zero and 125 mph. What fun! — do you see what I mean about the good old days? Good luck, Pat. Dad's still happily motoring at a youthful 75 years young.

Jeremy Broad, Solihull

Haigh Hall

Sir,

I was very interested to read your article on the motoring and aviation achievements of the Hon Patrick Lindsay. You mentioned that he learned his driving on the private roads on his father's estates in Scotland and one near Wigan. The one near Wigan I think would be at "Haigh Hall". His father, the Lord Crawford, sold his home and grounds to Wigan Council, who then opened it to the public as a leisure park. The Hall was available for various private functions. It was at one of these functions, the wedding of Ken Tyrrell's son to a local girl, that the six-wheel Tyrrell F1 car made its first appearance to the public. And on this occasion it was to be driven by Jackie Stewart. As to the roads on which the young Patrick Lindsay used to drive, those were in use as a special stage on the 1983 RAC Lombard Rally. It was a huge success and many enthusiasts in the area are hoping that the same venue will be used again in 1984.

C. S. Lee, Hindley

Maserati 250F facts

Sir,

I hate to have to point out a mistake made by such an authority as yourself but it is contained in your delightful piece on Patrick Lindsay, his cars and his aeroplanes, in your December 1983 issue. If nothing else this letter does prove I read Motor Sport! Regarding the 250F Maserati chassis Number 2527, it was this car not 2526 — that had its wheelbase longer on one side than the other. It was, of course, the first of the "light-weight" works team cars built for the 1957 season winning the Argentinian Grand Prix and the Cordoba race in the hands of Fangio. It was sold to Murray Rainey for 1958 Season and because he was so small the chassis was shortened in the cockpit area to allow him to reach the pedals. In what I believe was its first race in new hands it was unceremoniously rammed into the brick wall of the chicane at the Easter Monday Meeting at Goodwood. It languished bent and battered in some garage in Italy until Patrick Lindsay bought it. Patrick then had the car rebuilt but during this process things were not done quite correctly, hence the wheelbase being longer one side than the other. As your photograph on page 1472 so vividly shows Patrick reversed the car with some force through the armco at Thruxton somewhere about 1968 and, catching him in an unguarded moment when still lying in hospital, I persuaded him to sell me the remains of the car.

I then had a completely new chassis built to the original drawing which I obtained from Maserati thus putting the car back to its original dimensions, the resultant chassis frame being a much more workman-like job than Maserati had made of it in 1957. The severely bent oil and petrol tanks were repaired using the riveting methods as per the original and the steering wheel lovingly restored in the same manner by Angus Clydesdale's (now the Duke of Hamilton's) Company.

By the time all this work was completed I was getting involved with fishing boats and chassis 2527, like all my other treasures, had to go. Having sold 2527 to Neil Corner for the princely sum of seven or seven and a half thousand — I cannot remember which — I now realise what a fool I was!

Chassis 2526 might well have had the same complaint as 2527 but I do know the curious circumstances that surround 2527. With Patrick driving it in this curious configuration, aided by the fact that the wheelbase was shorter than its designer intended after the modification for the short Australian, he was never really able to get the best out of the car and I believe crashed it more than once.

Innes Ireland, Wickham