Readers letters, February 1984

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Lane discipline needed

Sir,

R. L. Meredith, who wrote the letter published under the heading “Whitehall nonsense” in your December issue must surely be Peter Simple’s J. Bonnington Jagworth personified. What right does a gentleman who signs himself BA (Hons) Law have to advocate lawlessness? It would be interesting to learn his views concerning the recent “printing dispute” involving the NGA and Mr Shah.

Whilst many responsible motorists advocate a change in the law concerning speed limits in the UK, few will condone law-breaking as a means to achieve a change.

I see no evidence of his claimed “seat belt regulations being widely ignored” and I trust that Mr Meredith is in no way concerned with the teaching profession otherwise the next generation will receive a somewhat jaundiced view of the legal profession.

Let us seek changes, but by democratic means rather than anarchy. I, too, believe that changes in our “speed limit” laws are required. Another petition with which to bombard our MPs should help convince the “powers that be” of the need to change. However, before we achieve any changes in the speed limits, there is much tube done to persuade motorists on motorways that there is no obligation to remain in either the outer, or even the centre lane when the inner lane is free of traffic. The culprits range from the “self-righteous, fast laner” who refuses to move over into the free, inner lanes when travelling at 68 / 69 mph and the “Mimsers” who drive at much slower speeds in the centre lane causing much frustration to the HGV drivers.

The driving standards on the UK motorways are generally well below those found on the Continent. Let us all aim to improve motorway discipline as a step towards achieving an overall improvement in “driving manners” on all roads.

Keith R. Jones, Isleworth

More education needed

Sir,

I am not able to reconcile in my mind what the effect of the proposed raising of speed limits will have in practical terms.

Anyone who motors reasonable distances regularly will know that most HGVs and PSVs travel at around 65-75 mph on two and three lane roads and between 55-65 mph on single lane roads. In broad terms these speeds are twice their legal limits and so many do it they must enjoy a feeling of at least partial immunity from prosecution.

A motorist, though, dare not travel at twice his legal limit. Most run between 70-85 mph. Overstep that and you stand every chance of being booked.

Of what use then to raise limits by say 10 mph all round? Can any of your readers seriously believe those “do-gooders” in Parliament would allow any more or even that much? Perhaps one of your readers is able to estimate how many times a hot air balloon can circumnavigate the earth using only the pompous hot-air their debate will create; all in the “public interest” of course they will claim.

Having driven regularly since 1938 and averaging about 25,000 miles annually my preference is for far higher speed limits (preferably none) depending on the number of lanes, a far more stringent MoT test by government testing stations and vastly improved roads accorded infinitely superior maintenance (including salting and debris removal, etc). All coupled to a more stringent driving test, perhaps in two stages with the second more akin to the Advanced Motorist’s test and this to carry lower insurance premiums as an incentive and reward. Surely the new motorcycle riding tests provide a good example. (No crash hats even in my happy days riding Velocettes!)

There is no doubt, despite the vehicle density, that the general standard of driving in this country is both good and courteous compared to many others I have driven in. I believe it would be even higher if one eye did not have to watch out for the prowling or hidden law and the other for that HGV travelling at only 5 mph less than one’s car.

There is nothing to prevent those wishing to drive slowly from doing so, that is what the inside lane is for.

All power and success to your crusade.

M. W. Trenerry Dovercourt, Essex

For turbo, read super!

Sir,

I read with interest your article in the current edition of Motor Sport on the Turbocharged Lancia Delta, and was particularly interested in the remarks made by Dr Alberto Pianta concerning the turbocharging of Lancia’s World Rally Championship winning car.

I would be interested to learn why Lancia, in their current advertising programme, are referring to this car as a Supercharged car and not Turbocharged.

Leslie Gray Maidenhead

[Our mistake! The LC2/83 racing car is turbocharged, the rally car is supercharged. — M.L.C.]

Taking a pride

Sir,

The report on the Audi v Lancia conflict prompts me to recall that I stopped, with my MGB GT, overnight at Biella in northern Italy in 1982. This town is I believe connected with Lancia. The town of Biella is not much larger than Abingdon; there were four or five garages with showrooms, and in each one there was a Lancia Rally, With proud adverts extolling its attributes. It occurred to me to wonder, as I looked into those windows, how many garages in Abingdon sported a Targa Florio MGB, for example, in the days MG took part in International racing?

The difference in attitude, marketing and sales technique ls the key. Currently, Jaguars are on a “high”, but do we get any trumpet blowing? Very little indeed. I drive past a major dealer in Walton-on-Thames, not unconnected would you believe with s famous British racing car that spearheaded the return of the British to racing in the Fifties, and what do I see? Aston Martins parked behind a wall, Jaguars parked behind nondescript family boxes, and in the main showroom window a secondhand Porsche!

It’s all about attitudes, self-esteem, and pride in achievement. Let us see an XJ-S that window with pictures of the Tullius XJ-S. Let us see the XJ-S backed up with pictures of racing MGs past and present, and a blurb stating that the old expertise lives on. Better still let’s see a new MGB GT that will knock the 924 where it belongs.

As someone with a foot in both camps, I am sure that this is what sells motor cars. and I know the Italians have the better attitude.

Sergio Rainsford, Walton-on-Thames