A NEWSEASON HORNET ON THE ROAD THE ABBEY A.S. 3 UNDER TEST.
THU rapidity with which the Wolseley Hornet in standard, sports, and” special” form, rose in popular favour was one of the outstanding features of the past season. Its sales figure:; during 1931 must have been pheno menal, and one would hazard a guess that they exceeded the expectations of Sir William Morris himself, who perhaps, better than any other manufacturer is able to gauge just what the motoring public wants or does not want.
What was never anticipated who’ the Hornet was shown for the first time at Olympia, was that it would be seized upon. by various enterprising body-building concerns as a very sound basis for special sports models, but now that the qualities of this attractive small six have been revealed it will surprise nobody if 1932 will see even more of these cars on the road.
As far as this Hornet Special vogue is concerned, credit must be given in the first place to Abbey Coachworks, Ltd., for being the originators in adapting the chassis / for sporting purposes, and the success they have achieved in their venture is well deserved, for their 1931 Hornet models besides being exceedingly pleasing in lines, also embodied detail refinements and extras which brought it out of the run of the usual production-utility job, and made it a ” special ” in something more than name.
This care in preparation and quality of workmanship remains in the latest Abbey Hornet, as we found when we tried an A.S.3 model a short time ago.
As can be seen from the accompanying illustration, this car has a body of the popular occasional-four variety, devoid of running boards and with close-fitting cycle-type wings of deeply domed section. Standardization of methods in body building has, to a large extent, eliminated the individual ” touch ” from a vast number of present-day cars, but in the Abbey, one is aware of it at once. It is not that there is anything grotesque or freakish about
its design ; far from it. It is in the way the whole is built up, with quality as a salient characteristic, which one cannot fail to overlook. There are no ugly gaps in the panelling, crudities, or odd excrescences which would break up the sleek lines of the model, and the impression one gains is that it is a solid, sound piece of work, built to last and withstand the rough-and-tumble which is the lot of the average sports machine. In point of fact, the A.S.3 body consists of one complete, welded, aluminium shell mounted on an ash frame and bolted to the chassis frame at half-a-dozen points, and this design, undoubtedly, is responsible for its rigidity and freedom from distortion. The equipment in general is in keeping with the rest of the car, with a windscreen of the racing single-panel type, made to drop flat
on the scuttle and open upwards. The seats are upholstered in good quality hide (with Moseley pneumatic cushions) and they are easily adjustable for leg room. The steering wheel is a 17 inch spring-spoked Bluemel, and the facia board has a black ebonite finish with the usual instruments arranged in a wellbalanced way so that they are easily discernible to the driver. In action, we found the A.S.3 a most likeable little vehicle, and it behaved just in the way which its appearance, and our previous experience with Hornets had led us to anticipate. Steering, brakes and clutch were all very light and easy to manipulate, and particularly in second speed its acceleration was distinctly invigorating. The latest Hornet is, of course, now fitted with a four-speed gear box, and when used intelligently, the presence of the
extra ratio makes a marked improvement in its performance, which is noticeable both in town driving and when out on the open road. The gear change is very quick, and going from third to top and vice versa can be made a very snappy movement indeed. During our test run, we had an opportunityi’… of discovering how much attention had been paid by Abbey Coachworks Ltd., to the matter of weather protection as for about three hours we drove through heavy rain. And what we found was all in the manufacturers’ favour. The hood is a genuine one man” affair, and having removed its cover, we had it up in a matter of seconds (without pinching our fingers). Although side curtains were provided we did not use them, but we nevertheless found that we were quite snug in spite of the wind and the rain. Tandem wipers are part of the A.S.3’s standard equipment, and these we found very beneficial in giving good
driving vision, especially after dark. The itinerary which we covered embraced, for the most part, secondary roads of such a nature that the car’s road-holding qualities were brought into relief. And taking into consideration that the Hornet was
not built in the first place as a sports model, its behaviour was exemplary.
Of criticism we have little to offer, save that the second speed ratio seemed unduly low, and that, as with 90 per cent. of “occasional four” bodies, the accommodation in the rear compartment was somewhat inadequate for two adults. But then, of course, it is an occasional four.
As the car (which was loaned us by E. C. Stearns and Co., of Fulham Road, who are the sole London agents for this car) was virtually brand new, we did not force it up to its limit. All the same we found that 60 m.p.h. over long stretches of undulaing highway could be maintained without butchering the engine and 70 m.p.h.
was touched when conditions permitted. A check of the braking capacity, showed that from 40 m.p.h. to rest, sixty feet was required.
The price of the Abbey A.S.3 is £235, which, after all, is not at all an exorbitant figure.
Mr. G. E. T. EYSTON’S PLANS.
THE future plans of Mr. G. E. T. Eyston, who has now recovered from the injuries he received when his car burst into flames while travelling at 102 m.p.h. at 1VIontlhery, have inspired many rumours.
Byston has now revealed that in the near future he intends to make a munber of fresh record breaking attempts.
” In, the early spring I intend to go to Pendine Sands,” he said, ” where I shall attempt to beat the existing mile and kilometre records in an M.G. ” I shall also endeavour to raise the world’s baby car record of 110.28 m.p.h. at Montlhery. This record was set up, of course, by Eldridge, a former holder of the world’s speed record. In addition,
I shall go for a number of long distance records, and shall participate in as many Brooklands and International road races as time will permit.”
Eyston emphasised the fact that his records have almost all been obtained in three makes of perfectly standard, medium priced sports and touring cars of English manufacture.