THE 1932 RECORD BREAKING SEASON
A YEAR OF NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS. A NEW LAND SPEED RECORD, AND AN ASTONISHING INCREASE IN 750 c.c. FIGURES.
T.HE value of record-breaking to manufacturers is probably as great as that derived from participation in races. In addition, it has the advantage that if the record is not broken, nothing need be said about it, whereas failure to put up a good performance in a race is witnessed by everyone. But this fact does not make the actual breaking of records any easier. Existing figures are nearly always very high, and in view of the expense involved the most meticulous preparations have to be made in order to ensure success.
In 1932 the first record to be broken was the Worlds 10 Mile record, which fell to the credit of Norman (” Wizard “) Smith, at a speed of 164.08 m.p.h. This run was the culminating achievement of long preparations for attempts on the World’s Land Speed Record, all of which, for various reasons, came to nought. The record was made in January at NinetyMile Beach, situated at the northern tip of the North Island of New Zealand, and beat the previous figure of 137.21 Itt . p. h . held by Mrs. Stewart, on the Derby-Miller.
The Midget makes Motoring History.
The next car in the record field was the ” Magic ‘ M.G. Midget owned by J. A. Palmes, of Jarvis & Co., which in February made motoring history. The car was taken to Pendine Sands, in Wales, and in the hands of G. E. T. Eyston raised the Class H Flying Mile record to the colossal figure of 118.38 m.p.h. This historic run was the precursor of a series of marvellous performances to be put up throughout the season by the 750 c.c. M.G. Midget, which has probably made the most sensational progress in speed in any class this year. Meanwhile Sir Malcolm Campbell was travelling to Daytona Beach in Florida with his famous ” Blue Bird” where he
hoped to raise his own figures for the flying kilometre and mile, with a subsequent cut at the 5 and 10 kilometre records. In the true Campbell tradition everything Went absolutely to plan. The existing kilometre record stood at 246.09 m.p.h. but this did not deter Sir Malcolm in the least, and he proceded to add another 8 m.p.h. to this figure, with a similar increase in the mile record. Having successfully accomplished the first part of his plan, Sir Malcolm Campbell then went out to beat his own records for 5 kilometres and 5 miles, which he had set up at Vemeuk Pan in S. Africa. First he raised the 5 kilometre record by a cool 25 m.p.h., but not content with this, two days later he made another run at 247.94 m.p.h., as against the previous 216.04
m.p.h. ! The 5 mile record he treated in the same way, putting it up from 211.49 m.p.h. to 242.75 m.p.h. Finally, he beat Borzacchini’s famous 10 kilometre record of 152.90 m.p.h., made with the 4 litre Maserati on the road at Cremona, with a run at 238.67 m.p.h. Altogether a most stupendous show.
Records Galore at Montlhery.
The scene of activity was then transferred to that happy hunting ground of record breakers, Montlhery, and the chief actor in the piece was a Straight-Eight pelage sports chassis fitted with a racing body. As long distance records up to 12 hours were contemplated, a team of drivers was collected for the attempt, four Englishmen, Kaye Don, G. E. T. Eyston, E. A. D. Eldridge and A. DenlY, and one Frenchman, M. Prettet. In spite of bitterly cold weather (the temperature was below freezing point), the car ran with great regularity at high speed, and the 200 miles, 500 kilometres, 500 miles, 1,000 kilometres, 1,000 miles, 2,000 kilometres and the 3, 6 and 12 miles Class C records all fell by the board at speeds varying from 117.83 to 112.09 m.p.h. In addition, of these figures the 500, 1,000 and 2,000 kilometres, thel1,000 miles and the 3 and 6 hour records constituted world’s records, a fine feat for a
standard type sports chassis. All these records previously stood to the credit of the 8 cylinder Voisin.
A week later, early in March, two of the Delagc records, the 500 kilometres and the 3 hours, were beaten by a 2.3 litre double-camshaft Bugatti driven in turn by Albert Divo and Louis Chiron. But two days previous to this run the car made a series of new records in the hands of Albert Divo. Setting off at a great pace the car took the flying kilometre and mile at 131.22 m.p.h. from Hartmann’s Bugatti, the 5 kilometres at 131.03 m.p.h. from Jack Dunfee’s Sunbeam and then went on to take the 50 and 100 kilometres and miles and the 200 kilometres and the 1 hour records at round about 124 m.p.h., in all cases the previous records being held by the Sunbeam. Then, as we have already stated, Divo and Chiron drove the car two days later, beating two of the pelage records, and also the 200 and 500 mile records held by the Sunbeam. Four of these figures constituted world’s records.
54 Days at 56 m.p.h. !
Also in the first week of March there began an attack on long-distance records which developed into one of the most amazing runs ever accomplished in the history of record breaking. On the 5th of March a standard type 2,659 c.c. Citroen six-cylinder chassis with a racing body appeared on the Montlhery track, and proceeded to lap at the praiseworthy, if modest by racing standards, speed of about 70 m.p.h. After doing this for a few days and nights, what little attention the Citroen had attracted was transferred to the Bugatti driven by Diva and Chiron, but after this car had successfully completed its run, and the excitement had Continued on page 124 died down, the Citroen was still circling steadily round the track. Days mounted up till a week had passed, one week turned into many, and the Citroen almost became a permanent part of Montlhery scenery. With hardly any variation in its speed the car lapped smoothly and quietly, the driving being shared by the brothers C. and L. Marchand, of Voisin fame, Combette, Fortin and de Presale. All this time a colossal list of records was being amassed, and when at last on the 28th day of April the Citroen finally finished its Marathon, 54 days had elapsed since it first took the track and no fewer than 81 International Class D records and 50 World’s Records had fallen to its credit ! By a standard type chassis covering 83,802 miles in 54 days at an average speed of 64.65 m.p.h., no finer testimony could be provided of the ster
ling qualities of the marque, and the Citroen concern are to be congratulated on submitting one of their products to such a searching test. While the Citroen was gyrating regularly round Montlhery, the 2.3 litre Bugatti made an attempt to improve on its own figures for 50 kilometres and miles, and 100 kilometres, Class D. Divo was at the
wheel, and after a terrific run, raised the record by 6 m.p.h. to 130 m.p.h., a very fine performance for a 2.3 litre car.
A New World’s Hour Record.
At this juncture the timing officials had their hands full, for the next day another French car was brought out for records, in this case the machine being the ” razor-blade ” Panhard et Levassor which already held many records driven by Breton and Orstxnans. Now, however, the car was to be entrusted to the English driver, G. E. T. Eyston. On the first day the 50 miles world’s and two International Class B records fell at 132 m.p.h., raising the previous records held by the same car by some 3 m.p.h.. Thus encouraged, Eyston went out the next day for records up to 200 kilometres, and once again the car proved its worth by breaking the world’s and Class B records for the 100 kilometres and miles, the 200 kilometres and 1 hour. The world’s kilometre records were previously held by the Derby-Miller, the 100 miles and 1 hour by the Voisin. The speed of the Panhard was round about 130/131 for all the records, the greatly coveted world’s hour record actually being taken at a speed of 131.14 m.p.h., as against the 128.35 of Marchand’s Voisin.
Four days later, at Neunkirchen, V. de Strasser Siltort took out his special D.K.W. and beat his own figure for the Class I standing kilometre with a speed of 55.83 m.p.h., also annexing the standing mile from de Rovin’s de Rovin at 59.68 m.p.h. Both very good performances for a 2 cylinder car of only 493 c.c.
After this busy period of activity came a lull of two months, when on the first two days of June the late Andre Boillot and M. Roux succeeded in breaking the Class I` 24 hours record on Miramas track at an average speed of 68.61 m.p.h. Their car was a 4 cylinder 1,500 c.c. Peugeot, and they beat the previous record held by W. B. Scott’s Delage by 2 m.p.h.
A Quick 11 litre.
By this time the racing season was in full swing, so that there was no time left for record-breaking. Added to this a serious fire occurred at Montlhery which demolished almost the whole of the banking at one end of the track. It was not until October 14th that another attempt of any sort was essayed, the car being the 1 litre 6 cylinder Riley which had been gradually developed throughout the racing season until it had finally shown what it was capable of in the 500 Miles Race at Brooklands by lapping at about 113 m.p.h. G. E. T. Eyston was at the wheel and only two records were taken at Brooklands, the International Class F record for 200 miles, and the British Class F
record for 200 kilometres, in both cases at over 111 m.p.h. Having stood up to this speed satisfactorily, the car was then shipped to Montlhery for long distance records. By this time the track had been repaired, but there was still a ragged cavity at the top of the banking at one point. As the Riley was attempting the 24 hour record, precautions had to be taken that this chasm was adequately marked, and although the Riley had to go perilously near it on every lap, no accident occurred. In all, four Class F records were annexed, namely the 2,000 and 3,000 kilometres, and the 12 and 24 hours, at speeds varying from 91.68 m.p.h. to 82.41 m.p.h. The 2,000 kilometre record had stood to the credit of the old Aston-Martin since 1922, the 3,000 kilometre record was taken from Scott’s pelage, the 12 hours from Harvey’s Alvis, and the 24 hours from Boillot’s Peugeot, which had made its record at Miramas earlier in the year.
“Records Week” at Brooklands.
Then the Brooklands authorities conceived the idea of having a ” records week,” during which potential record
breakers were given special facilities at reduced rates. First on the scene was R. G. J. Nash on the Frazer-Nash “Terror,” who proceeded to demonstrate how fast this famous little car could surmount the Test Hill. The existing record had stood since 1925, but with a terrific leap at the top of the hill, the Frazer-Nash succeeded in setting up a new record at a speed of 32.444 m.p.h. Three days later Nash had a shot at the British standing kilometre record, and clocked 29.475 secs., or a speed,of 75.89 m.p.h., thereby beating the late Sir Henry Segra.vers record of 74.44 m.p.h. on a 4 cylinder Talbot Darracq in 1925. Next on the Track was that brilliant newcomer to car-racing, ” Freddie”
Dixon. With his by no means new Riley Nine, the one time motor-cyclist gave a most remarkable demonstration of what can be accomplished by years of experience in high speed tuning. The first record to fall was the International Class 50 kilometres at 109.18 m.p.h., and with the car running in great form, Dixon carried on to break a whole crop of records. The 50 miles, the 100, 200 kilometres and miles, and the most coveted of the lot, the one hour, all fell at speeds of 110/111 m.p.h. One need only add that the previous records were held by the ” works ” Riley drivPia by 0. E. T. Bystnn to realise the merit of Dixon’s performance. There is always something very attractive about standing kilometre and mile records, for they are tests of acceleration rather than prolonged maximum speed. In Class H, these records stood to the credit of the Austin Seven, but on November 1st E. R. Hall appeared at Brooklands with he intention of annexing them for the M.G. concern. And he was successful, for he raised the kilometre figure by 2 m.p.h. to 67.21 m.p.h. and the mile by 3 m.p.h. to 74.74 m.p.h., thereby [continued oa page 128
bringing up the total of M.G. records in Class H to 13. Brooklands closed for winter repairs, but on the same day that Hall was spinning his rear wheels as he got away down the Railway Straight at Brooklands, the Hungarian Motor Club held their annual record-meeting at Tat. But only one competitor was successful in his object, the irrepressible de Strasser Silton, who raised his own standing mile record in Class I to 59.89 mph,
In spite of the lateness of the year, with long nights and short days, plans were on foot for several attempts on long distance records at Montlhery, but the first of these, as reported elsewhere in this issue, had disastrous results, for the Italian driver Ruggeri was killed while practising on the 16 cylinder Maserati. Then the 8 cylinder Delage sports chassis, which had made some records earlier in the year, was brought out with a new aero-dynami
cally streamlined body to attempt long distance records, including the World’s 24 Hours, at present held by the Voisin at 113.50 m.p.h. Unluckily, the track was covered with frost and ice, so that the attempt had to be postponed. The following week, on December 13th, G. B. T. Eyston set out to make an improvement on the kilometre and mile records already held by the ” Magic ” M.G. Midget, and in spite of a wet track, made five new records in Class
H. Later he broke three more records on a J3. Midget.