THE II-LITRE CROSSLEY A HANDSOME WELL-SPRUNG SMALL CAR WITH A HIGH TOURING SPEED
There are occasions, quite a number of them, when the owner of a fast and large sports car feels the need of a less cumbrous means of getting about. Business purposes, shopping, short journeys where a big engine does not have a chance to pull its weight, are some of the more obvious cases. The li-litre Crossley which we tested last month seems to us an ideal car for work of this sort, and combines with this a distinguished appearance, pleasant handling and a turn of speed which allow it to be used for fast longdistance work should the need arise.
We took over the car from Messrs. British and Colonial Motors, whose showrooms are in Long Acre, and so were able at once to gain experience of traffic conditions. The engine is quiet and smooth and pulls slowly down to low speeds on top gear, while the quick change made possible by the self-changing gear-box allowed one to take full advantage of gaps in traffic.
An automatic centrifugal clutch is fitted between engine and gear-box, and to come to a standstill all one has to do is to apply the brakes ; the clutch plates disengage when the engine speed drops to 500 r.p.m. Bottom gear can then be pre-selected and engaged while waiting for traffic to move off again, and the car then moves off smoothly when the accelerator is depressed. The clutch plates are forced together by the agency of toggle arms with weights at their extremities, and the pressure is sufficient to prevent any slip even if full throttle is given with the car at a standstill. The E.N.V. gear-box also is well up to its work, and takes up the drive with the minimum of delay. When open country is reached the car
gets moving in a way quite surprising when one considers that this saloon weighs 23 ewt. and is propelled by an engine of only 1,500 c.c. The fast touring speed lies between 55 and 60 m.p.h. ; the engine speed is over 4,000 r.p.m., but the engine turns so smoothly that one scarcely notices this. The springing is comfortable at all speeds and the low centre of gravity
materially helps cornering. The special Douglas steering mechanism is rather stiffer than one usually encounters on a semi-touring car, which is all to the good. It was quite high-geared, with a small amount of caster, and being free from backlash or snatch made it possible to drive the car all out for long distances
without strain. The weight of the car, no doubt, also contributed to its easy riding qualities. The brakes are powerful and smoothly progressive. On dry concrete the stopping
distance from 40 m.p.h. is 57 feet, and even in the wet one can rely on pulling up in 70 feet without deviating from the straight.
On a car of this type it is inevitable that the gears must be used to a fair extent to get the best performance, though the backaxle ratio was sufficiently low to make it seldom necessary to drop below third. The gear-control works on a quadrant below the steering wheel and the plated. lever lies just below the rim of the steering wheel, where it can be manipulated with the first finger of the right hand. The ball and plunger arrangement which located the gears was light but positive, so that there is no fear of overshooting the notch required.
The engine of the car we drove was not fully run in, so we kept the revs, down to 5,000 r.p.m. in the gears, giving 20, 34 and 52 m.p.h. Throughout this range of engine speeds and even up to 6,000 r.p.m. when the bearings and pistons have bedded down, the six-cylinder runs sweetly,. the only evidence of high revs, being a slight tendency to power roar at the top end of the scale. The maximum speed achieved in top gear was about 65 m.p.h., but no doubt when the car was fully run in this would increase to close on 70 m.p.h. Third gear ran quietly, though as is usual on