THE RECORD-BREAKERS OF 1935 “BLUE BIRD’S” 300 m.p.h. OUTSTANDING FEAT OF THE SEASON BIG INCREASE IN 1-HOUR AND 24-HOU1t FIGURES—SALT BEDS THE IDEAL LOCATION
The year 1935 has witnessed some memorable feats in the world of record breaking. For the first time in history, a man has travelled at a speed of 300 m.p.h. on land; 200 m.p.h. was achieved on an Italian autostrada; and a distance of nearly 160miles was covered in one hour. Specially made racing tracks with steeply-bankedcurves, the dried-up bed of a vast salt lake, the sea shore of Florida and those dead straight modern roads symbolic of the automobile as a Speed creation, all have served the purpose of those daring spirits whose surpassing aim is to tread unknown paths of speed and endurance.
The ball was set rolling by Hans Stud:, driving that unorthodox, but highly-successful machine, the AutoUnion. The car he drove was fitted with ultra-streamlined coachwork, and the cockpit was enclosed. The scenewas the Florence autostrada, at a point between Pescia and Altopascio. 200 m.p.h. was the objective, but after .achieving a magnificent 199 m.p.h. for one mile, misfiring put an end to further efforts. On this occasion the Auto-Union engine had a capacity of just under 5 litres, and the record was therefore made in Class C.
While Stuck was speeding along the Italian autostrada, Sir Malcolm Campbell was in far-off Daytona, waiting anxiously for a favourable tide to leave the sands in a sufficiently good condition for him to attack his own flying mile and kilometre records. After several weeks of agonising suspense, the day finally arrived when Sir Malcohn decidet1 that his opportunity was at hand. Without more ado, ” Blue Bird ” was pushed out of its shed and the timing officials assembled. Unfortunately the sand was far from being consistent, and violent wheel spin was experienced throughout the two runs. The result was a disappointment, in spite 9f being a new land speed record of 276.816 m.p.h., and Sir Malcolm was forced to return to England with his 300 m.p.h. goal still beyond his grasp. As a minor consolation, he had the knowledge that he had broken four records in all, the mile, kilometre, live miles and five kilometres, all of which he himself had previously held.
The next record-breaking attempt was a very different affair. A little 1-litre Adler ran for six days on the Avus read and broke thirteen records at speeds varying from 65 to 68 m.p.h., previously held_ by Riley and Renault. The occasion was a record in more than one sense, for normal traffic was using the road all the time. In daytime this presented no difficulty, but at night the glare of headlights was rather a strain on Schweder, Hesse and Guillaume, the drivers of the car. The Adler, by the way, had seen many miles of ordinary toad work, including an Alpint_-! Trial. For record purposes it was fitted with an extremely light body, having an enclosed cockpit. On the last day of the Adler’s 9,500mile run other record breakers were at
ork on Montlhery track, near Paris. These were Pierre Veyron, Louis Villeneuve, and Roger Labric, who between them handled a 1,500 c.c. 8-cylinder Bugat t i to such effect that they broke the Class F record for 24 hours at 91.94 m.p.h., and the 2,000 miles and 3,000 kilometres records as wt.11. Previous holders were Riley and Delage. Class H has long been a hattle ground
for the ” seven-fifties.” At this time, every single record in the Class stood to the name of M.G., a feat, incidentally, which is unique in motor-racing history. It was only in the nature of things then, that Pat Driscoll should visit Brooklands with his sleek little! single-seater Austin to sec what could he done about the standing-start records for the kilometre and mile. He raised the standing-start kilometre by 2 m.p.h. to 77.43 m.p.h., and the mile was narrowly taken by a margin of .38 m.p.h.
Appropriately, these records were returned to the M.G. ” bag ” during May.. The German driver, Bobby Kohh-ausch, was the man responsible, and his car was the famous ” Magic Midget,” rebuilt in the light of previous experience. His speed for the kilo. was 81.71 m.p.h., and 93.42 m.p.h. for the mile, as opposed to Driscoll’s 85.98 m.p.h. Taking advantage of the 5-mile Gyon straight, he claimed the ” flying ” records for these figures at 130 m.p.h., a truly colossal speed for a 750-c.c. motor. And now came a new and sensational actor in the record-breaking drama, the bi motore Alfa-Romeo, Italy’s challenger to German supremacy in f ormule libye races. First trials had shown the car to possess_ a voracious appetite for tyres, but after slight modification it was taken to the Florence autostrada for a timed attempt. ‘Fazio Nuvolari was at the wheel, thus making what we believe must be his first record run. A crosswind made the car a trifle unsteady, but Nuvolari succeeded in clocking 199.73 m.p.h. for the kilometre and 200.78 m.p.h. for the mile. Its 6,315 c.c. engine placed the bimotore in Class 13, so that the Auto-Union records were un
disturbed. it is interesting to note that the Alfa-Romeo’s speed was 60 m.p.h. faster than that of the previous record holder, the Panhard.
Practically speaking, America has only one active record breaker nowadays, but when that one happens to be Ab. Jenkins, it is as good as a host. Jenkins is the man who ” discovered ” the Bonneville Flats, and the end of June saw him once more in action on that vast expanse of shimmering salt. His car was a 7-litre Duesenberg Special, and he proceeded to clean up seven records in Class 13. All of these were held by the Panhard, except the 10 miles, which was still in the name of the late J. G. P. Thomas. Jenkins’ speed varied from 138 to 141 m.p.h.
Two days later Jenkins set off again, and, after improving on four of his records, he took the 100 miles, 200 kilometres and one hour, the latter at 143.43 m.p.h. These three ranked as w odd ‘s, as well as Class B, records. The 10 miles fell at 146.26 m.p.h.
At this point enter the Napier-Railton and its gallant band of drivers, Cobb, Rose-Richards and Dodson. It was with the intention of capturing for Britain all leng-distance world’s records from 1 to 24 hours that this expedition had made A journey of 6,000 miles, and it was fitting that such an enterprise should be crowned with success. After a troublefree run, the party returned to England with a bag of 21 world’s records and a similar number of’ Class A records.
Meanwhile two Englishmen were gaining fresh laurels at Montlhery, where George Eyston and Denly took six Class E records with a streamlined Hotchkiss, all at a speed of 110-112 m.p.h. This car was later seen at Brooklands in the 500 Miles Race, in which it was driven by Albert Divo.
No record season would be complete without a string of long-distance records made by a Citroen. There have not been so Many this year, but they were none ti$eless. meritorious. Cesar Marchand was in charge, as usual, and the 2i-litre car took 8 world’s records and 11 Class D records in the course of a week.
A fortnight later the young French driver, Raph, turned out at Montlhery with a 2,3-litre Alfa-Romeo, prepared by Luigi Chioetti. Class D records were their objective, too, and in 12 hours they captured ‘five, at a speed of 112-114 m.p.h.
All this while, a certain gentleman in America had been completing his preparations to regain the records lost to John Cobb and his merry men. In August he was ready, and on his first attempt he broke three world’s and eight Class B records., including the coveted Hour at 152.15 m.p.h. Cobb’s speed for this, incidentally, was 152.12 m.p.h. Engine trouble put an end to the attempt, however, but the Duesenberg was fit again once more at the end of the month.
This time, Jenkins took unto himself an assistant, Tony Gulotta, and between the two of them they broke another five of Cobb’s world’s records, and 16 in Class B. The most precious of the lot was the 24 hours, which Jenkins raised from 134.85 m.p.h. to 135.48 m.p.h.
French manufacturers seem to like long-distance efforts, for here we find Cesar Marchand at work once more on his happy hunting ground, LinasMontlhery. This time his mount was a Peugeot of 1,500 c.c., and in four days he collected nine Class F records, all at 63 point something in The reports of John Cobb and others as to the suitability of the Bonneville Fiats for a 309-m.p.h. attempt convinced Sir Malcolm Campbell that here, if any where, he would stand the greatest chance of achieving his life’s ambition. Once more ” Blue Bird ” was shipped
across the Atlantic, and, on the third day of September, Sir Malcolm made his historic two-Way run across the endless salt beds. The story of the mistakes, reports and counter-reports about the timing of the record is well known, and
the final result of 301.13 m.p.h. for the flying mile ranks as one of the great milestones in motoring history. With Sir Malcolm went that Most prolific of all record breakers, George Eyston, with his new car, ” Speed of the Wind.” Powered by a Rolls-Royce ” Kestrel ” aero-engine, this car was remarkable in that it had front-wheel drive. AS reserve drivers, Eyston had with him the companion of so many records .’attempts, Albert Denly, and C. S. stanuand. Beyond a slight breakage in the front axle which delayed matters for several days, the untried design of the car
was wholly satisfactory in practice, and the ” Speed of the Wind ” made a clean sweep of all the records so recently set up by Jenkins. In all, 16 world’s and Class A records were captured, outstanding among them being the ten miles at 167.10 m.p.h., the One Hour at 159.30 m.p.h., and the six hours at 140.52 M.p.h., figures which require pondering over to be appreciated fully.
Earlier in the year the A.I.A.C.R. had decided to establish a special category for records made with C.I. engines. In October the first official figures were made by R. J. Munday, with the Munday Diesel (2,743 c.c.) at Brooklands. There were six in all, ranging from the flying kilometre at 94.70 m.p.h. to the One Hour at 88.25 m.p.h.
The annual Record Week at Gyon only produced two new records. Laszlo H arta-twin covered a standing mile in 37.84 secs., at 96.14 m.p.h., thus beating his own previous record of 91.65 m.p.h. made with a Bugatti. On this occasion he used a 2,991 c.c. Maserati. The other record breaker was J. MOritz, who, by clocking 65.32 m.p.h. for the standing kilometre in Class 1 (500 c.c.) with a little D.K.W., beat the figure established only the day before by Count Lurani at Florence. The difference in time between the two was only .08 second.
Lurani ‘s records were particularly good, for his little Guzzi-engined Nibbio achieved a speed of 100.76 m.p.h. for the flying kilometre and 100.52 m.p.h. for the mile, with an engine of only 500 c.c. Having accomplished his purpose, Lurani garaged the car with his many others in the ancestral castle and departed for service in East Africa. At the time of writing, the last records to be broken his season were those of the
1,500 c.c. Adler at Avus. This beautifully-streamlined rennlinzousin made two runs; the first a short one, and the second lasting for four days. The drivers were Guillaume, Boetzhes, Loehr and Hasse. Altogether the Adler took nine records in Class F, all of them previously held by Citroen.
Brooklands Track Records
The number of lap records broken at Brooklands Track last year was not quite as great as usual, owing to the ban on records made during races. However, enough activity has been witnessed to make the competition for the various class records really ket n.
It was not until the August Bank Holiday Meeting that the first record fell. Oliver Bertram made a special run at the end of the day, driving Capt. Woolf Barnato’s 8-litre Barnato-Hassan. His goal was the most coveted Brooklands record of all, that for the Outer Circuit, and held at that time by John Cobb’s Napier-Railton at a speed of 140.91 m.p.h. In some timed laps, remarkable for the low position of the car on the banking, Bertram covered one circuit in 69.85 secs., at a speed of 142.60 M.p.h.
The next record turned out to be a hotly-contested one, the Woman’s Outer Circuit Lap Record. It all started through a Match Race being arranged between Mrs, Petre (Delage) and Mrs. Stewart (Derby). The former was the existing holder, at 129.58 m.p.h., but during practice for the race Mrs. Stewart beat this with a lap at 130.17 m.p.h. Mrs. Petre promptly brought out the old Delage and roared round at 134.75 m.p.h. on the very same day. In the Match Race no new figures were made, but three days later Mrs. Stewart put the record out of reach of Mrs. Petre’s Delage by covering a lap at 135.95 m.p.h. This speed also ranks as a record for the lap in Class E, previously standing to
the credit of Kaye Don’s Sunbeam at 126.73 m.p.h.
The next aspirant was ” B. Bira,” who entered his E.R.A. for an attempt on the 1,500 c.c. Mountain Circuit record, held at that moment by Raymond Mays at 76.31 m.p.h. ” Bira ” did it, but by a narrow margin, for his new figure was 76.95 m.p.h.
And now John Cobb thought it was time to regain his lost Outer Circuit Lap record. The gigantic Napier-Railton proved to have quite a bit up its capacious sleeve, and the record was regained quite comfortably at 143.44 m.p.h.
The ” absolute ” record for the Mountain Circuit was the next to fall, and it was satisfactory to see a British E.R.A., driven by Raymond Mays, holding this record at a faster speed than the Maserati driven by Whitney Straight last year. Mays’ speed was 81.28 m.p.h., against Straight’s 81.00 m.p.h.
Then there ensued a 1-eally hectic struggle for the 1,500 c.c. ” Mountain ” record. A. J. Cormack had had an un3uccessful season with his new Alta, but at last he got the car to function according to plan, and he beat ” Bira’s E.R.A. to take the record at 77.13 m.p.h. His triumph was of the short-lived variety, however, for four days later the irrepressible Mrs. Petre turned up with, the ” white ” Riley constructed by Raymond Mays. Driving with magnificent. spirit, Mrs. Petre knocked half-a-second off Cormack’s time to raise the record to 77.97 m.p.h. She, too, was destined only to hold the record for a short time. On . the first day of November A. F. P. Fane, the brilliant Frazer-Nash exponent, shrieked round the circuit on the twinblower Shelsley Nash at the remarkable speed of 78.73 m.p.h. And there it rests.
Meanwhile, Kenneth Evans had tried his hand at record breaking for the first time in his successful racing career, and with his R-type M.G. Midget, he beat Driscoll’s previous record made with the single-seater Austin by clocking the fine, speed of 75.24 m.p.h.
By now the track was due to be closed for its annual winter overhaul, but at the. last moment R. 0. Shuttleworth smashed the absolute Mountain Circuit record with his monoposto Alfa-Romeo at a speed of 82.06 m.p.h. It need hardly be said that there areseveral drivers just itching to try their luck again for some of these records as. soon as the Track is opened next spring_