RUMBLINGS, January 1937
Amongst the more exciting preparations for the coming season are those of John Bolster, who will again run his famous ” Mary ” in sprint contests. John is now planning a new car which is to have four of the old 980 c.c. V-twin J.A.P. engines in a frame with Lockheed braking, independent Front suspension, and only two speeds. Transmission will be by chain and quite how this 4-litre eight-cylinder cycle-car will function along the straight and narrow is as much a matter of conjecture and morbid interest as when Bolster announced his original ” Mary.” It is a vise move to retain the old car, SQ that by restoring its two engines from the new motor it will be available as before. Certainly we admire Bolster’s brave and individualistic endeavours to capture sprint honours. The pity is that speed-trial organisers cannot pay him starting money !
The Silver Hawk
Amongst Brooklands cars of the past the Silver Hawk seems to have lived on in many people’s memories, although few appear to know anything of the car, other than its name. Actually, very few of these cars were made. The chassis was pre-war Swift and a 1 ,f.litre Anzani or Coyentry-Simplex engine was used. George Duller commenced his racing career with the latter type, winning several Brooklands races at between 67 to 68 m.p.h. average. Legend has it that the Swift gearbox had a useful life of 100 miles to a set of bearings (plain). We reproduce a photograph of a Silver Hawk, which catne with a covering letter in which the \ liter naively remarks that the best thing about the car was its exhaust note !
T.T. Bentley—Old School
It is a far cry from the ti-litre Bentley, on which E. R. Hall had his fine drive in the last T.T. race, to the 3-litre Bentley depicted here. The latter car is one of the team that ran in the 1922 Tourist Trophy, the first big road race in which the Bentley marque competed. Later it was acquired by the late George Porter who ran it successfully at Southport, having cast away much avoirdupois by
extensive .drilling of the chassis members. Porter was killed in the car near Blackpool as a result of encountering an unexpected shower of rain on a sandy road. Mrs. Millington, then Miss May Cunliffe, bought the remains in 1.926 and ran the old Bentley at Southport and Shelsley, until she crashed it seriously at Blackpool. In 1927 it was rebuilt and supercharged (which is interesting), hut that is another story. The older racing-cars had attached to them strong associations with definite venues or personalities, so that their very ownership was a source of satisfaction, quite apart from the pleasure of tuning and driving them. And in the case of the Bentley marque, these old-time associations are handed on to the present examples, which partially explains the popularity of, and enthusiasm for, the modern 41-litre.
Port of Call
If your tank shows signs of running dry as you approach Peterborough, remember Cook’s Garages Ltd. on the London Road, if you have time for a chat about the early days of motoring sport. The proprietors know a lot about this sort of thing, although their present joy is the .Towett, in passenger and commercial forms. They have been associated with some amusing hybrid efforts, and on a recent visit we were shown a photograph of a touring Rolls-Royce with 40i50 Napier gearbox and a Rolls-Royce ” Hawk ” aeroplane motor, possessed of intriguing exposed
o.h. camshaft valve gear, and claimed to develop 87 b.h.p. at the extremely moderate crankshaft speed of 1,80() r.p.m.
The M.G. Car Company Ltd. has every reason to feel elated for production has exceeded all previous records. The Midget 11-litre and 2-litre cars are built on assembly lines, but the hustle and bustle of a mass-production factory is not in evidence in this
Raymond May,. Shelsley ll’alsh Yet:old holder, lakes delivery of a ” Flying Standard ” Saloon.
purely sports-car factory, and although the engine units are fully tested before arrival at Abingdon, the complete cars receive a thorough road-test before they go into the ” finished ” bay, both in chassis form and with bodywork fitted. It is a fallacy that M.G.s -used to maintain a special racing department ; in fact, the racing-cars were usually accommodated above the body shop. In future trials a team of model ” T ” Midgets will carry on the work performed by rather special cars in the past. The idea of installing a 1.3-litre £7 10s. tax engine in the Midget frame was a brilliant one on somebody’s part, and much interest should attach to the road-test impressions published elsewhere in this issue. To see the cars taking shape on the assembly lines in the factory is to appreciate the very vigorous demand that exists for the M.G. sports-cars, and also explains the reason for this activity, for a bare chassis is the best guise in which to examine a car for its good or bad features. And the present M.G.s have extremely fine frames and exceptionally good detail work goes into them. Very liberal use is made of rubber mountings, and the facia of the new Midget is a simple rigid pressing. The bodywork is car;fully hand finished, after chassis parts have been spray-painted, and the fine lines of the latest coachwork can be admired at leisure in the vast bay where new M.G.s await their future owners. It makes one glow inside to see visible proof of the continued and growing popularity of the sports-type of motor-car. Incidentally, M.G. personnel make extended use of their own products. George Tuck, who manages M.G. publicity, is running a “T “-type Midget of his own. So that they understand every
aspect of their cars before the most enthusiastic private owner has done his first 1,000 miles. Incidentally, the model craze has extended to Abingdon and I saw some excellent miniature Mercs. and closed-body Auto-T “nions in Tuck’s office.
Sports-Cars for Sports-Car Races
To obviate the use of Grand Prix bodywork (if not Grand Prix chassis) for sports-car races, new rules were framed at the last meeting of the International Association, covering specifications of bodywork for the Le Mans, Tourist Trophy, “French Grand Prix,” “Belgian Grand Prix,” Monte Carlo Rally and certain Italian sports-car races. Two doors are required, one on either side, 40 c.m. (approximately 16 in.) in width, 20 c.m. (approximately 8 in.) from the floorboards. Width of body across the seats must be 85 cm. (34 in.), an increase of 5 cm. Seat dimensions are governed, but two-seaters qualify for most races and rulings have been made covering hoods and screens where these are compulsory, and wings must surround one-third the circumference of the wheels and come down to hub-level. Doors must be proper ones, mounted on hinges, but can be bolted up for safety.
We are at present refraining from saying much about the interest that is latent about 11-litre racing, lecause at the moment it is uncertain just which concerns and individuals will support limited capacity racing this year, though the E.R.A. will continue very prominent. ” Bira ” has bought Seaman’s Delage, and the Ellison-Cholmondeley-Tapper Association may run an E.R.A., the Maserati being up for sale. Charlie Martin has plans for one of the 1926 straighteight double o.h. camshaft Talbot engines in the 2-litre twelve-cylinder Delage chassis, presumably the car owned by the Conan Doyles, though Talbot engines must he scarce.
A prominent Continental driver is rumoured to be acquiring one of the twelve-cylinder 2-litre 1924 Delage cars, presumably to run linered down to 1 flitres. We understood that an inherent fault in the con-rod formation prevented the Conan Doyles using this remarkable car for record work, so that if the present rumour be true there looks like some enthralling redesigning work for someone.
R. G. J. Nash will run his Frazer-Nash-UnionSpecial in ii-litre classes at sprint meetings as before.