As the Founder and first Editor of Speed, which—after I dissociated myself from it—became merged with MOTOR SPORT, I crave the courtesy of a little of your space to cross swords with you in the matter of the Editorial entitled “Too Fantastic” in your November issue.
My principal complaint about this article is that it is bad journalism. You inveigh heavily against the intended Veteran Car Club Victory Run to Berlin without advancing one single constructive Criticism of it.
Thus, for the first two-thirds of the article the reader is left wondering just why the fellow who wrote it was so biased against this very sporting proposal.
His suggestion that the cars to participate in the event are “comic ears” is so alien to the better judgment of any knowledgeable motoring journalist as to be positively Aryan! As such it cannot, of course, be treated seriously.
In fact, the journalist himself did not really believe in this description of the Veteran Cars which will take part, for in his very next paragraph he goes on to describe them as “Serious Competition Vehicles as distinct from gymkhana ‘old crocks.” Why, then, the slur in the previous paragraph ?
Indeed, the whole article is a succession of similar disparaging statements qukkly followed by qualifying contradictions, and the reason for its ever having been written is ” wropt in obscurity ” until, suddenly, one lights on the hidden truth.
The Editor evidently feels strongly, ‘still, on the withholding by the R.A.C. of a Permit applied for, some years ago, and — even more strongly — that the Veteran Car Club has usurped the rights of the Vintage S.C.C. in throwing open the entry for its Victory Run to cars up to 1910.
The rest of the article, with its vague and unsubstantiated criticism of the Victory Run, is mere padding to the real grievances, which in no way reflect on the desirability of the Veteran Car Club’s proposed event as an Event. I repeat—” Bad Journalism,” but if you extend the courtesy of your columns to me for the publication of this letter, certainly NOT “Bad Nature ” I I am, Yours etc.,
A LA.N HESS, 8/Capt.
London, S.W.5. [I have so often pointed out that I am a motoring enthusiast who writes rather than a journalist who motors that it is not surprising that my Editoriv.1 should call for criticism from a professional journalist like SiCapt. Alan Hess. Veteran cars do not look comic to me, as most of my readers are aware, but they might very well do so to British ” Tommies ” in an Army of Occupation in Germany, who will have had enough hardship and sadness to endure not to be easily in a position to appreciate such a meant of Austin advertising. The R.A.C.’s refusal to grant me a Permit for a LondonExeter run for early post-1918 small cars probably saved me a lot of hard work and expense, so I am really grateful to their Competitions Committee, even if their inconsistency in such matters merits exposure. The seeking to couple business advertising with victory celebrations (thanksgiving ?) in the country of a vanquished enemy would have been a more accurate essumrtion on which SiCapt. Hess could have based his explanation of my reasons for that particular writing.—Ed .1