I am taking the liberty of writing and thanking you for keeping Nkyron SPORT in circulation, in spite of the fact that the Sport as such ceases to exist except on paper ; the fact that you have managed to maintain the paper in its original quality in these difficult times, when practically everything is in short supply, reflects great credit on you and your staff. When I left the IJ.K. nearly three years ago I took the precaution of arranging with my newsagent to continue to supply MOTOR SPORT a nd Automobile Engineering for the duration these copies are being stored at home pending my return and it would seem that I will have quite a lot of reading to catch up ‘vith The principal reason for this letter is that I have reeeived one or two odd copies of Moron Scoter Which my family have managed to secure in addition to those already ordered. These have been read from cover to cover. I was interested in Capt. Moon’s comments on cars in Cairo. I can well rememler the first time I heard the Alfa he mentions ; it belonged to a fellow in the 11.13.8 who was in the same earrip with us. I heard it approaching one night, down the camp
road. I could hardly believe my ears, but there was no mistaking the thin, high scream from the blower, nor that particularly pleasant flat exhaust note.
or some reason or other I never contacted the owner, though the sound of his car in the deserted streets of Cairo, late at night, often took my mind back to more pleasant days. I was surprised that Capt. Moon did not mention the 0-cylinder unblown Alfa saloon in which the C..11.P. used to chase after unfortunate lorry drivers. I had the opportunity of looking over it when in workshops ; there was nothing really outstanding about it, since it was rather on the cheap side, 1 ko 6C, according to the i late on the bulkhead, but that does not con vcy much. 1 here was the conventional t wincam engine with, I think, three :-..;olex carburetters, independent front suspension, and a very American appearance all round.
Among the other cars of interest I came across in Cairo was a vintage 10/15h.p. Fiat sports model, with Rudgc wire wheels aluminium body, and a generally sports-like appearance, though rather skinny. I did not know that this type was ever produced in a sports version ; I would say that the year of manufacture was about 1925!
Then there was a AlereWs (4-cylinder ?) with a very abbreviated body and bolster tank, owned by someone in the R.A.O.C. ; it sounded quite healthy and still had German registration plates under the ” Gippy ” ones. On second thoughts it may well have been ” 33/1803″ which would make it a 0-cylinder. Every time I saw the car I was unable to find the owner, and when I saw them together they were on the move. Whatever type it was, it was
definitely a super-sports or racing type, and not a mock-up of a touring version.
I tried to locate the bugatti mentioned by Moon, but without much success. It was rumoured to be for sale, but I never ran it to earth. he is quite right about the 14 iats ; there are literally thousands, no two being of the same type or year. Surely Fiats hold an all-time record for diversity of types ? There was quite a nice edition of a Seventh Series Lambda running around, driven by a not unattractive lady.
There were also a couple of 41-litre Bentleys in town, one of which was owned by Peter hordern, who mentioned it, *and another he had owned in India, in a letter in, I think it was, The Autocar. his (Peter’s) W:IS the standard long-chassis model with the usual black fabric body. The other had one of those enormous “be Mans” type rear tanks, presumably a Replica. The tax, by the way, for a 4-litre is, I am told, approximately 26 per year ; makes one think, doesn’t it?
While in Alexandria during the Middle of 1041 I came across a beautifully preserved Model T Ford ; it was at that time in the hands of the Ford workshops there, being completely renovated. It was the standard tourer, with, I think, an iron radiator shell, and with the exception of the wheels, which had come off a later type of Ford, having lbw-pressure tyre’s, it was conn letely standard. The foreman told me that it was owned by a local Egyptian. There are, or were, in Alexandria, a large number of Ansaldo tourers, some with wire wheels and some with artillery wheels ; rani ically all were used as taxis. There were about equal numbers of A.iisiddos and Fiats used for that purpose, all very vintage. The former had what
looked like a 11-litre engine with o.h.c. and a single SOlex carburetter. It struck me that it was quite a nice, tidy little engine, and would stand a bit of tuning. Though what the innards are like I do not know, as I never found an engine out of the chassis.
You may or may not remember the very slow 1923 H.E. I used to run, or to be more accurate, creep about in at Vintage S.C.C. sixed trials and hill climbs. it is now in store at Salisbury, together with a F.W.D. Alvis with the engine still out, I not having had time to re-assemble it before the war started.
I also have a Type 88 Bugatti in store at the local coachhuilders, where it got left before we went to France. I understand it is being well cared for. I purchased this from a brother officer for £10, during a rather alcoholic party. However, it went quite fast when all the pings fired in the right order, though the missing third speed robbed it of one of the best parts of a Bugatti. However, in view of what has happened since in France, I consider myself lucky to have a liugatti at all. Though I must confess, I hanker after a Type 55. Alotoring in Iraq is principally American, and pretty knock-kneed at that ; how the front wheels stay on I don’t know. Tyres, as you may have heard, are not exactly plentiful, even in this part of the world, and I was told quite recently that an average-sized tyre, say 18 in. by 5.50 in., would cost anything between 2100 and 2150, that is, if one could get it. This is an absolute fact, and no exaggeration. The result is that there is a most incredible collection of patched-up covers in use. The sewing on of pieces of other covers is most favoured, but I have seen such patches secured by
bolts and nuts ! And it is quite a common sight to see cars running on the rim of a tyre-less spare wheel, rather than risk damage to the cover after a puncture.
The only vehicle of interest that I have seen here is a Tempo, a name that is new to me, though I suspect it has something to do with Tatra! The car in question, although privately owned, was obviously designed for military use. It has a twostroke engine mounted at the rear of an all-round independently sprung chassis, fitted with a very spartan body with no doors (the holes are there, but no doors). The fuel tank is fitted on to the back of the front seat, and I suspect that it has a tubular backbone type of chassis. The spare wheels are mounted amidships on either side of the body and are pivoted to enable them to help the centre of the car over excessive bumps, in much the same way as the spare wheels do on the very efficient German standard chassis. I am Yours, etc.,
:ALAN SOUTRON (Capt.).
Colin McRae (1968-2007)
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International Race Results of 1958
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LETTERS from READERS, August 1944
Sir. My interest in the Sport—purely as a spectator—goes back to just after the last war. I followed the Sport in the weekly journals very closely, but was only able…