The article by Mr. S. H. Statham in your June, 1948, issue has inspired me to write to you anent a car recently purchased by my brother. I have never actually inspected the car at close quarters and must accordingly base my description on my brother’s enthusiastic reports and photographs.
This car was originally TalbotDarracq, and as such was raced very successfully by one Govoni, at the Lord Howe circuit near Johannesburg. If memory serves me correctly a photograph of a similar car owned by Mr. PowysLybbe appeared in your December, 1942, issue. To cut a long story short the original Straight-eight engine was irreparably wrecked in the Grosvenor Grand
Prix, Cape Town, and was replaced with a Graham engine of 3,400 c.c. New members were fitted to take the larger engine, the flywheel housing built up and a Ford gearbox and clutch fitted. This was apparently done to incorporate the transmission system of Ford, which has a big universal at the gearbox and a solid housing running right down to the differential. The Talbot axle housing has been left, but the hubs have been built up to take the Ford axles. (My apologies, if you are shuddering at this apparent vandalism.) The radiator was constructed in Johannesburg, but the chassis, suspension, steering, etc., are all original Talbot.
That the fitting of a blown American engine was justified is shown by the performance. The car was driven very successfully on the Lord Howe circuit by the late Dennis Woodbead, and its lap time was 2 min. 15 see. (64.83 m.p.h.), as compared with 2 min. 14 sec. (65.31 m.p.h.) by Mario ” in the 3.7-litre Maserati. In its present form, fitted with road equipment (rather scanty) and reduced compression, it behaves very well on war-time pump fuel, and from descriptions received, the performance is positively wicked. Apparently it can hold its own with just about anything likely to be encountered on South African roads. The engine is reputed to develop 120 b.h.p. at 4,500 r.p.m., and the entire outfit in its present form weighs but 1,740 lb. Maximum speed is over 100
m.p.h., but could be increased if a higher back-axle ratio could be obtained.
Having long been a supporter of the ” large-engined light-weight” theory of inexpensive perform of we production, I am anxious for this show to end so that I can try this hybrid out. In conclusion, I might add that all work on the conversion on the car was done by Messrs. MeNicol and Whitehead,
of Johannesburg. from whom it was purchased by us.
Here’s hoping that MoTon Seoul. continues to thrive. I am, Yours. etc.,
T.tyr,oa (L (pl.).