LETTERS from READEARS

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LETTERS from READERS

Sir.

We have a very interesting 2-seater 16-h.p. blown Alercedes (single eamshaft), 1921. vintag,e, which someone has pulled to bits and Nyhich we hope to rebuild next year. Unfortunately we cannot get any definite ” gen ” on it.

The Mercedes Nvorks in London seem to think it was used at Indianapolis, Ina, it is not a bit like an Indianapolis car. and the engine is a common touring unit with a lightened flywheel. We have bought the rough -t-seater, 16-11.p. job that was out in a yard near flitchin for spares. The engine is practically identival. The following is a brief description of

2-Seilfl•P. ill eatiV you loom anyone who can identify it. Incidentally, it was the one which was at a yard opposite the —Green Dragon,” at Barnet, before the war. We !Haight it at London (Olney. wheelbase 8 ft. 9 in. (approx.). track 1. ft. 6 in. (approx.). senti-elliptic springs all round. 5.00-in. by 19-in. It tolge wheels with 12-mun. hubs. cable-operated fourwheel brakes, front. axle and springs chromium plated, back plates of front I rakes are covered by aluminium shields with small air scoops. Engine approx. 2 litres. single o.h.c.. two valves per cylinder. fialr separate cylinders enclosed ill shett steel. welded water jacket, single

magneto. !dower ill front of engine and drive engaged by clutch towards hill throttle in usual Merce.des fashion. Four-speed gearbox and doulde-bevel rear axle, 011(1 Mercedes double-cone clutch. 2-seater hody by Corsica. and has a beetle tail with a Mercetdes star on it, helmet wings.

At present tlw. car is as we bought it. it heap of pieces, but we hope to sort it out eventually.

Anv information about its history woula be VCry welcome.

Best. wishes, and congratulathais etn keeping Merton Semer going. I am. l’Ours. etc., At.t..x. A. l’Ank,

p.p. T. P. Breen. 1.1d.

Whetstone. N.20. I Anot her one for the experts ! Our sIdution is that the car is a fairly normal •• 16 50.” although these appear to have had /Cot-speed gearbox 011(1 it wheelbase or over 9 rt. En. I

Sir.

During a reeent visit -IOC:0111 I was very pleased to aopiire a copy of the August Alo-ron Sewer, of which several of the very interesting pages were taken up with SwItt.iLdr. Boothby’s description of ears that he has owned.

After reading this article. I reached the conclusion that the author is an extremely prolific. loll not very discriminating, motorist.

? vill not comment on his exploits with motor-cycles, but his motoring scents to be a chronicle of indifferent success punctuated with unrelieved failure. After his earliest experiments Sq(111., I.dr. Boothby acquired a Alorgan which he couldn’t steer, and follow-of this with a second ‘Morgan, which he crashed. Ire tiwn worked with his hrother on a Salm son, ?vhich only functioned correctly after being sold to another man. Tl ten. after being so extremely fortunate as to experience the joys of a :1-litre Sunbeam. he bought another Sahnson, which lie

blew up.”

Itardly an encouraging record so far, although this last effort Ixas perhaps excusable as these ears were apt. to poke con.-rods, etc., through the stationary !orations of the engine.

(bra author’s next experience with the ” Hornet Special ” was quite disastrous, as he couldn’t steer it at over 50 m.p.h. and couldn’t make his half-shafts last. Ile did not , moreover, discover t he seemingly obvious causes of these. distressing characteristies. The discarded ” I Ionia ” was followed ”Special,” upon by an Austin Seven %Odell much care would appear to have been lavished. During its trials this car was trounced by t he local tradesimm’s van, and this indignity caused all ” 750s ” to he forthwith condemned ! I out a ‘.bnage ” driver (Bentley) myself, hut

I do appreciate the truly remarkable performance of’ 750-c.c. ears in capable hands. I am forced to the conclusion that the author’s troulde was nearer to home than the Longbridge works. The Austin disposed of, a Singer Nine (-ante apart in his hands, and was followed

I y ?l Lancia “Lanthda” which, surprisingly enough, gave some satisfaction.

The full Brescia Bugatti. which was next on the list, had, apparently, an enormous amount of time and trot ii expended on it to produce. what I should consider to be, only moderately successful motoring. After a Delage, which east a piston, the

3-litre Bentley eonws in its share of abuse. Perhaps there was some particular reason for the purchase or a ” botched up ” ” Blue Label ” which would neither steer no accelerate, as otherwise it is dillieult to understand. The owner, then., could not make its performance exceed that of a ” 10-h.p. saloon,” although many a ” lied Label,” particularly with a 15.:50 him! drive. can travel at around the 100 m.p.h. mark Nvithout exceeding 3,500 r.p.m., and, compared with others in its (‘lass, is almost dainty to handle.

The list continues with a Ford V8 which gave satisfaction, lint was re-built with little imagination and no regard to weight distribution ; a 41-litre Bentley, whiclt was successful. Ina allowed to vanish completely ; a La Salle. which aroused something approaching enthusiasm ; and a Buick, which could do nothing tight. Surely this ” flitting front twig to twig,” with so little achievement. can hardly he called a motoring career.

Usually the enthusiast concentrates on the type of car which appeals to bim personally, and, by means of a combination of loving care, mechanical ingenuity. good driving, and the ability to learn, produces, at any rate, something approaching the desired results. Sodn./Ldr. Boothby. on the other hand, (hues not appear to know what he wants, whether the thoroughbred appeal and exhilarating thunder of the ” vintage ” car, the roaring revs, and jockey driving of the little ” dicer,” or the highspeed and precision of the Continental “

formula” cars. He seems, in fact, to have fallen amongst a multitude of stools, whilst drivers having shorter, but, more carefully directed, experience have been achieving satisfaction and resi t s. I am, Yours, etc.,

JOHN STRIBLEY ((‘pl.).

R.A.F., M.E.F. [We submitted this letter to Sqdn./Ldr. James Boothby, D.F.C., who replies as follows-ED.]

I have been asked by the Editor-who is, in my opinion (which is always open to criticism by Corporal Stribley), a really die-hard and determined enthusiast—to keep my comments as brief as possible.

I will, therefore, enumerate my comments on the letter in question, for the sake of brevity.

(a) I like Corporal Stribley. Ile is the ideal type of man to enter politics. He has an idea, which he feels he must get across, and he is not averse to so collecting his evidence that all points that do not fit in with his views are gracefully glossed over. After the war he can sell me something ; preferably not a motor car.

(b) He will not comment on my motorcycle attempts. Obviously he knows less about these vehicles than he does about ears. His abstinence is, perhaps, advisable.

(c) I was 10 when I played with Morgans. My rather experienced garage proprietor cut his elbow to the bone on the half-compression cock, on the first car, in the midst of a wobble, and I doubt if Cpl. Stribley, with all his experience, could keep a car the right way up after the outside front tyre came off in at fast bend, between deep ditches.

(d) The Salmson, which I worked on with my brother, certainly worked after it had been sold to another body ; but only after it had been fitted with another engine, which we found for him, but could not afford to buy.

(e) I liked the Sunbeam ; who wouldn’t?

I blew the twin-cam Salmson up, but one does get excited at 17. However, I make no excuses. (f) The ” Hornet” was not an actual “Special.” It did not steer and, as far

as I know, there is no record of anyone ‘ever making the standard model do so. The ” seemingly obvious causes ” consisted of a weak front-end to the chassis, a flimsy front axle and a geometrically impossible steering gear. I was not then, and am not now, a millionaire.

(g) I have very little excuse for the Austin. Actually it is considered fast for an unblown “750,” with no further modifications to engine and chassis. I am glad that Cpl. Stribley is a vintage driver (Bentley). It sounds slightly like a Service stores-reference. Actually, I am prone to admire the blown ” 750s.”

(h) The Austin disposed of, and also a large collection of bikes, which Cpl. Stribley has chosen to ignore throughout, a Singer Nine came apart in my hands. Here I can agree with him. Never has a truer word been written. I require no excuse for this.

(1) Why is Cpl. Stribley surprised that the beloved old Lancia ” Lambda ” gave satisfaction ? Any vintage motorist would expect it.

(j) The Brescia Bugatti was the sparetime effort of a full-time Service officer. Various people have considered it most successful for a car that was 15 years old. Tazio Nuvolari was driving an AutoUnion at the time. I doubt if I could be expected to produce serious opposition.

(k) The Delage broke a piston. I have seen Pods cast, but seldom a piston. The fun I had out of it was well worth £5.

(/) The “particular reason ” for purchasing a ” botched-up ” ” Blue Label ” Bentley was that I couldn’t afford anything else at the time. It was heavy to steer, not impossible. Please, Cpl. Stribley, show me a 100 m.p.h. 3-litre Bentley. An actual one in road use, not thee sonamed model or a track car. I am not particularly interested in the revs., if the performance is there.

(m) Could Cpl. Stribley produce a racing Ford in a week and alter the weight distribution ? Whilst little imagination was shown, the performance was there. Perhaps Cpl. Stribley’s week is longer than ours.

(n) The La Salle, O.K. ; the Buick, one particular specimen, lousy. So what ?

(o) The last paragraph is perhaps the most entertaining of all. haul Cpl. St ribley the eyeS See, Ile %10111(1 have noted it growing desire for at large, slowrevving engine. I lc would have realised the limitations of indifferent finance, which is only to be expected in a man’s younger life, lie would have perceived a willingness to try anything once. He would have noted a slight indifference towards imitation motor car:. which were forced on the owner. If nobody was willing to try a new experience, there wouldn’t be a single test pilot. Everybody would be flying the one machine he first learnt to like and so ad infinitum. Cpl. Stribley, in his admittedly limited experience, has learnt a lot about Bentleys. In my (by his own admission) wider experience. I have learnt a lot about motor cars. I wonder who has driven a Bentley the farthest, and who can drive a Bentley the fastest ? I would prefer my own, less narrow-minded, side of the picture. It. might interest Cpl. Stribley to know that, since my regrettable lapse in the Morgan, 11 years ago. I haven’t marked a motor car. made an insurance claim, or had a police court summons, except one for failing to carry a horn on

a motor-bike. J.% Nms Mann BY. Sir,

1 was somewhat taken aback to read in last month’s issue a letter of mine which had been writtcn 12 months ago. In spirit, of course, the facts and sentiments therein remain unaltered, but such remarks as I made concerning the basic still being in operation tw,, years ago, and the possibility of a Ford Enthusiasts’ Club trial on Boxing Day, 1944, were renderetl ahsiird. For this seemingly fantastic prophecy regarding the Ford Enthusiasts’ Club I must have acquired a reputation of being quite the most optimistic of all Mifroa Spoirr readers ! Move it forward to Boxing Day, 1945, and we might have got something there.

I would like to take this opportunity of lending my voice to Mr. Hutehison’s timely plea for considerably more thought.

and action on the part of the after the war (with rcg:t rd to car trials, I mean). Indeed, though the net ion part of it must of necessity wait until after the war, the present unwelcome lull surely provides an ideal opportunity for plenty of thought. Pe I ly . I would like to see some concrete proposals (trailed and puhlished hy the as soon as possible, something xvhich would at once form the basis of wide discussion. lluch trouble is in store if car trials arc allowed to slide carelessly hack into life. and we can consider ourselves mighty lneky if they arc merely frowned on as the pastinte

of nitwits.’ (.1de -K.N.1 ).

I am, Yours, etc.. Farnham. It G. V. VENAni.c,-;. apologise : unfortunately the I 91:: lISS. went to the printers in error for the re-written copy sulintit led by Mr. Venables for the 191-1 issue. El). I ******* +••••••• ************* G••••••••