Letters from Readers, January 1946



Capt. John Moon, in his interesting article on the Jeep, stated that a few with four-wheel steering were made.

Actually, only 50 A4s, four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, were made in 1941. They simply had a normal front axle assembly at the rear, with the steering of front and rear axles effected and coupled by a steering transfer box.

Possibly the technique required for handling this type of Jeep was not easily acquired by the average G.I., hence the model was dropped.
I am, Yours, etc.,
H. L. Biggs.



I recently spent an evening glancing through a 1938 issue of “Motor Specifications and Prices,” published by Stone & Cox, and was surprised to note a number of British cars manufactured in the 1930’s of which I had never heard. Among these are some which, on paper, in size at least, are companions of the big Mercédès and Hispano-Suiza.

There was the Owen, built in 1935 (8-cylinder, 90 by 150 mm., 7,600 c.c.), and the Hatton-McEvoy, built in 1930 (6-cylinder, 110 by 170 nun., 9 1/2 litres).

Another of over 4 litres was the 30-h.p. Moveo, while over 3 litres were the 20-h.p. Orleans, the 22-h.p. Moveo and the 8-cylinder 30-h.p. Leidart, while in the 1 to 1 1/2-litre section were the 10 and 12-h.p. Jewel, 12-h.p. Hermon, 10-h.p. Barclay, and a 2-cylinder 728-c.c. 6-h.p. André.

I was interested to read again about the 10-h.p. Comet, which I have never seen or heard of except in lists of specifications, but which I seem to remember was supercharged, with 90 m.p.h. and a turning circle of 27 ft.

An interesting foreign car, which appears on paper to be the forerunner of the D.K.W., was the French Donnet-Zedel, manufactured in 1932 (8 h.p., 2-cylinder, 2-stroke, 79 by 75 mm., giving a capacity of 750 c.c.).

I am sure there are many other people who have not heard of some of these cars, and I should be glad if readers could throw any light on them.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Graham C. Dix.
[A whole lot of motoring history still remains to be written-up. Apart from the cars and period mentioned by Mr. Dix, there were some now-forgotten cars built in the early ninteen-twenties which would command even more admiration from present-day enthusiasts. Of the cars Mr. Dix mentions, the Moveo was an honest attempt to offer a straight-forward semi-sporting “Six,” while the Leidard used a Ford V8 engine. The V-twin André was quite well known and was entered for a Monte Carlo Rally. If readers are sufficiently interested, we will prepare an article on obscure, obsolete caus such as these. But to cover the Paris Salons of the early twenties would require several issues of Motor Sport. – Ed.]

In the July issue there appears an article headed “That Ideal Stable — Being Mostly a Flight of Fancy,” in which is laid down the minimum number of cars necessary to get the most out of motoring as a sport and a convenience.

Being fortunate enough to live in a place where motoring regulations are reasonable and motoring taxes fairly low, my brother and I possess a stable which goes a long way towards the ideal laid down.

Following the headings given in the article, we have : —
(a) General Domestic Purposes : — 2 1/2-litre S.S. “Jaguar.”

(b) Fast Road Motoring : —
(i) Modern: S.S. “Jaguar.”
(ii) Vintage: 6-cylinder “24/80” Straker-Squire.

(c) Sprint Competition or Amateur Racing: —
Ex-J. P. Wakefield, I,500-c.c. 6-cylinder Maserati.(d) Trials. —

(e) Veteran (or, more correctly, Edwardian) Motoring :—
(i) 1910 88-h.p. Daimler landaulette.
(ii) 1912 Buick.

(f) Hacking : —

The Straker-Squire may possibly be run in some more gentle trials, and until recently, until it returned to its owner, who was a prisoner of war in Germany, a 4-cylinder Straker-Squire, the 1923 20-h.p. job, was used as a hack.

Wishing you a speedy return to unrestricted motoring.
I am, Yours, etc.,

The secretary of the North London Enthusiasts Car Club has drawn my attention to a remark in the last issue of Motor Sport under “Club News,” in which the performance of my 1932 M-type M.G. seems to be doubted.

When a petrol consumption test was held by the above club, I recorded 59.2 m.p.g.; you remark, “Surely a little coasting was resorted to.” I would like to inform you that this car is the same Midget that was seen at Cockfosters Rally, and was remarked on in Motor Sport as “being in better than showroom condition.” It has already covered over 100,000 miles, and is just being run-in after its first rebore. During the petrol consumption test the vehicle carried an independent witness, and the run was over a course necessitating the use of third gear for a stretch and second to turn round in one sweep for the return journey (a 4-speed gearbox is fitted). At no time was the car coasted.

The standard S.U. carburetter is fitted with a standard needle, and I am willing at any time to demonstrate the ability of this car to do 60 m.p.h. and 60 m.p.g. on the same carburetter setting.

Incidentally, I have recently completed the tuning of a 1939 “14/60” Wakeley saloon, and over the last 600 miles, in which the car has not been out of the Metropolitan area, it has averaged 36 m.p.g. without coasting, and is capable at any time of 74 m.p.h., by tested speedo.

I am, Yours, etc.,
S. J. Humphries
London, N.W.4.

I read with much interest Mr. MacLachlan’s extremely interesting article in your November issue.

I once had the good fortune to drive this car in its original low-built form at the Cambridge speed trials, and at that time I was under very severe competition from the Evans with their R- and Q-type M.G.s and, I believe, Reggie Tongue driving an R-type M.G.

Somewhat naturally, I did not figure in the results because, good though the Austin was, a 10 lb./sq. in. boost did not compete with the 25 lb./sq. in. boost of the M.G.s.

In your November issue you refer once again to Gordon Brettell’s car, and there are one or two errors in the article which I think should be corrected. First of all, the block is held on to the crankcase by ten 3/8-in, studs, not, of course, 1/8-in. Also the weight of 6 3/4 cwt. should be 6 1/4 cwt.

In the original article which you wrote some years ago you missed the weight out altogether, and you now give it incorrectly. In view of the fact that the odd 1/2 cwt. caused much sweat, blood and tears being removed from the Austin, I do feel that when this has been done due credit should be given for it.

Incidentally, Brettell’s best time at the Poole speed trials in August, 1937, was 25.97 sec., the course record at the time being 22.2 sec. I feel this time compares very favourably with Mac’s time of 23.42 sec, in a much modified and more highly-boosted car. Brettell’s best time at Shelsley was 47.87 sec.

Incidentally, with our special 4-speed gearbox we got very interesting ratios: 4.9 top, 6.4 third, 7.95 second and 10.6 bottom.

I trust this extra information will interest your readers.

I am, Yours, etc.,
P. R. Monkhouse