Rumblings, January 1951
Some time ago Stanley Race sent us the accompanying photograph of a most intriguing Aston-Martin owned by W. F. McNab Meredith Of Preston. Outwardly it looks like a 1936 1 1/2-litre “Ulster” until you notice the “power bulge” on the near side of the bonnet., clearly seen in Race’s pieture of the car at the start of the Lanes. A.C. Davis Sporting Trial last year. His other picture shows the reason for this exciting bonnet-bulge —there is a belt-driven Centric compressor to be found when you raise the bonnet.
It seems that this blower installation was put on by the car’s previous owner, H. Porter-Hargreaves. There is also a story that he, someone from the Feltham factory and Maurice Toulmin were wintering in Switzerland in 1936 and that Porter-Hargreaves bought the car on the spot, together with its entry for the Mille Miglia. The rumour proceeds that George Eyston shared it with an Italian driver in this race, but our records seem to indicate that the only Aston-Martin which appeared in the Mille Miglia in 1936 was driven by Clarke and Faulkner. It retired with “fuel trouble.”
This Aston-Martin is certaittly a rare specimen and we are not sure that there isn’t something odd about the engine! So we present this mechanical New Year problem along with the historical one below. No doubt. someone will very soon clear up these mysteries!
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Matter for debate
Motoring historians work under difficulties, for contemporary reports of races and descriptions of cars seldom tally in respect of the less obvious details, and sometimes even major facts are in doubt. All praise, therefore, to such authors for the high standard of accuracy, or should we write veracity, they have achieved. With this desire for accuracy they will no doubt wish to discuss a point raised in an Air Mail letter which Motor Sport has received from the well-known motoring artist and journalist, Bob Shepherd, of Sydney, who is at present engaged in presenting Grand Prix cars down the years in pen and picture to readers of Australian Motor Sports. The point Bob raises is it startling one. He can find no evidence that the famous monnposto Alfa-Romeo racing car of the 1932-35 period was ever officially termed a ” P3 ” but was, in fact, the ” Tipo B.”
The relevant part of Shepherd’s letter reads as follows :—
“During the war someone in your country seems to have decided that the monoposto Alfa-Romeo racing car was a Type P3. All his disciples have apparently aecepted this without query.
“Now, sir, what authentic data have you to claim that the monoposto Alfa-Romeo is a Type P3?”
“I have in my collection photographs of all the racing Alfas— factory photographs from Milano – and each one has the model type printed on the photograph. The 1924 2-litre cars have always got “Tipo P2 Gran Primeroo” and so on through the types 308-312-316, etc., and on every photograph of the monoposto is “Monoposto” Gran Premio”. Now is it reasonable to suppose that they would then put on, P3 if it were authitatic? Also, why miss out the ‘Monza’ when following the P2 with the supposed P3? Was that car just an orphan, to be ignored in the supposed train of ‘P’ models? If the theory of the P3 is correct then surely the ‘Monza’ should be known as such, as the next, model in the Line neglecting, of course, the non-series twelve-cylinder car of 1931.
“Also for the information of your readers, the ‘Tipo 158’ when it was altered in design and outline in 1939, was known as the, ‘Tipo 158B’ and the later bulbous-nosed nitI.ri tanOil prCtsont, iss • Tipos VAC ‘ and ‘ 15119.’ Authority Intiw above. data is the official Aint•Itomeo journal Alfa-Corse faxi.lilso fllet,00
” Hoping the :ztbove will at. least result In some Interesting discussion and wishing you atm! MOTOR SPORT All One best for 1951. ” 1 ant, Yours, Or.,
” Boit iiiisencno.”
We do not propose to take sides in this matter, beyond remarking that those books anti reports written in times eontemparary with the monoposto Alfa-Romeo which we have consulted seem to refer to the car as a ” Tipo B ” and not, as a ” P3.” On the other hand, when the car was included in a series of articles On 1934 racing cars which Moroa Scour ran that year the car was described as a ” P3.” Si) whether an historian’s miscount has resulted in the intimluetioa of a fictitious Alfa-Romeo type which has no official existence, or not, we leave to tIte IListoriaris. Our correspondence columns are open if anyone wishes to confirm or contest this interesting issue. ******************** MATTERS OF MOM 1,;NT—continued from page 3
impossible mininutm-cover insurance rate often charged on the older ears. Perhaps if motorists removed all insurance transactions, business and private, front offending companies the profession as a whole might. be induced to make and keep this important resolution.
(5) Finally, the one cloud on the 1950 race-horizon so far as British enthusiasts were concerned, namely, the failure of the B.R.M., might well be swept from the 1951 sky, providing the B.R.M. Trust makes a New Year Resolution to ” iron out the bugs ” in its organisation and function during the coming season with something of the courage and efficiency which characterised John Heath’s Formula 11 H.W.M. team last year.
With these few suggestions in your lutrals we look ahead to another great year of motor sport. On Easter Monday, March 261h, the trials we are enjoying at present. will give place to racing. The go-ahead B.A.R.C. will open the 1951 season with a meting at the excellently-conducted Goodwood circuit.
After this the season will really warm up, with B.R.M. meeting strengthened opposition from Italy, Formula II and III racing contested more keenlythan ever and club meetings in this country, including the inexpensive 750 Club Formula events, thriving strongly.
It would indeed seem that (politicians permitting) MOTOR SPORT’S readers, wherever they may be, are assured of a Very Happy New Year.