Those Austin road-tests

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56

Sir,

As a fortunate owner of an Austin A90 Atlantic Sports saloon I would welcome the chance of “setting out as per knight with armour” to challenge a great deal of your comments on this fine car.

American handling qualities are intended for cars that are used more often with at least three passengers as well as driver—did Motor Sport conduct the test with four up ? I have proved that point—far too many English cars are sprung for far too light loads. The same comment goes for the 4.125 axle. With five up it is extremely flexible and all overtaking can be done in top, this ratio permitting bends to be taken with the foot down and complete control. There will always be those who want to play and peak in third to get the last ounce of bhp via the gearbox!–that is not progress. If we have not yet got automatic transmissions in the meantime, we deserve the minimum of effort—mechanical and personal.?

This desire to “hurl it round-corners” at full speed has gone far enough; in America approximately .01 per cent, and in England .1 per cent of highways are in any way curved—why devote the entire character of a car to making it a menace to other users of the road on corners–especially blind ones !

Two points I agree with—the distortions caused by the style of windscreen sides are dangerous, and for the spare wheel to be in the locker—as an afterthought almost—is a disgrace to its 99 per cent functional design.

Regarding the A70—those with us on the first post-war “Monte Carlo” will remember how Louis Chiron got a Hampshire up the hill-climb as quick as those with 11/2 more litres—never missed a cog with the “very poor” gear-lever. When you in future take the fast car angle—get a fast driver to take it please.

Thank you for the BRM remarks.

Austins seem to have forgotten the spare wheel again on the new Seven !

I am, Yours, etc,

Terry Heath, Wellington.

[In spite of Mr Terry Heath’s plea for us to employ fast drivers during our road-tests, his letter suggests him to be one of those gentlemen of England for whom we agreed Austin cars are well suited. Ive had as many as seven bodies in the A90 and a full load in the A70 for part of these tests. The aspect of the gear-change we criticised concerned going from first to second, a change Chiron was hardly likely to have needed very often.—Ed]