Road-Test Year Books

Author

W.B.

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” ‘ The Autocar’ Road Tests, 1953.” 6 pages. 8 3/4 in. by 11 5/8 ; in.
Ifliffe & Sons, Ltd., Dorset House, Stamford Street, S.E.1. 5s.)
” ‘ The Motor’ Road Tests of 1953 Cars.” 85 pages. 8 in. by 11 1/4 in. (Temple Press, Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, E.C.1. 5s.)

It seems appropriate to review together these publications from rival publishing houses, for both serve the same purpose, both are equally fascinating. They constitute road-test reprints of 1953 cars from, respectively, The Autocar and The Motor; 30 in the former, from 2 c.v. Citroën to Jaguar XK120 coupé; 26 in the latter, ranging from Renault 750 to Jaguar XK120C.

The Autocar prefaces its test reprints with a description of what such tests reveal, by John Babson, entitled “Considering the Data”; The Motor has an article in its book called “Some Practical Aspects of The Motor Road Tests,” by Laurence Pomeroy, F.R.S.A., M.S.A.E., and also includes technical features of such tests in another chapter, a chapter summarising and analysing the 1953 tests, and a tabulated account of them to close the book.

The Autocar devotes an average of 6.53 photographs, a dimensions diagram and a diagram of facia and controls per test; The Motor an average of 5.0 photographs for each car and a dimensions diagram in which location of power unit, prop.-shaft, back axle and passengers are cleverly shown in silhouette — we note that Dior-length frocks have not yet been acquired by the girls so shown and that their men friends sit decorously with hands on lap or wheel! Each test occupies three pages in both cases.

It is interesting to see how these two authorities agree in assessing this important matter of car performance. Taking a car at random, the M.G. TD Midget, we get the following: —

The Autocar: Top speed – 75 m.p.h. 0-50 m.p.h. – 15.6 sec. 10-30 in top – 11.7 sec. m.p.g. – 25 Speed in third – 59 m.p.h.

The Motor: Top speed – 77.2 m.p.h. 0-50 m.p.h. – 12.2 sec. 10-30 in top – 9.9 sec. m.p.g. – 26.7 Speed in third – 62 m.p.h.

This seems fair enough, except perhaps for the rather wide discrepancy in acceleration times. Most enthusiasts will automatically buy both books and can then average the figures obtained by both journals for their personal records. Certainly these Road Test volumes are essential annually to every motoring library and to anyone with the time and inclination (such as those confined to bed or hospital) to analyse the data therein contained they represent weeks of concentrated entertainment and enjoyment. To busier folk they are constant and reliable companions as sources of reference.

The Motor devotes a page per car to test data, specification and servicing details; The Autocar sets out such matter in rather less space and skips the servicing aspect. — W. B.