Matters of Moment, January 1955

Moss Joins Mercedes-Benz
The whole motoring world and many laymen besides are discussing the sensational news that broke just before mid-December — that Stirling Moss is to drive in the Mercédès-Benz and sports-car teams during 1955. After flying from New York to Germany for tests he signed the contract in a London office on December 9th.

We congratulate Moss on this honour and consider that he has taken absolutely the correct decision. His impeccable driving skill and style has too long been wasted on indifferent racing cars.

Last season we saw Stirling in his right element, that of grandes épreuves at the wheel of a works Maserati.

Next season he should do better still at the wheel of the lighter, more powerfull G.P. Mercédès -Benz. Knowing Herr Alfred Neubauer’s very stringent selection of drivers, and in view of Moss’ qualification times on the wet circuit at Hockenheim, no one deserves the honour of being chosen to drive in the World’s best-prepared G.P. team than the young British driver.

Moss follows ably in the wheel-tracks of that other great British driver, the late R. J. B. Seaman. He will now have his chance to show whether he is in the same category as Hawthorn; some people consider his style superior, but the fact is that Moss had a mediocre Continental season last year, whereas Hawthorn gained the meritorious distinction of ranking with Segrave (and Williams) as the only British drivers to have won the French Grand Prix.

Not entirely happy at being forced, by the British Industry’s cold-shouldering of motor-racing, into a foreign cockpit, Moss has said patriotically that at least he hopes to bring the World Championship to Britain. If he is allowed to act as pace-maker and can still last through a race he may well stay ahead of Fangio a sufficient number of times to realise this high ambition. Let us, then, join with the entire sporting motoring world in wishing Moss good racing — and the lay public, aided by the “Tele,” will certainly be behind “Stirling of the silver arrows..”

No Space Between the Lines
The Hon. Gerald Lascelles, who took the chair at the annual dinner of the West Essex Car Club last month, when proposing the toast of “The Guests,” made a speech criticising the technical motoring Press. He suggested that certain technical journals are inaccurate in respect of their reports on new cars and, in particular, that they do not tell the whole truth when testing current models.

Replying, J. A. Cooper, Sports Editor of the Autocar, stated that technical papers depend mainly on advertising revenue derived from the motor industry for their existence and that when reporting on manufacturers’ cars submitted for test it “was not always possible to tell the whole truth.” Mr. Cooper said that when reading one of these reports one should read between the lines; thus, if a car was described as being “up to average in performance” there should be little doubt as to what was really intended!

Motor Sport takes the strongest exception to the practice of luke warm and only partially accurate reporting. There is no room in this journal for “reading between the lines” and our policy is to publish accurate and truthful reports on the cars we test and the products we encounter. This policy appears to be appreciated by the motoring public, for Motor Sport claims the largest net sales of any paper of its kind, with a readership which, at a modest estimate based on A.B.C.-certified net sales, exceeds 200,000 monthly.

In congratulating the Hon. Gerald Lascelles in publicly drawing attention to this unhappy state of affairs, we would draw the attention of the Publicity Managers of several of our car manufacturers to his speech, and especially Mr. R. A. Bishop, General Publicity Manager of the Nuffield Organisation, whom he has proved so wrong. Readers will remember that Mr. Bishop, when replying to criticism, wrote, of the journals now referred to by the Hon. Gerald Lascelles. “they are surely beyond criticism from the readers’ point, of view.”

A glance at Motor Sport’s advertisement columns during the next twelve months will show which manufacturers have confidence in their products!

Too Many Races?
Soon the National Calendar for 1955 will be issued and, in spite of the R.A.C.’s avowed intention to prevent unfortunate clashes wherever possible, we may expect to be startled by the large number of events due to be run off this year. It may seem strange that Motor Sport, which has motor-racing very close to its heart, should suggest that too many people are attempting to run too many events. But motor racing is a costly pastime, for participants and to a lesser extent for spectators, and it seems probable that both parties could enjoy better events if fewer were run. As it is, in many cases, victory in club events has little significance outside the immediate circle of the organising club, so multitudinous are such races.

The Eight Clubs organisation has pointed the way to a successful amateur Silverstone meeting and there is still time for similar doubling-up by other clubs.

One amalgamation we would like to see, but probably never shall, would be the British Grand Prix run jointly by the B.R.D.C. and B.A.R.C., with the sanction and assistance of the Cheshire C.C., at OuIton Park road circuit …

The Editor’s New Year Resolution
The Editor promises to concentrate more on sports cars and less on staunch family conveyances during 1955 and especially to tone down references to those two excellent air-cooled vehicle, the Citroën 2 c.v. and the VW, both of which received adequate mention last year. This resolution may well be broken, like the majority of Good Resolutions at this time of year, because readers of Motor Sport continue to write letters in praise of this excellent freeze-free pair — and almost certainly will be if we suffer frost-bite in a conventional engine with a weight of water surrounding its cast-iron cylinder-block!