Rumblings, January 1957

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A New Maserati for £186

What! Yes it’s true. At last year’s Motor Cycle Show at Earls Court the same Maserati firm famous for its Grand Prix racing cars exhibited a range of motor-cycles, of which the model 125TV22 lightweight is priced at £150, or £186 when purchase tax and import duty have been paid. It has a 125-c.c. two-stroke engine and swinging-fork rear suspension. Other Maserati motor-cycles are the L1 60T4 o.h.v. 158-c.c. lightweight (£235 12s.), and the sporting 250T4 with o.h.v. 246-c.c. dual-ignition engine (£308 14s.). So if any of you are buying a two-wheeler with which to combat the shortage and rising price of petrol, why not help to subsidise the racing Maseratis by buying one of these motorcycles? The agent here is Nannucci Ltd., 5/6, Newman Passage, London, W.1.

The Tricycles Return

Writing of the Motor Cycle Show, which, incidentally, will not be repeated until next year, we are reminded that no fewer than ten different makes of three-wheelers were there, to kindle enthusiasm amongst former advocates of the Morgan, B.S.A. and Raleigh way-of-life. Those of us who have seen petrol rationed three times in the past forty years see the sense in investing in a truly economical vehicle to meet the present, and any future, crisis, and motorists are likely to turn more readily to tricars than to motor-cycles, mo-peds and scooters.

The ten makes of three-wheeler at Earls Court ranged from the 50-c.c. Bruetsch Mopetta—surely the closest to a scooter and costing £198 10s. inclusive of purchase tax and import duty—to the 748-c.c. water-cooled four-cylinder Reliant.

Most of the early three-wheelers had two wheels at the front and one at the back, the Morgan driving on the rear wheel, the B.S.A. having front-wheel drive. The Raleigh possessed a single front wheel, a layout adopted after the war by Bond and A.C. Petite. Today opinions as to which is better seem about equally divided, A.C., Reliant, Bond, Gordon and Bruetsch Mopetta having a single front wheel, Bruetsch Mk. I, Messerschmitt, Powerdrive, Heinkel and Tourette a single back wheel, this 50/50 preference being overbalanced only by the Hostaco, also with single back wheel.

Whereas at one time engines of at least 750 c.c. and usually 980-1,100 c.c. were used in tricycles, today’s models place emphasis on economy, only Reliant, Powerdrive and A.C. having engines exceeding 200 c.c. The Reliant, with an engine directly developed from, and remarkably similar to, the old Austin Seven power unit, and the Bond, have recently appeared in redesigned form and the Powerdrive, with 322-c.c. British Anzani engine in the tail, looks the closest thing to the rugged three-wheelers of pre-war days. The A.C. has a big 353-c.c. Villiers engine and belt-drive, and the Bruetsch a tubular-backbone chassis, rubber diaphragm suspension and a two-piece fibreglass body, so all the fun of tricycling has by no means departed!

Three-wheelers still enjoy the £5 annual tax and most of them are capable of 50-60 m.p.g. if not driven too fast, some of them a good deal more, and the Bond costs less than £280 all-on, in its simplest form. For those who now feel they require one about the place the maker’s or agent’s addresses are :

A.C.: A.C. Cars Ltd., Thames Ditton, Surrey.

Bond: Sharps Commercials, Ltd., Ribbleton Lane, Preston. Lancs.

Bruetscht: Bruetsch Cars, England. Abbey Bridge Garage, Castle Boulevard, Nottingham.

Gordon: Vernon Industries, Ltd., Scotland Road, Liverpool 5.

Helnkel: Noble Motors, 23, Piccadilly, London, W. 1.

Hostaco: Progress Supreme Co., 852, Brighton Road, Purley, Surrey.

Messerschmitt: Cabin Scooters, Ltd., 17, Great Cumberland Place, London. W.1,

Powerdrive: Powerdrive, Ltd., Commercial Road, London, N.22.

Reliant: Reliant Eng. Co. (Tamworth) Ltd., Watling Street, Twogates, Tamworth, Staffs.

Tourette: Progress Supreme Co., 852, Brighton Road, Purley, Surrey. 

 

Modern Rail-Car Racing

During the former no-petrol period of World War II many enthusiasts found solace in model-car racing. We remember that D. A. Russell of Aerornodeller started the ball rolling with large and realistic petrol-propelled models of a Jaguar 100 and closed-cockpit Auto-Union record-breaker. Round-the-pole timed contests stemmed from this and, in spite of valiant attempts on the part of G. H. Deason and others to obviate over-complication, the sport of model-car racing developed into battles of pure speed, between tear-drop shapes, often running on three wheels but mostly airborne, driven at fantastic speeds (well in excess of 100 m.p.h., by fabulous miniature American engines for those who could lay hands on them) so that they were scarcely visible to the naked eye and had to be timed electrically. However, the sport expanded to International proportions and a committee was formed, at the instigation of W. Boddy, Editor of Motor Sport, to control it, this Model Car Association having an R.A.C. delegation on its panel.

Since those pioneer days rail-racing has been developed, as a more civilised form of model-car racing. Such racing, in which the models run round circuits on guide rails, is controlled by the Model Rail Car Association. Quite long races, with “Le Mans starts” and pit-stops, are envisaged and the cars must resemble real sports or racing types. They are divided into four classes, of 0.5, 0.75, 1.0 and 1.5 c.c. The 0.75-c.c. class, using Mills diesel engines, is popular and in this class realistic examples of Gordini, Maserati, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Triumph TR2 and TD M.G., etc., compete, while the City of Bath Mini-Car Club runs no fewer than six Cooper 1,100s.

In case your motoring becomes seriously restricted and you want to “look-in” on a model rail-car race meeting, we append a list of clubs affiliated to the M.R.C.A.:

Cheam: Miniature Motor Sports Club, T. H. Toogood, 66, Egham Crescent, North Cheam, Surrey.

Bath: City of Bath Mini-Car Club, D. J. Lamb, 18, Alfred Street, Bath, Somerset.

Bournemouth:, Bournemouth Model C.C., C. Orman, 29, Ashley Road, Boscornbe. Hampshire.

Portsmouth: Portsmouth Model CC., C. H. S. Chandler, 454, London Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire.

London: North London Society of Model Engineers (Model Car Section), A. F. Weaver, 26, Selbourne Gardens, Hendon, London, N.W.4.

Fareham: Fleetlands Sports and Social Club (M.E. Section), R. Charles,”Jalna,” Stubbington Lane, Stubbington, Fareham, Hampshire.

Michigan, U.S.A.: Model Auto Racing Association, T. D. Cook, 1127, Staples Avenue, Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.A.

Tees-side: Tees-side Soc. of M.E., J. W. Carter, 28, East Avenue, Billingham. Tees-side.

Stockport: Chapel-en-le-Frith Model C.C., H. Carter, Blackbrook Cottage, Chapel-en-le-Frith, via Stockport, Cheshire.

Southampton: Vickers-Armstrong’s M.R.A.C. (Southampton), A. Woodford, 434, Winchester Road, Bassett, Southampton, Hampshire.

 

The Blackwell Calculator

The most recent addition to the range of Blackwell Calculators for rally drivers is the Mk. V, which is to be known as the Regularity Model. It has been designed for use in regularity trials where secret short-distance checks involving low speeds take place. Price 30s. 6d., post free, from Blackwells Metallurgical Works, Ltd., Thermetal House, Garston, Liverpool 19.

True to Life

We applaud a story by Joseph Carter which appeared in The Saturday Evening Post last March, but which has only recently come to our notice, called “Race for Love.” We applaud it because it depicts a racing driver as a gentleman and a person of substance, whereas so often the racing driver of fiction is a local grease-boy who has made good.

“Race for Love” is a sloppy, sentimental love story, if you like, but it has some rather charming passages. The racing driver, Guido Romano, is an Italian, racing for fun in a famous team in America for the Carrera Pan-Americana. We like the piece where, when the girl with whom he falls in love remarks to a friend: “He told me he is their second driver,” she receives in answer: “My dear, he is young and you are beautiful. He is fourth driver and lucky to be in the team.” And later, when he drives too fast and crashes at a corner, we get another delightful piece: “Feracci said he was going very fast.” ” Who’s Feracci?” ” The top driver.” ” How did he know Guido was going so fast? ” ” Romano passed him.” Yes, not bad, not bad at all !

Stirling Moss — Driving Instructor

“It (the horn ring) is difficult to use if, like me, you drive at ten minutes to two.”—Stirling Moss writing of the Sunbeam Rapier in The Sunday Times, dated October 7th, 1956.

“I repeat, sit comfortably and in a relaxed position. Hold the wheel at a quarter to three . . .”—Stirling Moss writing on how to handle a sports car in the Bognor Regis Observer, dated October 19th, 1956. And don’t you ever cross your arms, Stirling? 

 

The “supply” of old cars just refuses to dry up! Quite recently we have been told of the remains of a one-time racing Morris-Cowley on a Sussex farm, of what is thought to be an Edwardian Bianchi rotting in a shed in another farm farther north, and of an A.B.C. light car in a shed somewhere in the Shetland Isles.