Matters of moment, January 1959

A Happy New Year

Apart from wishing our readers the conventional Happy New Year it seems probable that 1959 will be a happy year, particularly for the Motor Industry.

With money plentiful and hire-purchase restrictions eased, new-car sales should soar, no doubt at the expense of used-car sales. However, if the prospect of disposing of used “bread-and-margarine” cars, especially those which have had to weather a winter on the open-air “lots,” is bleak, a demand will remain for those older or otherwise individualistic models in which readers of Motor Sport are mainly interested.

Users as well as vendors of motor cars should be happy during 1959, for at last British politicians are conscious of the need for proper motor roads in this congested little island. On the other hand, those who prefer pre-1949 vehicles may find it necessary to submit their cars to compulsory safety-tests. We have expressed previously the view that such tests are unnecessary and that police checks and engineer’s reports to insurance companies already do most of what is necessary to keep dangerous vehicles off our roads. If the Ministry of Transport insists on these cumbersome tests the thing will be to get cars through quickly, for which reason we urge readers not to load such garages as undertake this testing with the additional burden of repairs and petrol sales.

The new Formula I will not affect racing in 1959 and we can hope for more splendid successes by British Vanwall cars. Although Hawthorn has apparently joined Fangio in retirement and the generous Daily Express (which displayed a Vanwall in Fleet Street at a time when the S.M.M.T. couldn’t find room for Britain’s Manufacturers’-Championship winner at its Earls Court Exhibition) has had to withdraw its support of  B.R.D.C racing after spending £185,000 in Silverstone meetings, its parting gift of £10,000 will ensure that the International Trophy Meeting is again held this year, on May 2nd.

The B.A.R.C. will no doubt introduce novelty as well its maintain tradition at Goodwood and its other circuits, and Club racing is obviously going to flourish, as it has done every season since the end of the war. Championships for Grand Prix drivers, racing-car manufacturers, hill-climb exponents, rally drivers and trials experts will again be contested and will assist in maintaining interest in all aspects of the Sport throughout the coming year. 

We hear rumours of an ingenious innovation at Prescott to improve the already considerable spectator amenities at the Bugatti Owners’ Club hill-climbs, while historic Shelsley Walsh hill is to be re-arranged in accordance with present-day requirements. It is possible that one or more of the fantastic American sprint “dragsters” may perform at the Brighton Speed Trials, and amateur sportsmen will have countless opportunities to compete in races, rallies, trials, driving-tests and what-have-you, under various formulae.

In an age when more interest than ever before is displayed in the sporting side of motoring, when, indeed, some people consider that there is too much motor racing, too little variety amongst competing cars, and far too many motor papers, even these pessimists will concede that the outlook for 1959 is bright indeed. The Editor of Motor Sport  (in spite of the fact that through reading millions of words in small type he is beginning to feel his age!) comes up fighting fit for the New Year, determined to meet any competition from whatever quarter and to maintain Motor Sport’s  high standard in the months ahead!


The Monte Carlo Rally

The Monte Carlo Rally is not the toughest of car-testing contests but in books, on the air and on the T.V. screens it gets substantial publicity.  For this reason success therein spells car sales, which is why the B.M.C., Ford, Rootes and Standard/Triumph enter cars and, less directly, Vauxhall are interested in doing well in the winter classic.

We wish the best of luck to this British contingent.


January variety

The events which open the 1959 season are a fascinating diversity. On January 3rd/4th the Vintage S.C.C. has its Measham Trophy Rally, one of the tougher old-car competitions. On the following Friday evening cars from various starting places converge in the West on the M.C.C. Exeter Trial, in which ordinary cars stand an excellent chance of gaining awards, providing they possess reasonable driving-wheel adhesion. Then, on January 18th, the Monte Carlo Rally starts, with an entry of 360, embracing 141 British cars headed by 24 Jaguars. 


A meeting will be held at the R.A.C. (men only) on February 5th to discuss the possibilities of a Public Trust for the purpose of buying historic motor vehicles for preservation in the British Isles. The instigator is the Rt. Hon. Lord Montagu of Beaulieu.