Rumblings, January 1962

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75

The R.A.C. International Rally of last November, won by Saab, caused such a stir on account of its severity that it is permissible to glance back at it.

One outstanding feature of this “rally of the forests ” was the manner in which Raymond Baxter’s Humber Super Snipe beat the might of the Ford Zephyrs, in spite of the large sum Dagenham was said to have gambled on outright victory.

Then there is growing feeling that penalties for damage incurred in such a rally give works teams, administered to by mobile panelbashers and repair shops, an unfair advantage over private owners. We would prefer to see penalties put on defective lamps, wipers, horns and other electrics, and while it is desirable to do something to discourage mobile wrecks from being seen wearing rally numbers, possibly a solution could be found by sealing or marking body panels, wings, etc., before the start and penalising damage which thus couldn’t be rectified en route. If this failed, couldn’t each control embrace a pare ferme under the eye of officials, wherein no repairs of any sort would he permitted, or perhaps none save adjustment of brakes and change of wheels, with safety in mind?

Someone asked the Editor during the R.A.C. Rally whether he is aware that a Volkswagen now has too little steam to stand any chance of winning a big rally. Agreed, unless exceptional mud or snow should put a premium on getting up an essential acclivity, but, with the foregoing remarks in mind, we hope you studied the table we published with the Rally results, showing number of finishers to starters, make by make. Whereas many of the awardwinning makes were seriously decimated, seven VWs left Blackpool and six clocked in at Brighton.

Having published that, the luckless Editor will again be labelled a foreign-car addict, whereas, in fact, he has used a British car for the past two years and is not, in fact, very much loved by Wolfsburg, judging by the fact that Volkswagenwerke excluded him from the Press party that went out to the VW 1500 pre-view and have offered no explanation for so doing to VW Motors Ltd. in this country who, St. Christopher bless ‘ern, were astonished and upset that this had happened.

So please let him wave a Union Jack, if only a very small one, in peace from now on—or until the next road-test!

***

For some time there has been a great deal of talk about high hysteresis tyres, stemming from an effective Press demonstration by Avon of the road-holding superiority of their new “H.M. Safety” tyre with “cling-rubber” tread.

The good road-holding qualities of tyres made from butyl rubber have been known about for some time but development was retarded by problems of heat generation and hard-ride due to limited resilience. In 1959 Goodyear announced tyres of Plioprene, in which improved adhesion was allied to reduced squeal and a softer ride, other American tyre companies followed this lead, and in the U.S.A. Esso, known in Britain only for petrol and oil, marketed Atlas “Bucron” butyl tyres through its nationwide chain of service stations. In 1960 Dunlop introduced their “Elite” tyre which, made from a new synthetic compound, gives 45% less wet-road wheelspin, 2.4% improved wet-road cornering power, better grip under wetroad brake application and 80% less squeal when cornering on dry roads.

The later manifestations of butyl tyres combine many of the requirements of normal tyres with pronounced “cling.” In the rubber trade, tyres such as the Avon “H.M. Safety,” Firestone “Town & Country” and Dunlop “Road Speed” are classed as medium hysteresis and only pure butyl-tread tyres such as the Dunlop “Elite” are regarded as high hysteresis. It is important for the layman, or buyer of tyres, to note that whereas Dunlop charge considerably more for the “Elite” than they do for their standard tyres, Avon contrive to sell the “H.M. Safety” tyre at the same price as their normal covers and that it gives 23% improvement in wet-road adhesion, the “Elite” 24% improvement, according to Rubber and Plastics Age.

Veb sap., viva-Avon, or something….

Robert Glenton writing in the Sunday Express: “A deal of rubbish has been talked about the superiority of small foreign cars—especially the Germans—and those of us who drive them all have always known how cranky and unreal this attitude has been.” So Cranky, in fact, Glenton, that 5-million people have decided to purchase Volkswagens!

***

Edward Westropp writing in the Sunday Express: “I am secretly informed that hidden away in the (B.M.C.) works there are models of several new cars which no member of the public has yet seen but which the directors are certain will prove outstanding winners in the European market.” So now its an open secret and we hope the technical Press may soon be permitted to peep. 

***

From an advertisement in The Autocar: “See the new Wolseley Hornet, 848-c.c. o.h.v. engine and 8-speed gearbox, transversely mounted…”—As the reader who sent us the cutting remarked, it looks as if Eustace Watkins, whose advertisement this was, have introduced something worthy of their Daytona Hornet Special of pre-war memory!

***

From The Times, reporting a wages raid at Slough on December 6th: “The money was in a Ford Classic, being escorted by a Popular. The Classic was stopped by a Consul which pulled across Albert Street, Slough, while the Popular was rammed in the rear by the thieves’ Anglia. They made their getaway in a Thames van.”—Ford lost £28,080 but at least got good publicity for their vehicles; perhaps so far as the raiders were concerned it was a case of “honour among thieves”!

Miniatures News

Dinky Toys have a Ford Fairlane with windows, seats, etc., and their usual wheel springing and finger-tip steering (No. 148— 4s. IId.), and a fine Volvo 122S miniature, 3 13/16 in. long, in correct red finish (No. 184- 4s. 6d.).

Corgi have introduced a Trojan Heinkel bubble car (No. 233— 3s.) with a remarkably detailed interior in spite of an overall length of only 21½ in., and Chipperfield’s Circus’ Mobile Booking Office (No. 426- 5S. 8d.), which should be popular with the children at this time of year.

Lesney’s New Year offerings are a tiny Jaguar saloon, the bonnet of which lifts to reveal a twin-cam engine, remarkably well detailed, the car itself having windows and tow-bracket, etc., and a badly-proportioned modern G.P. Aston Martin, respectively No. 65 and No. 19 in their “Matchbox” series priced at IS. 9d. each.—W. B.

Castrol Films

Two new 16-mm. colour films are now available from Castrol, entitled “British Racing Green” and “Golden Mountain.” “British Racing Green ” surveys motor racing in Britain as it would be seen by an overseas visitor, and features the touring-car race at the Lord’s Taverners meeting at Brands Hatch, the Seaman ‘Trophy race at Oulton Park for Historic Racing Cars, the Inter-Continental British Empire Trophy at Silverstone, and the T.T. at Goodwood. It runs for 25½ min. with a commentary by Nevil Lloyd. “Golden Mountain” covers three of the races in the 1961 Golden Jubilee Isle of Man T.T. meeting, the 125-c.c. event, dominated by the Japanese Hondas (a firm which has recently taken delivery of a Formula One and Formula Junior Cooper), the sidecar race and the Senior, won by Mike Hailwood. Clubs wishing to borrow these two films should apply to Castrol Film Library, Castrol House, Marylebone Road, London, N.W.I.

The Chris Lawrence Glove

For some time we have been using a pair of driving gloves developed by Richard Shepherd-Barron in conjunction with Chris Lawrence. These two racing drivers have been resting the gloves during the racing season in their Morgans and have just recently placed them on the market. Hand cut and sewn in leather, the gloves have elastic wrist bands and two-position press-stud fastening. They are not the string-back type but have ventilation holes cut into the backs. Although soft and pliable they have proved to he extremely durable and lady drivers will be pleased to note that a variety of colours are available. Priced 38s. a pair they are available from most accessory dealers or from Richard Shepherd-Barron, Barracane, Waterloo Road, Crowthorne, Berks.

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