Letters from readers

NB: Opinions expressed are those of our Correspondents and " Motor Sport" does not necessarily associate itself with them.—Ed.

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R.A.C. Reply -- Racing in the Isle of Man

Sir,

It is not often that I disagree with my old acquaintance D.S.J. but I do feel that in his article under this heading in your December issue he has really allowed his enthusiasm to override judgement and commonsense to an unreasonable point.

Perhaps he should not be blamed for the subsidiary heading to the article which reads " the R.A.C. disapprove." I believe that the letter which Lord Camden, as Chairman of the R.A.C. Competitions Committee, wrote to the Chairman of the Isle of Man Tourist Board conveying the decision of the R.A.C., made it quite clear that the Club was not disapproving, but had reluctantly reached the conclusion that the proposal for a car race, and in this particular context, the R.A.C. Tourist Trophy race, was impracticable. Indeed, the R.A.C. has already publicly announced approval for a project to stage a match between a car and a motor cycle over the circuit.

Be that as it may, in commenting upon the actual contents of D.S.J.'s article, I think it best first of all to consider his latter paragraphs in which he sees a bogey of financial interests. Whether or not he is prepared to believe that no outside financial interests were even heard let alone considered in this matter is immaterial because any investigation of the somewhat chequered history of the T.T. in the past decade would show that the R.A.C. itself would inevitably gain from moving the race to the Isle of Man. If for no other reason than that the majority of the population of the British Isles would find it as expensive to get to the Isle of Man as to Le Mans, it is very difficult to visualise any British circuit proprietor seriously losing sleep over the project.

D.S.J. should be in a better position than most people to assess whether or not the average race-goer is more likely to cross the Irish Sea or the English Channel in order to see his favourite sport. One assumes that he believes that a sufficient number would venture over the Irish Sea as he states that the people of the Isle of Man would benefit financially from motor racing. Actually, there were people in the Isle of Man who believed that even today entrants would pay an entry fee, but ignoring this naive approach, perhaps some day it will be possible to find the finance to revive car racing in some form on the Island. When this time comes the question of safety will again arise and here in all that has been said and written I have been unable to find any reasoned case giving legal or even moral justification for lowering standards on the basis of the length of the circuit. The organiser of a motor race must always, in the ultimate, have in mind that he may have to justify his actions in a court of law.

Whether one likes it or not, we live in a country which places certain values on human life and property and in deference to these values, experience forces a prudent man to take certain precautions.

The prudent man must recognise that accidents accompany motor racing and therefore make arrangements to cope with them wherever they may happen. This is the basic factor, not the fact that admittedly the longer the circuit the less statistical chance there is of an accident taking place at any particular spot. However, when the accident happens spectators and drivers are not likely to appreciate being treated as mere statistics. In the ultimate they are dead whether on a 37 or 3 mile circuit and in either instance the R.A.C. believes it has an identical duty to endeavour to keep them alive.

Not so many years ago a friend of mine ended up in the bar of the Greg-ny-ba Hotel. Fortunately his motor cycle remained outside and damage was very little beyond a broken window. If that same individual had been accompanied by a Ford Mustang it is very probable that half the hotel would have collapsed and the sequel would have been a far sadder one.

In his report on the circuit, Mr. Tye dealt only with what seemed to be the minimum protection needed at such places in relation to the kinetic energy of a motor car.

When Jim Clark was alleged to be dodging the Italian police following the fatal accident at Monza involving himself and Von Trips, I remember quite an outcry on the lines that a driver should never be held responsible for the safety of spectators, and that this responsibility always must be that of the organiser. Indeed, following this particular incident this principle of responsibility has been established by the F.I.A.

Another recent outcry concerned Stewart in this year's Belgian Grand Prix and the inadequacies of the officials who did not see him have his accident. Actually, the F.I.A. requires that there shall be official posts each in sight of the preceding one and the following one. The F.I.A. regulations (Appendix H to the International Sporting Code) go on to say: " If, in the straight sections of road, the main posts are too far one from another to enable a quick action from their observers in case of accident, although they are within sight distance of each other, supplementary posts will have to be added between the main ones." Whether or not this rule is observed for the Targa Florio I do not know. All I do know is that the rule exists and that if the R.A.C. did not carry it out in the Isle of Man there would not be the slightest legal or moral defence should in consequence a driver die or be more gravely injured than necessary.

Appendix H also requires that drivers be warned of impending hazards by flag signals, and to give them the necessary warning it is again essential that the whole of the course be under surveillance.

As well as the general connections between the R.A.C. and the A.C.U., the Secretary of the Auto-Cycle Union has his office next to mine, so that the R.A.C. is in a position to be better informed than anyone outside the A.C.U. as to the organisation of the motorcycle T.T. races, and to judge as to the relevance of this organisation to car racing. Differences should be immediately obvious. If an accident happens to a motor cycle, one man can remove the machine. If it happens to a car, even ten men may not be enough, but at least it is necessary to have a sufficient number of officials on hand to deal with the majority of incidents.

With a circuit as difficult as that on the Isle of Man, it would be burying one's head in the sand not to expect incidents, and this brings attention to the other piece of impractical reasoning in which D.S.J. indulges. If one accepts his argument that the accident at Dundrod in 1955 was caused by inexperienced driving, where does he expect to find drivers capable of tackling the Isle of Man course in sufficient quantity to form a race? Even as it is there are every year rumblings about the admission of inexperienced drivers in the make-up of the field deemed necessary at Le Mans.

D.S.J. castigates the bureaucracy of the R.A.C. and I have tried to keep this reply in practical and non-bureaucratic terms and to emphasise that at some point enthusiasm has to be tempered with a sense of responsibility.

As an enthusiast, I fully agree that it would be marvellous if the inhabitants of the Isle of Man could be evacuated from their gardens alongside the T.T. course and someone would pay to put a field of sixteen Grand Prix cars on the start line— I say sixteen because even then the driving talent might be getting a bit thin — and medicos and observers could hover over them in a fleet of helicopters whilst they proceeded to do battle in what I am sure D.S.J. would rank as the world's most demanding race.

As an official of the government of motoring sport, I believe it proper that the R.A.C. should recognise the fact that there are people in the Isle of Man who will wish to exercise their right to sit undisturbed in their gardens and that the R.A.C. may not do something which could unreasonably endanger them. Even D.S.J. cannot really believe that when the accident happens, and sooner or later one will, the safety defences suitable for a motorcycle will withstand a car.

Royal Automobile Club, London SW1. -- D. H. DELAMONT, Director, motor sport division.

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Degrees of Service

Sir,

As one who purchased a new Elan S2 last year, I cannot believe G. J. Arnold's claim, in your December issue, that there are manufacturers who give inferior service to Lotus. As a car owner for some 40 years I have never encountered them.

Coombe Dingle. -- T. L. MARTIN.

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We want better roads

Sir,

The 70 m.p.h. limit, and the proposed method of keeping the motorist out of the cities by making him pay to go in, are evidence that the Government is avoiding the real issue. Britain's road system is obsolete. Such measures can only be regarded as futile attempts to play for time.

The future is our responsibility. The present Government cannot continue to ignore the necessity for an up-to-date highway system, a valuable capital asset, and an important factor in saving lives.

The motor industry is vital to the British economy, and motor vehicles will be with us for many years to come. In order to continue to develop and export competitive vehicles the home market must be viable, and unless money is spent on modernising our roads it will be stifled.

Leeds -- PETER J. L. KNIGHT.

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British sports car in the U.S.A.

Sir,

I have followed with interest the perennial controversy concerning British (as opposed to foreign) automobiles, their quality and durability. I thought it would be interesting to mention my experiences with what I consider the British car's weakest point: the electrical system. I have owned, since 1961, four British sports cars, a Triumph TR3, Sunbeam Alpine, Triumph TR4, and presently a Sunbeam 260. I've kept no records of the first two, but I'd like to set down a list of problems with the latter two.

Triumph TR4 (1964-5) --- I Year, 24,000 miles.....

2 Headlamps blown (Lucas); 5 Minor Lamps blown (Lucas); 1 Broken Clock (Smiths); 3 Defective Overdrive Solenoids (Lucas); 1 Defective Generator (Lucas); 1 Defective Wiper Motor (Lucas); 2 Defective Trafficator flashers (Lucas); 1 Defective Voltage Regulator (Lucas).

Total cost to replace (some under guarantee): $80 approx. / £30.

Sunbeam Tiger 260 (1965-6) 1 Year, 14,000 miles.....

2 Headlamps blown (Lucas); 7 Minor Lamps blown (Lucas); 2 Gas/Temp.Gauge regulators blown (Lucas); 1 Trafficator flasher defective (Lucas); 1 Defective clock (Smiths); 1 Defective heater fan motor (Smiths)

Total cost to replace: $68 / £25.

I consider this ridiculous. It is poignant to note that no component failure was registered with the Sunbeam's Ford Motor Company parts, and that the majority of failings occurred within 5,000 miles. Here I am, buying what is held to be British quality, and finding that our own Detroit gear holds up (electrically) so much better.

In addition, the domestic components that in many cases replaced the Lucas-Smiths items have produced no such trouble since their installation. I have no complaint with the overall British automobile. I consider it safer, more durable, more enjoyable to drive and a far better " buy " than its American counterpart. But for cars whose very existence often depends on foreign sales, the retention of such unreliable, poorly made and obviously inadequate electrical systems is nonsensical.

Perhaps some British motorists have had this experience with Lucas-Smiths products, and consider it normal. I can assure them that such standards would not he tolerated here, even by a mass producer like Chevrolet. The greater abuse and negligence given his car by the average American precludes it.

New Jersey, U.S.A.--- RICHARD M. LANGWORTH.

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Owning a Ford Lotus-Cortina

Sir,

In reply to Mr. W. Bruce's letter I should like to give him a few details of the Lotus-Cortina. I have a 1966 model which has now covered approximately 10,000 miles. I find the car a hard-working vehicle and during many miles on farm and dirt roads it has stood up to the treatment very well, The car has been very reliable except for the dynamo which is continuously coming adrift with bolts shearing and the mountings breaking. The only other trouble experienced is the clutch, which is renowned for being very fierce, and mine has already a replacement on the way. The vehicle as an every-day car is rather expensive on petrol, averaging round town about 17 m.p.g. but on long runs: (a) cruising 70-90 m.p.h., consumption 24 mpg.; (b) cruising 60-70 m.p.h., consumption 25-26 m.p.g.

The average taken over 6,000 miles plus is 21 m.p.g. Oil consumption I find to be around 300 miles per pint.

In closing I should just like to point out a fact or two about the tyres. Mine is fitted with Dunlop SP41, which are poor on road-holding, wet conditions and fast cornering. Also after 10,000 miles they are worn out. On my last car, a Cortina GT, I put on Pirelli Cinturatos, which were wonderful tyres, and after 17,000 miles were still going strong.

Worksop -- MICHAEL G. OATES

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Sir,

In reply to Mr. Bruce's letter I give a very brief comment on my two Lotus-Cortinas.

I have found the Lotus-Cortina a perfectly practical road car. I bought my first Lotus in March, 1964, and part exchanged it for another in June, 1965, which is my current car. The first car covered 26,000 miles with no mechanical failures, returned just over 25 m.p.g. and, most surprisingly, rarely required any oil between changes. My second Lotus has covered 28,000 miles, at 26 m.p.g. on Esso Extra, but uses one pint of oil per 200 miles, Both cars have proved highly satisfactory as fast business/familv vehicles.

My only complaint, which applies to both cars, is an unpleasant resonance around 4,000 r.p.m., which has been improved by various modifications, all under guarantee, but it is still much in evidence. This problem has been cured on the latest model by utilising the GT suspension, but in my opinion this has not improved the road-holding.

In spite of this, when changing my car in the next few months I would more than likely purchase a third Lotus, if the model was still in production.

Gerrards Cross --- J. N. POWELL

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Sir,

Mr. W. Bruce wonders about the practicability of a Lotus-Cortina as an "every day" car. I have been driving a June,1965, example for 25,000 miles, during which mileage the car has never let me down.

My car was one of the last of the A bracket models and despite modifications to the differential it leaked about a pint of oil per 2,500 miles from the rear axle. Ian Walker Ltd. then replaced the Chapman rear suspension with mundane leaf springs and the transformation was remarkable. No oil leak, no weaving or lurching and altogether a much tauter feeling on SP41s.

After being left nearly brakeless on an Austrian "slope" I changed to DS11 and UG95 pads and linings and, apart from pronounced squealing, all is now fine.

Provided the governor is not removed the engine should be good for well over 50,000 miles. Mine stays in tune very well, does 300 miles per pint and rarely varies from 22 miles per gallon. I have never suffered from any plug oiling or wetting in heavy traffic— the only thing one has to get used to is the very heavy and fierce clutch. Performance is excellent, the noise level is bearable over long distances and the front seats are comfortable although not giving enough sideways support.

I have fortunately never needed any major spares but smaller items like gaskets, etc., are easy to come by in this country. I would tread more warily if I were taking the car abroad for any length of time. As your story of the Elan showed, Lotus seem to be getting to grips with their spares problem.

If Ford and Lotus can put a decent independent rear end into next year's Lotus-Cortina and also achieve a little more sophistication, then I am sure they will have a winner.

Cheltenham -- M. H. WILSON

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Oiling The Saab

Sir,

Re Two-Stroke costs—Mr. Piggin of Liverpool is perhaps a little wild in his assertion of highway robbery as far as 2-stroke owners are concerned.

Saab recommend adding 1 pint of oil to 4 gallons of petrol— not using a 2-stroke pre-mixed fuel, and if Mr. Piggin will do a little arithmetic he will find he can avoid the rape of his pocket to the tune of about 7d. a gallon on the figure he mentions.

Incidentally, the Saab needs a 32 to 1 mixture—not a 20 to 1, so he is also running the risk of fouling his plugs.

Birmingham, 22. -- T. F. CUTTS.

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Changing the tires round

Sir,

I recently bought a new Volkswagen for my wife, and intend to change it when it has done 15,000 miles.

I found that trying to work out how to get the best and most even wear from the five tyres quite a mathematical problem, and perhaps readers would like to comment on this.

Labelling tyres A (n/s front), B (o/s front), C (n/s back), D (o/s back) and S (for spare), the position after 5,000 miles is obviously that A and B have done 5,000 each front, C and D 5,000 each back, and S nil. If I now change S with D, and C with A, the position at 10,000 will be as follows:

A has done 5 front and 5 back

B has done 10 front

C has done 5 front and 5 back

D has done 5 back

S has done 5 back

If I now change D with A the position at the end of 15,000 miles (or so I work it out), is as follows:

C has done 10 front and 5 back

B has done 15 front

D has done 10 back

S has done 10 back

A has done 5 front and 5 back

Bromley -- W. J. D. CLARKE.

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VW 1500 experiences

Sir,

About two and a half years ago, you stirred me to the defence of the VW 1500 in answer to an article by yourself mainly concerned with its deficiencies. After some 40,000 further miles, half of these spent in Central Africa, I wonder if you will be interested in the biography of the same car?

Troubles : This car was one of the run with clutch disease from birth, and the Company replaced, adjusted and inspected the works in this compartment, including several faulty seals, five times. It still has a trace of roughness but stays dry.

The stabiliser bar wore out its washers fairly quickly, but this is forgivable when I remember the appalling surfaces used as roads in much of the area where we lived.

Tyres : Enthused by the reports of the SP41, two of these were put at the back, and right enough they transformed and tamed the tail-end. But, with only moderate driving, the tread was off them in 10,000 miles—the original Continental, non-radials, lasted 25,000. So, this must be just about the most expensive way there is of spreading rubber on the roads, and it's on to the old steel wires for me from now on.

Credit : Comfortable travel—with three small children and the kit for a month's holiday, we travelled five thousand miles in four weeks, with average driving days of about 350, some over 400 miles. I haven't heard anyone comment on the outstanding usefulness of a separate luggage hold apart from the back of a station car, where we were able to give free playground for children during long days on the road; no other vehicle does this, and no other station car could therefore be useful in the same way. Going over the rough is outstanding for steadiness and lack of shock transmission; I had plenty of comparisons with other cars, and for all their fancy springs, water/rubber included, a terribly tiring amount of hammering came through to the driver— notable exception the Peugeots.

M.P.G.: Just under 34, Five up, cruising 75-80. Now, going not faster than 55, it will lust touch 40 m.p.g. Lowest ever, 28.

Plugs : 30,000 miles on this set of Bosch, no signs of wear, and the performance above—why should we change our Champions every ten, unless they don't last any longer, which I have personally found they don't ?

Finish : Excellent, as only VW know how.

Great Debit : Four necrosed exhaust valves, compression first heard to be weakening at 28,000; replaced at 33. This is inexcusable, and the first trouble of this kind we've seen in four VW's and 40,000 miles, the oldest being stripped at 130,000 and found to have no valve,wear.

It may be that engineering standards are slipping at VW, but they have accepted no blame for this—and for a cremated generator and regulator at the same mileage. The firm have been more than excellent in all dealings, I might say, except this one.

So, the car is comfortable, cheap to run, and I hope fairly tough; we plan to keep same for ten years. Cost to date, excluding depreciation, which is complicated by escaping various duties in our travels, is 2.7d. per mile, and that's fair enough.

I really did enjoy David Jones on the Land Rover, as you did, evidently, though I have a sneaking feeling he is being serious. " Steering, roadholding and comfort are excellent " are not the terms my experience of these vehicles in the tropics—and they are presumably built for this sort of roughing it—would call to mind; the main virtue of an otherwise outstandingly noisy, tiring, harshly sprung wagon with exceptionally frightening habits on corners—and exceptionally expensive to keep in order—that, I remember, was the ability to pull a stuck ten-tonner out of a ditch, which certainly the VW wouldn't have done. Otherwise, the VW did the same job on the road, far more cheaply, and in comparatively class A comfort, and in two-thirds of the time of the L-R. I hope Mr. Jones is telling us obliquely that these trucks are in place on the farm and in the worst of rainy seasons, but not on the road, or anything but a dead smooth road anyway.

Lisburn, N. Ireland -- GRAHAM J. COLE.

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VW heating

Sir,

As a regular Motor Sport reader I was interested in the letters in the August and October copies regarding Volkswagens in Canada. Having had no experience of early models I cannot comment on their heating systems, but I feel that W. Heather's criticism of the heating of 1966 models is somewhat unfair and also that technically minded readers in England may be interested in the system used. I have a 1966 Volkswagen 1500 motorised caravan and this was fitted as standard with two heating systems; I understand that saloon models are also so equipped. One system is the familiar VW fresh-air heater which feeds ducted warm air over the windshield or into the driving compartment at will. The second system is quite separate and is fitted into the vehicle on its arrival in Canada; mine is of American manufacture. It is a recirculating type for interior heating only„ and is powered by gasoline taken from the output of the engine fuel pump. The heater unit is a central heating plant in miniature with an electric blower, spark plug, ignition coil, contact breaker, flame-switch, electric fuel valve and thermostatic control unit for regulating the heat output. The manufacturer's rating for the system is 15,000 BTU/hour, which I calculate is equivalent to a four-kilowatt heater. A feature of the gasoline heater is that it ignites quickly and reaches peak output after a minute or two.

I have found that under conditions of extreme cold the total output from both systems is adequate, although not extravagant. I imagine that in the smaller confines of the saloon models there is an improvement in efficiency. When windshield icing is severe, I direct all the output from the normal VW heater on to the glass, and use the gas heater to warm the occupants. Incidentally, as Mr. Heather suggests, most North American cars are good starters in winter, but the VW is not inferior in this respect; mine always starts easily under the coldest conditions, despite my prejudice against six-volt electrics.

Ontario, Canada --- D. J. APP'S.

[This correspondence is now closed.—ED ]

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Uhlenhaut versus Ferguson

Sir,

Scanning through some of the multitude of reports and articles which appeared during the time of the London Motor Show, I was amazed to read the following account, which appeared in The Times of October 25th. The Motoring Correspondent was at the time looking round the Show with Rudolf Uhlenhaut, Chief of DaimlerBenz development and design, and recording his appropriate comments. " We reached the £5,340 four-wheel-drive Jensen FF. 'Interesting, but extra expensive and complicated. As I see it, the only real advantage comes in extreme conditions, as in crossing rough country. Was it really worth going to all this trouble to reach a buyer in a limited class and at so high a price? Perhaps this is good on slippery roads, but I see no real benefits elsewhere.' "

The things they say . . .

How can Herr Uhlenhaut make such remarks when Mercedes' own range of cars includes the MB-600, costing no less than £9,080? A superlative car, I have no doubt, and Mercedes are to be admired for producing such a vehicle as a prestige engineering exercise, but is it any less complicated than the Jensen? It has many features designed for comfort and ease of operation, and comfort is a way to safety, but to me the features of the FF are more fundamentally important; the four-wheel-drive and Maxaret braking control systems (thanks to Harry Ferguson Research and Dunlop) are the most positive contributions to vehicle safety so far seen on any car. They are more significant titan any of the measures that are under consideration in the present post-Nader era.

Mercedes-Benz and Jensen both produce technically excellent cars, and sell to a limited market, but the price of the FF is not extra high, in my opinion, when you consider the benefits of its mechanical specification. And what are the " real benefits " of power operated boot lid and rear seat adjustment? Is it just a question of different designers' views on the ultimate motor car?

Why not buy a Jensen FF and a Mercedes 230SL coupe— £8,990 total?

Welwyn Garden City -- C. R. GILLIES.

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"The best small car currently available"

Sir,

" Your new Triumph 1300 is precision-engineered to give long and satisfying service. Meticulous attention to detail during the development of this handsome car has resulted in many refinements to safety features, driving comfort and accessibility." The above is an extract from the drivers' handbook. The following is my experience after 15,000 miles:—

(1) Travelling at 60 m.p.h. down the M1 at night all the electrics failed due to uncrimped main feed wire.

(2) Wiper motor brushes jammed on to commutator after 3,000 miles ... . replaced.

(3) Horn push bar on steering wheel inoperative after 2,000 miles due to split nylon retaining nuts.

(4) Impossible to close quarter-lights with one hand until latch plates were lowered.

(5) Spare wheel compartment fills with water after rain to a depth of two inches.

(6) Only the outside of the wheels are painted. The side farthest away from the customer is left in bare primer.

(7) Each time the bonnet release catch is operated, skin is torn from your hand on the head of a 1/4-in. bolt sticking out of the body trim.

(8) The rear-view mirror is placed at eye level in the windscreen, effectively blocking a large angle of nearside forward vision. In order to see in this direction when approaching a pedestrian crossing, roundabout, etc., it is necessary to bend down or crane your neck over the top to see if there is any hazard.

(9) Dunlop C41's were bald after 14,000 miles and were replaced with SP41's.

(10) Unperforated plastic seats + hot weather = discomfort.

(11) The blower motor must be removed to adjust the clutch.

(12) Both Lucas sealed-beam candles snuffed it after 12,000 miles and were replaced with French Cibie long-range.

(13) Violent death rattle front steering column after 2,000 miles at speeds over 50 m.p.h. due to front wheel imbalance.

Why did I ever sell my Renault R8 1100?

Stratford -on-Avon -- RONALD W. JEFFERY.

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Sir,

I was most interested to read the letter from Mr. D. A. Duff in your November issue about his Triumph 1300. I have been more fortunate, so far, probably because the assemblers had become more practised by the time I bought it early in June.

Initial faults were confined to items 9, 11, 21 and 30 of Mr. Duff's list. They were all put right under the " do it yourself " system. Within the first few hundred miles the car made the first blot in its copy book by leaking all the brake fluid from a loose union. Luckily, brake failure was gradual and the remedy simple. After this I went over every nut and bolt in sight but all were secure, although most of the bolts securing the engine to the transmission unit could be pulled up and this process has been repeated several times during the 5,000 miles covered to date. Apart front this incident the Triumph has been most satisfactory. It is substantially built, everything fits, and everything functions properly. It is very pleasant to drive and its performance is more than adequate for my needs.

After I had owned the car for about a month I had a Weathershield's folding roof fitted, also a Perspex wind deflector. The deflector is essential to prevent wind buffeting when the roof is open more than six inches or so. I have done more fresh-air motoring this summer with perfect comfort than I have ever done before in various other cars with sliding panel, convertible or touring hoods. Weathershields made a very good job of the conversion and only kept the car two days.

The car itself is completely waterproof and the roof has only leaked very slightly on one occasion during torrential rain and high wind on the M5 Motorway. This was soon after the roof was-fitted and has never happened since.

The only complaint I have to make about the Triumph concerns the front seats. I would like them better if the backs were more upright, to give better shoulder support. My wife found them literally nauseating. This is the first car we have had in which she felt car-sick. Before going to Cornwall for our summer holiday at the end of August I substituted an Austin A40 seat, adapted to fit the Triumph Seat runners. Using this more upright and less " rolly-poly " seat my wife was perfectly happy—so it is still fitted. It looks rather out of place with the rest of the decor, as it isn't even the right colour. I would be interested to know if other owners have had this problem and, if so, whether they have found a more artistic solution.

Lydiate Ash -- ROY G. BURTON

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The cost of spares

Sir,

My car is a 1963 Triumph TR4. Whilst replacing the front disc pads on the Girling brakes I discovered a piston seized in the caliper.

At the local Triumph agents I was assured that the whole caliper had to be replaced as this was a " non-serviceable " item. Cost of caliper £10, cost of piston 11s. I telephoned Triumph Cars at Coventry; they couldn't help, and told me to ring the Service Department at Allenby. The Service Department assured me that pistons were replaceable and they would ring the agents at Bolton and instruct them to supply me a piston. The local agents convinced the Service Department of Triumphs on the phone that these pistons cannot be replaced. Triumphs informed me of this and said " the matter is now closed."

I phoned and said the situation was ridiculous, the Service Department spoke of " matched pairs," etc., and remained adamant.

Being very angry by now, I rang Girling Ltd. I explained the position to the Service Department at West Bromwich and was dealt with by a very knowledgeable member of their staff.

He assured me Triumphs were misinformed and promptly sent me a piston, piston seal and dust-cover.

It was explained to me, however, by Girling Ltd., that if the caliper was in any way scored or pitted I should consult a Main Girling Agent, before fitting the piston.

If the motor industry in this country is not held in very high esteem, this is not surprising when they try and get you to buy a £10 caliper instead of an 11s. piston.

An aquaintance of mine with an A/H 3000 believed his local agent and paid out £20 approximately in order to get two new pistons which would only cost me 22s. I now call for three cheers for Girling Ltd. My next car will not be a Triumph.

Horwich -- RON MOULTON, G. Inst.W.

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Lotus No. 2

Sir,

Does Graham Hill realise what he is committing himself to? A long sentence of second-rate cars and lowly finishes.

We hear so much about Peter Arundell's hard luck, as we did a few years ago about Trevor Taylor's. The fact is, whether we talk about Taylor, Arundell, Spence or any other Lotus " number two " driver, we are talking about drivers who have been issued under-powered, unprepared rubbish which could never be called competitive. So much effort is concentrated on the No. 1 Car that at times, even this year, it wasn't until race day. that Arundell knew if he would be racing or not.

Then, of course, there was that unpopular sequence of events in 1964 when Chapman pointlessly called Mike Spence into the pits at " The Glen " when in fourth place, the result of which was a disqualified 7th place. Also in Taylor's two complete years with Lotus he finished in only 50% of Grandes Epreuves at an average placing of 8th. I could say a few things about Innes Ireland's relationship with Lotus after 1961 but that page is best left alone. Jackie Stewart knew what he was doing when he joined B.R.M., where he could be sure of having an identical car to his Number One.

Lastly, although a long time ago. Graham must remember his two seasons with Lotus when he completed only 25% of the Grandes Epreuves he entered due largely to Lotus' accepted fragility.

Goring-by-Sea -- JOHN A. M. VAUGHAN.