Letters from readers
Brooklands v. Mary Rose
Your remarks in this month's Motor Sport concerning the proposed gravel-raising threat to Brooklands are most apt, but I do feel that the raising of the Mary Rose should not be used as a lever to your arguments, especially if one considers aspects of Brooklands preservation taken over the last fifteen years or so.
Without doubt. the raising of the Mary Rose has been to national advantage and undoubtedly cost a great deal of money — in return, we have a unique section of life as it was nearly 450 years ago.
Brooklands. however, is quite a different subject, and had as much enthusiasm been shown over its preservation, it too would no doubt have remained as a viable working museum and a just tribute to British achievement.
However, the story is in no way similar. I have in my time known one or two ex-Committee members of the Brooklands Society and can clearly recollect being told by an ex-, and regrettably late, member of their Committee that, with almost no exceptions were the members of that Committee suitable people to be entrusted with such a project. It is ludicrous to consider that a collection of largely elderly no-hopers generally unassociated with modern business and forward-thinking, could in any way achieve adequate preservation of such an enterprise and if only the M25 Motorway had been allowed to cross Brooklands, a fact which I understand was abhorrent to the Society's Committee, then the Track and its environs could have been safeguarded from any threat of gravel-raising whilst still preserving the character of this famous edifice.
Such, however, under the existing circumstances, was not to be and if subsequent gravel-raising removes the majority of Brooklands from the map of Surrey, it will only be the expected result of many previous years of vacillation and generalised incompetence. No doubt sad, but undeniably true, and in all probability Brooklands is well on its way to joining other ruins scattered throughout the country.
[I hardly think that those to whom preservation of Brooklands, in whole or part. is dear to their hearts would have thought the place worth preserving with a motorway crossing it. It is the sentiments of Mr. Peters that the Brooklands Society Committee and Brooklands Track Ltd. should be fighting — whether they are competent so to do is another matter, but perhaps Mr. P. would like to suggest how they should have, and now should, tackle the proiect! — Ed.]
Until recently, I have been surrendering my road fund licence at the end of my "season" for refund and displaying an explanatory notice in its place whilst the licence disc is in the post. During a recent police purge (I wasn't stopped), I wrote to the Chief of Norfolk police and asked him the correct procedure to enable me to use the car for the last day or two of the last month for which I had paid. He explained that the only was to tax the car for a further month to enable me to drive it the last day or so of the previous month! I then wrote to Swansea (DVLC) and a nice female Welsh voice 'phoned me, explaining that this was indeed the case as the law says that the tax disc must be displayed at all times — no substitutes — only the real thing.
This means that at the end of one's tax period, one must always lose some time that has been paid for, and if one posts the disc in the last post (9.30 a.m.) Saturday when the month ends on Sunday, one loses out to the tune of two days, i.e. around 44p approximately.
As a hobby car driver myself, I feel a bit sore about this even if it is only around 22p per day. If we have paid the road fund tax surely we should be allowed to use the car.
Good for Toyota
Whilst attending this year's Motor Show at the NEC Birmingham on trade day, my father and I went on the Datsun stand to look at their Prairie, a new concept in estate cars, and a vehicle we were genuinely interested in, with a possible view to purchase through our Company. We were very disappointed to be told we were not able to open up the car to see inside on the stand manager's orders. Asking to see him personally, he too refused to open a door on the static display model.
I will not go into all the fatuous excuses for not showing us this vehicle, but when we said we were a company, running a small fleet of vehicles, considering buying this new Datsun product we were positively discouraged from any further interest in case we might ask for discount or, even worse, want to buy more than one. Having met with similar treatment on the Colt stand at the 1980 Motor Show, also at the NEC, we thought this was how all Japanese car manufacturers behaved and vowed never to have anything to do with them again. Imagine our surprise then whilst half-heartedly looking at the new Toyota F, a similar vehicle to the Prairie, we were politely asked if we could be helped. With no more ado the salesman showed us over every inch of the new Toyota, and proceeded with infectious enthusiasm for his company's new and existing range of vehicles to show as round them all. We were not encouraging him — once bitten twice shy — but a more courteous and pleasant man you could not hope to meet, and with an obvious enthusiasm for his company's products.
Who was this man? Only Toyota's UK sales manager with overall responsibility for their stand at the show, who took up much of his valuable time to show two people he had never met before products they might never consider purchasing. I will say no more, other than to repeat to your readers what he said to my father and I, namely if you are thinking of buying a new car, don't walk past your local Toyota dealer without looking in. I would say cross over the road from your Datsun dealer to do just that.
In December's issue I noticed one of your advertisers giving a tip on fitting SR-rated tyres in place of VR ones to help traction in snow, etc. Now I seem to remember reading somewhere of an insurance company refusing a claim on the grounds that the wrong speed-rated tyres were fitted. I haven't a clue if this is true or not; perhaps a more knowledgeable reader could throw some light on the subject. It would seem to me quite important to know before this advice is taken.
M. J. Whitehead