High speed

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The VSCC President Roger Collings has driven his 60hp Mercedes for at least 100,000 miles both as a road car and for every conceivable kind of competitive event with very little mechanical mayhem. To celebrate its 85th birthday, Roger took it on yet another frolic, a “record-attempt” timed to thousandths of a second by the official VSCC time-keepers.

Mowlem’s had completed the Leominster by-pass but it had not been opened, so with the enthusiastic co-operation of the police, clerk of the works Jim Marsden and Mercedes-Benz, Collings had the use of it. There was a link here with a former Mowlem’s director, Eric Burt, who used to race his Burt Special, an Austin 7 and a Talbot 90 at Brooklands before the war, and whose daughter Patsy did well in speed-trials afterwards . . . Running stripped, on Betco 875-105 front, 880-120 rear tyres, the Mercedes ran first on 30-tooth driving-sprockets, giving a top gear-ratio of 1.6:1. Smaller sprockets were then tried, before a run was made in third gear. Still not satisfied, Roger checked the mixture by removing not a sparking-plug but a pair of the quickly-detachable, push-rod prodded inlet valves! A 150 main jet was put in the carburettor. The old warrior was then timed at 77 mph, truly excellent for such a car in original order, even to low-tension ignition. In fact, on the high-gear sprockets, in top gear, Craig Collings did 77.25 mph. It was yet another enjoyable outing for the Sixty Mercedes, its owner pausing to pay tribute to Arthur Duray who, at Dourdan in November 1903, had taken the LSR to 84.73 mph, with 131/2-litres of Gobron Brillie. WB