Plastic or Metal?
Brian Morgan has got his spanners in a muddle! Not having had a chance to footnote his letter in last month’s issue objecting to GRP bodies for vintage specials, I will now reply. Tim Llewellyn was pleading his case, not for a universal acceptance of plastic bodied cars in VSCC events, but for being allowed to continue to use such a body on his competition Bentley after 1992. If it confers no performance benefits, weight and shape being as with an aluminium body, it is hard to understand Brian’s objection. If fabric, wood or cardboard had been used, presumably that would have been acceptable, on the grounds that these materials were in use prior to WWII?
We are talking of a car the plastic body of which has been in use for a considerable time and whether it need be scrapped in a couple of years, not condoning the use of GRP within the VSCC for specials not yet constructed. In that context I said that Tim had made out a good case, of which the VSCC may or may not take note. Which is not the same as advocating universal acceptance of plastic in the vintage field.
Brian Morgan suggests that future builders of specials for VSCC racing should study the Sunbeam Tiger. Of course, one admires enormously this car and its driver, as one does Tim and his Bentley Special, for what they have achieved. But let it not be overlooked that since 1984 the Tiger has departed from the original in respect of enginemountings, camshafts size and profiles, blower drive, scavenger oil pump size, oil-tank, brake drums, and it now has an electric starter. If the Riley boys with their boxes of bits wish to emulate this, I can well believe that they may have to master some new trades, as Brian suggests. When Tim called me over to defend his plastic body 1 wasn’t aware that he had used this material; had he shown me new brake drums of carbon fibre, the argument would have been quite different. BILL BODDY Nantmel, Powys