America Ignored




This reader of Motor Sport Of over 50 years seniority is again struck by the magazine’s parochialism. Would not Bill Boddy’s putative millionaire at least have thought of American cars?

Perhaps the Duesenberg with its 7-litre double overhead cam engine, ruler of the road after 1929, was too little known on your side of the Atlantic to be considered, but there were others that compared with your man’s choices. An immense 1932 Lincoln V12 KB Sedan, for instance, lapped Brooldands at over 90mph and, smooth as silk, did 98mph on the level when tested by The Motor. In 1933 another of our big luxury can, a Pierce-Arrow V12, a roadster with its fenders removed and an open exhaust, but otherwise stock, averaged 112.91mph for 24 hours on the Bonneville salt flats.

If somewhat less dramatic performance might have been acceptable to your protagonist, there was always Enzo Ferrari’s inspiration, the Packard twelve — and if your man thought to economise a little bit after the Crash, the eight-cylinder Packards, as well made and almost as powerful, set a very high standard. Because Packard was so successful for so long and so many were made, they seem to get less respect than more exotic machinery. But balancing all factors, Packards may overall have been the best cars in the world in the 1920s and 1930s.

I am, your, etc

Mark Benenson, New York, USA

(Our fictitious millionaire was an old-Etonian Englishman, so perhaps he ignored the cars mentioned above, but all of them have featured fairly recently in Motor Sport —W.B.)