A DIESEL CAR AT BROOKLANDS.
ACASUAL visitor to Brooklands Motor Course on June 14th, seeing a great white racing car of unmistakably American lines—even down to the beautifully-painted number ‘ 8 ‘ on its tail—thundering round the track, would have been justified in thinking that he had been mysteriously transferred to some American Speedway. But no ; when the car came into the Paddock, he would have seen that although the car bore the legend “Cummins-Diesel Racing Car, Indianapolis, 1931,” on its side, its driver was in actual fact our own Mr. Kaye Don, while the smiling gentleman wearing a bright blue pullover who sat in the passenger’s seat was Mr. C. L. Cummins, the designer of the car. Mr. Cummins is visiting England in order to co-operate with the research laboratories of C. C. Wakefield & Co., Ltd., in the production of the ideal lubricating oil for Diesel engines. As most of our readers are aware, Mr. Cummins created some
thing of a sensation last year by setting up a world’s land speed record for Diesel-engined cars of 100.75 m.p.h. at Daytona Beach. Later in the year, the same car was piloted by Dave Evans in the 500 Miles Race at Indianapolis, and averaged 86 m.p.h. without a single stop for refuelling. In addition, this car has made two coast-to-coast runs in America, and has just arrived in England after a 4,000 miles tour on the Continent—so that no one can accuse the Cummins-Diesel car of being untried !
During this time the engine has been taken down twice, in both cases to see how things were going on inside, and to incorporate detailed improvements which the ever-active brain of its designer had thought of in the meantime. The bearings have not been touched, and when one remembers the slow engine speed, this lack of wear is not surprising. To be precise, the 4 cylinder engine develops its maximum power output, 118 b.h.p. at 2,300 r.p.m.
Judged by petrol engine standards, the engine, of course, looks rather massive, and produces the usual noise of a Diesel engine when idling, but when travelling at 75 m.p.h. round the track the car was certainly no noisier than a 4 cylinder petrol engine of similar capacity would have been. There was very little smoke from the exhaust, and starting was almost instantaneous.
When one considers that this car can run for a distance of 1,800 miles without refuelling, with a consumption of 37 m.p.g. of fuel which costs one-third the price of petrol, the potential advantages of the type can be readily appreciated. In fact, the total cost of fuel on Mr. Cummins’s Continental tour was only £2!
Mr. Cummins is still actively engaged in developing the Diesel engine for private car purposes, and is stated to be shortly starting production of a 6 cylinder engine of about 5 litres capacity, which will propel the car at a speed of 80 m.p.h. on a fuel consumption of 60 m.p.g.