RUMBLINGS, July 1935



Does the Public want Motor Racing

THE round-the-houses races in the Isle of Man seem

to be held under an evil star. However good the organisation, and there was nothing but praise for it this year, the R.A.C. never seem to be rewarded by two good races in succession. Partly for this reason no doubt, very few people trouble to cross over to the Island, and this year the Manx authorities made little attempt even to advertise the fact that there was a race. It makes one feel almost that they were ashamed of the fact that they were allowing such an ungentlemanly sport to be carried out in their boundaries, and if this is so it is not surprising that the general public do not feel the urge to make the journey.

Those Bugattis.

Talking of evil stars, those 3.3-litre G.P. Bugattis also seem to have brought their little constellation with them. Brian Lewis has been the most fortunate, his trouble in the International Trophy was nothing more than the supercharger drive, though it was feared at first that most of the internals had perished. Eccles’ car has passed out in two races, even after importing one of Le Patron’s mechanics to look after it, and Martin was seen at Brooklands on Whit Monday muttering darkly and wondering about the price of a new petrol tank.

Class H.

I always think it courageous of the M.G. people to submit their cars to the acid test of racing as soon as they appear. Two years ago in the Isle of Man the new Magnettes were decimated by back-axle trouble, only to return and conquer in the British Empire Trophy, and I should not be surprised to see the new R Midgets do something startling in the Trophy this year. They certainly have terrific acceleration, and if the springing is stiffened up somewhat so as not to throw so much work on the universal joints in the back-axles, they ought to be able to do their stuff in the approved in

Peak Revs Ten Thousand!

After seeing Driscoll performing on his singleseater Austin at Brooklands, I was looking forward to seeing the overhead camshaft ones make their debut in the Isle of Man. However, they are not nearly

ready yet, but might possibly be seen at the August Bank Holiday meeting. I had a few words with Driscoll down at Brooklands and learn that the side-valve unit fitted to his present car runs up to the amazing figure of io,000 r.p.m. and likes it, and that the o.h.c. ones will do the same. They will be fitted into chassis identical with the present cars, which have proved most successful on the Mountain and at Shelsley. The front-axle on these

cars is well worth examining. It is made in two pieces, one fitting into the other with a roller bearing interposed so that each of the two axle ends can twist without affecting the other. The two ends of the axle are each positioned by two radius rods. This lay-out gives the effect of independent suspension, and Driscoll found his car is m.p.h. faster on the top corner of the Mountain circuit after changing over to the split axle.

A Strenuous Sport.

What is your longest journey in 24 hours, and why did you undertake it ? Most of us would answer I suppose, taking part in some big trial and driving back, for though the maximum speed may not be very high you keep going for a night and a day, and then another night or so, back to your starting point. Over at Le Mans I met K. D. Evans who furnished me with a fine example of long-distance runs in trial. He and his brother and sister, D. G. and Miss Doreen,

all went in for the London-Edinburgh, and incidently won gold medals, and then drove back to London again, a total distance of over 600 miles. They then drove cars at the Whitsun Meeting on the Monday, and set off that night en route for Le Mans, 16o miles from their landing point at Dieppe. That seems to me pretty hard work;

The Right Spirit.

With Le Mans so much in the air I thought I would pay a visit to the Aston-Martin factory at Feltham, and was rewarded by seeing no less than seven of the Ulster two-seaters, all painted up and equipped with that care and pride which is characteristic of Bertelli, ready to go off for their battle abroad. An even more striking sight was to see six of these seven cars lined across the road after the race, not quite so clean but just as fit. Bad luck that the seventh was put out by an accident.

The two-seater full-sports car is a type which always attracts me, but knowing that these particular Ulstertype cars have a compression of about 8 to t, which calls for the use of benzol, I had always thought of them as being suitable simply for the out-and-out enthusiast, who does not mind scouring the country in search of that expensive and peculiar smelling fuel. I learnt however, from “Bert” that the cars in question run quite happily on the new Esso Ethyl fuel, a fact which will be appreciated by users of other makes of cars fitted with high-compression engines.

A New Toy.

Maps and guides are one of my weaknesses, almost more so than touring itself, but it was not until I bought one of the new Michelin Guides to France some time ago that I realised how much useful information can be gathered between two covers. Our own A.A. and R.A.C. guides give a certain amount of information about hotels, but who would expect to find there the special dishes served, for instance, at the Royal Tartan Hotel, Inverness ? I rather expect that in any case it would be just the same as that provided at the three star hotels at York, Aberystwyth, and Tunbridge Wells. The only place you can get Morecambe Bay shrimps is in the more expensive London hotels, and Dover receives its soles via Canterbury, Billingsgate, and Ashford. In a word there is no pride in the local product such as one finds in France.

An Auto-Union Wanted.

So enraptured was I by the visions of the touring, eating and drinking grounds conjured up from the pages of “Michelin” that I decided to take over the car to Le Mans, rather than take the more prosaic route through Paris by air and train. I’m glad that I did so, for it settled for me the question of why the French motorist does not visit England in spite of the favourable rate of exchange—his own country is just

as charming. Except for the roads being rather rougher than ours, the journey from Calais to Le Mans was perfect, and with little or no traffic on the roads, one could drive really fast without annoying anyone. Parts of N. the road which runs from Calais to Rouen were straight for as much as 15 miles, the rolling nature of the country preventing them from

being monotonous, and what I really wanted was an Auto-Union, or if feeling more socially inclined an Alfa-Romeo like the one Pintacuda drove in the Mille Miglia. However, with my Lagonda holding a steady 75, the journey did not take too long.

English as She is Written.

Enough has been written, spoken, and broadcast, about Le Mans just now to last for a lifetime, but I must just perpetrate one more remark. In view of the number of drivers, team-managers, pit-attendents, and visitors from England, quite a number of notices were written in the two languages. I have forgotten some of their brighter efforts, but here is a gem which should not be allowed to be forgotten. It was posted at one of the turn-stiles under the notice “Priere de montrer votre carte d’admission,” which was rendered very beautifully as “Prayer to show your admission money.”

” Chitty ” Again.

The sight of an old racing warrior tucked away in a saleroom always “gets me,” as the Americans say. The other day I ran across an old Brooklands favourite in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” at the premises of Sports Spares, in Chiswick Street. I am not going to say which “Chitty ” this particular one is. We’ve had all that out before, haven’t we ?

After seeing Count Zborowski’s old car, I was taken over to the new premises at South Wharf, Paddington, where some interesting stuff was to be seen.

Not the Usual Trophy.

It has always been something of a mystery to the logical mind (yours and mine) that the massive and not always beautiful silver cup has continued to be the universally accepted form of annual trophy. The first stroke of originality in this direction has been made by the Oxford University M.D.C. Last month Roy Nockolds, the motoring artist, was the guest of honour at their dinner, and presented the club with the original ” Grand Prix” drawing of the print which most of us have hanging on the drawing-room wall. The Club has decided to put up this picture as a trophy, to be held for one year by the most successful member. Small silver name-plates will be fixed to the frame.

Empire Trophy Suggestions.

The B.R.D.C. has every reason to be satisfied with

an entry of 43 cars at single fees. The 750 c.c. class is entirely composed of M.G. Midgets, eight in number ; the 1,100 c.c. cars are four Magnettes, two Amilcars, an E.R.A., a Riley and the Eccles Supercharge of the 1,5oos, four are E.R.A.s, the rest being two Bugattis, two Frazer-Nashs, an Aston-Martin, a Vale, an Alta, a Squire, and the “Cotton-Field ” Special, entered by Billy Cotton. The 2-litre class is another one-make affair, Rileys this time. The big stuff consists of four two-three Alfas, two twothree Bugattis, a monoposto Alfa and a 3.3 Bugatti. Double-fee entries can be expected.

The ” Q ” and ” R ” Midgets are just as fast as the average Magnette, so why not run a scratch race for cars up to 1,100 C.C. with a special prize for the first 750 c.c. finisher ? Thirteen x,soo c.c. cars would make a good scratch race, with a special prize for the first unblown car to encourage Astons, Nashs, etc.

The Big Meeting.

The French Grand Prix brings together, I should think, a more distinguished gathering of drivers, designers and directors than any other event in Europe, except perhaps the big Motor Shows of London, Paris, and Berlin. At the pits I was lucky enough to find Dr. Porsche, who, of course, was the famous designer and suspension expert of the Auto-Union Company. He confirmed the rumour that some of the ” P ” Wagons would be on sale to private individuals in the autumn. The price is not yet fixed. There is no immediate intention of building any ii-litre models, but like most people who witnessed the Eifel races, he was most impressed by the performance of the E.R.A.s. Apparently the crowds kept on shouting ` We want E.R.A.s.”

Cerman Racing Cars in England. ” “

” Rudi ” Caracciola paid a short visit to London at Whitsun between periods of practising at Monttfiery, and has been going into the question of driving a Mercedes-Benz at Donington in October. Unfortunately he did not have time to go north to inspect the course, but was a little worried about its being so narrow. However, he told me that the organisers would probably keep the entries down to twelve, which in any case should cover quite comfortably all the under 750 kg. racing cars in England. If this can be done he has every hope of taking part.

Closed Harmony. shall see the Auto-Unions in

I doubt if we shall see the this year, for in October Stuck and his fellow-drivers will probably be tackling the records captured recently by Nuvolari on the twin-engined Alfa-Romeo. The problem of ventilation on the all-enclosed Auto-Union has been overcome, but there still remains the danger of side-winds, which affect the Rennlimousin much more than the open cars, and on the Avus road, where there are gaps between the lines of trees which fringe it, the cars hop two or three feet across the road. Another matter more mental than mechanical is that with the enclosed cars the sound of the wind is greatly reduced and the drivers have a chance of worrying what is going to happen to them if they make an error of judgment.

Challenge From Italy.

The new 4.4-litre Maserati has been completed, but was not sent to France, and Philippe Etancelin was walking about at Montlhery (with his chin thrust ou.t). looking thoroughly disgusted at not having a car to drive. The Maserati Company are reserving it for the Penya Rhin race at Barcelona, where it should stand a better chance of success.

The Ferrari people were quite hopeful about the Monoposto oars, which had been still further enlarged and had the increased power not proved too much for the transmission they certainly ought to have been, placed in the Grand Prix. The twelve-cylinder engine is almost completed, but is too powerful to fit into the present chassis, but it is hoped that the car will be or the road in two months’ time. This will give reasonable time to tune it up for the Italian Grand Prix.

Supporting the French Racing Car.

The sweeping victory of the German racing cars and the obviously unprepared state of the Bugatti, not to mention the previous week’s British gain at Le Mans, has stirred the French lay and motoring press into a state of rare excitement about the damage to the prestige of their motor industry. It is too early yet to say if anything will come of it, but the public

subscription fund is mounting slowly. It is estimated that about one million francs is needed, while I believe 40,000 has so far been subscribed. The cheaper badges are seen on an increasing number of cars, but as each denotes only 5 francs, the fund still has some distance to go.