RUMBLINGS, July 1936



The Evergreen Delage

It is always very comforting when a car you fancy

does well, and Seaman’s win on the Grand Prix Delage in the Isle of Man more than bore out my contention that here was a potential winner.

I understand that the weight has now been brought down to just over 14 cwt. or only 56 lb. heavier than the E.R.A.s. The chassis Seaman tells me is more whippy than that of the English cars, but this helps it to follow the ground, rather in the style of a dachshund. The engine gives very little power below 4,500 r.p.m., and the four top gears of the fivespeed gear-box are constantly in use ; you will remember that when Lord Howe owned the car, he fitted a four-speed self-changing box with an over-drive ratio which gave four more. Maximum revs are 7,500, but the exhaust note, strangely enough, is quite lowpitched, rather like a monoposto Alfa.

The only other car of its type is owned by Captain J. C. Davies, who races it occasionally at Brooklands and Lewes, and I am not surprised to hear that he has already had some offers to buy it.

Troubles on the Island

All sorts of odd things seem to happen in the Isle of Man when they hold car races over there, mechanical and otherwise. The insulators of the sparking plugs on Charlie Dodson’s Austin were broken off by flying stones, surely a unique form of trouble ? We suggest he surrounds the bonnet with chicken wire. Then pieces of grit got drawn through the carburetter into the induction pipe, jamming open the valve which admits supercharger pressure to the fuel tank. The pressure mounted to such an extent that incessant flooding took place. A similar complaint beset the E.R.A.s but in this case a pressure pump was fitted, so grit could hardly be responsible for the rise in pressure.

A Temporary Affair

The R.A.C. had the grace to admit that the Onchan circuit was not all that could be desired, but promise amends for next year. A new course based on the round-the-town circuit is proposed. Starting along the Promenade, which by then will have been resurfaced, it will follow the

coast for two miles north of Douglas, then return by the Laxey-Onchan road to the present Grandstand, thence left down to the Promenade again. This will give a four-mile course combining fast stretches and a little town work.

Latest thing from the I.O.M. is a push-bike race round the T.T. circuit. The winner averaged 18 m.p.h. and forty out of the eighty competitors fell off on corners and had to be taken to hospital with abrasions and other injuries.

Proof Reading

The dispute over the prize money in the Isle of Man race seems far from clever. On the regulations the prizes totalled £1,000 but on the official programmes, and in many of the advertisements of the race, bigger prizes adding up to 0,500 were shown. According to A.I.A.C.R. regulations the advertised prize money must be awarded, and the drivers concerned, those who finished second to sixth, were quite within their rights in appealing for the bigger prizes. It was held that the R.A.C. was bound by regulations and not by the programmes, which is what one would

have expected. As usual, the printers were blamed for the mistake, but they were able to show that the officials concerned had failed to correct the proofs containing the incorrect information. Next time I suspect they will be a little more careful.

Les 24 Heures

Almost as unfortunate were the events which led up to the cancellation of the Le Mans race. When the labour disturbances in Paris began in earnest, incidentally involving the Delahaye and Talbot factories, from which a winner might well have come, the A.C.O. decided to postpone the race until either June 20th or August 3rd. The reason given was that no fuel was available, though as a matter of fact a driver who was over there for some early practising said that all supplies had been received before the strikes began.

There was a terrific outcry from the R.A.C., against disturbing the dates either of the Bray race, which took place on the 20th, or of clashing with Brooklands and Limerick on August 3rd, though all these were racing-car events. Surely it would have been better to try to share a date with the Automobile Club de L’Ouest, whose event is of international importance, and in which English cars have so frequently distinguished themselves ?

Hard on the Factories

Not unexpectedly, the cancellation of Le Mans has thrown the plans of a good many factories and individuals into confusion. Bertelli of Aston-Martins soOn got tired of the constant reports of “it’s on, it’s off” and cancelled his entry, the two very pretty 2-litre cars now incidentally being for sale, as he is taking a further two from stock for the T.T. Rileys are disappointed but glad of an extra breathing space before the French Grand Prix, while the Austins are being saved for the T.T.

Lagondas in the French G. P.

Arthur Fox is also holding his two Lagondas for the Irish events. The two two-seater cars bought and entered by Lehoux and Leoz, the Spanish driver, are running in the French Grand Prix, and will be opposed in their class by three Hudsons. The English cars are absolutely standard as regards chassis, and scale complete 27 cwt. It will be interesting to compare their performance with the Talbots, Bugattis, and Delahayes, which I understand are just riddled with holes and turn the scale at about 23 cwt. The Bugattis are reputed to have an all-out speed of 140 m.p.h., which for 3.3-litre engines unsupercharoed and running on petrol-benzol-alcohol mixture, Octane No. 80, is almost indecent.

Incidentally, talking of holes, do you remember the Flanagan and Allen record in which the pair succeeded after terrific efforts, in making some holes, and then in selling them to a kitchen utensil manufactuter for straining vegetables ? Silly.

Sports-car races

Returning to our motoring, it seems as though sports-car racing is regaining the popularity it enjoyed ten years ago. Judging by the speeds put up in practising for the coming French Grand Prix, when Benoist on a 3.3 Bugatfi put up a lap of 5 min. 80 secs. or 87 m.p.h., against Chiron’s best lap on the

monoposto Alfa two years ago in 5 min. 19 secs., nowadays sports cars should be nearly as exciting to watch and a great deal cheaper to build and maintain. After the French Grand Prix this year we have the Belgian Ten Hour and the Marne Grand Prix, while the latest recruit to the movement is the Comminges race, which takes place on August 9th. i#1she event is open to two-seater sports cars over 1 i-litres in capacity, and running on petrol-benzol mixture.

A Wearing Event

Writing of Comminges reminds me that this course was one of the four included in the Criterium d’Endurance, an event which the A.C.F. propose to hold on the 10th to the 23rd of September. This Criterium was to have been a high-speed rally, or reliability trial round France, with a run of 500 miles each day and an average speed of 31 m.p.h. Every three days on the road was followed by a fourth

on one of four famous road circuits, Rheims, Cornminges, Le Mans and Montlhery, the big cars being called upon to average anything up to 70 m.p.h.

Evidently French manufacturers did not consider that the ” endurance ” of their cars was quite up to this standard and the club received no support for the event.

Amongst the Chamois

The Alpine Trial, which is to be held from the 21st to the 26th August, with a rest-day on which you can watch the Swis Grand Prix, therefofe remains the most strenuous event of this kind. The route lies almost entirely inside Switzerland, with short excursions down into Italy in order to make use of some of the frontier passes.

Britain’s Big Event

The regulations for the R.A.C’s. only road event, in other words the T.T., have at last made their appear

ance. First entries, at per car, close on July 13th, and concurrents have not too much time to make up their minds.

As I suggested, two-seater bodies are permissible in all classes, though the handicap has been simplified by not differentiating between twoand four-seaters. The lap speeds have been revised, the figures for 1935 and 1936 being as follows :

This means that every class except the 750 c.c. is expected to go considerably quicker, particularly the 2-litre. The chances of the new Astons are reduced a little by having four-seater bodies, though actually the total weight is only a few pounds more than the two-seaters. As an off-set against the higher speeds, the scratch cars, the 5-litre and upwards, have only to cover 30 laps (408 miles) as against 35 in last year’s event, a change which will be appreciated by single-handed drivers.

A particular model is only eligible to run when a certain number proportionate to the output of the factory have been made, no material alteration such as a larger number of carburetters than standard, or fitting a crank-shaft of different contour from that normally used is allowed, and drilling components to lighten them or the use of light alloys instead of steel is also forbidden. Most drastic of all, fuel is limited to brands obtainable all over the country, and the addition of benzol or other substances intended to raise the anti-knock value are not allowed. With standard and unlightened chassis and standard fuel we. are fast approaching the stock-car race, a thing which cannot yet be said of any other European sports-car race.

The J.C.C. 200-Mile Race

So much for sports-car events. At Donington on August 29th we shall see something quite different, a free-for-all event with no handicap, and having as first prize the famous Andre Cup and £200 cash. Second and third receive £100 and £0 respectively.

Originally of course the race was for 1,500 c.c. cars, and in this new version of the ” 200 ” they have not been forgotten. Their share is £150 first, PSO second, and 05 third, besides a chance of collecting some of the big-car money. Bunny Dyer and his club should therefore be assured of a fine entry, which will brighten up a dull period in the season. The entry fee is £15.

South Australia launches out

The popularity of motor racing is steadily increasing in the antipodes, and the latest addition to the races ” down under” is the South Australian Grand Prix,

run in conjunction with the centenary celebrations on December 26th. The distance is 250 miles, and the event in spite of its title is a handicap race. First prize is 000. There is also a 50-mile handicap with

a prize.

The course is a four-sided road-circuit in undulating country, fifty miles from Adelaide, and measures 7f miles round. It has a hair-pin and five other corners, not forgetting a hump-back bridge. Approved competitors from England will receive transport concessions.