RUMBLINGS, July 1937



Very Scientific

Some excitement apparently was occasioned at Donington on the occasion of the Nuffield Trophy Race, by the appearance of the ” gas-meter ” operated by Kesterton of S.U. Carburetters. This is merely an electrical device which records on a dial the makeup of the mixture entering an engine, by means of automatic analysis of the exhaust gases. It is well known that modern high-compression racing engines are very particular and require curious fuels and that cofrect carburation of these fuels is a highly scientific business, often put all at sea by unexpected changes in the humidity of the atmosphere. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that the S.U. device has come to the tuners’ aid, though S.U. deserve no less credit for introducing it. The method is quite familiar to aeronautical engineers and is in. use on American aircraft as a means whereby pilots may know what mixture the engines are receiving and accordingly make adjustments to ensure economical operation and safe fuel/air ratios. The Lockheed Electra air-liners of British Airways feature similar apparatus amongst the maze of controls and instruments that grace their “offices “—and which put any racing car’s instrument panel to shame. So the S.U. ” gas-meter ” is not so sensationally novel after all, although that is not to suggest that it will not have a very big bearing on the efficiency and reliability of racing-car engines and on the number of baldheaded engine-tuners in the future.

Midnight Prowl

Wanting some water for the Ford VS after a trial, and feeling that a little more air in the tyres would be conducive to mOre rapid journeying homewards, we sailed into the Pipbrook Service Station at Dorking. Although the hour was not far short of midnight, a keen young man, espying our .competition rig, insisted that we step into the showrooms to see his special motors. One of these was the Lloyd-Special singleseater which Arthur Baron built for racing on the dirt at Greenford some years ago, utilising one of the old T.T. Vauxhall frames and other odd bits and pieces. This remarkably exciting-looking car had not long returned from a jaunt on the road, and its owner

started it up, that we might register surprise at the note from the external exhaust—which we did, for it certainly belied the o.h.v. Buick power-unit.

His other car was a 1931 Aston-Martin in process of overhaul in readiness for the J.C.C. Budapest Rally next September. It had a body with rounded stub-tail, very like that of the A.M. tested by MOTOR SPORT in January 1930, and therein reposed a big fuel tank, cut away to clear the rear axle as on a racingcar, while the finish of that axle casing would certainly not have shamed a very good racing job.

Fire Risk

Poor Pat Driscoll did not get burned for nothing on the occasion of the Empire Trophy Race at Donington, for attention is now being given to re-fuelling methods at the pits. The B.R.D.C. asks that pressurerefuelling, which, you will remember, was not allowed for the Empire Trophy Race, be made an alternative to the use of churns. The J.C.C. has wisely adopted this suggestion for its 200-Mile Race, barring over-pit gravity feed appliances, while the R.A.C. has banned churns altogether for the Donington T.T. This latter move is only regrettable on account of the expense, and indeed actual shortage, of pressure-refuelling apparatus, and we wonder how long it will be before Percy Bradley is able to announce that permanent apparatus of this kind graces the new all-concrete pits at Brooklands.

Stiffer Each Year

Much of the interest that the J.C.C. High Speed Trials evoke is accounted for because the organisers ensure that these sixty-minute blinds are a really good test of man and mount. To do so they have progressively raised the required minimum average speeds year by year and by what margin this has been necessary is a flattering reflection on the increasing speed capabilities of standard and near-standard motor-cars. For instance, it 1925 and 1926, when the course embraced the road up under the tunnel and a descent of the Test Hill, an average of 30 m.p.h. was deemed sufficient for 1,100 c.c. touring cars, with 35 m.p.h. for touring cars up to 11-litres and 40 m.p.h. for sports-cars of all engine sizes up to if-litres. Back issues of MOTOR SPORT will tell you what was the outcome. Subsequently the Track only was used, with the introduction of the present course with artificial barriers in the finishing straight in 1930. The minimum speeds imposed were as follows

Now you see why people had such a tough task on July 3rd. Although this is another event which is “not a race,” lots of competitors have a flair for fastest time in the respective classes, and naturally there is much satisfaction to be had from recording the highest average of the day. But such performances should not be allowed to overshadow those of drivers who know their cars are not very reliable at ultrahigh speeds and who consequently contrive to just qualify for the award within their reach, aided by their passenger’s time-keeping. Nor should we overlook those who qualify for an award with motors capable of very few m.p.h. more than the set average, by dint of consistently good driving at both the corners, and possibly any slip-streaming they can “win.” —

A Very Fine Performance

Forrest Lycett, who drives Bentley cars in competition just for amusement, recently took the 8-litre down to Brooklands and had it officially timed over the standing kilometre at 27.46 secs., which represents a Class B international record, subject to the usual confirmation. This is a very fine performance for an old car which is essentially a sport job, docile in traffic, and not specially streamlined.

Auto-Union Reaches over 240 m.p.h. on the Road

Not at all a long time ago there was vast excitement and much profitable increase of advertising in the motor-papers when a car achieved a speed of fourmiles-a-minute, propelled over a stretch of barren sand by an immense power-unit. Consequently, it is almost impossible to do justice to the latest exploits of Auto-Union, whereby Rosemeyer has captured the Class B flying mile and kilometre records from Mercedes-Benz at 243.675 and 243.5 m.p.h. respectively. Beyond pointing out that the car was a Grand Prix type of machine with an engine capacity of only 6-7 litres, and that Rosemeyer drove it on the Frankfurt-Heidelberg Autobahn, we will make no further comment—except to say that controllability has kept pace with speed increase, for remember the tough job Segrave had at 140 m.p.h. on the road— admittedly an undulating road—with the old 4-litre V12 Sunbeam. Rosemeyer captured, in all, eight records, including that of Caracciola’s Mercedes-Benz record, in the form of 10 miles at 225.16 m.p.h. He has raised the old figures from fourteen to sixteen m.p.h.

More Records

Records have been changing hands a bit of late, for Major Gardner’s ex-Horton M.G. Magnette, which took the British light car Hour Record at 117 m.p.h. in 1934, has taken the Class G flying mile at 142.63 m.p.h. and the Class G flying kilometre record at 142.302 m.p.h. at Frankfurt. Gardner has built a coupe top for the cockpit and is now looking for elusive horses

Over in Australia one John Snow has pushed up a batch of Australian 1,100 c.c. records with a K3 M.G. Magnette—quarter-mile to standing mile at speeds of 51.7 to 105.57 m.p.h.

Mmes. Siko and Descollas and Mlles. des Forest and Helle-Nice took ten world’s and five International Class C long-distance records at Montlhery with a nicely streamlined 3.6-litre Matford (Ford V8), their ten days’ aye! age working out at 86.99 m.p.h.—which gives Ford folk plenty of food for thought and discussion.

Another remarkable record, in a different category, is that of Furmanik, who brought . out a specially constructed enclosed-cockpit 1i-litre Maserati on the Florence autostrada and covered the flying kilo at 148.4 m.p.h., taking the class F record from Duray, whose Packard Cable Special did 143.3 m.p.h. at Arpajon in 1929. That astounding 164 m.p.h. MillerLockhart-mile was also tried but the Maser couldn’t do it. However, it has taken the Class F standing mile and kilo records from our own E.R.A. at 104.87 m.p.h. and 89.95 m.p.h. respectively, beating Mays’s figures by 8.79 and 4.80 m.p.h. Record work is certainly not defunct.


Humphrey Symons, who specialises in curious longduration motor journeys, did very well indeed with the Phantom III Rolls-Royce limousine, in which he recently drove from London to Nairobi and back within seven weeks. He averaged 375 miles a day, under fearful conditions most of the way, did Algiers to Nairobi, a little matter of 5,599 miles, at 35.1 m.p.h. average ; and he added no water to the radiator during the 12,000 miles !

New Cars

The Bowler-Hof man-Special is now completed. It is a Bentley-engined outer-circuit type of car with no front brakes. Harry Bowler knows heaps about

Bentley engines but is rumoured to be having some difficulty with the track-holding properties.

Whitfield-Semmence has completed his sprint A.C.engined Frazer-Nash Special. It was intended that the car would be available for the first meeting at Lewes, but the Special was not finished in time. The engine was originally a 1927 2-litre A.C. Six with a bore of 65 x 100 giving a capacity of 1,991 c.c. Three S.U. carburetters are fitted. It is expected that 90 and 200 b.h.p. at 4,500 r.p.m. will be obtained.

The Donington Twelve-Hour Race—July 24th.

Before another issue of MOTOR SPORT is released the 12-Hour Sports-Car Race will have been contested at Donington. It should be a remarkably interesting race. The S.M.M.T. has opened it for trade participation, as is right and proper, and at the time of going to press we have heard of twenty-two entries. These comprise two Rileys, apparently works entries, Gerard’s T.T. Riley that clid so well at the FrazerNash C.C. Donington Meeting, five M.G.s, including Macdermid’s entry, three works Ausfins, the three Auto Sports Singers, G. Hartwell’s Singer, four AstonMartins, a Wolseley, a Bentley, and a Triumph.

This alone would ensure a good contest, but we bold out hopes of a truly comprehensive fieldLagondas, Frazer-Nashes, Frazer-Nash-B.M.W.s, SS. 100 and the rest.