A Special 2-litre Aston-Martin
RECENTLY we had an opportunity of inspecting a rather unusual 2-litre Aston-Martin which has distinct possibilities as a post-war road car of very high performance. At present this car is among the stock of Newton’s, of Huddersfield, who are prepared to consider offers for it in the region of £900.
It started life as a sports 2/4-seater, 2-litre ” Speed ” model in December, 1936, and after covering some 12,000 miles, it was purchased by T. A. S. 0. Mathieson and prepared for sports-car racing, being used by him for this purpose on the Continent during the 1938 season, without the success enjoyed by a similar car raced by Horsfall. Since then the car, Reg. No. DLB 588, engine and chassis No. L6/713/U, has been owned by a Lancashire enthusiast, who fitted four S.U. carburetters in place of the two used originally. The car follows normal 2-litre practice, the engine having dry-sump lubrication, and being mounted on rubber. The four S.U.s each have their own inlet pipe on the near side of the head, and there is no balance pipe. The float chambers are forward of the mixing chambers, and the front one is set inwards to clear the ‘bonnet side which, even so, requires a considerable power-bulge at this point to accommodate this ambitious carburation layout. Two S.U. electric pumps feed via flexible pipes, one for each pair of carburetters. The chokes are controlled by a lever in the cockpit protruding before the passenger. On the near side also, the water-pump and dynamo are driven in tandem and have an N.V.4 Scintilla ” Vertex ” magneto above them. The battery is very accessible on a shelf beneath the bonnet. On the off side four separate exhaust pipes merge into two flexible pipes, that for cylinders 1 and 4 running above that for cylinders 2 and 8, into a Brooklands expansion box, from which a flexible tail pipe runs to a small fan-tail. A 2-branch breather pipe on the valve cover leads into the
full-length tmdertray, and the rev.counter drive is taken from the end of the dynamo.
When Mathieson took over the car he replaced the original body with an ” Ulster ” body off a Ii-litre AstonMartin. This has a door on each side and the usual tail, housing a large fuel tank with twin fillers, and with a detachable rear portion housing the spare wheel. The jack and tools live beneath the tank. The light wings are provided with tubular stays in addition to their normal agricultural attachments, these stays running to the radiator cowl at the front and across the tail at the rear. The low, single-pane screen folds•flat when a central wing-nut is released. The facia carries a Bosch electrical panel ; small speedometer and rev.-counter, reading to 125 m.p.h. and 6,500 r.p.m., respectively ; oil gauge reading to 150 lb./sq. in. ; and oil and water thermometers calibrated in ° C., all instruments being of Jaeger manufacture. There are separate switches for main and reserve fuel pumps, and a long lever in the steering wheel centre looks after ignition advance and retard. The accelerator pedal is of organ-type and the brake and clutch pedals are quite small, all being rather close together on account of the propeller-shaft tunnel. A foot starter-switch is used and the central hand-brake lever is of racing type, with lift-up ratchet button. Scintilla headlamps are fitted, one masked. Finished in green, this Aston-Martin looks distinctly businesslike, and sounds (and smells) more so. It has very good Dunlop ” Racing ‘s tyres, 5.00-in. by 18-in, at the front, and 5.25-in. by 18-in. at the back. We had hoped to put the car through a brief road test, but although it did some spectacular work along a twisting ‘bit of road in the hands of John Cragg, Newton’s sales manager, the plugs soon displayed a dislike of ” Pool ” fuel. The engine would not take any ignition advance in top gear and was obviously not happy on
“cooking spirit.” Before the plugs failed the car showed itself to possess very fine acceleration, 4,000 r.p.m. coming up at once on a very small throttle opening. The gear-change, worked by a short lever in a diminutive central gate with lift-up reverse stop, functioned nicely. The hydraulic brakes, which have immense drums and armoured piping, were not particularly progressive, but possessed immense stopping power for a very small pedal pressure and deflection. The car should be capable of finishing high up in a race by reason of its braking power alone. The steering was light, if rather low geared, and the suspension reasonably hard, although in need of more pressure on the Hartfords. The exhaust note was the “real thing,” but not such as to invite unwelcome attention. The two bucket seats offered excellent support, and the driver’s came right up to the wheel. This car should stand a chance of making good showing in post-war sportscar racing, if given proper quick-action filler caps and more plausible-looking wing stays, etc. The front axle was the type with substantial tubular torque arms, to resist the effect of the immensely powerful braking. There is an ” Autoclean ” oil filter, and the car has been run on “R.” 1,000 r.p.m. on 2nd, 3rd and top gear, respectively, equalled approximately 10i, 15 and 20 m.p.h. The total mileage is about 19,000.
Other interesting cars in Newtons, of Huddersfield, immense stock include a very fine Type 500K Mercedes-Benz cabriolet, a “Phantom HI” Rolls-Royce saloon, a 1988 25/80-h.p. Rolls-Royce saloon, a 1985 32.5-h.p. Packard “Super 8 “(with cylinder block separate from the crankcase), a Morgan ” 4/4 ” coupe, various T-type M.G.s, several saloon S.S. and 6-cylinder Alvis, a 21-litre S.S. ” Jaguar ” 2-seater, two 4i-litre Lagonda saloons, a 3-litre Lagonda saloon, and a 31-litre Bentley with Jensen open 4-seater bodywork.