Your remarks in “Rumblings ” on the need for a utility sports car interested me greatly. I have for sonic time been turning over in my mind a similar scheme, using the Ford Eight or Ten chassis as a basis. I have come to the conclusion that, unless the plan was carried out by an enthusiast as a hobby, rather than a business, the cost would be such that the majority of prospective customers would prefer a thirdor fourth-hand M.G. Briefly, my scheme, to be operated as a spare-time hobby, with the intention of merely covering my own motoring expenses, is as follows : To purchase Ford vans, which should be obtainable very cheaply when new ones are available. I choose vans because it should be possible to obtain Girlingequipped chassis while private ears so equipped are still too expensive. The body would, of course, be thrown away and the chassis thoroughly overhauled and checked. Factory-conditioned engine, gearbox and rear axle would be fitted (cost about £18 pre-war, I believe). Compression ratio to be raised and the usual port polishing and, possibly, lightening of the flywheel. Further tuning to
be carried out to special order. Bodywork to be a simple 2or 24-seater shell and to be bought out. A dozen such shells ordered from one of the smaller body-building firms should not be very expensive.
I doubt whether I shall have the capital or equipment to carry out this scheme myself, but I feel sure that, on these lines, a small profit would be shown at a prici of £70-280, which is not excessive for a virtually new car. On a commercial basis, of course, with overheads and employed labour, it could hardly be done for less than 1100-R.120.
Perhaps some better-equipped enthusiast, or one of the ” scuderias ” might take up the idea. If so, I would plead for flexibility in its execution. Components should be available at reasonable prices to those who prefer to do their own rebuilding. The prices of some special parts for Austin Sevens, etc., before the war were ridiculous. It should not be necessary to pay the price of a bicycle for a simple built-up inlet or exhaust manifold, for instance. .
Incidentally, I have often wondered why Mr. Morgan hasn’t marketed a utility sports car based on his threewheeler. A four-wheeled version of either the twinor Ford-engined model should not have cost more than £150 pre-war, with weight under 10 cwt. I am, Yours, etc.,
A. M., WILLtAmsoN. Stroud.