As the owner of a 1950 Light Fifteen I enjoyed your Road Test report on the Citroen Six in the May issue, and particularly the remarks you printed by Mr Clutton in respect of his experiences with the “Six” vis-a-vis the “15”
As a VSCC member myself, however, I would defend the marque against criticism on the particular point made in your road test concerning the gear selection arrangements. I find no difficulty myself now, due to insufficient clutch-pedal-depression restricting movement of the dash gear-lever since I restricted the gear selector locking mechanism to a smaller operating clearance. Now, although the selectors are locked as intended against inadvertent movement of the change-lever while the pedal is released, the least depression enables selection of all gears with finger-tip touch.
I have found the silent engagement of first gear when changing down to be a simple matter now that I have removed the offset and excessively heavy air-cleaner and replaced it with a smaller unit. Just sufficient induction hiss is now audible to enable estimation of and this makes all the difference between a perfect change and a “muffed” one.
My only criticisms of the “15” as the near-ideal moderately-priced car for a family man with sporting instincts requiring also a suitable business “hack” are that wind noise on a long journey is excessive and that the rear suspension has a tendency to “bottom too frequently with four-up over only moderate undulations at speeds even around 45/50. New Newtons and increased torsion “set” have failed to effect any improvement.
I am, Yours, etc.,
George Blagdon, Durham.
I wonder how many readers of Motor Sport remember, and how many have owned or driven a Ruston Hornsby ? They were built in Lincoln from, if my memory serves me right, 1919 to 1924.
My father bought one new in 1920, and I always remember the whole village (a little place in Cardiganshire where we were living at the time) turned out to witness its arrival. They had seen little else in that place and in those days than model-T Fords, and one or two Overlands. The service that the Ruston Hornsby gave, if it does not constitute a record, must at least be fairly near to one.
The car cost around £870 and was in regular use until the end of 1936. When she eventually went to her last resting place (ti scrap yard, I regret to say), she was running well, had done well over three hundred thousand miles, and had never had a rebore. Admittedly piston slap was rather excessive, but her general performance was little impaired by the easy fit of said pistons. Incidentally, this slapping of pistons caused quite a bit of amusement to friends because we had a Welsh sheep dog who could hear it when the car was about a mile away, would jump up greatly excited and rush, to the door barking furiously. My mother then knew that papa was nearly home and it was time to get the kettle on. We, by the way were able to hear the pistons when the distance narrowed to about a quarter of a mile. The car was described as of 16/20 hp, and a four-cylinder side-valve Dorman engine was the power unit. The gearbox and differential casing were one unit. She would do, when new, about 54 mph, and fuel consumption was 16 to 18 mpg. These figures, speed and consumption, also applied at the age of 16 years, but the oil fairly flowed, not only around the bearings, but from outside into the filler.
Towards the end of her life, and due to a worn water pump spindle, water used to find its way into the crankcase, and when the quantity reached about a gallon, and was churning around with the oil. mechanical noises due to wear quietened considerably, so it became the practice to maintain a certain level of water with the oil in the sump.
In those sixteen years replacements and overhauls were remarkably few, and were as follows :- One new battery, but only when the original was twelve years old. One new set of brake drums. The original ones I mounted on a stand, and they are now the dinner gong at home. One new set of valves and guides. One replacement magneto (CAV). The crankshaft was ground and trued once. Cone clutch relined once only. The dynamo armature was rewound once. The starter motor was never taken off, was always kept greased, and never failed.
Only other things I think, a new hood, tyres of course (originally diamond tread Goodyears, 815 by 120, later changed to Rapsons), and one new front mudguard.
Mention of the starter motor reminds me that the starter switch was rather a peculiar affair which took the form of a very large wing nut which protruded about two inches from the dash. One twisted it clockwise and at the same time it went in like a corkscrew, returning on its own. This I have kept and it is almost as large as a small magneto. Brakes were never very powerful, and in an emergency it, was a case of foot and hand at the same time, as hard as one could.
I am, Yours. etc.,
Noel HF Tringham, Coventry.