Rumblings, July 1957



The New M.G. Record Car

The M.G. in which Moss will attempt to beat Gardner’s Class F f.s.mile and km. records at Utah during the middle of August is still to some extent “hush-hush” or off-the record but we are able to reveal the following facts about it.

Brain-child of Syd Enever, the streamlining reduces wind-drag by 37 per cent over that of Gardner’s EX135, so that 240 h.p. should produce 240 m.p.h. Indeed, half-throttle may suffice to lift the records to Abingdon’s self-imposed target of four-miles-a-minute.

The car is of teardrop form, with the driver right out in the nose, in front of the centrally mounted engine, the effect being a scaled-down version of Railton-Mobil, the car which holds the absolute speed record at 314.2 m.p.h. The finish is dark metallic blue below, lighter blue above. What John Thornley of M.G. calls “the shed” encloses the driver’s head and the engine and tapers away into the broad tail. A flap in this fairing opens as the brake pedal is applied to divert a stream of cooling air onto the brakes.

The frame consists of two large-diameter alloy steel tubes braced by tubular and girder cross-members. These side tubes taper sharply behind the cockpit. The B-series B.M.C. 1½-litre four-cylinder engine will have a Shorrocks vane-type supercharger drawing from two big S.U. carburetters, and a twin-cam cylinder head. Late in May tests of this engine were held up because the supercharger seized-up, and only about 110 b.h.p. had been obtained. Cooling is by two radiators, set one on each side adjacent to the reinforced head-fairing behind the cockpit. Air reaches them from ducts leading from the nose and extractor outlets are situated behind the radiators.

The engine drives via a 1½-litre Riley gearbox and an extremely short propeller-shaft to a de Dion back axle of very pronounced crab-track. Rear suspension is by splayed, trailing very short and stiff  ¼-elliptic leaf-springs damped by lever-type hydraulic shock-absorbers. Inboard Dunlop disc brakes are used and these are the only means of stopping the little projectile, no front brakes being fitted. The final-drive ratio is approximately 2 to 1.

Front suspension is by familiar-looking B.M.C. coil-springs and wishbones, damped by the same type shock-absorbers as at the back. Steering is by standard Morris rack-and-pinion in a light alloy casing, the geometry being arranged to persuade the car to keep a straight course without much attention from Stirling. Bolt-on disc wheels of standard M.G. dimensions but stronger material will be used, shod with special smooth-tread tyres made by Dunlop to withstand a wheel-speed of 3,000 r.p.m. with a 5 per cent. safety margin.

Moss will recline in a hammock-type bucket seat, a drilled cross-member carrying the steering column, which moves forward to facilitate access and detaches completely for the same reason. The column is nearly upright, ‘bus fashion, a large Bluemels wood-rimmed 4X-spoke steering wheel surmounting it. The gear-change will be left-hand, linked by considerable ingenuity to the Riley gearbox. A fuel tank holding about seven gallons of fuel is set beside the engine on the near side, and there is a small coolant header-tank immediately behind the cockpit bulkhead. The pedals are conventional, mounted on a drilled cross-member right in the nose.

The International Class F f.s. mile record at present belongs to EX135 at 203.9 m.p.h. Moss’s car will leave England for Utah in the Queen Mary on July 10th, accompanied by Capt. George Eyston who is in charge of the attempt. The body shape, which enables a speed of 240 m.p.h. or more to be confidently anticipated, was finalised in the Armstrong-Whitworth wind tunnel. Five weeks before the new record car, EX181, was due to sail it was incomplete and had only a mock-up power unit. All the more credit, therefore, to John Thornley, Syd Enever, George Eyston and the intrepid Stirling Moss if it lifts the record to the desired level. This would be a nice advertisement for the B-series B.M.C. engine and M.G.

VW versus Minor 1000

So many readers have asked for a comparison of the German beetle and the British blancmange that, having at last tested the Morris Minor 1000 we have set about comparing performance figures. Taking official British performance figures for a 1956 Volkswagen, we find that the Morris beats the VW by 0.3 sec. up to 60 but that the VW is fractionally quicker to 50, is 0.4 sec. quicker to 40 and 0.3 sec. better to 30 m.p.h. In mid-range the Minor is 0.2 sec. quicker from 10-30 m.p.h. in third, from 20-40 the Minor gains 1.4 sec. in top but is 0.4 sec. slower in third; while from 30-50 m.p.h. in top the Morris gains 1.6 sec., but in third gear the VW leads by 0.4 sec. From 40-60 m.p.h. in top the British car scores, by 0.6 sec. In other words, there is precious little in it. In the gears there is little to choose, the VW being perhaps 12 m.p.h. faster in second (this ratio is rather too low on the Minor) but a couple of m.p.h. or so slower in top gear. Both cars can just about reach 60 in third, the VW at lower revs. When braking, for an equivalent pedal pressure the VW stops in 12 ft. less from 30 m.p.h. We hope this, and the foregoing comments, will satisfy those readers who have been anxious for us to compare these two cars, although, of course, much depends on the tune of individual examples, nor must it be overlooked that the Morris Minor 1000 costs nearly £46 less in this country.

Diesel Land Rover

The Rover Company has, after two years’ development and research, brought out a diesel engine for the Land Rover. The engine, a four-cylinder, 2-litre high-speed diesel, gives 52 b.h.p. at 3,500 r.p.m.

Mr. L. G. T. Farmer, Joint Managing Director of the Rover Company, who announced the engine at a formal luncheon at the Mayfair Hotel, said in his speech that it had been the aim of his company to produce a diesel engine which would give the same high performance as the present petrol engine, and this they have done with a claimed 50 per cent. increase in miles per gallon.

The diesel Land Rover will cost £100 more than the petrol-driven version.

Recent Continental Events

May 30th: 2-Hour Sports-Car Race at Ste. Ettienne, near Lyon; held under rainy conditions and unfortunately marred by a crash in which P. Carini and B. Barreto were killed.

1st: R. Flockhart (Jaguar D-type). 145.858 k.p.h.

2nd: J. Lawrence (Jaguar D-type).

3rd: J. D. Hamilton (Jaguar D-type).

Fastest lap: J. Lawrence (Jaguar), in 2 min. 11 sec. — 156.360 k.p.h. (new record).

June 9th: Grand Prix des Frontieres — Chimay; the annual 20-lap Whitsuntide meeting in southern Belgium run on a very unspoilt road-circuit.

1st: F. Bordoni (Maserati 2-litre), 1 hr. 21 min. 30.4 sec.—.161.8 k.p.h.

2nd: J. Fast (Osca 1½-litre).

3rd: P. Tassin (Porsche 1½-litre).

Fastest lap: B. Naylor (Lotus-Maserati), 3 min. 46.6 sec.

June 9th: Grand Prix of Portugal, for sports cars, held on tricky circuit just outside Lisbon over 55 laps.

1st: J. M. Fangio (Maserati 300S), 2 hr. 8 min. 23 sec.

2nd: M. Gregory (Ferrari 3.5-litre).

3rd : C. Menditeguy (Maserati 300S).

Fastest lap: M. Gregory (Ferrari), 2 min. 16.1 sec.