Letters From Readers (Continued), July 1957

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76

VW versus Morris 1000

Sir,

Your correspondents in the VW v. Morris Minor 1000 issue seem to have missed the point in their comparisons, especially so far as over here is concerned.

It is not so much engine r.p.m., and points this or that of a second through the gears, which count. It is very much ruggedness, i.e., ability to take a beating at the hands of “drivers” over here, and on the “roads,” no antifreeze worries, ease of servicing, economy (funnily enough, as fuel economy is worried about least of all) and “go anywhere” abilities.

The last in particular. In the snow of winter and mud of spring, VWs knock spots off any other car. Without the benefit of snow tyres they will churn out of situations which thoroughly strand even chain-equipped vehicles! I have seen it. I don’t think a Minor 1000 could do the same. The most frequent occurrence of a vehicle in slight difficulties, rather than stuck, worries not the VW at all. I submit that the placing of the engine, and therefore the weight, aft has much to do with this.

In a car-style-conscious nation such as this one, the lack of VW “styling” seems to be no hindrance. They sell like hot cakes. On the other hand the bulbous appearance of the current crop of Morris causes hoots of derision! Normally, a year’s depreciation on a car is 15 to 20 per cent.; on a VW it is only 5 to 8 per cent.! On English cars, I am unhappy to say, it is 25 per cent.

The number of VWs one sees on the roads is not in the least bit heartwarming to a Briton who wants to see his own cars around more, but the VW’s “go anywhere” merits, which I cannot see the Minor 1000 beating, make them inevitable. It is to be hoped that the Ferguson system will make the VW look as silly as the VW is currently making the others look.

I am, Yours, etc., J. C. Cutler. Dartmouth, Canada.

*

Service!

Sir,

Yesterday morning I put my damaged Rover 90 in Apperley’s garage in Wallasey for repairs. It had been involved in a head-on collision and its already flat snout was even flatter.

By 7 p.m. on the same day the car was handed back to me completely repaired excepting for the repainting. Plus the complicated repairs to the suspension and steering, it had a new bumper, lights, horns and radiator. The front mudguards and bonnet cover had been beaten out and primed. Today I’ve covered over 200 miles in comfort and confidence.

This was a real display of super efficiency and it is most heartening to know that this type of service still exists.

I am, Yours, etc., Norman Kingham. Liverpool.

*

Alvis Engine Life

Sir,

May I, as a very dissatisfied owner of a 1954 3-litre Alvis, be permitted to reply to your correspondent Mr. W. S. Douglas? With a little over 28,000 miles on the clock a worn oil pump resulted in the stripping of the teeth from the camshaft and distributor drive. The replacement of these parts meant the removal of the engine from the chassis and complete stripping down. Bill £64.

Oil consumption since reassembly on a trip to Scotland, covering 1,200 miles, was six pints.

It seemed to me that, even though no possibility of guarantees could arise, considering the small mileage and the inexcusable nature of the defects, the Alvis Company would be more than anxious to preserve the good name of Alvis for quality and all that goes with it, by offering to meet with the cost of the spares. I am afraid that nothing could be further from reality.

Correspondence produced a flat refusal to do anything about it, and worded in such a way as to imply neglect by myself as owner.

A very heated conversation with the department concerned produced a promise to reinspect the damaged parts, and a final but reluctant agreement to issue a credit note to the repairers for half the cost of the spares. The sending of this credit note was delayed so long that a reminder was necessary.

Another cause for dissatisfaction with this car is the paint, there being so little of it that it is possible to see the red primer through the finishing coat.

My disappointment and disillusion with Alvis is great.

I am, Yours, etc., A. Gregory. Barton Mills.

[This correspondence is now closed. — Ed.]

*

Cars in the South of France

Sir,

We thought you might be interested in the attached census of cars from the sunny South of France. Needless to say, we are now sans cash and coupons, and it is pouring with rain!

This survey was taken between 10 a.m. and 12.20 p.m. last Easter Saturday on the Lower Corniche leading west from Monte Carlo.

Good luck to your magazine! Like so many others, we find it annoying because we can never get any work done on the first of the month!

See table of data.

We are, Yours, etc., B. A. Sewell, Jean Powell, P. I. Powell. Bath.

*

Blowing a Gasket

Sir,

Having been a regular reader of your magazine for some years, and realising your views on the British Motor Trade, I would appreciate your comments on what seems to me to be a case of sharp practice.

I own a Lancia Lambda which has blown a cylinder-head gasket, not unexpectedly, and so I went to a well-known Motor Factor in Manchester to get a spare. They showed me the exact thing in their manuals and so I ordered one, the price being quoted as £4 15s., which l thought seemed rather expensive. However, I recently called in to see whether it was ready and inadvertently saw attached to my order sheet the maker’s confirmation for the gasket, and the price quoted on this was 45s. This gives a profit margin of around 110 per cent., which to me seems quite staggering when all the firm are doing is “agenting” the gasket. I have since found out that they normally work on 30 per cent. for stock items, which in my case would give a selling price for the gasket of around £3, which I suppose can be considered reasonable — but I feel that as things are at the moment, someone is making £1 15s. for his own pocket!

Perhaps you can tell me if I am being fair in my deductions, or whether I am astray somewhere. But if it is a case of sharp practice, I’d sincerely like to do something to bring it to the attention of people who should know about these things.

I am, Yours, etc., D. C. Cressy. Macclesfield.