Fiat 600 Tyre Wear
Referring to the correspondence on this subject in your May issue, may I add the following comments.
My Fiat 600 was purchased new in October 1955 and has now done 21,500 miles; I have not noticed undue wear of the rear tyres, as is borne out by the fact that I have only bought one new tyre in this time.
The reason for this, however, may be of interest. At about 12,000 miles I took the car to a Fiat agent for the appropriate servicing. The front wheels, which had plenty of tread left, were then set by the agent to ¼ in. toe-in, in accordance with the handbook.
After another 1,923 miles it became obvious that excessive wear was taking place on the front tyres, towards the outside of the tread. The same agents then reset the tyres to ⅜ in. toe-out; and the rate of wear returned to the normal low figure!
One of the two tyres concerned had to be replaced after another few thousand miles, so that will give some idea of the rate of wear. Both the present rear tyres have done the full 21,500 miles, though only one of the two has been at the rear the whole time: the tread on them is still visible, though not deep.
I am, Yours, etc., David Whaley. Tytherington.
Mr. Peter Stapleton is very rude about Mr. Morland’s article in your February issue, and I venture to say that it is he that is a little stupid. Firstly, Mr. Morland is one of East Africa’s leading racing drivers and knows what he is talking about, and, secondly, for our local conditions he is very right.
There are many hundreds of VWs and Fiat 600s on East African roads and quite a number of Dauphines. There is also a disproportionate number of those rear-engined cars which turn over — a lot of cars turn over anyway due to quaint road conditions, sudden avoidance of cattle, cyclists, ‘buses; and the like — but a higher proportion of them are i.r.s. cars per number of registrations. Tyre wear is also quite astonishing on some of these vehicles, as pointed out by Mr. Morland. Another point with i.r.s. is constantly variable ground clearance, which is one thing we do have to worry about a good deal. It is not uncommon for i.r.s. cars with conventional engine mountings (in East Africa) to hang up their back bumpers, petrol tanks or differential cases on rough roads. The Borgward Isabella is rather guilty of this last crime and many Mercedes are to be seen with over-riders lacking reflectors at the back where a bump has caused the rear end to scrape the ground.
I suggest that Mr. Stapleton brings his Fiat 600 out here and try the Coronation Safari route — not the Coronation Safari, just the route — and see if he then modifies his unreasonable remarks. I have owned a Fiat 600 myself and have had a basinful of a hard front end allied to a soft back end and do not wish to repeat the performance. I have also had a Merc.180 with really soft suspension all round which chewed tyres and suspension units, and bottomed constantly on bad roads.
Give me also the rigid rear suspension; preferably that fitted to the Peugeot range, which is almost foolproof, or the Fiat 1,100, which holds the road better than anything I have driven out here — and I think I have driven nearly all the popular cars of British or European manufacture.
I am sure you are right in Motor Sport in pushing the up-to-date designs of European and British cars and in “knocking” the poor designs, but I would like to see a really good write-up, as only you are able to do, on the popular Italian cars — Lancia Appia, Giulietta Berline and new Fiat 1,100/103E. These cars perform on really bad roads like nothing else except Peugeot and there must be a reason for it for their designs are all different to each other and, in particular, the 1,100 Fiat has nothing startling about it for the technically-minded to enthuse over.
I am, Yours, etc.. W. D. Clemesha. Tanganyika.
[This correspondence is now closed. — Ed.]
An advertisement on the back of London Transport buses shows a man driving an imaginary car with only the wheels showing. The caption says that Dunlop Tubeless give added confidence to motoring.” Why, then, does this man carry a “spare”?
I am, Yours, etc., A. D. Winyard. Acton.
Vintage Postbag Overflow
In a letter in your last issue Mr. Robert Peaty of Paris asks for information regarding the Steiger and the Nazarro cars. Unfortunately I don’t know anything about the Nazarro, but I can provide a few details concerning the Steiger.
The Steiger 12/50 appeared in 1921. It was a sports car with a short chassis and a long-stroke four-cylinder engine (70 by 160). The o.h.c. engine gave an output of 50 b.h.p. at 2,400 r.p.m. and the top speed was about 100 m.p.h. The car had a Mercedes-Benz-type radiator and sometimes outside exhaust manifolds.
In 1921 the 12/50 was raced at Grunwald but a slightly different model (with a bore of 75 mm.) was entered for the Targa Florio in 1924 and the German Grand Prix in 1926.
A longer chassis received saloon or open bodies.
I am, Yours, etc., L. Copin. Marne, France.
Marne, France. L. CONN.