RUMBLINGS, July 1958

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THE GLASS FIBRE PEERLESS

A party was held at the. Distillers’ Sports Club, East Moesley, on June 19th, for the purpose of displaying the latest Peerless Gran Turismo, this Triumph TR3-engined four-seater saloon with de Dion back axle and disc front brakes. now having a handsome and more spacious glass-fibre body by James Whitson. The chassis specification is unchanged. except for a damper leaf incorporated in the ½-elliptic leaf-spring rear suspension.

John Gordon, of Peerless Cars Ltd., told us that he has adopted glass-fibre construction in place of aluminium alloy largely because the Americans find repair facilities difficult with metal whereas plastics are perfectly acceptable.

The new body is made from Cellobond polyester resin supplied by British Resin Products Ltd. Altogether there are over 50 separate mouldings, produced in the James Whitson factory at West Drayton, where 36,000 out of 90,000 sq. ft. is devoted to polyester/glass construction. Main shell, doors, transmission tunnel, boot lining and lid, and engine access panel are all of this material, sprayed in appropriate colours. Sound-proof. heat-insulated, rust-proof and needing no underseal, polyester/glass has much to commend it for car-body construction,

To date 28 Peerless cars have been built since the first one was displayed at the Paris Salon last year, and at the aforesaid party the first three of the new plastic-bodied series, one white, one red, one blue, arrived on the scene—sornewhat late, and obviously just off the production line. The seats may require modification for fast motoring, and some of those present queried the low ground clearance (6½ in.), with the exhaust pipe close to the road. This is a four-seater with large luggage boot, but the rear seats are separate, divided by the differential easing, which, of course, with de Dion axle, is mounted on the space-frame. An interesting feature is the use of non-rust plastic bumpers, moulded to the body shell.

The plot is to drive each Peerless chassis front Slough ten miles to the body works, making any necessary adjustments on arrival. Mounting the body occupies a mere three or four hours. It is then painted, this taking a couple of days, with a further two days devoted to trimming and finishing. This represents ten days all told, from chassis assembly to completion of the car.

At present the target is ten cars a week, but America wants 20 Peerlesses a week and it is hoped that by December production will be 150 a month. The price remains the same, i.e., £998, or £1,498 7s. with purchase tax.

The Peerless is made by Peerless Cars Ltd., Bath Road, Slough, Bucks, and is aimed at filling a gap, for it is a four-seater 2-litre Gran Turismo car. A.C. had a four-seater saloon of like engine capacity on the stocks but that was before the fire at their Thames Ditton factory. The prototype Peerless has been tested on the Continent and the company has a go-ahead outlook, two entries having been put in for Le Mans. The accompanying photograph shows the improved lines of the plastics body-note the filler for one of the two seven-gallon side-mounted petrol tanks, the Peerless motif within the air intake, the plastic bumpers and tail fin.

* * *

Foldex Ltd., 45, Mitchell Street, London, E.C.1. issue useful maps. 3¾ in. by 8 in., of most Continental countries, on stiff paper, for 3s. 6d each, ex London.

MORE “VINTAGERY”

Vintage motoring is so popular these days. being a feature of many village fetes and pageants, besides the more normal club fixtures, that we make no excuse for some further notes on the subject. On June 7th the Bristol M.C. & L.C.C. held its Veteran and Edwardian Rally. This is one of the better events, over an interesting route. This year the best performance in the trial was made by H.R..Timmis’ 1903 Gladiator, while in the rally J. M. A. Paterson’s 1903 Winton won the Veteran, R. B. Davis’ 1909 Arrol Johnston the Edwardian class.

On the same day a fine selection of old Napier cars, numbering 14, assembled in Regent’s Park, London, to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of D. Napier and Son Ltd. They ranged from H. R. Grossmark’s 1900 8-h.p. Napier Double Phaeton to the Company’s own 1921 40/50 limousine, which has been the subject of an article in MOTOR SPORT. “New” Napiers included Evan Cook’s 1907 Sixty tourer which he acquired in 1952, alter it had been stored since 1931 but run occasionally on trade plates, and R. Leslie Green’s 1907 Sixty tourer which was supplied originally to the Nizam of Hyderabad, who used it up to 1922, after which it was sold to a gentleman in London, who laid it up in 1926 when the cost of taxing it defeated him. H. W. Ardran ran a 1907 40-h.p. Napier which one family owned from 1907 until 1953, but which, supplied originally by S. F. Edge, was ” retired ” in 1928, while Mrs. Dreyer drove a 1913 15.9-h.p. coupé which is in regular use. Lord Bruce produced a 1912 Napier Fifteen. and A. I. Read’s 1909 39-h.p. limousine had belonged to Herr Vicki until he was interned in 1914, when Mr. Read bought the car.

The cars made a short tour of the West End, rather tactlessly, we thought, during the “rush-hour” – and someone seems to have missed a golden opportunity by not sending the cavalcade out through Hyde Park and Bayswater to pass the Napier factory at Acton. where we are certain many Napier employees would have turned out to see the cars.

On June 28th the Morris Bull-Nose club rallied to Beaulieu Abbey, where tests and a Concours d’Elegance took place. This Club is always glad to learn of bull-nose Morris cars and parts awaiting “discovery” and we will gladly forward letters to the Secretary. One member, a lady of 65, celebrated the 30th birthday of her 1924 Morris-Cowley by taking it on a successful 1,600-mile tour, accompanied by two lady companions. Another member rescued a Morris-Oxford from a scrap-heap, discovered that his grandfather had owned it, and found in one of the doors an unposted letter written to his Great Aunt twenty years-earlier !

At Beaulieu on June 15th the Sunbeam M.C.C.’s 12th Annual Veteran and Vintage Rally took place, but this year lacked the afternoon timed run which used to enliven this event—the writer remembers vividly a very hectic drive over crowded and narrow roads in his wife’s 1927 Sunbeam Sixteen in the Hog’s Back version some years ago. This year an excellent entry of 176 old cars and motor-cycles was received but no results are to hand as we close for Press.

Developing the vintage theme, we encountered a side-valve Aston-Martin coining into Richmond (Surrey) recently; it is always pleasant to see one of these ears but this one had “outsize” back wheels, obviously borrowed to get it home, suggesting that it may be a fresh “discovery” or a car out of hibernation. And the next day we value upon a Comper Swift aeroplane on tow behind a modern Ford.

Finally, the Rempstone Traction Engine Rally on July 19th includes a veteran and vintage car and motor-cycle section. Entries, by July 7th, to C. G. Duce, Wymeswold. Loughborough.