Letters from readers, July 1960

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N.B.—Opinions expressed are those of our Correspondents aim! ” Motor Sport ” does not necessarily associate itself with them. -Ed.

Scientific testing of new car design

Sir,

Mr. Bryant’s letter, on page 471 of your June issue,  indicates a sorry state.

Many years ago, at the tender age of about 15/16, I was driving a lorry laden with tobacco front my brother’s farm to Salisbury in Rhodesia. I had been running the tobacco curing night, duty for several days before, and my ” fatigue test ” resulted in complete sleep and a crash into-a storm drain, which, being on a sharp curve; we hit very precisely head-on. My wheel-rim grip was quite relaxed!

I am. Yours. etc.,

F. TENNANT.

• • •

Motor trader with a halo

Sir,

We purchased an old Bentley for 2500 in South Wales which was located in a Nissen hut open at both ends. The car was shot-kingly neglected. Covered with rust and verdigris, but ran well and was basically sound. With moderate restoration, new paint, plugs, etc., we offered this car to the British market for 650. Two prospective buyer, contacted Bentley ” experts ” -and were informed that the car was not genuine and must be bogus and, indeed, worth nothing like the price asked. –so they turned it down. After some eight months we sent the car to our New York branch, where it sold quiekly to a man who has lavished nearly $5,000 on its complete restoration. The moral of this story surely is that the Bentley, now restored to its original mechanical and bodily beauty, has become a shining showpiece in a foreign land and is not rotting in a Nissent hut— dead to the world.

We love old well-made machinery and all those who take eare of it–we maintain a wealth os spares for the old girls. Where else can you get a brand-new Type 37 Bugatti block or a set of new pistons for a Merendaz Special? Try us for your obstrose giggle-pins!

I am. Yours, etc.,

p.p. Halfway Garages (Padworth) Ltd.,

[The only comment necessary seems to he that if you have an old Bentley covered in rust and verdigris and want .000 for it you now know where to go. It would, however, be interesting to know what ultimate profit was made when the car was sold through thus vintage car store they find it worth running in New York.—Ed]

• • •

Castrol house

Sir,

The letter in your June issue from Mr. IL Doseell criticising thenew Ca.trol building in Marylebone }load reminds me of the story or the ,•011ple who employed a leading arebilimt of the com. temporal-. sehool to design their house for them. 5tt iek did they heroine of the ill-informed eriticistu of their neighbours that thev erected a notiee-board at t he tmtrauce to their gorden. which read : ” We don’t like your hOOSC either :

Perhaps Mo-roa Spoor is not the ciixht place to discuss the aesthetics of buildings_ but one eannot help wonderine whet her Mr. Dowor, car a Otroi:n chassis with eoupn rah. coachwork and basket. work side panels. Now there would be it coinliinatiou ol the gracefill and the funetional ! I am; Yours, etc.,

II di’ Heath. RicttanD nr. Y.•BarrsoN. Arlo musTow ott reading your excellent rnag.azine, I was somewhat diaturbed by the amount of bias whieh appeared in Mr. Jenkinson’s report of the Bruxelles Grand Prix. L ‘,fortunately, it would appear that Mr. Jeukinson has developed ant ” antbliristow” complex: 1111111CTOUS ocension, Mr. 3enkinson refers to Bristow’s wild and (according to Mr. Jenkinsoo uncontrollable driving. For example: : ‘• Another driver who finished on his heels but ‘night well have

finished on his head wa5 young Bristow, for though be recorded third best time overall with 2 rain. 04.3 sec., it was only as a result of some very untidy driving using full opposite lock, bumping kerb.. and cutting verges.” Brabhatn. however, in a works Cooper. although only recording 2 min. 05.2 SC(7., drove ” brilliantly in taimplete emit rid of his car,” bat obviously not brilliantly enough to get into the first row of the grid with Bristow.

As the article went on one became rather tired of drivers ” doing a Bristow,” of stiggeStions that as far as concerned Bristow, money seemed to determine grid positions, and that Bristow should give up motor racing and try stock-car racing instead.

It all became slightly boring, one not knowing whether to try to read the report with some interest or to wait for the next ” Bristow ” comment. Apart from becoming rather weary Of Mr. Jenkinson’s opittion of BriStow being eontinually drummed into .me, I lout t(1 myself being entirely in disagreement with your journali,t. Bristow to

nay mind may not he tow t he world’s best drivers. but in Ili, second major season he has sliti‘,11 himself to he amongst the fa,test. Goodwood he came third behind Ireland and Moss in the Maill event. In this race Inc showed no signs of being at all erratic but, in fa et. drove a very consistent race.

At Bruxelles he may have been erratic—I was not there but obviously he was also very fast. One may even then voiee the opinion that a driver who although being irregular at times, is also East and spectacular. is far more entertaining to watch than a fast driver who never makes the slightest deviation from his line through Is corner lap after lap.

Surely one of Fangio’s most spectacular (although not greatest) drives was at Monte Carlo in 1956 when be took over Collins’ car and proceeded to chase Moss in vain ? Then it was Fangio who nearly caught Moss ” as a result of some very untidy driving, using full opposite lock, bumping kerbs and cutting grass verges.” W’ould Mr. Jenkinson be-so bold as to suggest that Fangio should have taken to stock-car racing ? One may also refer to the early days of Froilan Gonzalez, when he was perhaps the most erratic of them all. This did not prevent him front being a great crowd drawer and front later becoming a top-line driver.

Finally, I would conclude by saying that our young drivers and indeed, motor sport as a whole would benefit far more from encouragement in the motoring Press than front somewhat eynical and perSonal attacks by biased correspondents. Thanking you once again for an otherwise enjoyable magazine. I ant, Yours, etc.,

London, S.W.2. D. W. A. Want). f We publish this letter from a sense of fair play but as Mr. Ward admits he did not see Bristow driving -at Brussels he is, perhaps, hardly in a position to criticise Mr. ,lenkinson’s report. Moreover, we believe Mr. Jenkinson to he fair, if hypercritical. and those who ” read oat ” will note praise for Bristow where it is due. btu criticism of him and any other driver -when ” 5.3.” believes this to be merits-IL—ED.) CONTRAST IN SERVICE

Sir.

(laving eimtracted what sounded like minor ignition trouble tin the Great North Road, which redwed its speed to 15 M.p.h., I made the most ex t raordinary discovery :Ilioutt the attitude id* garages on this major highway to motoristsin difficulties. The first garage b asked. the Stescnage Motor Co.. refused (in the most insolent manner) even to look at my car to ascertaitt whether the trouble was minor or not : the foreman said he too

The second garage (almost opposite the first one) said exactly the same.

The third (on the left coining int ktiebhvorth f rent t-‘ e’ declared they were all piing to lunch at I 2.30 anyhow (it being then 12.2(t).

The fourth (next on the left). Lisle’s Motor ftepairs, knebworth. was as bnsy as the first two. None the less the foreman opened my bonnet at (Mitt, anti in three minute, bad put the trouble right. for which he charged 2s. Oti.

The first and fourth garages are both A.A., and I am an A.A. member.

Why do garages place themselves on main roads and then refuse to execute the smallest running repairs ? I am, Yours, etc.,

Costessey. M. R. C. PLANTER. • • •

WHAT HAS MR. MARPLES DONE? Sir, With special reference to your leader in the June issue concerning the recent 50-m.p.h. limit, I thought you might be interested in an editorial from the Daily Telegraph of June 9th, 1960, and here I quote :— “If the success of the 50-m.p.h. speed limit should be confirmed,

then there will be a strong case for extending it. The Police cannot possibly control every mile of road. But is there any reason why law-abiding drivers should not take the numbers of cars manifestly breaking the speed limit and report them ? The knowledge that individuals were prepared to do this would surely act as some deterrent.” How charming ! What does one get as a reward, a Gestapo badge

and a pair of jack boots ?

What hope is there left when people write such nauseating comments as this ? What worries me more is that they hold the reins of an old and trusted newspaper. Such blatant ” Marpleisart” is sickening.

In reply to a few choice questions recently, Mr. Marples said : ” Wait and see my efforts after a year. Look at my past records in the Army, Private Enterprise, the Ministry of Housing and the office of the Postmaster-General.”

I do not know about his early achievements, but as the Postmaster-General he raised the rentals on telephones by a colossal amount and then said, “There you are, I’ve solved the waiting problem for private telephone lines.” It’s pretty obvious that he is going to apply the same bad principles to the Ministry of Transport.

The 50-m.p.h. speed limit could be the thin edge of the wedge. Soon it might be lowered, and with an extension of the infamous Pink Zone we’ll all be driving round and round at 20 m.p.h. until we run out of petrol and have our cars towed away by the Police.

In conclusion, may I take this opportunity of thanking you for an excellent motoring journal, my only regret being that it is not a weekly ! I am, Yours, etc.,

Bexley. D. T. GILBERT. rWe fully agree that the suggestion made by the Daily Telegraph that motorists should form a Gestapo and report any of their fellowdrivers seen exceeding 50 m.p.h. is absolutely and utterly deplorable.—En.] • • TWO SISTER PROFESSIONS Sir,

Before the Great War we lived in Northampton, where my grandfather was medical superintendent at St. Andrew’s Hospital and my father senior assistant. Tragically funny were many of the things done and said by patients, but now and then something would happen that one never forgets. One day, a delightful retired Indian Army officer, who had suffered a breakdown following the death of his wife, was asked by a young member of the staff if he was interested in politics. With great deliberation the old gentleman turned to his questioner and said, “Sir, before you are but half my age you will come to realise that politics and prostitution are brother and sister professions. Have nothing to do with either.”

I found myself thinking of what that grand old gentleman had said as I read the statement of the Minister of Transport when he was interviewed for television about the Government’s failure to use the Road Fund on roads. The Minister said it would be scarcely more reasonable to do this than to undertake to use the tax from smokers for a purpose in their interests, such as the provision of free cigarette holders.

This is by no means the first time a Minister of Transport has slipped up the escape road when confronted with this embarrassing question. A predecessor said much the same about alcoholics expecting bigger and better pubs from the tax on beer and spirits. It is, of course, impossible to compare the now-obsolete Road Fund with the taxes on tobacco and spirits, and when a Minister does so he is merely making use of yet another of those slick political twists we are all so thoroughly sick and tired of today; in fact, both replies are examples of political bluff at its worst.

When the Road Fund was introduced the government of the da”. pledged its word that the monies so collected would be used for tin upkeep and development of the roads and for no other purpost whatsoever. Ali went well until the late 1920s, when the ther Chancellor of the Exchequer borrowed from the Fund, at the same time giving his word that it would be repaid in full. No one doubted him, for was not the word of an Englishman his bond ?

Repayed in full ? Not on your life ! From that day onwards every Chancellor of the Exchequer and Government Department queued up to take part in this nice new line in legalised theft, and into the bottomless pit of Government expenditure and waste the Fund was poured. No one gave a hoot when Mug Motorist and his wife and kids were killed or maimed because there was soon no Fund to make things safer, and the original promise was conveniently forgotten.

Make no mistake about this; the antiquated nature of our road system, the accidents to many of its users, and the appalling congestion and inconvenience encountered almost everywhere today are, for the most part, the outcome of political dishonesty. Today, the Treasury gets some £600-million a year from motor taxation, yet present capital expenditure on roads is about I;75-million a year. Verily, indeed, that old army officer was right. I am, Yours. etc.,

JOSEPH BAYLEY. YET ANOTHER FORD V8 FAN Sir, I was interested in the letters on the subject of Ford V8s. I am wondering which model Mr. Williamson owns. In our family we have owned a 1934, 1935, 1936 and 1937 models, carrying convertible bodies. I rather thought when the headlamps became ” built-in” the appearance was spoilt, and I kept the 1936. model 68, after the others were sold. I still have it; a couple of days before Easter I reached 100,000 miles, and thereupon set off on the M.C.C. London/Land’s End Trials, when the car performed perfectly,

London, .S.E.7.

covering, in all, about 720-odd miles, using 36 galls. of petrol. Upon returning home one pint of oil and a I-gall. of water brought the levels up to starting point.

As I had to drive through the night I have had the ” eleetrics.” converted to 12 volts, using an ex-W.D. dynamo, and fitting a second battery under the seat. I also fitted, on the rear, a pair of Rotoflo shock-absorbers; these have completely cured the ` hopping ” at the rear; it has also improved the steering. I could not fit the front ones, as the mr-kers have fitted the arms on inside out and I cannot get them off to turn them round. I cannot say what speeds can be obtained in top or second gear, as I don’t exceed about 60 m.p.h. on the road, but 40 can be reitched in bottom—with quite a lot of” buzzing.”

Th,ese cars never seem to wear out, they just get heavy on petrol and oil. I had a Mercury engine fitted at 80.000 miles when the existing engine developed a thump—I live in the hills, and don’t like gearchanging ! This unit had covered just over 60,000 miles and never been touched, the only stop I had on the road was due to petrol ptunp failure. When I became the (second) owner in 1940, the engine and radiator were wrecked by frost and were scrapped.

I also own, as a farmer, a model 78, fitted with a handsome” pick up” body of Canadian manufacture. I enclose a photograph of the model 68 outside my home. I am, Yours, etc.,

Ca mpden. B. BRUCE WHITEHOUSE. THE GOLDEN AGE OF MOTOR RACING

Sir.

After the recent tragic death of Harry Schell. a national daily newspaper epitaphed him as the last of the characters” in motor racing. This statement brings to mind at once the recent correspondente in your journal concerning the man being surpassed by the importance of the machine.

In February of this year I returned to England after nearly two years in West Africa for my regular three months’ leave. I looked forward to revisiting the race tracks where I had enjoyed motor racing so much since the war. But I have not attempted to go to any meetings and I am afraid I am not likely to.

For me motor racing seems to have moved from a sport to a commercial enterprise in every respect. As far as formula racing is concerned the whole affair ,appears to be one of appalling mediocrity. The cars all look much alike and apart from a few star” drivers the others seem to perform much alike. The spectacle of six Lotuses ancl six Coopers all circulating at much the same speed in much the same style might be fun for the drivers but I’m sure it would bore me to death. There was a time—not many years ago—when the ” bottom of the field “(more often than not in a variety of machinery which probably smoked and groaned) gave a spirit of individual and commendable effort; sportsmen who did their damndest and didn’t refuse to enter because their machines were probably 10 m.p.h. slower. And the crowd loved them and usually showed it. And if they fell by the wayside they were not forgotten. The same interest and sympathy cannot be extended to the bottom of the field today— when the difference in the first and last machine is probably just a matter of tuning and driving experience.

For me, now, both the men and the machines have, lost their personality completely—and it probably started that day when the lone Talbot blew up in front of the Mercedes team in the last hour of Le Mans a few years ago. It was the death knell of the individual.

The golden age of motor racing did not pass away in the ‘:thirties. It was flattened in the ‘fifties.

May the Clubs carry On in their quiet, happy way with the rallies and trials with every sort of car and man—because only there lies the true spirit of motor sport today. I am, Yours, etc.,

London, S.E,9. D. H. STEAD. AUTO UNION—THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN Sir,

Over the past eighteen months I have enjoyed the pleasures of owning two D.K.W. motor cars. The first car, a Sonderklasse 3-6, the second a 1000S coupe, I have owned (since new) for seven months. In my opinion, a car must have the following :

(I) Excellent road-holding and steering.

(2) Acceleration.

(3) Driving position and visibility above the normal tow standard.

(4) Hard-top.

There are few cars indeed that fit the bill so well as the 1000S ‘at any price, unless one is to build one’s own.

Now, as you expected, I am about to take your ” road-test ” to task. I have driven in only one car with such guod road-holding—an L.M.B.-modified Ford Popular, as raced—and that, Sir, is roadholding indeed I

The 10005 does roll, but not so much as the Morris Minor. The back-end breaks smoothly and can be felt and easily controlled, but this only at very high cornering speeds. The front wheels are difficult to make dangerous. and while power is on the back-end has considerable trouble trying to catch them up. I find the car drifts well with plenty of feel and is ” skittish ‘ when suddenly hurled into a corner very smear the speed at which rolling is imminesmt. I cannot recall the back-end corning away early on wet roads. In snow and icy conditions the car’s ability is fantastic, although the hack waggles the front goes where it is pointed.

Most of my motoring is confined to the Isle of Sylt, where most roads are of somewhat lower standard than secondary, and I find the ride on these fairly comfortable, and on smooth roads the ride is £1,500-worth. Auto Union, I believe, are popular in South Africa, so they7can’t be that bad. My tyre pressures, incidentally, are 24 lb. sq. in., front and rear. The difficulty you experienced with a stalling engine and high consumption figures was, I think, due to either wrong types of plug and/or wrong ignition setting. My car enjoys soft plugs normally

and heed plugs when ” autobaltning.” It uses only low-ffrade ” German” 13.P, fuel and does not pink.

On a touring holiday in Central Europe I covered soon’ 3,000 k which included three days of autobahn driving, cruising at 140-150 k.p.h. for six to seven hours at a time. stopping only for fuel and food. The average fuel consumption was over 30 m.p.g. The maximum Speed of the car on the autobahn will rise above normal and some have had 160 k.p.h. plus (no more speedo. left). The longer the run, the faster the car, the sweeter the noise. Normal cruising speed, of course, being maximum speed, makes the car on the autobahn, as it seems to have made VW (an excellent car). I have not experienced any starting troubles at any engine temperature.

Town drhing, iii traffic, is no effort—top gear allowing a steady 40-50 k.p.h., and third gear giving reasonable acceleration from 20 k.p.h., a burst in second gear to clear the plugs is necessary sometimes, but this is a delight.

Incidentally, although the gears are “backwards,” they are not “sideways ” as well; second gear is above first and fourth gear above third; this may account for the one you kept dropping.

My wife and friends have not yet noticed the radiator blind toggle.

I cannot help suspecting that ” W. B.”, when he mentioned the word” modernise” felt that the D.K.W. should have an independent back axle. This.would undoubtedly upset the balance in handling of the car and may allow the front end to break away first, or, with varying passenger loads to be taken into consideration, increase the rolling over tendency when driven light and fast.

The car sells well in South Africa, is designed for the rough as well as the smooth on the Continent, and sells like hot cakes—can’t be too bad.

Finally, let me congratulate Colin Chapman on another ” piece of luck.” I wonder Who he is taking the credit for this time. He made a complete hash of the L.M.B. split front axle—a pity he never did understand it, and made the fact so obvious when he stopped using it. The Gogo supplied him with a ” Chapman ” rear strut principle and now the rear-engine car ” that isn’t as good as the front-engine configuration,” which proves, does it not that this man deserves only business credit, and all credit for the engineering that is clever must go to the engineers behind the scenes. Thank you for e fine magazine which is also a “Kleirse Wonder.” I am, Yours, etc.,

B.F.P.O. 46. R. S. A. BUNKER. e • • THE CITROEN ID Sir,

I heartily endorse nearly all your remarks in ” Rumblings ” coneerning the Citron ID. Having bought a new model at the time of the Motor Show last year, I have been spared all the teething troubles the owners of most other makes seem to experience. For sheer comfort—and the fact that I can drive non-stop from London to York without feeling tired–no other car approaches this model.

The only trouble I have experienced was due to a piece of English equipment : the Lucas dynamo, which burnt out and left me with an utterly flat battery one evening in a thunderstorm at the northern end of the M I. The first garage I approached (as I had rather expected) just didn’t want to know, and I was preparing to appeal to the A.A. when a ” black ” angel arrived.

Here I would beg the freedom of your columns publicly to thank the young man who CktIlle to my rescue. A representative of” The George Service Garage of Kilsby,” he specialises in the rescue of heavy lorries and appeared on the scene so covered in diesel oil that only his teeth and the whites of his eyes betrayed his presence at all ! He located the trouble, took off the useless dynamo and the flat battery, drove 23 miles, put the battery on fast charge. and then returned with it and fitted a replacement dynamo. On this return journey he brought his young bride with him for a treat : it appeared he had only been married a week and had been expected home for tea. It was now 10 p.m. and he, still tea-less, was still all smiles, repeating : “if you’re in trouble again, any time—just give me a ring and I’ll come out.”

Such service and courtesy is all too rare these days and to recommend “The George Garage to any readers who may be in trouble in that area. Also (although I run a 1930 TK 12/60 Alvis for purely pleasure motoring) for business or family use I recommend wholeheartedly the ID as with no other car in my experience can one cover a large mileage with the maximum of comfort and the minimum of trouble. I am, Yours, etc.,

London, W.I. RONNI1F; ALDRICH.

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