Matters of Moment, July 1964

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Forty Years

We made our first appearance, as The Brooklands Gazette, forty years ago this month – the title Motor Sport was adopted the following year, to denote widening interests.

Later this year we may have space to devote to looking back along these eventful forty years. For the moment we will just remark that, whereas in 1924 only Sunbeam “wore the green,” today British cars and drivers completely dominate G.P. racing – we should be very proud of them.

The Editor thanks the lone reader who offered congratulations on his quarter-century with this paper. Motor Sport can claim, as The Aeroplane (which was about the sixth aviation journal to make an appearance) did, when it was a lively, readable journal edited by the great C. G. Grey, that to have been first merely proves antiquity, but to become the first proves merit. We must strive to maintain this hard-won position for another forty years or more!

 

The Impact of Ford

Ford didn’t pull it off at Indianapolis because the Lotus entries were let down, literally in Clark’s case, by dud Dunlops. But in other spheres the impact of Detroit and Dagenham (or Boreham) is beginning to be felt. Ford won the Safari Rally and Auto-Universum has awarded Ford their International Car of the World Trophy for this and other Cortina competition successes. Lotus-Cortinas were first and second in the Brands Hatch 6-Hour Saloon Race, followed home by the two works Mercedes-Benz 300SE, Lancia taking the Team Award, which endorses our high opinion of these three makes, from three different countries.

At Monza, a “hotted-up,” streamlined Corsair CT, driven by Clarke, Taylor, M. & T. Brookes, Porter and Bowler, wiped tip the Volkswagen 1500S International Class F records, establishing fresh speeds for one to six days of 79.5 to to 1011.6 m.p.h. VW can but console themselves that ultimately the Ford, power increased by some 15%, broke its crankshaft…

‘Incidentally, having repeatedly explained in the simplest possible language the subtle difference between World’s and International Class records as recognised by the F.I.A., we were disappointed to discover that the weekly motor journal closely associated with the Ford’s fine run at first claimed World’s records and allowed the Ford Motor Company to advertise the new speeds as such. Motor Sport persuaded them to put this right – see page 538. As the World’s records for the equivalent distances/durations are held by Ford anyway (a Fairlane, in America) any attempt to uplift the recent Corsair records to a false level is quite unnecessary. It is best excused as muddled or wishful thinking by advertising personnel, for no-one would wish to accuse this profession of deliberate dishonesty or deception.

 

The Anti-Motoring Guardian

The Guardian has done its best to lose the respect of motorists by publishing its gory article “Statistic – A woman was killed and four injured.” (A reprint is available from The Guardian’s Circulation Manager, price 20s. per 1,000, and is good for a sad smile.)

We thought to counter this with a similar study about an accident in the home, to remind The Guardian’s Editor that such accidents are more numerous than those on the roads. But this sort of journalese – “warm blood trickling down. It isn’t warm; it’s cold. She goes on vomiting. And when she is not vomiting she is apologising, to you, to the ambulance attendant, because you are being splashed with blood, or vomit, or whatever it is.” – doesn’t come naturally to us.

The Guardian says its reprint is issued “in the interests of road safety.” Don’t be deceived. Accidents will never he prevented by illustrating the terrible results of them, because people do not go out deliberately to have accidents. Accidents happen because of lack of skill, overcrowded inadequate roads, inability to apprehend a sudden situation. They can be reduced by competent instruction, practical demonstrations and constant supervision, better still by removing hazards – but by horrifies, never.

The Guardian’s gore, the “black-coffin ” posters, Moons Garage of Marylebone Road wasting a hoist by using it to support a crashed car prominently labelled “Journey’s End ” – all this is putting the cart before the horse. In this horrible “Statistic” article the person describing the accident wasn’t to blame; his only observation about the cause was that one car was going fast, whereas, especially as he carries an I.A.M. badge, he should know that the driver to blame was the one who misjudged a right turn into an obscure lane in the path of an on-coming car. So we can but conclude that The Guardian is anti-motorist, or else very dim.

Then there is this fuss over a Le Mans A.C. Cobra being tried out along a deserted M 1. Experienced Police Patrols saw no danger, but the desk-policemen are raising a hue and cry. “Unnecessarily” high speed on motorways will be punished, they say – we thought all those millions of our money spent on these elaborate roads was to foster speed, and how anyone is going to define “unnecessary” or “unduly” in respect of speed thereon is beyond comprehension. We feel sure racing motorist Chief Constable John Gott will agree.

There are those 50-signs wrapped up in old rags all week, costly Radar Meters taking dubious half-yard spot-checks on criminal drivers who exceed a speed-limit by a couple of miles-an-hour, on pain of losing their licences and livelihoods if it happens thrice in three years….

The British Lion is being held down by the tail and beaten to his knees, and will soon be crawling on his belly… All without any proof that speed in good weather on roads built for modern travel has any bearing on road accidents. Present propaganda may stop people from buying cars but won’t save lives – perhaps that is what The Guardian and the Authorities (but surely not Moons?) are trying to achieve.

 

Vintage stop-press. – July 5th is the date of the V.S.C.C. Driving Tests and the gigantic Austin Seven Rally at Beaulieu, when the 750 M.C. hopes to have 600 of these pre-war babies in one field. On the same day the S.T.D. Register has its Wolverhampton Rally. The V.C.C. Crystal Palace Veteran Car (admission free) takes place on July 19th, from 11 a.m. to 5.45 p.m., the largest-ever British assembly of pre-1919 cars. There will be tests and a Grand Parade, at this very historic motoring venue. An idea for other Clubs and Registers – Austin Seven Register has an Austin Seven van painted in its insignia and the Bean C.C. maintains a Bean lorry in its colours, for members’ use. The twin-cam racing Austin Seven in Montagu Motor Museum may be seen in action again. A 1935 Talbot 90 saloon languishes in a breaker’s yard, an early Bollee converted to pull a roller has been seen in Surrey and rear-wheel-braked Type BL Albion 15/20-cwt. pantechnicon is still in use seven days a week by a Middlesex greengrocer.

The inaugural meeting of the Club for owners of Daimler and Lanchester cars was a great success, and the London section will be opened on June 27th. Inquiries to D. Goode, 27, Brighton Road, Birmingham, 12.

Seven years ago the Irish Section of the V.S.C.C. was formed to promote events in which vintage cars could be used by their owners in organised competition. The enthusiasm shown by local members has proved that the aims of the Committee were worth while, and the two main annual events run by the Club – the Ulster Spring Rally and the Autumn Night Rally are always well supported. A very keen interest in the Club’s activities has been taken by the 500 Motor Racing Club of Ireland and the Ulster Automobile Club, and for the past few years classes for vintage cars have been included in two important meetings organised by these Clubs. On August 1st next, the 500 M.R.C.I. is again incorporating in its programme at Kirkistown a 7-lap race for Vintage Sports Cars and Historic Racing Cars, and a class for similar type vehicles has been included in the U.A. Club’s Hill-Climb meeting at Craigantlet on August 15th. All interested persons should get in touch with J. W. Frazer, V.S.C.C. Secretary (Irish Section), Heather Cottage, Cullybackey, Co. Antrim. Harry C. G. Shell persists that there is no Classic C.C. of Great Britain and that the Sept. 13th Beaulieu fixture is that of his Classic American Auto Club of Great Britain, presumably a subtle distinction.

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