Matters of moment, July 1966

The V6 Ford’s International Class Records

Due to our traditional monthly publication sequence coupled with early deadlines, it is only now possible for Motor Sport to congratulate Ford and Castrol on their successful capture of nine International Class D records at Monza in May. The attempt was put on to demonstrate the high-speed reliability of the new V6 Ford Zodiac Mk. IV when lubricated with New Formula Castrol oil and one suspects that the aim of averaging over 100 m.p.h. for a week was the main object, the International Class records incidental.

Any car keeping up such a speeds inclusive of pit-stops, for seven days and nights has certainly proved its sterling worth and is long remembered —we still commend Jaguar for their run with an XK120 Coupe at over 100 m.p.h. for this duration at Montlhery in 1952.

At one time there was. a great deal of record-breaking activity and the establishment of new World and International figures for distance and duration brings considerable publicity, because such runs are officially timed and, in wrestling parlance, no holds are barred.. Today, with fewer bonus incentives, fewer records are established, but when they are the task is still thoroughly worthwhile, because whereas a special stunt run or local record attempt can be hushed up if is accomplished, once a car gets going on a World’s or International Class record bit the spot-light is turned on and failure cannot escape notice.

Consequently, Ford showed the courage of their convictions in trying for “the ton for a week” with their new V6 and if the official records they broke were rather long in the tooth (Austin Healey lost two of their 1958 figures and the rest had been set up by Citroen 31 years ago), the fact remains that here was a fairley standard saloon car making a bid for records open to pure racing cars. During this 100-m.p.h. marathon the Zodiac suffered some tyre trouble, resulting in a broken n/s rear spring. This did not stop it and, driven in 3-hour spells by Jackson, Chambers, Bekaert, Maclay and Bowler, the Ford covered 15,000 miles at 105.27 m.p.h. and averaged 103.04 m.p.h. for seven days and nights. It did this at 11-12 m.p.g. of fuel and approximately 500 m.p.p. of oil, aided by special Goodyear tyres, Bendix petrol pumps. Mintex friction-linings, adjustable Armstrong dampers. Pye radio, and Lucas electrics. It was non-standard only in respect of improved ports and manifolds, 3.1-to-1 axle ratio, twin fuel lines and pumps, extra instruments and a Microcell driving seat, and survived nobly heavy rain, fog and Monza’s rough patches.

Instant coverage

There was a time when we turned eagerly to the weekly motoring papers (out on Tuesdays and Fridays in our youth, price 4d.) for results of the week-end motor racing. Today, with radio and TV coverage of the major races, the weekly, and even the daily and evening papers are being outclassed in this respect, although we hope there is still justification for a considered and detailed monthly review of the situation!

Certainly Players must be very pleased with the success of their Indianapolis 500 Tele-cast. The transmission was made possible by Viewsport Ltd., who secured the exclusive cinema-screen rights for Player’s. The programme was directed by Frank Chirkinian, using 14 cameras round the track and in the pits, 12 commentators, 30 microphones, and four video tape units. He used a 7-9-man TV crew and 16 monitor-screens to control the filming. Special installations included six steel and concrete towers, 25ft. to 56ft. tall, supporting 5ft. x 7ft. camera platforms, linked by 17 miles of underground cables to a 20ft. x 60ft. control room. The closed-circuit signals were fed from Indiana by co-axial cable and micro-wave link or New York, then to Andover in Maine. From here, the signals were linked on to Early Bird Satellite and relayed to Goonhilly in Cornwall. From there, by co-axial link to the G.P.O. main switching centre in London, they were distributed throughout the U.K., some 30,000 people seeing the video-tape-cum-“live” programme in Rank cinemas at Hammersmith, Finsbury Park, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester, Norwich and Southampton.

Good show !–for it was a good show. . . .

A futile argument

Mrs. Barbara Castle; speaking to Americans, said of the 70-m.p.h. speed limit : “Only recently I’ve been quoting the speed limits on your express-ways in support of my own experimental 70-m.p.h. speed limit on our motorways. I can assure you it has been a big help. Here are these Americans, I’ve been able to say, some of the most get-away people in the World and they are willing to accept these disciplines. It has made it more difficult for my critics to dismiss me as a mere kill-joy busy-body.” Thus does the Minister of Transport, in her desire to “go-American,” overlook the very different conditions existing in the two countries. She insults British car technicians who have built good road-holding and exceptionally fine brakes into British cars. But on an island without-shipping perhaps stifling our exports by design retardation and clogging our roads by speed restrictions is of no concern to the Government ?