Letters from readers

N.B. – Opinions expressed are those of our Correspondents and Motor Sport does not necessarily associate itself with them. – ED.

What now?


I was interested to read "D. S. J."'s conjecture on the fuels used by the Gurney-Weslake cars at the "Race of Champions" and the letter of Mr. Anthony Stamer, of Jet Petroleum.

Whilst I have no knowledge of the brand of fuel used by this team during the practice periods, I can state categorically that the fuel used for the race was Super Shell with ICA.

The two Gurney-Weslake cars were, in fact, refuelled on raceday with a total of 66 gallons of Super Shell with ICA at our retail outlet in the Brands Hatch paddock. As this team did not have a contract with Shell they were prepared to pay for their supplies; however, payment was waived in view of the our good relationship with the Gurney-Weslake team.

Ray Cunningham, Shell Motor Racing Manager (U.K.),

London, S.E.1. Shell Centre.


Your letter from Mr. Ray Cunningham, the Shell Motor Racing Manager (U.K.), caused me considerable surprise. Naturally, I promptly contacted Anglo American Racers, who were perhaps even more astonished by its contents. Team Manager Bill Dunne reconfirms that

(a) All practising by both Eagle-Weslake V12 cars was completed on Jet 100 octane petrol.

(b) The race-winning and lap record-breaking car, driven by Dan Gurney, ran throughout the heats and the final on Jet 100.

(c) The second team car, driven by R. Ginther, completed both heats on Jet 100. Regarding the final (in which it retired on the 37th lap with steering maladies), an inaccuracy in my original facts has now come to light. It was felt that available supplies of Jet 100 for this car were perhaps dangerously low, so A.A.R.'s Mexican mechanic Joe departed with a container to obtain locally a small quantity of fuel with which to top up.

Some 2-3 gallons, believed to be of BP origin (though they can't be sure) were in fact added to the Jet 100 already in the car's tanks.

I hope BP will accept my apologies for failing to mention this point originally, but apparently it slipped A.A.R.'s memory until I requestioned them.

A.A.R. were unable to throw any light on Mr. Ray Cunningham's 66 gallons of Super Shell which he states were supplied to them ex retail outlet in the Brands Hatch paddock. They refute the suggestion that they raced on Shell that day.

Teffont Magna. Sir Anthony Stamer.

p.p. Jet Petroleum, Ltd.

Watch it, Stewart!


The Shell advert. featuring Jackie Stewart at Monaco was most interesting. Stewart "astonished many people by corning out in favour of the 70-mph. speed limit … he insists the only place for dicing is the track…."

Of course in New Zealand where there is a 55-m.p.h. overall speed limit, things are different. I mean who could resist a 102-mph. burnup with Jim Clark in a couple of Jaguars?

Haslingden. Ian Peter Longworth.

[The point being that Stewart, in the Shell advertisement, again showed sympathy for the 70-limit, which is, to say the least, most unusual for someone so experienced with cars that are safe at far higher speeds, and yet he was fined for speeding in New Zealand. –  ED.] 

For and against quarter-lights


In reading the article on the Ford Corsair 2000E in the May issue of your magazine I was shocked to read this passage and I quote: "It is good to find that the quarter-lights have been deleted but a pity their frames remain."

Surely W. B. can't mean this, as quarter-lights are of great use in obtaining ventilation without draught; especially for smokers. Without quarter-lights, and I am sure many will agree, one almost invariably ends up with a pile of ash on the carpet, or even worse a burning cigarette on the floor.

Surely the only reason for the omission of quarter-lights, is "price paring" or, in other words, telling the customer what he wants.

Also putting smoking to one side, surely W. B. must miss a nice blow in the face from quarter-lights turned inside out on a really hot day.

Anyway, now that I have aired by grievances I would like to praise your excellent magazine, which I eagerly await every month.

Chobham. Christopher P. Geddes.

[The whole purpose of a proper ventilation system, as on Fords, Hillman Minx, Saab, etc., is to get the required amount of fresh-air into and stale air out of the car, without noise or draughts caused by opening any of the windows. And burning cigarettes should not be thrown out of car windows! So I meant what I wrote and advocate "Acroflow." – ED.]

British supremacy


I would like to take issue with Capt. G. H. H. Brook regarding his assertion that the superiority of the Continental car over the British is illustrated by the fact that over 80% (sic!) of the car-owning members of B.A.O.R. drive the former.

The reason why so many drive Continental cars is that they form the bulk of the used-car market, most people preferring to take a tax-free British car home, having previously disposed of their used Continental one. If the serviceman situation were reversed, one would surely find that the German troops in Britain would drive British cars while stationed there.

It is wild statements such as your correspondent makes that do the industry harm. A demonstration of the general superiority of British cars and service over most German ones may be gathered by comparing the number of pre-1960 cars that are still on the road in both countries. From this one may deduce that they are not built to last in Germany [or that the wealthy Germans change their cars more frequently?].

I might also add that Germany has its full quota of inefficient service garages, too!

B.F.P.O. 16. W. Luffman (Capt.).

Government controls


The Government seems to be very effective in controlling our speed on the roads, but not at all in controlling the speed of Messrs. Joseph Lucas' price increases.

If you will read the attached letter you will see that an exchange dynamo for a perfectly standard car now costs £16 2s. as against £8 15s. at the beginning of the year. This in a time of so-called freeze and squeeze!

If anybody thinks you have to pay more because you run a Jaguar, just consider the effect of doubling what you now have to pay for an exchange replacement. Perhaps someone just wants to discriminate against Jaguars. D. S. J. beware!

London, W.C.2. D. H. B. Johns.

[And on the subject of Government controls, as the M.o.T. admits that it doesn't know why express trains come off the rails, shouldn't British Rail also be subject to a blanket 70-m.p.h. speed limit? – ED.]

Point to the A.A.


Recently I wanted to travel to the Midlands using the new M1 motorway. In order to find out where the most northerly termination of this motorway is I rang up the A.A. at Manchester. They said that the M1 stopped at Nuthall, just north of Nottingham. To check this, I rang up the R.A.C. also at Manchester. They said that the M1 stopped at Annesley, about 5 miles further north of Nuthall.

This just shows how up to date the motoring organisations are on the progress of our motorways. By the way the A.A. were correct.

If they are incorrect about the progress of motorways how correct are they in giving other information, e.g. weather conditions?

Is it not time our motoring organisations amalgamated to give accurate and true information?

Warrington. Z. P. Benn.

[The day after Mr. Benn wrote his letter, the 5 1/2-mile section of the M1 between Nuthall and Annesley was opened. Perhaps the R.A.C. are ahead of the times? – ED.]

Tools for cars


Whilst appreciating the economics involved in the mass production of motor cars, I have noted with dismay over the years, the gradual reduction in the tool kit supplied with new cars. With modern techniques and materials, the need for servicing periods decreases, likewise many adjustments that could be carried out by the home mechanic are eliminated. However, I do feel very strongly that at least one tool should be supplied and that is the screwdriver to fit those "hot cross bun" screws (which I believe are called Pozidriv), as one can guarantee that this is the one tool which will be needed and can be used satisfactorily by the owner-driver.

Perhaps the motor manufacturers would care to comment on my observations, bearing in mind I am sure, that most of us would he willing to pay the odd few shillings extra to have one of these essential tools in our kit.

Wolverhampton. M. W. Watt.

[And while airing this topic, which car has the best tool-kit, supplied as standard? Any claims? – ED].

Rare birds at Rugby


I enclose photographs of two very rare birds, taken at the Daimler and Lanchester O.C. National Rally at Stanford Hall, Rugby: the cars are (top) a 1933 special Lanchester 10 sports tourer and (below) my 1954 Lanchester-Hooper "Dauphin."

Other interesting cars at the Rally were Roger Halliwell's 1927 21-h.p. Lanchester with Maythorne limousine all the way from Brighouse in Yorkshire, Acock's 1910 sleeve-valve Daimler two-seater, and Mrs. Sheila Bishop who won the Concours d'Elegance with her Barker special sports Daimler. In spite of the bad weather a fair number of cars turned up, there being 40 Daimlers and 20 Lanchesters present.

Speen. Francis Hutton-Stott.

Rover history


I enjoyed reading your interesting monograph on the P4 Rovers in the May issue but I should like to correct a reference to "the earlier dignified 10-, 12-, 14- and 16-h.p. Rovers retrieving the fortunes of the Birmingham concern." Up to the start of World War II all these cars were built in Coventry. There was a machine shop at Tyesley, Birmingham, but the headquarters of the firm was Meteor Works on the Stoney Stanton Road, Coventry.

I went there in about 1936 to have some service done to my 14-h,p. sports saloon and while waiting for the car I was allowed to see over the assembly shop and the coachbuilt body shop where all the alloy-panelled sports bodies were built.

These cars were in my opinion far more pleasing in appearance to the later, perpendicular P4s. The chassis frame at the back was under-slung beneath the rear axle, allowing a low roof line while the Rudge centre-lock hubs made the sports models more attractive to the younger owner of the period than any of the Solihull cars have done since

The photo above shows my (Coventry) Rover as it is today, now in its thirty-second year, having covered 135,000 miles. Still going well with its original 1,577-c.c. six-cylinder engine.

Bantham. W. R. Parkinson.

We want better roads


The 70-m.p.h. limit, and the proposed method of keeping the motorist out of cities by making him pay to go in, are evidence that the Government is avoiding the real issue. Britain's road system is obsolete. Such measures can only be regarded as futile attempts to play for time.

The future is our responsibility. The present Government cannot continue to ignore the necessity for an up-to-date highway system, a valuable capital asset, and an important factor in saving lives.

The motor industry is vital to the British economy, and motor vehicles will be with us for many years to come. In order to continue to develop and export competitive vehicles the home market must be viable, and unless money is spent on modernising our roads it will be stifled.

Leeds. Peter J. L. Knight.

Organic chemistry


I am writing to you concerning the advertisement for S.T.P. motor oil, which appeared on page 569 of your June edition. This advertisement gives a diagram which purports to show the structure of a molecule of S.T.P. motor oil. Unfortunately, this diagram contains three carbon atoms which appear to be connected by a common bond, and also a five-valent carbon.

To my knowledge, neither of these phenomena has been found possible in organic chemistry.

It would appear, therefore, that this is either a mistake, or a deliberate attempt on the part of the company to confuse ignorant members of the public such as myself. I humbly suggest that Link-Hampson Ltd. be informed of the possibility of a mistake.

In the event of my being in the wrong, would you please congratulate the company on the hitherto undreamt-of advances which they have made, and inform them of the possibility of revolutionary concepts in organic chemistry based on their discoveries.

Manchester. A. G. Gibson.

Indianapolis winner for Europe


As an avid reader of your delightful magazine, I was interested to read in the May issue M.J.T.'s comments on the Sebring 12 hours race and in particular A. J. Foyt's exploits with the Ford Mk. II, which he would appear to have run very successfully into the ground on that day (thereby virtually destroying any chances his team-mate Ruby might have had of successfully finishing) by choosing to ignore the most elementary precautions when his machine was obviously malfunctioning.

It is all the more surprising then (or is it?) when one reads (May 29 issue of Newsweek) that this driver is apparently classed with world champions! On what grounds, one wonders?

As far as I am aware, Foyt has never competed in Europe – although he has apparently expressed a desire to do so, if only for the avowed ambition to, and I quote, "see the Americans show up the European 'sporty car' set" (sour grapes?). Should he ever attempt it I am certain that some erroneous beliefs would have to be rapidly revised, not to mention driving technique! Not a bad thing, perhaps.

Jedda. S. J. Gander (Major).

[A. J. Foyt has driven sports cars in Europe before, but his return on June 10th/11th was a memorable one – overall victory with Dan Gurney at Le Mans, at his first attempt. Some of his beliefs may not be erroneous after all! – ED.]

Audi advertising


I feel it my duty to speak up in support of Auto Union Audi advertising. Mr. I. E. A. Barclay's letter may have left some readers with a doubt as to the accuracy of Audi advertisements.

The last page of Motor certainly does contain the figure of 9.2 sec. for the acceleration of an Audi, the difference being that this figure concerns the Audi 70 while the advertisement in question concerns the Audi Super 90.

Another point arising from Mr. Barclay's letter is the fact that the Lotus-Cortina is now a Cortina-Lotus and it no longer only takes 7.4 sec. to reach 50 m.p.h. I have not, as yet, come across 0 to 50 acceleration figures for the new Cortina-Lotus, only 0 to 60, which incidentally takes 0.8 sec. longer than the old Lotus-Cortina.

As the 7.6 sec. acceleration figure only recently appeared on the last page of Motor and also as the Cortina-Lotus is fairly new, I can only presume Mr. Barclay is out of touch.

So next time, I would suggest Mr. Barclay gets his facts right before rushing headlong and complaining not only of inaccurate "knocking" by Audi advertising but also of the standard of publication of this magazine.

London, S.W.13. R. W. Arnold.

A disillusioned 20-year-old


I have owned a car for just one year. In this short space of time I have suffered the usual motorist setbacks, self-contradicting road signs, inflated garage fees, extra insurance premiums and of course the now traditional police versus road user cold war. Most people have grown to accept these daily hardships as being unavoidable, but after reading the article by Harry Bloom in the Sunday Times I realise what a disgusting mess we are now in.

Britain now has a police force dedicated to removing every form of engine from the road and an archaic system of law to back them up. The Government does its doubtful best by passing nonsensical speed laws suggested by Mrs. B. Castle. At the age of twenty after putting up with this sad state for two years on two wheels and one year on four I feel it is high time something was done.

Surely it is not too much to ask for anyone who still cares to write to his M.P. The 70 m.p.h. limit is as good a start as any as it seems to me to be forgotten by far too many people.

To close may I humbly suggest to the dynamic Mr. Wilson that if he must have a female M.o.T. how about giving Anita Taylor a go. She may know little about politics but she can drive.

Stalybridge. J. Peter Scullia.

Blue or green?


Being an avid reader of your excellent magazine, it is with mixed feelings that I take this opportunity of displaying my limited knowledge. In your issue of June 1967 there appears an advertisement informing us of the virtues of Shell oil; in support of which the details of several Le Mans winners who used Shell oil are given.

In describing these magnificent Jaguar victories of the 1950s the text states (and I quote), "1951, 1953, 1955, 1956 and 1957 saw British Racing Green first over the line." Now, unless I am very much mistaken, the victorious Jaguars of 1956 and 1957 were both Ecurie Ecosse cars which sport the dark blue of Scotland!

Whilst not for a moment refuting any of the claims made by the advertisement I am somewhat surprised to see a company of such size and reputation make such an error.

Bolton. Nicholas G. Newton. 

Tyres for Bentleys

Sir, I would be very interested to hear from any of your readers who have tried radial ply tyres on R-type Bentleys.

The makers cannot offer advice on the matter as they have not carried out tests.

Stourbridge. Ian Ryall.

Unreliable Honda


Being the owner of a Honda 600 for the last six months, my experiences may be of interest to prospective owners.

First, I would like to support Mr. Merton in his statement that the Honda motor company have a lot to learn with regard to quality and reliability. Secondly, Mr. Alexander should not confuse the excellent motorcycle with the by-product that bears the same name. After seventeen years motoring in East Africa I decided to get the feel of the open road in a sports car:

At 400 miles, front wheel bearing failed: Replaced.

600 miles, missing badly: carburetter found loose on return of service: Adjusted.

850 miles, rust appearing under paint: Repaired.

1,200 miles, missing badly, paint cracking: Repaired.

1,500 miles, steering rattle: Adjusted.

1,975 miles, missing badly, manifold gasket leaking: Repaired.

2,500 miles, steering rattle, pinion worn: To be replaced.

3,000 miles, missing due distorted manifold; two fixing screws had sheared their threads in the carburetter body: Repaired.

3,800 miles, missing, so manifold replaced: steering rattle: Adjusted.

3,900 miles, car in once again, missing badly: New carburetters to be fitted.

During this time, one door would not close, the other leaked badly, instrument glasses rattled, choke cable jammed, and switches always worked loose.

The U.K. produce excellent small sports cars with quality, and spares; purchase them and be guaranteed a good resale value in the future, after miles of reliable motoring, which is a very important point to remember.

Singapore. J. S. T.

[Name and address supplied.—ED.]

[We cannot comment – the requested road-test Honda is still conspicuous by its absence! – ED.]