N. B.—Opinions expressed are those of our Correspondents and Motor Sport does not necessarily associate itself with therm — Ed.
“Independence, or not?”
With reference to your Editorial for the May issue, I would like to take you to task as regards your plea for i.r.s. I for one, with not a little experience in the Motor Trade, would like you to think back about some of the engineering monstrosities that have been thrust upon us in the last few years. You quote the Herald as an example, really ! ! ! not much of a system was it ? I am sure the car would have handled and sold better with properly located live axle. One could quote plenty of examples where i.r.s. did nothing for the car, or the pocket of the unfortunate owner. Most systems of i.r.s. add six to eight bearings usually, four U/J’s and a few extra seals of various types, all of which add to servicing problems and costs. Try fitting a diff in a Triumph 2,000 and you will see what I mean. Was the “S” Jaguar that much better than the Mark II? just watch the owners face when you present him with an account for fitting hand-brake pads to the “S” Model. Would the Peugeot 403 404 have been the cars they were with i.r.s. ? I doubt it. What about Volvo, one of the beauties of some of these cars is their simplicity and ease of maintenance. No, No a thousand times No, for Gods sake keep the less exotic machine simple.
Your second part of the Editorial quotes the Escort, here is a first rate ordinary car. The same applies to Avenger, Hunter, Opel and some Fiat types, also the Vauxhall range etc. BMC are not wrong in their Marina range, slap a clutch in an 1800 FWD or fit a crank in a Maxi or a V/W and I am sure you will see what I mean. By all means let’s have the exotic and expensive, where I am sure time spent in workshops is not so important, but please keep the bread and butter motors simple to service and maintain. As L. T. C. Roll was told during his youth about “engineers who tighten nuts with pencils” some of these engineers are still with us. Anyone in the Spanner and Hammer side of the business could write for hours about motor-car designs, though few of us have letters after our names, and rarely put pen to paper regarding this subject, but please Mr. Designer after your years attending College and University, don’t lose sight of honest simple engineering just because your design is complicated and looks like a bag of worms under the bonnet, it really doesn’t mean its that good.
Winthcombe. Patrick R. Smith.
I read with interest your comments on i.r.s. Would you not consider though, that in your “homage to pioneer layouts”, the Lancia Aprilia deserves a mention as one of the first, if not the first application of i.r.s. to a modest family saloon produced in fairly large numbers in 1937, well in advance of the Triumph Herald which you include, and vastly superior in performance ?
Saffron Walden. Grant Gibson.
[I endeavoured to give credit to pioneer systems of i.r.s. but I agree that the system I mentioned was not particularly effective, whereas I have the best possible memories of Lancia Aprilia road-holding and of this car in general — Ed]
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Praise for an MG
Judging from correspondence received, over a period of time, in your “Letters from Readers” column there appears to be a number of new car owners who are dissatisfied with their cars reliability.
My answer to them, if they are single is to buy themselves an MG T-type. I have owned a 1948 MG TC bought for £150, for the past 5 years.
She now has 212,000 miles on the clock, travels 20 miles per day to work and back and also takes in her stride a 500 mile round trip to Bedford once a month. Admittedly this type of car has its drawbacks, but she has proved most reliable for the majority of the time.
Maintenance is slightly more expensive but this is offset by the appreciation in value, whereas the depreciation of modern cars is staggering enough.
Old car motoring gives me great satisfaction and a square deal. What more could want ?
Thank you for an excellent magazine.
Sunderland. Richard Hunt.
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Mr. Pablo R. Aicardi was appointed official Jaguar Distributor in Uruguay in 1946 and has since permanently sought to keep a comprehensive stock of spares and service all the models regardless of age. When an original spare part hasn’t been available, he has had one-offs made of his customer’s, thus contributing to keep on the road an impressive proportion of the 270 Jaguars imported into the country since 1946. However, Mr. Aicardi recently received a letter from Coventry informing that his distributorship had been cancelled. No reasons were apparently given for this sudden decision.
I wonder what are Jaguar’s plans concerning Uruguay. But as a Jaguar owner, I have a feeling that past customers aren’t foremost on their minds. Fortunately Mr. Aicardi has assured me that he shall try to keep on servicing all the cars he imported.
Montevideo, Uruguay. Alvaro Casal Tatlock.
Having decided to replace my eleven year old Mk. II Jaguar (wire wheeled, of course), and having been perusing the 200 GTV Alfa Romeo and XJ6 catalogues concurrently, I have noticed a striking side view similarity of body shape in the two cars. In particular the angles and curvatures of front and rear windows, the bumpers, wheel arches, waist line and even the escutcheon situated to the rear of the front wheel arch are much the same. I have read somewhere that Sir William arose from his bed to put some ideas into immediate form—perhaps he had been dreaming of Bertone at the time ? I have the greatest respect for Sir William and his cars and would rather you didn’t publish this letter—nevertheless it is very obvious to me from whence the XJ6 Shape derived. We all know which body came first. Incidentally, I’ve ordered the Alfa Romeo.
Blackpool. John Goulburn.
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The adventure of the ill-fated Singers
I read with great interest your article “The Adventure of the ill-fated Singers” in May Motor Sport. I was very interested in your thoughts of strain on the steering mechanism as I used to own a 1934 Singer Le Mans two-seater which I tuned and lightened and obtained a similar performance to the Special Speed Model. I occasionally noted that on descending a hill at high speed and breaking very hard to go round a corner, if a large amount of steering lock was applied the steering vibrated terribly. Now the corner where the accident happened was on a corner just after a downhill section. I cured the trouble by stiffening the front of the chassis, fitting a cam gear steering box with a much steadier mounting.
Longfield. Michael Ian Harwood.
It was with great interest I read your article on the ill-fated Singers as I owned one of the “Auto Sport” cars (AVC 483) purchased from John Clough in 1946. This car was prepared for the Donington TT Race which was cancelled owing to the outbreak of war. It was stored in J. D. Barnes’ garage at Stourbridge during the last war. I bought the car and drove it in the first road race to be held in the UK after the war at Ballyclare in August 1946—International Trophy Race. I was second in the race, averaging 59.40 m.p.h. Then in the same month I won the McLeod Trophy 1,100-c.c. class at Craigantlet Hill Climb.
I then sold this car to W. Leeper, who won the Leinster Trophy Race in Eire. He then sold it to the late Peter Reece of Liverpool. After Reece’s death it was sold to someone in Garstang.
I understand that this was the car withdrawn in the Ulster TT 1935 and driven by J. D. Barnes after the crash of the other cars.
It is interesting to note that in the 1935 TT the BaliIla Fiat driven by Sullivan won the 1100 class. This Fiat EZ374 was afterwards owned by me and driven by me in the 1937 Ulster Trophy Race at Ballyclare, averaging 59.17 m.p.h. for 22 laps (retired with valve trouble) as against the Singer’s 59.40 m.p.h. in the same race in 1946.
With regard to the other team cars I never could trace what became of them except that one was owned by J. E. S. Jones, who lived Somewhere in Kent. The person with most knowledge of their whereabouts would be Major J. D. Barnes of N. Worcestershire Garage. Stourbridge.
In 1933 I ran one of the first 1933 Singer Le Mans coupes in the RAC Rally in England. In 1934 in a four-seater Singer DZ980 I was 2nd in the Circuit of Ireland Trial and was asked to be a member of the Singer Club Team, which won the team prize in the RAC Rally, which finished at Bournemouth. I also won the coachwork class competition with the same car.
The first Singer which I drove was a 1914 2-seater 10 hp., gearbox fitted or embodied in the back axle. This was a pretty little car with a single-piece windscreen and Rotan electric lighting set. A beautifully restored example of this model I saw at the Crystal Palace Veteran Car Meeting a few years ago.
I met Mr. S. H. C. Davis when I was competing in the London-Brighton Run in my 1903 Darracq and recalled the unfortunate crash on the Ards Circuit when he had a lucky escape in the Singer.
I have heard from Mr. Michael Sedgwick that the Fiat Balina EZ374 which I owned has been completely restored in England.
I look forward to reading Motor Sport each month.
Newtownabbey, N. Ireland. Ulla Desmond Montgomery.
I was very interested to read your article “The Adventure of the Ill-Fated Singers”. For some time I owned AVC 481 this car being a real thoroughbred in its going and handling. The engine ran very well and quite often would be taken to 6,000 r.p.m. and according to a paper by Mr. Shorter the Engine designer and pupil of Louis Coatalen, this engine unit put out 45 b,h.p. at 5,250 r.p.m. on a 10.5 to 1 c/r.
The steering on these models was fore-and-aft drag link, the transverse drag link set up being only used on the TT at the insistence of the RAC because not enough of the production Singer LM types had been produced with the fore-and-aft drag link, i.e. 1936/7 models.
In my opinion the transverse draglink set-up was not too bad and was certainly strong enough as this set-up was used on the 1 1/2-litre LM Mk. 1 and from the ones that I have seen give no trouble at all. The story, briefly, that I have been told about these ball joints was that an apprentice was told to bring in some steel for machining, he picked up the wrong material which when hardened went like glass and that was that.
On to the ex-Hodge and Carr Singer that was made at Brooklands, I was informed that this car was built by Ramponi for the JCC and to be driven by members of that club. This car is now the property of a VSCC Member (see VSSC Membership list) in the Crawley district. Now the rumour that you have heard about the Singers in a barn. This one goes that in a barn in south Wales near Cardiff (or is it Swansea ?) there is a team of works 1934 Singers as raced at Le Mans in 1934. It is interesting that this rumour has changed its date to 1935, but I would discount this rumour. I have a 1934 works car and I doubt if any other of that team survive.
Back to the Singers that were used in the TT, one AVC 481 is in the hands of Peter Fennell who lives in Oxfordshire. One AVC482 is missing, I traced this car to its last known resting place in Streatham only to find that the road was now a ghetto.
AVC483 belongs to A. Linton and On loan to the Myreton Museum.
AVC 484 belongs to an MG CC Member in Cheshire.
Ash Vale. J. A. Horne, Singer O.C.
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Watch out Jackie Stewart
May I be permitted to add a few thoughts of my own to those expressed by Mr. Jenkinson in his excellent June “Continental Notes” ?
First, J. Y. Stewart had better tiptoe cautiously from now on for his own sake. He is by no means the king of the roost that the Daily Express et al make him out to be. With Fittipaldi driving like he was Jim Clark and Ickx, Regazzoni and Hulme showing him the way, Stewart may soon not be in a position to be racing’s self-appointed dictator. His poor performances could be due to the ulcer of course, but it would be an interesting situation if these Spa Rogues became the top brass, thus giving the “beady-eyed little Scot” the chance to prove himself on the most challenging track of all.
Secondly, pit-stops. The safety argument and two heats. (with an F5000 class ?) are easily and effectively dismissed by D. S. J.
However, it seems that the Constructors have simply got the wrong end of the stick in searching for “safety and political motives” behind the CSI’s decision. Surely pit-stops are to be introduced for the benefit of the spectator ? Had this never occurred to them ? It looks very much as though we mere onlookers are being left very much on the sidelines. Why are our views not represented ? A Grand Prix Spectators’ Association is the only answer! Yes, brothers, let’s have picket-lines at Silverstone next year if there are to be no pit-stops.
Unite, comrades! Brands Hatch must be boycotted unless there are stand seats for all and Armco the entire length of the A20.
We must fight!
And, above all, let’s have Comrade Redman in a permanent Formula One seat—he never shied away from Spa, even though his accident was at least as bad as our World Champion’s. On the contrary—his best performance took place there only a few weeks ago.
Lytham. Lancs. Roger Kirby.
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I see in your June issue that W. B. has again mounted one of his favourite hobby-hoises—and still holds quite illogical views about the prices of old cars.
It is a pity that W. B. has never been able to come to terms with the laws of the market place, so far as old-car prices are concerned, and so save himself a bit of unease, which he obviously feels, and has felt for some time past.
To adequately cover the matters of inflation, depreciation of money etc., would need a thesis not just a letter—but basically whenever people find that money loses its purchasing power almost quicker than they can make it they have always looked for some tangible asset which can be bought with said money—and preferably, of course, an asset which may appreciate in value, or at least hold its own. For many years past the affluent and far-seeing have bought land, property, furniture, works of Art, objets d’Art, and many other lesser things, primarily perhaps for the enjoyment they had, in being able to see and use beautiful things, such as we have not seen produced or created for many, many years, but there was always a secondary consideration that these things did not and would not lose their value. Inflation (and loss of purchasing power of money) has so escalated during the past decade that people have widened the field in which they look for “tangible assets” and have I believe quite rightly lighted on veteran, vintage and PVT cars.
Most of these machines are of high quality, certainly well, and sometimes beautifully, made; with reasonable care they will not corrode away, they will never be produced again, they have charm, they have character, they are useable, and can be a hobby et al, and keep you out of the pub while busy restoring one of them.
I would not regard the foregoing as “grab-grab” —it is just one of the facts of economic life, and not the work of some unseen malevolent force, determined to upset W. B’s world of old cars.
One might be pardoned, I think, for calling it financial prudence.
Incidentally, what were all W. B.’s phantom people (who now want to buy cheap vintage cars—he says) doing in 1957/60 ? And as probably 95% of all old cars have got owners, and good homes, for whose benefit should these owners now be expected to offer their cars for sale at 1960 prices ?
Any article—new or old—will only command the amount of money (subject to supply and demand) that people are prepared to pay for it—whether it he diamonds or mink coats, or old cars. If “the market” decides that old cars are to be regarded in the same way as old pictures, and old furniture, etc., then that is the way it will be, and W. B. may as well get used to it, and be thankful that he has at least one or two, for his old age.
Chapel-en-le-Frith, Cheshire. W. K. Parker.