Roads are getting faster

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Sir,

May I refer to your “Rumblings” on page 240 in the March issue headed Roads are Getting Faster. It is difficult to make any direct comparison with all the motoring feats in this paragraph, due to the absence of identical start/finish locations and/or one or more essential details. However, last year it happened that I, too, drove from Nice to Boulogne with my wife and two young boys complete with all the impedimenta associated with a seaside holiday for such a family. We left Nice Airport at 8.24 p.m. one Friday evening in August and handed our cross-Channel ferry ticket to the attendant at Boulogne at 7.30 a.m. the following morning.

This somewhat uneventful trip was completed in my 1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud

Where direct comparisons can be made the following table shows one or two interesting results, not the least significant being the mileage claimed between Boulogne and Nice and the differential in ages of the cars.

1966 Lincoln Continental: Mileage 770; Time elapsed 12 hr. 16 min.; Avg speed 62.8 mp.h.; Miles/gallon 10-11

1971 Cadillac Fleetwood: Mileage 759; Time elapsed 12 hr. 40 min.; Avg speed 59.9 mp.h.; Miles/gallon 11.2

1959 Rolls-Royce S.C. II: Mileage 736; Time elapsed 11 hr. 6 min.; Avg speed 66.3 m.p.h.; Miles/gallon 14.2

BMW Concessionaires advertising copy features the feasibility of driving comfortably from Calais to Nice between breakfast and dinner. This is clearly possible for a car as well equipped as the 3.0 CSL, but is also quite feasible for lesser motors.

The BMW’s petrol consumption at 15.13 m.p.g. is around 7% better than the Rolls-Royce, the top speed at 146 m.p.h. as opposed to 120 m.p.h. is around 22% improvement and the purchase price at £6,538 is 290% more than that of a good quality Silver Cloud II (1959 model) at around £1,675. (These obtained from Motorists New and Used Price Guide.)

Possibly we are left with a simple conclusion. The ultimate top speed and acceleraare pretty irrelevant on a true Grand Touring car. There is a need for cruising ability at around 100-110 m.p.h.—any car capable of such a speed is certainly capable adequate acceleration—and a high degree of driver comfort and absence of tiring factors such as noise, excessive gear changing, heavy steering etc.

Kent S. Robinson – St. Ouen, Jersey.

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