Letters from Readers, July 1975

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N.B.—Opinions expressed are those of our Correspondents and MOTOR SPORT does not necessarily associate itself with them.—Ed.

MG-C and Jaguar Spares

Sir

I was concerned to read your article entitled “MG-C and Jaguar Spares” in the May issue of MOTOR SPORT and in particular your comments on the so-called disposal of parts for various non-current Jaguar and Triumph models.

All the models you refer to in the article are those which have a low vehicle park; i.e. there are very few left on the road either because they have been out of production for a number of years or else they were only built in low quantities. Consequently they tend to be models for which there is only a low level demand for parts, which means that in the long term it is economically impossible for a manufacturer to offer every part at what the public would consider a “realistic price”.

At some point in time, therefore, a decision has to be made to phase out existing supplies of a particular component to allow space for newer and more often needed parts. Such a decision is only made when the demand over a given number of years has fallen to the extent that the cost of maintaining a stock of a given component to meet such a low volume of demand would put the price far beyond what most people would term a “realistic” figure. While there is sufficient demand, however, the part will continue to be made available regardless of age, although demand naturally falls with age.

When the vehicle in question is termed a collector’s item we are perfectly willing to give a specialist club or one of our own dealers and distributors the chance to purchase the old stock before it is sold for scrap. I would point out, however, that in the past there has often been no response to such a move, and even when someone has been interested they have often only purchased 5 or 10% of the available stock, leaving us no alternative but to scrap the remainder.

By definition, we will only “scrap” a part when there is no longer sufficent demand for it, be it through our regular distribution channels or through organisations such as the TR Register. As a parts operation, we are naturally keen to sell parts and would obviously much rather help the collector in his bid to keep the famous marques of yesterday alive than resort to the financially unrewarding alternative of scrapping. As the everyday costs of running a parts service increase and new model parts make demands for warehouse space, however, there has to come a time when parts for older models have to take second place, and it should be remembered that the current pressure for rationalisation of the Corporation’s products applies equally to parts as it does to models.

In conclusion I would add that parts for Jaguar, Rover and Triumph cars are made available for longer than any other major manufacturer in the UK. Furthermore, in response to your much appreciated comment that British Leyland is the only big manufacturer with any models worth keeping more than 10 years, you might be interested to learn that before long we hope to announce a scheme which will actually give the owners of many old British Leyand models a dramatic saving in terms of the cost of maintaining their cars.

Cowley, Oxford ROGER ARMSDEN

Public Relations Officer British Leyland Parts & KD Division

[A reasoned answer to my deliberately provocative article. British Leyland’s predicament is real enough, but there must be a better solution for reasonable disposal and safeguarding of these invaluable spares. Any sensible ideas?—Assistant Ed.]

Lotus Philosophy

Sir,

If my experience of a Lotus is anything to go by, you will already have been inundated with advice in reply to Mr. Ratcliffe’s enquiry as to whether he should contemplate buying a secondhand Elan +2S.

I made the mistake of buying a new +2S 130/5 in April of last year, and the faults to date are as follows:

VGN 115M: Date of purchase, April 6th, 1974

Pre-delivery inspection revealed that the valve clearances had been incorrectly set.

On delivery the following faults were noted:

1. Doors incorrectly hung.

2. Clock not working.

3. Horn not working.

4. Rear screen warning light inoperative.

5. Cigar-lighter inoperative.

6. Oil leak into driver’s footwell.

31.5.74-3,000 miles:

Gearbox seized. Car returned to Norwich and faults corrected under warranty.

23.8.74-7,384 miles:

Gearbox seized again. Repair carried out by Agent.

14.10.74-9,177 miles:

Car returned again to Norwich. New gearbox fitted under warranty.

29.10.74-10,000-mile service

It was found that the wrong carburetter jets had been originally fitted to the car.

13.3.75–13,500 miles:

Rear hub bearings collapsed and replaced.

Rear drive-shaft couplings found to be cracked and replaced.

Engine required decarbonising.

Valves replaced.

Total mileage to date : 15,975.

I can assure you that it gives me no pleasure whatsoever to denigrate what is after all supposed to be a top-quality British product, but so far correspondence with Lotus has evoked little response or concern. If this is the standard of the car that they are accustomed to manufacture, one wonders whether it can be long before they also succumb to the tender embrace of the Benevolent Fund for Failing Enterprises to which we all so generously contribute.

Almost the worst part of owning a Lotus is that when the wretched thing is actually working properly, it is a delight to drive and fully lives up to one’s expectations, but unless Mr. Ratcliffe enjoys spending as much time under his car as in it, I would reluctantly advise him to look elsewhere.

London, SW7 P. K. CAMERON

Sir,

In reply to Mr. Ratcliffe’s question in the April edition of MOTOR SPORT, my thoughts on the Lotus Elan might be of interest.

I have owned a Lotus Elan S3 SE for the past year during which I covered 18,000 miles without any major faults developing.

My friends advised me that I would be buying a “plastic toy” that would need constant attention and much money lavished upon it to keep the vehicle in good condition. This I have proved to be a false impression.

The specimen I acquired was built in 1967 and had covered some 79,000 miles but due to the glassfibre body construction looked very good, having just had a new hood fitted. The most important factor to remember when buying a used Lotus is that the engine should not have done more than 40,000 miles since a major rebuild, since when driven hard as most are, 50,000 miles is their useful life. The rule is therefore either buy a low mileage example or one that the engine has just been rebuilt. Old “twin-cams” are very expensive to rebuild.

Apart from the engine there are no major areas of concern since most components originate from either Ford or Triumph. The trick is to buy these particular components such as brakes and clutch hydraulics, front suspension components etc. from their respective dealers hence eliminating the Lotus mark up!

Over the year, maintenance has involved only the replacement of disc-pads, driveshaft couplings (buy Hillman Imp), exhaust front pipe and oil changes.

The carburetters have been tuned about three times with the “O” rings being replaced once. Colortune makes this tune-up a joy.

Fuel consumption is about 25 m.p.g. in town and 30-32 on a run (3.55 diff ratio) and 26 m.p.g. being obtained whilst towing a small sailing dinghy loaded with camping gear on a run from London to the West Country (Lotus offer a tow-bar which locates onto the rear of the chassis).

As has already been said in MOTOR SPORT, the performance is most excellent, prompting W.B. to write “It is a car which keeps young men young and makes old men younger and is one of the few cars which can average 69 without exceeding 70 m.p.h.” That was in 1966. In these troubled days read 59 and 60 m.p.h.!

Southgate N. J. BLACKMAN

Sir,

I would advise A. F. Ratcliffe—May issue —that Elan ownership can involve a considerable amount of DIY activity but can result in motoring enjoyment presumably only surpassed by a Dino or 911S although I have not driven the latter cars and can only go on reputation. It was, after all, reputation that influenced my choice of an Elan (S4 D/H with Strombergs) for D.S.J. once said give up smoking, give up drink and sell the wife’s fur coat to buy one—you will not be disappointed”, and he was right!

Now the bad news: The twin-cam engines leak oil and it takes a lot of patient work to cure this; the addition of a cam box breather seems to help. The handbrake system needs frequent attention to maintain a reasonable brake and handbrake pad replacement is expensive, in fact the rear disc brake assemblies can prove troublesome, receiving as they do more road dirt than the fronts and I once experienced seizing of a hydraulic piston. The dirt shields on later models hide the rubber drive doughnuts which I prefer to inspect at frequent intervals, a total failure would be too exciting for my liking! Rear hub bearings can suffer from dirt ingress, mine failing at 28,000 miles and the renewal was an involved procedure. The later ones do have improved sealing however.

Up front the steering swivel bottom trunnion bushes may show wear; do not despair, Triumph Herald parts are easily fitted. Examine the chassis front suspension anchorage where welded to the side-members; I have known an example of fracture at that point. Obviously look for chassis straightness. Tyre wear should be absolutely even on all four wheels, the rears wearing quicker and perceptibly flatter in cross section.

I thoroughly recommend an Elan and you may or may not believe the following figures I obtain with my 2-seater: Maximum speed 120 m.p.h. indicated, with acceleration to match. Cruising speed 95 m.p.h. indicated. Touring fuel consumption 33 m.p.g., better on some journeys.

I do not think anything compares at the price—just look at MG-B performance figures, a car which doesn’t have a rust-free body or Lotus cornering ability. Buy one and good luck.

Co. Antrim E. G. FIDDAMENT

Sir,

I was astonished to read Mr. Ratcliffe’s letter concerning the Lotus. My own Elan has now covered 115,000 miles and has just been stripped for its first major rebuild. Apart from a new differential at 80,000 miles it has only had normal servicing and replacement of routine items like tyres, brake pads, doughnuts, etc., whilst the engine, clutch and gearbox are exactly as they left the factory. It does not need constant tuning but will run “rough” if driven in traffic for long periods. Regarding points to look for in a secondhand one, I think that, apart from the normal careful inspection and road-test, the following checks are most informative:

1. The recommended oil pressure of 40 lb. p.s.i. (hot) must he maintained (and fit the uprated, 60 lb. pump at the first opportunity).

2. Careful inspection of the chassis for rust, kinks or distortion.

3. Careful inspection of the body for cracks around the stress points, and “star” cracks.

4. Inspection of the rear calipers for full piston movement.

Lastly, drive the car as it was meant to be driven, on long, fast, cross-country trips. If you must drive to town every day, buy a Mini, it will be cheaper in the long run.

Market Harborough A. GREEN

[These are but four letters from a very heavy correspondence in reply to Mr. Ratcliffe’s query as to the wisdom of buying a Lotus. The unpublished letters have been sent on to him; the majority suggest that if you are prepared to do a certain amount of DIY maintenance, there are few cars as satisfying as an Elan—as one correspondent has it, “I do not think anything compares at the price—just look at the MG-B performance figures, a car which doesn’t have a rust-free body or Lotus cornering ability”. We are gratified that MOTOR SPORT has so many readers with first-hand experience of the Lotus, whether satisfactory or otherwise.—Ed.]

Camargue Styling

Sir,

Your critique of the Rolls-Royce Camargue (April) raised more than a simple smile when you suggested its styling resembled Lady Penelope’s dummy Rolls-Royce in “Thunderbirds”. As one of the people who worked on that television series, I do sympathise with your distress at the Camargue’s lack of elegance. After all, Lady Penelope’s Royce was intentionally preposterous in design; on the other hand, the Camargue . . .

As far as the “International” appeal in styling is concerned, Britain is the home of many brilliant designers who can produce matchless elegance. And many foreign buyers used to find the styling of Mr. Osmond Rivers, Chief Designer of the much lamented Hooper & Co., very much to their tastes. The appeal of the English classic line has not diminished.

About the only opportunity remaining, for special coachwork, is on the Phantom VI chassis hut, most unfortunately, it is now many years since Rolls-Royce possessed that overwhelming majesty and lithe elegance which was the mark of the masterpiece. A sad decline from past grandeur.

Toronto, Canada. GARRY COXALL

Hidden Extras

Sir,

The iniquitous £40 car tax must inevitably mean that more people than ever will resort to paying in 4-monthly instalments. As usual, for reasons best known to the powers-that-be, 10% extra is charged for this doubtful privilege, resulting in an annual outlay of no less than £44.

This leads to speculation—suppose, for the sake of argument, that three million car owners feel disinclined to fork out £40 in one lump sum; this means a Treasury rake-off of £12 million extra. Some “handling-charge”!

This surcharge is always a nice, round, 10%, but in real terms, the additional charge has jumped from £2.50 to £4.00—an increase of 60%—why? The car tax is settled by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as being a certain amount for a year, and the legality of the surcharge for paying in instalments is, to say the least, questionable. It is one of those “hidden extras” that we have grudgingly accepted for years and years, but the sum involved is no longer trivial. It is high time this racket was stopped once and for all— how about some action, AA?

Stirling D. R. HARDMAN

Car Taxation

Sir,

I read with interest your Editorial in the May issue concerning the increase of the British car licence tax. This is quite an unfortunate increase, but your idea to return to a sliding scale system based on the size of the engine would be I am afraid an even greater misfortune. In Belgium we have lived under such a system for several decades; in fact we had the most discriminatory system in, I believe, the whole world, as the biggest cars paid twenty times as much tax as the smallest ones. And recently, in the panic created by the fuel crisis, this already incredible difference has been increased by up to three times, so that now the two ends of the scale are in the ratio of one to sixty.

Here are what we pay now for a year’s tax:

Smaller cars under 750 c.c £9

Two-litre cars £41

Three-litre cars £96

Four-litre cars £293

Eight-litre cars £522

I agree this is ridiculous but that is what the people’s representatives voted on 20th December 1974; the law was published on 31st December and enforced the next morning on 1st January 1975.

You can imagine what an uproar of protests this caused from the car owners, users, dealers, importers, manufacturers, and associations, to no avail of course, except that, by a request of one of the old car clubs, the very low “antique” tax of about £2.50 was extended to cars 25 years old, as previously the limit was 30 years.

I feel the only honest system is to have the same tax for everyone, which would represent the right to use the public roads, and cover the costs of the administration for issuing licence plates, log books, and tax payment forms, plus the filing of all this. The person who very seldom uses a small car will benefit in lower petrol, maintenance and depreciation costs, while the heavy user will pay his share in higher costs, all of which are subjected to a tax. The government should not be overruling and decide what and how we should drive, trying to attain this by tax manipulation, used almost as fines for offences.

Please continue your fight for the preservation of the motorist’s own responsibility of choice of vehicle, and of safety measures.

PATRICK VAN DER STRICHT Brussels

[We certainly need some concession for pre-war cars used only occasionally.—Ed.]

Variable-Belt Transmission

Sir,

It would appear a little fanciful to ascribe DAF antecedents to the Rudge Multi (D. N. McCaskill). In fact Rudge had a rival in the Zenith Gradua which achieved the same results but with different mechanics, i.e. the rear wheel was shifted bodily to take up belt slack. In the up-shot, it was a blind alley as direct belt drive succumbed to the countershaft gearbox.

Surely, a more obvious derivation is from the industrial variable speed “v” belt gears that have been in production a good number of years. Such units have been offered by a number of the “v” belt makers under various trade names and applicable to all manner of industrial and process plant where an infinitely variable drive was desired, the prime mover being, usually, an electric motor.

It is surprising that, apart from one or two moped type of two-wheelers, no-one else seems to have tried to exploit this type of drive, in the automotive field.

Potters Bar W. R. FINCH

[But see elsewhere in this issue?—Ed.]

Sir,

With reference to a letter by Mr. D. N. McCaskill in your May edition concerning the origins of the DAF transmission, firstly I would like to point out that the Rudge Multi was being sold in 1912 and actually won the senior TT in 1914. The Zenith Cradua, which has a somewhat similar transmission, dates back to 1908. However, neither of these were automatic. Prior to the 1st World War there was an automatic expanding pulling gear known as the Philipson Pulley, which became quite popular, though its range of gear ratios was comparatively small. One had a crude method of over-riding the automatic operation, for by applying some pressure with one’s foot on the governor box one could instantly lower the gear ratio, as under these circumstances the pulley flanges would open. When using one myself, I was in the habit of nailing Ferodo brake linings to the instep of my left boot!

However, I would like to point out that the Bleriot Whippet cyclecar had an expanding pulling gear in the early 20s. When I bought up the remnants of the Bleriot Whippet venture I had several of these machines, one of which my father drove for many miles and with great satisfaction. The weakness of these early infinitely variable gears was that one had to use a belt fastener, as there were no suitable endless belts, and these inevitably tore out.

Cheltenham R. S. PEACEY

Support for the 2.5 PI

Sir,

I feel I must protest against the derisory remarks often made about the Triumph 2.5 PI. I have owned a Mk. 2 version of this car since October 74 and I certainly will not hesitate buying another one when the time for replacement is due.

The only trouble to date has been a plug fouling due to one pair of butterflies not being in synchronisation with the others, and a rear hub bearing giving up the ghost.

As for the supposed uneconomical fuel injection system, well, I have had no trouble in this area at all. Initially fuel consumption was around 23 m.p.g. dropping to 19 m.p.g. when running on 5 cylinders (plug fouling). But in February I fitted a Piranha ignition system and since then fuel consumption has not been less than 25 m.p.g. and in some cases 27-28 m.p.g. Not bad for a 2.5-litre motor car.

I average around 250 miles per week and take delight in “blowing off” boy racers when the need arises, so it isn’t all pussyfoot motoring. My mileage is done in heavy town traffic when driving to work and in country lanes and motorways when socialising, this representing a fair cross-section of road conditions.

In my opinion Triumph have phased out a superb motor car.

I have no connection with Triumph or Piranha but I can certainly recommend both these products.

Manchester M. IHNATENKO

The Series 3 E-type “Six”

Sir,

With reference to your article “Jaguar E-Type” in the May issue of MOTOR SPORT, I thought you would he interested to know that I am lucky enough to have acquired the only production model of the Series 3, 6-cylinder “E” Type you mention in your article.

The car, Chassis number IS 50106, was first registered 9th February 1972 by Jaguar Cars Ltd., Allesley, Coventry. They then disposed of it in October 1972 when I acquired same. The vehicle’s registration number was originally CUP 678K, but now bears my personalised registration number TED 20.

The car is in regular use, but does not cover a high mileage, being a third car. In my opinion I feel it is probably the best Series III, having twin Stromberg carburetters (American emission specification engine).

The performance is not staggering, but most adequate, coupled with miles per gallon figures exceeding 30 on a long run and “round town” in the region of 23.

I am most pleased with the car and a very proud owner and hope it continues to serve me for the rest of my motoring life as well as it has for the past 2½ years.

Frome, Somerset E. R. CREW

Not-so-overpriced Undesirables

Sir,

I may be able to help Mr. Haworth about the question of “over-priced undesirables?” in your June issue.

I have a small collection of older cars which I have built up over the years. Amongst them I have a 1953 Hillman Minx and a 1954 Ford Zephyr. The Hillman I bought from a local garage, the Ford through MOTOR SPORT. Both were bought about two years ago. On both occasions I paid what was asked because I thought that both were a sound investment. I have been offered nearly twice what I paid for the Hillman and have been stopped by a fellow enthusiast who offered me £300 more than I paid for the Ford. I turned down both.

Personally, I don’t consider any car undesirable and derive as much pleasure in cleaning and driving my Silver Dawn as cleaning and driving the Hillman.

Parkgate, Cheshire GEOFFREY BOSTON

Requiem for a dying breed?

Sir,

Motor racing improves the breed. How often have we heard that oft-used cliché and how often have we observed this to be fact? In the past fifty years we have seen many makes of automobile heading the field of international races with remarkable success finding that these racing machines were progenitors of sophisticated road cars whose performance and handling were mirrored by the lessons learned from competition. Teleologically speaking the foregoing statement is not exactly correct as the road car had to come first and racing was an excellent method of proving the machine both to the manufacturer and, if it was successful, to the public.

One make of car that grew in stature from this feed back of knowledge on the circuits was that breed named out of respect to Sir William R. Morris Bt., otherwise known as MG. Many memorable results, as SeIlar and Yeatman would put it, were achieved by these cars notably the 1931 JCC Double Twelve and the RAC TT in 1933, in the latter instance driven by none other than the flying Mantuan, Nuvolari.

To complement these results many international records were set, the most incredible being the class G at Dessan on 31-5-39 where Goldie Gardner clocked 203.2 m.p.h. over the measured mile. This from an 1,100 c.c. engine. A rebore in situ to raise the capacity over 1,100 c.c. resulted in a set of class F records three days later!

After the war project EX 182 gave birth to the MG-A. Three of these were entered at Le Mans in 1955 and although this is race most people wish to forget, the MG personnel must have been contented at a two out of three finish. The future of the MG and all that it stood for seemed secure.

This year is the fiftieth birthday of the MGCC and as such is a milestone in any one make dub. How sad it is to have to say that the MG as a car is now dead. I suppose the purists have been saying that since the introduction of the TD (as I have owned one for ten years I would argue the point). Nonetheless, I can think of no more an insulting way to honour the golden anniversary of the MG than the “special” gold splashed, polyurethane bumpered MG-B that British Leyland has produced to commemorate this occasion.

Is this the way that Cecil Kimber would have wished his life’s work to be acknowledged by Britain’s largest (?) car manufacturer?

I think not.

Little Aston, Staffs. M. N. RUSHTON

Ferrari Service

Sir,

After having read J.W.’s report on Maranello I should like to point out that not all we Ferrari owners are over 40 and suffering from geriatric incontinence. As the Dinos especially get older—and therefore cheaper— the owners get younger.

These relatively young enthusiasts like myself, although financially forced to maintain their machines themselves, still enjoy doing so. It would be useful therefore for Maranello to have a customer liaison department (as other firms do) to cater for the lesser technically initiated of the clientele.

It is impossible to obtain sufficient information in English at the moment to undertake the bigger jobs satisfactorily. This lack of service backing is tending to put off would-be owners of a used example of one of these magnificent and unequalled bolides.

Birmingham ROGER C. COTTERELL

[How do exotic car owners fare generally? Does a high price guarantee good or bad service? We’d be interested to hear readers’ not-too-embittered comments.—Ed.]

Motoring in Belgium

Sir,

Following with interest the current state of motoring in the UK through your often fascinating columns, I detect an increasing note of alarm in recent issues concerning developments in the compulsory testing of vehicles. I have not personally experienced the MoT test for some time. However, I have learned to live with the system as it exists here in Belgium, the following description of which may be of interest as a taste of what could one day come in the UK.

All vehicle testing is carried out in government-operated stations, annually for cars over four years old and twice annually for commercial vehicles. Motorcycles are, surprisingly enough, exempt from the test. The vehicle owner receives by post a card reminding him of the date by which his vehicle must be presented. The test costs approx. £3 for a private car. The certificate of roadworthiness consists of a card, valid one year, with some ninety different items specified on it, covering everything from the structure to the driver’s seat backrest. Against each of these items a hole can be punched by the examiners, signifying deficiency on that point. Two holes punched against any one item signify failure of the test, involving a re-test after repair of the defective items. The card is holed for such diverse shortcomings as a scratched windscreen, imperfect headlamp reflectors, condition of driver’s seat (e.g. a tear in the material), excessive carbon monoxide content in the exhaust gas (it pays to have this checked at a suitably equipped garage just before the test), headlamp adjustment (optically measured), a bumper out of true— or missing, imperfect exhaust system, excessive smoke. The structure and running gear must be absolutely sound. Two holes on any one point means a failure; I have for example seen a car failed for a visibly rusty door, which otherwise functioned normally. The car must also be equipped with safety triangle, and approved fire extinguisher and first aid kit.

The testing station, in issuing the card simultaneously punches any relevant holes in a duplicate card which is kept in their records. In this way the government has on file the bill of health for every car registered in the country that is subject to the test. A car for sale must have passed the test within a month before it is sold. This responsibility lies clearly with the seller, and applies to all second-hand vehicles, including those less than four years old.

All motor vehicle registration numbers belong to the government, and a car changes its number each time it changes owner. The fee for re-registering a car with a new number is £6, and this includes a fresh registration card and a new rear number plate. The car’s owner then has to have a matching front plate made up, a job any competent shoe repairer is equipped to do. The issue of a number plate automatically results in road tax being charged for the vehicle concerned and legally obliges the owner to keep it insured. A number plate which is not in use (for example if a car is sold but no new car registered on the old number) must be returned to the government within two months to be destroyed. Failure to do this results in an automatic fine of £7, payable by post.

Road tax, which is based on fiscal horsepower, is very reasonable for smaller cars— £7.50 for a Daf 33 or £10 for an R4. A VW 1500 costs £23 and a Citroen DS19 £40. It thence climbs progressively to approaching £300 for a really big American model. Road tax demands are issued automatically from a central computer, and failure to pay on time results in an automatic reminder with built-in fine. There is no road tax disc to be displayed on the windscreen as in England, nor does one have any proof of having paid it in the car’s papers. The system itself automatically ensures that the road tax is paid on every car registered, and saves the police much time in the process.

Twenty-five per cent VAT is payable on all new cars and on all used car transactions, both private and through a dealer. The minimum value on which the tax is payable depends on the car’s age and price when new. As the government has complete control of all vehicle registrations and since every change of ownership must be registered in order to obtain plate and papers, this iniquitous piece of legislation—which incidentally contravenes EEC policy—is easily administered.

There is a note of relief for owners of older cars. The VAT on cars over ten years old is charged on no specified minimum value, and can thus be purely nominal. The road tax for cars over five years old is reduced by 25%, and once a car achieves the ripe old age of twenty-five, the road tax is reduced to £2.50 regardless of fiscal horse-power. (France is even more generous, with no road tax at all for such cars.)

A driver must at all times carry the car’s documents, his driving licence, and proof of his identity. To this end, every resident in the country is issued with an identity card by his local town hall, which he or she is legally obliged to carry at all times, and may be asked to produce by any police officer.

So, how do you like the sound of it? Brave new motoring world just across the Channel? It sounds worse than it is in fact, and even has certain advantages. Or am I just thoroughly conditioned after a few years of it? Like it or not, you may be sure that the British government will gradually and inevitably take steps to increase its control of motor vehicle roadworthiness and registrations, just as has happened here, where less than ten years ago, after all, they didn’t even have driving licences.

St. Pieters Kapelle ANDREW MacLAGAN

Land Rover Estate Cars

Sir,

With reference to the letter in the June MOTOR SPORT headed “First of Many”, enquiring about a Land Rover Estate car.

I have a 1949 model of this vehicle which I am in the process of restoring to its original condition. The Rover Owners’ Association of which I am a member, has been most helpful in supplying information about the original specifications for the interior, so J. M. Brereton has been misled if he is of the opinion that Rover do not know of the existence of such a vehicle.

The vehicle that I possess differs from your photograph in that it has a one-piece windscreen and not the divided one. I purchased this vehicle in a very delapidated condition as it had been standing for a number of years, however, within minutes, unbelievably, the engine started and I was able to drive it on to my trailer.

I also own a 1950 Series 1 80 in. Land Rover which was also found in a very sad condition, but which after being rebuilt has competed successfully in trials and last year took a prize in the Concours d’Elegance at the National Land Rover Rally.

May I add that neither of these vehicles is for sale but I would appreciate any information from your readers as to the whereabouts of any new spare parts for Series 1 80 in. Land Rovers.

Birmingham W.E. BEESLEY

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