Thank you for the kind things you wrote about our record attempt in last month’s Editorial. I thought that I should write to explain a few points.
First it is the National 1000-mile record that we are waiting to be confirmed by the RAC and not the 1000 kilometres. Secondly, I do not think that Mr. Goodacre was at the start, but Pat Driscoll was, which perhaps explains the confusion. Thirdly, a banked track would have been more suitable, but none was available to us with the exception of Monza which was too expensive. As we were trying to set a record and not break one a very high speed was not essential. Goodwood suited us very well as it was level, the cost was reasonable and the people in charge were extremely helpful.
Regarding the non-originality of the car, I plead mitigating circumstances. I had spent five years restoring a Nippy to original condition. Unfortunately it broke its crankshaft which is a failing with Sevens. While trying to find a cure for this I discovered a method which would result in an unoriginal-looking engine. Although it was unsuitable for the Nippy the idea was intriguing and the record attempt justified building it. Originality did not matter for this purpose, but the idea was to keep the car looking as authentic as possible. The modifications we allowed ourselves were similar to those that the Works carried out before the war on their own sports cars. Several friends joined me in the project but I paid for the building and preparation. As I am only an ordinary working man the cost had to be kept down, hence the home-made plastic body. This enabled the car to be built for less than £300 which was about the current price of an aluminium body. This cost though excluded the special engine and other modifications which were added later. Personally, I would not have considered using a completely genuine sports Austin car for this attempt because of the risk of damaging irreplaceable parts. It isn’t so much the expense as the feeling of guilt if items of historic interest are destroyed.
We are all very grateful to our sponsors and the many people who helped in various ways to make this attempt possible.
Worthing, Chris Gould