Concerning the LVT Special, Mr. Lionel Thomas brought this car to my workshop in Swansea as a bare chassis and said “Build me a body,” which I did. The project took me nearly two years in my spare time, with Lionel working alongside most of the time, he devoting his attention to his mechanical problems while I designed and built the body. Apart from a basic tubular frame, the body and wings I made all in aluminium. Other exceptions were fittings such as door, bonnet, boot hinges, locks etc. which, of course, had to be made in steel. The finished weight was a bit over 15 cwt. whereas Lionel had hoped for about 12 cwt. This was a lot less than Mr. Gershon’s belief of 21 cwt! However, I agree with Mr. Gershon that it was underpowered with the Riley 1100 c.c. engine, but Lionel did at least win one hill-climb event with it.
During the time we were working on this car we did test runs for various reasons. The brakes were one problem, and I remember after reaching 75 m.p.h. on the Mumbles Road, we were approaching a Belisha crossing crowded with people going to the beach. Although Lionel began braking well in advance he only just managed to stop with the front wheels on the studs! On another occasion we were descending a steep hill and Lionel pulled the steering wheel off! He just managed to jam it back on the splines in time to avoid mounting the pavement!
Some time after completion of the car Lionel approached me again, saying that he had bought an Alta all-aluminium engine and would I make the necessary alterations to the engine compartment to accommodate it. Reluctantly, I had to turn this down due to ill health and needing my spare time for other things. I now hear that it is fitted with an XK engine, which should give it plenty of poke.
Sketty, F. R. Smith.