Letters from Readers, July 1979

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

N.B.– Opinions expressed are those of our Correspondents and Motor Sport does not necessarily associate itself with them. – Ed.

Freedom of Choice

Sir,

I was most interested to read the comments raised in the article, May 1979, regarding the possibility of a Bill before Parliament intending to make seat belt wearing compulsory for all motorists. Your philosophical arguments against the principle of compulsion were propounded some six years ago by many thousands of motorcyclists like myself who were farsighted enough to understand the implications of a “compulsory” precedent imposed upon a sector of the motoring fraternity. I noted a conspicuous lack of support for us from many areas at that time. Perhaps now that the compulsion implications are threatening a large section of the community, may we motorcyclists, as a hard-done-by minority, assume unfailing and vociferous support from your most excellent magazine and its many enthusiast readers. We lost but fight on: mostly unheard because we are by nature a fragmented minority with this country.

It may be of interest to note that the majority of States in the US have in recent years repealed compulsory helmet legislation in the face of massive collective lobbying which was very professionally and effectively organised.

If your readers agree with your editorial philosophy then join us to repeal this iniquitous law before the Government bureaucracy (of any colour) start thinking about what other areas the individual needs to be protected against himself, with no freedom of choice in the matter. It is totally abhorrent that in this society people are committed to prison for maintaining that they have a moral right to choose whether or not they wear a helmet.

Matlock

G. K. Hall

[In this country, according to the Motorcycle Action Group, one of their members is serving a sentence in Winson Green Prison, Birmingham, for no greater “crime” than riding his sidecar outfit (one of the safest of motor vehicles) whilst not wearing a helmet – he is apparently locked away for 23 hours a day in his cell in this prison, which is far from being an “open” prison. Others who have committed the identical “crime” have been put in Wormwood Scrubs and Pentonville, one having to be removed after the treatment he received from his cell mates, according to the MAG. Do you want to be in danger of the same imprisonment for forgetting, perhaps on a short, local journey, to strap yourself to your car? — or see this treatment meted out to your wife or children? Let us remain free to belt-up sensibly, but voluntarily, if we want to do so. The new Conservative Government seems to be of the same opinion, fortunately, and the proposed Act has been put to one side, at least for the time being. Ed.]

* * *

Mosport Memories

Sir,

As D.S.J. views Formula One up close with wonderment I view it from afar in the same way. However, as Europe has lost some premier circuits (Nurburgring, Spa) we in Canada appear to have lost a great spectator track: Mosport. Amenities were not always the greatest but for places to watch it is my favourite, especially Corner 5 or Moss Corner. The cars come around a very fast left-hander and dive down a steep hill at the bottom of which they experience a drop about 60 m.p.h. (from Lauda’s first book, incidentally it’s in the section The Ten Toughest Bends). A right-hander, short straight and another right-hander lead to the main straightaway on which Mark Donohue repeatedly did 210 m.p.h. in a Can-Am Porsche.

In Europe you are used to watching promising young drivers graduating to higher classes but Villeneuve is the first I have seen do this. The first time I saw him he was most impressive in a Formula Atlantic race in the rain, sponsored appropriately by a snowmobile manufacturer.

Other good memories of Mosport are of Peterson’s spectacular chase of Stewart (in the rain, again!) and Hunt, in 1976, trying to pass Peterson down the hill and after being shut off trying again in the same place and this time drawing the crowd to its feet in appreciation of skill and success. Other fond Formula One memories are Ickx getting on the power in a Ferrari in Moss Corner, Fittipaldi’s impressive domination of the 1974 race, Peterson and Depailler in the six-wheeled Tyrrell and of course the first time each year I see the Grand Prix cars fly down the hill.

Another pleasurable remembrance is of J.P. Beltoise taking the Matra out at the end of a day’s practice when the track was empty and campers quiet, preparing dinner. From my vantage point every shift and shriek from the glorious Matra engine was clearly audible.

Unfortunately, both the Matra and Mosport (for Formula One, at least) are history and Montreal, although having superior facilities, has no corner as exciting as Mosport’s Corner Five. However, Can-Am, Formula Atlantic and others still use Mosport so it has not been abandoned completely.

Thank you Motor Sport for your blend of recent and ancient (relatively!) racing histories. Thanks also to D.S.J. for his fearless and accurate commentary; possibly he could write on the modern Formula One designers and the philosophies and predictions.

Ottawa

Dave Walker

* * *

Kyalami Top Speed Day

Sir,

I read with great interest your article in the march edition of Motor Sport (received in South Africa in May) in connection with the “Top Speed Day” held at Kyalami from time to time.

On May 19th this year such a session was held and you may be interested to know that a Porsche Turbo clocked 240.89km./h. (or 150.55 m.p.h.) which equals the speed of a Formula One car of 1965! For my own part I pumped up the tyres of my 1200 Datsun and clocked a best of 133 km./h. (83.12 m.p.h.).

Your magazine is probably one of the best as far as motorsport reporting is concerned, but how about a few reports on major South African events other than the grand Prix?

Verwoedburg, South Africa

C.P. Foster

* * *

Turbochargers in the Air

The letter from Mr. A. Black, pg 207, February issue, is most interesting. Mr. Black is, of course, entirely correct as regards turbocharger efficiency increasing with altitude – the increase resulting from decreasing air intake temperature and decreasing exhaust back pressure for a given manifold pressure. A given r.p.m. (engine) and manifold pressure for given ambient conditions relating quite closely at a given air/fuel ratio to a specific b.h.p.

The PWA 1830 engine in the B24 Liberator and the Wright 1820 engines in the B17 Fortress were both GEC turbocharged with a view to ensuring adequate performance at high altitude in addition to boosting b.h.p. during the take-off phase. During the climb the mechanically driven centrifugal supercharger was used to maintain manifold pressure (boost) up to the altitude at which, with constant engine r.p.m., full throttle was obtained – the throttle being gradually advanced to maintain manifold pressure up to that altitude. Due to decrease of both air intake temperature and exhaust back pressure an increase in power at given engine r.p.m. and manifold pressure resulted – roughly 1% for 1,000 feet. This increase being in spite of decreased density but aided by the intercoolers in the next climb phase when, with turbochargers selected, the exhaust waste gate commenced to close under control of a hydraulic/mechanical servo unit and in later aircraft an early thermionic valve/electrical servo unit with inputs from manifold pressure and pilot selection and discriminatory output to the waste gate. Suitable turbo r.p.m. and manifold pressure over-ride were provided and adjustable on the ground. The waste gate then proceeded to close at height was gained at a rate such as to maintain selected manifold pressure whilst the engine CSU maintained selected engine r.p.m. The turbocharger was then making full use of the exhaust gas energy by the time the waste gate was fully closed and, of course, the engine throttle had been left fully open, with resultant maximum cruise power being obtained at maximum cruising altitude. The whole operation being steady without the need for rapid r.p.m. and manifold pressure excursions such as occur with a car – particularly one without a second stage mechanical supercharger and/or an intercooler. The turbo centrifugal unit has a steep square law characteristic and inertia – hence the Porsche 917 over-run manifold pressure off-loading and pick-up valve arrangements, for example. The characteristics and inertia are inevitable obstacles to overcome in the achievement of less “peaky” car performance as far as turbochargers are concerned. Heat dissipation and manifolding are additional problem areas. Thanks again for Motor Sport! Incidentally, was Mr. Black with 206 and/or 220 Squadrons?

I was!

Palmerston North, New Zealand

A. Smith (CEng.)

* * *

Horsepower

Sir,

Could I amplify some points in D.S. J.s article on horsepower (May issue p644). James Watt defined one horsepower as 33,000 ft./lb. per minute as a measure for rating his steam engines. One horsepower is equivalent to 746 Watts (see the connection!). Incidentally in his tests he overestimated the sustained output of a horse by around 50%. One metric horsepower is defined as 75kg./m. per second (from which Cheval Vapeur and Pferdestarke taken) or 0.9863 British horsepower.

The two test methods for brake horsepower were set by the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and DIN (Deutsche Industrie – Norm). Perhaps it would be fairer for all power-output figures to be based on chassis dynamometer tests, i.e., the power available at the wheels.

RAC horsepower (set in 1906 and once used for taxation in the UK; curiously the term is still used in Australia but taxation is on vehicle weight) was an approximate estimate of horsepower rating. It assumed a piston speed of 1,000 ft. per second and a brake mean effective pressure of 67 p.s.i. It was calculated by the formula (B-squaredN)/2.5 where B is the cylinder bore in inches and N the number of cylinders.

Finally let’s not confuse power with energy. Energy is the capacity to do work measured in ft./lb. (British) or joules (metric SI). Power is the rate of doing work ft/lb. per second (British) or Watts, i.e., joules per second (metric).

Metrication is well advanced in Australia with car specifications now given in metric SI units. Road distances are in kilometres and petrol sold in litres. Weights and measures on groceries are almost entirely metric.

Strathfield, NSW.

David Royston

* * *

Scottish V8 Specials

Sir,

A reader of your excellent journal since 1924, I was very interested in the recent correspondence on Ford V8 Specials. In Scotland we had a number of these cars and I wonder if any of them have survived. One of the most successful, if not the most glamorous, was SL 1810 owned and driven by R. K. N. Clarkson of Falkirk. Before the 1939 War I accompanied Roy in several trials, north and south of the border, and he collected a number of premier awards with it. The car was used for speed events and had fastest time of the day at Bo’ness on two occasions. In the Scottish Rally of 1939 we missed the Premier Award by less than one mark as a result of a fire in the “engine-room” on the Tuesday morning while warming up. Some of the modifications I can remember were LMB front axle, Marles steering, aluminium HC heads, high lift cams, Scintilla-Vertex magneto, limited slip diff., modified brakes. I seem to recollect that Sidney Allard [Correct spelling: Sydney Allard]crashed this car at Prescott. I enclose a photograph of Roy “raising the dust” with it on the 1 in 5 gradient of Mamb Ratagan in the Scottish Rally.

In your last issue the Jabberwock learn is mentioned. My brother Peter bought Jabberwock II, Reg. No. EW 7513, from Derek Loader and ran it with some success in trials and rallies before the 1939 War. This car actually won a Short Handicap on the Brooklands outer circuit. I also send a photograph of the car doing tests at the 1939 Blackpool Rally.

Nairn

Allan M. Grant

* * *

Books Galore

Sir,

>I naturally read with great interest your article on the Haynes Publishing Group in the June issue of Motor Sport and would like to take this opportunity to correct a small error in the text.

If we sold ten million books a year as stated we would most definitely be the world’s largest publisher of motoring and motorcycling books about three times over! No, our current correct sales figure is in the region of 2.5 million books, which ties in naturally with what we produce.

Thank you for a great magazine.

Sparkford

John H. Haynes

Group Chairman

* * *

The LSR Debacle

Sir,

May I raise for comment the long-cooled subject of the LSR debacle of the early sixties, and the subsequent treatment of the achievements of Donald Campbell? Believing that a re-appraisal of these events might reveal a more accurate picture of what really happened, I would value the opinion of anyone who had or has a view on this subject.

Was the thrust versus drive decision a fair decision? Was it anything more than just a decision? The last “barrier” for Campbell – was it water or was it the press/media? The final appreciation of Campbell’s worth – was it, and is it in retrospect, sufficient? I hope that these questions may find a forum in the only journal likely to have readers who have opinions on this subject.

London N15

P. S. Knight

* * *

The Woolworth Connection

Sir,

When Woolworth’s heiress Barbara Hutton died recently mention was made of two of her seven (!) husbands being keen racing drivers. This was indeed so — and her son.

After she paid almost a million for her divorce from Georgian Prince Alex Mdivani, the noted polo-player, she married a Dane, Count Kurt von Haugwitz Reventlow, an ex-German WWI officer, and later father of her only child Lance Reventlow, who was to race cars in Europe in 1957 and win six big USA races in ’58/59 on his own front-engine GP Scarabs (of which seven were built), following which he and “Chuck” Daigh joined the GP circus in Europe for 1960, but after Monaco, Spa and Zandvoort (where Lance lost a wheel at speed), they withdrew realising the cars were too heavy.

Lance was to die flying in 1972 but by this time his “poor-little-rich-girl” mother had married five more times. To film superstar Cary Grant in 1942, and, in 1947 to handsome Lithuanian Prince Igor Trubetskov, Chasseur in the French Army, cycle racer, skier and, from 1947, racing driver, when he finished 6th in the Coupe de Lyon on a 1.1 Simca. 1948 saw him win twice – the fabulous Targa Florio, which that year was a 1,080 kilo “Giro di Sicilia”, driving with Biondetti on the 2.0 Ferrari for 12 hours, and the Circuit des Remparts race on a Simca. He crashed at Monaco and was 9th in the Swiss GP.

1953 saw Miss Hutton marry Dominican diplomat and playboy Porfirio Rubirosa, another Ferrari sports car driver who had raced at Le Mans in 1950 when he had clutch trouble, and in 1954 when he hit a bank. That year, too, he was seen in that thrilling Mexican “Carrera Panamericana” blind with Ernie McAfee.

The great days of the newsworthy playboys! Rubirosa’s other marriages to heiress Doris Duke and actresses Danielle Darrieux, Trujillo and Odile kept up the image, so too did his death in 1965 – a lurid midnight crash in the streets of Paris (of course, in a Ferrari!).

Barbara Hutton had two more husbands, inevitably titled characters. Ex-German tennis star Baron Gottfried von Cramm in 1955, who had the distinction of becoming a beaten Wimbledon finalist three-times-in-a-row (to our Fred Perry 1935/36 and Donald Budge in 1937), and finally husband No. 7 Laotian Prince Ramon Doan Vinh Na Camapacak in Mexico 1964.

Finally, if I may, one more motor-racing connection in the story. First husband Prince Mdivani went on to marry the silent film-star “vamp” Pola Negri who had married that brilliant “Bentley Boy” Lt. Commander Glen Kidston, RN, a Le Mans winner who had countless brushes with death before his fatal 1931 London-Cape Town flight. Had he not clawed his way out of a burning air-liner, and surfaced (days later) his abandoned submarine from the sea-bed, as well as his Belfast TT crash on the Big-Six Bentley?

What excitement you could have then — if you had lots of “bread”!

Farnham

Jim Wright

* * *

Flat Spots

Sir,

Reading the road impressions of the Fiat 127 Sport and the Alfa 6 in the May issue of Motor Sport I was struck by the comment that they both suffered from carburation flat spots, this seeming to be a not uncommon malady amongst both sporting and “cooking” cars these days. My wife’s Fiat 128 3P has proved stubbornly resistant to efforts to improve its below-par performance up to that published in road-test reports, having been played with three times by the agents and once by an establishment specialising in electronic tuning, its accelerative ability being spoiled by hesitancy. Some time ago the celebrated Raymond Mays went into print extolling the virtues of the 3P and I can only assume that he employs some of his old wizardry to make it go as ours gets breathless hanging on to the skirts of Allegros and the like, the highest speed I have seen recorded after very desultory acceleration being 86 m.p.h. on a slight downgrade. Is there something about twin-choke carbs that requires a little extra know-how to eliminate flat spots and get the ultimate performance? Perhaps some of your more technically-minded readers would care to comment.

Bexhill-on-Sea

R. C. Fenning

[It sounds as though there is more to Mr. Fenning’s problem than flat spots. A 3P ought to be good for close on 100 m.p.h. – more downhill. — Ed.]

* * *

Thanks!

Sir,

I would like to thank all the marshals and other kind people who extracted me from my car at Shibden Park Hill-Climb on Saturday, May 19th, 1979 and especially to competitor, Dr. Bill Richmond who checked me over so efficiently before the ambulance arrived.

Sorry for all the inconvenience.

See you all when I have recovered, in the meantime happy motoring to all.

Nelson

Roger Shuttleworth

* * *

Hot Hogs

Sir,

It was enlightening for me to read, in the March issue, about the new breed of road hog who overtakes on the inside in Britain nowadays.

I am living in Cairo at present and the behaviour patterns on the roads are somewhat confusing to a European (“patterns” is perhaps the wrong word as it implies some form of order!). The general principle for overtaking seems to be on any side that’s available. There are rules, regulations, and even a vast number of policemen, and a system whereby offenders are fined, but these seem to have little effect on the drivers here.

In addition, the general rules of the road seem to be based on that ancient Egyptian King – “Toot and Come On” – whereby whatever manoeuvre you wish to undertake (overtaking, parking, etc.) or whatever problem or hazard confronts you, the remedy is – toot your horn and aim for any available space.

As to which side of the road to drive on the rule is again simple – you usually drive on the right-hand side of the road but sometimes you drive on the left – this applies particularly to difficult situations such as roundabouts, cross-roads, and T junctions, and also applies to quiet dual carriageways and roads with too many bumps and pot-holes on the correct side.

The approach to driving here gives an excellent example of confusion and chaos, and provides an excellent opportunity to commit all those traffic offences you have always wanted to but haven’t dared! Such as going around roundabouts the wrong way and ignoring traffic lights! I just hope I shall be able to acclimatise to driving in Britain again next autumn.

Cairo

Alan Latham

* * *

Tax on the Cherry

Sir,

Although I sympathise with P. M. Brisley (May letters) who complains of paying VAT on car tax, i.e., tax on tax, the rule for VAT is that it is chargeable on the amount of money (excluding VAT) which a customer has to pay for the goods supplied to him – in the case of a car the “money” means basic and car tax.

To explain this I think one has to go back to 1973 when VAT was introduced. Prior to this he may remember that Purchase Tax was included in the price of a car and as the intention was to have as few rates of VAT as possible, motor cars were put in the standard (10%) rate. This would have meant that the Revenue would have collected less tax from the sale of cars and I think the car tax plus Value Added Tax would yield the same amount as Purchase Tax.

As and when VAT rates change the original concept may get distorted but who can tell what Purchase Tax on cars might now be.

Mr. Brisley may remember there were many rates of Purchase Tax and the intention of VAT was to keep it as simple (!) as possible.

Bristol

R.H. Ashby

* * *

Sprite Register

Sir,

As you and your readers are probably aware, the Austin-Healey Club are forming Registers of what are known as “Big Healeys”, i.e., 100/4s, 100/6s and 3000 models.

However, your readers may not know that the Club is also attempting to form a Register of all remaining “Sprite” models, of which some 129,000 versions were produced from 1958 to 1972.

At the moment, I have details of approx. 100 Sprites, including the legendary 1967/8 Mk. 4 Le Mans version.

I would be very grateful if you would appeal to readers, on my behalf, to contact me for a Sprite Register form.

38 Howdles Lane, Brownhills, Walsall, West Midlands

Peter J. Dicks, Sprite Register Secretary, Austin-Healey Club

* * *

Lost Memorabilia

Sir,

Due to an accident amongst my memorabilia I have lost:

(a) A “Sound Stories” 45 r.p.m. record of the original V16 BRM.

(b) An 8″ x 12″ photo print of a young Mr. Moss at the wheel of the machine.

If you could help me reacquire these items by referring this letter to any enthusiast or supplier, I would be indeed grateful. Or alternatively any other tape or photo would be acceptable.

Suitable recompense will be forwarded immediately.

I am one of the original enthusiasts for the marque. An early Formula III driver, and have personally subscribed to Motor Sport since 1946.

Manly, Australia

Glyn Phillips

[Can anybody help Mr. Phillips? – Ed.]

You may also like

Related products