THE ALVIS SPORTS “SILVER EAGLE.
THE actual car tested by 1110TOR SPORT was the same vehicle that had earlier in its life been used as an effective, and as it proved very speedy, substitute for the famous Blue Train. Without wishing to enter into any discussion on the relative merits of cars and trains, which have lately been occupying the attention .of various manufacturers, it must be obvious that a car used as this was, had been through a fairly rough time. Continuous high speed demonstration work in the hands of many drivers, for many thousands of miles is much more likely to find out any weakness or liability
to wear, than a similar period in the hands of one owner, who, however hard he might drive, would be certain to take more care of it Therefore, when we took over the car from Henlys Ltd. for a few days we were particularly interested to observe the manner in which it had stood up to its work. It has always
been characteristic:of the standard Alvis product, that it has never led one to expect a performance which is not forthcoming. Rather it is the opposite that one finds. The Silver Eagle sports 4-seater, as will be seen from the photograph, is a thoroughly good looking but modest motorcar ; a car that anyone would be pleased to be seen in, and at the same time one that will not attract unwelcome attention by “looking fast.” Its manners from the point of view of other road users and the public in general are beyond reproach, while from
the driver’s point of view, a car which is quiet and smooth running is much pleasanter to handle on the road, and enables higher speed to be indulged in without annoying anyone.
All these points became immediately evident as we took the car out of London, but when we reached the open country we were genuinely surprised to find how its smoothness was combined with real speed capabilities. The makers’ claim is that the car is capable of 85 m.p.h. With many firms, this would mean that, given everything in its favour and time to get to it, such a
speed is possible. With the Alvis it means that it will at any time on the level reach and hold 85 m.p.h. and any stretch of a mile is sufficient distance to reach it. At this speed, which was at tamed quite a score of times in a couple of days of using the car as a fast hack, the control was all that could be wished, while
even when taking really atrocious surfaces at well over 60 m.p.h., there was never the least difficulty in holding it on the required course. Cornering is good, but it would seem that the chassis could be lowered slightly with advantage. The ground clearance is remarkably large for a sports car, and it should be possible to reduce it without difficulty. The only sign we could detect of the hard life the car had led was the fact that the hum of the indirect gears was slightly more pronounced than on a new model,
but when it is considered how many different hands must have tried their strength on that gear lever, it is a great tribute to the wearing qualities of the gear box that the change still functioned perfectly, was ,easy to manipulate, and free from any special tricks.
The brakes came up to expectations and no difficulty was experienced in bringing the car to rest in 65ft. from 40 m.p.h. on a good surface.
Bottom gear was used but little under ordinary driving conditions, starting on the level in second being common practice. This gear gives a maximum speed of 40 m.p.h., while 60 m.p.h. in third is attained without fuss. The engine is free from any vibration period in its
speed range, which is remarkably good.
Although the gears were used liberally and continuously in the open country, as we were frequently in a hurry, when in traffic top gear could be used almost exclusively if required.
The six cylinder engine is only 2,100 c.c. which makes its performance with such a generous sized body rather remarkable. Mixture is supplied by three S.U. carburrettors, and this arrangement undoubtedly contributes greatly to the very smooth behaviour of the engine at all speeds. On one occasion with rather favourable circumstances we reached 90 m.p.h. which shows that the makers’ claim of maximum speed is by no means exaggerated. The price is 2675.
WATCH THE WEATHER.
OIL companies have for many years recommended changing the grade of lubricating oil according to the season ; but in announcing a new blend of No. 1 petrol, called “Summer Shell,” the Shell people are the first in the field to provide alternative fuels for winter and summer use.
In a climate which shows a variation of about 40 deg. between the average winter and summer temperatures it is obviously extremely difficult to prepare a single blend which will satisfy the very different needs of cold and hot weather motoring. . The motorist has but to compare the routine of starting in January, say, and in June to appreciate how wide that difference is. In winter the ideal fuel should contain a big proportion of volatile elements to ensure quick starting. In summer
on the other hand volatility is not so necessary and may be a definite drawback, since a very volatile fuel on a hot summer day would waste away far too quickly with a consequent serious reduction in mileage.
In blending Summer Shell, therefore, the aim has been to subtract the superfluous, volatile quick-starting elements from ” winter ” Shell and to replace them with those which will maintain the mileage, and balance with the rest of the blend to give the utmost pulling power, ensure easy, rapid acceleration andlbe,i proof against “knocking.”
The ability to supply two alternative blends of first grade petrol is yet another indication of the vast resources at the command of the Shell group.