tHE STOUT HEARTED TALBOT TEN: A SMALL BRITISH SPORTS COUPE CAPABLE OF A FINE PERFORMANCE WITH A FULL LOAD

THE STOUT HEARTED TALBOT TEN

A SMALL BRITISH SPORTS COUPE CAPABLE OF A FINE PERFORMANCE WITH A FULL LOAD

SINCE the Talbot Ten was introduced a few years ago, it has built up a reputation for performance and refinement which has been enhanced by various successes in trials and rallies. At first glance it appears to be a small car, but though the wheelbase is only 7 ft. 9 in. and the track 4 ft., while the

engine is of 1,185 c.c., it turns out to possess the qualities and capabilities of a car with much larger dimensions.

On the Occasion of the present test, the driver was attending a speed trial, as one of the organisers, and it was necessary to convey a considerable quantity of equipment to the course. Quite frankly, the first impression was that one would never find enough room. Anyone who has attempted to run a motoring event will appreciate the amount of equipment which is necessary.

However, gradually the car was loaded up, and, as the reverse of the magic cruse, it never seemed to be getting full. More and more space seemed to become available, till in the end the driver had got in practically as much as would have been possible in his own car, of considerably greater size.

This equipment, as a matter of interest to sporting enthusiasts, included no fewer than ten reels of heavily insulated cable, with a total length of 1,000 yards, an electric timing apparatus, two telephones, and a large number of oddments, quite apart from personal luggage. The weight of the cable alone was enormous. Cruelty to a small car, it may be said. So it was thought, indeed, and word was left that the driver might be expected back after a short trial, to unload some

of the weight. However, the next surprise that the Talbot Ten provided, after its capaciousness, was its steadiness under load. Whereas it had been expected that the springs would bottom, at any rate if one travelled fast, and if the surface were not dead smooth, and that the car, with so much weight on board, might roll on corners, none of these things happened. Even the acceleration of the little car

from slow speeds did not seem seriously impeded, though all that weight must have made some difference.

The car was handled in a gingerly manner at first, but evidently it was quite happy with its load, and. the speed was gradually increased till op the open road one was cruising at 55 to 60 m.p.h., exactly as one would have expected with the car empty. It is a fact that even at this and higher speeds, on not a single occasion .did the springs bottom. Actually the highest speed recorded during the test was attained with the full load on board, and the car perfectly steady. This was 75 m.p.h. actual speed, allowing for correction of the speedometer, which was 8 per cent. fast, by means of stop watch tests. Conditions were favourable, that is to say there was a slight downhill slope, but subsequently,

without the load on board, 72 m.p.h. was attained on the level.

Some emphasis has been laid on the steadiness of the Talbot with a heavy weight in the back, but it is not unusual for cars to be steadier when loaded up. Frequently, however, this applies chiefly to larger cars with soft suspension, and on a small car a big weight is a disadvantage, or alternatively, with the weight removed, there is a tendency to bounce about.

With the Talbot empty and in its normal trim, however, one noticed very little difference, and the suspension remained outstandingly good. This says a lot not only for the springs but for the hydraulic shock-absorbers, and it is certain that the car, despite its small dimensions, would be eminently suitable for fast touring either with one up or with four passengers.

It is supplied either as a saloon, a fourseater tourer, or as a foursome coupe, and upon the present occasion it was the coupe which was being tested. A feature of this coupe body is the ease with which .the hood may be put up or

taken down. There are no awkward catches or tricks about folding the material, and it can be, folded easily with one hand when the screen fasteners are undone. No hood bag is. supplied as standard, but this is scarcely necessary, except, perhaps, to keep out dust, as there are two straps with snap fasteners 'which hold the hoodwhen it is down quite firmly. No tendency was noted, even at 70 -m.p.h. with the car open, for the hood to rattle or for the material to blow out. The spare wheel is enclosed in the tail, and there is room for a certain. amount of small luggage in the rear locker with the lid closed.Most of this space, however, is taken up by the wheel, and the folding irons which hold the lid further curtail the space in the locker itself. However, it is intended that if luggage is not to be carried in the extremely roomy rear seating compartment, it should be strapped upon the lid of the boot, which when open folds flat in a con venient manner, • Considering the speed range and flexibility on top gear, the car seemed a little low geared, at any rate by sporting criteria, on the indirect ratios. One had to push the car rather unduly, for instance, to reach 50 m.p.h. on third. However, the coupe is designed more for comfort than for sports work, and the open tourer has higher gears. The ratios in each case are : Closed Cars, 19.6, 13.7, 8.16, and 5.44

to 1. Open cars, 18.0, 12.65, 7.5 and 5,0 to 1.

The gearbox itself is worthy of favourable mention. All four gears are of synchromesh type, and the change on all speeds is swift and easy. The delightful gear change alone tempts the enthusiast to use the box, and to wish for the higher ratios, for although no doubt the manufacturers know best, it seemed that the coupe at any rate would pull the higher gears.

Petrol consumption worked out at 32 m.p.g., including a long, fast run out and back, running at close to 60 m.p.h.

most of the time, without any sense of the car tiring, and in between whiles a great number of short journeys and much stopping and starting. The tank at the rear holds 8i gallons.

The brakes are of the self-energising type, and are well up to the standard of performance. The handbrake is between the front seats, convenient to operate but getting in no one's way. The battery is mountedin the dash, and the instrument panel provides a speedometer Marked both in m.p.h. and in k.p.h., which should be useful for Con

tinental touring. The short wheelbase of the car is also an advantage in this respect, as regards the cost of freight. Altogether the Talbot proved itself most adaptable. It was warm and comfortable with the hood up and the glass windows, when a chilly wind was blowing, and when the sun came out it was pleasant to drive with the hood down. It proved its paces with a full load, incidentally there is a folding arm rest for the rear

passzligers. The price of the coupe is 285.