Letters from readers, June 1941

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Sir,

It would be interesting to hear from any of your readers who have played about with the Type 40 Bugatti. My own (No. 40470, year 1929) purchased very much secondhand just before this war nonsense started—has proved the veritable “Molsheim Morris Cowley,” after the following work was carried out:—

Solid exhaust-valves were fitted, big end brasses soldered and riveted to rods. All bearings taken up. Camshaft ground on journals and new brasses fitted to camshaft box.

The block was treated to a regrind and Aerolite pistons.

A clutch-stop cunningly contrived with a disc bolted to gearbox shaft-flange and Ferodo pad on the clutch actuating-arm gives a silent engagement of first gear except from dead cold. The Autovac was scrapped in favour of an “Autopulse” pump; I welded two stub inlet-pipes to a plate bolted direct to the block, and fitted two S.U. carburetters from a 14-h.p. M.G. after blocking up the water-flow holes to the old manifold. This conversion has much improved the general smoothness and given me 27 m.p.g. on “Cesspool,” which seems to work all right provided the loud pedal is not depressed too suddenly. The car has a very good aluminium three-seater body by Jarvis and is being used for business hacking, H.G. duties, and an occasional all-too-short joy-blind. It is always ready and reliable.

My MOTOR SPORT is much appreciated these days. Congratulations.

I am, Yours etc.,

L. L. HANKS.

Theale .

*   *   *   *   *

Sir,

I have recently come across a letter by Mr. Patrick Green, published in your February issue, in which he took exception to my remarks in my article, “Those Who Work and Those Who Don’t,” published in your November issue, as being unkind to Raymond Mays and that I had implied that Mays lacked motor-engineering knowledge or ability.

I do not usually care to engage in controversy in the Press, but must in this case take up my pen to reply, as apart from anything else, I have the privilege of counting Raymond Mays as one of the best friends I made during my few years’ happy association with British motor racing, and also because some of your readers might have seen Mr. Green’s letter but not my article, and last, but by no means least, my reply is in no way controversial.

I wish to state here and now that I did not in any way mean to imply that Raymond Mays lacked engineering ability or knowledge of cars. The whole and only point of the article was to contrast drivers who actually enjoyed the manual work on their cars with those who preferred to confine themselves to the art of driving. I did not mean to question their engineering knowledge in any way. If Mr. Green misunderstood me, as some others might have done, it must have been due to my own failure in expressing myself more clearly, for which I beg to tender my sincere apologies. As for my remarks about Mays’s clean overalls, it was merely a friendly jest which I feel sure Mays would be the first to appreciate.

Lastly, although I have written some articles “extolling” my cousin, B. Bira, owing actually to the fact that the editors naturally wanted me to write upon something I knew about, it does not necessarily mean that I have not been fully aware of the undoubted gifts and ability of other drivers, and I hope that when my new book, “Life of Dick Seaman,” sees daylight in the near future, this fact will be clearly demonstrated.

I am, Yours etc.,

CHULA OF THAILAND.

Rock,

Cornwall.

*   *   *   *   *

Sir,

I would like to congratulate you on maintaining the very high standard of pre-war MOTOR SPORT in these difficult times. Your “Cars I Have Owned” series I find of the greatest interest, but may I ask that you should at all costs prevent your correspondence columns from becoming the battle-ground between those two gentlemen who almost monopolise the space in your weekly contemporaries at the present time? Wonderful cars though the 8-litre Bentley and “3.3” Bugatti undoubtedly are, the unending and acrimonious flow of letters from their proud owners, each loudly trumpeting the virtues of his vehicle at the expense of the other, becomes more than irritating when carried to these extremes of childishness.

Having had more than 15,000 miles’ experience with the Mercury, I agree with Mr. Gandhi that the acceleration and the petrol consumption of at least 20 m.p.g. are very good, but no more outstanding than the much cheaper Ford “V.8,” and in addition any cross-breeze stronger than the gentlest zephyr makes the car undrivable at over 60 m.p.h. Mr. Gandhi’s comparison of the S.S. and Bentley makes it obvious that his knowledge of the latter cannot be extensive or he would not have indulged in this unfortunate juxtaposition. There is one car which is rarely mentioned and which, in its post-1937 Series II form, has no equal at under £1,500 for acceleration, comfort, road-holding and silence; I refer to the Railton. Your road-test of September 1938 emphasised these good points, and having run two of these cars for many thousands of trouble-free miles I can fully confirm them. Before buying my second Railton I tried the twelve “finest cars” produced in this country, the U.S.A. and the Continent, but for a general-purpose, fast touring car could find no equal to the Railton in its latest form. It is curious that no other Anglo-American hybrid has been able to combine the best of both types, as the Railton has done.

I am, Yours etc.,

CAVALRY OFFICER.

Army P.O..