I do not suppose that I shall be hanged for having my say, which has to do with the comparison of British and foreign cars, more particularly the sports or sporting type. In an extremely interesting article, a certain well-known enthusiast, with a weight of experience behind him, has expressed the view that British sports cars are not up to much. May I humbly venture to question the veracity of that statement? In the article in question the writer has consistently compared the larger and more expensive type of high quality motor car: Lagonda, Alvis, Bugatti, Delahaye, etc., to the detriment of British cars. If the author had said, “In this class of car the British are a long way behind the Continental firms as regards performance,” then, perhaps, I might have been induced to agree with him. As, however, he seems to include all classes and sizes of cars in his statement, I think that he is wrong in what he says. The writer of the article in question seems to be particularly fond of French cars, and holds them up to the British manufacturers as an example of what should be done over here. I should like to ask the writer of that article a question, however: “Do you think, Mr. Hampton, that the French, or any other Continental firms, have ever produced, or could ever produce, a small, cheap, reliable sports car which could possibly compare with our own galaxy of suchlike cars – M.G., Singer, Riley, Morgan, Rapier, Alta, H.R.G., Austin and many others, in any respect, particularly performance?” If I guess: aright, I think that. Mr. Hampton himself would be one of the first to admit that in this particular field Britain is a long, long way ahead of all other countries. The racing successes, too, of our 1 1/2-litre cars such as E.R.A., M.G., Alta, etc., show that now, as always, if the British really get down to the job they take a heck of a lot of beating. I want to make it quite clear that I have absolutely nothing against the Continental cars in their own field.
As regards patriotism, well, that hardly comes into it when you’ve got very little money and have to choose a small, cheap and reliable sports car to have any fun at all. That being my case, as long as our manufacturers do not “fall off in the production of small cars of the sporting type it will be British for me, first, last and all the time. There have been, I know, small French sports cars, Salmson, Ratier, B.N.C., etc., and although they had their good points, like every car has, they were poor in comparison with their British counterparts. This statement is proved, I think, by the fact that their successes in competitions, races, etc., were negligible when compared with those of the M.G., Singer and Riley companies, to name only a few. Some French friends of mine, enthusiasts for the Sport, admit quite freely that Britain is incomparably supreme in the production of small sports cars. Don’t you, in your heart, also think that that is true, Mr. Hampton?
I am, Yours etc.,
A. F. Brookes.
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