Letters from Readers, June 1946

Author

admin

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

Sir,
To anybody carefully following the discussions reported in the motoring Press concerning the de-requisitioning of Donington, the statement made recently by the Government spokesman in the House of Commons that the owners were not demanding the return of their property for its pre-war use must have occasioned little surprise.

One can only assume the present arrangement is more attractive than the early rehabilitation of the course and facilities for racing.

We are therefore faced with the fact that unless some alternative venue is found, countless enthusiasts will be unable to watch or participate in motor racing for some years, at least, in this country.

In view of this position, might I suggest a meeting be held at which all the clubs who were organisers of road or track races in the pre-war years be represented, and a committee formed which would consider (a) the examination and subsequent recommendation for approval of a suitable venue, and (b) the opening of a fund to cover hire and expenses connected with such venue. The enquiry to cover wartime aerodromes and existing privately-owned sites.

Several aerodromes exist near London or the Midlands which, if approved, could become the headquarters of such clubs as the B.A.R.C. and the B.M.C.R.C. (Naturally the review would cover motorcycling as well as car interests), and in which case certain of the assets from these clubs would presumably be available, subject, of course, to the members’ consent; also hangars might be available for tuning sheds and a clubhouse.

This suggestion may be ambitious, but it is felt that unless some such action be taken and a co-ordinated effort made by all the bodies concerned, a track will not be usable for several years, by which time much enthusiasm will necessarily have been diverted into other channels.

It is realised that it might take several years to bring a site into a state of perfection, but some facilities would be to hand almost at once.

A joint effort would be needed, and the lack of such effort has been the motoring fraternity’s weakness in the past. What an anomaly will occur if a British team of “Grand Prix” is built that can only race abroad!
I am, Yours, etc.,
L. E. Good.
Sevenoaks, Kent.

Sir,
Mr. Graham C. Dix is quite correct in his designation of the initials D.K.W. Local enquiry states Deutsche Kraft Wagen, but the vehicle is known too as Das Kleine Wunder. — a form of publicity, no doubt.

In recent weeks I have ridden, for short distances only, in a variety of German cars. Outstandingly popular is the little D.K.W. and it certainly has something in the matter of springing. This item is particularly well tried over these cratered roads. The “Wanderer” seems to be sprung on the hard side but is quite comfortable. The smaller Mercédès is not so hot. Rolls somewhat on corners and does not deliver as one would expect from such a name on the bonnet. The B.M.W. always calls forth praise. There are a couple running round here which appear to be powered by small two-stroke engines. I haven’t been able so far to get close to one of these, and I never remember seeing any such B.M.W. model in England. An Adler recently proved safe under bad conditions, and had a fair show of power. I don’t like the steering on these f.w.d. cars. There is no play whatever in the wheel and the slightest touch sends the job across the road in double quick fashion. Rather unsettling at first.

In your report on the Fitton Speed Trials you make passing mention of the competing ‘bikes, but give no comparative times. I am sure that many of your readers will be, like myself, ex-bike enthusiasts, and just the bare times would be greatly appreciated. I am thinking mainly of the day when bikes are competing at Shelsley Walsh; for those of us who won’t be able to see it the two-wheeled times would be most interesting. Though I prophesy they won’t touch fastest time of day.

Perhaps the most fascinating moment of this European campaign occurred in December of last year when a young Guard’s officer brought a “2/3” Bugatti along a restricted(!) ammunition road in Belgium at a splendid rate of knots. The staff officer occupying the other half gave bags and bags of straight on arm-waving jargon to the Military Police pointsman, who was completely shattered by the close passage. As the superb exhaust note faded down the tree-lined straight the pointsman shook his head and said softly, more in sorrow than in anger, “And I’m supposed to book every so-and-so doing over fifteen down this road!” A few moments later a furiously driven car of normal design, presumably housing the staff officer’s aides, came careering down the same stretch. As the box-like body got closer the pointsman eased in to the shelter of the roadside where he watched its gyrations with an awed expression. There is a moral somewhere I think.

Finally, may I add my congratulations to the many. Motor Sport stands out as the journal of this day. The very best of luck for the future.
I am, Yours, etc.,
K. Dixon.
B.A.O.R.

Sir,
Congratulations to you and “Baladeur” on your reconjugation.

Anent M. Mathis and Henry Ford – “Weight is the evil.”

When M. Mathis saw the Ford V8 on its first appearance in the Grand Salon for the French Motor Show, he said: “Never, in the history of the automobile, has a car been produced for so little money and capable of consuming so much fuel.”

In those days M. Mathis prided himself on the fact that he produced a car for every taste and pocket. The variety of models he produced must constitute a record for one manufacturer. Indeed it led to the opposite extreme. His factory later produced Ford cars in France. Hence “Matford.”
I am, Yours, etc.,
A. J. P. Deacon (Lt.).
B.A.O.R.

Sir,
The introduction of a new Rolls-Royce “Silver Wraith” is inevitably, understandably and perhaps even justifiably heralded by fanfares and general ballyhoo. The latest product is certainly noteworthy. For the first time in 40 years the Rolls-Royce company offers a really wieldy short-wheelbase chassis that should handle like a sports car and yet can carry a roomy body. The gear ratios are particularly pleasing. The old square “face” is still there; one is especially grateful that it hasn’t been birdcaged; and though it does look a trifle odd mounted so far forward, the foot-and-a-half less wheelbase is worth while on a large car of high performance. I also commend the reasonably eyeworthy dashboard, which avoids the modern craze for functionless ornate pressings and plastics almost devoid of dials.

But having contributed my quota of homage to a motor-car that I only wish I could afford, horrid, unworthy, questioning thoughts assail me. Was it, for instance, really necessary to go to America for a carburetter? Granted that Messrs. Stromberg make a very elegant gasworks, it still comes as a shock to find that the Rolls-Royce people apparently consider it better than their own. A three-spoked steering wheel is definitely retrograde, though maybe we should be glad it isn’t the modern two-spoke horror. No one questions the mechanical adequacy of the new rear axle, but why was the beautiful fully-floating axle — itself the subject of much ballyhoo in its time — abandoned? Surely it hasn’t taken 40 years to decide that semi-floating shafts are better? Or — but what am I saying?can it be that cost is being rated above engineering aesthetics, just as in any mass-produced car? And if synchromesh is really a good thing on top, third and second gears, why not also on the pleasantly high and usable bottom gear?

To anyone who has experienced the comfort and ready adjustability for height of simple torsion-bar-cum-wishbone front springing, the Rolls-Royce system seems needlessly complex and even quaintly archaic. What are its special virtues? I speak feelingly, for the worst car I ever owned had what looks on paper like a near relative of this system. I am not impressed by the quoted power output, even when unsilenced, though doubtless it is more than adequate. The 4-litre Bentley “Town Carriage” of sixteen years ago, for the assembly of which Rolls-Royce Ltd. were largely responsible, had the same valve arrangement (indeed it was a flatteringly similar engine) and developed some 15 per cent. greater b.m.e.p. on a 14 per cent. lower compression ratio. Progress? And what is the reason for not chromium-plating the whole cylinder bore? Not cost, surely? Then what? But enough of this cavilling and carping. No doubt Rolls-Royce Ltd. have all the answers. May we share them, please?
I am, Yours, etc.,
J. R. Edisbury.
Hooton Farm,
Cheshire.
[Well, well! We invite Rolls-Royce Ltd. to explain matters to Mr. Edisbury. — Ed.]

Sir,
I could not quite see the mathematics of Mr. Clutton’s letter re the road test of the Gregoire. If this engine has had its power deliberately restricted by throttling, a volumetric efficiency of 65 per cent. and a manifold pressure of 9-10 1b. at 4,000 r.p.m. would seem all that one might expect. With a 7-lb. supercharge the manifold pressure rises to 21-22 lb., and as this is at least double it would appear that one would not be too optimistic in expecting the horsepower to increase from 15 to 25.

The only way I can see Mr. Clutton obtained his 22-h.p. with a completely efficient supercharge, is to say 7 lb. is 50 per cent. approximately of atmospheric pressure and hence the horsepower increase will be 50 per cent., i.e., 15 to 22.

If I am omitting some hidden mysteries, I should be pleased to have them cleared up for my own edification.
I am, Yours, etc.,
P. A. Ward.
Esher.

Sir,
In your report of the Elstree Sprint, in the May issue, under “All the Times,” no mention is made of my time on my unblown 747-c.c. Austin . Seven, which was 23.2 secs. I was runner-up in the 750-c.c. Super-Sports class, which was also not recorded.

I think this a pity, as the time proves that the unblown Austin Seven, even in near-standard form, far from being a self-propelled roller-skate, as S/Ldr. Boothby and others would have us believe, is, on measured performance, quite capable of more than holding its own with the more leisurely type of larger sports car.

Our time actually bettered five assorted Bentleys up to 6 1/2 litres, the 7 1/2-litre twincam Duesenberg, the 4-litre GrahamPaige, two Alvises, a Frazer-Nash, and A. Heal’s 3-litre Sunbeam.

As a trials car, the Austin Seven is, of course, unsurpassed, as proved by the “Grasshopper” team in the 1938-39 trials season.
I am, Yours, etc.,
A. M. R. Mallock
(Capt., R. Signals).
Catterick.
[The list of times was a “Stop Press” effort and we are sorry some were inadvertently omitted. We have heard praiseworthy reports of Mallock’s get-away on his 23.2 sec. run. He was not given as being second in the super-sports class, as we understood there were only two runners. — Ed.]

Sir,
We would like to correct a misstatement in your May issue concerning the Elstree Speed Trials.

You said that our Mr. R. J. Canham was running an “over-bored” Allard. This is not so. The car used was that run by Mr. S. H. Allard at the Filton event, at the Southampton Club hill climb, and in many trials. It is fitted with the genuine “Mercury” engine which, in addition to the larger bore, also has a more robust crank than the 30-h.p. V8.

As you no doubt know, there are certain Allards running which have had their 30-h.p. blocks bored out to “Mercury” dimensions, but in this case, the car mentioned is the only Allard made with the actual “Mercury” engine as fitted.
I am, Yours, etc.,
H. L. Biggs
pp. The Allard Motor Co., Ltd. London, S.W.2.
[We were wrongly informed by a member of the Allard staff. — Ed.]

Sir,
We have never had an article on the Riley 12/6 engine; I should think Peter Berthon could write a most interesting one as he was responsible for the development of the “White Riley” from the standard product. I believe the limiting factor was the water-cooled centre main bearing, as it is of very large diameter and rubbing speeds got too high. It was for this reason that the E.R.A. and Freddy Dixon’s engines had that peculiar roller centre main bearing. Nobody has ever revealed what b.h.p. Dixon got out of the long-stroke 2-litre engines, but it must have been colossal as he lapped during a “500” at 132 and was timed to lap at 135 in practice. As it takes over 180 b.h.p. to push a “2.3” Alfa round at 129 (record lap for a “Monza”) Dixon’s engine must have been very nearly as good. No doubt his frontal area was a good bit less than that of the 2-seater Alfa body.
I am, Yours, etc.,
H. K. Hardy
Clinton,
Northants.

Sir,
I have read your May issue with interest, and, in fact, always do when it is possible to obtain it. Unfortunately, in your article “Monkhouse Makes F.T.D. at Elstree,” you state that Peter Monkhouse won the match race with the fastest motor-cycle. I would like to point out to you that this is not so, the actual times in this match race were:

M. D. Whitworth, 348-c.c. Velocette, 16.2 secs.
P. Monkhouse, 2,263-c.c. Bugatti, 16.4 secs.

I should be obliged if you would correct this error in your next issue.
I am, Yours, etc.,
V. Lovett, Hon. Sec.
Watford & District M.C. & L.C.C.

Wembley Park,
Middlesex.