Letter: The Amilcar Six

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Sir,

I read with much interest the article in last month’s issue of Motor Sport on 6-cylinder Amilcar, and feel that, all due respect to the writer of the article, note should be taken of one or two erroneous remarks as to the specification of the standard car.

The single universal joint was a fabric disc and not a Hardy Spicer joint  — I well remember this by the plated covering over the disc protruding into the cockpit and being very much in the way of the passenger’s comfort!

Front brakes were operated on the standard Amilcar principle, and not on the Perrot system, with push-rods through hollow king pins.

The touring equipment mentioned was of a very sketchy nature, the most fantastic difficulties being experienced in fitting in a self-starter owing to space.  I have a recollection that Mr. Vernon Balls had to have recourse 24 volts to make the starters work for T.T. races, with very small and shallow batteries under the seats.

Mention of Miss Maconochie’s car reminds me that hers was the only one imported into this country with the off-set transmission line. This was used by the Works cars that raced so successfully in the 200 Mile Race and elsewhere, in addition to the use of roller bearings throughout the engine. As far as I ever heard, no roller-bearing car came into this country otherwise. 

I well remember the car raced by the late Mr. Brian Twist, which was originally bought new by Mr. A. S. Llewellyn, with whom I was an undergraduate at Cambridge University at the time. One of the first trips I had in the car was to officiate at the Inter-Varsity Reliability Trial in the pouring rain! When the engine measurements were being taken prior to some race it was found that No. 1 cylinder’s dimensions were such as to bring the total capacity outside the 1,100 c.c, limit, but further measurements of the bores of the other cylinders showed that these were not all the same size so that the total size was just under the 1,100 c.c.! 

Mr. Llewellyn was, on one occasion, having a great race at Southport with Mr. Basil Davenport on his Frazer Nash, when the Amilcar “threw” No. 1 connecting rod, which promptly jammed the steering  —  fortunately straight ahead, and there was plenty of beach!  The Amilcar was a magnificent car and well ahead of its time, but it certainly would not have any truck with ham-fisted drivers or mechanics. On the other hand, the driver had to be a real “he-man” to stand the terrific physical discomfort of a long race. Suspension was virtually non-existent, and the torque tube left one’s left thigh cornpletely raw and bruised for a long time.

Mr. Laurence Clayton, the secretary of the Brighton and Hove Motor Club, had one with a 3-seater body and used it in trials, but did not find it quite suited to such work  —  I rather think his was the one subsequently raced so successfully by Mr. Widengren  —  the noisiest car ever known at Brooklands!

I am, Yours, etc.,

M.W.B May

Send, Surrey

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