If I may, I should like to add my mite to the Citroen correspondence. My qualifications for addressing you are very slight : I have never seen, far less driven or owned, the IICV Normale, but I have owned a Light Fifteen for the last three years. During that time, I have covered 20,000 miles on the extremely primitive roads of this Protectorate, not more than 400 of them on the thirty of forty miles of tarmac which is all that we possess. The “Beetle’s” best performance, I think, is nine slightly downhill miles in ten minutes, on a winding earth road, baked to the consistency of concrete, scattered, in places, with small stones, and deeply “corrugated” by traffic. I have three times failed on steep, muddy hills up which rear-wheel-drive cars could still climb ; but times out of number I have found that I can proceed on the level, or downhill, with perfect control at anything up to 35 mph, in such rain and slush that rear-wheel-drive cars are uncontrollable at anything over 10 mph, if they can attain such a speed. Lack of storage space is a serious problem, but can be overcome either by fitting a roof rack, or by removing the back seat ; if this last is done, a surprising amount of baggage, which in my case, is likely to include such items as a camp bed, cooking pots, pressure lamp, bucket, etc, can be carried, and the back seat can be replaced on top of the pyramid, to enable the “pantechnicon” to revert to a town carriage at need.
It cannot be said of the Light Fifteen, at any rate, that it is unsuitable for Colonial conditions ; by adjusting the torsion bars, the ground clearance can be varied from 7 to almost 10 inches ; I find about eight inches normally adequate for very rough roads, and the clean lines and swept tail make it possible to drive with impunity over switchbacks whereon the modern American car—so charming to some—will ground hopelessly. I have recently discovered that it is possible to break a torsion bar, but only by scandalous misuse in conditions such that to break the leaf of an orthodox spring, by normal driving, is a commonplace.
Moreover, none of my friends has ever called me a competent driver, but I normally expect to get a clean change from second to first at anything up to a road speed of about 16 mph, at which, to judge from the noise, “the works” are going round quite fast, and in general I find the gearbox very easy and pleasant to handle.
There are a surprisingly large number of Light Fifteens in this small Protectorate, and opinion is fairly sharply divided between their supporters and their opponents. They are, I know, not fast, but for acceleration, road-holding, suspension, steering, complete absence of dust in a very dusty country, and general good breeding I consider them to be unequalled, for their price and class and the work they have to do here.
Perhaps I had better add, in conclusion, that I am a member of the Colonial Administrative Service, and that I do not even possess any Citroen shares !
I am, Yours, etc.,
GFA Hibberd. Nyasaland.
As the present owner of Allard FGP 750, I was very interested in your article and David L Gandi’s letter.
A standard-bore Mercury engine is now fitted, mildly tuned. This has Edelbrock alloy cylinder heads, 9 : 1 compression ratio, twin Stromberg “gas works” on Edelbrock manifold. The car is still capable of holding its own in sprints, and anyone interested will find a very good article in Motor Sport for April, 1944, entitled “Detroit Magic.” In its original condition it was timed to do 0-60 mph in 8 sec, 0-83 in 16.4 sec, and 0-96 in 27 sec— Mr NJ White, please note.
Owing to residing in this remote part of the country, and for business reasons, I have not been able to partake in as many events as I would wish, but I may have the pleasure of meeting Mr Payne at one of this season’s sprints. The engine is now being fitted with a track-grind Iskendarian camshaft, which should give more urge. Incidentally, Mr Gandi, the car still has the Bugatti-type tail, and not a slab tank. I have never regretted purchasing the car, one has to drive it to experience the thrilling performance.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Harry D Pritchard. Menai Bridge.
I owned a 1938 Allard 2/4-seater in 1947—registration number EXH 455—and this car was originally registered in the firm’s name, and was, I understood, used by Mr Allard, senior.
I sold the car after eleven months’ most satisfactory service to a purchaser near Marlow, and it later went to Ireland. The car was fitted with Rudge wire wheels and hubs, with “knock off” caps.
I am, Yours, etc.
JW Parr, Edinburgh.
I understand that you say that I sold my Allard car, which was production Allard No 1 (the only other Allard at that time being the Bugatti-bodied Allard). I would like you to print the correction that I still have my Allard, and, after an extensive rebuild by Ken Wharton, I am commencing trials again.
I am, Yours, etc.,
FD Gilson. Wolverhampton
The Marque OM.
Some long time ago you gave the information that “a late type OM was reputed to be rotting in a boat shed at Hamble.”
It wasn’t rotting, it was waiting for me to get together a gold brick so I could get busy and get it on the road. Well, I never got that brick, but I did acquire a ready-made family, which put paid to my idea of open two-seater motoring.
So with much reluctance I sold it to a Mr Long of Cowplain, Hants, on the condition he brought it back for me to see and photograph— a thing I had neglected to do.
One Sunday he fulfilled his promise and I now enclose a photograph, which I thought might be of interest.
It’s a 1933 2.2-litre with the blower removed and two Girlings fitted and I should think one of the last to come into England.
When in Italy two years ago, I was interested to note that most of the railway coaches on the Rome Express were of OM manufacture, as were almost all of the fishing boat diesel engines.
I am, Yours, etc.,