Hard Hittin'

Murray Robinson had a hard-punching article against sports-car owners, sports-car races and "hot-rod" folk in Collier's dated April 4th, under the title of "The Sports Car Set Rides Again." Point was lent to his sneers at specials-builders and beret-wearing sports-car drivers by some fine caricatures of such cars and people by cartoonist Hess.

Robinson punches hard, bringing into his criticism such well-known American sports-car lovers as Dave Garroway, NBC television star, Ralph Stein, author of Sports Cars of the World, Walter von Schonfield of New jersey, H. L. Brundage, Secretary-Treasurer of the Florida region of the S.C.C. of America. and Herb. Skinner, NBC television wit and sponsor of New York's International Motor Sports Show. The main cartoon is clearly intended to suggest, amongst others, M.G., Morgan, and Ferrari, although we find it difficult to understand why the saloon car round which they are circulating looks more like an early Singer Junior than an American gin-palace.

Robinson tells us that the foreign car cult is growing in the States - that whereas only 464 new and 1,962 used foreign cars were imported from 1940 to 1945 inclusive, from 1946 to 1952 inclusive the figures were 113,409 new and 2,693 used foreign cars. Indeed, last year 30,000 new foreigners came in, including 200 M.G.s weekly. The author, before cocking a snook at all aspects of the game, remarks that although this number is small compared to the 1952 output of 4,320,788 American passenger cars, " . . one little foreign sport car can make a lot of noise and attract much attention." Incidentally, he prices an M.G. at just over 2,000 dollars, a Morgan at 2,500, a Jaguar at about 4,000 and a Ferrari at 14,000 dollars.

We thought at first, here is an immense well-written leg-pull until Robinson saw fit recall that a seven-year-old boy was killed during last year's Watkins Glen road race, asking why "the speedbolls were racing through the narrow main stem of a small town in the first place."

If you are thick-skinned. Robinson's remarks will slide off like water from a wax-polished custom body. If you are sensitive, give Collier's a miss. In any case, Murray Robinson does say of "the foreign sport-car craze" that ''For my dough, it should have stopped in the Alps and the corkscrew roads of Italy, France, and jolly old England, where it came from."