Rumblings, June 1955



The New Sports Connaught
Considerable interest has been aroused by the successful showing of the new Connaught sports car in the now somewhat neglected class. The new car is built in the small Connaught factory at Ripley in Surrey, under the sponsorship of that keen, versatile and essentially cheerful enthusiast, Kenneth McAlpine. Besides driving his own cars in races, McAlpine is a frequent competitor in motor-cycle trials.

Details of the sports Connaught, which is destined for Le Mans, are as follows:

Cylinders: Four. Bore: 75 mm. Stroke: 84 mm.
Cubic capacity: 1,484 c.c.
Valves: O.H.V. (short push-rods).
Compression ratio: 9 to 1.
Power: Over 110 b.h.p. at 6,000 r.p.m.
Carburation: Two twin-choke Weber carburetters.
Ignition: 12-volt coil. Lubrication: Dry sump.

Clutch: Nil.
Gearbox: Wilson self-change. Separate from engine.
Prop.shafts: Engine to gearbox, short shaft with Layrub joints; gearbox to differential, Hardy Spicer joints.

Final drive: Connaught axle with magnesium alloy casing. Short universally-jointed, splined shafts to wheels (Hardy Spicer).

General design:
A-shaped frame of 3 3/4 in. diameter, 16-gauge tubing. One tubular central cross-member. Axle forms rear cross-bracing. Tubular front cross-member forms the oil tank.
Front suspension: Independent by torsion-bars and wishbones of unequal lengths.
Rear suspension: De Dion, with torsion-bars and parallel pairs of radius-arms on each side behind the axle.
Dampers: Armstrong hydraulic piston-type.
Wheels: Borrani Rudge-type wire or magnesium zirconium alloy, bolt on.
Brakes: Alfin/Girling drum, 21.S; 12 in. by 2 in. front, 9 in. by 11 in. rear (auto-adjusting).
Steering gear: Rack-and-pinion (auto-adjusting).
Radiator: Light alloy weighing approximately 12 lb. including oil radiator.

General :
Body: Tubular frame, 22-gauge aluminium alloy covered. Air duets for carburetters and brakes.
Tank capacity: 24 galls. approx. (three tanks, one in tail and one on each side of scuttle).
Overall length: 13 ft. 6 in. Overall width : 5 ft. 2 in.
Height to top of scuttle: 2 ft. 10 in. Wheelbase: 7 ft. 6 in.
Track: 4 ft. Ground clearance: 4 in. approx.

And Now, the Lincoln Futura
The most revolutionary and advanced vehicle ever to be driven on public highways was given its world driving premiere in New York early in March. Benson Ford, vice-president of Ford Motor Company, who drove the sleek, low-slung, twin-plexiglas dome Lincoln Future for the first time on a public thoroughfare in Central Park, called it a “$250,000 laboratory on wheels.”

“We speak of the Future as the ‘car of tomorrow’ because it embodies many advanced styling and mechanical designs which we feel will be found on future production cars,” Mr. Ford said. “Because the Futura is a completely roadworthy vehicle, it is much more valuable than an ordinary dream car.’ We expect to gather a great deal of important engineering data from it and also to test public reaction to its very advanced styling. The Futura is a visible example of the company’s forward research in engineering and styling.”

Almost 19 ft. long, 7 ft. wide and only 52.8 in. high, the Future has a low silhouette and smooth-flowing lines almost devoid of exterior ornamentation. Its all-steel body is a beautiful pearlescent, frost-blue white, painted with lacquer made from the distillation of fish scales. This unusual paint gives the body an iridescent quality. Specific features which Ford engineers are evaluating in the Future include:

Low-silhouette styling with its “shark-fin” rear quarter panels. A study will be made of the aerodynamic effect of these fins in helping to stabilise the car at high speeds.

A 330-h.p. experimental overhead valve V8 engine with modifications of such basic components as carburetter, oil-bath air-cleaner and dual fans to achieve a lower bonnet line.

Low, experimental chassis, with tubular cross-member, on a 126-in. wheelbase.

Push-button turbo-drive automatic transmission with controls on a central pedestal arm-rest. Indicator lights on the cowl in the driver’s line of forward vision show the gear being used.

Air scoops on the top of the rear fenders which direct air into the air-conditioning system and also air-cool the rear brakes. This is a development growing out of Lincoln’s three consecutive annual victories in the Pan-American road race.

Electronic safety device which prevents the car from starting with the top up and doors open.

Central focus instrument cluster with all the instruments in the steering-column binnacle. The steering wheel itself revolves around the binnacle, which includes warning lights for fuel, battery and temperature in its upper half and a speedometer and tachometer in the lower half. A compass is mounted on the cowl in front of the driver and a clock in front of the passenger.

A circular radio aerial, combined with an “audio approach” microphone, mounted on the low, flat rear deck. This microphone is designed to pick up and amplify the sound or horn signal from any car approaching from the rear.

Stylists describe the Futura as being “sculptured in steel” and offering a new concept of fine shapes formed in graceful curves which minimise the need for chrome trim.” From its forward-thrusting hooded headlights to its raked back rear quarters, the Futura’s stylng is clean and crisp. The only adornment on its aides is a tapered, chrome protection moulding which runs the full length of the car and is filleted into the sheet metal of the body. This moulding is an extension of the massive, oblong bumper-grille, with its concave centre, which effectively camouflages the opening necessary for cooling.

A “countour-matic” top consisting of clear plastic twin canopies joined into a unit reflect the Future’s jet-age styling. This is further emphasised by the V-shaped low rear deck, the canted rear fenders and jet-tube exhausts built into the rear bumper which has a concave centre similar in styling to the front bumper. The graceful union of the rear deck and the rear tail-fins illustrates the “sculptured metal.” theme of the Futura. There are no windows to open or close in the Futura and an air intake in the top, combined with air intake and exhaust louvres behind the seats, provides fresh air for the driving compartment. Door handles are flush with the top of the doors on the exterior and operate electrically to open the top and mechanically to release the door latch. An interior handle operates the top and then releases the door for exit. The seats are soft formed, bucket type with high backs to give greater support to the entire back and neck. Between the seats and extending forward from the package tray is the pedestal arm-rest which houses the automatic push-button controls, interior light, a padded arm-rest, ash tray and space for a telephone.

The interior styling of the Futura complements the exterior in its simplicity of line, combining black leather, blue-white leather and chrome trim. The upper section of the instrument panel is covered with black leather and the lower section in blue-white pearlescent. The steering wheel is black with chrome squares on the back surface, and with two jet-pods on either side to operate turn signals. Side panels emerging from the instrument panel form a unit tied together with built-in arm-rests. Seats have white leather bolsters and pleated black leather inserts. The horn pedal, brake pedal and accelerator are each rimmed with chrome and the compartment floor is covered with a rich, deep-pile black carpet.

Ball-joint front suspension, power steering and power brakes add to the handling ease of the Future.