RUMBLINGS, June 1958

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A PERKINS’ PARTY

On April 22nd. F. Perkins, Limited, of Peterborough, laid on an elaborate party to introduce the new 1.6-litre Perkins “Four-99 ” diesel engine for private cars. This took place at Perkins’ test track not far from Norman Cross, a three-mile circuit which, were it a bit smoother, would be the envy of race organisers, containing as it does all types of corners.

F. G. Hooper, The Press Relations Officer, obviously worked very diligently to make the debut of this small diesel engine a success, work reflected in the efficiency with which the arrangements were conducted. We were, however, amused to read that before driving the diesel-powered demonstration cars round the track, the Press representative would ” receive the ignition key of the vehicle he is to drive ” from the Track Marshal, because we were under the impression that diesel engines produce their own ignition by high compression—and compression cannot be turned on with a key, as those who buy used cars are often unhappily aware.

However, a key is used to start the Perkins-converted cars, another control having to be pulled out to stop the engine. We were able to drive Vauxhall Velox, Ford Consul, Opel Olympia, Standard Vanguard and Renault Domaine vehicles with The Perkins “Four-99 “engine installation. The handling of some, of these was pretty dreary and the Opel like a sealed-down Yank, but the Renault Domaine estate car was very impressive for its “forgiving” handling qualities, although its. steering-column gear change had to be administered firmly.

In all cases the engines proved smooth and quiet; with no diesel fumes evident and ” diesel knock ” only discernible when pulling away from low speed. The ” Four-99 ” develops 43 b.h.p. at 4,000 r.p.m. in car trim, and weighs only 320 lb. dry, or 342lb. with dynamo and starter motor but without flywheel and starter ring. It has, its makers claim, been tested exhaustively and the new engine powers the Beardmore Mark 7 taxis that are now seen in London. Considerable fuel economy is being achieved. For instance, at M.I.R.A. a Bedford C.A. van carrying a load of 15 cwt. lapped at 56 m.p.h. for 101,202 miles burning fuel oil at the rate of 37 m.p.g. R.A.C.-observed tests have shown that a Perkins-converted Vauxhall Velox, averaging 34.8 m.p.h. on the road, gave a consumption of 56.6 m.p.g. and a Ford Consul, driven on the road at 34.7 m.p.h., gave 50.8 m.p.g. ‘MOW are impressive figures which show the economy of a diesel installation, even now that the difference in price between petrol and fuel oil has narrowed. A Perkins ” Four-99 “-engined Bedford C.A. van engaged on local delivery runs is said to have returned 38 m.p.g., compared with 15 m.p.g. from a petrol engine engaged on the same task. Apparently the new engine has shown no appreciable wear or need for servicing after a 3,000 hours’ full-load bench-test at 3,000 r.p.m. or after a 100,000-mile road-test.

The Perkins ” Four-99 ” has a new, patented combustion system, uses, the new rotary C.A.V. D.P.A. fuel-injection pump and makes use of the latest bearing developments—these factors alone making possible its performance achievements. A very complete specification was issued: briefly this is a four-cylinder 76.2 by 88.9 mm. (1,621 c.c.) push-rod o.h.v. three-bearing unit able to run up to 4,000 r.p.m., when it develops 43 b.h.p. and 73 lb./ft. torque at 2,250 r.p.m. The bare’ car engine costs £176 5s., or ready for installation in a Ford Consul, for instance, £235 12s. 6d.

Perkins will be remembered in car circles as taking records at Brooklands before the war with a small diesel engine, supercharged for the shorter distances, installed in a Thomas Special ” flat-iron ” and MOTOR SPORT hopes soon to be able to conduct a full road test of a car equipped with the new Perkins ” Four-99 ” engine.

* * *

NEW LAND ROVER

The familiar and rugged Land Rover has recently been made available in Mark II form. The new model is now smoother and more shapely in appearance, having a slightly curved-in waist line: it is slightly longer, a more comfortable cab is available on the long model, there is an optional 2¾-litre petrol engine available as well as the present 2-litre petrol and diesel units and there are several new colours listed.

The long-chassis model is now known ins the ” 109 ” as opposed to the ” 107 ” which is still available together with the 88 in. versions. The track of both new models has been increased slightly, giving a better turning circle, fully floating rear axles are now standard and there are many other minor improvements. Driving the new Land Rover is new as easy or even easier than taking the wheel of a car for the driving position is so good as to afford an excellent view of both front wings while the steering is feather light and the gear change delightfully firm. Four-wheel-drive is available by depressing a miniature gear-lever knob whereupon the Land Rover immediately acquires its seven league boots and one can revel in driving it over seemingly impossible obstacles.

Comfort has also been more carefully considered in the new versions than was formerly the case and larger, more comfortable seats are fitted (the driver’s one being adjustable), also ventilators and an improved cab for the longer model with bigger rear window and quarter-light panels. Shock-absorbers and springs have also been altered to improve the ride both on and off the road. The Land Rover is now as graceful and as comfortable as a normal pick-up and with its latest powers for tackling rough country or towing trailers it offers value-for-money motoring which few other British products can equal.

* * *

OPENING UP A NEW TOURING CENTRE

In past years one drawback to taking one’s car or motor-cycle to the Isle of Man has been the necessity to secure additional vehicle and driving licenses on arrival there.

The Manx highways law has just been amended to bring it into line with that on the mainland: in future existing vehicle and driving licences as issued on the mainland will now be valid on the island for a period of four months in any one year.

Followers of motor races in the island will particularly appreciate that this opens up a new touring ground for them, with uncrowded roads, magnificent inland and coastal scenery, unlimited picknicking and bathing space in secluded glens and bays—and hotels that are open 13 hours a day.

* * *

TWO NEW K.L.G. ” SPORTS ” PLUGS

Two new sparking plugs, specially designed for the ” sports” motorist or motor-cyclist whose high-performance machine has have to cope with normal traffic conditions, have been introduced by the K.L.G. company.

They are the F.75 (½ in. short reach) and FE 75 (¾ in. long reach) 14 mm. thread diameter plugs, with an intermediate heat range between the 70 and 80 factors. These plugs are suitable for use in a variety of modern high-revving engines requiring sparking plugs of this heat range, and they function effectively under both ” town” and “open road ” conditions.

Both plugs are the result of research and development on behalf of the Triumph Engineering Co., Ltd., who now fit the FE. 75 to certain of their high-performance motor-cycles as original equipment. They are now generally available from most garages, and the retail price for both types is 5s. each.

In K.L.G. type numbers, the letters denote the dimensions of the plug (F = 14 mm. thread diameter, ½ in. reach, for example), and the figures denote the heat value. The higher the figure,, the ” harder ” the plug and the greater its resistance to heat.

•••••

A FRISK TO MADRID

The Meadows Friskysport has again belied its appearance and proved that it works effectively, by making another fast journey. Following the Frisky frolic to Monte Carlo, Jack Freeman of the Company’s Export Division, drove a Friskysport from Paris to Madrid in 22 hr. 15 min. under conditions of rain and snowstorms. Mr. Freeman was driving a Standard soft-top two-seater directly off the Wolverhampton assembly line, for delivery to the Spanish concessionaires. His time is thought to: be a record for a 325-c.c. car and represents a challenge to other minicar manufacturers. It is to be hoped that the Friskysport will demonstrate similar powers in the forthcoming Ronnie-Liege-Rome Trial.

Incidentally, the Flower Organisation has taken over control of Friskysport production and it is expected that these cars will be locally assembled in Spain.

IMPROVED ROOF RACK

Wingard Limited, of Chichester, Sussex, are now offering an improved pattern of roof rack which is more easily adaptable to different cars, incorporates new non-staining rubber feet end has better fixing devices. These racks weigh only 12 lb., can carry loads of 240 lb. and can be dismantled and stowed in a special container. —I.G.

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