LETTERS from READERS, June 1958

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N.B.—Opinions expressed are those of our Correspondents and ” Motor Sport ” does not necessarily associate itself with them.—Ed

ROLLS-ROYCE QUALITY

Sir,
Having owned nearly all Rolls-Royce and Bentley models, both pre-and post-war, and also having rebuilt accident-damaged ears of both these makes and every other high-grade post-war British car, I feel my observations may be of interest to your readers.

Firstly, I have no doubt that the present Crewe-built ears are the finest in the world by a wider margin than ever before, despite lowering of quality, because they no longer have any direct competition.

In vintage years the title was in danger of passing to one of several makes; for example, Hispano, Napier, Isotta, Bugatti Types 41 and 46, Lanchester Forty, etc., but Where are these cars today ?

The current Rolls-Royce and Bentleys are far faster, more comfortable and effortless than the pre-war productions, but there is no question that quality and standard of workmanship are lowered with each succeeding model; no doubt due to economic necessity. Compare the electrical equipment on an ” S ” Series with a pre-war model, for example. Engines develop a most audible small-end tap it a lower mileage than one would expect. The automatic gearbox is extremely good but cannot ” drive ” as well as an experienced driver and so should remain optional. Radiators are cheaper and short lived compared with pre-war. Chromium plating is not satisfactory; a new bumper purchased for a Mark VI has gone rusty in six months, as have the hub caps.

An innovation for Rolls-Royce since the war has been the production of the pressed-steel body, as fitted to the Mark VI Bentley and Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn cars—while being smart, sensibly designed and well finished, these suffer from corrosion very badly. Several of my cars have fallen into holes around the sliding-roof gutters, and the underside of the body rocker panels have been completely eaten away. What would Sir Henry Royce think of this if alive today ?

The ” S” Series body is zinc-plated in parts with a view to overcoming this snag, so time will tell if this effects a cure. I am surprised to see that the rear blind and sliding roof have been deleted in the new model, and it seems queer to place the battery in the very back corner of the luggage boot. Surely there must be considerable voltage drop between this component and the starter motor ?

Finally, the somewhat high-handed policy of the company with regard to spares and service is difficult to understand. On one occasion, on finding the cylinder head of a Silver Wraith almost completely eaten away in the water passages, this was taken to Hythe Road for examination and the cause was diagnosed as being the result of the use of water instead of antifreeze in the cooling system, but in any case I was told that I had bought an old car ” ! Recently, the company declined to supply any spares whatsoever for a four-month-old ” S ” Series Bentley which was severely damaged in an accident. despite the fact that the salvage price paid was considerably more than the cost of a new Mark VIII Jaguar, for example. This seemed hardly reasonable and contrasts strangely with companies such as Bristol and David Brown, who will go to great lengths to help, with enthusiasm and courtesy, under similar circumstances.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Studley. A. B. PRICE,

Sir,
As a fellow English-car enthusiast, I was very much interested in the article ” The Best Car in the World—She ain’t what she used to be,” in your issue of March.

Having owned six Jaguars of various models, four Rolls-Bentleys, a 1920 Rolls-Royce English Silver Ghost tourer and a P. II Continental saloon, I feel that I have gained experience and knowledge of the good and the bad in these very popular English cars. I might add that, after having owned the very latest model Jaguar and Bentley, I have finally settled down to what I feel is the best of each, that is from the enthusiast’s viewpoint, namely a very mint Jaguar Mk, IV drophead coupe and a 1953 Bentley Continental Mulliner coupe. Since the Mk. VI and the ” S ” Bentley I have owned are identical to the Silver Dawn and Silver Cloud R.-R., except for radiator and name, I feel that a comparison and comment relative to this article in your magazine is in order.

It would seem that Mr. Gretton does not believe in progress and development of the automobile but would prefer the inadequacy, inconveniences and truckiness of the earlier cars. With all due respect to Sir Henry Royce, his design would have no place in modern car production and service methods, not to mention the cost of materials and labour that would be necessary to make and maintain the old lorries.

In my opinion the most important criticism of the latest model Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and ” S ” Bentley has not been brought out. That is, its very poor power-to-weight ratio or its lack of agileness, not to mention the poor choice of automatic transmission. I found it very tiring to drive my ” S ” Bentley on long trips and continually got the feeling as I drove along that I was forcing the car to maintain speed. The engine was always in good tune and maintained by a R.-R. service depot. As a matter of fact, it would seem that the automatic transmission was soaking up so much power from the motor, both at high speeds and on the start, that there was nothing left for performance. This same reaction has been confirmed by a friend who has a Silver Cloud. Because of this, and after only six months’ ownership, I was happy to give up the relative newness of the ” S ” and go back to the older type of chassis. In the 1953 Continental I have regained the features formerly enjoyed in my 1948 and 1951 Mk. VI Bentleys, plus the increased performance and roadability and, most of all, the wonderful four-speed gearbox with floor-type shift lever. I might add that I was particularly lucky in finding a mint 1953 Continental with a large-bore engine fitted, although I had my choice of a 1954 Continental and a 1957 Continental with automatic transmission; however, once again I feel that I have the more ” stark ” model Continental without the frills found on the more recent models. This car is very agile, has fairly quick steering, and one cannot help but feel a part of it as you drive along.

I wonder how many U.S. buyers, former Cadillac owners accustomed to tremendous horsepower and performance, who have recently acquired Silver Cloud and ” S ” Bentleys, will soon tire of the prestige of driving a R.-R. product and want to return to the more agile U.S. car, in spite of its tremendous bulk ? After all, here in America Cadillac does set the standard and everyone looks for the ” silky smoothness,” characteristic of these ears, in any other car of its class or better.

With all the experience Rolls-Royce has had with all types of engines, it would seem that they should be able to provide a more powerful, a better co-ordinated engine and transmission. Each of my Bentleys, except the Continental, had at least one had vibration point in the engine, and manny’s the time I have heard my ” Cadillac friends ” remark : ” I had expected the engine to be as smooth as silk, like my Cadillac,” as they pushed down on the accelerator. Mr. U.S. Car-Buyer expects to get the feeling of stepping on a sponge when he tramps on the accelerator of a car of this calibre and, in addition, he does not want to hear tappet noises whenever the motor races a bit between gears; a common occurrence with this type of automatic transmission, bot demands the quietness afforded with a hydraulic valve-lifting mechanism.

I hope that this criticism will not he misconstrued, but will he taken more in the line of constructive criticism, as I am still in favour of the size of car produced by R.-R., the very attractive interiors, the exterior finish and the general over-all appearance of the cars. I ant a true follower of the razor-edge, square look so often used by R.-R., and I miss this in my Continental. I would dread the day that I would be forced to drive one of the U.S. “land-going yachts” as my personal everyday car, but I do respect the reliability, extreme smoothness and long life of the U.S. engines, developed especially for automatic transmissions.

In may opinion, R.-R. has a great potential in the new four-door version of the Continental series for the U.S. market, and should continue to give the buyer the option of either standard transmission or automatic transmission, Finally, as suggested by Mr. Gretton, a more realistic price tag, possibly in the area of the ” S ” Bentley. In order to get the price down, omit the ” S ” from the line and furnish Bentleys in the Continental series only, thereby increasing their production for more economical costs.

I should very much like to hear from others on this subject and I might add that my Rolls-Royce agent is well aware of my opinions but does not commit himself on the subject.
I am, Yours. etc.,
Massachusetts, U.S.A. CHARLES S. HOYT.

Sir,
As the owner of an immediate pre-war product of Rolls-Royce and having tried the latest ” Cloud,” there can be no doubt at all as to the superiority of the latter, nor to its claim to being the ” Best Car in the World.”

model But equally valid is the suggestion that in producing the latest has indulged in practises of which their predecessors would have been ashamed.

For instance, do you realise that the much admired, so beautiful, walnut facia panel is nothing more than a plastic pressing ? Is this in keeping with R.-R. standards or with the price of the car ?

One can accept the new method of wheel fixing but, again, is it in keeping with R.-R. and Bentley standards to use an imitation centre-lock nut ? It does seem that the time has passed when you can accept the initials R.-R. at their face value. One does not associate the product with anything erztaz.
I am. Yours, etc.,
Cape Town. J. B. HOLMES.

Sir,
The correspondence on Rolls-Royce quality is very interesting, especially Mr. Becker’s admirable analysis. A closer comparison than that given, however, would be between the H. J. Mulliner Phantom III at £3,300 and the H. J. Mulliner Silver Wraith at £5,625: or the Park Ward Phantom Ill at £2.600 and the Silver Cloud at £3,800.

On the other hand, the post-war Silver Wraith was looked upon as the successor of the Wraith, as the 5½-litre Phantom IV of the Phantom III. On this assumption the comparison would be between the Park Ward Wraith saloon at £1,700 and the Silver Cloud at £3,800.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Godmanston. W. STUART BEST.

Sir,
Having just read the spirited and somewhat ” hot-under-the-bonnet ” reply to Charles Gretton published by you over the signature of T. E. Hetherington, may I perhaps be allowed to fling my spanner among the sprockets by stating that :
(a) All the best cars in the world were produced pre-war anyway.
(b) Most of them were Rolls-Royces— the Silver Ghost that my family bought. new in 1910 covered 982,000 miles before being sold to defray a rather heavy repair bill due to damage done by one Adolph Hitler, who was, unfortunately, not covered for third party risks.
(c)I can’t understand why any churner-out of modern transport dares to insult the intelligence of the ” New Elizabethans ” by referring to their wares as cars at all.
(d) If motoring correspondents were not entitled to their opinions presumably there would be no point in employing them, and if Charles Gretton doesn’t like the R.-R. mascot let him say so by all means—whatever T. E. Hetherington may say, it is, of course, irrelevant.
(e) I did not count up to ten before writing this, but I would like to know just how many people can still afford a new Rolls ? and if they can then why don’t they use the money to rejuvenate a pre-war one anyway ? They would end up with a far more worth-while car at about a third of the cost.
I am, Yours. etc.,
Glasgow. D. K. C. SALUSBURY-HUGHES

(This correspondence is now closed.— ED.)

* * *

SENSIBI.E SUGGESTION ?

Sir,
In view of the ever-increasing popularity of painting our roads with white lines, how about this idea to increase the safety of pedal cyclists, and to diminish the irritation that these cause to the motorist.

A continuous white line set parallel to, and a reasonable diatance from the kerb, within which the cyclist must travel where there is no bicycle path. The width would he narrower where single file is desirable.

This would be particularly successful on roundabouts where vehicles will be able to overtake with some confidence.
I am. Yours. etc.,
Gt. Crosby J. A. LAGUARDA

VERSUS THE REST . . .

Sir,
As an enthusiastic owner of a Volkswagen, who has sporting instincts, and does compete in rallies, hill-climbs and sprints, I cannot let Mr. Shaw’s letter to you go unanswered, for from personal experience I know how biased and untrue it is, most particularly in its reference to roadholding.

In two-and-a-half years’ competitive motoring with a VW (17 events), I have never been placed lower than third and with 14 firsts it would hardly appear that either its performance or roadholding is at fault.

As proof of this I enclose a photograph of the car, taken at the Stapleford Hill Climb on Sunday April 6th, when it made F.T.D. in the saloon car classes, irrespective of capacity. This I think serves to show that a VW has nothing to learn as regards roadholding, and should convince Mr. Shaw that his libellous statement regarding ” funeral expenses ” demands an immediate affably to the firm in question.

I challenge Mr. Shaw to come for a ride in such a car (unless he is too frightened) and, having done so, to be as ready to rush into print with praise as he previously was to condemn.

It may also interest Mr. Shaw to know that the same car made fastest time in its class at Oulton Park in the recent R.A.C. Rally.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Loughton M. J. KINGHAM.

[We now await photographic evidence of the stability of the Austin A35s at Silveratone.-ED.]

* * *

STOCK CAR RACING

Sir,
I read with interest the letter front Mr. P. J. Moon of London, S.E.12, in your May issue, concerning the alleged incidents in the final race at Brands Hatch on Easter Monday.

I quite agree with his remarks and comments—but do not agree with the heading to the letter, ” Stock Car Racing at Brands Hatch,” which was, I presume, added by your good self.

Under the circumstances, I would like to point out most emphatically, that should such incidents have occurred in stock car racing today, the drivers would have received the same treatment as have the two drivers in the alleged incident at Brands Hatch. Stock car racing now has its own Drivers’ Association and Board of Control, and any show of bad sportsmanship or deliberate ramming is frowned upon, the culprit being severely dealt with by us.

1 would like to take this opportunity of saying that stock car racing today is far removed from the ” circus ” seen at New Cross and Harringay, when there were no rules. It is now well organised, with car scrutineers-who would not have allowed a driver to race without a safety harness, as was the obvious case with the driver who was thrown out at Silverstone’s last meeting.

Perhaps some of your readers may be interested to know that it is now a Sport, with the emphasis on Racing.
I am, Yours, etc.,
London., N.8. PETER ARNOLD.
Secretary for the British Stock Car Racing Board of Control.

* * *

BRISK BRITISH CAR SALES IN CANADA

Sir,
First of all, may I say how I enjoy MOTOR SPORT? Editorials, road-tests and impressions, competition reports and photographs are always excellent.

As it is still essential for British manufacturers to sell a proportion of their products in North America, perhaps a word from someone “on the spot” would be of interest. First, the cars themselves. Morris Minor 1000, the new Vauxhalls, Ford Consul and Zephyr, M.G.-A, Triumph TR3 and Hillman Minx, to mention a few, are now becoming more and more popular in Vancouver, and will continue to be so, as long as the monstrosities from Detroit are so expensive. The parts and service situation seems to have been, for the most part, overcome, but dealers are still faced with the problem of not having any cars to sell. For instance, the local dealer received about six Sunbeam Rapiers, which were snapped up immediately, and he is still waiting for more. Prospective purchasers here will not wait months for a particular car, they will go around the corner and buy one which they can drive away. Also, now that a successful range of models has been produced, the British motor industry must continue to bring out new features. There is plenty of competition, a certain air-cooled vehicle is here (it was the third bestseller in Vancouver last month), Volvo are selling like hot cakes, we see the occasional Borgward and Lloydwagen, and it will not be long before Dauphines, Simca Aronde and D.K.W. are sold here, I imagine. A recent report from the Motor Vehicle Bureau revealed that 30 per cent, of the cars registered in B.C. are of British or European origin, so it is obvious that there is tremendous scope for small-car manufacturers.

Finally, I must confess that I own “one of those cars,” which I am delighted with, and would not part with for anything short of a Jaguar 2.4. I have recently fitted a Karmann Chin sway-bar, which, apart from taming the oversteer, reduces considerably the wind-wobble which was rather pronounced at high speed.

I will conclude by wishing MOTOR SPORT a long and successful future. May I suggest, Sir, that you obtain one of the larger American horrors and ” test ” it in the City ? The results should make interesting reading !
I am, Yours, etc.,
Richmond, B.C., Canada. J. MICHAEL JONES.

[By a coincidence, impressions of driving the Ford Thunderbird on English roads appear in this issue, although time prevented us from sampling it in the City.—ED.]

* * *

AN OWNER’S VIEW OF THE CITROEN DS19

Sir,
As the owner of a DS19 who has covered 14,000 miles in this car, it was with unusual interest that I read your road-test in April MOTOR SPORT.

With one exception, I endorse everything your journal had to say about the ” Goddess ” and in my opinion your test report was the fairest, most accurate and most detailed by far, of any road-test I have read in any motoring publication.

The aforementioned exception deals with the car’s acceleration. Your published figures were 0-50 m.p.h. in 14.5 sec. and standing ¼-mile in 22.5 sec. These figures are true of DS19s delivered from Slough and the slowness of the times is caused by a time-lag while the gear-changes are made by the hydraulic actuation of the gearbox. But, and here is the point, this time-lag can be partially or even completely eliminated by a few seconds ” twiddling ” under the bonnet. All that is necessary is to locate a device known as the ” clutch engagement control,” to which is attached a metal spring. This spring is held in position by a screw and it is a very simple matter to loosen the screw and slacken off the spring. The rule seems to be, the slacker the spring the faster the changes are put through. Properly adjusted, the DS driver can change gear faster than any driver with a manually-operated gear-shift.

Needless to say, this slight adjustment completely transforms the acceleration of the car. The 0-50 time is reduced by three whole seconds and the standing ¼-mile time by practically two seconds. Slough should, of course, have informed MOTOR SPORT of this, but perhaps they don’t even know themselves ! It was brought to my notice by Messrs. Worthing Motors, Ltd., with whom I have no connection except as a customer.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Hove. W. M. KANE.

* * *

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Sir,
It has come to our knowledge that additives for motor oils are being distributed with claims that they contain Molybdenum Disulphide, although this material does not, in fact, appear in their formulation.

Molybdenum Disulphide is a black solid which is marketed as an oil additive in the form of a suspension of colloidal and semicolloidal particles in mineral oil, and gives the product a characteristic black appearance. Any clear, light coloured fluid, there fore, cannot contain the essential component in detectable quantities, and cannot deposit the low friction film of Molybdenum Disulphide on which the action depends.

We are driven to write this letter by our desire to protect the public against false claims, but would point out that the remedy is in their own hands as the presence of Molybdenum Disulphide can readily be detected by its black appearance. If the oil is clear and pale it does not contain this solid additive.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Leeds. G. J. VINALL.
Technical Director, Rocol Limited.

* * *

IMPRESSIONS OF THE AUSTIN 105

Sir,
The inevitable comment from yet another owner of an identical car to that well tested by W. B. :—I congratulate him on the best and most authentic test-report I have over read on the Austin A105 and I could not agree more with his praises of its virtues but fair criticism of its few faults.

It must be remembered that this is a model front a giant massproducing organisation, with the usual small but irritating snags when new, but worthy of a place, as mentioned by W.B., within the ranks of cars double the price asked for the big but compact Austin.

The most salient factors are extreme big toughness coupled with a really high performance; thus fast but safe motoring can be truly enjoyed, even by semi-veterans of nearly 30 years’ driving experience like myself, instead of in a high revving sprightly small speedster or, at the other end of the scale, in a large, heavy, unparkable, luxuriously ornated wagon.

For the enthusiasts, such as readers of MOTOR SPORT, it should be made possible to fit a 120-h.p. six-port high-efficiency head, which I believe is available for the same engined sports Austin-Healey, plus the suggested floor gear change shortish lever as alternative to automatic transmission, slightly stiffer suspension, front disc brakes, flick lever overdrive control instead of present semiautomatic system, with direct top of 3.9 to 1 and overdrive top of not higher than 3.1 to 1 to preserve the torque. This would, indeed, prove a sporty family saloon with a thrust and speed of a racer. Acceleration would be tremendous with maximum speed easily over ” the ton ” and such possible modifications would be far more successful than on some other vehicle conversions. How the late Ken Wharton would have loved such a car ! Such achievement might, however, be wasted on the week-ender content with the anti-Gran Turismo average speed of 15/20 m.p.h. of the usual Sunday crawl in the spring and summer.

W. B. mentioned overdrive in second gear, in addition to overdrive third and top. I think he is incorrect in stating this and in any case, there seems little purpose in an overdrive second. I cannot agree more about the disappointing free wheeling effect at low speeds when in overdrive position as this is a hindrance and the rather feeble overdrive top 2.87 to 1 performance for the sake of petrol economy of 26/28 m.p.g. The best performance feature of the present overdrive system is easy pedal-controlled automatic change from third direct to third overdrive.

For other criticisms, I would add the following. Although relatively quiet at moderate speeds, the A105 is rather noisy above 60 m.p.h., excessively so above 70 m.p.h., not only from engine roar but from windage, back axle and overdrive unit and road traction. Exterior underseal and interior heavy felting have not eliminated the high noise level. Surely the manufacturer can pack insulate the body more effectively from road wheels and at bulkhead ? The steering column change is certainly most difficult, but can be slightly improved by liberal (thick) oiling of the control linkage. The front seat arm rests are so low as to be useless. The front door arm rests should be made adjustable. The, thin narrow flanged cork gasketed valve cover is unworthy of an excellent engine and persistently oil leaks even after several freshly applied stuck-on gaskets and proper skilled attention. The valves on new engines should be ground properly at Works before delivery, not just machined. Another horror is the tinsmith’s effort required to remove and re-fit the stolid (not air-ventilated turbo) wheel discs which are ill provided with sharp teeth to dig into and spoil the pressed wheels’ paintwork. The so-called crash padding on top of the dash and parcel shelf is too thinly artificial to be effective as a safety barrier and could be substantially thickened at the edges without detriment to the dashboard appearance. It is presumed that the added attraction of a walnut-veneered dash might prejudice sales of the more expensive Riley 2.6!

A lady’s vanity mirror on passenger’s visor, interior door pockets and a reversing light should be all-embracing in a de-luxe version such as the A105, with optional white-walled tyres which have to be kept clean and free of kerb rub marks to remain elegant. Any such cost increase to the makers would be negligible.

I have refrained from repeating the obvious numerous good points of the A105 so ably described by W. B.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Sutton Goldfield. GEO. C. SOFIANO.

* * *

—AND THE RILEY 2.6

Sir,
Having just taken delivery of a Riley 2.6, I was very impressed by your excellent article on this model. Most of your criticism is justified, but I feel you are a little unfair on one or two points. Reference to the very clear and well-illustrated instruction book would have saved you worrying about the heater—the switch is built into the adjustment arm and is very easy to manipulate.

No doubt the back door would not open from the inside because the ” Kiddy Katch “—as we playfully describe it—had been put down by design or accident while cleaning the inside of the door, again reference to the instruction book was indicated. Our ” other cars ” include a TR2 and a Morris Minor so the steering criticism of the Riley is well taken. I am however delighted with the car as a means of rapid and comfortable travel on business journeys. Continue the unbiased reports, please.

The car is much better with bucket seats—an option worth taking and on my model the rear mirror is correctly fitted, and positioned and both speedometer and tachometer are luminous and easily read without dazzle.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Ponteland. N. S. GOODWIN.

There wasn’t an instruction book !—ED.]

* * *

THE COMING TESTS

Sir,
It appears that the Government, not content with the revenue obtained by means of licences, more licences, and the petrol tax, are determined to bleed the motorist yet again by means of the Road Vehicles Inspection Act for road vehicles of over 10 years old. The fact that many of the cars over 10 years old are in better shape internally and externally than their ” modern ” counterparts is a secondary concern, apparently.

I, like a great many motorists, own a car more than 10 years old; to be precise a 1947 TC M.G. Having a modicum of mechanical aptitude (being an engineering student) and not a great deal of cash, I endeavour to keep this machine roadworthy. In fact, were it not so, I should not risk my own neck or anybody else’s in driving it. I therefore fail to see why I should pay anyone 15s. to tell me that my brakes have been relined, my steering gear reconditioned or my headlamps resilvered. For a Qualified Testing Station to check these three points is not going to take more than 15 minutes, which means someone is going to do very nicely at £3 an hour. Surely a motorist owning a car which will be covered by this Act is much more likely to take care of it since he is either not in a position to afford a new car or is else an enthusiast, which needs no comment.

Though the Act is supposedly in the name of accident prevention only an exceedingly small proportion of accidents occur in which an old car is involved, which can be borne out by reading the daily newspapers.

I do not necessarily think that an inspection by an impartial body covered, say, by the cost of the Road Licence would be amiss, but being next on the list for a 15s., three-year licence, which you have already pointed out is really only worth 5s., the compulsory inspection with its compulsory charge is beyond any semblance of a joke.

If the Ministry would stop wasting its time with such schemes, open to abuse, and did something drastic towards the fundamental problem of giving us decent roads to motor on, they might justify both the amount of money the poor motorist has to cough up and their own existence.
I am. Yours, etc.,
Bucksbnrn. DAVID NEWMAN.

* * *

AN M.G. MAGNETTE MALADY

Sir,

I was interested to read in ” Matters of Moment” that an M.G. Magnette competing in the Monte Carlo Rally was delayed with a jammed bonnet-cum-radiator grille.

Driving my M.G. Magnette in this year’s East African Coronation Safari I experienced the same trouble. On stopping to replace a broken fan belt we found the bonnet jammed fast. Most frustrating ! After losing 10 minutes probing with tyre levers and screwdrivers we managed to release the lock.

The broken fan belt was caused by the belt taking the weight of the engine when a front engine mounting bracket broke.

The time taken to effect repairs put us two minutes outside the limit allowed to us at the next control point so we had to retire from the rally. Had the bonnet not jammed we would have been able to continue.
I am. Yours, etc.,
Kenya. A. H. HAWES.

* * *

A VW KARMAN-GHIA IN GERMANY

Sir,
As a member of the happy band of VW enthusiasts I am sure you will appreciate a short report of my meanderings this last 48 hours with a 1958 VW Karman-Ghia Convertible in Germany.

When I collected the car two days ago it had 2,369 km. on the clock, and when I took it back to its owners I had managed to put on 239 km. I enjoyed every one of those kilometres !

Having previously driven a 1955 standard model VW in Canada for two years I was interested to discover whether some of those now-renowned characteristics were still to be had in the K-G. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that all are present and correct with one very notable exception : my standard VW was prone to suffering from slight tail-wag when travelling at 50 m.p.h. (and up), in a cross-wind. The K-G definitely didn’t when I gave it the “loud pedal” on the Arus Autobahn in fairly high wind and a lot of rain.

However, I must mention that the K-G. is somewhat slower when it comes to getting away from the lights. This was very marked when waiting at the lights with a VW alongside waiting to “have a go.” (This “I’ll race you” business is obviously international.) I must make mention at this point that apart from the car on show at the premises of Messrs. Edvard Winter of Kurfurstendamm it is believed that the K-G I had borrowed is the only other Convertible here in Berlin and it was the subject of continual finger-pointing when in motion and close scrutiny when parked.

Well then, for the record : Distance covered, 239 km. (149.375 miles); petrol consumed, 20.4 litres (4.488 gals.); miles per gallon (driven extremely hard), 33.283 m.p.g.; speedo : speed on Avus, just 120 km. (75 m.p.h.) in each direction.

The squeaks emanating from the windows rubbing the rubber surrounds on the ” not-so-good ” roads got on my nerves a bit. Wind noise was not excessive by any means and, if anything, there is less engine noise inside than on the VW. Rain managed to penetrate where the windows meet the hood but this is corrected when the car is in motion; so if you want to keep dry, keep going ! Please, Dr. Nordhoff, for the price we pay for a K-G may we have a speedo with a trip-counter ? Yes, if I could afford it I would have a K-G without any doubt and I would prefer the hardtop—a pretty red and black one, please!
I am, Yours, etc.,
Ruislip. D. F. SANDERSON.

* * *

BOUQUET FOR THE B.R.S.C.C.

Sir,
I feel that I must defend the B.R.S.C.C. against the final paragraph of Mr. P. J. Moon’s letter, in which he says that the organisation of the Easter Monday event was well below standard. I should like to submit an entirely opposite view by saying that Nick Syrett worked wonders, in the face of numerous hazards, both natural and otherwise, during his baptism of fire as secretary of the meeting. I would draw Mr. Moon’s attention to the fact that despite the complete cancellation of Practice Day, owing to snow, the meeting started only half an hour after the scheduled time. In short, many congratulations to Nick Syrett on organising an event that was well up to accepted B.R.S.C.C. standards. Finally. with reference, to your caption “ But for a spin. Flockhart would have won,” I would like to point out but for the fact that Fangio was not driving a 3.4 Jaguar, he would undoubtedly have won, and had his car been equipped with disc wheels, it would not necessarily have had drum brakes !
I am, Yours, . etc.,
Brighton. T. E. B. SOPWITH.

[The 3.4 Jaguar driven by Flockhart in those entertaining saloon-car races at Aintree and Silverstone had disc brakes concealed by disc wheels.—ED.]