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


No doubt you have at some time had occasion to tax a car for the road after not using it for a month or two. No doubt you also signed the declaration on the tax form confirming that the vehicle had not been used, and would not be used until the date of the tax applied for. Be thankful therefore that you do not live in Gloucestershire, for the taxation department in that county now have a circular letter, which on being translated reads ” Dear Sir, We think it possible that you may be a liar.” [The form referred to states : ” It is observed that your last licence expired on 31st January, 1965, and as your insurance certificate appears to have been current for the period since 22nd December last I should be obliged if you would confirm that the vehicle has not been used at any time during the month(s) of February and March, 1965.”]

My initial reaction was to write a strong letter to the council, but better judgement, or plain lack of courage, prevailed, and this remained unposted. Even so, I had to write some five days after the commencing date for the tax, and ask where it was. This eventually brought my tax, eight days late, without further comment. ” Civil ” servants ?
Bristol, R.G.PYE.


I think Mr. Paddison will find that the reason why S. F. Edge did not back the Napier in the inquiry conducted by The Autocar, in 1921, into what was ” The World’s Best Car ,” was because he had severed his connection with Napier and there was still, no doubt, a little residual hostility on both sides.

The breach came in 1912 when Edge surrendered his Napier concession after a rather unedifying disagreement in which, as always, there was both right and wrong on each side. Edge was paid a suitable, indeed handsome, sum as compensation and undertook not to engage in any activity connected with the motor industry for seven years. After the war he began to return to the motor trade, first by way of journalism and then as the driving force behind Spyker (Great Britain) Ltd. and A.C. Cars. The success and renown of the latter make in the ‘twenties was largely because of Edge’s forceful personality and flair.

His comments and articles on various aspects of motoring in the early ‘twenties are quite free from bias (in marked contrast to his earlier pronouncements), and of value because of his wide knowledge of motoring affairs. No doubt he felt that the Rolls-Royce product had outstripped his earlier love by 1920 and there was no reason why he should not say so; and I am sure his appreciation of the R.-R. was perfectly sincere. He also gave rapturous praise to the Lanchester at about this time and again his comments have the ring of truth.

Having read the first part of W. B.’s feature ” Shopping for a Rolls-Royce,” I imagine he believes the 1939 Wraith to be the first pre-war car fitted with automatic ignition timing. The absence of the hand control may be responsible for this impression.

Automatic ignition timing is fitted on the Phantom I, II and III, also 20/25 and 25/30. These cars also have a hand control at the steering wheel centre which is superimposed upon the automatic mechanism at the distributor.

Phantom I and II automatic timing control is by means of a centrifugal governor and a hydraulic servo which utilises engine oil pressure.

Phantom III, 20/25 and 25/30 cars have direct-acting centrifugal governor mechanisms.



Too often one reads of poor service given by garages, especially in respect of British cars. Lack of interest is apparent.

Perhaps I am lucky but, after five trouble-free years of VW driving, an article in MOTOR SPORT on the GT Cortina tempted me to exchange my beetle for a 15-month-old GT, and I have no regrets. Friends thought me mad selling a ” good ” car for a Ford. I, too, had my doubts. Not now—the GT is proving as fine a car as indicated by MOTOR SPORT recently. The engine is fantastic. The gearbox is in the VW-class and the Pirelli Cinturato tyres inspire confidence.

If the GT has pleased me the after-sales treatment by the Ford agent, Messrs. W. H. Spence & Co., has amazed me. A silencer which holed soon after purchase was immediately replaced at no cost to me and no questions asked. The clutch failed on a Saturday at 11.00 a.m. 20 miles from Spence’s garage in Newtownards, Co. Down. However, a break-down crew had the car brought in and mechanics worked in the afternoon to put me on the road again—once again, as this failure was shortly after purchase I was not charged.

What is the reason for this unusually good service.? It is true that this particular firm was, I understand, only recently appointed a Ford dealer and may be keen to establish a reputation, but surely if one firm is able to give this good service motorists should refuse to accept lower standards at other garages.

I do not claim to know why the standard of service should differ so greatly from garage to garage—but I do know where I shall buy my next Cortina GT.


With all the complaints about British cars being published recently I would like to make a few complimentary remarks about one. This is my 1964 M.G.-B which has completed 15,000 miles in six months. Nearly all of this was winter driving in the Deep River area of Ontario where I resided for the winter. The car started effortlessly at —40°F with the aid of a block heater, gave me 28-32 m.p.g. and required no attention for the period 1,000 to 14,000 miles except oil changes. This I consider exceptional under the weather conditions. I am not gentle on my car and its performance has been excellent. My biggest complaint is the heater which is absolutely useless and a disgrace to a fine car. Keep up the excellent standard; you Seem to be the only ones left who will criticise a car.
Hamilton. D. J. GODDARD.


A thought for those passively following a lorry or slow car with a long line of frustrated motorists building up behind.

” It’s Number Two
Who starts the Queue.”
To which jingle my children add the chorus :
” Yah ! Boo !
To Number Two.”



I have always derived great pleasure from reading your magazine and consider it to be one of the best motoring journals available.

This month’s edition has enhanced its status even more by virtue of the article condemning Messrs. Heath Ltd. for their inhumane handling of a tiger for publicity purposes.

I find it very heartening that you should devote space that might otherwise have earned advertising revenue to such an exposé.

This is the first time I have ever composed what I believe is termed a ” fan ” letter and it will probably be the last, so unless you hear anything to the contrary, you may assume that I continue to hold your magazine in the highest regard.
Wallsend. A. D. DODD.

I think most of my fellow readers will join me in thanking our Editor for bringing to our attention the disgusting action of George Heath Ltd., of Birmingham, in confining a poor dumb animal in their showrooms. I have lodged a strong protest with the R.S.P.C.A. It is nice to know that “Our Bill,” besides being a true enthusiast, is also an animal lover.



With regard to the first paragraph of Mr. H. S. Scorer’s letter, I would suggest that instead of complaining he writes to the B.A.R.C., as I did, and he would receive his free pass to another meeting.

Concerning the second and third paragraphs, does he put his inconvenience above a driver’s life ?

Drayton. JOHN S. HURST.


Recently I’ve been finding a lot of black and yellow fluff in my carburetter. Could this have anything to do with the brand of petrol that I use ?

West Wickham. MARTIN DILLY (” Animal Lover “).


Your opening letter in the May issue prompted me to write of my own similar experience whilst driving a police car.

Whilst checking the speed of a very fast Minivan on a three-lane Trunk road, I came up behind a saloon car and a light van which were behind two articulated lorries. All these vehicles were travelling at about 40 m.p.h. and were on their nearside. As I was travelling at about 60 m.p.h., I took to the centre lane, which was completely clear.

I passed the car and van after giving a good blast on the horn (as prescribed by Police Driving Schools) and after flashing the headlamps.

The same procedure was applied before passing the first of the two lorries.

When the front of the car had passed the rear of the lorry and was level with the wheels, the lorry suddenly pulled out without warning to pass the one in front. [Well, well!—ED.] Immediately I swerved to the right—sounding the horn and the bell. By doing this I was forced to straddle continuous double white lines. The lorry, however, continued pulling out and suddenly the flashing indicators went on.

This forced me into the third lane and into the path of an oncoming pantechnicon. There just wasn’t any room for four vehicles! Luckily there was a layby ahead and, thanks to the driver of the pantechnicon who braked, I managed to squeeze into the layby, narrowly missing the oncoming van and a dirty great Scammell petrol tanker (laden) which was parked there. It was just by simple luck—not skill, that I avoided a collision.

When I stopped the offending lorry driver, my observer, a young constable with 12 months’ service, was so badly shaken that he was shaking and was unable to speak for several minutes.

The lorry driver subsequently wrote a letter to my seniors alleging that I used a few words from ” Lady Chatterley ” when I stopped him. Utterly false.

The result of this escapade was a pair of shaken cops and a lot of letter writing to interview witnesses, a copper with the threat of severe disciplinary punishment over his head, and a lorry driver who for some reason was not prosecuted.

At my own request I am now back on the beat. Do you blame me ?
[Name and address supplied.—ED.]


It appears that the suspicions of Mr. V. E. Green are justified. A positive earth system will indeed accelerate body decay.

Rust is a mixture of various iron oxides (Fe2O FeO) and water. In order that iron may combine with oxygen (or anything else) it has to lose one or more elections from its atomic structure. Electric current is the passage of electrons through a conductor, not, as it is popularly believed, from positive to negative but vice versa. Thus there is an electron ” vacuum ” at the positive terminal. If this is earthed to the iron body, electrons tend to be ‘drawn from the iron, thus propagating combination with oxygen and the formation of rust. The bolting of zinc ‘electrodes to the body will reduce rusting because electrons are more easily removed from zinc than iron. So as long as the zinc is electrically connected to the body the zinc will corrode in preference to the iron.

Could this be an example of planned obsolescence by the modern motor industry ?

It is interesting to note that aluminium is theoretically easier to corrode than iron (as zinc) but such corrosion does not take place because the surface of all aluminium is covered with a very hard oxide film. This layer is only a few molecules thick but strong enough to prevent further attack even by strong acids. In this case atmospheric oxidation helps instead of hinders man.
D. G. BAKER Hampton. (Poor but motoring B.Sc. undergrad)

Aqueous corrosion results from two, or more, electrochemical reactions necessitating two electrodes (an anode and a cathode) and an electrolyte. In the event of any one of these not being present, either by virtue of insulation or physical absence, then corrosion also will be non-existent. When a corrosion cell is set up it is the anodic areas therein which corrode. I believe the change from a negative-earth to a positive-earth system was made for a two-fold reason :—

(1) To provide a ” hotter ” spark for the ignition system and (2) to minimize the corrosion of connections, terminals, etc., but it does not follow that a positive-earth system increases the corrosion of the bodywork significantly. Considering the car as a mobile corrosion cell, then localised corrosion apart, the chassis and ” earthed ” components comprise the anodes (positive), whereas the electrical connections to the negative pole form the cathodes. For general corrosion to occur, because of this arrangement, an electrolyte is required between these two electrodes— a highly conductive path will short-circuit. . . . The majority of these connections today are not only sited at relatively protected positions but are also, generally, insulated with plastic sheaths. At the time of negative-earth systems many electrical connections were exposed to relatively humid conditions and thus a film of moisture, or condensation, was often present. Although of high resistance, this film could provide the electrolyte for this localised corrosion cell in which the anodes (terminals, etc., connected to positive pole) would be corroded.

The idea of cathodic protection by the use of sacrificial anodes was noted by Humphry Davy as long ago as the early nineteenth century. The principles involved are similar to those already mentioned, the requirements being an anode, a cathode and an electrolyte. In this instance ” Bodyguard ” provides the anodes for this cell and are relatively cheap and easily replaceable. A reservation with respect to their usage, however, stems from the operative principles. Sacrificial anodes will only protect those areas where they are able to maintain the potential at a significantly negative value (very approximately—0.6 volts), which necessitates a relatively highly conducting electrolyte or several sacrificial anodes correctly situated.

Summarising, I personally would not attribute any of the significant corrosion problems in the automobile to the advent of the positive-earth system. I think that it is probably the effects of corrosion on the ever decreasing thickness of metal now used, and not the extent of the corrosion itself, which is causing severe ” body rot.” The ever-present rusting (assuming steel to be the main material in question) is more likely to be as a result of the typical corrosion Mechanisms generally associated with steelwork that has been insufficiently, or inefficiently, protected, and when the protection given has broken down. After a severe winter, when the underbodies of cars, etc., have had a liberal dousing of salt mixtures, how is it possible to remove completely the corrosive slurry from all the nooks and crannies. Alter all, you don’t have to connect a battery to a piece of unprotected steel in our typical urban atmosphere (let alone marine conditions) for the metal to start showing the savage effects of corrosion. . .
Chalfont St. Peter. R. DREWETT.


Mention all textile radial-ply tyres to hundred’s of thousands of Britons and the chances are that the majority Will not know the difference between such tyres and the conventional product. Therefore the object of the Cinturato Test Day staged by Pirelli Limited was to show them.

The 15,000 who attended saw for themselves how much better the radial-ply tyre clings than normal tyres. All manner of high-speed demonstrations were executed in order that this fact could be adequately pointed out in an entertaining way. That 15,000 attended indicated the interest in seeing such a demonstration. The spectators were further brought into the Test Day by seeing 12 ordinary members of the public themselves driving basic saloons fitted with Cinturatos. The 12 were ordinary members of the public who had been selected from 8,000 who wished to take part in this demonstration. This selection was carried out in a fair manner to ensure that the final 12 could handle basic saloon cars on a track at close to maximum speeds.

Now, this Test Day was first thought of, organised and paid for by Pirelli Limited, so surely the Company cannot be expected to invite other manufacturers to exploit their products on such an expensive occasion. Conversely, the day was centred exclusively on Pirelli tyres without mention or incorporation of others because Pirelli had no desire to ” knock ” the products of another manufacturer—an easy thing to do even in the most straightforward of circumstances.

Stemming from this, we at Pirelli would be pleased to listen to proposals and, indeed, sit on a committee of major tyre manufacturers’ publicity men with the view to discussing some form of joint Test Day or similar event.

At least, I am pleased to Say, the luncheon provided at the Press Day preview of the Cinturato Test Day was ” excellent ” according to the MOTOR SPORT representative. Perhaps the duration of the luncheon enjoyed by this representative was such that he could only expound in his introductory paragraph on a drive along the A25, muddy car park, and miss the major journalistic point—that the 12 members of the public created British motoring history by being the first ordinary people to drive on a world-class Formula 1 racing track at this event.
ROBERT NEWMAN, London, N.W. 1. Press Officer, Pirelli Limited. [I must go on a diet!—ED.]


would like to express my appreciation of your very fair appraisal of the Humber Imperial and the Singer Chamois in last Month’s MOTOR SPORT. There is, however, one small point about the Imperial where you mention that the warning lights are too dazzling at night.

Since the Motor Show last year, all the Rootes models from the Husky upwards now have small plastic “lids ” on the direction indicator light, headlamp front beam light and overdrive light (where fitted) so that the lights can be dimmed for night driving.

Perhaps you missed these on the Imperial, but I can assure you they are fitted.
London, W. 1. Technical Press Officer, Rootes Motors Ltd.


I was most interested to read ” D.S.J.’s ” report of his trip to Syracuse in a Lotus Elan. It was no surprise to me that he managed it without trouble, for the Elan is certainly far from the frail and temperamental vehicle the delightful-looking Elite used to be. Viewed in profile, I would disagree with “Jenks ” in his comments about its looks, though.

One of those cars which he had previously tried was mine, and he seemed unimpressed last year, so I was more than delighted to see that he had had a chance to get to know the car. It really is a surprisingly comfortable little car, and no more noisy than other sports cars.

My own, ex-Jim Clark ” cooking ” Elan has now covered over 50,000 miles. Whilst it may not have been entirely trouble-free it has only once let me down. Things like brake pads and rubber universal joints have been replaced regularly. Tyres wear well and I find the Pirelli Cinturato particularly suited to the Elan.

997 NUR left Cheshunt—the first production Flan to do so— in the middle of the bad 1963 winter when I delivered it to Jim Clark and was so taken with it (after various Elites, Porsche and Mini Coopers among interesting cars) that I swore it would be mine some day, and since buying it at the end of 1963 I have popped up the mileage from 17,000 to over 50,000. It is used as my everyday hack car carrying just about everything from a surveyor’s staff and tripod to (believe it or not !) a dozen lambs in the boot ! Last year I rescued Sir John and Lady Whitmore at Nurburgring and brought John and luggage for the three of us from Adenau to Ostend (no week-end bags, either; we had all been on the Continent for several weeks) and from Southend to London we even carried John’s wife as well. The car did a good dozen or two laps round “The Ring” in practice and has since been raced at Charterhall and Ingliston, rallied, sprinted—the lot. (Andrew Cowan finished second to a full racing version in the first race at Ingliston on a wet track.)

It once covered Berwick to Stevenage in four hours 23 min.; that’s no mean average speed for 320 miles. It is so accelerative, yet so responsive to one’s every wish, that traffic becomes fun to drive among. I even owe my life to its very lowness—once on rounding a blind bend in the road I found two pantechnicons side-by-side occupying the entire road. The overtaking one swung in and all I could see was his long projecting tail blocking my side of the road—the Elan went below !

One interesting point that might shatter ” D.S.J.” In 18 months and a similar mileage, the Porsche 1600 Super I once owned cost me well over twice as much in maintenance and repairs !


As the owner of an early lightweight Giulietta S.S. I found your road test of the latest version of this car most interesting.

The performance of the two cars is about the same, the increase in power being offset by an increase in weight of nearly 3 cwt. It is in the handling and noise level departments that the two cars appear to differ.

The Giulieua S.S. can be driven ” hands off ” at over 6,000 r.p.m. in 5th on motorways, except in strong cross-winds. Its adhesion in the wet is well up to the standards of other Alfas, apart from a tendency to oversteer when the petrol tank is full. I would also say that it shows no lack of stability on bumpy surfaces.

The induction roar on acceleration is quite mild and clearly comes from the near side of the car, being greatly increased when the cold-air ducting is open.

In the case of your test car, both the heater and cold-air ducting are on the near side, the heater ducting having been moved during the right-hand-drive conversion.

I wonder if this conversion is not the cause of the handling problems as well as the noise ?

As you probably know, the engine and transmission of these cars are offset to the right to counteract the weight of the driver. Conversion to r.h.d. could well upset the whole balance of the car. Further small points on your road test :

1. The ” Bug deflector” is not there to deflect bugs. It keeps the wiper blades on the windscreen at speed. Without it they leave the screen altogether at about 90 m.p.h.

2. Boot space is greatly increased by moving the battery under the off-side rear wing.

3. Fourth gear ratio is 4.55 to 1, giving a maximum of 108 mph.

To sum up, I think you are quite right in inferring that the car is not worth over £2,000. I think that the cheaper Sprint GT with factory r.h.d. is a far better proposition.

However, a secondhand I.h.d. Giulietta or Giulia S.S. is an excellent proposition, being a fast, refined GT car which is very cheap to run.
Solihull. A. H. PIPER.

I was interested to read your recent report of the Alfa Romeo Giulia TI and of the Giulia S.S., and as an Alfa Romeo enthusiast who at present owns a Sprint GT I was very surprised to find such an unfavourable report on the S.S. model which I have always looked upon as the ultimate in Alfas, and which I would very much desire to own. You might be interested to hear of my previous experiences with this make of car, and I will try to be as brief as possible.

About 18 months ago I bought a Giulia TI from an agent in London and whilst I was pleased with the mechanical side of this car and had no mechanical problems at all, I found that the general finish of the bodywork and paintwork was so appallingly bad as to be almost indescribable, and the car had to be returned on at least five occasions to London for these to be rectified. The work done by the agents was so bad that I eventually had to go to a main Alfa Romeo garage where one of the doors had to be completely removed and rewelded to the body. Eventually, after finding that the undercoat was showing through on one door, that rust was creeping up the body sides, and that the firm front where I purchased the car was obviously not interested in getting it put right, I decided to buy a Spider, the bodywork of which is made by a specialist firm of coachbuilders called Farina.

Whilst I was sitting in the car writing out the cheque I questioned the salesman, a different firm this time also in London, about the question of whether the hood was waterproof or not. Having been assured that it could stand up to the heaviest storm I was writing the cheque out when water started to pour through the roof. Somewhat disconcerted I suggested that the car might be returned and was told that this was now impossible as it had been taxed in my name, and eventually I gave him the cheque on the assurance that this matter would be put right. We had also found a faulty screenwiper, and no side lights when I checked the car over. When I got it home I found that the door pull was completely missing from the passenger’s door. The hood was replaced but the car leaked as badly as ever.

To cut a long story short, this car gave a great deal of trouble from the point of view of water leaks and general finish. The carpets were dirty, the car was badly turned out in many ways and after only a week or two the boot locked, which is rather a problem when the petrol filler is inside the boot. When I say it locked, I mean that having been locked it could not be unlocked owing to the lock having been broken. After numerous discussions with the people from whom I bought this car, who were not particularly helpful, I was eventually told that I could have a Rover 2000 at a very favourable rate. As it later turned out they sold the Spider at a fairly considerable profit and also got the profit on the Rover. 2000.

So far as the Rover is concerned I ran it in carefully for 1,500 miles and the day after the first servicing of this car I ran a big end also.

To the consternation of my family and friends, because I very much like the make Alfa Romeo, I decided to have a look at a Giulia Sprint GT. This car I examined in a dealers in Lincoln and it certainly appeared to be a very different motor car from the other two which I had purchased. The bodywork was faultless, the general trim and turnout was beyond reproach. In addition I liked the people I was dealing with and eventually bought this car and traded in the Rover which had had a new engine fitted by the Rover Car Company free of charge.

This new Giulia Sprint GT which I am now driving is in every respect a first-class little motor car. Its handling is excellent, the paintwork and bodywork are faultless and it is fast and reliable and has given absolutely no trouble over 4,000 miles. I am very surprised indeed about your criticisms of the S.S. model which presumably has the same steering and brakes as the Sprint GT. My car is rock steady at 100 m.p.h. and this superb road-holding is praised by the other three Giulia owners whom I know personally.

To sum up I should say that Alfa Romeo have gone through a lot of production difficulties until recently, and their products are very much better turned out than they were eighteen months ago. Two particular things, one of which you mention in your article, I would also criticise, I refer to the number of turns necessary to wind up the window, and I am glad to see that they have stopped the stupid little struts which in the original Giulietta Sprint and later in the Spider were used to prop up the boot and the bonnet hood, and which were invariably crushed by careless garage hands in closing these structures.

When I got to a state of despair about my Spider I wrote a very long letter to Alfa Romeo in Milan and this was personally delivered there by a friend of mine. In this letter I laid out the full details of all that had happened to my two cars, giving a lengthy list of faults and the treatment that I received; I had no reply to my letter but the fact remains that this new car of mine is now a very different proposition to the other two so perhaps my efforts were not in vain.

I think that these delightful little cars, even at the inflated price which they command in this country, are very much a worthwhile proposition for somebody who is a bit of an enthusiast and wants something a little different from the average run of motor cars. In other words, having been sadly disillusioned about Alfa Romeo I am now beginning to get my confidence again, though it has been rather shaken by the comments you made on the S.S. model, and I very much hope that other readers will also write on this subject.
Peterborough. MICHAEL BARLING.

In “A Tale of Two Alfas” (May, 1965) you sadly relate that your faith in Alfa Romeo reliability and servicing facilities has been jolted and invite your readers to confirm or dispel your anxiety.

It is, perhaps, a pity that the main part of your report was devoted to the Giulia Sprint Speciale, an aesthetic nightmare which must have been designed by Bertone on one of his rare off days, instead of the considerably cheaper Giulia Sprint GT which is in every way as good as the S.S. is bad. For example the Sprint GT has Dunlop discs all round, servo-assisted, instead of Girling discs in front only with no servo. The Sprint has room for the left foot, a vastly better instrument layout, lots of space in the boot, feels right, looks right and in a modest way is a very genuine GT car. I have run a Sprint GT since October, 1964 and covered 8,000 very pleasant and reasonably trouble-free miles.


(i) Gear box leaked oil from somewhere on top.

(ii) Bad flat spot from the pair of twin choke Webers at 2,750 r.p.m.

(iii) Part of the ventilation system fell apart.

(iv) Bad rattles on doors and parcel shelf.

(v) Locating screw on gear lever knob sheared.

(vi) Brakes seized on.

Servicing facilities?

(i) T and T’s repaired this with despatch and old world courtesy but gearbox leak in fact got worse. Rex Neate of Botley cured it.

(ii) I haven’t worried anyone about this because it is a good reminder to keep the revs up (engine is smooth up to 7,000).

(iii) My son repaired this.

(iv) Cured by Wheeler and Ayland of Basingstoke from whom I bought the car.

(v) Repaired by Rex Neate.

(vi) Local Ford agents sorted this out—it had to be the nearest ‘garage available as car was immobilised.

So, on balance my Alfa is reasonably reliable and servicing facilities, depending on where you go, range from good to indifferent, which applies to most cars.

Anyone reading your absolutely fair road test would get a rather unhappy impression of Alfa Romeo : it must have been an unlucky chance in a thousand that made the clutch pedal break on the good little Giulia TI saloon, which obviously had begun to appeal to you, and it was unfortunate that Alfa Romeo sent you as a companion just about the only indifferent car in their range— the Sprint Speciale.

Perhaps some day you will try the Giulia Sprint GT and agree with me that it puts Alfa Romeo very much in the World’s Top Ten.
Alverstoke. CDR. A. DUNHILL, M.V.O., R.N.