The Big Battalions

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Sir,
I think the spirit of sport must have gone out. Big Daddy Ferrari Says “Poor little us, what can we do against the might of Detroit?” This is the end. When the so-called enthusiasts of today start crawling away in the face of superior competition, the sport can lock its doors and disband. The very essence of racing a car has always been the continual endeavour to overcome opposition that appears in every way superior. Not now. Goodbye, motor racing, what a way for you to finish. Even more degrading when enthusiasts sink to putting heavy opposition under the label of “Big had giant”. Many journalists do it, but why does Motor Sport have to tag along?

From another aspect, it is not realised how tremendously vital publicity is to motor racing. Competitors have no sense of performance or attraction, related to the demands of the ticket-buying public. Should G.M. sweep into the racing field to challenge Ford, then motor racing will begin its healthiest, richest, and most popular era yet. The public (no public, no race meetings) will flock in their hundreds of thousands to all the tracks, when it concerns a clash of Detroit empires with the most sophisticated cars yet seen, driven by the world’s best race drivers. Do you think Joe Public gets excited over a one-off of dubious appearance that took months of midnight oil, sardine cans, sweat and ingenuity to build? Such a car is undoubtedly of interest to its builders and a few enthusiasts, and is a personal achievement to be proud of. But it will never put the sport on the map again. Don’t knock Detroit’s invasion; it’ll do you more good than any little S.E.F.A.C. Ferrari. Wake up to the world around you!

Newspaper stories of 245 m.p.h. Fords are good tonic for an introverted sport. And can’t he too inaccurate. Don’t take Ford’s quote of 475 b.h.p. too seriously. Stateside policy has always been to understate power outputs, because in spheres such as drag-racing, stock cars are classed by advertised power/shipping weight ratios. The N.A.S.C.A.R. stock cars that clock 170 m.p.h. laps at Daytona, nearly all claim 425 b.h.p. on their bonnets, when every race follower knows that a skilled mechanic can squeeze over 500 b.h.p. from a stock 427 Galaxie engine, and around 580 b.h.p. from the Plymouth hemi-head V-8. If an 18ft. long, 6ft. wide sedan of over 2 tons can hit straightaway speeds of 190 m.p.h. with between 470 and 570 b.h.p., how about a GT car smaller than a Cortina, with half the weight of a N.A.S.C.A.R. stocker?

Finally, can any reader deny that the people concerned in racing have some considerable responsibility towards the public whose five-bobs finance meetings and race moneys, to provide a spirit of rivalry, spectacle and skill? The reactionary sloth that is poisoning the spirit of motoring sport must not be allowed to corrupt it further by keeping healthy commercial rivalry and research from our race tracks.

Birmingham 24. D.R. Kipling.

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