Some o.h.c. and Straight-8 Comments

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Sir,
It is interesting to note that Mr. Roesch appears to claim that he can do with push rods what lesser mortals can only do with d.o.h.c. However, I humbly suggest that he has got his basis of comparison wrong. For example, his Talbot “110” in its final stage of development using a superior fuel and 11 : 1 compression ratio developed a maximum b.h.p. of 164. The Jaguar 3.4 of very similar size and dimensions started at about this point with cooking fuel and 8 : 1 compression ratio, and in its final Le Mans stage in 3.4-litre form was giving about 280 b.b.p. with 9 : 1 c.r. In other words, his comparisons are vitiated by the great disparity in specific output and I doubt if Jaguars need to take his remarks very seriously.

It may be overstating the case, but any push-rod valve gear can be regarded as a mechanical abortion only to be tolerated in the realms of fantasy created by the late Mr. Heath Robinson, and I look forward to the day when push-rod valves will be as dead as side ones.

Re. your comment on Lord Montagu’s book, “The Lost Causes of Motoring,” as you imply, it is absurd to suggest that there was any real correlation between a firm’s introduction of a straight-eight engine and the firm’s demise.

In its day, the straight-eight’s popularity as a status symbol in the States was comparable with that of the V8 today, especially if allowance is made for the difference in the standard of living. In the vintage era in the States, the 4-cylinder engine was still a force to be reckoned with and the straight-eight attained its peak of popularity in post-vintage times.

During the latter period it might be argued that the Ford empire continued to lose ground to General Motors because Ford did not market a straight-eight, whereas G.M. did in the guise of Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac. It is perhaps interesting to recall that 1954 saw the last two catalogued American straight-eight engined cars. One of these was the Pontiac (G.M.) and the other, the Packard.

E. Horsley. F.R.P. King.