Matters of moment, June 1967

Ford Corsair 2000E v. the “Windsor Castle”

There was a time when long-distance record attempts on the road were considered very good publicity value, and they included the London-Monte Carlo runs, the Cape Town record and so on. In recent years official bodies have frowned on such stunts, which is a pity. This did not stop Ford of Britain issuing lots of pre-run information about an attempt by Ken Chambers and Eric Jackson to beat the liner “Windsor Castle” from Cape Town to Southampton. They called it the ”most adventurous Show-the-Flag export demonstration of 1967″ and it had the backing of Castrol, Shell and Firestone. As Jackson expected to smoke 60 cigarettes a day during the drive, it is surprising they did not also have the backing of a tobacco company!

The Corsair had to beat the time of days which the 37,640-ton liner normally takes for the 7,000-mile sea-crossing. Average speeds on the 4.0-mile trans-Continental run from Cape Town to Kasindi were to be held if possible to 50-55 m.p.h. The car, carrying 7 cwt, of food, water and equipment, and 50 gallons of petrol, was largely standard except for a larger fan, an oil-cooler, duralumin sump and gearbox shields, and rally-type lamps and equipment. It was emphasised that otherwise it was like any V4 Corsair that you can buy from Ford dealerships from Kinross to Kuala Lumpur. We understand that the “Windsor Castle” wasn’t honed-up in any way.

Ford sounded enormously confident about the outcome of this very strenuous and adventurous run, which, if it came off, will have taken the mickey out of Union Castle, who make the claim that, except for flying, there is no quicker way of going from Cape Town to England than in their ships – they should perhaps have added, unless you can drive like Chambers and Jackson and have a Corsair V4. It was due to start on May 10th at Cape Town and finish 9,752 miles later at Southampton on May 22nd, so by now you will know how this Ford Corsair UVW 999E fared. Whether, in fact, it is quicker by car or better to take the boat!

Filling station fashions

When we wrote in last month’s Editorial that in spite of price reductions and star ratings, perhaps the girls who serve the petrol will continue to be one of the biggest factors in the sales’ success of given brands, we did not know that BP, Shell and National Benzole had been busy designing new uniforms for their male and female petrol pump attendants.

BP announce new clothing for staff at their 4,500 filling stations, in all-British cloth. There are 22 variations and the girls can choose from Judy neckline blouses with three quarter-length sleeves in light yellow or grey, silver grey hip-fitting tailored skirts, slimline slacks, charcoal grey loose fitting jackets, neat dresses, dustcoats and a “Happy Harry” bib and brace with crossover straps and the latest bell-bottom trousers. There is also a jaunty jockey cap, woollen hob cap for cold weather, and a heavy pullover. Shell announce a wide range of forecourt uniforms in Continental blue and light blue, of man-made fibres. National Benzole girls can choose from cream blouse, dark blue tailored skirt, slimline dark blue slacks, dark blue jacket and dress, tailored zippered boiler suit in dark blue, white dustcoat, dark blue loose-fitting pullover, cream turtleneck sweater, with jockey cap and bob cap, largely made from Terylene cotton. BP make the point that buttons have been eliminated to prevent scratching of car paintwork.

All very new and gay. But it is what is inside the clothing that will sell the petrol!

Breathalysers for Britain

Public opinion about citizens’ rights and liberties does not seem to matter much to our Rulers. Opinion was against breathalysers, not because any sane person would condone drunken drivers but because, with the crime-wave soaring and murder all too commonplace, the police should not be encouraged to add to the time they spend playing with radar-meters by lining up innocent motorists and forcing them to blow up little plastic bags. None of this has stopped Mrs. Castle from ordering a million of these. toys. So in future British motorists may find themselves stopped so that their breath can be tested with German breathalysers which have cost us £200,000. If these go green arrest will follow, but a nicotine test comes in another colour. One hopes that all constables operating these things will have been tested for colour blindness! It is significant that these devices are not regarded as sufficiently accurate for them to be used as evidence in Court.

What is also significant is that when the Daily Express announced the pending issue of these foreign blow-up bags to car and motorcycle patrols of 100 British Police Forces, nowhere was mention made of roadside tests being taken by anyone other than drivers, a term used six times in the report. Apparently either the authorities think only motorists get drunk, or else the rights of untaxed cyclists and pedestrians are to be respected and their drunken antics overlooked.

Mr. Basil Tye and the R.A.C.

In the issue of Motor Sport for February 1967, we published an article in Racing Notes under the heading “Isle of Man Activity.” This article made reference to the proposed racing in the Isle of Man and the 1966 Bahamas Speed Week, responsibility for permits at which was attributed ro the R.A.C. and their representative there, and a comment was made to the effect that it looked as though something nasty was going on behind the scenes at the R.A.C.

The R.A.C. and Mr. Basil Tye, the R.A.C. representative concerned, have drawn our attention to the article which we now realise reflected adversely upon them both. As a result we now wish to take this early opportunity to apologise to the R.A.C. and Mr. Tye for the comments we made, which we acknowledge went too far, and for any distress or embarrassment the article may have caused them.

Brooklands diamond jubilee

All roads should lead to Brooklands on June 11th, when the gates of the old, historic Track will be once again opened to the public for the Godalming Round Table rally and demonstration of Brooklands’ racing cars and motorcycles. Tickets are restricted, so should be applied for immediately; those who take a chance of getting in without them may find the gates, which open at noon, soon closed against them. At least 80 famous Track vehicles are scheduled to appear (although many which should be represented will be absent), with many more amongst the 500 or so pre-1940 cars which will form a static display. The latter date from 1898 onwards and 140 of them will entertain the public by undertaking driving tests. The first racing car demonstration is due to commence at 2 p.m. Everyone not at Le Mans who enjoys the sight and sound of old racing cars will presumably want to be at Brooklands on this anniversary Sunday, so application for admission (£1 per car, proceeds to charity) should be made NOW to Godalming Round Table, Crownpits Lane, Godalming. The route out of London is down the Kingston By-Pass to Esher, alter which it should be A.A. signposted.