Many thanks for your excellent magazine.
The May issue was of particular interest since the Hyper Lea-Francis which Pat Driscoll drove in 1930 is the one which I now own, and still race regularly. I would be most grateful if you could let me have Mr. Driscoll’s address so that I may contact him and try to establish some of the facts about the car which have been lost.
It was very interesting to read that he had troubles with the roller-bearing crankshaft, and particularly in that these components were virtually “disposable”. Having had mine refurbished a few years ago I discovered that it had worked about 13 thou. out of true in two seasons. They are rather uncommon nowadays, so to prevent irretrievable damage and a recurring expense it has now been relegated to a shelf in the workshop and I race on a Laystall crank made to the Frazer Nash pattern of the mid-thirties. Contrary to Mr. Sedgwick’s statement in the “Profile” on the Meadows-engined LeaFs, some 50 of these cranks were made by a firm called Bauer in Germany. Very few exist now due to the fact that LeaFs merely changed the crank as soon as it went out of true.
It is also interesting to note that for real high-speed events methanol fuel was used. I only learnt of this about three years ago from Rob Walker, who cut his motor racing teeth on a Hyper. Despite my present use of methanol I am quite sure that she could not achieve the maximum speed in excess of 120 m.p.h. required to lap Brooklands at nearly 113 m.p.h., although on some of the longer straights I have seen 5,000 r.p.m. briefly in top gear, which represents 115 m.p.h.
In a car as original as mine it is not unreasonable to expect history to repeat itself. I first heard about the trouble Driscoll had with the exhaust system during the “Double Twelve” from his mechanic, Mr. Lacy. I have just returned from Italy where I took part in the Rievo-cativa della Mille Miglia with the Hyper, the first leg of which, from Padua to ROme via Brescia and the Futa Pass, was firtually a straight race through the night. I drove back, staying overnight at Geneva, in two days, and the only breakage was the exhaust system, which collapsed about 20 miles short of Dunkirk when the car had covered nearly 3,000 miles altogether! However, it was cobbled together enough to reach the ferry in time and get home. The car averaged 50 m.p.h. and about 27 m.p.g., which rather puts the lie on the commonly held assertion that supercharged cars are uneconomical.
Finally, one can hardly blame the machinery for the rupture of the key holding the supercharger drive dog 150 yards after the start of the Itala Trophy race at VSCC Silverstone considering the car’s efforts the previous weekend.