Ideal pairs - Conclusion

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The “Ideal Pairs” correspondence was so prolific that an extra session is required to conclude it. The first letter on this second pile of such letters is from a Retford reader who runs a Renault 4 and a 1939 Jowett flat-twin saloon. He considers these represent a good economy, ancient-and-modern pair, the comfortable Renault being borrowed from his wife for long journeys and both giving good m.p.g. From Halifax comes a car and a motorcycle pair—a Lister-Bristol, raced in historic sports-car events by Clive Doyle, and his 1938 racing cammy Norton. Both, as he says, “hairy-chested” machines.

Someone from Hallatrow opts for a pair of Sunbeams, in the form of Sunbeam-Talbot 90 saloon and an Alpine roadster. Both are solid, comfortable, reliable and give good accommodation, with closed/fresh-air permutations. This reader insists his pair could only be approached by an RM Riley and a Riley roadster of the same period. A Leigh-on-Sea writer dreaming of an “Ernie” share-out meanwhile derives satisfaction from a Ford Escort 1100L, which lives in the open and provides “commonplace, uncomfortable, economical, reliable and sensible travel,” while within the garage there is a 1938 Cadillac Fleetwood which is “rare, comfortable, thirsty and temperamental”. Ontario brings a letter from a reader whose present pair consists of a Peugeot 504 and a Fiat 124 coupé, both purchased new, the Fiat in 1969. The Fiat replaced a DKW 1000, then paired with a Volvo 544 and later a Volvo 122S. The DKW was replaced when more room was needed by a 1968 Renault R16, which the Peugeot succeeded, chosen after contemplating a Volvo 144S, Renault R16, Ford Cortina 2000 GT, Audi 100LS and a Chevrolet Chevelle. The Peugeot is the family car, for getting away in and towing an International-14 sailing boat in summer. The Fiat is used for driving tests and ice racing. This gentleman, who emigrated with the “Brain Drain” of 1962, would buy BMW/Porsche if he had the chance but would be happy to replace the Fiat 124 with other Fiat models, Datsun 240Z, Porsche 914-4, Renault R17 coupé or a Ford Capri 2000 or 2600.

Another “dream” pair, ideal for a reader in Port Talbot, is quoted as an Aston Martin DBS V8 (not a plain V8) and a Dino Ferrari or Ford GT40. In reality, a 1970 Ford Cortina 1600E has to do—”I’m very satisfied with it and think it very good value for money”.

A. F. Rivers Fletcher writes to remind us that he has frequently had paired makes in his motoring life. For instance, a pair of 1934 Austin 7s, a saloon with an Arrow four-seater, then his Jaguar Mk. II saloon and HWM-Jaguar single-seater and, more recently, R-type Bentley and replica-style 4-1/4 Bentley two-seater. Now he says he has a pair of pre-war Alvis cars “in the oven”. A London reader uses a 1932 Riley 9 Gamecock and a 1952 2-1/2-litre RMB Riley saloon, “a fine top-gear car” if you possess an oil-well, a refinery and a half-shaft tree in the back garden!” However, this pair cost only £220, the Gamecock bought for £95 in 1966, the RMB for £115 eighteen months ago.

On a more flippant note—no, I believe he is serious!—a writer from Todmorden praises his twosome, an ex-London FX4 Austin taxi and a 1949 Leyland PD 1/3 58-seater coach, and quotes their respective speeds in gears as 10, 18, 28 and 15-50 m.p.h. and 6, 10, 15, 20 and 33 m.p.h. As he remarks, he puts safety before speed. From Ely comes a letter from someone who says he will no doubt immediately be branded a “filthy capitalist”, because he has two pairs of cars. He adds that these are a 1963 MG-B used for 50-miles-a-day fast, comfortable and economical commuting, and a 1939 MG-B for week-end motoring and as a standby. Having a family causes complications, so they use a 1962 Austin A40 Countryman, recently given to them, and a 1946 s/c MG TC is used for racing, complete with wide wheels, racing boots, negative camber, roll-over bar, etc. It is towed by the MG-B. This collective enjoyment cost £420. . .

John Atkins of Banstead finds the ideal in a company Range Rover (“four vehicles in one, as the advertisements rightly say”) and a tuned, 5-speed Morgan Plus-8. If he could go to £7,000 he would replace the Morgan with a Dino Ferrari. Or for £18,000, he reflects, you could buy a Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer and the Range Rover.

From Cyprus comes news of a contrasting pair owned by an RAF man, a 1935 Austin 10/4 Lichfield saloon which he has driven since 1968 and which has taken him all over England to various postings with no more trouble than a blown gasket and some electrical bothers; and which is about to be paired with a new VW 1303L. This reader says he is awaiting delivery of his new car but “if it lives up to its reputation I shall have no complaints”, which shows how Volkswagen’s good name for quality continues to bring them sales. Finally, a 12-year-old boy weighs in with a couple of imaginary pairs—a “109” Land Rover/BMW 3.0 CSL Alpina or a Range Rover/Triumph 650, adding that he cannot afford either, having only just enough money for next month’s Motor Sport—shades of my own youthful enthusiasm. . . .!

I hope this pairing of motor cars has intrigued you. If it has done nothing else it shows that Motor Sport has a far-flung readership of truly keen car owners, with a great diversity of motoring tastes and requirements. It will be difficult to start another topic of discussion likely to arouse as much interest as this one. But, in view of escalating prices and living costs, perhaps some of our younger and/or less affluent readers may have some hints and tips for reducing the financial liability of running a car (yes, we can already visualise what the humorists will do!)? Or who have bought a sound car cheaply, even in recent times—like the person who got a Wolseley 18/85 with an overhauled engine at a farm auction sale last year, for £13. — W. B.