MATTERS OF MOMENT, June 1980

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MATTERS OF MOMENT

A NUMBER OF THINGS “The World ts so full of a Number of Things. That We should all be as Happy as Kings”

— Robert Louis Stevenson.

The above quotation may sound trite but it is unquestionably true, for those who enjoy life and take it as it unfolds. And in spite of the overshadowing threat of fuel shortages, the ever-increasing cost of motoring, the losses made by British Leyland, the strikes, go-slows and the one-day general-stoppage of May 14th, that are crippling much of the rest of British Industry and undermining the British way of life, nevertheless, Pot those whose way of life centres round motor cars and motoring, the outlook is quite bright.

Who would have expected, in an age of design restrictions aimed at allowing the scaremongers to breathe freely and safety stipulations to protect those ?.vho make a habit of crashing cars, that wc should see a spate of new convertibles? Yet here they are, with Triumph’s new TR7 drophead, Reliant’s on Iho well-tried rustproof Scimitar, BMW’s 3-series Bauer-bodied model, and Volkswagen’s Golf GTi four-seater cabriolet, etc. We have been driving a VW Golf GTi Convertible during the recent sunny weather and can confirm that not only has this been a pleasure but that the Golfs beautifully made “top” comes down and goes up very easily indeed.

T. those who believe that real motoring involves fresh air the advent of such cars is a notable 1980 landmark, as is the excellent news that the MG is likely to resume production under the enthusiastic Alan Curtis of Aston Martin, which famous British make has the futuristic Bulldog as a yardstick of its technical abilities and thinking. We wish the last-minute venture to save the great name of MG well and hope the loyal Abingdon workforce will benefit from the link-up — and that this will survive longer than the brief flirtation Frazer Nash had with Aston Martin before the war. . . Just before this Editorial appeared the most exciting and picturesque of the Ft races, that round the streets of Monaco, was decided, a Stop Press report of which appears on page 807, with colour photographs on the centre spread. The Grand Prix outlook is excitingly open so far this year, with the first six events this season having been won by Renault (two), Williams (two), Brabham and Ligicr. And although some people say that the old adage that “the racing car of today is tomorrow’s touring car” is dead, we would point to the growing use of turbo-charging, disc brakes, fuel-injection, overhead camshafts and even spoilers for

production cars.

Later this month there will be the annual exodus of the British to Le Mans with the aid of Page St Moy, or on their own by car and aeroplane. Here wc have the prospect of a British victo, to add to the attractions of this age-old French long-distance race, with Alain de Cadenet’s own conception of the kind of car to effectively “wear the green” at the Sarthe circuit, a car fresh from its success in the Silverstone Six-Hours race, to be driven by himself and one of the only truly-capable lady-drivers of modern times, Desire Wilson. . . .

On the old-car front the number of events taking place is quite staggering! They bring out the old vehiclss for sponsored and non-commercial appearances, some even for the benefit of charities. The continuing enjoyment by the public of such events will, we must hope, be sufficient proof of the interest created to keep old can irrumune from unhelpful legislation or exorbitant licence-fees. The outlook is good here, with the competitors in the Veteran Car Club’s Heron Golden Jubilee Rally that runs from Edinburgh to London between June 3rd and June 7th having a Police Escort for the final leg of the rally, to Heathrow’s Excelsior Hotel. The Midland AC’s Shelsley Walsh hill-climb celebrates its 75th Anniversary this year, with a special gathering of pre-1914 racing cars there at the VSCC Meeting on July 5th (these to include the 1908 GP Panhard-Levassor, that is also competing, and Leyland Heritage’s 1908 GP Austin) and a round of the RAC Hill-Climb Championship, for modern sprint cars, takes place at the Worcestershire hill on June 7th(8th. The Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation Building and Rolls-Royce Enthusiast Club’s Headquarters, in Northamptonshire, will have been officially opened on May 18th.

Sc the year 1980 is progressing quite well, from the motoring point of view. Those who are unable to afford the most advanced cars, such as the Audi Quattro, will find many good small-cars to choose from. Having at last tried the VW five-speed Golf GTi, W.B. is in full agreement with C.R. (see MOTOR SPORT, March, page 328) that this is an altogether outstanding little car. He says that as a result of driving one hots again becoming the VW fanatic he was in the Beetle days! Let us, then, give thanks for North Sea oil, to to enjoy motoring to the full, while taking heart from the knowledge that the Special Air Service and the Police handled the recent siege at the Iranian Embassy in a manner which showed the World that this little count, is not as backward or as tame or as timid as some other countries and politicians of a certain colour would like to believe. . . . And talking of politicians an inte,iew with the ve, motor sporting minded Minister of Sport, Hector Monro MP, appears on page 830 of this issue, to prove that not all the folk at Westminster are “agin” the motor car. MA7TERS OF MOMENT Continued front previous page

THE TRADITIONAL Richard Seaman Memorial Trophies Meeting takes place at the Cheshire circuit, starting at about 13.15 hours. on June 14th. This year it breaks with tradition by inclucling a round of the Lloyds & Scottish Historic Car Championship (the “Golden Oldies”), which may consist of rwo 16-lap races, one for single-seater racing cars and the other for sports cars, built up to 1960; we only hope the VSCC will not become embroiled in arguments about non-historic cars trying to com(ete, which caused the withdrawal of the Corner Dino Ferrari, the de Cadenet DBR4 Aston Martin, Norman’s 250F Mascrati, and the Hon. Patrick Lindsay’s ERA from an equivalent race at Silverstone on Easter Monday. (We are in full sympathy with those “who went on strike” against Moss’ will-to-win with a sponsored car but were sorry for the paying spectators: the BRDC acted very irresponsibly in allowing the JCB Ferrari to start without its correct papers and we hope sincerely that the HGPC.A and the AC Historic Committee will never issue documentation to any non-historic cars, whoever the builder, entrant or driver). Getting away from this vexed subject, the other 16-lap Scratch Races will be the Seaman Trophy

events, one for vintage racing cars built prior to 1931, the other for racing cars built prior to 1941, entered by VSCC members. These longer events will be supported by a number of five or six-lap scratch and handicap races for various kinds of old car, with the dating complexities of which we will not bother you. Spectator charges arc £3 for each adult, £1.50 per child, grandstand seats and car-park free, but with an extra C1.50 per person for a Paddock transfer. ‘There will also be the usual Concours d’Ekgance for vintage and pot. cars at this Meeting. No dogs are allowed, and entries have closed. — W.B.

“The Right Crowd And No Crowding”

a IS commendable that, in spite of the disastrous fire last winter which destroyed so much British Airways Corporation property at Brooklands. the BAC has again sanctioned the admittance of Brooklands Society members and their guests, to what is left of the old Motor Course at Weybridgc, on Sunday June 29th. However, the arrangements are different this year — only those with tickets obtained in advance will be allowed in, which is perhaps a step towards “The Right Crowd And No Crowding” on which the Track authoritiev prided themselves before the war. Society members also have to pay for admission this year.

This is a break with tradition, both from the pre-war days (when the five-guinea BARC sumual membership entitled a member not only to attend every race meeting, with a car, but sdso to bring in a lady or child free, and even to use the Track itself when it was available to ordinary cars/ and from the time when MOTOR SPORT admitted anyone free to the Track Reunion providing they had obtained a pass from us. However. the Brooklands Society needs funds badly, so presumably no-one will begrudge this mcmber’s admission charge, which in these inflational Aloes maybe compares with the pre-war BARC subscriptions, which ranged from a four-guineas for “bachelor” subscription upwards.

We understand that cars and motorcycles will drive up the Test Hill and run along a then section of the Byflect banking, as they did ip 1979, and that one of the attractions again tins year will be Owen Wyn-Owen’s ex-Parry Thomas 27-litre “Bobs’. Tickets most be applied for by June 15th. Society members’ tickets cost £1.50 each, obtainable on scrutiny of the 1980 member’s card. Each member is entitled Onto extra pass this price; further guest passes will cost £3.00 each. Members have been instructed how to srOlY for these. Incidentally, MOTOR SPORT is no longer associated directly with these ar..flements, as once it was. — W.B.

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