In writing, on page 580 of last month’s issue, of the number of copies made by other manufacturers of the pioneering, twin-cam, inclined-multi-valved, pre-1914 Peugeot racing engines I committed a stupid error, although the purpose of the discourse was in no way diminished thereby. The Peugeot of this kind which C.G. Brocklebank raced at Brooklands after the war and which killed Capt. Troop there in 1924 was wrongly quoted as having been one of the 1913 3-litre Coupe de L’Auto cars whereas, as I know very well, it was in fact one of the 1913 team of Grand Prix Peugeots, which had 5.6-litre engines. As I devote more than 2 1/2 pages in my “History of Brooklands” to describing how Brocklebank maintained, tuned, repaired, and generally kept the old warrior going, this was indeed a stupid slip. The car was thought to have been the actual winner of the 1913 French GP, at Amiens, driven by Georges Boillot, at 71.65 m.p.h., just as Boillot won the Coupe de L’Auto race that year at Boulogne in the 3-litre Peugeot, at 63.15 m.p.h. In Brocklebank’s hands it lapped Brooklands at 114.23 m.p.h., an impressive speed considering that the best Jules Goux could do before the war with one of the 1912 7.6-litre GP Peugeots was 105.97 m.p.h., the same driver lapping at 101.64 m.p.h. in one of the 3-litre Coupe de L’Auto cars.
One of the points I wanted to emphasise was that so similar was the chassis of his Peugeot to the 3-litre Bentley that Brocklebank was able to replace the ageing chassis-frame of the French car with a new Bentley chassis-frame, without much difficulty, an authentic story because it comes from his personal tuning-notebook, kept while he was racing the Peugeot. Clearly, F.T. Burgess copied not only a Peugeot engine when he designed the 1914 TT Humbers but a Peugeot chassis-frame when working for “W.O.” on the 3-litre Bentley! It was this that tricked me into wrongly calling Brocklebank’s Peugeot a 3-litre last month, but it is now apparent that in spite of the 5.6-litre engine, these 1913 GP Peugeots were of 3-litre Bentley compactness.
I have done some further research into this. Laurence Pomeroy quotes a wheelbase of 9′ 1″ and a track of 4′ 6″ for the 1912-winning 7.6-litre Peugeot, and respective figures of 9’4″ and 4′ 8 1/2″ for the 1913 3-litre Coupe de L’Auto Peugeot that one would have expected to have been and Brocklebank noted the wheelbase of his 1913 5.6-litre GP car as 8′ 9″ and its track as 4′ 6″. We know that the short-chassis 3-litre Bentley had a wheelbase of 9′ 9 1/2″ and a track of 4′ 8″ (the later 9′ 0″ wheelbase Bentley would not have been available when Brocklebank did his rebuild), so I assume he had to shorten the Bentley side-members but found everything else the same.
Finally, to clarify recent controversy, I append a table of these controversial pre-war racing Peugeots:—
1912 Grand Prix: 110 x 200 mm., 7,598 c.c.
1913 Grand Prix : 100 x 180 mm., 5,650 c.c. (Brocklebank quoted 5,655 c.c., before his engine was bored out).
1913 Coupe de L’Auto: 78 x 156 mm.. 2,980 c.c.
1914 Grand Prix: 92 x 169 mm., 4,491 c.c.
1914 Coupe de L’Auto: 75 x 140mm., 2,472 c.c. — W.B.