Your May 85 issue contained a most interesting article on John Tojeiro. Many of us in the ACOC have cause to be grateful for the happy transition of LOY 500 into the Ace and Cobra.
Just in the interests of accuracy could I mention that the 1958 “Ace Le Mans” finished second in class at Le Mans, not first as you said: AC did win the class in 1959 and with a rather standard road-going Ace at that!
I wonder if the feeling about poor aerodynamics accounting for disappointing Tojeiro performance is correct? The Moreton Cavendish body on the Ace Le Mans was slippery enough to give it over 20 mph advantage compared with an Ace — in fact Thames Ditton were obliged to cut a special set of gears for the diff to prevent over-revving on Mulsanne. My feeling is that these early Tojeiro space frames are pretty flexible between scuttle and front suspension — the several I have looked at have no triangulation in the engine bay and on the face of it seem less stiff than the old ladder chassis in this area.
Barrie Bird, Insch, Aberdeenshire.
[It was John Tojiero himself who suggested that his cars, paticularly the Jaguar engined ones, were not as aerodynamically efficient as they might have been. ML]
Thank you for your interesting article on Tojeiro which appeared in your May issue.
Your reference to 7 GNO was particularly interesting as it is the only Tojeiro that I have actually sat in! As you suspected this car is still in New Zealand being currently owned by the Kiwi racing driver Ken Smith. If my records are correct the car was originally brought into New Zealand by Frank Cantwell. Subsequently the vehicle had a number of owners before Smith bought it from Clyde Collins of Christchurch.
This interesting race car is in good condition being painted green and it still seems to enjoy being opened up on a race track when its owner allows it to be used for demonstration runs.
It seems as though there may have been two chassis which have been claimed to be 7 GNO. I refer to Doug Nye’s article in Autosport, December 9th, 1976: “Late in October 1957 Ogier crashed the wire-wheeled car (carrying “7 GNO”) in a horrendous multiple roll at Stapleford. He survived some nasty injuries but the car was a write-off. At about this time the original “7 GNO” was sold to Frank Cantwell in New Zealand …. “
Peter Hill, Victoria, Australia
(The 7 GNO number plate was used on two cars. M.L.)
Your article in the May issue interested me greatly, but I am a bit confused also.
In 1962 I bought a Climax-engined Tojeiro, 5 KPA, which had previously been raced by Tony Hegbourne. I understood it was one of five. However, it had the upsidedown and back-to-front- Volkswagen gearbox and final drive, which you ascribe to the 1959 car only. Actually, the car was quite reliable, but it had an enormous appetite for drive shafts, which were machined from standard VW parts, and the gear change was a misery.
Front suspen‘sion was Standard 10, I believe, but de Dion at the rear. Handling was very twitchy, with sudden and terminal oversteer. I “discussed” this with John Tojeiro on one of my visits to his works. He said, “Yes, they all did that. I think the radius rods were too short.”
The greatest, mystery is the bodywork. 5 KPA does not appear to be the same shape as the cars in your pictures, having a smaller air intake, and rather fancy tail fins. The latter have sadly been lost and when last seen the rear bodywork was an amateur lashup. I did see a complete spare body in John Tojeiro’s workshop in 1963, but failed to persuade him to part with it.
Having discovered that by the end of 1963 my eyesight was no longer safe enough I parted with the car in a complicated deal which involved an XK120.
BC Eccleston, Consett, Co Durham
[The photograph accompanying the article was of the works car. The others had prominent rear fins. ML ]
With reference to your recent article on the descriptions applied to the cars we are all interested in, ie: “Original” – “Replica” – “Restored” – etc, etc. It seems to me that the most important thing is that the car should have an unbroken lineage or continuity of owners. Of course things will wear out, get broken, be damaged in accidents, but if competently repaired even with the addition of available new parts it is still the same car.
Where the problem appears, to me, to arise is when some unscrupulous person, who perhaps cannot afford to go out and buy an original (ie as put together by the manufacturer), builds a replica from similar parts and later passes it off as an original by that manufacturer. Its happened in the art world for years and is now creeping into the car world.
For instance: I have recently done some detailed research into MG J4s. Only nine of this model were produced by MGs between March 1933 and July 1933. All nine of these cars managed to survive Brooklands and the Second World War. However, between 1949 and 1963 four of them were dismantled, broken up entirely, and the parts dispersed. Some of the parts later appear in other cars (not even MGs, which adds insult to injury! ).
It therefore seems odd to me that nine J4s appear in the MG Car Club’s “Triple M” Register, with current owners and original chassis numbers!
TC. Sargeant. Goudhurst, Kent
I really must write in protest about the letter from RD. Marsh (Motor Sport, April) concerning caravans.
Caravans, I agree, do hold up traffic, but then so does just about every other category of vehicle on the road at some time or another. Why are caravanners singled out time and again for the type of unjustified abuse which Mr Marsh is heaping on them?
Worse offenders by far are overloaded commercial vehicles, agricultural vehicles, inconsiderately ridden bicycles and small motorcycles, horses and livestock etc., etc. Mr Marsh claims that caravanners are the most inconsiderate of road users and that in his experience they never pull off the road to let others past. It seems to have escaped Mr Marsh’s comprehension that caravanners are solo car drivers too, equally experienced in the delays and frustrations of being caught behind slow moving vehicles. In my experience almost without exception they make every effort to minimise the delay they cause, unlike the attitude of sheer “bloody-mindedness” adopted by most drivers of the aforementioned vehicles.
If this is not the case in Mr Marsh’s experience then may I respectfully suggest that his experience is so limited as to be unworthy of consideration? I suspect that Mr Marsh belongs to that strange category of driver who believe that the correct approach when behind a vehicle with relatively restricted rearward vision is to tuck in as closely as possible, preferably in a blind spot, and then wonder why they can’t get past. Next time you are behind a caravan Mr Marsh use a little common sense, make your presence known (but not arrogantly) and I can practically guarantee that you will be waved past at the next convenient point.
Mr Marsh then goes on to bring up that old chestnut, “caravanners don’t spend any money in the places they visit”. Does Mr Marsh really imagine that they load themselves up with all their provisions before they start so that they don’t have to buy anything whilst they are away? Presumably the cars are fitted with huge petrol tanks to prevent having to buy any petrol whilst on holiday? In reality traders benefit rather more from caravanners than they do from hotel guests, part of the attraction after all of a touring holiday is being able to sample the local produce.
Finally road users in this country are far too heavily taxed as it is, without introducing further taxes. On average caravans are probably in use no more than three weeks a year. Is it fair to suggest that they should be taxed as though they were in contant use? If it is then can we please tax bicycles and horses when they are ridden on the road.
RC. Hunt, Bicester
Portuguese Grand Prix
Could I warn your readers who may sometime in the future consider visiting the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril of the appalling spectator facilities offered.
In no way did the services compare with those at major race meetings in this country and elsewhere. For example, there is no means of viewing the whole circuit unless separate seats were purchased for each individual stand; the loud-speaker system was totally inadequate and frequently drowned by the TV helicopter noise; hoardings faced TV cameras obscuring spectators’ views; the grandstand seats were unnumbered and the seats themselves constructed of secondhand scaffolding and boards or cold, damp ‘pileprovoking’ concrete.
The whole programme, such as it was, had been geared to TV and VIP’s, and the general public not catered for and harassed by police. That it rained and was cold made the whole occasion a non-event. I am sure your readers who attended would agree.
KS Spooner, Pulborough