Letters, June 1986

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ARG

Sir,

MOTOR SPORT’S Editorial regarding the ARG saga missed several vital points.

1, One cannot expect taxpayers’ money to be poured into the company for ever.

2. If privatised it is unlikely to survive more than a limited lime.

3. There are I believe some 7.000 shareholders who have never received a dividend for years

4, Had Ford taken over there might have been some redundancies in the short term. But in the long term it would have been better for employment land let us not forget the MG employees who lost jobs at Abingdon) Ills very nice to be patriotic. I support it, but are not ARG allowing the Japanese car into Europe through the back door, Besides. it is only a matter of time before there will be only three or four large mass producers of motor vehicles in the western world. probably Ford, GM, possibly Chrysler and a European consortium headed by Fiat.

5. Finally, a wholly British mass produced car, Already design and many important parts are foreign at ARG. Matters have gone looter now lobe able to have a completely British made mass produced vehicle.

Ramsey, IOM SIR OLIVE EDWARDS. BT

ARG Pro

Sir,

In “Matters of Moment” (May issue) you quote 1985 Profit and Loss figures for BL plc although the date of the Shareholders’ Annual General Meeting has not yet been advised and the 1985 Report of Accounts not yet issued to shareholders. As a shareholder In four of the constituent ferns for the past 56 years I am intrigued to know now the figures were obtained. How nice to hear BL plc referred to as a success story after the appalling inaccuracies that this Company has had to endure from badly briefed Politicians and television readers. They even refer to BL plc as “Government owned” whereas its shares are quoted daily by the Stock Exchange and shareholders have been told by BL that they pay 18%, interest on the large Government loan which means that the tax-payer gets an extremely good return. Only the shareholder loses. Thank you MOTOR SPORT for your encouragement but please note that the name ”Brilish Leyland’ coaxed to exist at a shareholders’ meeting on June 13th 1978 following requests from shareholders and distributors because the name Leyland was having such a detrimental effect on the famous names Austin, Jaguar. MG. Morris and Rover which had fine worldwide reputations before the then Labour Industry Secretary pressured MN and Leyland Trucks to merge.

Good luck and thank you for those magnificent articles on veteran cars. West Lavington,Wilts F T. HENRY

Initials and Champions

Sir,

I very much enjoyed M.L.’s story — May issue — on 500 cc Formula 3, especially its passing reference to the Swedish “Effyn” (sic) racing car. which I guess is what its exasperated driver might have called it when it broke; it was of course the “Effyh”. wiv a Haytch, made by Frans Yngve Hakansson, ergo the Initials “FYH”.

W.B.’s musings on Champion drivers also appealed. but he seems to have disregarded the inevitability of cumulative points totals rising as more Championship, qualifying GPs have been run each year. When Farina scored his 30 points in 1950 he had only six races in which to score them (discounting Indianapolis), and each win was only worth eight points — plus the occasional one extra for fastest lap as W.B. mentions — whereas by 1969 Stewart’s 63 points came (nine for a win) from an 11-race series, and by 1977 Lauda’s 77 Points came from a 17-race series. Just like cumulative test cricket records which seem to be toppling every season, the key is the greater number of matches — events — being organised. not — certainly not — greater prowess on the part of the new record breakers. Incidentally, as one who often writes on events I did not see firsthand I was amused by the comment “I . ,prefer not to emulate some writers who tell of happenings they have not seen”. because WB promptly goes on to recount Levassor’s feat in the 1895 Pans-Bordeaux in some detail. Does this give him the record for being the oldest motoring writer slot in full harness’? At least 101 not out?…

Long maybe remain so. Farnham. Surrey DOUG NYE

F1 HWM-Climax

Sir,

Further to your very interesting article in the April issue, I have pleasure in confirming that HWM did in fact commit themselves to metal with a view to getting back into F1 racing using the “Godiva” engine in ’56..”57 This is confirmed in the March ’56 issue of Autocourse; towards the end of the article “The HWM Story ‘ the relevant sentence reads ‘All interest in Fl racing has not been lost, there is a chassis frame wailing for the new 08 Coventry Climax Grand Prix engine and a complete car can be ready for testing within three months of HWM receiving the engine” Quite a few years ago now I purchased an HWM chassis complete with aluminium Salisbury dill and HWM breather tube, inboard Allies at the rear and HWM drilled backplates to the front again with Alfins. George Abecassis confirmed it some time ago as a “late-type single-sealer HWM chassis” I laboriously traced its history back to the mid-sixties through several owners, and George also kindly wrote to me confirming that he recalled selling a semi-completed chassis at the end of the firm’s racing days, although not being able to remember to whom it was sold Now the latest single-sealer to race to my knowledge waste ’54 with the 2,litre Alta engine, when it was driven by Lance Macklin in the Daily Express International Trophy and the Grand Prix de l’ACF Due to the car being outclassed by the Continental opposition. HWM decided to retire at that point front race, Now the chassis that I have is one of the Eugene Dunn designed frames with the mid section wider than the ends as used in the ’56 Jaguar-engined Sports cars, which is quite different from the earlier chassis which were of parallel tube construction with a step at the front. Mine is identical with the ex Phil Scragg car SPC 982 as I had an opportunity to dimensionally check it when the car was stripped al the time of Chris Drake’s ownership Interestingly in a letter to me George Abecassis describes his GT car, GPB 5, as built on a “spare racing chassis” although the frame IS one of the ’56 Dunn designs like mine. In common with Ihe Iwo all. enveloping ’56 Sports cars. the 2nd HWM and XPE 2, my point being that no single-seater was built or commenced other than my “Godiva” chassis using this late. type design.

I have built up this chassis as a Jaguar-engined Sports Racer with cycle mudguards as a hill-climber In the HWM-Scragg tradition, using the 1950 team car shape as a guideline with subtle changes, all HWM such as the later grille. My chassis is featured in Doug Nye’s book “Powered by Jaguar” but its history is not shown correctly as its proven documentation does not correspond with the information therein which, lobe fair, was not available when the book was written. Does anyone remember purchasing this chassis from George Abecassis, II has had several owners. including Jim Pearson and Tim Abbott when they were in partnership. The earliest owner I have traced is Laurie Ferran, of the Sherlock Hotel in Brighton. who says he bought it over the telephone through an Auto.sport advertisement advertising an HWM chassis in the The trouble is now I lie awake at night having read your article thinking about the “Godiva” engine bolted in up tront and bored out to five litres. S Maiden, Kent PETER VALENTINE

Champions

Sir,

I read your article “The Champions’ with great interest Ills always fascinating to speculate as to who could be called “The Greatest”. However, may I suggest a couple of errors in the thinking behind your suggested Driver’s Championship scoring system?

i) In the early years of the Championship only a limited number of championship races per year could be put towards the total. Thus your table might be rewritten to include these: Farina 1950 30 pts Fangio 1951 37 pts ( 6 pts) Ascari 1952-53, 53 1/2, pts ( +17, pts) Fangio 1954-62 57 1/2, pts ( +15, pts)

Clark 1963, 73 pts 1+ 19 pts) (other high scores: Stewart 1973, 71 pts; Lauda 1977,72 pts; Jones 1980, 71 pts).

Thus Jim Clark would still hold the title!

ii) What makes this feat even more remarkable is that Jim Clark scored his 73 pts from 10 starts, whereas in 1973, 1977 and 1980 there were 15. 17 and 14 championship starts respectively. To make an even fairer comparison, perhaps the six non-championship Grand Prix in 1963 could be added (Pau, Imola, S. German, Sweden, Austria, Rand). In these races (all in the Lotus 25) Clark finished first, first, eighth, first. retired and retired. Therefore a further 27 pts could be added to his total (to make it 10 wins and 100 points in a 16-race season). These figures seem to suggest a remarkable driver who almost certainly was the best driver in the world in his time. which I think is about as far as you can confidently go in the “greatest ever” argument May I wish you continuing success with your excellent magazine! London M FREELAND