Rumblings, March 1932




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Monte Carlo Arguments.

FOLLOWING the Monte Carlo Rally there was some argument about the way certain cars were equipped near the finish with special gear ratios to get a good performance in the flexibility test. What is more, people were not too specific about which cars employed these tactics, and the winning Hotchkiss firm decided to point out that their own performance was not thus gained.

They therefore submitted the winning car to the Automobile Club de France for a test to show that the flexibility was genuinely due to good design and careful tuning, and not to an absurd ratio.

The results of this test are really amazing, and certainly set an entirely new standard of flexible performance. The car was officially timed over the 100 metres on top gear in 3 minutes 10 seconds, a speed of 1.18 m.p.h., and straightaway accelerated and covered 4 laps of the Monthlery track at 67 m.p.h. !

This, incidentally, is the same 3litre type of car as tested by l‘roToR SPORT recently.

Rileys and the Rally.

British cars, although not actually gaining first places in the Rally, put up a very fine show indeed, and it was a very happy idea on the part of the Riley Motor Club to give a luncheon to the various successful British competitors, of whom the majority used Riley cars for the job. Among distinguished drivers of other makes present at this very cheery affair was Donald Healey, who was second to Vaselles’ Hotchkiss in the large car class, on his Invicta, having

won the event last year, and also Mrs. Vaughan, who won the Ladies’ Cup on her Triumph. An amusing item of the function was the series of two-minute reminiscences by competitors, with Earl Howe at the watch to censor or suppress where necessary. For the first time in the history of the event the route from Athens was conquered, and if any further proof of the suitability of British light cars for overseas is required, Rupert Riley’s fine effort from this difficult district ought to supply it.

The B .R.D .0 . Relaxes.

Another good show which helped to fill in the gap before the real business of the racing season starts again was the B. R.D.C. dinner. Here everyone was glad to see once again our friend Sammy Davis, attending a public function. He was looking quite fit and as cheerful as ever.

Incidentally, the various amusing sketches in the menu of a racing driver’s existence were drawn by him, while the coloured cover of the same was from a painting by R. A. Nockolds, whose work is so well known to MOTOR SPORT readers.

Earl Howe drew emphatic attention in his speech to the great benefit of racing to the car manufacturer who has the initiative to partake in, it. He pointed out the tremendous advertisement for the British motor industry which would result from successful entry in Continental events by British makers. We can only hope that some of them will do something about it. At least, we shall have Brian Lewis in the Italian Thousand Miles race, and perhaps others will follow his lead.

Land’s End Changes.

The Land’s End Trial this year, of which entry forms and particulars are now available, is altered in one or two respects from last year’s event. Doverhay and Lyn Hills are included for motorcycles, both solo and sidecar, and Grass Park Hill, near South Alolton, for all vehicles.

From Penzance to Land’s End the main road will be followed, which will please the later numbers. Hustyn, which caused such a lot of bother last year will be included once more, but as MOTOR SPORT suggested in its report of last year’s event, very special steps are to be taken to avoid the delay of that occasion being repeated.

The start will be from the Virginia Water Tea House, at Virginia Water. Supplies for the car as well as a hot meal can be obtained there. Zero hour is 10 p.m.

Racing Prospects.

At this time of the year people are notoriously reticent about their plans for the season, nevertheless there seems to be plenty of interest in what is already being done. I was having a chat with Vernon Balls the other day about the new sports Crossley, which are to be raced by him this season. I have already heard some splendid reports of the Standard small Crossley, and the sports edition, in which Vernon Balls has had a considerable hand, is a very snappy little vehicle. The chassis is very neat, being downswept from the front and passing under the rear axle, giving a ground clearance of about 61 inches. The engine is a three-bearing job,

and this type should give excellent smoothness and reliability with a small four. The 4-speed box has a silent third. An outside racing brake lever is fitted in addition to the standard one inside, and the slightly V radiator has the familiar Crossley badge, and the body is rather like a small edition of a short chassis 2seater ” Mere.” The tank and spare wheel are housed in the tail.

Its first appearance in racing will be at the B.A.R.C. opening meeting, and Balls is highly enthusiastic about his latest protege, and hopes to run in everything except Le Mans, where the number required to be in production is rather too high to allow the Crossley to be entered as yet. In all considerations of the season’s plans the name of Earl Howe is very much to the fore as one of our greatest enthusiasts, and he is planning a full and strenuous season’s racing for himself. He is getting one of the new 2,800 c.c. Alfas, which will be this year’s racer, while he has also the 2,300 c.c. job with which he and Birkin won the 24 hours race at Le Mans last year. He recently acquired the 1,750 c.c. Alfa which was third in the 1930 Ulster T.T. In the British Empire

Trophy he will run his Grand Prix Delage, in which he lapped at over 126 m.p.h. last season. This will save a lot of moving cars to and from abroad.

When he was talking over his plans he mentioned that he had seriously gone into the matter of racing British cars. As no British road racer suitable for Grand Prix work was available, something would have to be produced, and he had tried to get makers to co-operate with him. However, nothing came of his offers so he has gone back to his old love. He also tried one of the 5-litre Bugatti racers when over at 1VIolsheim and expressed himself very delighted with it.

He hopes to be running one of these cars at the Easter Brooklands meeting, and later, on the Continent.

Kaye Don is hoping to run one of these in the British Empire Trophy. Other machines in the big class of this event will probably be J. R. Cobb’s big Delage, Sir Henry Birkin’s single-seater ft-litre Bentley, and, if it is ready, Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Sunbeam “Tiger.”

Major Gardner is to run a single seater M.G. Midget, which should stand a chance if enough cars break up.

So that the public may have a chance to see work in progress on. the cars, the finalists from each heat will be retained at the pits in the finishing straight, and will do their tyre changing, etc., there, while for the actual races the pits at the fork will be used.

One of the snags in the way of fixing up racing programmes at present is the fact that manufacturers in. this country are, with a very few exceptions, incredibly reluctant to take the plunge and go in for even a mild racing programme. Therefore, all honour to those who do, and make much better motor cars in consequence.

Not having heard much of the Alta lately, I dropped in there the other day to see what was doing and found a considerable amount of activity.

Mr. Taylor tells me that several private owners are going to race it this year, and states that the engine is giving 50 h.p. in standard form. .

The parts are certainly remarkably light, and the unit only weighs 120 lbs., so the power-weight ratio should be good. I hope we shall hear more of this make.