RUMBLINGS, March 1936



ULiTI I 11 1

Assorted Rallies

The British Clerk of the Weather certainly did his very worst from John o’ Groats in this year’s Monte Carlo event, and it remains to see what we are going to have for the R.A.C. event, for which there are 317 entries. In some ways I think this latter event is more trying than its Continental counterpart, since the distance between the checks is generally too short to get a real sleep at any one town, while there are also prolonged 30 m.p.h. limits on several of the routes. Team entries are particularly strong this year, with 19 competing for the Manufacturer’s Prize and 24 down for the Club Team award.

Always about this time I receive the regulations of the Paris-Nice ” Criterium de Tourisme which is a rather different type of event. The first day you have to average 46 m.p.h. over all kinds of roads to Montlucon, in the Auverg-nes, and then have a speed trial. On Sunday you average 38 m.p.h. via Puy to Aix-enProvence, with a fair modicum of twisty roads, and then another 38 m.p.h. average to Nice next day, where extremely intricate tests of acceleration, braking, slow running and steering lock are held. Rather fun, I should think, with a light supercharged car. The event ends with the La Turbie Hill-Climb, which is now in its fortieth year.

A Scottish Bid

I like the sound of this year’s Scottish Rally, which will take in a great deal of the wild and picturesque scenery in the north-west sector of the Highlands. This will be appreciated all the more now that the night section has been abolished. The climax of this year’s route will be the run down to Applecross, on the Sound of Raasay, which the organisers state is the nearest approach to Alpine conditions we can achieve in Britain.

The itineraries of the Alpine Trial have just been announced and, as was expected, will only pass through Swiss territory. Switzerland, of course, is neutral ground, but most of the passes lead either into Austria, Germany, Italy or France. German subjects must pay a fine of 1,000 marks if they visit Austria, petrol in Italy is more expensive than Chianti, while the French do not seem to welcome foreigners from the outer-Rhine running about their favourite Alps. Solomon himself would have difficulty in organising a competition under those conditions and the only hope is to run day itineraries from a headquarters in the

centre of Switzerland. Hence the decision of the Automobile Club of Switzerland, who are organising the event.

At Donington

The Frazer-Nash Club are holding their Stanley Cup meeting at Donington, using the small circuit. As you will remember, this cup was the trophy for the inter-club meeting at Brooklands and will be competed for under the same rules at the Derby track. The date, unfortunately, coincides with the finish of the R.A.C. Rally at Torquay, but Nash owners in the latter are few and far between. An event also to their taste is the Inter-Varsity Speed Trial which will be held at Syston on the preceding Saturday.

The Donington main circuit opens with the Empire Trophy on April 4th. This is held over a hundred laps or 255 miles, and as over twenty entries have been received with still a fortnight to go, it promises to be an interesting event, and a date worth remembering.

I hear, incidentally, that within the next six weeks one of the rival south of England track schemes will take definite form and shares will be offered for public subscription. We• have heard all this before, of course, but wait and see.

Astons at Le Mans

The Automobile Club de L’Ouest have posted up ” House-Full ” notices for the 24-hour race, as the full sixty entries have already been received. Sports cars from every quarter will be there, the makes including Adler, Aston-Martin, Austin, Alfa-Romeo, Bentley and Bugatti, Delahaye, Frazer-Nash, M.G., Singer and Talbot.

Aston Martins will be defending the Rudge Whitworth Trophy with a team of three cars, to he driven by Fairfield and Brackenbury, Everitt and Davis, and Benjafield and Elwes. Two spare entries and two of last year’s team cars are still available if you fancy yourself at long-distance motoring.

The French Grand Prix occurs only a fortnight after Le Mans, which will prevent Bertelli from preparing the cars adequately again in time for the race at Mont1h6ry, hut he intends to have a team of three cars at Ulster.

The latest news is that a 2-litre, 4-cylinder sports model is in the course of production. It will be suitable for open bodies only and will be listed at £875.

A Combined Team

Frazer-Nash and B.M.W. are combining forces in the French Grand Prix, where three cars will be driven. The three 2-litre cars will be entered and will be driven by Delius, the well-known German motorcyclist, Brenner, another man from the German factory, and the third shared by H. J. Aldington and A. F. P. Fane. ” Aldie ” and Fane will also be driving together at Le Mans, their car a blown Frazer-Nash.

Fane will drive a single-seater at Monaco in the Prince Rainier race at Monte Carlo, while a second single-seater will be entered if it can be got ready in time.

The Light Car Club report receipt of one team of Nashes and one of B.M.W.s for the Relay race, and also hope to have teams of Vauxhalls, Bentleys and V8 Fords. Finally the associated teams are liable to run at Ulster this year, assuming that two-seater bodies are permissible in the 2-litre class. The A.C.F. are allowing two-seater bodies in all classes in this year’s Grand Prix, and there is a persistent rumour that the R.A.C. will follow suit. The R.A.C. of Belgium announce the revival of the 24-hour Race on the Francorchamps circuit for

sports cars. The date is the 11th July, which is nicely clear of other sports-car events.

Half-pint Autos

It is difficult to credit that further knots can be extracted from 750 c.c. machines, but this season marks a new wave of activity in that direction. W. E. Humphries is rebuilding his M.G. as you will see elsewhere in this issue, and Kenneth Evans is having a new double-camshaft head for his single-seater Q. The works Austins are au point as regards engines, which runs contentedly at 9,000 r.p.m., and are said to give some 140 h.p. The first car, which is reminiscent of a small Merc., has already been running at Donington and reached 123 m.p.h. on the half-mile practice straight. The engine, which, of

course, has two camshafts, looks as big as a ” fifteen-hundred,” and the chassis departs from previous Austin practice in having ‘half-elliptic springs at the rear outrigged on the chassis. The front suspension remains as last year.

Almack is engaged with his single-seaterAustins and is expei-imenting with both single and double overhead camshaft engines. The chassis have L.M.B. independent suspension in front, and a very hush-hush type behind. He hopes to go out for records at the start of the season in addition to selling the single-seaters to racing enthusiasts. Another interesting car he is dealing with is a Singer Nine, bored out and linered to 1,100 c.c., and fitted with an eight-speed gear-box. This car will be used for track events.

Single-seaters are now all the rage, and the latest car to be converted is Captain Barnato’s Hassan Special.

Alta Activities

After a good deal of experimenting the Alta people have got the 11-litre racing job going to their satisfaction, and are setting out on an active programme this season. Cortnack is running his last year’s car, R. R. Jackson will have two, Bartlett one, likewise Wakefield and another driver who races under a pseudonym (not an gis or a golf umbrella). Sullivan and O’Boyle are sharing one and Dwyer has Continued on page 16o

ordered the sixth. The latter three are men in Irish races, and will drive mostly in their own country. Geoffrey Taylor hopes to be running 2-litre late in the season.

Vaunting the Moyenage

There is no lack of enthusiasm for present-day sports and racing cars, while the entry for the Veteran Car run to Brighton each November shows a due appreciation for the work of the pioneers at the start

of the century. One felt too that there was room for an association • of lovers of the ” twenties,” when those fine sports cars the 3 and 41-litre Bentleys, the 3-litre Sunbeam and the 30-98 Vauxhall, to name a few, were the dernier cri. This need is now filled very adequately by the Vintage Car Club, which has its headquarters at the Phcenix Hotel, Hartley Wintney, on the Basingstoke road.

The club room must surely be unique, for apart from the usual drawings and photographs on the wall showing members and their cars performing at Shelsley and elsewhere, there were, on the whitewashed ceiling, which is at a convenient height to be operated upon with the non-tankard hand, some excellent drawings of Grand Prix Mercs. and AutoUnions in action. The latest proposal is to form special classes at club events for cars between 1905 and 1915, and we heard the Press Secretary in ecstasies at the idea of acquiring a 60 horse Mercedes of uncertain date.

Front Stoppers

Mr. Carson, who is the Club Captain, has been mentioned in these pages before as the owner of a 30-98 Vauxhall which has been rebuilt with the chassis inverted. Not content with that, the owner has now sawn off the front part of the chassis and is welding it back into position with the upsweep in its original direction to accommodate a Delage front axle.

Speaking of front brakes which stop, I have just received a letter from John Bolster of Shelsley and ” Mary ” fame, saying that he has really got some retard on his 30-98 by fitting it with a 4i-litre Bentley front axle. At the same time, we take this opportunity of congratulating him on his engagement to Miss Barbara Skinner, who is also pretty quick up Shelsley, driving Morris Minors and M.G. Midgets.

A Designing Story

Some time ago a well-known designer advertising his services in one of the trade papers, offering to re-design cylinder heads at £400 per engine. A Coventry firm which was then producing a new car thought just a few extra horses would be quite a good idea, so commissioned our hero to try his hand. The new head duly arrived, with a test sheet showing an increase of 7 h.p. over standard. The works then went ahead and produced 300 of them but when they tried the re-designed engine on the bench, actually found it 5 h.p. down. The Managing Director forthwith sat down and dictated a letter setting out in most unparliamentary terms his exact opinion of the eminent designer.

A few days later he changed his mind, and rang up the designer asking for his help in the problem, whereupon he was reminded of his letter. ” However,” said the cylinder-head king, ” I suppose those heads are worth £2 each to you, for another £600 1’11 make them work.” Hurried calculation between the Director and the Works Manager, and the word came back, ” I suppose we’ll have to give it to you.” The designer then travelled north, received his cheque, and in a few minutes of seeing the engine running on the bench, spotted the trouble. ” All that’s the matter is that you’ve put up your main bearings too tight. Slacken them off and you’ get the horse-power I specified.” And they did.

Fragments from Germany

No horn-blowing allowed in .Berlin. Manufacturers of rude and expensive warning appliances in despair.

Auto-Unions formerly used a built-up crankshaft with roller big-ends and ball-bearing mains. Now using a solid crank with rollers throughout. Various chassis lengt.hs available. May use the short cars with twin rear wheels for Monaco.

Mercedes claim greatly increased sales in Spaia and other countries, due to their racing successes. Not yet contemplating 11 racers.

At 100,000 H.P. Revue, run during Berlin Show, Brauchitsch and Lang on Mercs. and Rosemeyer on an Auto-Union screamed across the arena to the accompaniment of the Avus race broadcast, and actually carried out wheel-changes with Neubauer and all in attendance. Very popular, but rest of show too drawn out, so Hitler ordered it to be cut by one hour.

An Utterly New U-litre

The other (lay I was privileged to see a new 1litre sports in the course of construction not a hundred miles from London. It had independent suspension of all wheels on trailing links, carried on

double coil springs. The gear-box was something entirely new to this country and the chassis is immensely strong but only weighs 12 cwt. It should be marketed later this year.

And a New Sort of Trial

Listening at the other end of a tuyau, I heard the other day of an interesting new trial, or rally if you like, to be held next September in France. It will be centred on Paris and each run will be over a long distance, Paris to Biarritz, or the like. The car will he locked in a parc ferrite for the night and next day will be driven back to Paris. Other &apes will take place in the Alps and the Auvergne. One English firm has already promised an entry.

The Berlin Motor Show

With impressive ceremonial the Berlin Motor Show was opened last month by Herr Hitler. In spite of the popularity of motor-racing in Germany, there was not a great range of sports cars on view. A newcomer to the ranks was seen in the supercharged Wanderer, of which full details are given in the report of the Show given in this issue on pages 163 to 156.