THE REST OF THE MONTE CARLO RALLY j
THE COACHWORK COMPETITION—CONVINCING BRITISH SUCCESSES IN THE CONCOURS DE CONFORT
English cars failed this .year to make their usual impression on the finishing list of the Rally proper, Healey’s Triumph being the only British car to figure in the first dozen places, but the coachwork. competition came as a slight consolation. Symons, with the 25 h.p. Wolseley, secured the Grand Prix de Confort and the Closed Car prize, Dobell secured the Open Car award with his. Lagonda Rapide, and Miss Astbury scored another success with her Singer in the .open class for cars under l4 litres. One is sometimes a little inclined to make fun of the beautiful carriages which have been brought with great care over the easiest available route solely to compete for tho coachwork competition, but this year, at least, this rather cynical view of the event is not justified. The Wolseley was driven over the Athens route, th Lagonda came from Tallinn, while tli Singer amply showed its mettle on :a John o’ Groats trip rendered, by snow and ice, quite unusually difficult.
As a Rally driver of many years standing, Symons has little to learn as !, suitable equipment for bad weather driving, and the thoroughness of his preparations was reflected in the tw,,page list of accessories which he handed to each member of the judging committee. His car was fitted with a comfortable four-door saloon body finished in light and dark grey. Perhapsthe most unusual fittings were the wooden skids intended for using on the front wheels when driving on snow, and which were held in place by chain straps and braces passing round the tyres. When not in use, these skids were neatly packed away under the running boards. Low preSsure Dunlop Trak-Grip tyres were used, and in
conjunction with ” snow-straps and
mud chains formed a dreadnought equipment capable of dealing with all forms of road surface. As an additional precaution, the tubes were filled. with antipuncture compound. The arrangement of the winds(T..(:n was particularly clever. In normal use this was kept closed, and two defrosters, stored when not required in racks under the roof, could be brought into use for clearing it when driving under zero conditions. If really dense fcw urns:
encountered, the normal windscreen which was pivoted at its upper edge could be swung and a sheet of glass extending across the car, just up to eye level, slipped into place. In this way the driver obtained unobstructed vision without the icy blasts experienced with a completely opened screen. Two Lucas fog-lamps were used, and the usual map reading and under-bonnet lamps; while an ample reserve of current was ensured by having two batteries. The interior of the car was luxuriously upholstered, with seats adjustable for
rake, and a final touch of comfort was provided by the hot-air supply taken from a jacket surrounding the exhaust manifold. Four large suitcases were carried behind the rear seat. In addition to the Comfort award, the Wol,,ley also secured first, prize for the
cleanest and best-maintained engine. The valve covers and other parts were treated with dull grey cadmium plating, a pleasant change from the usual chrome or aluminium. The down-draught carburetters and the coils and distributor are carried above the cylinder head on this engine, and making it secure against flooded roads, while the exhaust outlet was raised to shoulder level by means of a flexible tail pipe.
Dobell’s Rapide was fitted with the standard four-seater body with sweeping wings, a concealed hood and a sloping tail, and finished in light grey with red wheels, looked every inch the English sports car. Two Lucas fog-lamps and a Notek guaranteed an easy run in the thickest fog, while under the bonnet every component which could be duplicated appeared twice over, ranks of spare plugs and a reserve oil tank. An unusual accessory was a rear screen which plugged into sockets on either side of the body or could be folded into small compass when the rear seats were unoccupied.
Miss Astbury’s Singer was actually the car driven by Barnes the year before and was then unfavoured by the judges. Now resplendent in cream paint it took their fancy. More practical points were the fitting of two batteries, either of which could be used independently or together, and the provision of a separate fuse for each electric circuit. A head-rest reminiscent of the dentist’s chair supported the passenger’s head, while Miss Richmond had high backs on the seats of her Triumph, with extra bag-like cushions which fitted on to the upper part.
Amongst the closed cars the new S.S. Jaguar driven by the Hon. Brian Lewis had many admirers, while the neat 2-4seater Hotchkiss coupes handled by Trevoux and others were very attractive. Trevoux’s car had aluminium wheels. Sanderson secured a well-deserved second place in the open class with a 3i-litre Bentley fitted with a grey convertible body, and Light’s two-seater A.C. looked exactly right for fast road work. The Delahaye which was fifth was fitted with what was virtually a road-racing body, which must have helped its performance in the Final Test. The engine, which has a capacity of 3553 c.c., is fitted with three carburetters. Like the Delahaye, the Baby Sports Talbot was similarly fitted with a racy-looking two-seater body.
Except for the Delahaye, the cars which did well in the road-and-test sec. tion of the Rally did not figure in the award list of the Concours de Confort; they were designed and turned out for performance rather than for good looks.
The winning Ford was fitted with an odd-looking body built of three-ply wood on light wooden framings, the whole outfit weighing under a ton. Cristea informed us that a solid back axle was fitted, and that the back brakes were coupled to the track rod during the test, locking the rear wheels when the steering wheel was swung over to negotiate the pylons. As regards road equipment, the Ford was noticeable for its very ” knobbly ” competition tyres with deep chevron markings, and the battery of fog lamps bunched together at the bottom of the radiator with a large metal cover to prevent upward rays. Another Roumanian driver who specialised in light coachwork was Colonel Berlescu. The rear part of the body of his car consisted of the fuselage of a small aeroplane, with a huge cowling of circular section round radiator and engine. The saving of weight thus effected no doubt contributed to his making the fastest time of the day on the Figure of Eight. Bakker-Schut, who was fourth in the final result informed us that he had saved over one hundredweight simply by
removing lining panels stuffing, dickeyseat trimmings and other unnecessary bodywork fittings. Conclusionland Future Prospects
Entries for the 1936 rally were 25 per cent. down on the previous year. One may therefore reasonably ask what sort of success was scored this year and whether the event will continue in the same form for 1937.
The general impression seemed to be that this year’s event was good fun and gave a reasonable chance to everybody. The cars from Athens received marks comparable with the difficulty of the route under normal circumstances, though a freak run of good weather nullified mans’ of the expected hardships, and the fast run for the last 1,000 kilometres and the sealing of the principal components prevented a complete ” works-overhaul ” for the factory entries. The two matters in dispute were, (I course, the difficulty of maintaining 35 m.p.h. over the tricky section between
Avignon and Monte Carlo, rendered more hazardous this year by high winds and driving rain. The other, of course, was whether the Figure of Eight test which favoured abnormal cars and driving tactics did not once again count too heavily in deciding the final order. Discussing the first question with Monsieur Noghes, he informed us that he regarded the high average as essential to ensure that cars should not be tuned up
on the .way to the finish. The section
Avignon-Brignoles is considerably easier than the one from Brig,noles to the finish and the time made up on the first part allowed cars to reach Monte Carlo in comparative comfort if the intermediate control was cut out. The organisers have considered this step but are afraid that this would encourage once again the establishments of depots for the trade entries outside the final control. The most likely modification for next year will be to move the penultimate control from Brignoles to Cannes, with possibly a slight extra allowance of time for the last two sections. Most of the protest against the final tests came from the correspondents of the daily newspapers, who claimed that the Rally was no longer suitable for touring cars. Such a criticism simply proclaims that the writers are not conversant with the rules, which permit any vehicle to take part, from a racing car, so long as it is unsupercharged and equipped in accordance with the A.4.C.R.C. sports car regulations, to a motor bus. In any case, the Ford which won was little removed from standard, the chassis alterations censisting of a Silvertop cylinder head, a Scintilla magneto, rear brakes coupled to the steering and a solid back axle and, of course, a particularly light body. Schell, on the Delahaye which finished second, gained his success without any freak driving tactics, and the same applied to the two highest-placed British cars,
Healey’s Triumph and Murray’s FrazerNash-B.M.W. What a pity some English maker did not take a leaf out of the Renault book and mount a large engine in a 12 h.p. chassis. Not quite a standard car perhaps, but the way to win rallies. The Figure of Eight part of the final test the Committee consider valuable as a test of manceuvring and, as constituted this year, did not present a serious difficulty to any car with adequate lock
and stability. Turning and reversing round the pylon was the part in which trick driving scored and next year this part of the test will be changed for sOrnething fairer to all types of car. For next year we may also see a new itinerary in force. The proposed starting point is Haparanda, which lies at the extreme north of the Gulf of Bothnia, on the Swedish-Finnish frontier. With 275 miles of frozen roads to contend with before reaching the present furthest-north ‘point at Umea, this new Swedish depart should command the same marks as Athens. Whatever fortune rally ‘drivers may have had on the way down,, their arrival at Monte Carlo was certainly a welcome moment for the Monogasques, and throngs of weather-beaten if not handsome he-men invaded the otherwise ‘almost deserted restaurants and dance places. Mourning for the late King caused the Rally dinner at the Sporting Club and the British Competitors’ Club dinner to be cancelled, and the final event in the Rally programme was the drive round the town and the prize-distribution in front of the palace of the Prince of Monaco. Crowds, flags and the incredibly powerful brass band combined to make the scene a striking one, but a devastatingly cold wind which drove the dust like small shot into everyone’s face, proclaimed the end of the few days of fine weather. Then off along the straight roads of France en route for England and the 30 m.p.h. limits The Rally is great
fun, but one has to get back to work some time.
CONCOURS de CONFORT RESULTS
Grand Prix de Contort : H. E. Symons (Wol seley) 1st Categorie (cars over li-litres)—Closed cars H. E. Symons (Wolseley)
Hon. Brian Lewis (S.S.).
T. H. Wisdom-N. Black (Standard).
Mlle. L. Lamberjack—Mme. Petermann (Hotchkiss). Open Cars :—
A . E. Dobell-R. J. Dobell (Lagonda). K. W. B. Sanderson (Bentley). S. H. Light (A.C.).
Mine. L. Schell-L. Schell (Delahaye). 2nd Categorie—(Cars under li-litres)—Closed cars:
F. Thellu.sson-L. Narischkine (Opel). E. Koznia-1. Martinek (Fiat). Open cars :—
Miss J. Astbury (Singer). 1). B. Harris (Singer). Engine appearance Prize :
H. E. Symons (Wolseley).
K. W. B. Sanderson (Bentley).
Hon. Brian Lewis (S.S.).
A. B. Dobell-R. J. Dobell (Lagonda).
Miss J. Astbury (Singer).
THE AUSTRALIAN TOURIST TROPHY RACE
Organised by the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club, this event is to be run off on March 30th, 1936, over sixty laps of the new 3,4-miles A.R.D.C. circuit on Phillip Island, the total length of the event being about 200 miles. It is open to all catalogued racing and sports cars, ,irrespective of engine capacity, running under handicap. All machines must carry a mechanic, and approved women drivers—or mechanics —may take part. One of the duties of mechanics will be the old-time job of looking to the rear and warning his di iver of overtaking machines. This is essential, as the Phillip Island ecurse is not too wide; the duty is specially mentioned in the regulations. _ Crash helmets are compulsory, and cars will run in stripped racing trim. Entry forms are commendably low, totalling only four guineas for members of the A.R.D.C. and six guineas for
non-members. As all racing ” down under ” is carried off in dashing style, this first Australian T.T. should be a quite exciting event, particularly since entries are coming in well.
Fastest land-speed, 24-hour record, fastest motor-cycle road race, fastest flight to Australia’, these are some of the subjects illustrated in the new Castro’
Achievements book. As usual, the motor-cycles give the greatest impression of speed, but there is an admirable photograph of the Hon. Brian Lewis at speed in the Mannin Moar race which will make evory speedrnan rejoice.
The pictures are beautifully reproduced and’ of a size which shows every detail of the record-breaking machines and, ihcidentally, of many of their pilots. Definitely a book to get hold of and keep. Copies may be obtained post free from Messrs. C. C. Wakefield and Co., Ltd., Wakefield -House, Cheapside, London, E.C.2.