RUMBLINGS, March 1938
A Bentley Specialist
IHAD the pleasure of paving another visit to McKenzie’s premises behind Victoria Station last month. Just at present he is putting in a deal of work on Mr. Lycett’s famous 8-litre Bentley, which is being prepared for more speed work, one special item being the fitting of light ribbed brake drums of R.R. alloy. An 8-litre open four-seater Bentley is being prepared for a client on lines which we described in MOTOR SPORT just over a year ago, writing of another car. The engine is magnificently finished and the Corsica body has beautiful lines and a very ingenious disappearing hood. An interesting car at the works which Mr. McKenzie forgot to show me, until I made a bee-line for it, was a 3i-litre Bentley with an Arnott supercharger system, the compressor being very rigidly mounted, belt-driven, and drawing from an Arnott carburetter. Asked whether the result was satisfactory, McKenzie replied : “The speed has gone up from 93 m.p.h. to 106 m.p.h., the acceleration is naturally much improved, and a head tester from Bentleys was unaware that a supercharger was fitted when I demonstrated the car to him.” Knowing what modern Bentley acceleration is like I would like to drive this motor. Another interesting car which McKenzie didn’t even pause to enthuse over, but which interested me very much indeed, was an old-school Bentley, outwardly a 3-litre, in which be has installed a 3i-litre Bentley six-cylinder engine. At the Corsica works I saw a 3i-litre chassis which had been involved in a very bad crash indeed, and which McKenzie was rebuilding and rebodying. I was rather intrigued by the very compact, well balanced build of what seems
a very big car in complete form. I was told that the mechanical servo brake gear is so beautifully made that it wears indefinitely, even if neglected. and only gives trouble if a hose is carelessly or innocently played over it, when the action becomes snatchy until the linings dry. Another little matter that McKenzie almost overlooked was that he has supplied quite a few “Phantom III” Rolls-Royce cars to clients. This Scottish engineer, you gather, is a very modest man !
The First 1938 Road Race
Our first road race for 1938 will be the Coronation Trophy at the Crystal Palace Circuit on April 2nd. We have remarked many times in this paper that Harry Edwards should have a successful season if he is able to continue to put up good prize money, and he is to be congratulated on offering some L:500 for this meeting, with the three big prizes as last year, a fourth prize added, and a greater chance of gaining small prizes for completing given lappery which almost constitutes starting money. The race is now an International Fixture, the distance has been reduced to 20 miles per heat and 32 miles for the final, and a handicap evens things up between small and large cars.. The winner gets the Coronation Trophy and
£150. Late fee entries close on March 16th and practice is scheduled for March 31st, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Another highly praiseworthy effort is that of the Cork Grand Prix of April 23rd, details of which we published in the January issue. The Regulations, printed in both English and French, came to hand in the middle of February. Late fee entries close on April 4th at 1 p.m. The winner gets i1,000 and the Millfield Trophy and replica, and for this race alone there is £1,800 in prize money. This compares with a first prize of £250 and a total of .,.820 in Fred Craner’s
great Donington G.P. last year. Will the Continent please note that Britain is at last waking up !
Reginald Parnell has been suspended permanently from racing by the R.A.C., following his accident at Brooklands last year with the M.G. Magnette, during practice for the B.R.D.C. “500.” Mrs. Petre, who was involved while using the track at the same time in the Austin Seven, is now happily recovered. We are informed by the R.A.C. that the Press is not being given any information about their findings in this matter and that representatives of the Press were not
present at the meeting or at that during which Parnell’s appeal was heard. Daily paper stories suggest that a photograph showing Parnell’s car skidding as it was about to overtake Mrs. Petre’s car on the Byfleet Banking in the rain formed the primary evidence, and that Mrs. Petre was not present. One story says that when a reporter phoned Mrs. Petre’s home he was told she was away—had he read the current motor papers he would have learned that Mrs. Petre was abroad completing her recovery in a quite tinmysterious manner . . .
As we have so frequently emphasised in MOTOR SPORT the futility of the special tests that are used to decide long distance road rallies, we are pleased to see that a number of authoritative persons are now emphasising that displeasure is being felt over the Monte Carlo conditions, in which, in spite of the -organisers’ recent efforts, the final brief ” dice ” decides the issue rather than the 2,000 mile midwinter drive to the finish. We hope this dissatisfaction will result in changed conditions next year. If a special hill-climb is impossible or unfavourable a series of varied tests, replacing the rather freak manoeuvring test, would very likely put this particular house in order. For several years the J.C.C. has managed at its Brooklands Rally to put on a series of tests embracing easy starting, good visibility, good steering, braking and initial pick-up, speed, and hill-climbing requirements. Now, amongst smaller clubs, the Ford Enthusiasts’ Club proposes to do something of the same sort at the Autodromes School of Driving at South Croydon on March 13th. If the great Monte Carlo Rally cannot pick a winner by reason of its -severe road sections alone, something of a like nature at the finish seems essential to its future success and value to the Industry.
Present-Day High Performance
Many modern motorists crave really high performance and true fast car characteristics with a minimum
of maintenance and driving worries. A striking answer is provided by the Allard-Specials which are unbeatable slime-storming motors, yet very pleasant road-cars into the bargain, even when 50 m.p.h. averages are the order of the day. Synchro-mesh gear-change, automatic ignition control and a minimum of dials to watch renders them enjoyable even to quite inexperienced drivers, yet in the hands of a good pilot they possess acceleration that is a match for anything on the road and handle like a pukka fast -car should. They are really fast, for the writer lapped Brooklands with a V8 last year at 85.57 m.p.h. before the car was fully run in, yet these Jekyll and Hyde motors run all day in top gear, display no trace of pinking, and spares are obtainable universally at Ford prices. Allard hopes to increase the output
very shortly, and die delivered K. A. Hutchison’s V12 Lincoln-engined car in two weeks from receiving the order. A brief run reveals the V12 job to be a most imposing car, and we hope to quote comprehensive performance figures when it is fully run in. Allard’s own V8 has had the plugs cleaned occasionally since the beginning of the year, as the only servicing needed, in spite of its weekly appearance in trials. In the” Ford Times ” for February it is stated that the Batten and L.M.B. Ford cars are in commercial production. If this is true of these makes it is equally true of the Allard-Special. It is probable that Warburton, Allard, Gilson and Hutchison will be seen at Donington meetings and speed trials this year at the wheels of their Allard-Specials.
Racing men should be able to cope with the conditions appertaining on the Cresta Run as thoroughly as anyone. So it is hardly surprising that famous
drivers figure prominently thereon. For instance, Count Felice Trossi, Varzi, Pintacuda and Taruffi constitute the Italian Bob-sleigh team, and the captain of the British Bob-sleigh team is none other than the Australian, Freddie McEvoy, who, in warmer climes, pilots a quite rapid Maserati. Capt. ” Archie” FrazerNash used to be an expert at solo runs down the famous Cresta, where speeds of over 80 m.p.h. are reached at places, and T. G. Clarke, with the Delahaye team until becoming a prospective Conservative candidate, is another great exponent.
Poor Sir Lionel Phillips had a short vacation wintersporting, only to return and damage himself rather badly in a contretemps with the Leyland Eight which was described last month. Best wishes for a rapid recovery !
Not What They Seem
Some cars are not always what we think them. For years many of us imagined the six-cylinder MarendazSpecials, which succeeded the side-valve ” four” of that marque, to have specially-designed engines of advanced layout. Now a correspondent to a weekly motor journal avers that from 1931-35 these cars had Continental engines of American manufacture, linered down to 2 and 2i-litres. There is no such mystery surrounding the new Railton Ten, which is coming on the road in steadily increasing numbers. The chassis is based on that of the famous Standard Ten and actually the first car was merely built for fun for Miss Macklin, daughter of Capt. Macklin, founder of
Invicta Cars, Ltd. Another successful car handled by University Motors Ltd. is the Delage D8 120 sports, and we hear that after English ideas have been instilled into the carburation they are able to truthfully claim that it is a very fast car indeed.