I notice that in last month’s correspondence columns one reader gives some very interesting details of his 14/40 sports M.G. He goes on to say that many bargains can be picked up in the breakers’ yards and advises the impecunious enthusiast to look more towards the older touring car, which can be tuned up, than the out and out sports-car which has possibly been ” towsed.”
Perhaps from some points of view this may be advisable, but one must bear in mind the fact that not all chassis, however one may tune them, will handle in the manner that sports-cars should. It’s no use being fast if you can’t steer and stop.
Again, tuning, to be successful, is fairly expensive . (to one of limited capital). There isn’t much scope for an amateur unless he has a well equipped workshop. About all he can do without making atructural alterations is to polish head and ports (difficult in the case of cast-in-block inlet systems), tune the carburetter and eliminate friction in building up the engine. In some cases a high compression gasket can be fitted hut even then if the head or block are at all warped they will have to be ground true. In any case it does not seem very good practice to hot up a touring engine beyond its designed limits once old age has sapped the strength and elasticity
from its components. Also the lubrivation system may not be satisfactory at higher speeds. If a real sports-car is required it seems better to obtain a small sports chassis and fit it with a larger or more modern engine, care being taken of course in the choice of chassis, to see that it has
a suitable back axle ratio. The older French sports-cars—Amilear, Senechal, Derby, etc.—were good in this respect, their ratios usually falling somewhere between 4 to 1 and 4.5 to 1. Anything lower than this means a very high revving engine at anything over 60 M.p.h.
The above must not be taken to mean that I do not agree with tuning an old touring car of good lineage (I once had very good service from an 8/18 Talbot fitted with the 10/23 engine) but that from the view-point of expense there is nothing to be gained, since by the time one has done all that needs doing the Costs have mounted alarmingly. Of course one does get an individual motor—but it is not cheap, experience has taught me that.
The opinions of some Of the more famous builders of specials should be interesting reading if they could be persuaded to give them. I am, Yours etc.,
R. G. STRACHAN.
Finchley, N.3. [Amongst the many cars that this reader has built have been Senechal, Amilear, Austin, Salmson and others. He certainly makes them go very fast. We have seen them !—Ed.]
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