RUMBLINGS, March 1939



A New Bentley

BENTLEY MOTORS, LTD. deserve the fullest possible congratulations on the introduction of a new version of their famous 4I-litre car, the announcement of which has taken the motoring world by storm—particularly the sporting fraternity. The car in question is the ” Continental ” 41-litre with fully streamlined two-door saloon coachwork by the French bodybuilder, Paulin. Originally constructed to special order for a client, this car will now become one of the production range. It is equal to any Continental car in beauty of outline and the streamline form is proved efficient by the performance which this new Bentley offers. The chassis retains all the desirable and inimitable features of the standard 41-litre, but the engine has patent h.c. pistons, raising the compression-ratio by 1 ratios, and larger S.I.T. carburetters. The b.h.p. increase is about 15, while overall weight has been reduced by about 3 cwt. Against this the new car pulls much higher gear-ratios, top being a ratio of 3.4 to 1 or 2.87 to 1 on the over

drive which now figures in the specification. The maximum speed is in the neighbourhood of 120 m.p.h. and the fuel consumption is said to be 26 m.p.g. at 60 m.p.h. cruising. Under official A.C.F. observation the ” Continental ” Bentley has covered 107.42 m.p.h. in one hour at Montlhery, and a lap at 110.04 m.p.h. Technicians will hail this car as proof positive of the value of correctly carried-out streamlining and British motoring sportsmen will acclaim it as a very complete answer to the French invasion that of late has been threatening our sports-car market. Bentley must be justifiably proud of doing with a straightforward, push-rod engine what other makers cannot approach with overhead camshafts and blowers.

Edwardian Motors

It is really good news that the Vintage S.C.C. is going all out to encourage interest in Edwardian motor-cars from now on. The Veteran C.C. does great work in preserving the truly historic and functions with a dignity becoming to a body which numbers so many pioneers among its members. These owners of pre-1905 cars mostly regard their vehicles as museum-pieces of great worth and use them very carefully indeed on Club runs. Remembering as they do the pioneer days they are interested in pitting their veterans one against another and seeing how early performance and early shortcomings are reflected in those veteran cars which are still running to-day. The Vintage S.C.C. has rather a different outlook and inclines to take pre-war cars rather less seriously. By that I do not for one moment mean that they cheapen this aspect of sporting motoring by dressing-up to drive or by displaying those stupid notices that one sometimes sees pseudo-enthusiasts inscribing on elderly cars. But, being of this generation, they are interested in noting how well, or, conversely, how naughtily, a prewar motor runs in comparison with the moderns. Some of the bigger veterans show up very well on the score of speed and even acceleration, as witness the Itala and Fiat at Shelsley and Prescott. Some of the smaller pre-1915 cars show up almost as well in respect of fuel consumption and, surprisingly enough. general reliability. Others, of course, do not, but this matters little to the average Vintagent, who is a most cheery and philosophic bloke, as is evident if you read the Bulletin ” of the Club’s ” Northern Notes.” So, taking it all round, it is an excellent thing that special runs and rallies of a competitive nature are to be organised for cars built after 1904 down to the early War years, especially as, interesting as most of these cars are, only a few of them are truly historic in the ” museum-piece” senSe, so that there need be no compunction about using them extensively. Indeed, with safety-glass screens, relined brakes, and fresh tyres, certain pre-war cars can be a quite reasonable, if slow, means of transport. I believe the new scheme will open with a Rally to Donington, and there will certainly continue to be the usual veteran-class at speed events, run on a formula to even things up amongst different types. It is interesting to hear of runs undertaken on veterans just for adventure, with no competitive element involved. Kent Karslake, whose inimitable “Veteran Types” articles in MOTOR SPORT were largely responsible for the interest now shown by sportsmen of the present generation in the more exciting veterans, often went for ordinary drives in his 1902 6 h.p. De Dion and the writer accompanied Marcus Chambers to Shelsley and back some years ago in the 1907 42 h.p. Renault, trade-plates having been specially bought for the occasion. Not long ago we encountered Seth-Smith approaching Staines Bridge on the 1908 1 flitre ” one-lunger ” Sizaire-Naudin sports, on a mid-winter Sunday after noon. Col. Clutton’s regular car is a 1909 Fafnir landaulette and Forrest Lycett frequently uses his 1914 ” Alphonse ” Hispano-Suiza (valeted by McKenzie) when not on his bicycle. A rather remarkable drive followed the last Veteran Run to Brighton, when Peter Wike, Bradshaw, Bradley and Sharratt drove from Brighton to Hartley Wintney and on next day to Preston, Lancs. in the 1906 10f-litre sleevevalve Daimler tourer, which we have described in Karslake’s Veteran Types” series. The final 300 miles was done at an average of nearly 28 m.p.h., at a consumption of 13 m.p.g. fuel and 300 m.p.g. oil. On another occasion John Bradshaw and Sharratt drove from Preston to Lowick and home again on the aforementioned De Dion, a distance of 126 miles. The outward journey was accomplished at 11 m.p.h. average and it took two days to come home. Yes, Edwardian motoring is great fun ! Anthony Heal is looking to the speed element, with his 1919 Ballot and 1912 10-litre Fiat and he wants to trace the 1914 T.T. Vauxhall which lay rotting at Brooklands until one Baines drove it at a Varsity speed-trial about

seven years ago. There should also be a pre-war racing Excelsior about somewhere—Hugh McConnell banned it from Brooklands in 1930. And what of the 1914 T.T. Hutnbers ? Dick Nash seems to prefer aeroplanes to cars these days, and his latest affection is an early Fokker with water-cooled, six-cylinder inline Mercedes motor and a truly delightful V radiator, seemingly very small for such a hefty power-unit. But he is keeping the 11-litre Union-Special in case he should crave a return to real speed one summer’s day. .

In the World of Two Wheels Also

In a number of ways the two-wheeler world is far removed from that of the car and, in any case, car matters take all the available space in MOTOR SPORT, month by month. But some reference to current motor-cycle racing politics is worthwhile, if only as a consolation to car-racing enthusiasts. The B.R.D.C. will probably drop the September Brooklands Meeting, the J.C.C. is considering whether or not it will hold the ” 200 ” and the Road Racing Club has cancelled its opening meeting and will not hold its first races until May. In the motor-cycle world things are likewise rather grim, only in this case the danger period will be 1940 and not 1939. The worry concerns the T.T. races and is the same as that which assails car G.P. contests. This year the only British support, now that Nortons are not running, seems to be a blown Velocette twin and one, or perhaps two A. J.S. machines for the Senior ; two Velos and one or two A.J.S. for the Junior, and probably no British entries at all for the Lightweight race. B.M.W., Gifera, and Guzzi may dominate the Senior, N.S.U. the Junior and D.K.W. and Benelli the Lightweight T.T. A sorry state of affairs. Under these circumstances the I.O.M. is fearful that it will lose visitors and the A.C.U. wonders if foreigners will continue to support the races if no British opposition is forthcoming. It is the old story of commercial interests clashing with racing

plans. All credit goes to the Velocette and A. J.S. for continuing to support racing, just as it goes to Austin and Riley in our world, and one hopes they will gain just and fullsome reward. Other manufacturers say they just cannot build blown multis to meet Continental opposition, which wasn’t present a few glorious years ago. Various suggestions have been made for saving the greatest motor-cycle contests ever staged. Loughborough says there might be a better basic limitation than, that of engine size. Bruce wants a fuel consumption limit and a ban on freak fuels.

Michael McEvoy would like a weight limit and only very low octane fuel—lower even than existing No. 3 spirit. Curious that whereas in the car world a formula has resulted in lack of active competition, here a sound formula may be a solution. We rather believe that banning special fuels might help matters in both worlds. Graham Walker suggests scrapping the Lightweight T.T. and instituting in its place a race for machines running on pump fuels and carrying headlamps and silencers, with classes for 250 c.c., 350 c.c., and 500 c.c. bicycles. Pessimists say that none of these schemes would kindle renewed British interest. We sincerely hope that they are wrong. Anyway, this year Stanley Woods is in a most enviable position of riding the only real British racing bike— the supercharged, twin-cylinder Velocette—against foreign opposition. Just imagine yourself driving our first British Formula G.P. car against the MercedesBenz and Auto-Union teams! Another way of regarding the T.T. problem is to take Lord Nuffield and Cecil Kimber’s line and concentrate on record

breaking. The Worlds’ Motorcycle speed record belongs to Ernst Henne’s 500 c.c. B.M.W., at 173.67 m.p.h. However, Francis Beart is now working on a British design with which Noel Pope will have a crack at this record.