A NEW ERA FOR MODEL RACING CARS
WE have very little sympathy with grown-ups who are amused by playing with a shucko on the hearthrug. Unfortunately, very little else is left to keen model car-builders. So far as decent commercial models are concerned, they have been very few and far between. Citroen Ltd. made rather good clockwork models of their 7.5 and 11.4 h.p. cars about two years ago, and, later, a constructional set of their six cylinder chassis. French toy ma.kers managed reproductions of HispanoSuiza, Delage and Renault, and there was the excellent 35/G.P. Alfa-Romeo, of 1925 type. Just lately lots of tiny car models have appeared, which you see quite frequently in the offices of well known motorists. But mostly they are poorly proportioned, as is the rather fast Mercedes. The mass of working models raced at meetings of the Model Car Racing Association look nothing at all like real racing cars. Turning to exhibition models, we can again recall very few. Sunbeam and Wolseley had really splendid models years and years ago, someone built a very fine Vauxhall chassis before the War, and about 1926 Castrol showed a beautiful scale model of ” Babs ” at their stand at Olympia. Quite why cars are not modelled just as painstakingly as locomotives and, ships we are at a loss to understand, unless the improbability of personally owning a real boat or train acts as an incentive to
enthusiasts in these spheres. Petroldriven models have been equally neglected, if one excepts a recent .model racing M.G., a model of Barnato’s Brooklands’ Bentley, a multi-cylinder model described in MOTOR SPORT at the beginning of 1937 and various larger contraptions built by tinkering parents who either wish their offspring to become chauffeurs or else wish to get rid of them entirely. In rather a different sphere is a fascinating production, petrol-driven model listed by Hamley Brothers, Ltd., of 200 202, Regent Street, London, W.1. It is a model racing-car with a wheelbase of about 18″, a track of 9″ and a weight of 51 lb. A two-stroke, air-cooled, 5 c.c. single-cylinder engine drives the front wheels via a fibre clutch, which slips to allow smooth acceleration, and the rear axle pivots for steering purposes. The car has an intriguing external exhaust system and looks like a mOnoposto Miller—naturally, it hails from the U.S.A. Timed over 100 yards, it is said to have clocked 49.7 m.p.h. This is very remarkable, because the absolute speed record for model-power boats is 49 m.p.h., while we believe that the model aeroplane speed record stands at around 35 m.p.h. We have no particulars of the craft, but imagine that the boat would have an i.e. engine of 15-20 c.c. and the ‘plane an elastic motive-power. Messrs. HamleysLtd. tell us they tested the model at Camber Sands and in a hanger at Lympne Aerodrome. They were surprised at itsstability when running along a straight course. They then tethered it to a pole
to allow it to lap in a 50 ft. circle. It four-stroked away and then two-stroke& round at some 50 m.p.h. and was again very stable. Even when little mounds. of sand were built up in its path it merely swerved and snaked but did not overturn. This obviously opens up a new field. for model-car enthusiasts, as proper. record runs could be undertaken. Hamleys emphasise that to attain full speed_ the circle has to be correctly judged, otherwise drag pulls down the speed— here is scope for a banked track. We suggest that the Model Car Racing Association establishes petrol-classes at once and encourages this class of model. In time it should be practical to establish 15 min.s., 30 mins., and 1 hour lappery for various sizes of engine, refuelling to. be done in correct pit-stop style—an_ idea the writer suggested to model boat folk some years ago.
At the time of writing Hamleys have sold their stock, and we have not seen. the model in action. By now another stock should be over here and anyone interested should be able to attend a. demonstration.