Letters from Readers

[TO OUR READERS. Owing to pressure of space we have been compelled to reduce this section to a minimum in recent issues, but we have had so many requests to continue it that we will endeavour to find room for some interesting letters each month.—Ed.]

Sir,

So many people have written to you thanking you for carrying on the good work in these troubled times that I feel I ought to add my own thanks. I am only one of your more recent readers but would not dream of missing my MOTOR SPORT---even at a bob a copy! Although the bags of gold are hard to come by these days and the possibility of purchasing a real motor remote, it is good to read road tests of such cars as the 1½-litre H.R.G. My own car is a "P" type M.G. Midget, a very ordinary sports-car by your very exacting standards, but looked after; and still able to show 6,000 r.p.m. on the rev-counter when the occasion demands it. Like a good many people I began on an aged Austin Seven and soon developed a thirst for something possessing a trifle more urge. After scraping, borrowing, and begging cash from a long-suffering parent I managed to buy my present car which had seen good service, but looked as though it would continue to do its stuff for a long while. A rebore to 939 c.c. and a new set of mains and big-ends and polished steel valves helped matters considerably and in addition the crankshaft was reground to remove ovality and one-sixteenth in. was machined off the cylinder-head to raise the compression ratio to 7 to 1. The rear springs were bound with tape, most of the rubber mouldings at chassis lubrication points were renewed and worn interior panelling was replaced with leather-covered panels manufactured at home from 3-ply stripped down to 2-ply. The car was already fitted with racing screens, bonnet straps, etc., and the bodywork had also been recellulosed. After the engine had been carefully run-in the urge was most satisfying for the capacity but trouble was experienced with oil-throwing at the front oil-drain housing in the head. A letter to M.G.s and almost by return of post I received a printed Service Information sheet complete with the necessary machine drawings from which I was able to effect a complete cure. Unfortunately, I recently removed the dynamo for overhaul and had it replaced by a mechanic who put back the vertical camshaft drive incorrectly with the result that she has commenced to throw oil again. This I shall, however, soon put right. No excessive claims for performance are made because I realise fully the limitations of an unblown 939 c.c. motor in a standard chassis. It really is amazing, however, how much stuff I manage to pass and the car will cruise endlessly at 55 m.p.h. to 60 m.p.h. I have. clocked 75/80 under favourable conditions, and am thoroughly satisfied with the way she sticks to the road; one can put her round the most awkward bends without the feeling that the off side ditch looks ominously near. The gear change is first-class—crash all the way through, with constant mesh in third. Bottom gear is a bit low—22.48 to 1—for normal work but would doubtless prove ideal for sticky hills such as one might meet in trials. The latter are not indulged in as finances would not stand up to the usual breakages, but a good deal of pleasure is gained from fast cross country runs and extensive touring during those all too brief periods of summer leave. I fear, however, that she does not take too kindly to cess-Pool petrol, and in fact refused to fire on more than one cylinder with Champion LA.-11s. She is better with softer plugs but pinking is very much in evidence, and like Mr. Peter Clark, I have suffered from that waxy deposit in my S.U. pistons. The exhaust note has to be heard to be believed.

My next hope is to get hold of a good Aston-Martin when the good Adolf has been sentenced to wood-chopping. This soon I hope.

I am, Yours etc.,

J. THOMAS.

Hillingdon,

Middlesex.

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Sir,

Would it not be possible to publish some details of special cars which have not hitherto appeared in the Press? Two cars, from the same stable, spring to my mind. One, the cut-down, blown and I believe, pre-selected, Singer "Bantam" of Mr. F. R. G. Spikin, which, if my memory serves me, made a habit in 1936 of collecting the 1,100 c.c. class at nearly all sprint events, several times F.T.D., its epic run, I consider, being at those very damp Madresfield Speed trials, in July '36. No technical description ever appeared of this interesting motor, and where it disappeared to I don't know! The other was the twin Centric-blown Hudson Special, built by Hudson Motors, on the Great West Road, for the same Mr. Spikin, and now owned by Mr. G. G. Fitt. These two machines might be covered at the same source, i.e., the original owner. Just a suggestion to relieve the spate of articles on Vintage cars. Incidentally, what was there special about that rather unusual looking "30-98" T. H. Plowman used to drive, and which went very quickly at the J.C.C. High Speed Trial in '37 and at Donington?

I am, Yours etc.,

H. L. BIGGS.

Enfield,

Middlesex.

[Can any reader give details of these cars? —Ed.]

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Sir,

I was interested to read your remarks about Model Cars, having spent much time and trouble in collecting data, photographs, etc., of various well-known racing and record cars, with a view to building scale-models.

Should any other reader wish to build a model, I am willing to supply copies of drawings (in three views) of such cars as I have "in stock."

You may care, therefore, to publish a note to the effect in your next copy, arranging any letters c/o MOTOR SPORT.

Cars include 2-litre E.R.A., G.P. (1939) Mercedes, F.W.D. Derby-Special, 200 m.p.h. M.G., "Blue-Bird," Monza eight-cylinder Alfa, etc., etc.

Thanking you for keeping MOTOR SPORT going!

I am, Yours etc.,

HAROLD PRATLEY.

South Woodford, E.18.

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Sir,

Having just received the first "shilling" copy of MOTOR SPORT, may I be permitted to offer my congratulations on a remarkable twelve pennyworth. Especially on the articles by John Bolster and "Hutch" (I'm sure he won't mind me calling him that), and as for "General Notes," well you've turned me "green with envy." So vivid was the account of the adventures with the Ballot that, with a very little imagination, I was soon out on the Oxford By-Pass, watching three real motors, doing some real motoring, a thing all too rare these days, alas!

Also I must not forget "Auslander," the article "Has Racing Helped? " and the very interesting notes on the 12/50 and 12/60 Alvis.

I should like to assure you that I will remain a reader, whatever the price (even if it means missing a lunch now and again), so all the best for 1940.

I am, Yours etc.,

DENIS S. JENKINSON.

London, S.E.23.

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Sir,

Your correspondent of December, 1939, Mr. H. P. Hart, tells of his experiences with a 1½-litre Singer on "Pool" petrol.

It may possibly be of interest to some of your readers to hear how a Type 37 unblown four-cylinder Bugatti reacted to this doubtful concoction.

At first, I was fortunate enough to be able to buy 6 gallons of pure benzole, and this mixed —6 pool to one benzole made excellent fuel. There was no pinking at all above about 1,800 r.p.m., and acceleration was excellent up to 4,000 r.p.m.

I have now run out of benzole and the Bugatti has some Pool in the tank. I do not know whether I have been peculiarly lucky in getting decent stuff or what, but the car really responds very creditably. Admittedly very careful use of accelerator and ignition are necessary under 2,000 r.p.m., but with reasonable use of the gears, pinking is non-existent. Thirty mile limits have to be negotiated in third, i.e., about 2,000 r.p.m., if there are any ups and downs or much traffic, but if the road is clear and level, there is no pinking in top at 30 m.p.h. (1,500 r.p.m.).

Thus, unless the quality of Pool in my district sinks I am going to continue using the Bugatti whenever possible.

To stray wildly from the subject and crib the idea of another reader who suggests a  “History of Bentleys" — would it be possible to have a "History of Bugattis"? I feel  “Le Patron" himself would be a wonderful subject for a biography.

I am, Yours etc.,

C. W. L.

Eton College, Windsor.

* * *

Sir,

I was very interested to read in recent issues of MOTOR SPORT of the enquiries you have been making with a view to establishing the authenticity or otherwise of the report of the death of the Mercedes-Benz driver, Hermann Lang.

I saw in the East Anglian Daily Times recently, the report of the death of another famous racing driver, E. G. Burggaller. He died, at the age of forty four, while leading his squadron over the East Coast in a recent air attack, and was apparently shot down by a British fighter. At the time of his death he held the rank of colonel in the German Air Force.

Burggaller was a Bugatti ace in the early nineteen-thirties, and was also, I believe, a member of the original Auto-Union team. He is more widely remembered, however, as joint author of "Das Autobuch," with Hans Stuck. This excellent book sold to the extent of 40,000 copies in Germany, and was published in England under the title "Motoring Sport," with a foreword by Sir Malcolm Campbell.

I also remember Burggaller as co-driver with Caracciola in the Monte Carlo Rally of 1928, starting from Poland.

I am, Yours etc.,

MARTIN WELLS.

Chelmsford.

* * *

Sir,

I read your article "On the Post-War Trade Boom" with interest. There was a surprising omission, though, when you mentioned the "healthy competition in this luxury car market in the early nineteen-twenties" and that was the 40 h.p. Lanchester. Though its sales were always small it was the only car which really was bracketed with the Rolls-Royce by the cognoscenti.

Apropos a remark in your October number that the war started bringing out some unusual motor cars, I saw a Gwynne for the first time for many years recently. It had about a 15-year-old number-plate.

I am, Yours etc.,

W. STUART BEST.

Godmanston,

Dorchester.

[Yes, we knew we had forgotten one of the early luxury cars. The "Forty" Lanchester, with its o.h. camshaft engine, epicyclic gearbox, and worm-driven rear axle was certainly a famous car. It was developed from the earlier Lanchesters in which the front seat occupants sat one on either side of the engine, and from which breed Tommy Hann evolved his "Softly Catch Monkey." And the post-1918 40 h.p. Lanchester had racing associations, for Parry Thomas lapped Brooklands at over 109 m.p.h. with the Rapson single-seater. We apologise to the Lanchester brothers for this omission.—Ed.]

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Sir,

May I join with other readers of MOTOR SPORT in congratulating you on continuing your publication in spite of the fact that there is no motor sport in the form of racing or trials taking place at the moment.

The sections of your wartime numbers that interest me most are the reminiscences of racing and sports-cars of the 1928-32 era, when the "Wearing of the Green," really meant something in European racing circles.

They appeal to me more especially because I happen to own the 2-litre Lagonda that went to Le Mans in 1929 and also took part in other races at Brooklands. As far as I can gather it was one of a team of four built for racing in that year, but what actually happened to it or who drove it I have never been able to find out, much to my disappointment, and so if anyone can enlighten me as to the past history of these cars, I should be glad.

Might I add that an article on this marque by one who knows might not be out of place, for they were always essentially an enthusiast's car, and after all, if they didn't rake in the pots round about 1929 they have delivered the goods at Le Mans and elsewhere in later years with the 4½-litres and V.12s. As a matter of fact I think we all agree that if the Berlin Battler had remained subdued for another year or so, W. 0. Bentley would have shown the Continentals once again that the "Wearing of the Green" really meant something.

I am, Yours etc.,

D. R. HAGEN.

Holt,

Norfolk.

* * *

Sir,

After five months grumbling we seem just as far away as ever from future motor events. Clubs are closing down and doing nothing to help, yet from time to time readers of the various motoring journals burst into print and "wish" that something would be done. Well, wishing won't help. Let's do something.

It seems to me what is needed most is a special club formed for the duration. For want of a better title let's call it "The Duration Motor Sports Club."

We could start off by running one or two small trials, and most important, a rally to Brooklands, where the day could be rounded off by a few speed events. If Brooklands is too much in the grip of the powers that "B" there is always Crystal Palace, or I am certain some place could be found for a little dicing.

One of the features of this club would be to give those who are no longer able to run cars some motoring for fun, on an expense-sharing basis; later, if the club were sufficiently wealthy, to help tax some of the sports-cars which are at the moment laid up, but the bulk of the petrol coupons to be used on club runs.

I doubt if the petrol rations would give us more than one competition event per month, but we could hold a meeting in addition once a month, which means motoring enthusiasts could gather together at least twice per month. Later, as the club grows in strength, we might be able to hold some pukka Brooklands meetings.

Membership fee I suggest should be 5/-, payable every six months, this would encourage a big membership, which would give us strength.

The club would have to be confined to events around London, for the time being, at any rate; but there are plenty of good venues in this area that could provide good fun for everyone.

I feel strongly that a new club is needed to take care of motoring for the duration, and I would be prepared to give a good deal of my spare time to help develop such a club if others would be interested.

I am, Yours etc.,

F. J. Ames.

Welling.

Kent.