Sir, I have just received a parcel of motoring papers, including your September issue, and after reading the very interesting proposals of Capt. Moon, I feel the urge to put my own ideas on paper and also ask your advice. First, I must explain that my proposed design is to be actually built ” apres,” and so certain ideals have had to be subordinated to considerations of likely availability and, I fear, cost and, secondly, an engine has been found and stored away out here which will dictate the type of car to be produced. The engine already earmarked is a Type 57 Bugatti, no mean motor and a very satisfying possession. I have already spent many happy hours polishing and admiring the perfect finish in the usual Bugatti tradition ; however, to our muttons. First, what’s wanted : a fast 2/3-seater for road use, and possibly small time sports-car racing. Secondly, cost of construction must be studied, and, thirdly, it must be reasonably reliable Over mixed roads and for competition motoring. Generally the layout is to be : low, rigid chassis to give 6-in, clearance, i.f.s. Lancia-type suspension, semi-elliptic
at rear, in view of ” mist and availability.” Body to be Of modern enveloping type, open. A very likely style is the Lancia ” Aprilia ” shown on page 120 of the Motor, October 15th, 1943, but less the horrible semi-Yank bumpers and grilles, and internal headlights ; the result may look rather gaunt, but “so what ? ” don’t, personally, value a door very highly, so the ease of construction and strength of a doorless body will win the day. Now to the details. Chassis : possibly one of the more modern and larger Lancias would be a suitable basis. Any suggestions, please ? I’m far from any data, but I seem to remember a 24 or so model of about 1936/7 which had a normal chassis. The chassis would be modified to bring it down to (;-in. clearance, underslung at the rear and undershielded partly for streamline but mainly for cleanliness. The springing to be as soft as found practicable, as the low build should prevent rolling. Engine to be rigidly mounted ; it’s too valuable as an aid to stiffness to be allowed to float about on rubber, and, being an eight, should be smooth enough. Transmission to back-axle normal, to be enclosed in a deep tunnel between the seats. Brakes to be modified if necessary to hydraulic, and possibly to two-leadingshoe. Wheels, as Capt. Moon very sensibly suggests, to be of a site suitable to their different roles. Centre-lock types, while preferable, are not essential nowadays. Steering, if a Lancia chassis is used, should need no alterations except to rake and, possibly, re-position of the box to fit in wit h engine mounting. Final drive rah) is rat her an unknown quantity at the moment, but the 130 b.h.p. a‘ ailable, and possibly more if a blower is to be found, seems to indicate around 3.5 to 1 as a suitable starting point, to be altered as available crown wheels and pinions and also wheel sizes permit. There are, of course, many other details to plan, but enough has been Said already to give the general chassis picture—so next, the body. A scuttle assembly to carry instrumentpanel, toe-board and electrical necessaries is built solid to the chassis, the sea Is are carried direct on the chassis also, and thus the body is purely a shell which can be Made as light and rigid as modern light alloys permit. From the scuttle
back the body is panelled over a light framework which would be attached at six points only and would lift off easily. The seats are divided by the prop.-shaft tunnel, the driver’s being an armchairtype and the passengers a wide semibench type capable of taking two “small ‘uns ” reasonably easily. This should be possible with the very wide body. Gear and brake levers would thus fall normally along the top of the tunnel. From the nose to the top of the headertank and backwards in a wide V to the back of the front-wheel arches is another panelled framework similarly attached to the chassis, the gap between the scuttle and this wide V being filled with a 3-piece bonnet, the top hinged in the centre and the sides held by quick-release screws. Comparison between a ” Frash ” and a Yank from a maintenance viewpoint is the reason. Batteries in the lower corners of the scuttle, outside the frame, would be very accessible, with fuel tank, tools and luggage behind the seats, spare wheel recessed in the tail, hood—maybe, screens to taste. Now for the critics, I suppose. Any helpful suggestions will be very welcome.
Can you help with suggestions for a chassis, and also as to what is necessary to convert the Type 57 to C or SC? It seems to be simply a question of a blower of one size or another, judging by specification differences, but I’m sure there’s more to it than that. Congratulations on the continued excellence of –MOTOR SPORT; it’s much appreciated, as you no doubt are told by the many correspondents. A successful previous hybrid, a ” Frash “with a Riley 14/6 engine (Mown SrOier, November or December, 1940) has inspired this rather more ambitious scheme and, of course, the luck to find a twin-cam Bugatti. An ill wind ? I am, Yours, etc.,
:Ionia S. GORDON (Capt.).
By Air Mail, B N .A F. [The Type 57C and 57SC Bugattis were supercharged versions of the touring Type 57 and sports Type 57S, respective . • • Owing to pressure on space many letters are unavoidably held over