Rumblings, March 1946

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Old —
The other Sunday two interesting cars presented themselves for inspection. The first was a Belsize of about 1909 vintage, equipped with 4-seater body and owned by Stephenson’s Garage, of Driffield. It still bears a Hackney Carriage plaque and chugged about happily enough on trade plates, albeit on flat tyres. For the benefit of V.C.C. technicians, the engine is of T-head type, with magneto on the near side and, above it, a No. 30 White and Poppe carburetter with exhaust muff. The cooling system is assisted by a fan driven by a long belt and the oil pump is set above the crankcase, having a primer and delivering via a glass-fronted cylinder on the facia. Suspension is half elliptic in front and three-quarter elliptic at the rear, and there is no accelerator, engine speed being controlled by a long hand-throttle lever on the steering column. Brake and gear-levers are external and equipment includes Lucas “King of the Road” headlamp, a Rushmore “Auto Shaking Grate” acetylene generator and Stepney spare wheel. The car number is 2409.

Later in the day, on the outskirts of Brough, we were able to inspect another rare car Mr. Lee’s 1930 2 1/2-litre Beverly-Barnes. The Beverley Barnes Company were at one time responsible for the Bentley castings and were early in the straight-eight field with a car of their own make. The example under discussion was acquired locally, with a home-brewed sports body adorning it, and seems likely to be the only remaining example of the twin-o.h.c. 2 1/2-litre model in existence. Mr. Lee is gradually reconditioning it, and when we first saw the chassis the old body has been scrapped — the width of the dash, extending wider than the track of the car, naturally puzzled us. Mr. Lee explained that he hopes to fit a new body in the modern tradition, enclosing the wheels and fairing-in all projections. He figures out that the finished car will be six feet wide, 3 ft. 9 in. high and 14 ft. 6 in. long, and that, given some assistance with panel beating, the body shell will not present undue difficulty. He has already shortened the Beverley-Barnes to a wheelbase of 9 ft. from the original 11 ft. 2 in.

To students of history the chassis is an interesting study. The engine is a straight-eight with inclined o.h. valves operated, via piston plungers, by two o.h. camshafts. The camshafts are driven by chain from the front of the crankshaft, and between the long cam cases is a coverplate, beneath which are concealed the centrally-disposed plugs. On the off side is a Zenith vertical carburetter feeding into an inlet manifold, the riser of which has a pipe running to it from the ribbed exhaust manifold on the off side, to provide pre-heating. Ignition is by coil, with the distributor forward on the near side, and behind it is the water pump, while a 3-bladed fan is positively-driven from the timing chain. The dynamo is on the near side.

The engine looks very businesslike and there is ample ground clearance beneath the sump. In unit with it is a Warner centrally-controlled 4-speed gearbox and 3-point mounting is used. Final drive is by an open shaft passing through an opening in the rearmost chassis cross-member. Suspension is by half-elliptic springs, those at the rear being steeply cambered and underslung. The rear dumb-irons sweep up very sharply.

Marles steering is used and Rudge wheels carry 6.00 x 20-in. tyres. The brakes have Perrot operation at the front, ribbed drums all round, and are applied by Dewandre vacuum servo. The brake adjustment is by well-placed handwheels, and the shock-absorbers are triple Hartfords. Lee has lowered the large and imposing radiator — rather reminiscent of an Autovia’s – 8 in., so that the starting handle now passes through it.

— And New
The post-war Allard has been announced. A new company — the Allard Motor Company Ltd.—has been formed to build it. The new chassis is available in two lengths of wheelbase 9 ft. 4 in. and 8 ft. 10 in. As before, Ford components are largely used, the engine being the famous 3,622-c.c. V8/30 unit, practically in standard form. In order to achieve a low bonnet line the fan has been removed from the dynamo and is carried on a pressed-steel bracket, with its own belt drive. A special coil and distributor are used. The gearbox retains the neat remote control and gives ratios of 3.5, 6.61 and 12.3 to 1. The new chassis is lower than before, and the side members are of box-section. Ground clearance is still adequate, of course, for Sydney Allard has his eye on the South African market. Front suspension is by a flat-set transverse leaf spring awl independent action is obtained by dividing the front axle and locating each half with substantial radius arms. Rear suspension is likewise transverse. Braking is now of Lockheed type, with ribbed drums and a fly-off central hand lever. The new Luvax-Girling hydraulic shock-absorbers are used front and back. As before, Marles steering, noted for its smooth and positive action, is fitted, all joints having Silentbloc oil-less bushes. Easy-clean wheels carry 6.25 x 16-in. tyres and the electric system is 12 volt, with hand-operated dipper switch. The rear fuel tank holds 16 gallons and there is a reserve tap actuated by electrical remote control.

For a car which figured so prominently before the war in competition and was so outstandingly successful in trials, the new bodies are slightly startling and a reminder that “Time marches on.” Saloon, coupé, 2 and 4-seater styles will be offered, each having frontal aspects reminiscent of the less-lurid American cars, with chromium motif and headlamps concealed in the wings, while the rear wheels are covered in. The provisional prices, inclusive of purchase tax, are: long-chassis 4-seater, £975 7s, 6d.; 2-door saloon, £1,179 7s. 6d.; 4-seater coupé, £1,083 15s.; short-chassis 2-seater, £956 5s.

The Allard has always been a Ford with a very de luxe manner and the new model, it will be noted, retains that high top-gear ratio that ensures effortless running. If the estimated weights of 22 1/2 cwt. for the closed cars and 19 1/2 cwt. for the 2-seater are realised, the performance should, as formerly, be a match for anything on the road.

Important Events
On March 30th, the Ulster Automobile Club will hold a race meeting — over a course at Long Kesh airfield — the first British racing since the war. The circuit is 2 1/2 miles to the lap, with a mile-long straight. Provisional plans are for a handicap race for sports and racing cars of all sizes, and a scratch race for 1 1/2-litre racing cars, each race to be of about 50 miles duration. Details from C. G. Neill, 46, Sydenham Avenue, Belfast. Incidentally, they do say we may see racing in Jersey this year, by invitation of the island authorities, and the J.C.C. is investigating.

The other important event is to be put on by the R.A.C. and R.S.A.C. next September. It will take the form of a rally to Scarborough. The first day 800-mile routes from various starting places will lead to the rally-town by nightfall and the following day there will be driving-skill tests and a coachwork competition. In normal times we should consider 300 miles far too tame, but under prevailing circumstances this rally will doubtless attract a good entry and enable cars like the new Allard, H.R.G., Healey, Fedden, Gordano and Kendall, etc., to show themselves off to the buying public. But it seems a pity the tests cannot demonstrate car performance instead, merely, of emphasising driving skill. Before we leave the future, the Motor Show will not, after all, happen this year, and the R.A.C. learns that no more T.T. races will be permitted on the Ards circuit. Sad!

Gppd Show!
The fair sex is so frequently blamed for cramping man’s participation in the Sport, or at all events for being completely without enthusiasm, that the work Mary Whittet has been doing for the new firm of Cowell, Whittet and Co. is worth quoting. Cowell and Whittet very energetically decided to build a works with their own fair hands, and Mrs. Whittet took on all the office work, obtained the building licence, chased about London to find builders’ merchants, and generally laid on all that was needed. She also managed to get tea, sugar and milk permits and every morning provided refreshment for the workers, not to mention hot lunch on five days out of seven for up to six persons and putting up one extra person about three nights a week. This with a daughter of 2 1/2, a continual stream of people coming into the house all day and her only aid that from a girl of 18 for three hours a day … if all this means nothing to you, hand the paragraph over to your wife or girl-friend! As a result, three parts of the job was done in a mere eight weeks, frost then calling a temporary halt. The only person with any building experience was a bricklayer’s labourer and he was booked up before his demob. by Mary Whittet … By now she is probably blushing, and she has only herself to blame!

Another person who is operating a similar business is Charles Mortimer, who has opened premises at High Road, Byfleet, which he intends to run in conjunction with Rowland Motors, Ltd., in which firm he has an interest. As works manager he has had the good fortune to persuade J. W. Bicknell to come to him from a war-job at Napiers. Bicknell used to run his own business in North London and was responsible for tuning the motor-cycles ridden with such distinction by his brother, the late C. B. Bicknell. Stocks of plugs, jets, alcohol fuel and racing oil, etc., have been obtained and Mortimer is ready to undertake any kind of tuning. At the time of writing, work was commencing on the ex-Doreen Evans Q-type M.G. and an Aston-Martin and a 4 1/2-litre Invicta were in for overhaul. Charles tells us he is keeping the 1 1/2-litre Alta with which he holds the 1 1/2-litre record for Lewes and that he has ordered one of the new Grand Prix Altas from Rowland Motors, who are the South of England distributors. The old Alta will be raced until the new one is delivered, after which it will be retained as a practice car. Charles is obviously not one of those persons depressed by present-day troubles. He believes in the future.

Obituary
Leon Cushman is dead and a very charming man and distinctly versatile driver is lost to us. In the early nineteen-twenties he was extremely successful with Brescia Bugattis, including capturing the Brookands Test Hill record and finishing second in the 1923 200-Mile Race. He also drove two Crossley 4-seaters in B.A.R.C. short handicaps, which lapped at nearly 100 m.p.h. Later, he took Davis’s place after the latter’s accident and drove the single-seater Austin Seven, exceeding 100 m.p.h. for the mile and doing the standing mile at 74. Cushman also finished a close second to K. Don’s Lea-Francis in the 1928 T.T., driving a blown 4-cylinder f.w.d. Alvis, while in the 1930 500-Mile Race he partnered Purdy with one of the 2-litre G.P. Sunbeams, which finished third.

Celebrities’ Card-Index
Gabriel. — His first race was in1899, Paris to Bordeaux, and he didn’t finish. In 1902 he with a 60-h.p. Mors in the Circuit des finishing second behind Jarrott’s Panhard through breaking a driving when in the lead, five miles from home. Also made second fastest lap. In the ill-fated Paris-Madrid of 1903 Gabriel had his greatest drive, being 33 miles ahead of the next car when the race was stopped at Bordeaux. He was in his third race, conditions were staggering, yet his Mors was fastest of them all. In the 1903 Gordon Bennett Gabriel made best time over the long course, and in 1904 he left Mors to drive for De Dietrich. Various troubles thereafter kept him from a place, but he had some sensational drives, as when he got from seventh to third place in one lap in the 1905 Florio Cup race. Sixth in the 1907 Targa Florio and fourth in the G.P., Gabriel last drove in the 1908 G.P. for Clement-Bayard. He will ever be remembered for his drive in the Paris-Madrid.

The R.A.C. has elected Lt.-Col. F. S. Barnes and F/Lt. Toulmin to the Competitions Committee.