The Production Iota "500"

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We have been notified that the Iota 500-c.c. racing car, conceived originally by Dick Caesar and closely resembling the famous Freikaiserwagen in its Silverstone guise, is to be sold as a production model. The specification embraces a chassis of welded steel tubes, 4.00 by 15 tyres and swing-axle rear suspension. The wheelbase is 7 ft, the track 4 ft. and the dry weight, with proper bodywork, is expected to be approximately 450 lb. A high proportion of the weight is intentionally carried by the rear wheels, as it has been found that handling qualities are not affected, so a compact rear engine layout has been adopted, thus enabling the driver to occupy almost the same driving position as on a front-engined racing car. Front suspension is by coil springs and Morgan-like pillars, the stub axles mounted in aluminium carriers sliding and swivelling on self-lubricating bronze bushes, and at the rear the independent suspension is controlled by an ingenious inter-connected rubber damping system. The suspension is essentially “soft,” and uses hydraulic shock-absorbers all round.

Eight-inch Girling hydro-mechanical braking is employed, with light-alloy drums, one drum sufficing at the rear, as no differential is incorporated. The normal engine will be a Speedway J.A.P., driving by chain to a close-ratio. four-speed gearbox, final drive being by another chain to the centre of the swing-axle assembly. A flexible, crash-proof fuel tank is fitted and equipment includes 5-in, rev-counter and twin driving mirrors. It is hoped to market the Iota for about 2400, complete with engine.

The introduction of yet another commercially built “500” must give amateur constructors seriously to think. May we suggest to those who despair of competing successfully against such competition in racing, that their experience should at least enable them to build a minicar that will see off all professional minicars so far announced? Seriously, those “500” enthusiasts who accept leather coats and helmets in lieu of windows and roof should be able to construct a road-worthy cyclecar offering far better economy and performance than the proverbial Austin Seven, and one, by reason of its racing layout, which would possess a high degree of safety and controlability. Such a car need not be scorned in this age of austerity. Is anyone interested?