THE EDITOR PLACES FURTHER
The Editor Places Further EMPHASIS ON SPORTS CARS
TN continuing with the pleasant task of reporting on such real sports-ears as are
available to the motoring journalist of today, I suppose I should define the meaning of “sport-s-car.” It. seems to vary with the individual. Some apply, the term to any car that has plenty of rearward weight and can thus go up steep slimy places like a tractor ; others vote for blowers, clusters of upstairs camshafts, many cylinders, and a “maximum of at least the tun,’ old boy.” The expression has also been used to include any car which opens and makes a noise, and I believe even those hulking great metal land-bound airships from the U.S.A. count as ” Sports-cars ” in the eyes of certain people, providing the seat-squabs fold down to form beds. . .
For my part, I know what I mean by a “sports-car,” I know what I expect from a car of this kind before I describe it as a real sports-car, but I don’t propose to bother you with definitions. Rather would I present to you a selection and leave you to judge whether or not I should have included them under this heading.
First then, with influenza, small-pox, polio and other germs swirling around, we sought the pure air in a Type L3 Connaught two-seater. I didn’t expect to find much wrong with this car. I didn’t I You see, it has been bred by persons brought up, as it Were, with fast cars and conversant with the art of motor-racing. And a very nice job Kenneth McAlpine, Rodney Clarke and ” Mike ” Oliver have made of it. Incidentally, this was a car Oliver raced last year at Silverstone. Criticisms were eonfined to matters that took on a very minor key compared
to the excellence of the car as a whole. The body flapped and rattled and its obviously very light-gauge alloy panels had distorted here and there. The doors, in spite of catches a la early Austin Seven, didn’t like staying shut. The seats, while very generous and firm, lacked support for one’s back and the cushions were rather too high, so that the steering wheel seemed inclined to hide in one’s lap. The rim of this same Steeringwheel was highly polished, so that after a few hundred miles one’s fingers ached with gripping it. The remote control gear-lever, while cosily reached, had indecisive selection, the two lower gear positions being so close to the upper two, and sandwiched between these and reverse, that I was never quite certain which ratio I should get from neutral— maybe I’m ham-handed. The clutch took lots of punishment because of high gear-ratios and a steep power-curve. so I sometimes stalled the engine. There was a harsh noise in the transmission. Those, and lamps out of focus, are the sum total of complaints. When it comes to praising the Connaught the mind Seeks feverishly for new superlatives, because this is a very real sports-car of the kind a keen driver wants to go on motoring in all day and far into the night for the sheer pleasure he derives from it. Indeed, it is just as well all cars are not as this one, otherwise I should never bring myself to relinquish steering-wheel for pen I How fast the Connaught will go round corners I am not courageous enough to tell you. But I satisfied myself that it is about the fastest thing I’ve driven in this respect and very lenient to anyone taking an occasional wrong line on slippery
surfaces. And it is such fun to hurl round bends. It has that thoroughbred perfection of balance between the currently-discussed overand under-steer, with slight emphasis on the tatter. The worm and nut steering is smooth rather than light, is taut, transmits no returnmotion anti has subdued but “just-right” castor action, visibility couldn’t be better and the wheels remain glued to the most unadhesive of roads. Roll?— nil, yet the ride is unexpectedly comfortable. Tail slides never seem to exceed a tyre’s width or two however fast you corner. What matter, therefore, if the facia dithers about, shaking the steering column with it, and if, for truly acute bends, a shade higher steering-ratio than the present one of 13.4 to 1 (nearly two turns) would be preferable. Taken allround I can recall no faster, safer, or more entertaining way of enjoying your corners than that offered by the Connaught. Perhaps, however, the greatest tribute I can pay is to say that I remarked on the excellence of the i.f.s in giving comfort as well as wheel grip and then discovered a perfectly ordinary beam-type front axle on i-elliptic springs I Shift this praise, therefore, to correct weight distribution, a sensible wheelbase/track ratio and Ch’ing PV 6 dampers’.
When it comes to performance, superlatives are again required. It isn’t so much a matter of how fast, as how accelerative, particularly above 50, and how controllable. I am told that, hood and screen erect, this particular version of Connaught does a comfortable 104 m.p.h. and that its Lea-Francis-base 1,767 c.c. 107 b.h.p. engine is safe up to 6.000 r.p.m., equal to the impressive maxima of 85, 58 and 87 m.p.h. on the indirect ratios of 13.65, 8.23 and 5.46 to 1. I can well believe this, for it is a very willing unit. The car I tried was standard except for soft valve springs, wet-sump lubrication with a bulkhead oil tank and a 14-gallon In place of an 11-gallon fuel tank. I saw 5,200 r.p.m. (94 m.p.h.) come up along a casually short straight and on an unguarded occasion reached 95 in third, and I was quite satisfied I Vhat interested me far more was the ability of this Connaught to get a move on—a very definite native on—from 50 m.p.h. into the eighties. The gear ratios are high, with top in relation to third a matter of 1 to 1/ 1.2 to 1, yet in the lower gears the car got off the mark most impressively. Sixty was attained in about 12 seconds and thereafter third could be held to 80 or more m.p.h. as a matter of course. Even the top gear ratio of 4.5 to 1, equal to 18 m.p.h. per 1,000 r.p.m., did the driver very proud indeed in the matter of overtaking other cars .cruising at around the mile-a-minute mark— in our ease Monte Carlo Rally cars en route from Wales to Kent—and for recovering speed after those blind corners
where it is prudent to go slowly, even in a Connaught. This accelerative ability enables excellent average speeds to be put up without “doing a Nuvolari ” or cruising at excessive gaits. At night 60-70 m.p.h. was about right for the length of the lamp beams and, even so, we got along very decently. Always the willing engine is ready to transport you into the eighties in a moment, but it Is on sheer cornering power and pick-up that the Connaught establishes memorable point-to-point averages. The Girling hydro-mechanical brakes help, too— they are genuinely powerful, nicely progressive, absolutely ” all-square” and free from tricks when Clapped on hard, yet do not call for very much ” push ” and there is a gratifying amount of “lining-for-future use” feel under one’s foot. Brake fade, too, is completely absent, although I hurried somewhat over that fascinating 20 miles of eternallywinding road from Newtown to Llandrindod Wells—full marks to the sensible cooling scoops aided by air-escape holes in the Dunlop steel disc wheels and air holes in the front cowling and to the Ferodo MZ 41 racing linings. Subsequently, the Connaught whisked us from there nearly to Aldershot on wet roads at night in something under four hours’ running time ; any car that will go from the City of Learning (where camouflaged Gestapo now mingle with we motorists, shame be it) to this seat of Military Might via the tairly bits front Henley to Eversley in around an hour is a good enough car for me.
I have said that the Connaught is the kind of car you want to go on driving and driving. For my part I collected it, lunched, drove to Worcester, made a big detour in finding Market Drayton, paid a social call, continued to Llandrindod Wells, saw the Monte Carlo competitors leave, and came home, a little nuttter of over 450 miles, many of them over secondary roads, between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4 a.m. The engine was as fit afterwards as at the start, started easily, hadn’t soiled its rather hard plugs, and gave rather better than 22 m.p.g. of petrol/ benzole. It was certainly reassuring to see the oil temperature never above 40° C., often below 30*, and the water thermometer, in spite of a well blankedoff radiator, sitting calmly at 05° C. Even some acceleration tests didn’t put these above 50° and 70°, respectively. Oil pressure was 60 lb./sq. in.
Here I must digress to apologise to the driver of a Rally Ford Pilot because the dimmed lamps of the Connaught dazzled him when I came up behind climbing Fish Hill ; it surprised me that a Rally car should have no rear blind and I was even more surprised when a vast reversinglamp shone in my eyes for mile after mile, presumably to “learn me,” but in a not very sportsmanlike fashion I When I mistook my road at a fork this Ford came by and I saw that the offending lamp had been extinguished, so obviously It had not been merely overlooked as its driver fought his rolling steed (while we cornered smoothly) round the Fish Hill hairpins I N.B.—The police Rallycrew in the Humber Super Snipe also mistook the aforementiorad fork. Reverting to the happier topic of the Connaught, this is not a full road-test
report., so I will confine myself to a few concluding comments. The engine likes Its revs kept up, no particular punch being evident below 3,000 r.p.m. and its exhaust noise was described as ” delightful ” or ” filthy ” wording to who was doing the describing. In towns the unsilenced exhaust was a bit embarrassing. All the instruments are visible. I liked the aircraft-type tumbler switches in place of the effeminate things found on many modern ears, and the luggage space In the lockable boot is adequate, likewise the easily-ereeted hood. The switches deal with ignition, lamps, fuel gauge, and four petrol pumps, the latter being fitted to cope with the demands of four Amal 10 T.T. carburetters when these replace the two type 114 S.U.s on the car tested. The engine is basically LeaFrancis, with lt.c. pistons, modified camshafts, four-branch exhaust system, etc. The chassis uses Lea-Francis components and the current type 18 has torsion-bar i.f.s. The wheelbase is 8 ft. $ in., front track 4 ft. 31 in., rear track 4 ft. 4.; in. and my local gasworks quoted the weight as 21 cwt. without. occupants or much fuel. As this is a hand-built car purchasers can have choice of engine size, number and type of carburetters, compression and axle ratios, coil or magneto ignition, two or four carburetters and wet or dry sump lubrication, etc.
I have written more than I intended about this exciting motor-car out of sheer enthusiasm for it, but. I still feel that I’ve failed to do it justice. A set of acceleration figures would perhaps convey more than mere words, although perhaps it is as well for other manufacturers that I neglected to take more than a few casual readings. These nutst stiffice-0-50 in 9.4 sec., 60 in 11.9 sec., 70 in 10 sec., 80 in 21 sec.—together with my opinion that the Connaught is one of the nicest, fastest, safest point-to-point ears I have driven. Price £1,850 -12260 15s. purchase tax ; inquiries, as they say in the adverts, to Connaught Engineering, Send, Surrey. After this exhilarating spell with a truly fast (sir I was eager and ready for more, but “the best-laid schemes . . .” What. with the ‘flu epidemic, the temperamental habits of the more exciting sports cars, the fact that the Press XK 120 Jaguar, promised almost weekly for the past two years, still manages to evade me, and the brake trouble which assailed a p Ivately-owned XK 120 on the two occasions when I arranged to borrow it, this feature began to “lose steam.” True, personal motoring has been provided by a new Morgan “4/4,” the Standard-engined 1,267-c.c. model. This jolly little object, clinging to Clic road like a leech and offering brisk acceleration and notable economy of fuel, is certainly a car built for sport, and an open two-seater withal. If the modern family-car has largely ” caughtup ” with this kind of small sports car, I, for one, prefer the more ” active ” driving posit sin, the handiness, and the ” atmosphere of fun ” that the latter type provides. The Morgan is a good example, too, but not quite the sort of car I want to include in this article. In any case, like other journalists before me, I propose to deal rather fully with
this personal conveyance after I have done a reasonable mileage in it, and as it has at present done less than 3,000 miles this, too, must wait. However, Flt.-Lt. Crampton, D.F.C„ has weighed-in with details of a car which is so very much the “real thing,” must, indeed, rank as one of the fastest road ears in existence, that I willingly hand over to hint There are a few select carswhich stand in an exclusive category of their own, providing a facet of motoring quite outside the normal experience even of drivers freely accustomed to really rapid vehicles. Such motor ears can be counted, perhaps, on the lingers of one hand. Forrest Lycett’s immortal and evergreen 8-litre Bentley heads my personal list, on which I readily place Cramptan’s ” 2.9 ” Maserati. So here is what he in his justifiable enthusiasm writes of it and, as I said in the beginning, you must judge for yourselves :—
The Ma.serati I now own was given the engine and chassis number of 8002 when it was built at Bologna, in Italy, in 1932. It is one of the wellknown 2.9s ” of 2,992 0.0. It was made when the International Formula stated that the maximum weight of any Grand Prix car should not exceed 750 kilograms.
By the end of 1932 the late Sir Henry [firkin had driven on one or two occasions ii 2.0-litre Ma.serati and he decided that he would drive, during 1933, a 2.9-litre version of this car He negotiated with the Maaerati brothers and, as the result, their new model was placed at his disposal. He elected to start the new season by entering for the Tripoli Grand Prix. The Muserati factory shipped the car out to Tripuli, where Birkin intercepted it in the spring of 1933. He had been led to understand that, the factory would provide him with an adequate staff for his pit. Upon his arrival, however, he discovered that the brothers Maserati had only sent one man, who had already been delegated to assist Campari. Cam. pan’s car was a similar model to Birkin’s. Birkin therefore rustled around and managed to gather up a few willing helpers.
It came to pass that soon after the start of the race Birkin rushed into the lead and held this position for three laps. Then Campari Overtook him and, at the end of five laps, the first three positions were held by Campari, Birkin and Nuvolari. And then, in a short while, Nuvolari’s ” 2.6 5′ Alfa-Romeo moved up to second place but, on the sixteenth lap, Campari was forced to retire when his car caught fire. Birkin allowed Nuvolari to continue in the lead for he was confident that the Maserati had a greater maximum speed than that of the Alfa-Romeo. Twelve laps before the finish Birkin stopped at his pit to refuel but, to his dismay, he found that neither oil nor fuel had been placed in the pit. Two minutes and forty-five seconds elapsed before he could restart. It was during this pit-stop that. he suffered the fatal burn on his arm front the exhaust pipe. Ile continued to drive magnificently and during the next twelve laps he made up one minute of his lost time. NVith only four laps to go he noticed the breaker strip showing through one of his tyres, lie decided to carry on and oniN. just failed to catch the leaders before the finish. Thus he came home. third.
The sad story of ” Tint ” Birkin’s death, shortly after lie returned to England with t lie Maserati, is known only too well. Early in the summer of 193:1 Englaial lost a very gallant gentleman. It would appear that the Maserati was next driven in the International Trophy at Brooklands in 1934 by the Ilon. Brian Lewis, who is now Lord Essendon. After a most exciting race Lewis finished second only a short distance behind Witney Straight’s monopasto Maserati. It was during this year that the Maserati’s chassis was ” boxed in,” and it was no less a person than Mr. Jack Playford who carried out the work. Early in 1935 the car was taken to the Isle of Man for the Maitiuiuu Moar. Tint Rose Richards drove it in It us race but, on account of an ugly stoppage in the gearbox, he was forced to retire. Later on in the same year, F. E. Clifford took the car to France for the Dieppe Grand Prix, in which race he finished ninth. And, in September,
Clifford entered it for the British Grand Prix at Donington but unhappily he took the hairpin too fast, motored into the rough, and stayed there. In May, 1936, Austin Dobson went out. to win the International Trophy in the Maserati but, alas, a inechanieal failure forced him to retire. Its next race was the Coronation Mountain Handicap in 1937 and in this event Dobson had better luck and finished third. In 1938 B. F. Oats bought the car and at the outbreak of war the following year lie tucked it safely away in Cornwall.
At the end of the war the car was taken to Berkeley Street. and offered for sale in Charles Follett’s showroom. In Noveniher, 1945, the Maserati was bought. by John ‘Wyer, who at that. time was manager of the Ace Service Station on the North Circular Road. On Easter Monday, 1946, the car was driven in the V.S.C.C. Speed Trials by Dudley Froy. This event Wok place upon the runway at Elstree Aerodrome. The Maserati, however, Itad a nasty cough at. the time and didn’t put up a very good show. In May of the same year, T. A. S. 0. Mathieson took possession of the car and away he went to France to drive in three Formula Libre races. The first was in the Bois de Boulogne, from which event he unfortunately retired with a suspected oil-leak. The second was at St. Cloud, in which he finished fifth. And OW third was the Grand Prix de Perpignan, in which he finished sixth. At the end of the year Mathieson returned from his Continental perambulations and asked John Ni’yer to carryout a general overhaul on the Maserati. During this overhaul it was decided to remove the ten-gallon oil tank front the lefthand side of the pron.-shaft and replace it with a passenger’s seat. The ‘eightgallon reserve tank in the scuttle, just forward of the dashboard, was then conunissioned as t lie main oil tank. Wings, lights and a battery were then tacked onto the car and, at the beginning of 1948, the licensing authorities christened the Maserati MPH 504. In February, 1948, the car passed into the hands of Michael Oliver, who was then a Director of Continental Cars. The following month
” Mike ” drove the Machine in the V.S.C.C. Speed Trials at Luton Hoo.
.Just before this event I had invited Mike down to Tangmere, near Chichester, for lunch. On the allotted day he arrived in the Maserati, and that was when I saw the car first. After lunch I drove the car round and round and round the aerodrome. After that Mike was good enough to let me drive it on several occasions. And after the Luton Boo affair the Maserati became mine.
The eight-cylinder engine has a bore and stroke of 69 by 100 innt. and a compression-ratio of 6.5 to 1. The exhaust and inlet valves, at ninety degrees to each other, are operated by twin overhead camshafts through the medium of inverted cups or ” flowerpots.” The camshafts, each in five bearings, are driven by a chain Of spur gears front the front Of the crankshaft. These gears also drive the Roots-type supercharger, the oil pressure and scavenge pumps, the water pump and magneto. Tho carburetter is a singlechoke, 46-mm. Weber with one main and one idling jet. The blower is mounted on the front of the engine and is driven at about one-and-one-eighth times crankshaft speed. It develops a pressure of about 10 11)./sq. in. A Kigass pruning pump ensures instantaneous starting on the Lucas starter motor. The crankshaft is supported by five bearings ; two large ball-races at each end and three plain bearings of racing white Metal. The suite type of metal is used in the big-end bearings of the tubular connecting-rods. The gudgeon pins are fully floating and are located in the pistons by cirelips. The pistons are flat-topped and hive one serapor and two compression rings. The cylinder block is sandwiched between the cylinder head and the crankcase. There is no cylinder head gasket because the head and the block are lapped together. It is advisable not to exceed 5,500 r.p.m., at which revolutions the engine develops ‘2301).11.1). on a methanolbase fuel. Here, however, it might be pointed out, in order to illustrate the sturdy design of these engines, that at a Prescott inecting in 1948 ii certain gentleman momentarily exceeded 7,000 r.p.m. in his .” 2.9 ” monoposto Maserati. And his engine showed no ill effects as a result of this burst of enthusiasin. The front and rear suspension is pro
vided by springs damped by friction-type shock-absorbers. This may give one a comparatively hard ride but, at the saute time, there is a delightful absence of the squishy-squashy nonsense so beloved by the independently-suspended sports-car entluisiast of this modern day and age. The brake shoes, inside their 15-in. diameter finned drums, are cable-operated through a normal differential compensating mechanism. And the braking is good at all speeds. In fact, it’s very good. The steering is light, positive, and nearly direct ; the steering wheel turns through about one and a quarter turns from lock to lock. A 25gallon fuel tank, with two filler caps, is inOunted in the tail. Fuel is fed to the carburetter Ity pressurising the tank through the medium of’ a hand-operated air Damp on the dash All that earl be said about the metal body on its ash formers is that it is beautiful. It is cellulosed a deep red and it is beautiful.
Anyone who doesn’t agree with this can go and climb up his thumb. It is tta well not to drive the car in big boots, for the pedals are very close together, the accelerator being in the middle.
On June St h. 1948, I drove the Maserati in the International 11111 Climb at Stamner Park. When crossing the finishing line on my first non a sort. of (looking clanging front the back axle heralded troulde. Alas, the differential cage had cracked and consequently a tooth had been mangled off the crown-wheel. However, through the kind assistance of the good Michael Oliver the next three days were devoted to inserting a new itsseniblV in the back axle and otT we went, on .binc l2th, to She’sley Walsh. Ntv new back axle ratio of 3.6 to I was not exaetly conducive to sprinting Iml nevert neless, my time of 45 seconds indicated duet I would have to get my foot much nearer to the carburetter in future. Idling up tillelsley isn’t. goal hir business.
Just, after this meeting I was fortunate enough to find a gent lentalt in Folkestone who wished to sell a complete ” 2.9 ” Mnserati engine. I bought it, quick !
The following month I entered the Maserati for vres.cot.t. and. on July 18th, made my initial ugly rush up that eurvatitans little. hill. Although the car and 1 both fell that we were travelling like a shaft of lightning, St seconds elapsed before we reached the summit. On, September 12.th we were there :Lgain for the International Meeting, when ii rained ; and it rained to such an extent that, paddle-wheels would have been it far more suitable means of propulsion.
At about. I his time there was :t certutin growing sloppiness among the blower bearings, indicated by a sort of (+nuking noise from the supereltarger lobes as they biffed about inside their case. The bearings were renewed butt, not in time for the last. Shelsley meeting that year.
In 1949. the exigencies of the Service, together with a little misbehaviour on lite part of the clutch, prevented me front motoring the Maserati as much as I would have liked. I took the car down to Brighton for the Speed ‘Trials in September that. year, only to have the mortifying experience of all the clutch plates welding themselves together in one solid lump on my intended departure front the starting line. All was pat to rights however in time for the September meeting at Goodwood and it was there that I experienced my first motor race. I got away to a bad start on au,contot of letting in the clutch at :tbout sou raim. The racket on the starting line drowned 1he noise of the engine’s exhaust and I was so busy looking at the starter’s flag I quite forgot to look at may rev.-counter. This hesitant start shook me to such a tlegree that I was for :n moment a trifle flummoxed, but t he ‘ary rapid manner in which I was being overtaken by the other competitors in the handicap race indicated that I had better get a bit of it wriggle on. I ‘finished ninth. Alas, there were. but ten ears in the rave. 1 have yet to read a graphic description of anyone’s first motor race and now I can quite understand why. Everything happened so devilish quickly that I can but remember two points. I enjoyed the race immensely and was very sorry when it was all over.
After the Goodwood meeting I decided to give the Maserati a complete and thorough overhaul. The vitriol is indications of wear and tear might perhaps have been overlooked but I had form iii little plans for tire irnprovonfait of its appearance as a road car and decideal to overhaul the whole car at the sante time. A. P. Southon, of the Phoenix Green Garage, was the gentleman to whom this work was delegated. I had met Alan during the sununer of 1948 and had had the pleasure of .Iris friendship and his assistance with the Maserati for over a year. His workmanship. I discovered, is of a very high order indeed.
It came to pass therefore that the Maserati arrived at Alan’s garage early in Oetotier, 1949, and we decided upon the overall strategic concept. Alan was to strip, rite& and relnuilul the engine, the gearbox, and the clutch. Ile was to get a dvatanto married to the Scintilla magneto. lie was to have lighter and more elegant mudguards made up and also to make a thoroughly practical method Of fixing tItem to the chassis. He was to make up a luggage carrier, a headlamp bracket, and to rewire all the electrical circuits. New leather was to go on the seats, etc., annul a tonneau-cover was to be made. By virtue of Alan’s hospitality I was to be allowed to work on the car in his garage as often as I could, but I electeel to perform only humble task:,:. My first job was to serape off the film of Castro’ ” It ” that had acciimulated over the whole machine during the past three or four years. I decided to make a new dashboard out of dural and engine turn it. The rein:tinder of my work was to consist of renewing the fuel and air lines, fancying up the foot wells, and carrying out a thorough cheek on the body and chassis. And so the work began. The engine was soon On the bench and the cylinder
head was lifted. This unit was found to be in first-class condition. The cylinder walls were showing no. signs of wear and the pistons and tubular connecting-rods were quite satisfactory. The big-end bearings were looking a little oldfashioned and the crankshaft journals were slightly ridged. When the main bearings were brought to light it was discovered that a serious amount of oompus-booptts had been going on. There was vonsiderable play in all the I earings anti the cent re cage had Ikea very loosclY located on its wobbly dowel Mo. We decided to setal the engine off t o Laysialls to have the crank reground and liew Metal run in the main and bigend beutringA. Soon after the engine arrived at Laystalls they informed us that. eight bad cracks had been discovered in the crank. NW therefore sen nt. the spare crank to them, only to have the grin wiprd off our faces by their informing us that also was badly cracked. A miserable little conference then took place. A 1.olti decision was rettelted and Laystalls were given the order to turn up a new .crank out of Nitralloy steel. IvVe were informed. however, that six months would be redmired to complete stall a task. This indeed was it tmle shock but we set. the teeth and clenched the lists and pressed 011 with I Ile remaining work while Laystalls set about making a copy of one of my cranks. New ball-races were iittol throughout the gearbox, in which a badly worn shaft Was replaced by it IleNV one. The kinale splines in the multiplate clutch drum were honed to smooth away the ridges and new ball-races were, fitted to the ” withdrawal ” fork. The seats were covered with costly red leather and, in short, the great work went on… and on . . . and on. During my, frequent. week-end visits to Hartley Whitney I used to stay at
the ” Phoenix ” Now the ” Phoenix ” is a place which satisfies all the needs of Man, as well as the Inner Man. It’s my opinion that it would be quite impossible to compare the cleanliness between a new pin and the Phoenix.” The landlord, Mr. Donald Dear, together with his good wife, Pamela, make it their business to see that all their guests have everything they want. And they perform their duties_ as host and hostess in a manner which is the very manifestation of Courtesy.
In August, 1950, Man was able to start rebuilding the engine around its new crank. And soon the twin-cam, supercharged, straight-eight engine was lowered back into the chassis. The clutch, gearbox and prop.-shaft torque tube were coupled up. Bracket; were made for the new mudguards; together with the new headlamp bracket. Twin Lucas “Wind Tone ” horns were fitted beneath the valance between the front dumb-irons. The new Bugatti steering. wheel that I had bought in Paris that summer was fitted. Scintillas had performed a lasting marriage between my magneto and a new dynamo. The engineturned .dural dashboard, made with the valuable assistance of Colonel Patrick Tweedie, was bolted in place. The mudguards -and so forth came back from the painters with their deep red colour exactly matching the existing cellulose on the car. Supports were made for the new chromium-plated removable luggage grid. A neat arse panel was incorporated in the new wiring. Some very fancy ribbed dural sheeting was riveted to the foot-wells and other interior appointments. The drop-arm, drag-flak, front axle, track-rod, torque-arms, road-springs, shackles and similar steel members were polished. The -cellulose was -buffed up. And then, during my Christmas leave, the garage doors were opened, Alan started up the engine and this beautiful_ nineteen-year-old racing car Moved out into theforecourt between the Phoenix Hotel and the Phoenix Green Garage. The deep dulcet tortes of the exhaust mete rang out triumphantly. And all was well with the world. The all-up weight of the car in roadtrim, including the .spare wheel and its carrier (which is bolted to the chassis: just ahead of the battery box) is 21 cwt. The tyres are 6.50 by 19 at the rear and 5.25 by 19, at the front. With an axleratio of 3.6 to 1 the car travels at About 2$ m.p.h. at 1,000 r.p.m. in top gear. The engine consumes a gallon of petrol for every fifteen miles when cruising at zero boost and 3,000 r.p.m. At this engine setting a speed of about 84 m.p.h. is tnaintained. It will be appre(‘iated, herefore, that while travelling at this tidy cruising speed the engine is being put to no hardship whatsoever. Naturally, while using petrol, one also uses diseretion with the right hoof. It would he very improper to belt the car about while -using petrol. With a 70/30 mixture of petrol/benzoic in the tank one can, of course, have a load of fun. [There’s understatement for you I–En.) The overhaul has proved to have been a great success. By the end of January
this. year I had covered nearly one thousand miles in the. Maserati. It is indeed a ” Melody in Metal.”