• • Sir,
As a regular reader of MOTOR SPORT I am always particularly interested in the appreciations of vintage cars in the correspondence columns.
I run two Austin Twenty four-cylinder models as everyday means of transport. The one is a 1927 Austin Twenty Mayfair limousine, and having bought it recently and done it up I intend to use it as an everyday car. The .second one, PN 22, which really forms the subject of this letter, is a 1928 Austin Ranelagh long-wheelbase model.. I have had this car ‘since 1986, and have done many thousands of miles in it.
The charm: of the car as far as I am concerned is that it .combines all the luxury of a modern limousine with the feel of a vintage car, together with the ability to cruise effortlessly from London to Edinburgh at 50 55 m.p.h. (maximum speed is about (15 m.p.h.) and to do it day after day without tuning, etc.; petrel consumption is 16-18 m.p.g.
The engines and chassis are identical on the two ears except the Mayfair is 10 ft. 10 in. standard wheelbase, and the Ramie& is 11 ft. 4 in. The car is propelled by a four-cylinder side-valve engine of 95 by 127 mm. (8,610 c.c.) rated at 22.4 h.p.,. giving 45 b.h.p. at 2,000 r.p.in. It has a five-bearing crankshaft and four-speed, eeiltnil gate change. Top gear ratio is 3.9 to I. I had the Ranelagh l’N 22 completely restored to Concours d’Elegance condition in 1948. Instead of buying a new
car the engine was rebored and sleeved and chromed liners fitted. Maintenance is particularly easy, which is another thing that appeals.
All Devon, Cornwall, Yorkshire and Scottish hills have been climbed easily, some of them with seven people on board and two heavy trunks on the luggage carrier, and there was never any sign of boiling. The cornering is quite extraordinary for a large limousine having an overall height of 6 ft. Al in. Ordinary bends can be taken at between 40 and 50 m.p.h. even on a wet road, and I find many are the times on a winding road when I pass and leave modern cars behind because of their inability to corner ; in fact, short of playing the fool the car does not skid at all but sits down on the road very firmly. The original Andre shock-absorbers are fitted all round and I have them fairly tight.
The Austin Twenty four-cylinder was made from 1919 to 1929 and only slight changes took place during that time (it was superseded by the six-cylinder). Felix Scriven raced one with great success about 1921-25 on Brooklands and lapped at 94 m.p.h. Sports models were made but not in great numbers, and the identical engine was fitted into the Austin farm tractor !
I have only two faults to find With the car, the maximum speed is not enough, and the acceleration is spoilt by the gearchange which is very slow. The braking is by cable and large drums, and is very good even by modern standards. The other fault is that with only one or two persons in the back and travelling fast they do get bumped on some roads. Fully laden the car rides beautifully.
I think, and no doubt some of your readers will raise their hands in horror at my suggestion, that the model was one of the finest ears ever made from the point of view of first cost (X650 in 1928), and reliability, accessibility and the very thorough workmanship. The Austin Twelve Heavy was designed from it., but to me it is a very poor second, as the performance of the Twelve is absolutely nil, although I see several of your readers have them. I had one Myself, but sold it owing to the appalling performance and low top gear of 5.15 to 1. I am, Yours, etc.,
PiltclOwn. W. J. Ommam.