Showing the flag
As we have said before, British manufacturers should be very grateful to American writers who wave the Union Jack for them in the big-circulation magazines of the USA. Latest writer to whom they are indebted is Ralph Stein. In Argosy for last November, which we have seen through the thoughtfulness of one of our readers, Stein had a long article, "Best New Sports Cars," illustrated with colour photographs by MG-enthusiast George Karger and backed by a front-cover colour picture of Erwin Goldsehmidt in the J2 Allard with which he won the 1950 Watkins Glen Grand Prix. Stein says that America makes the best value-for-money family transportation cars in the world, but only one sports car, the Crosley Super Sports. He admits the Nash-Healey was about to appear but does not mention the Cunningham, perhaps because it wasn't then in production. He proceeds to write about the leading British sports cars, packing a critical punch at times, but mostly lavish with praise. The only Continental cars referred to in detail are the Simca Eight and Porsche, no lines devoted to Alfa-Romeo, Ferrari, Lago-Talbot or Delahaye, etc.
Stein, who runs a 21/2-litre Riley as his personal car, obviously rates highest the Jaguar XK120, and it is a reflection on the language of the USA that in being complimentary to it he sees no objection at all, is indeed affectionate, in referring to it as a "bucket." Ralph Stein is one of the few American motor writers who does not exaggerate performance figures and with whom we have no grumbles— how could we, when he refers in his article to the Editor of Motor Sport being "the greatest of all motoring writers" ? For that we thank him and British manufacturers of high-performance cars should thank him too, and be deeply indebted to him. In the course of his article he lists some prevailing dollar prices of cars, fob New York, which repay study.
These prices refer to last year and may have changed to some extent since, but are interesting as a guide to the price classes in which our cars fall in the USA.