Rumblings, March 1955
What will Budget Day bring to ease the motorists’ heavy burden ? In a little more than a month we shall know the best, or the worst. We are due for kinder treatment for the motor car is no longer a luxury, yet its users are savagely taxed. Petrol is sold at a fantastic price, doe to the 2s.6d. per gallon tax extracted from a class of the community which already pays for a driving licence, compulsory insurance and a Road Fund (!) licence to get on the road —and is very cross with the petrol companies for extracting recently another 1d. a gallon at a time when enormous profits are being made.
There are three possibilities about Budget Day for motorists, which it isn’t necessary to be very clever to foresee.
The Chancellor may decide to reduce the exceedingly unjust petrol tax and lower purchase tax on new cars, for by doing so he will earn the gratitude of a vast, grossly over-taxed section of the community, contribute towards a reduction in the cost of living and, so far as lower p.t. is concerned, especially with the new hire-purchase facilities, will encourage home sales of new cars which, in turn, will reduce the number of second-hand vehicles which have been flooding our roads, especially as the used-car vendors seem reluctant to reduce the often-excessive prices asked for well-worn tinware at least fifteen years old.
On the other hand, the Chancellor, disregarding the prevailing good economic position of the country, may increase the petrol and/or Road Fund tax, on the assumption that as the Government has little desire to build proper roads or to use the money motorists subscribe in taxation for this purpose, or the improvement of existing roads, he must somehow reduce congestion, an increase in the cost of motoring would automatically impede the sales of cars both old and new and restrict the use of those vehicles already in use.
Or, of course. the Chancellor may decide to leave us as we are. which will be anything but just.
Do not forget, however, that if we own motor cars we also have the right to vote !
There is every prospect of another great race at Le Mans this year on June 11th/12th, for the entry list contains the names of Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Maserati, Aston Martin, Porsche. Lagonda, Cunningham, Bristol, Gordini. Cooper, Talbot, Triumph. Arnott, Ferry, Frazer-Nash, V.P.Renault, Kieft, Nardi, Lotus, Moretti. M.G., Osca, Constantin, and Stanguelini amongst the manufacturers’ entries alone, besides private-entry applications covering Jaguar, Ferrari, Gordini, Aston Martin, Porsche, Connaught, Osca, Renault, Ferry-Renault. D.B.Panhard, and Monopole-Panhard cars.
The Mercedes-Benz will be SLR 3-litres, with Moss in the team, opposed by Jaguars probably improved D-type 3 1/2-litre cars with Hawthorn amongst the drivers, and Ferrari, some of whose entry are likely to be the latest 3.7-litre six-cylinder machines. Two Maseratis will be the new 3-litre. Two 4.1.litre V12 Lagondas and two 3-1itre DB3/S Aston Martins come from the David Brown stable (drivers including Salvadori. Collins and Parnell). Cooper cars have entered a 3 1/2-litre Jaguar-powered tubular-chassis sports Cooper, while the Frazer-Nash, interestingly, is specified as a 2.6-litre.
The Standard Motor Company intends in field three “works” TR2 Triumphs opposed by a team of three 2-litre Bristols. B.M.C. return M.G. to the field with three 1 1/2-litre M.G.s, we expect with all. enveloping bodywork. against which are the three 1 1/2-litre Porsches, two Maseratis, the Constantin. a Kieft and a Gordini, etc. Gordini has also put in two of his very fast 3-litre cars and a 2-litre.
It is very nice to see the Lotus concern represented by two 1,097 c.c. Coventry-Climax-engined cars, which will undoubtedly be the aerodynamic-bodied cars, while Kieft also has an entry of two Coventry-Climax-engined cars in the 1,100 c.c. class, as has Arnott.. There is also a 1,098-c.e. Cooper entered.
The lone Cunningham is a 3-litre, which suggests an Offenhauser engine and to offset this diminished U.S. support Briggs Cunningham has put in a D-type Jaguar.
The race is limited to 60 starters, so some paring of the entry list is due. Boys and girls. book your seats NOW.
The “Big Five” and the Monte Carlo Rally
As stated editorially in this issue it is truly encouraging to find that four manufacturers out of the “Big Five” prepared teams of cars for this years’ Monte Carlo Rally.
B.M.C., under the direction of Marcus Chambers, the new M.G.Competitions Manager, fielded a team of M.G. Magnette saloons driven from Glasgow by Holt/Asbury, Holt/Collinson and Shaw/Brown, while “Mort” Morris-Goodall, who has left Austin-Healey to join Solex Ltd., took a new Austin A90 from Athens with Oscar Moore and Tom Walkerley, in a team completed by Mrs. Wisdom and H.C.Hobson.
The Ford Motor Company made a strong bid for victory, putting in teams of Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac.. These comprised both modified and unmodified cars, Sleigh and Martin choosing to start from Monte Carlo in a normal Consul and the Allards from Lisbon with a standard Zephyr Zodiac. The special Fords had twin S.U. carburetters on the Consuls. Barwell triple S.U. carburetter sets on the Zephyrs and Zodiacs, overdrive, and batteries and auxiliary seven-gallon fuel tanks feeding via an S.U. petrol pump in their luggage boots. 20-gallon in place of nine-gallon main fuel tanks, while wheels were balanced on a Churchill Balancer and extra instrument-panels were installed for navigators. These Fords were prepared at the Lincoln Service Station on the Great West Road. and had the new Hall “electric brain” average-speed calculator.
The Rootes Organisation, under Norman Garrard, their Competitions Manager, relied on Sunbeam Mk. 111 saloons, referred to on the B.B.C. by their old name of Sunbeam-Talbot. Garrad could not sign on Moss, Johnson, Collins or Murray-Frame this year, but had Peter Harper, Sheila Van Damm, Jack Fairman and himself to drive the Coventry cars.
The Standard Motor Company chose to put in teams of modified Eights and Tens, handled by Mary Walker/Betty Haig, Farquharson/Peters, Leslie Brooke/Howard-Sorrell, Wallwork/Ray, Richardson/Heathcote and Gott/Brookes. These cars made a great impression in respect of their vivid performance and splendid handling qualities. The B.B.C. remarking on how Leslie Brooke passed their Ford Zephyr at over 80 m.p.h. on sheet ice, while Richardson went very fast in the Circuit of the Mountains, aided by George Boyle special twin S.U. carburetter and exhaust manifolds.
In the final placings the Rootes Group entry of Mk. 111 Sunbeams were placed 9th, 11th, 52nd and 122nd, winning the Coupe des Dames and the Aggregate Team Prize. Works Ford entries came in 14th (Zodiac), 36th (Zodiac), 72nd (Consul). 89th (Zephyr), 113th (Zodiac.), 145th (Zephyr). 168th (Zephyr), 179th (Zephyr). 194th (Consul). with one retirement. B.M.C. (M.G. and Austin A90) placings were : 68th (Austin), 178th (M.G.), 202nd (M.G.), 208th (Austin), 232nd (Austin) and 237th (M.G.): and those of the Standard works entries 78th. 100th, II6th, 150th, I84th, with one retirement, taking third place behind a Dyna-Panhard and a Renault in the up-to.1.100-c.c. class.