Grand Prix Cockpits

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It is probable that a large percentage of our readers seldom have occasion to see Grand Prix cars in action, and certainly of those that do few have the opportunity to enter the paddock or pits, so that close scrutiny of the insides of the competing cars is limited to a select few. For that reason we present here a group of photographs of the driving controls of the current Grand Prix cars. At the top of the page we show the three British contenders, reading left to right, Vanwall, Connaught and B.R.M. The Vanwall and B.R.M. have simple instrumentation, while the Connaught is more complex, the Vanwall having very large tachometer and water temperature gauge, and the B.R.M. having tiny instruments. Note also the three variations of the Perspex windscreen, from full wrap-round to aero type.

On the left is the Lancia/Ferrari cockpit with its conglomeration of pipes and tubes, and like the B.R.M. the facia panel forms part of the bodywork. Running  diagonally across the floor of the Lancia/Ferrari is the very small cover over the thin prop.-shaft, while, like the Vanwall, the steering wheel has a wooden rim. Below the Lancia/Ferrari are seen two versions of Maserati, to the left the normal 250/F1 and on the right the “Monza” model without the prop.-shaft set to the left of the driving seat. On the standard car the position of the rear-view mirror is interesting, there being only one anyway, which infringes regulations, while on the Monza car there are no mirrors, but then the car was made in a hurry! Both cars have a supplementary fuel tank on the left of the driving seat and the latest car has the handbrake in the centre of the floor.

At the bottom of the page we see, left to right, Bugatti 251, Gordini eight-cylinder and the Formula II Cooper, the last being a cockpit many drivers are going to get used to sitting in. The Bugatti is unusual in having a four-spoked steering wheel; the large pipe on the right of the body carries air to the carburetters of the rear-mounted engine. The Gordini is simple and spacious as well as being tidy, while the Cooper is notable for its very small width, offering very low frontal area.

“Basic” Sport

The 750 M.C. Walsingham Cup Trial, in conjunction with many other motoring competitions, was postponed until the petrol situation was clearer. With the introduction of a basic ration it was decided that this event was a most suitable one from an economy point of view and it took place on February 17th.

On this occasion there was an important departure from previous years in that 750 M.C. members who wished to enter cars other than Austin Sevens were permitted to do so as it was the only active motoring event which could be organised for some time, and its aim was to give as much amusement to members for as little cost as possible. The distance involved did not exceed two miles, excluding travelling to the course, namely Brands Hatch. The top left-hand photograph shows H. P. Wood in his modified Austin Seven in which he won his class. This photograph shows him at the start of the second hill, which was a straight incline but at the start of which there was a considerable quantity of mud and few competitors reached even the start of the hill. The centre photograph depicts the Wolseley-based Salmson of R. Stoke soon after his axle casing broke at hill 10, after which much manual assistance was required to put the car on the nearest fairway so that a tractor could come along to collect it. On the right at the top may he seen A. C. Smith’s Austin Seven Nippy about to descend into the watersplash on the third hill a task it carried out admirably, pulling steadily up the dry incline after coming out of the water. To the right is the B.M.W. Isetta of Les Needham, enjoying the sun as he climbs. The Isetta was hampered a little by the small-diameter rear wheels, which kept digging themselves into the ground.

Below we have some views of V.S.C.C. competitors at the Heston Driving Tests on February 17th. On the right D. R., Firth’s 1927 Austin Seven, a First-Class Award winner, gets ready to start and next to it R. J. Knight’s long-chassis Jowett is seen pulling up at the end of the wiggle-woggle. In the bottom row, on the left, M. H. Wilby (Lagonda Rapier), Second-Class Award winner, tackles the wiggle-woggle, in the centre is the interesting 1919 Lancia Kappa driven by A. H. Bates, with 110 by 130-mm. four-cylinder engine, and on the right J. W. T. Crocker is seen hurling (well, hauling) his 4½-litre Lagonda round a marker-tub on his way to taking a Second-Class Award.