Rumblings, March 1960

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Worth waiting for – The Volvo P1800

The present Volvo 122S is a truly remarkable car, offering a quite outstanding performance for a big saloon propelled by a 1.5-litre engine. Motor Sport thought highly of it when we tested it last year; we found it an altogether splendid car marred only by rather odd brakes and a long pre-war American-style gear-lever.

Consequently, news of the new Volvo P1800 coupé that made its debut at the Brussels Show is pretty breath-taking. This exceedingly handsome 2/4-seater coupé has a new 1.78-litre engine with separate inlet ports, for which 100 b.h.p. is claimed at 5,500 r.p.m., using twin 1-3/4-in. carburetters and a compression-ratio of 9.5 to 1, the four cylinders measuring 84.14 x 80 mm. (1,780 c.c.). The block is thermo-syphon cooled, the cylinder head pump cooled, as on the old Bertelli Aston Martins, the crankshaft runs in five lead-bronze bearings and has surface-hardened journals, and there is a full-flow filter in the lubrication system, an oil-cooler being an optional extra.

The four-speed gearbox has indirect ratios of 3.13, 1.99 and 1.36 to 1, an electrically-selected overdrive of 0.756 to 1 being available, and control is by a short rigid lever. The final-drive ratio is 4.1 to 1, or 4.56 to 1 in conjunction with the overdrive.

Braking is now by 10-7/8 in. x 1/2 in. Girling discs on the front wheels and servo-applied 9 in. x 2 in. drums on the back wheels. Suspension is coil-spring, independent at the front with anti-roll bar, the rigid back axle being located by torque arms and sprung on coil-springs. The wheelbase is 8 ft. 0-1/2 in, and, unladen, this fine PI800 Volvo coupé is only 4 ft. 3 in. high. Instruments include 125-m.p.h. speedometer, rev.-counter reading to 7,000 r.p.m., oil gauge, oil and water thermometers, clock and fuel gauge.

The Volvo P1800 will go into production next September, the plan being to make 100 a week by January next year. As the Swedish factory will be working to full capacity the coupé body for the P1800 will be made in the United Kingdom by the Pressed Steel Co., Ltd. and the body painted and trimmed and the car turned out by Jensen Motors Ltd., of West Bromwich, who are now part of Norcros Ltd.

Verily, the Volvo P1800 should be a car worth waiting for.

* * *

Extended Brands Circuit

Brands Hatch Circuit Ltd. have issued an outline map and further details of their new Grand Prix-type circuit scheduled for completion in June.

The new circuit, which is already being constructed, measures about 2.7 miles and takes the form of an extension of the current 1.24-mile track which has been in use since 1954. The smaller present track will remain almost intact and will continue to be used for club and minor meetings.

The extension leaves the present track through a new 170 degree turn at the end of Bottom Straight. It continues in the form of a long fast straight incorporating a descent and rise at its furthermost end. Then follows a fast 100 degree right-hander, a short straight, and a further but slower right-hander. Finally another long straight, interrupted by a fast “S” bend brings the new track into the slowest part of “Clearways.” The angle of approach however converts “Clearways” into what is expected to be a 100-m.p.h.-plus gentle right-hander. Resulting speeds past the main grandstand are expected to be around 140 m.p.h. Permanent pits are to be constructed on the infield beyond the entrance to the Main Grandstand Straight; cars will pull off the track to enter the pit area. The bump in the present circuit at the end of the main straight is currently being eliminated by raising the surface level all the way from the start line. Paddock Hill Bend is also being improved, and Druids Hill Bend resurfaced.

The first race at the longer track is expected to be an international motor cycling event on July 9th. Car racing will begin round the 2.7 miles on August Monday, followed at the end of the month by the International Kentish Hundred F.2 event. Possibly the 750 M.C. Six Hour Relay Race could be held there.

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M 1 Moral

According to the delightful Porsche magazine Christophoris the number of accidents on the 44-mile Mannheim/Frankfurt autobahn since a 100-k.p.h. (65 m.p.h.) speed limit was enforced thereon was 563, injuring 322 persons. For the equivalent period when speed was unrestricted the accident total was 364, injuring 228 persons. The death roll, since speed was restricted and cars thus encouraged to run in queues has risen from 15 to 17. Verb sap!

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