Don’t get depressed
It is a time for being depressed, with violence rife throughout the World and financial gloom apparent in so many spheres of Industry. It all stems from the fact that the human race has never got to grips with itself and perhaps because the monetary system, which Mr. Heath is endeavouring to prop up, has become top-heavy. Wars have never improved things. Money is only worth what it will buy, now that it is no longer nice to look at and to handle, yet many of those who earn it cannot see that increased wages are chasing higher prices in an inevitable and dangerous spiral. When one section of the community, exerting its “rights”, prevents other people in far larger proportions from working, as with the delivery-drivers’ strike, one may well despair . . .
Not long ago we were in the Midlands for a pre-view of a new British car and in the course of the preliminary conversation someone asked whether we had seen that day’s issue of a weekly motoring contemporary. We hadn’t, because we had left home before the post. But it seemed that the Editor had written a doomwatch piece, all about petrol supplies running out, beginning around 1980, and the cost of it rising sharply due to changes in the sources of oil supplies, so that all Governments will work for alternate forms of transport, scientists will search for new forms of car propulsion, and smaller, less-thirsty cars will be inevitable. “Might as well give up”, said the Leaders of Industry we were lunching with, but with a wry smile.
Over and above all this there is the question of what American military might will next be aimed at, what Government legislation will do to existing cars, old and new, and whether this frozen country will soon be able to afford much private motoring or other relaxations.
We have referred previously to the absurdly high prices asked for the older cars, be they “priceless historical heirlooms” or akin to discarded attic chairs. We regret to note that even those World War Two Daimlers, which we once cited as inexpensive individualistic luxury cars, have about doubled in price recently.
So depression and doom is all around. The same weekly even dooms the Wankel engine, not so long ago welcomed as a breakthrough which would destroy too long-lived pistons and poppets. All the more reason, then, to enjoy your motoring while you can! The one-make car clubs still have inexpensive interesting cars for enthusiasts to use. The new-car market is full of widely different models, including sports-cars of up to Triumph TR6 and Jensen-Healey degrees of excitement. There are legions of motor competitions to attend, either as competitor or spectator, run to any number of formulae, and so many “championships” that it would take this page to list them all. The MOTOR SPORT Fixture List (see next page) provides a monthly guide to where and when to go, whether your tastes lie in still-surviving Formula One races or Club events.
The message then is, have fun while you can! There is much pleasure to be had from setting out for a motoring venue with companions of like enthusiasm, seeking the best available vantage point on arrival, and watching top drivers in impressive machinery entertain you, or driving your own car in anything from an MCC long-distance trial to autocross, or any of the permutations in between. Let the doomwatchers have their fun. There is plenty of real motoring fun for us to enjoy, for the time being anyway. . .
Rallying has caught the public imagination in a big way. You had only to venture into the forests during the RAC Rally to find local supporters out in force, never mind the frost and the rain, and when we say supporters we include the little old ladies who watched Stages in the middle of the night, as well as those rally experts who could tell which make of car was approaching by its exhaust note and who were well clued-up as to the progress of the drivers and cars they favoured.
This is fine, if you are a rally enthusiast. But there is still an anti-rally element of considerable proportions in this and other countries. Rallies are run over public roads and if they are to continue, with widespread support, those who organise and drive in them must ensure that their house is in order. The behaviour of certain competitors in this year’s Monte Carlo Rally has done nothing but serious harm to the cause of this branch of motoring sport. We deplore football crowds who damage trains (another argument for private transport?) and generally act as hooligans but they are the onlookers, not the players. The performance of the few disgruntled competitors who attempted to disrupt the Monte Carlo Rally was just as savage, earned just as much adverse publicity. And they were not spectators, they were part of the Rally itself . . .
If this sort of thing grows, rallies may well be stopped. So let this motorised vandalism cease—if the Monte Carlo Rally ceases as well how many will care?
Formula One aerofoils
DURING the past season there was a trend of moving the rear aerofoil or spoiler further and further back from the car, so that some cars looked as though they needed some jockey-wheels out the back to support the aerofoil. It was becoming so ridiculous that FlA legislation was bound to come; so that from January 1st, 1974 “nothing above the rear wheels must protrude more than one metre (3 ft. 3 in.) behind the axle of the rear wheels.”
FIA graded drivers
IN THE 1973 FIA Yearbook (PSL, 9 Ely Place, London, EC1N 6SQ, price £2.20) that yellow covered mine of information on all things appertaining to international motor racing, the annual list of top grade drivers is given. These are drivers who achieved some distinction during 1972, ranging from winning the World Championship to finishing sixth in a World Championship Grand Prix or success in important Formula Two races, or was World Champion in the last five years. These are Grand Prix Graded Drivers and the list reads as follows, including the winners of Indianapolis and the Can-Am series: C. Anion M. Andretti F. Cevert, M. Donohue, E. Fittipaldi, G. Follmer, H. Ganley, M. Hailwood, G. Hill, D. Hulme, J. Ickx, A. Merzario, C. Pace, H. Pescarolo, R. Peterson, G. Regazzoni, P. Revson, T. Schenken, J. Stewart, R. Stommelen, J. Surtees, R. Wisell. A second group is titled Long Distance Graded Drivers and these are drivers who have finished in the first three in a Long Distance Championship race within the last three years, who, did not get into the above list: A. Adamowicz, R. Attwood, D. Bell, A. de Adamich, V. Elford, N. Galli, A. Hezemans, G. Larrousse, G. van Lennep, H. Marko, J. Oliver, B. Redman, N. Vaccarella.
None of the above drivers are allowed to take part in Formula Three races, nor are they allowed to compete for the Formula Two Championship, though they can take part in the races. In addition they can only take part in National events in their own country, or the one which grants them their licence. This means that their field of activity is directed to serious International events or in other words, the top grade races.
There is also a useful list, with photographs, of Class B drivers, which totals 120 and includes those whose performances in International events during 1972 are considered successful. If your photograph is not among the 120 you can consider your efforts in International events to have been pretty poor, but it does not stop you trying harder in 1973. This list includes Grand Prix drivers who didn’t make it into the Graded list, such as Boltoise (one Grand Prix win isn’t enough) Walker and Reutemann, and also promising new-comers like Scheckter, Schuppan and Roger Williamson as well as seasoned old hands like Muir and Gardner who limit their activities to the lesser International events.
Altogether a fascinating list that makes good reading when compared with the lists in previous FIA Yearbooks.
Having the DT’s at Thruxton
WeII, it felt like the DTs, having to perform, thanks to Robbie Hewitt having lent time her Amilcar, before those I have criticised in VSCC Driving Tests for so many years. These Thruxton tests on February 10th had 5.0 entries, the number probably reduced because the date had to be moved from the Sunday to the Saturday to comply with the villagers’ sensitive cars—apparently aeroplanes can fly but nasty, noisy vintage cars, are banned on the Sabbath!
I didn’t see much of the others for grappling with the Amilcar, which behaved faultlessly on the journey from London and back and in the eight tests, even of its 1922 G8 engine in a CGS car made it expedient to change from 2nd to bottom gear to encourage it round the pylons. Nevertheless, a nice and very beautifully-restored small French sports car.
Mrs. Drake, in her Amilcar, elected to commence the first test in reverse, following the lead, it was said, of the President himself, which saved a few feet and made slotting into the first “garage” easier. Griffiths’ Austin was as frenzied as ever, Giles was using his “racer” Frazer Nash, Wood’s Invicta lost bottom gear, and Mrs. Thetford threw her Alvis about with abandon, even to hitting a marker-bin. Otherwise, few incidents. One Austin Chummy had a VW transporter to take it home, Brett drove a nice 1926 bullnose Morris saloon, Perry an equally nice British Salmson. The Hewitt/Jenkinson TT Lagonda was very accelerative, missing out most of the penultimate test to prove it. A good day, expeditiously organised.—W. B.
First Class Awards: J. A. Griffiths (Austin), J. L. Harries-Harris (Riley), H. G. Conway (Bugatti) and R. E. Reed (Austin).
Second Class Awards: P. Selwyn-Smith (BMW), 1). J. V. Jermy (Riley), W. B. M. Drake (Railton) and F. G. Giles (Frazer-Nash).
Third Class Awards: J. H. Bailey (Bentley), N. Arnold-Forster (Frazer Nash) and R. G. Finnan (HRG).
Bugatti OC Bentley DC
THERE have been some motoring musical-chairs in these Clubs. After a year Rivers and Penny Fletcher have relinquished their positions as Executive Director and Secretary in the Bugatti OC. These positions have been taken over by Sir Anthony Stamer, Bt., from new Bugatti DC-Ferrari OC premises at Cedar Court. 9, The Fair Mile, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon. The vacancy caused by Stamer leaving the Bentley DC has been filled by appointing Mrs. Barbara Fell, ACTS, as Secretary of the latter Club, at the Long Crendon premises.