Letters, March 1986

Group C


The answer to “nerfing” lies in horse racing practice. The racers recorded on film and any “intertering” can be seen, identified, and penalised by the stewards. A few suspensions would soon calm the “nerfers”.

By the way. I like the new format.


Open Letter


Having seen the calendar of events for 1986 it is with some disappointment and regret that I see that the Silverstone round of the World Sportscar Championship is to be held on MONDAY May 5th.

I have regularly attended this race in its various championship formats for the past ten years and every year have to leave as soon as the chequered flag is shown in order to be able to drive home before the small hours of the next day and try to be in a reasonably fit state for work.

This year however, I thought that as the race would be held on the SUNDAY it would allow me to stay the whole weekend and enjoy a few beers after the race and then drive home the 400 odd miles at my leisure on MONDAY.

I do realise that the important people of this country do not appreciate that anyone lives more than fifty miles north of Watford Gap but did not realise that this mentality had also manifested itself in the minds of our motor sport organisers.

I am therefore asking you, before it is loo late to change the dates, to return the race to its rightful place on the SUNDAY. By doing so it would allow more people like myself who have to travel long distances to see international motor sport, the same opportunities as our more favoured cousins in the southern regions.

Helensburgh IAN FLEMING

The VSCC and Trailers


You were kind enough to give this topic half-a-dozen slightly astonished column inches in your February issue, so perhaps a few words of explanation are in order.

Trailers at events in which competitors don’t use the public roads are no problem. It would be unreasonable to expect a 250F to be fitted with wings and driven to a race on the road. The recent RAC veteran car runs to Brighton, and many Continental old-car rallies, have demonstrated that trailers following an on-the-road event are a public nuisance, and add nothing to the aesthetic appeal of the event.

The VSCC tends to suffer a plethora of light and nimble, but often stamina-free, specials in its trials and navigation rallies, which arrive at and leave from the events on trailers — even though they have to be fully roadworthy and road-fund-taxed for the event.

These cars have an edge over the others in a competition since their owners know that if they blow their cars up on Drumhouse, or wherever, there will be no trouble over getting the wreckage home. The trials are presently heavily over-subscribed. Thus it was decided at the end of 1984 that competitors who brought their cars to trials and navigation rallies on trailers would be penalised by 10 points — that’s about 5% of a competitor’s marks in a trial, and might make the difference between a first and a second-class award, or it might not. The new rule was published in the VSCC’s notes tor January 1985, has been in operation for 13 months, and has been renewed for 1986. Both you and the “Other Editor” are VSCC members, and were advised of the trailer problem over a year ago. So it isn’t immediately apparent what all the present fuss is about.

The VSCC is aware that some members may sign to the effect that they haven’t used a trailer, when they have in fact left it just up the road. Sod’s Law works for the just and the unjust, and it’s inevitable that someone will happen along when the car is being loaded or unloaded and may subsequently mention the matter. The undeclared trailer-user may then find himself unfortunate in the ballot for the next over-filled event.

It must be emphasised that the VSCC’s slight frown on trailers applies only to those used in support of public-road events, and thus affects a very small number of members — at a guess, less than a dozen.

Roy Adnams and Rosemary Burke are running a new trial for the VSCC this year on April 12th, in Derbyshire, it is hoped to make this an annual event, which will increase the number of regular VSCC trials to five per year. Regulations from the Club office.


Enthusiasm vs Standardisation


May I cornment on your correspondence dealing with the standardisation of instrumentation on cars? Any suggestion of standardisation fair makes an enthusiast’s blood boil, as it is precisely the variety of cars both inside and outside that provides nourishment to enthusiasm. I have for the last 28 years revelled in the opportunity of driving different cars and adapting to their differences. This is driving, as opposed to a mechanical non-thinking process of pointing a car in the general direction of where you might wish to go, (or summed up, “Wally-ing” a car along!)

I have, joy of joys, actually driven a car with the accelerator in the middle of the other pedals, and people who want to drive should look forward to such differences in cars and consider them as a potential antidote to the sameness and boredom engendered by standardisation. In any case, judging by the prevalent habit of most of the British “driving” public. the use of signals is now considered irrelevant and unnecessary, except to confuse others at roundabouts, but that is another argument!

Walton-on-Thames SERGIO RANSFORD

Mills on the Hills


Though the movements of individual aluminium V8 “mills” from racer to racer do not have the same degree of abiding interest as those of eg 250F Maserati engines. I presume to occupy your columns once more and, hope, finally to clarify the Elva/Marsh Special/ Palliser coincidences referred to by Brian Cocks in your December issue.

So far as I know it, this is a Tale of Three Engines.

1. Fitted as original equipment to the Ray Terry Elva-Buick (4wd) 3.5litre, last seen (in car) in hands of Bob Rose, Shelsley. c1970.

2. Marsh Special Unit 4.2-litre (stretched). Transferred by me to Palliser hillclimb car. Sold (with other Marsh remains) to Mike Harrison for installation in Elva (above), now 2wd.

3. Big-bore engine (Rover block) fitted in Terry Smiths MG Challenge-winning car. Bought in bits by me from R. E. S. to replace 2 (above) in Palliser. Never installed, Sold c1981 to Smith Franklin and described at 1984 Racing Car Show. as “ex-Marsh Special”.

Northwood, Middx JACK MAURICE

Kiefts in South Africa


A year ago in January 1985 I read with great interest your article on Kieft cars, especially when you mentioned a Mr Orlando Fregona who owns an F3 Kieft in South Africa. I then decided to look into the matter and up to date, came up with three Kieft F3 cars in South Africa, Mr Fregona’s car was sold to a Mr Driesen Beale, who died recently, but the vehicle, which I understand is mainly a chassis, was left to his son. The second car which used to be raced in Mozambique years ago is with a Mr Roy Acutt who is a collector himself. This car seems to be complete except for some wheels and chassis plate. I have to date not seen these cars myself but will endeavour to do so In the near future.

The remains of the third car I have just bought consists of chassis with front and rear suspension (but without brake drums). On the rear suspension it has Splinde hubs. By a stroke of luck, the chassis plate was still riveted to the floor and read CK 54/ 1. To date the only history I can trace is that Vic Proctor from Cape Town (who died three years ago) brought the car from the United Kingdom in the mid-1950s to South Africa with him, it arrived here fitted with a Climax FWA motor and raced here in that form until 1959 when it disappeared. The rear suspension is as in your article, with swing axles and rubber bands but the front suspension is different. It has got tubular wishbones with coil over shocks.

I intend to restore the car and would appreciate all information that you or your readers could pass on to me, on this particular car.


Rally Safety


Let us hope that the concerns that you expressed in Matters of Moment on the safety of rally spectators will be heeded and acted upon not only in the UK but elsewhere in the world where the rally sport is spectated with comparable enthusiasm and size of crowds. It is incredible how close many spectators are allowed or are stupid enough to get to cars mostly on bends and similar points where the chance of a car going out of control is very high. As things stand at present, it seems to me that it is only a matter of time before a major accident occurs and that will be the end of that!

Lets hope that reason prevails, as you say, NOW, before it is too late.

Wassenaar. Holland S. J REEVES



It was cold. Very cold indeed, it was Friday December 27th in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. I had just changed a light bulb on my 1977 3-litre Carrera Sport Coupe and with consummate skill mistaking the keys in my pocket — those of my wife’s 924 — for my own to the Carrera I pressed down the locking button and firmly slammed the driver’s door. My spirits sank and my blood pressure rose, it seemed almost before the door had closed I realised my foolish mistake — yes, I’d locked my keys in the car and there they were safely in the ignition. I could swear they were waving at me with glee.

For those less familiar with Porsche cars I should explain that the locking button is pressed down flush with the edge of the driver’s door, in fact its operated by a wheel which is inset to the lace of the door on the interior side. Cleverly designed, this arrangement completely excludes the possibility of pieces of plastic webbing or bent wire lassooing the locking button. After four hours of endeavour I’m also pleased to tell you that Porsche door locks are highly resistant to being picked! That opinion was also confirmed by the three locksmiths that I telephoned, and the two Police Stations I spoke to could offer no assistance other than coming along and helping me break a window!

My local Porsche dealers were highly sympathetic but unable to assist, as was a London Porsche dealer with whom I have conducted business in the past. I even tried a windscreen replacement cornpany in the hope that they could remove the screen and I could gain access that way but they assured me this was impossible, and could only be accomplished from inside the vehicle. On Saturday December 28th when no doubt a great many of us were enjoying an extended Christmas holiday I telephoned Porsche Cars Great Britain Limited in Reading, and threw myself upon their mercy. Not only was my call, received by a security guard, met with extreme courtesy and sympathy, I was then transferred to an equatly sympathetic fellow who most discreetly, but equally positively, established my genuine ownership of the vehicle. I shall not reveal as to how this was done for obvious reasons, but it was in itself highly impressive. I was assured that assistance would be sent to me, and when l enquired as to the cost this anonymous gentleman simply chuckled and said “This is the season of goodwill to all men, happy new year Sir.”

Less than one hour later Steven Vaughan, a chargehand in the paint shop, arrived outside my front door in his 924 Turbo. He bought with him a duplicate key which had been specially cut, and which fitted perfectly I was reunited with my keys and my greatly loved Carrera, and despite persistent offers of financial reward Mr Vaughan refused. assuring me that it was Porsche policy to assist its customers.

Plainly I am extremely grateful to Porsche Cars. Equally I am most impressed by their outstanding customer relations, and obviously I have nothing to do with the company. I do however wonder how many motor manufacturers would be prepared to despatch a member of their staff in these circumstances and to make no charge whatsoever for the service. Furthermore, how many manufacturers could produce a perfect duplicate key to a vehicle now 8 1/2, years old.

With the exception of my own behaviour in the affair I do hope that you and your readership will find this story as impressive as I and that you will publish my letter allowing Porsche Cars Great Britain Limited to receive the public praise that they so richly deserve.

Chalfont St Giles NEIL MILLINER