I have read the Elva story published in MOTOR SPORT with very great interest and would like to comment on some aspects of the Trojan connection. The impression is given that Trojan commercial vehicles were out of date and that their days were numbered, this is not so. These vehicles were well thought of, particularly for their reliability and ease of servicing. In fact three major fleet operators owned about 2,000 Trojan vans between them. The original firm failed because there were some ill judged ventures, particularly a disastrous crop drying machine. This resulted in the company being sold up lock, stock and barrel. The new owners continued to diversify. Some projects like the Elva could well have been successful but it would seem that technical ability was lacking. This is evidenced by the fact that they found it impossible to remodel the suspension of the Mk 4 Courier to compensate for moving the engine a few inches. After all Porsche can put the engine almost anywhere they like in a chassis and few complain about the handling of a Porsche.
The Elva cars came so close to success that one can only sympathise with Frank Nichols for the frustrations that beset him. But that I fear is the cross that so many designers have to bear.
St. Austell, Cornwall J B PERRETT
The article by D.S.J . “On collecting autographs.” recalled many interesting and rewarding hours spent in the paddock at Oulton Park in the 60s and early ’70s with my wife and three young Sons. In those days you really could gel among the cars and drivers, with the resultant numerous autographs and photographs, and this aspect of motor racing at that time, plus being able to see more of the drivers “at work” in their cars, brought a much more intimate atmosphere to the sport than the average spectator finds today.
However it was not at Oulion Park but at Silverstone that we achieved our best and most unexpected autograph “coup.” Wedged in the mass of cars trying to get out of Silverstone after a Daily Express Trophy race we glanced at the car on our left in the crush to see that it was being driven by the gentleman who had just won the race, Jackie Stewart!
Proceeding at a rather slower speed than he had been a short time earlier, it was no problem for us all to exhort my wife to jump out of our car, emphasise her Scottish accent — just to ensure amicable meeting — and request an autograph.
Needless to say Mr Stewart obliged and we were all needless to say thrilled, not only at obtaining the cherished signature but to think that we had been stuck in the same jam as the great man himself, no such thing, on that occasion anyway, as private planes in those days!
The sport still holds much interest for us, but our happier memories of it will still be of those twenty or so years ago.
Bamford, Rochdale. MICHAEL F MELLOR
I have read with interest over the last couple of months the coverage regarding “Higher Standards” and advanced driving.
I am myself a member of the MSA, a qualified ADI driving instructor, managing four cars, and have passed both IAM and ROSPA advanced tests. Therefore I feel qualified to make constructive comments on the following points Mr N L Bailes set out certain suggestions for safer motorway driving.
At present it would be dangerous and legally impractical to impose a minimum speed limit for each lane. To withdraw vehicles restricted to 50 mph from motorways between 7 am – 7 pm will only produce congestion and further damage to our roads in towns and cities the motorways were to build a bypass.
Recently took an ex-pupil onto the M25 for driving experience in her own car. She was driving at 65 mph in the left hand lane, where lorries and coaches, only feet away, were passing us at a speed I assessed to be 75-85 mph. I could see the situation was frightening the driver. Was she at fault for driving too slow?
The Highway Code is a code of practice, a proportion of it is law. However the code can be used against a driver in a court of law. To insist the whole booklet be law, would be impractical, and would burden the overworked police and law courts.
An immediate solution would be to insist that a driver has to pass the driving test again if he is disqualified through dangerous driving, or a similar serious driving offence.
Not everybody can be an advanced driver, because not every motorist can drive at that high level. However Idris Francis seems to be missing the point, that advanced drivers are able to decide if a signal would benefit other road users.
One of the fundamental driving skills is not just looking in the mirror, but acting on what you see. Correct and early positioning on the road avoids the vehicle looking like a Christmas tree. Many people indicate late, and incorrectly. An unnecessary signal can be misleading, which in turn can be dangerous.
1. The driver who indicates to pass a parked vehicle with a right hand turn just ahead.
2. The driver who is going straight ahead at a roundabout from the left hand lane, indicates right to pass the left turn, then signals left to take his exit.
3. The driver who indicates right to move out from the kerb, as you are approaching from behind.
Obviously, heeling and toeing is suitable for certain drivers, in some vehicles, depending upon the road conditions. However, it is no less smooth than the “on-off-on” method.
Once a vehicle is in the correct road position, after gentle and progressive braking, the gear for the situation is engaged at the CORRECT speed. This ensures a smooth ride for passengers. Observation is imperative, with “correct mirror equipment”, but don’t forget the use of the horn.
If a driver ahead of you looks as if he is about to move off, or a motorist waiting at a junction hasn’t looked in your direction, don’t let the accident happen. A signal with the horn will warn him of your presence. The “system” Roadcraft dernonstrates, ensures the driver is more aware, and can act upon what he sees, both ahead, and behind. It allows the driver to plan well in advance, and to be on the road in the correct position, in the right gear-speed combination in all situations. This is obviously developed with experience, skill, consideration for others, and for the love of driving.
Laindon West A P SWAN