READ1NG DSJ’s timely reference last month to a Serendipity championship and his reference to Geoffrey Taylor’s pre-war 4-litre Alta V8 racing car for which test-bed figures for power and torque were published in the motor journals at the time, although no such engine had been built, rang a bell in my memory.
At that time I was a financially struggling motoring writer (I still am) who contributed to any magazine that would take my articles,in order to earn the price of a gallon of petrol for my aged Austin 7.1 was pleased to discover that The Commercial Motor would take a piece about diesel-powered racing cars, like GET Eyston’s AEC and RJ Munday’s Perkinsengined Thomas Special and that I could even get a few things in the aviation papers. For the latter I had the audacity to write about light-aeroplane history and design for Aero & Airways and Flight, the latter’s Editor apparently mistaking me for an expert on the subject! I did a thing also on how to improve the handicapping of aviation races for The Aeroplane, but when I re-read it recently it was so obtuse that I could scarcely understand it… Which brings us to the point. Driving down the then new Kingston Bypass, I used sometimes to call on wise little H R Godfrey at HRG’s and on the enthusiastic Geoffrey Taylor of Alta’s nearby. One day Geoffrey told me that he had made a light-aeroplane engine which he couldn’t actually show me but which had performed very well on test. He gave me a description of it and, when asked, produced its power-curve. I sent a description to The Aeroplane, which was accepted. But they said they would send their photographer down to get a photograph of this promising new engine. When it was discovered that it had not been built, although I had sent them a power-curve, my name was rather dirty mud for a time! WB
A reader, Mr Philip Jones of Surrey, has sent in this photograph of a rolling chassis which he hopes someone may be able to identify. The wheels are 15″ in diameter and fitted with continental Renner racing tyres and unusually has disc
brakes with large calipers at the front. The chassis is triangulated and the round tube sections are too well constructed to be home-made. The square sections were added at a later date. If you think you can help, contact Mr Jones on 01-773 0777.
FROM time to time MOTOR SPORT has undertaken some fast runs, in this country and on the Continent. So it was with interest that I read an article in Quest by Warren Al’port, about how he had driven the latest Rolls-Royce Silver Spur from Boulogne to Monte Carlo to see if he could halve the time established for a run made by the Hon. C S Rolls on a 20 hp TT Rolls-Royce in 1906.
Here I would digress to remark that Quest is the present prestigious RollsRoyce Motor Cars’ house journal, edited by Allport himself, a follow-on to those similarly sumptuous R-R and Bentley house organs, The R-R Bulletin and On The Road that publicised the Best Car in the World and the Silent Sports-Car, before the war. I was once allowed to describe a fast dash I did from Parliament Square to John O’Groats in a 4 1/4-litre Derby Bentley in the pages of the lafter publication (at a running average speed of 50.5 mph before British motorways existed), so I read Allport’s story with keen anticipation. It was a trifle disappointing to discover that he had not only used the French autoroutes from the south of Paris to effectively halve the 83 year old R-R record but that he had done his run from Boulogne to Monte Carlo, whereas the Hon. C S Rolls had driven in the reverse direction, finishing in London. Allport did drive back over as nearly as possible the route used by Rolls in 1906 but he took this as a gentle tour, covering some 200 miles a day, for which no speed is quoted. There can be no more comfortable car than a Rolls-Royce Silver Spur with the latest highly sophisticated self-levelling suspension, full air conditioning, electrically adjustable memory programmed seats and cruise control, in which to make such a high speed 750 mile journey and it comfortably halved Rolls’ time for the
Monte Carlo/Boulogne part of that run, taking 13 hours 37 minutes, inclusive of stops for meals and refuelling, an average speed of 55.0 mph. Rolls had taken 28 hours 14 minutes.