SPORTING CARS ON TEST.
THE 13.55 LE MANS SCHNEIDER. By HUBERT H. S KEOGH.
13.55 h.p. Le Mans Model Schneider.
Engine.–Four-cylinder monobloc, bore 72 mm. x 120 mm. stroke, piston displacement 1,954 c.c., Treasury rating 12-8 h.p., tax £.13. Detachable cylinder head with overhead valves operated by push rods. Forced lubrication with readily detachable oil filter. Thermo Syphon cooling with fan. Zenith Triple Diffuser carburettor.
Transmission.—By Hardy Spicer System. 4 forward speeds and reverse, central control. Single plate disc clutch.
Springing.—Semi-elliptic rear, underslung 51 ins. long, semi-elliptic front, 36 ins. long.
Brakes.—On all four wheels. Rear drums 21 ins. diameter. Foot brake operates on all four wheels. Hand brake on rear wheels only. All brakes are internal expanding and are assisted by Servo Dewandre.
Shock Absorbers.—Hartford Duplex shock absorbers are fitted and all models are equipped with Spring gaiters. Lubrication by Tecalemit.
Wheels.—Five Rudge Whitworth detachable wheels were fitted with 15 x 50 Michelin tyres. IVheelbase 9 ft. 10i ins., wheel track 4ft. Sins.
Chassis Weight.-21 cwts. Electrical Equipment.-12 volt, north-east dynomotor. Silent in action. Hart batteries, 5 lamps, electric horn and dash lamp. Dynamotor charges at 10 amps at 25 miles per hour,
Accessories.—Clock, speedometer, rev, counter, jack, pump, and full kit of tools.
Speeds on Gears.—Ist, 25 m.p.h.; 2nd, 40 m.p.h.; 3rd. 55 m.p.h.; top, 4th, 76 m.p.h.
Concessionaires.—Schneider Automobiles (Eng.) Ltd., 138, Long Acre, W.C.2. Price.—With four seater English built sports body, The car which forms the subject of the following notes, was placed at my disposal through the courtesy of Mr. P. J. Smith, the Schneider representative for Great Britain. I must admit I was rather dubious about the real speed capabilities of the car before the test, but was struck by the confidence the concessionaires displayed in the car, since no stipulations whatever were made as to where I should take t. The body, as will be seen in the photograph, was a four seater sports, Le Mans type, built by the Corsica Coach Works and fitted with four doors, adjustable front seats, pneumatic upholstery, etc. On arriving at the Long Acre showrooms, I could not help remarking on the imposing and massive front appearance, and having adjusted the front seat, I started off on the test. My way led me through the thickest of the mid-day traffic, yet in spite of being at the wheel of a strange car, not once did I feel at all uneasy, due to the ease with which the car can be handled, and the riding comfort at medium and low speeds. 1 thought, however, that the steering seemed a little on the tight side. at slow speeds. but that fact Was accounted for by Mr. Smith on my return when he
explained to me that the car in question had so far only covered 1,700 miles, and was therefore still in the stiffish stage.
ON THE OPEN ROAD.
Leaving the traffic behind me, I commenced the long ascent up to Jack Straws Castle, Hampstead, up which I was comfortably ambling in top, until, having been checked by the Constable on point duty at the “rube station, a change down to third was advisable in which gear I completed the climb at high speed.
Once on the Barnet by-pass I began to give the car her head and was surprised at the rapidity and complete absence of fuss or vibration with which it attained and held a mile a minute gait. At this speed the steering is excellent, light, very
accurate and no effort is required to ” place the car. The suspension at all speeds is beyond criticism, and several bends in the road were taken at 70 m.p.h. without the slightest tendency to roll or tilt, this no doubt being in no small measure due to the duplex Hartford shock absorbers which were fitted all round, yet at low speeds that harshness so usually associated with tight shock absorbers was conspicous by its absence.
GOOD ACCELERATION. Finding a suitable stretch of dry tar macadam road. I proceeded to put the car through its acceleration test and from a standing start 70 m.p.h. was reached in 5/3/5 secs. A speed of 40 m.p.h. was reached in second gear (9.8 to 1) and 57 m.p.h. in third (5.8 to 1). After obtaining these speeds in the gears, the gear
box permits a fast slip change to be made without feeling that the transmission is in any way being abnormally stressed. The transmission at all speeds was very sweet the indirect gears being practically noiseless. A quick change down can be very easily made at such speeds as 50 to 55 m.p.h. due no doubt to the single plate disc clutch which is fitted. On its top gear of 4.8 to 1 the car easily held 60 m.p.h. up long main road gradients and the engine gave no signs whatever of overheating either at high speeds cm when in thick traffic. The maximum speed obtained was 76 miles per hour, but as there was a cross wind blowing at the time, I have no doubt that given good weather conditions this figure could be improved upon. In any case, as I have mentioned before, the car had only done ,1,700 miles, and was therefore probably still on the tight side.”
DEWANDRE SERVO BRAKES. The four wheel brakes are extremely smooth and progressive in action. They begin to operate immedi
ately the pedal is depressed, and even when the maximum braking effort is required, they do not interfere in any way with the steering, when applied on the straight or on curves. The hand brake operates separate shoes on the rear wheels, and with 21 inch drums is very efficient. Leaving the main road I found that the car with its 6.8 to 1 third gear was capable of fast climbs of quite stiff gradients and making full use of the gears and brakes on a give and take road. found no difficulty in doing 45 miles in the hour. I found that the car was quite at home when being driven at this speed, and the comfort was all that could be desired, the cut away sides of the body making matters much easier for high speed cornering. I would like to make a small criticism here, as I think an advance and retard ignition lever would be an advantage for high average speeds, etc., if fitted on the top of the steering wheel, instead of on the dash as is the usual Schneider practice. The 12 volt, electrical equipment is quite up to its work for a sports car and the 12 volt battery is made up of two 6 volt 88.amp Hart batteries, one being mounted on either side of the propeller shaft. The 12 gallon tank is mounted at the rear, and the petrol
feed is by vacuum. The petrol consumption worked out at 24 miles per gallon which was very good considering the traffic and fast driving. Semi-elliptic springs are fitted front and rear, the latter being 51 inches long and taking both torque and drive. All springs are fitted with gaiters. Rudge Whitworth wire wheels are fitted, shod with 15 x 50 Michelin tyres. The spare is carried at the rear. The exhaust is extremely quiet for a sports car of this description and is silenced by means of two exhaust boxes. However, a quite pleasant mellow note is heard at over 40 m.p.h. in top.
The instruments are very conveniently arranged on the instrument board, and include a clock, speedometer, and rev. counter. A mixture control lever is conveniently situated on the right hand side of the board, below which are mounted the two levers controlling the ignition and throttle respectively. A capacious locker is mounted on either side of the instrument board which no doubt would be found most useful for maps, gloves, etc. At the bottom of the instrument hoard there is a small lever which is utilised for supplying extra oil to the overhead valve rockers, etc. This lever must be pulled over to one side for a few seconds every twenty miles or so, but it struck rue as being rather difficult to manipulate at high speeds. The hood is very neatly fitted, and when folded up in the hood bag supplied, makes itself most unobstrusive.
ATTR.4CTIVE SPORTING BODYWORK.
As will be seen from the accompanying photographs, the lines of the bodywork are very graceful and the high radiator and bonnet and low cut away body give the car a most handsome and sporting appearance. The body on the particular car I drove was on the heavy side, in fact I was told it was as heavy as the saloon, and probably the performance on the indirect ratios of this chassis fitted with a saloon body, would almost equal the car we tried. The coachwork, etc., is certainly worthy of the chassis. The sports wings are mounted with an inner flange and are very rigid. On the particular model I tested the paintwork was unvarnished, but there are several attractive colours to choose from, and if required the body can be fabric covered. All bright parts are chromium plated, thus obviating the necessity for cleaning, and the windscreen is a very attrac tive four panel V shape. Both the gear and brake levers are mounted in the centre, and come very easily to hand for quick changes, etc. The accelerator pedal is mounted on the right hand side, and in company with the footbrake and clutch pedals, very comfortably placed for the feet. The steering wheel is of the Rene Thomas sprung spoke type, and can be supplied in different colours to match the colour of the bodywork. To sum up, the Le Mans
Schneider impressed me very favourably, and I would consider it eminently suitable for the sporting driver who requires a reliable high speed car, which would maintain its tune well in spite of being called upon to do a lot of hard work. At the price of £535 fitted with a first-class English four-seater sports body, I would consider it very good value for the money.
VERY COMPLETE EQUIPMENT.