Rumblings, May 1931
IT has become rather the fashion in recent years to make a terrific fuss about any achievement in which the fair sex has taken a hand, and with th& help of the ” stunt” press this has been carried a bit far on some occasions. There are exceptions to most rules, however, and Mrs. Stewart’s latest efforts at Monthlery have hardly received the publicity they deserve. Her recent records at over 140 m.p.h. are one of the finest bits of fast motoring that have been performed for a long time, and when it is realised that she has come within 4/5th of a second of the lap record for this track, and that the fastest track in Europe, no praise can be too high. * * *
TALKING of lap records, I gather there is likely to be a certain amount of activity in this direction at Brooklands before very long, as Birkin is fully determined to knock something off Kaye Don’s record, and if he does so Kaye Don, provided he is not dashing about in Miss England II at the far ends of the earth, is pretty certain to cothe and have another stab at it, so that 140 m.p.h. for this track may not be so far off after all. It is not yet settled what motor he is likely to use (Birkin I mean), but it will probably be a big Maserati ; either that or the single seater Bentley with a little more blow in the blower. When I was up at Welwyn recently I saw an ever so enormous Powerplus blower which F,yston had sent along, and it would seem that this plus the Bentley might equal one lap record. It would. of course, be nice for old times’ sake, and British prestige, and all that sort of thing, if the Bentley did its stuff once more, but I can’t get away from the feeling that a foreign car doing something rather drastic at Brooklands would be a good idea, as it might at least wake this country up to the fact that it has no pukka racing cars in the faster classes, other than jobs many years old and a trifle out of date. If we tried to think of a British car which would stand a real chance in say, the Targa Florio—well, we should have to think, pretty hard, that’s all ! * * * TIIIRE is still somewhere, I believe, the big Maserati of some 4 litres or so, which was built for attacking the record for the highest speed ever attained on a road. Such a record is not, I fear, included in the official list of word’s
records, but it is a sporting proposition all the same, and the story of the building of the said car is quite amusing. Maserati, as you know, goes in for building any sort of racing car of any size for any purpose, and if you go to him with enough money and think of a good number in m.p.h. (or more properly k.p.h.), he will build you a motor to do that number. Complete satisfaction or money back, sort of touch. Well, the yarn goes that someone with the right amount of money went and said, “What about a motor car for the fastest speed ever on a road ? “
So they superimposed or otherwise amalgamated two or three of the smaller Maserati engines and the answer was so many B.H.P. that the originator of the idea thought better of it, and said to Signor Maserati, ” After you,” or words to that effect, so that the great man stepped into the vehicle himself, and the answer to that was about 175 m.p.h., or so one is led to believe. Of course, none of this is particularly official, and as the city editor of my daily paper says, in his remarks on what I should do with my money if I had any, ” advice to readers is only given on the understanding that no legal or other liability is incurred” ! Still it would be rather fun if something like that did come over here. * * *
IT does not seem too likely at the moment that the Maseratis will be over in time for the Double Twelve, and in any case they will be very ” lastminute.” However, they will not be the only last minute cars for this race, as the M.G. Midgets have still a good way to go, as it is a big job fulfilling orders for such a big entry. Thompson and Taylors have been preparing one or two of these engines and they are giving very good results, not that this is any surprise from T. and T’s. When I was down there the other day they were just putting through a big batch of special quick-filler caps, similar to the Bentley ones of last year. but smaller, to suit small racers. Anybody who is stuck for a proper quickacting filler cap, and wants a real genuine article, should apply as above. Incidentally they are a great convenience on any sports car, and easy enough to get fitted. * * * SAW one of the Double-Twelve FrazerNashes in their body shop the other day, and a very nice looking motor
car it is. They are all being built as very normal sports cars, as two of them are privately owned, and not being built only for the race will require to be useful vehicles for long distance road work afterwards. Hence they are not ridiculous “just-within-the-rules one-purpose-only,” cars, but something to carry crew and luggage in. comfort in their subsequent careers. There is still a certain amount of vagueness about who is driving what as I write, but this will soon clear itself up. It appears, however, that the Mere is likely to have a competitor in the form of one of last year’s big Six Bentleys, so there may be a race in the big class after all. What a pity there are not three of each instead of only one. Then things would happen.
AS a result of a terrific cyclone in March, Sicily has suffered from extensive landslides, which among other things have carried away part of the Madonie Circuit over which the famous Targa Florio was to be run on 12th May. As a result it has been found impossible to repair the road in time for the race, as for about 10 miles near Polizzi it has almost entirely disappeared. Vincenzo Florio has, therefore, decided that this year’s race shall be run over the Long Madonie Circuit, which passes through Petralia, Geraei and Castelbono, and measures some 91 miles to the lap. The cars are to cover this circuit four times, making a total distance of 365 miles.
This circuit was used for all the races from 1906 to 1911, the highest average over it being set up by Trucio on an IsottaPraschini in 1908, who covered three laps (or 277.26 miles exactly), at 35.5 m.p.h. In spite of the change in the course it is expected that the race will witness a terrific duel between the Alfa-Romeo, Bugatti and Maserati teams.
TIIE days are now 7past when the sight of any catalogue dealing with in-Itor ears made my imagination run riot while gloating over the models depicted therein, but even now one occasionally comes across something out of the ordinary in this line. Such a production is the book (one ctici hardly be so rude as to call it a catalogue) which I recently received from University Motors dealing with the makes for which they are agents.