ON THE ROAD WITH
BLOWN IVIONTLEIERY MIDGET
A RE-CONDITIONED 1931 RACER SHOWS ITS PACES
THERE was a time when the mention of a second-hand sports car, especially one that had been used extensively for competitions, conveyed the impression of a machine which had seen better days, and should only be obtained by someone who was prepared to spend a lot of money on bringing it up to scratch.
Things have changed greatly in the last few years, and the very high standard of maintenance required if a car is to be successful in competitions, has made the last season’s racer a car to be sought after. After a big race it is usual to give cars a very extensive, and in some cases almost unnecessary overhaul, not only replacing actual worn or damaged parts, but stripping the whole chassis to examine everything possible before the next event.
This makes our road test of a supercharged Montlhery M.G. Midget, which was taken Qut as a second-hand car, more comparable with the ordinary tests of a new one, as there was so little ” second-hand ” about the vehicle in question, apart from the point of actual date.
We took over the car from the really remarkable stock of J. H. Bartlett of Pembridge Villas, Notting Hill Gate, who is already well-known to many of our readers as a successful competition driver as well as a sports car specialist. Incidentally this is one of.,the few firms which claim to deal mainly in sports cars where the genuine article is so very much in evidence, and when one talks to Mr. Bartlett or his colleagues and realises their remarkable
knowledge of the pros and cons of every model past and present, it is easy to see why an increasing number of motorists go there to choose a car. Having decided that the M.G. — one of last year’s Dublin and Ulster cars— would give us an entertaining day’s motoring we proceeded to warm it up and
sallied forth. These cars, being intended specifically for racing, need
to be treated accordingly, and though this does not mean that they are unsuitable for ordinary road work, there are certain points to be watched. For instance, if they are to be given full throttle for more than a few seconds, they obviously require a
fairly hot plug, and the Champion R.11’s which so admirably fulfil this purpose can hardly be expected to be suitable for warming up and pottering through traffic. Therefore, the best course is to put in a set of fairly mild plugs kept for the job, and when once out of town arid thoroughly warmed up, the racing plugs can be substituted, and everything will be O.K. till the next start from stone cold or a long run in traffic.
As soon as we were clear of traffic we began to see why this model was so successful in the 1931 sports car races. It is hard to realise, when using the full acceleration of this wonderful engine, that it is only 750 c.c. It is really happy at revs, which few motors can attain, and the warning mark on the big rev, counter at 5,500 r.p.m. is no mere ornament, as the needle easily slips past it on the indirect gears, if not watched. It would be difficult to find a smoother engine at all r.p.m., and the_acceleration is most exhilarating. At all speeds the road-holding is simply amazing for so light a car, and the steering although rather low geared, centres well and makes for positive control. It need hardly be mentioned that these cars are definitely
quick, and this car as taken out returned a maximum speed of 83.5 m.p.h. on the level, or 5,500 r.p.m. in top gear. In actual road racing trim this can, of course, be exceeded, but we would once more warn readers about comparing an actual speed of 83 m.p.h. with the “80 m.p.h.” which a flattering speedometer
may sometimes tell them they are achieving !
The very high average speeds of which this car is capable is almost entirely due to its accelerations The brakes are adequate, but require considerable pressure and are not quite up to the very high standard set by the rest of the car. They will bring the car to rest from 40 m.p.h. in 65ft. on dry tarmac.
The 4-speed gearbox is a delight to use, being unusually fool-proof and quite positive in operation, which is a very important point on a car where 5,000 r.p.m. is a normal changing up speed. The equipment is extremely lavish including Gin. rev, counter by Jaeger, oil gauge, oil thermometer, petrol tank gauge, oil tank gauge, 8-day clock, two electric fuel pumps
(one picking up a reserve 2 gallons) and separate switches for the two headlamps.
The auxiliary oil tank feeds automatically to the sump through a float feed control, thus maintaining a constant level. The Powerplus supercharger is mounted between the front dumb irons and driven at three quarters engine speed, while other items include Rudge-Whitworth racing wire wheels and Dunlop Fort tyres.
The whole car had been overhauled and was in excellent condition and of very smart appearance, and a careful examination of the chassis and bodywork details showed that the entire renovation had been well and conscientiously carried out.
The price asked for this particular job was 2285.