The Editor Takes Something Approaching a Real “Busman’s Holiday ” !
SO much interest has been aroused by our statement that .Reardall Motors, Ltd., 499/50:3, Woodborough Road, Mapperley, Nottinghain, are converting large petrol-engined ears to diesel propulsion, that We keenly anticipated trying one of their “oilers.” Now, after many hundreds of dignified mites in their Diesel Daimler “Deeon.” we proclaim ourselves true diesel-converts.
Perhaps the greatest tribute we can pay to Beardall Motors is to sey that one tends to think more about the Daimler than about its diesel engine, for the latter is so troublefree, so reasonably quiet and smooth above 20 m.p.h. in top gear and se completely imperturbable that it is seen taken for granted. This, briefly, is the set up. The car is a reconditioned £10-tax 1938 Daimler “Double Six” eight-seater Charlesworth saloon with division, into which an 88.9 by 127 mm., 4,730 c.c. Perkins rov diesel engine has been .neatly installed to replace the original sleeve-valve V12 petrol engine. This Perkins primemover gives. 70 b.h.p. and 165.1b. ft. torque at 2,200 r.p.m., is governed not to
exceed 2,400 and has -a maximum torque of 184 ft, lb. at.a mere 1,000 r.p.m.
On the road this interprets as an easy 45-50 m.p.h. cruising speed from this very spacious 2i ton motor-car,, a maximum of 60 or so, and very powerful pick-up in any of the four gears—even on tlw topgear, which is new as high -as 3M to 1, if the driver so disposes. Driving is the acme of simplicity, thanks to the Daimler fluid flywheel and pre-selector gearbox. The car can be held stationary on foot or handbrake or inched-forward in gear, thanks to Daimler ingenuity in snii stittiting fluid for Ferodo in this clutch. The gear-change is truly fool-proof. although in this size inlady might find the pedal-action rather tiring—the answer to which is that all the muting except tip steep gradients can be done in top. Moreover. this excellent. transmission feels immensely durable, as time has proved it to be. In other ways, too, this vast Daintier earns high marks. Its five-spoke steering wheel would do -justice to a ‘bus and its nit. brake-lever pushes forward to apply anchorage, in traditional Daimler manner. There is no doubt but that the Daimler is vast.. A” Phantom 1 ” Rolls-Royee in which we took a short drive the same week-end, by its dimensions and tapering, bonnet., scented in comparison quite a small car. But tin’ excellent view, both front wings visible. and unmolested driving compartment, do much to offset this impression of bulk. Kent Earslake has told us that the big IlispanoSuizas go through trunk; like small ears. Of this Daintier it can be said that althenigh it weir* a very large car it handles surprisingly easily in congested
places, which is, One assumes, much the same thing. The steering needs teal effort when manoeuvring, but is both light and smooth in normal cornering. It is fairly low geared, so that some concentration is required to speed through narrow places; especially as the big body sets up a slight sway if direction is changed quickly, but nevertheless this is shook-free, accurate steering with nice castor-action. Moreover, the body really is spacious, seating nine if need be, and in floor space outstrips such seemingly commodious ears as Sunbeams, Lamle Lambdas and the like.
So far as fuel consumptiOn gees, Mr. Beardall said we should get “the thick end of 30 m.p.g.” An accurate cheek was difficult, as we didn’t wish to involve ourselves in printing the C.A.V. injectorpump (actually there is Simple provision for this), and although the feel-gauge registered accurately. whatwe put in the car would run miles with the reading static. at “empty.” We would estimate the true consumption as over 30 under favourable circumstances, falling towards 20 when we cruised fast against gale-force headwinds. The original engine gave about 9 m.p.g. and no car of equivalent carryingcapacity could be expected to do better than 15-18 m.p.g. of petrol. Diesel fuel costa 3s. Id. a gallon, a saving of over 5.d. a gallon. Thus, by using an ” oiler,” a business-mum doing 20,000 miles a year is going to save over £120 on his fuel-bill alone, over and above which these things are the esset we of dependabilit y. The Perkins we drove behind had done 30,000 miles once risionditioning and Mr. Beardall gave its life before another overhaul as about 150,000 miles I Snags ? We met none. The first night we had the car it stood in the open in sharp frost for over I 2 hours. We gave it one Ki-gas pumpfnl diesel fuel and it fired at once on t lw starter. Indeed, it (ilexes started promptly. ‘rlw engine is certainly rough and vibrates a let when idling in neutral or pulling away in top high a gear, but once in top at over 20 mph. it is effortless, pulling you along with the feeling that it %ill do so for ever without developing temperament or fatigue. A slight leak at a litter allowed a trace of oil fumes to enter, and the exhaust smoke isn’t exactly pleasant, but no one in the car felt .sick, three young -children included, even though a. spare can of oil was carried in the car. We found the odour of this preferable to that of petrol and would have no qualms about a diesel in our everyday motor-car. We added one quart of thin engine oil and a dribble of water and nothing else was required of tts in many hundreds of miles. The car aroused enormous interest at tilling stations, and has made the Editor and all the MOTOR SPORT staff who Sampled it devoted diesel disciples
The Daimler bonnet construction makes the engine delightfully easy to reveal for the enjoyment of engineers, and some idea of the effortlessness of-Diesel Dafirder travel was conveyed by a Sunday into which we tried to pack too much and, hurrying from Oxford to St. AlbanS, became lost in the hilts beyond Princes Risborough and, later, in Wittford’a stupidly-signposted environs. Yet, even along narrow lanes, this great car proved enjoyable to handle and eighty rather hectic miles left us with the feeling that we had covered an unruffled forty. The brakes are truly powerful in a deceptive manner and not too heavy when aided by the vacuum-servo motor ;• startlingly greater force is needed to arrest progress when the engine isn’t running—a characteristic of vacuum-servos we discovered before the war in temporarily exciting circumstances in a fast-coasting “Big Six” Bentley. The hand-lever; working on the transmission, produces rather jerky retardation, but holds the load impeccably.
Being governed, the Perkins, controlled, incidentally, by a central treadle accelerator, likes to be back in top fairly soon after accelerating in third gear, but this ratio is very ,useful for keeping up the pace on long hills.
Oil pressure was normally 40 lb,/sq. in., temperature 60° C., rising to 70° C. in truffle, and the dignified small instruments (including Jaeger speedometer) and delightfully contrasting twin horns were in keeping with the demeanour of the car. Altogether we give full marks to Beardall for this conversion, the price of which, car included, is about £1,000. They have done similar installations to 36/220 and 28/250 Mereedils-Benz, WelSeley and other cats, *claiming 40 rit.reg. and 100 m.p.h., Init rather troublesome lack of retardation, with the former. They have a tong waiting list, so it is no good imagining you can drop in and buy an ” oiler ” tomorrow. but if you take a a long-ternt view, and if you need a _tally big car that won’t. damage your oveed ratight –for towing a racing-car Or caravan, for example—you should investigate the work of this Nottingham
(init. I twidentally, they tell us that they have one or two itlereMes-Benz engines front the cars they have converted, which may he of Value to these who have these ears and burn petrel.
Personally, your Editor feels that if there is any nicer job going than that of running this paper it must be to act as second-chauffeur in a car such as this-just think of being driven about all day on the front seat of a Daimler ” Double Six” in return for occasionally opening the back-door and handing out a lovely lady . • !—W. B.