WHICH CAR FOR HUTCH ?
Sir, Mr. Hutchison is correct in stating that the Mark VI Bentley is not a sports car : it is a very refined high-performance vehicle with a combination Of qualities no other motor car I have ever Owned. or driven possesses. He is rather unfair in Some respects to the version new being turned out. In my experience (30,000 miles with a standard ‘steel saloon, de livered in May, 1949) its acceleration is
nof mediocre, but I agree that Claims of’ a ” genuine century” are doubtful. Raymond Mays, in his entertaining article in your Deeember number, wrote of the magic ” 100 ” as being on tap at any time, given suitable conditions. I have often seen 102 m.p.h. on the dial but I do not think that there is any more to come. I should say that a real 95 m.p.h. is about the limit. Ken Richardson must get to work on the Mays’ Bentleys!
Sheer speed is not the Mark VI’s charm, of course, an exceptional top-gear acceleration right through the usual working range being invaluable for keeping up the cruising speed without, as Mr. Mays brought out, the driver having to do a lot of hard work. Acceleration when the gears are used is geed for a fast touring vehicle.
Mr. Huteltisen is pasitively unjust when he calls the Mark VI ‘suspension ” diStinetly inferior,” so far as the later ears are concerned. I believe the earlier examples were not so. geed. My own car is steady and comfortable under most conditions, but I do not find the handoperated overriding control of suspension stiffness to have much effect. The shockabsorbers are more elaborate than on Other chassis and perhaps they are justified over the long, hard life many of these cars have ; time will show. The rubber-bush-less suspension, with a real one-shot lubrication system, is a guarantee of continual satisfaction from this department, with minimum wear and low maintenance outlay.
In my opinion, the braking system is Use outstanding feature of this chassis par excellence. Raymond Mays says that ” . . . no passenger car I have ever driven has braking to compare with my current Mark VI. There is no doubt about the truth of that statement. Brake fade in the Alps is unknown and whatever the surface the braking is exceptionally powerful, without pull, and achieved with appreciably less pedal pressure than is needed with a small car being decelerated from half the speed.
For motoring in this country or down N-7 the Mark VI is, I imagine, completely satisfying to most experienced drivers wanting reliable and viceless high-speed travel ‘ but on some ol’ the ” difficult ” stuff abroad it is not the equal. as Mr. Hutchison says, of a really good Aprilia, Grand Sport Hotchkiss or others of the elect. I think the steering gear ratio is a trifle too low under such conditions, and it is a pity that the makers do not offer an alternative ratio for the considerable band of their followers who are mil motorists ;i the others, I suppose, are the snob-appealers, Mr. Hutchison, and aren’t greatly interested ?
One last few lines of space, please, regarding an equally satisfying car of a.
different kind—the XK120. Mr. O’Gorman is right about the indifferent watertightness of the hood-sidescreen equipment. Despite the good output Of the engine it is as sindoth as the Bentley unit, a tribute to Mr. Weslake’s cylinder head ” know hum,” among other things. .My experience so far is limited but I do wish that Bentley brakes were fitted. It is a thrilling car to drive; with steering and suspension beyond criticism so far as ordinary drivers’ requirements go. As a keenly-priced ambassador for the British industry it should, in its latest ” hardtep ” form, prove a great dollar earner. Why buy Ferraris, UncleSam ? I am,Yours, etc.,
G. R. IltrrcuiNsort London, SAVA.