In reply to Mr White, I am sorry that a misunderstanding arose. The title “Ford roadster” is often preferred by the owners of “hotrods.” I would not, of course, claim any exceptional performance for a “stock” (factory standard) Ford roadster.
From 1947 to 1950 I was employed by one of the largest foreign car dealers in the USA and regularly drove Jaguar, Healey, Allard, Mercedes, competition Delahaye, 4 and 41/2-litre Lago, 2.3, 2.5. and 2.9 Alfa, 3.3 Bugatti, etc. In my opinion the “hot-rods” in transportation tune are some of the fastest cars in everyday use anywhere in the world.
My own “hot-rod” is very quiet and reliable; yet last year at Gosport it set faster time than the Altas, ERA and Delage-ERA.
In reply to “PB”, what the Americans do possess is enormous enthusiasm allied with sound technical “know-how,” rather than the brand of fertiliser he suggests. A friend of mine had a high old 1929 side-valve model-A that clocked 106 mph. It was not, of course, carrying mudguards or screen when timed.
Nobody over here seriously tried to make a model-A go. It is quite possible to build a 100-mph model-A with the resources available here. It is fairly easy to lower a model-A below 3 ft high and 15 cwt in weight. About 90 bhp will propel a car of this size and weight at 100 mph.
It is no great trick to improve the breathing to get 30 bhp per litre in side-valve form. Briefly the tuning consists of filling the head with “Sifbronze ” to about 7 to 1 ,fitting two V8 carburetters, greatly enlarging the ports and valves, and regrinding the camshaft to give higher lift and longer duration.
I am heartily in agreement with Mr Clarke’s article. In addition to the races in the USA, for a British closed car to finish ahead of the US models in the 2,000-mile Mexico road race would be of great advertising value in the USA. A 1948 Mercury finished close behind the 4.1 Ferraris in the last race. It is interesting to note that Troy Ruthusan said his Mercury was faster than the Ferraris on the mountain section due to better brakes, but on the straight the Ferraris drew away, as they had less frontal area. [No doubt the Ferraris were as standard as any Ferrari is expected to be. Were the American cars ?—Ed]
In conclusion, I generally prefer the European sports car because of its better “feel,” but we cannot afford to close our eyes to the American achievements with worked-over production models.
I am, Yours, etc,
PF Payne, Southsea.