Letters from readers, May 1952

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Sir,

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.