On March 20th, Lord Brabazon of Tara opened the impressive new Service Depot and Showrooms now occupied by VW Motors Ltd. at Lord’s Court, 32/34, St. John’s Wood Road, London, N.W.8. These new premises occupy 50,000 sq. ft. and they are additional to the 45,000 sq. ft. VW workshops at Plaistow, which, in future, will be devoted to body repairs and painting. The Lord’s Court depot has an imposing frontage and is equipped in the most modern fashion. Full servicing and repair facilities are available and from here new VWs will meet their owners, and it is from Lord’s Court that dollar sales will be conducted. In his speech, Lord Brabazon paid tribute to German successes in motor-racing achieved by Mercedes-Benz and likened the VW to a woman who, while not particularly beautiful or fast, has something about her which “gets” you. He said the VW had proved irresistible to 23,000 owners in this country to date and production is now at the rate of over 12,000 cars per day, so that Wolfsburg can be regarded as the Detroit of Europe.
K. von Heising, from Wolfsburg, whose responsibility it is to look after VW service throughout the world, spoke, in English, of the importance of this side of the business, remarking that a good car can be ruined by poor after-sales servicing. Mr. J. Graydon, Manager of VW Motors in this country, said, proudly, that his company owns the freehold of the fine new Lord’s Court Service and Sales Depot, in which, as Lord Brabazon had remarked, you could lose two polo fields. Formerly Rootes used it to service their cars. Four hundred vehicles a week can be serviced there and, if the engine is cold, a single VW can be fully serviced in a matter of 20 minutes, while its owner rests in the waiting-room provided. Castro! and Shell lubrication service is available, a full stock of retail and wholesale spares is carried, and a VW Training School for mechanics is also operated from Lord’s Court. The spacious Tourist Reception is attractively laid out, with framed pictures on the walls of VWs in rural settings. VW appreciate the importance of skilled mechanics who understand these cars—at present there are two per 100 cars, or some 460 VW-trained mechanics in the British Isles, and more will be speedily trained. Lord’s Court is also the Industrial Engine Department, from which VW engines for compressors, welding sets, pumps, marine use, combine harvesters, dredgers and aircraft are supplied. Incidentally, any VW owner who covers 65,000 miles free from major overhaul gets a gold pin, badge and certificate. Amongst the cars we saw in this spotlessly-clean, efficient Service Station was a Karmann-Ghia VW coupe with a proprietary right-hand-drive conversion.
* * *
Arising out of a letter in Motor Sport last January, J. H. Fielder, Technical Editor of Passenger Transport, sends the accompanying picture of a VW seen in the Fresian Islands last year. It appears to be a version of a ‘bus made by the German coachbuilding firm of Herman Harmening K.G., of Bückeburg, for exhibition, fair-ground and seaside resort transport. A modified VW tows two trailers, providing accommodation for 42 passengers in a train which is 49 ft. long and equipped with hydraulic brakes throughout.
* * *
Future fixtures of the VW Owners’ Club of Great Britain include a rally on June 1st and the Chairman’s Run on July 20th. The Hon. Sec. is R. D. Woolf, 40, Send Close, Send, Woking, Surrey.
* * *
National Benzole maps
National Benzole Co., Ltd., have announced publication of their series of road maps, covering England, Scotland and Wales. These maps are now on sale at National Benzole Solus Filling Stations throughout the country. The maps are on the useful scale of five miles to the inch and have been specially prepared for the National Benzole Company by the famous firm of cartographers, Messrs. George Philip & Son Ltd. Four sheets cover the whole of England, Scotland and Wales. London is included, at five miles to the inch, on Sheet One, but there is also the “London Special,” a fifth sheet which gives Greater London at one inch to one mile on one side and Central London at six inches to one mile on the other.
At a press conference in London, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. H. H. Bates, said that a great deal of trouble had been taken in the preparation of these maps. “Every feature that is likely to help the motorists has been emphasised,” he said, “while anything likely to confuse him has been ‘played down’ or omitted.” There is, for example, a complete absence of the heavy black masses which so confuse built-up areas on most maps—such areas are sensibly shown in white. These maps, indeed, represent an entirely new approach to the science of road map-making and show not only the highways but the tiniest by-ways, more clearly than any other road maps of these islands available today.
Important geographical features are shown and named—towns, villages, rivers, canals, lakes, mountains, fells and so on, as well as railways, stations, car-ferries, golf courses, National Parks and the properties of the National Trust open to the public. Roads are classified by Ministry of Transport groupings. Road numbers are given for all trunk-roads and “A” and “B” roads. Distances between towns and important road junctions are given in miles, pin symbols indicating the start and finish of each “length.” The sheets open to 36 in. by 23 in. and are printed both sides in black, red, yellow and blue—together with the infinite variety of other shades that can be obtained by combinations of those primary colours. Each of the five sheets is on sale at a price of one shilling each, so that the whole series, which folds conveniently into a coat pocket or car cubbyhole, may be obtained for five shillings.
Disabled Drivers’ Motor Club
Amongst our large readership there may well be many disabled motoring enthusiasts, so we would remind them that the Disabled Drivers’ M.C., which was founded in 1922, still flourishes and looks after the interests of this specialised membership. We were delighted to see, in the spring issue of their magazine, an article about the early years of this Club, which was pleasing not only because it contained fresh material but because it was free from error. It recalls the sixteen-valve Bugatti which the legless driver B. H. Austin, M.B.E. (who is still President of the Club) raced at Brooklands, recalls the Deemster speed hill-climb of 1923, and is accompanied by a nice picture of one-legged Norman Fielden with the G.N. in which he won the first Disabled Drivers’ Handicap race at Brooklands in 1922. The Acting Sec. is F. J. Dupée, 19, Devonshire Gardens, London, N.21.—W. B.
The Railton Owners’ Club will meet every second Wednesday of the month at “The Green Man,” Bedford Street, London, W.C.2, from 8 to 11 p.m. The Secretary’s address is Manor Hotel, Datchet, Bucks.
The Sunbeam S.T.D. Register will open the 1958 season with a Sporting Get-Together at the Hawley Hotel, Blackwater, Surrey, on May 18th. Its annual Wolverhampton visit will this year occupy one day only, on Sunday, June 22nd.