Rumblings, May 1958

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76

A Saab Gran Turismo

The Saab is gaining an increasingly good reputation, so considerable interest attaches to the new Granturismo 750 model. This comprises the Saab 93 all-steel body/chassis unit and a 748-c.c. Sonett super sports engine developing 50 b.h.p. The G.T. 750 is a four-seater with ample luggage space, for which a performance of 0-50 m.p.h. in 13 sec., or in 9-1/2 sec. in tuned form, is claimed. Larger brakes than standard are fitted, together with Pirelli Cinturato racing tyres. If the car doesn’t seem fast enough as it is the customer can order a dual-carburetter, tuned engine, giving 57 b.h.p. A pleasing aspect of this new Saab is that it really is equipped as a Gran Turisrno automobile, with comfortable individually-moulded seats, shoulder harness and grab handles to secure passengers who travel with an enterprising driver, screen washers, the classic wood-rimmed racing steering wheel, tachometer, even a Halda average speed computer. The passenger’s front seat can be laid flat to form a bed and has a headrest; there are closed stowage compartntents in each door, and further stowage for thermos flasks, etc., in the rear-seat armrests. The price seems to be in the region of £850, or £900 approximately in 57-b.h.p. form. It seems worth waiting for!

* * * *
Citroën DS19 postscript

Our road-test report on the revolutionary Citroën DS19 in last month’s issue has aroused widespread interest, so it is worth mentioning that the car has, at the time of writing, covered over 8,000 miles in the hands of Motor Sport‘s staff, in a matter of twelve weeks. In this mileage it has given no mechanical trouble, apart from a defective wiper switch which cured itself, and has consumed very little oil and no water, while the only attention has been routine greasing, the hydraulic system requiring no servicing. So it really does seem as if the DS19 is as dependable in service as it is advanced in design and construction. In returning to it after testing other cars, the comfort and safety of the DS19 continue to be a revelation. It is amply fast enough, if noisy when accelerating, with the present engine, but what a car it would have been had the intended flat-six air-cooled power unit materialised! As it is, it is one of the world’s leading fast touring saloons and, incidentally, about the easiest cars there is to get into and out of.

Citroën can be proud of producing two remarkable cars of diverse character but outstanding practicability, in the DS19 and 2 c.v. Incidentally, the little air-cooled flat-twin 2 c.v. has recently been produced with its power plot duplicated at the rear, to give four-wheel drive. In this form this utility Citroën rivals the cross-country abilities of the six-wheeler Trojan, Crossley, Renault and Citroën Kegresse vehicles of the vintage era.

Finally, to avoid confusion which one passage of our test-report may have caused, let us explain that the body side panels of the DS19 are of steel, only the roof and facia being of plastic material.

* * * *
A practical trailer

The Progres Chassis Company, of Edmonton, London, have produced a new racing-car transporter christened the “Progress Chariot.” The Progress Chassis Company do much sub-contract work for Lotus Engineering and the car in the picture with the trailer is a new Lotus Elite. The transporter’s main feature for quick getaways is its ease of loading by one man. By extending the leg of the front wheel, the rear end is lowered and the car can be driven straight on to the trailer.

Total weight of the trailer is 328 lb., which means that a car weighing up to 12 cwt. can be carried without exceeding the designed all-up capacity of 15 cwt. at the wheels. The loading arrangements are all adjustable so that cars of almost any dimensions can be carried. The basic price of the trailer is £72, and with lights and full accessories total cost ex-works is £79 10s 0d.

* * * *
Restoration and preservation

Attracted by the sight of a complete war-time Spitfire Mk. XVI aeroplane by the roadside, picketed down and wearing its cockpit and other protective covers (souvenir postcards from the petrol-pump attendant, price 6d. each), we stopped at Swandean Garage, Worthing, to see what old-car and freak-racer fancier F. M. Wilcock was up to.

We found him busy restoring a 1904/5 18/22-h.p. Brown Bros. touring car for Brown Bros. Ltd., who were delighted when this rare veteran was unearthed, almost literally, in a field in Sussex. A complete rebuild is being undertaken by Swandean Garage Ltd. At the same time Wilcock is restoring a 1903 Georges-Richard brougham, a suitably horse-drawn body having been discovered and modified to suit this chassis, which was so rusted away that the sidemembers and other parts have had to be refabricated.

Wilcock has decided to sell the remarkable ex-Lloyd Jones’ Triangle Special sprint car, which, with rear-placed Rolls-Royce Kestrel aeroplane engine and radiator, in a four-wheel-drive Daimler Scout chassis, was virtually invincible in s.s. sprints up to a quarter-of-a-mile. It may be recalled that a Rolls-Royce overhauled engine was installed not long ago. The drive goes via a transfer box and a 30/98 Vauxhall gearbox, the final drive being 5 to 1 and all the upper ratios geared-up! One gathers that a former owner cast in the cover of the transfer gearbox an inscription which cannot be read aloud before ladies, but this is now obscured by a small cylindrical petrol tank which Wilcock has fitted above it. At the end of the Brighton kilometre the Triangle Special would be doing 135-140 m.p.h! It will be a thousand pities if it does not re-appear on the sprint scene. It can be bought, we imagine, for rather less than £300.