Kendrick Achieves an Astonishing 58.68 m.p.g. in an Austin-Cooper in Tough Mobil Economy Run

NOT CONDUCIVE TO ECONOMY.— The Editor taking a Vauxhall Victor de luxe saloon OVer the Trossachs during the 1962 Mobil Etottomy Run. HE Mobil Economy Run has become famous throughout the World—in America, Australia, Rhodesia, Norway, Malaya,

Ghana, Turkey and Venezuela, etc.—and so the British event, ably organised by the Hants .23t Berks M.C., is of considerable importance. The 8th International Mobil Economy Run took place from March 31st to April 4th, over real rally terrain in Scotland, Yorkshire and the Lake District.

This is a unique contest, from several angles. Cars have to be Post-1959 British cars in standard trim—scrutineering involved dismantling carburetters to check choke and jet sizes and even cutting open the fuel tanks of class winners. Competitors pay an entry fee, but get all their petrol and hotels free, as well as a full Mobiloil service for each car. Tyre pressures had to be standard, observers were carried to ensure that no coasting was indulged in or the Highway Code ignored, and along some of the 1,070-mile route overdrives, where fitted, had to be locked out. Each car Carried at least three occupants, and luggage on two days of the three. A 30-m.p.h. average had to be maintained and any excess mileage involved through.getting lost penalised the m.p.g. figures.

So that the Press could see the sort of conditions under which the 102 Mobil Economy Run was held, certain journalists were invited to compete, Mobil providing the cars, which were scrutincered with competitors’ vehicle’s in the big exhibition hall in Harrogate before the start.

That is how the Editor of MOTOR SPORT came to sleep again in the Crown Hotel, where he was stationed during the war, and walk out into the snowy dawn to drive an Avon-shod Vauxhall Victor de luxe saloon, with 4-speed floor gear-Change, that he had never seen until Nancy Mitchell flagged him away.

The cold weather was an added hazard in this stern ” G.P. of the Fuel Globules,” but our Vauxhall cbmntenc-ed with a minimum of choke, whereas Clerk-of-the-Course Birkett had been seen ruefully regarding his Lotus Elite Pilot Gar, which, snowcovered, had been reluctant to commence. Soon we were pressing on pretty fiast, overhauling the field, in Fear of icy hills ahead. M. L. Twite, my Assistant Editor, who was on this occasion driving for the up-and-coming weekly newspaper Motoring News, with which we are so closely associated, started late in a Vauxhall VX 4/90 and was pressing on behind us. Momentary panic that our tank was but half full of Mobilgas was allayed when the ” lazy ” petrol gauge woke up and indicated “

AS we were leading the field after an exciting run up and down slippery Tan Hill a nit. turning was missed and we had to return in haste at 70 M.p.h. and re-pass everyone up the ice-covered Two-Top Hill, which isn’t good for economy. Already Thompson’s Hillman Super Minx had hit a wall, and subsequently it had another accident, and Roden’s Riley 4/68 was damaged by a grit lorry. A Triumph Herald skidded, hit a post, and left the road. Kendrick, “the economy king,” was getting carburetter icing in the Austin-Cooper but hoped to reach 60 m.p.g. on the morrow, The Victor was proving to have comfortable separate front seats and to corner nice and fiat, but until a mat was flung into the rear compartment the throttle

tended to stick, there were sundry rattles and the complexity of the heater cant mls proved exasperating.

Scotland was entered at Gretna and pleasant back roads brought us to an excellent picnic-lunch at :Dumfries. The afternoon run was along the beautiful coast road by the Gatehouse of Fleet and New Galloway; alas tOr scenery, when it wasn’t snowing it was sleeting and when it wasn’t sleeting there was heavy rain. Snow and bitter cold set in for the run into Edinburgh over a -Succession of escarpments including 2,000-ft. peaks around Wanlockhead in the Lowther hills. We were piped ceremoniously into the Impound Area in Edinburgh’s Castle Esplanade and taken by coach to the North British Hotel.

Monday’s run was equally cold and bleak, over the Trossachs and past numerous lochs, via Abertbyle, Abcrfeldy, Perth and Cupar, back to Edinburgh. A Press Herald proved reluctant to start and Gilbert’s Rover 80 was run into by a straying LandRover, resulting in severe damage to the off-side front wing and lamp. The last day, through the Lake District back to Harrogate, was the most eventful of all. Peat Hill was taken in driving snow, causing competitors to speed up in anticipation of trouble ahead. Beautiful Kidder forest scenery brought the contingent to Newcastle and the lunch -stop at Lord Crewe’s ancient monastery-inn at Blanchland. Hereafter the Editor of Good Motoring came in for many leg-pulls, having motored so well that he left the road in a Mini Minor after demolishing a length of farm fencing, to bog down in a field. The car continued, only to run out of petrol— which is just about the end on an economy run, but enabled co-driver Bishop to get another drink! There was the highest A-road in England to negotiate, over Melmerby Fell to Penrith and Keswick, and a fast dice” over lonister Pass, where we followed Rodney Crouch’s Ford Zephyr, Continued on page 357

having to press on in order to pass a non-competing A3o on the way up and another slow car on the way down, to the delight of some girl hikers and the temporary detriment of the Victor’s brakes—proof that this Economy Run is no all-in-top-gear, lightthrottle motoring tour!

That evening, with 130 miles to go and no co-driver in my case after an excellent high-tea at the County Hotel, Camforth, we were troubled by a fuel gauge reading below zero—and we had discarded our leaking emergency 2-gallon can the previous day, for the good of our health. However, we got to the refuelling point at Preston and, putting in six gallons of Mobilgas, the gauge went to” full” (the tank capacity is said to be to gallons!). Here a final reading of the dipstick showed no oil consumed in nearly 1,000 miles.

Lack of a map-light was troublesome until we rigged the roof lamp as a substitute. Now it was a matter of careful map reading and piling on speed after getting badly lost in Manchester. We sped up Holme Moss in driving snow to a lofty route check and ran home between damp Yorkshire industrial towns at 6o m.p.h.

Our Vauxhall finished in fine form, its only defect a detached interior mirror. By getting lost we actually ran 1015.7 miles, converting our official m.p.g. of 31.98 to a true consumption of 33.3 m.p.g. Other Press Victors did an official 32.6 and 30.59 m.p.g., the VX 4/90 30.45 m.p.g., Crouch’s Zephyr 23.84, a Herald Iwo 36.29 M.p.g., and a Press Ford Classic 34.73 m.p.g.

Good as these figures arc, compare them with the quite remarkable results achieved by the competitors, listed below. These clearly indicate what can be accomplished by skilful, patient drivers of carefully prepared cars, even over difficult country in bad weather. These figures encourage you to use Mobilgas and Mobiloil for economy. All three class winners also used Michelin ” X ” tyres.

Finally, what a splendid party the Mobil Economy Run is! The organisation, from scrutineering and observer arrangements to hospitality and printing of results before the luncheon at which the generous prizes are presented, reflects the highest possible credit on Alec Mosley, P.R.O. of the Mobil Oil Company, and his staff. Entry in this event represents, a very economical way of seeing some grand scenery, for the Hams St Berks M.C. invariably picks a most fascinating route. Try it in 1963!—W. B.