11th Mobil Economy Run (March 20-24th)

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This annual event, limited to British cars not more than two years old, organised by the Hants and Berks Motor Club for the Mobil Oil Company, started and finished at Harrogate and covered a 1,000-mile route over Northern England, Wales and the Midlands. Heavy snowfalls which covered the high ground of Yorkshire and the Lake District, and blocked many of the passes, strained the organisation, but the experienced H. & B. soon produced alternative routes through Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire down to Blackpool for the first night stop, where snow was still falling. On the second day it merely rained and the clouds came down to ground level in the Welsh hills as competitors headed for Llandrindod Wells, via the industrial North-West and an hour’s tour round the Mallory Park circuit; and the final day, which covered over 400 miles, saw more rain, fog, snow, mist, cloud and a few spells of sunshine before darkness fell. The itinerary went through Herefordshire the industrial Midlands, 30 laps of Oulton Park, the Derbyshire Dales, the Peak District, and arrived back at Harrogate around midnight, having left Wales at 7.30 a.m. The overall running average was 30 m.p.h. and it was the organisers’ intention that the route should embrace all manner of motoring, thus ensuring an all-round m.p.g. figure. With the aid of the weather-man they more than succeeded, for the last part of the route, over the hills near Sheffield, involved second-gear motoring from one “cat’s eye” to the next in thick fog. – D. S. J.

Results:

Class I – up to 1,000 c.c. 1st: P.T. Walker (Riley Elf) … 54.43 m.p.g.

Class II – up to 1,400 c.c. 1st: T.V. Jones (Vauxhall Viva) … 47.08 m.p.g.

Class III – up to 2,000 c.c. 1st: M.V. Mackie (Ford Cortina Super … 40.02 m.p.g.

Class IV – over 2,000 c.c. 1st: J.G. Fenwick (Ford Zephyr Six) … 27.71 m.p.g.

Handicap winner: P.T. Walker (Riley Elf)

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Rolls-Royce and the “Daily Mirror”

Such is the irresistible appeal of Rolls-Royce that even “Cassandra” off the Daily Mirror devoted nine paragraphs to the subject on March 17th. On the whole he seemed friendly, neither approving nor disapproving of what he referred to as the priesthood of Rolls-Royce owners. What was particularly interesting was that “Cassandra” informed his readers that “it was a Bulgarian, born of Armenian parents, one Michael Arlen, who went a long way to expressing the mood of the Rolls.” He quoted Arlen as spending “the first royalty cheque he got from his enormously successful novel ‘The Green Hat’ on buying a wonderful open Rolls-Royce tourer.” Arlen is said to have announced that this car gave him an entirely new dimension in life.

Now “The Green Hat” eulogised the Hispano-Suiza, so much so that when Cecil Clutton and John Stanford wrote “The Vintage Sports Car,” they were determined to quote a passage from Arlen’s book about the famous French car, although I believe this cost their publisher dearly in reproduction fees in spite of Arlen’s book having been out of print for many years. So, if Arlen, after showing so much appreciation of the Hispano-Suiza in his book, used the money he earned from it to buy a Rolls-Royce, the mystique of the British car must indeed have been a strong influence, in those far-away times? – W.B.

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Beaulieu fixtures

The Montagu Motor Museum announces the following 1965 rallies:–

May 9th. ………… Daimler/Lanchester O.C. Rally.

May 30th. ………. Saab O.C. Rally.

June 6/7th. ……… Traction Engine Rally.

June 19th. ………. Morris 8 Tourer Club Rally.

June 20th. ……….. Citroën C.C. Rally.

July 4th. ………….. V.S.C.C. and 750 M.C. Rally.

July 25th. …………. American Car Rally.

Aug. 1st. ………….. Over 5-litres Rally.

Sept. 19th. ………… M.G. C. C. Triple-M Rally.

Of these, the V.S.C.C. driving tests and the great gathering of Austin Sevens of all ages at the behest of the 750 M.C.’s Austin Seven Register on July 4th is notable, and the Over 5-litres Rally is a new idea, which, unless it is confined to pre-1941 cars, will be a rather haphazard mixture of “white elephants” and large moderns.

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Accessories

This month, two items under this heading, one for exterior, the other for interior comfort, The Byford “Silverstone” V-neck knitted pullover, is a comfortable piece of wearing apparel, with breast pocket and subtle rather than obvious styling, achieved by needle-stripe front stitching, Hardy Amie’s acted as consultant. These pullovers come in small, medium and large sizes, in a choice of racing red, Oxford blue, Cambridge blue, tartan green, tobacco and harvest gold, and cost approx. £4 12s. 6d.

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Austin 7 items

The 750 M.C. arranged for Charles Goodacre, the pre-war works racing driver, to give a most interesting talk, with slides, at Hampton Court on the evening of April 2nd.

Goodacre outlined the development of the racing Austin 7 from the first version in 1923 to the fabulous twin-cam Murray Jamieson cars of just before the war, quoting power outputs in terms of b.h.p. per ton to allow present-day Austin 7 exponents to appreciate the potential of the early cars. He included the high, ugly car shipped to Australia, with which Arthur Waite won the first Australian G.P. in t928, the Maclochlan Austin 7 built up from bits into a highly-accelerative racing car, and Spero’s “Mrs. Jo Jo,” so highly tuned by father Spero, who even drilled holes in the H-section of the con.-rods, that when it eventually blew-up at Brooklands the engine was completely wrecked.

There were so hilarious stories of happenings to Goodacre, who joined the Austin Motor Co. as an apprentice in 1926 and who was sent out to Italy by Lord Austin in 1931 as mechanic and co-driver in an Austin Ulster in the Mille Miglia. Goodacre made it very clear how Lord Austin took a personal interest in the Austin racing programme, and it was he who instructed the staff and drivers concerned that Austins were to clean up the Coronation Trophy Meeting at Donington while Lord Austin attended the Coronation ceremonies in Westminster Abbey.

Goodacre confirmed that the Austin 7 and 12/4 engines were scaled-down versions of the Austin 20 power unit, the Seven using non-friction crankshaft bearings copied from the Baby Peugeot. He said the unfortunate Austin 12/6 had an economy engine designed by two Americans, for inexpensive production, which Lord Austin acknowledged was a failure until a well-known consulting engineer was called in to improve its breathing.

Goodacre showed clearly the engineering genius of the late Murray Jamieson, but said one mistake in the twin-cam racing Austin engine was the 100° valve angle, copied from the Lory straight-eight Delage, which unduly restricted compression-ratio. He said these cars cost £75,000 to build.

A very informative and stimulating talk concluded with slides showing the latest F.1 Coventry-Climax and B.R.M. engines. A blown 1-1/2-litre engine for the 1966 G.P. formula would be quite impossible on pump petrol, Goodacre explained, and, comparing a pre-war Auto-Union with the 1966 3-litre V8 G.P. car, he said the new formula is crazy, as the cars would be dangerously overpowered, with some 450 b.h.p. in very light cars of very small frontal area, probably producing a top speed in the region of 260 m.p.h. In speaking of present-day racing cars he made the very interesting point that Jamieson originally designed the works Austins as rear-engined racing cars but Lord Austin objected that the drivers would be too vulnerable in the event of an accident and that a bonnet-less car looked too far removed from the public conception of a motor car, so this layout was abandoned. – W. B.