Riley Nine horse power

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Sir,

At last the b.h.p. from the standard and sports versions of the Riley Nine has been settled by the letter from Mr. Farrar.

But it is at this point that an even greater controversy could develop, for the impression left (perhaps wrongly) in my mind by Mr. Ireland’s letter is that 46.5 b.h.p. is beyond the reach of a Riley Nine engine, I would like to dispel that impression, if I may.

I have seen many power output claims in print above 46.5, the highest being 99 b.h.p. at 6,300 r.p.m. as quoted in an article in The Autocar. This claim I find hard to believe, assuming this figure to be authentic, this would surely make the engine of the most “tune-able” engines ever produced, namely 28 to 99 – over a 300% increase from the basic works engine!

Plymouth. – G. P. Bickford.

[It is possible that highly-tuned racing Riley Nine engines with multiple carburetters gave nearly 100 b.h.p. because this was a power unit very susceptible to hotting-up.—Ed.]

* * * * *

That Renault 45

Sir,

It gave me a tremendous kick to read Bill Boddy’s fascinating account of a ride in a Renault 45. It also brought back very clearly some exciting memories of nearly 40 years ago. Around 1926, when I was an apprentice journalist (of sorts) at the firm of George Newnes, in London, it was decided to jump on what was then a rapidly developing band wagon and bring out a motorists’ touring guide. My late father, who was an Editor at Newnes, was given the job of producing this guide. I assisted him in a small way. The Renault Company was roped in and co-operated wholeheartedly – so much so that one of the famous “Forty-Fives” (complete with chauffeur) was loaned to us for a series of publicity pictures. I still have one of the shots. It is a most striking-looking car but, unlike the “white elephant” one Bill Boddy shows, it was designed on sporting lines, having, as I remember to this day, a magnificent mahogany “boat-deck” body, covered with what appeared to be copper studs. It had a pointed rear end, with an occasional seat in the tail. One Saturday we took it down to Burnham Beeches for some pictures. The Great West Road – from Chiswick roundabout to the “Traveller’s Friend” junction on the old A4 – had been opened just a year or two (I seem to remember it opened in 1924). I could swear we touched 90 as we got on to the down-grade approaching the Hounslow end – and it was a marvellous thing to look back to where our little photographer was crouching in the rear seat, and to see the look of sheer terror on the man’s face!

I should very much like to know if this car is one of the handful which have survived. Unfortunately, I cannot see the complete number-plate because, although we have an excellent photograph the car is at an awkward angle. However, the second of the two index letters is “O,” and the number is either 488 or 4188.

For the complete tour of England and Scotland which he undertook in connection with this work, Renault’s gave my father one of their almost “unwearoutable,” but rather slow and ghastly, little 8.9 tourers. My father had not driven since he had piloted a Sunbeam on the Western front in 1918, but seizing this new opportunity with both hands, he had a “crash” series of driving lessons from a local garage bloke, after which he calmly drove the 8.9 from Land’s End to John o’Groats – which may have been quite a feat with such a car in the ‘twenties! I still have the Newnes’ Motorists’ Touring Guide; and one of my delights on a wet day is to flip through its pages and examine the (now) incredible-looking old cars which grace many of the pictures showing leading towns and cities up and down our land.

As I remember it, the 8.9 did about 189,000 miles, and was still going very well indeed when we chanced to meet it on the road some years after my father sold it in sheer exasperation at never being able to wear it out! This, sir (always provided you didn’t want to go much faster than cycling pace), was the most reliable car on earth. Had I saved the money I later earned from various extremely lucrative journalistic jobs, I should undoubtedly still be driving a Renault today. A jomnalist friend of mine in Cornwall is currently running a new one, and I find it a sheer delight in every way.

And now, to finish this “saga” of parental motoring choices, I must switch over to reader Mike Langham, whose eulogies of the Austin 10/4 (also in your March issue) I have followed with both interest and the fullest agreement. After his many years with the little Renault, my father bought one of the very first of the Austin Tens. This, I think, was in either 1932 or 1933. Anyway, he was so delighted with it that he had a new one every year right through until 1939. This, again, was one of the most ultra reliable of all the slow cars. Were I not these days wholeheartedly committed to its smaller brother, the vintage Austin 7, I should like nothing better than a good old Austin 10 with which to finish my days pottering around the Cornish lanes.

As for many, many years, I look forward to the 1st of next month with the greatest possible eagerness.

Newquay – Jack Marshall.

* * * * *

A rare make

Sir,

The above picture is of a Loryc seen in Spain last year in good running order. The car is finished in red and yellow, and appears to have been just restored, as the interior (bright red) and the brass fittings are in perfect condition. The tyres are rather worn (Firestone Hispania) and the spare is not original.

The Loryc is the Spanish version of the French E.H.P. and was made by E. Loryc in Palma about 1923.

Bolton. – A. S. Duckworth.

* * * * *

Factory methods in the Vintage era

Sir,

I have been interested to read the remarks on the subject of Morris’s mass production methods. Whether or not the Scammells carried 50 engines I could not say, but remembering that each had its gearbox and universal joint attached they would be pretty bulky units.

I am enclosing a photograph taken earlier than the period you mention (about 1921) showing about 18 engines on the lorry and about six on the trailer. The second photograph shows Mr. Curley Wheeler in the Scammell, which was also used for the transport of engines from Coventry to Cowley. It is thought that this photograph was taken in 1923. See page 384.

Rugby. – Lytton P. Jarman.

* * * * *

Data needed

Sir,

I have an old touring car the registration number of which indicates that it is a 1916 model. There is a V8 engine in it and a 3-speed gearbox, the radiator is missing, and the only reference to a manufacturer is a name-plate on the facia board which says “Vincent Hollier, Agents, Rock Manufacturing Co., 258, Goldhawk Road, London. Chassis No. 263.” I wonder if any of your readers could give any information and photographs, for which I would be very grateful.

Nass, Co. Kildare. – Roland Frayne.

* * * * *

The Eyston Chryslers

Sir,

I noted with interest references to the Eyston Chrysler cars in the correspondence columns in the November issue of Motor Sport.

It may interest your readers to know a few details as to how this particular model came into being. George Eyston had obtained the World’s Land Speed Record in 1936 and, during his stay in America, apparently negotiated an arrangement with Chrysler Motors to supply a limited batch of stripped chassis, fitted with engines of a type not previously exported to this country. As Chief Body Designer to Carlton Carriage Co. Ltd., I was asked to submit a design and to build a prototype body, to be approved by the Chrysler English subsidiary Company, pending George Eyston’s return to this country.

The finished car was towed to the Dorchester Hotel and staged behind plush curtains to be revealed to motor journalists at a special banquet breakfast, just prior to the opening of the Olympia Motor Show of 1936.

Poole. – A. P. Neale.

* * * * *

Renault Reinastella memories

Sir,

Your “white elephant” in the current Motor Sport put me in mind of a 4-litre 8-in-line Reinastella (circa 1930) I bought in 1938 for 4,000 francs. A very handsome 2-door coupé, apple green and black, and a tremendously powerful 2-note whistle on the exhaust. (The whistle carried the deal. I was still young at the time!) It was not the only powerful thing about the Reinastella: the engine had horses enough once it got going, but the servo locked the wheels with very light pedal pressure. On the whole, it was a killer.

After a month of fun with it and burning lots of petrol, another fool offered me 5,000 francs for it, cash, so I let it go. It was the best piece of motoring business in all my life. Shortly after, the new owner crashed the Reins on some rocks and put it definitely out of commission (the servo, probably).

About servo-brakes, I would like to mention those used by Chenard et Walcker on their 2- and 3-litre models of 1923 and after, which held the World’s Stopping record of 34 metres at 100 k.p.h. I had a 2-litre Sport for several years and since then have owned a good many different cars, including my present DS19, but never found such safety in braking as on the Chenard, because it was impossible to lock the wheels at any speed or any pedal pressure, even on ice. The system was called “servo frein auto régulateur Hallot” and worked exactly like a centrifugal clutch. It was asymptotic and could not “finish stopping” the car, so another brake on the transmission was put in action by the clutch pedal at the end of the run. This took some getting used to, but was fairly logical as you usually declutch before a “full stop.”

There were no drums on the rear axle, the servo acting on the transmission. Front wheel brakes had to be adjusted “just so” to get maximum action at the limit of locking, but that was fairly easy.

I wonder if any of your readers has had occasion to drive a Chenard equipped with that servo? I never saw it mentioned anywhere.

Creuse, France. – M. Jorrand.

[For many years David Scott-Moncrieff had a 2-litre Chenard-Walcker with this braking system which is now the property of Lord Montagu’s Motor Vehicle Trust, for I recall, Scott-Moncrieff himself making this generous presentation. _ Ed.]

* * * * *

Who was first with light-alloy pistons?

Sir,

On the subject of the first use of light-alloy pistons, I am surprised nobody has mentioned T. R. Nicholson’s statement in his book “European Cars 1886-1914,” in which he says that the first Aquila-ltaliana car, a 6-cylinder designed by Giulio Cesare Cappa, had aluminium pistons as early as 1906.

Apparently they were a success.

Longstanton. – Peter Hull.

__________________________

H. C. Tryon, M.B.E.—Eighty-four-year-old pioneer motorist H. C. Tryon, M.B.E., died in Kingston Hospital in March. “H .C.”, as he was affectionately known, worked with S. F. Edge after joining the Napier Company in 1904 as a test driver. He won the first race (for the Marcel Renault Plate) of the first meeting held at Brooklands in 1907. After 53 years with Napiers “H.C.” retired in 1956 at the age of seventy-five. Prior to 1946 he was head of research for the Company at Acton-, his last ten years being spent as consultant engineer. An honorary member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, H. C. Tryon, an active motorist until December last year, leaves a widow, two sons and six daughters.

___________________________

V.M.C.C. Banbury Run – June 27th

This important fixture of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club takes place on June 27th. This year’s routes have been somewhat shortened and really old machines have only about 16 miles to cover. Regulations from: J. Boulton, 11A, Ounsdale Road, Wombourne, Wolverhampton.

__________________________

Rolls-Royce items

It has come to our notice that the wording of the article in our issue on a visit to the Rolls-Royce factory at Crewe might be misconstrued where it deals with the stoving of Rolls-Royce bodies. At the time of our visit each body spent 50 minutes in the stoving oven. Also, it was stated that the normal mileage between chassis lubrication of the Silver Cloud Ill is 20,000 miles; this should read 12,000 miles.

Last month’s article on “Shopping For a Used Rolls-Royce” has aroused great interest and the Editor is now engaged on investigating further cars and preparing a further instalment.

__________________________

Quote

From Beetling, the VW O.C. magazine, on the “Marriage Lines” theme (see Readers’ Letters) of one of their members: “Apart from the VW, his interests are wife, archery, vintage cars, colour photography.” Incidentally, the April issue of Beetling contained an article by Laurie Manifold on improving the road-holding of a VW and owners’ experiences of various VWs, including the 1500 S.

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