Humber and Triumph Dolomite Sprint

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Sir,

I noticed your enquiry about the Lucas “Startix” device for automatically restarting a stalled engine. The car in which I learned to drive was fitted with one of these. It was a 1935 Humber 12 family saloon with quite a fair performance from its side-valve “four” and memorably sumptuous seating and leg room. For decades I squirmed silently from time to time as one or other aged parent boasted of this fabulous car, so far ahead of its time that even yet the others have not got this wonderful device! I never had the heart to say that with a properly adjusted engine and driver it was so unnecessary. To be fair it never caused the slightest trouble, but if I remember correctly its use was not compulsory; there was an alternative position for the switch. Interestingly enough the car was ahead of its time in having synchromesh on all four forward gears, if you call that an advance. Personally I regard it as desirable only on two gears, first and reverse, to facilitate engagement at rest. Anyway I conscientiously taught myself to double declutch which came in useful later on in the Army when I had to drive all sorts of vehicles, and later still when I got a vintage car.

At present I am besotted with my Dolomite Sprint, surely an old man’s darling if ever there was one. It cossets you in luxury while providing superlative performance and handling. So far the little monkey has demurely dealt with all contenders including every BMW encountered and a V12 Jag. Of course they weren’t all trying, but most of them certainly were. In extenuation I must explain that my job demands getting about as quickly as possible, and in this the Sprint beats everything to date with the possible exception of the aforementioned vintage car. It also has a remarkable clean bill of health. I wonder if it will give me the 10,000 trouble-free miles that I have sought in vain from new cars since the War. Britain, France and Germany have all failed to achieve this but perhaps the Sprint will succeed. 6,000 to go; I’ll let you know.

I seem to have rambled on as though fitted with a verbal “Startix”; perhaps you shouldn’t have turned the key! I have noticed that your correspondents often conclude with warm and spontaneous appreciation of your journal and I am with them all the way but I would go further than this and applaud your excellent influence on the whole motoring scene. If modesty makes you doubt me, just look at the effect you have had on your rival journals for a start!

Edinburgh David E. Tulloch