Letters from readers, May 1980

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The “Triangle Flying Saucer” 

Sir, 

As the final owner of the “Triangle Flying Saucer”, I was so very sorry to read the Obituary of Ted Lloyd-Jones in the March issue of Motor Sport. Perhaps a little more information about this splendid aero-engined car which he created, and its ultimate fate, would be of interest. 

Apparently, in the early part of WW2 arrangements were made to flood the mouth of the Severn near Bristol with petrol as a gesture of welcome to German invaders whom it was hoped to incinerate. Ted told me that several Rolls-Royce Kestrel engines, with airscrews, were mounted in suitable places to blow the burning petrol in the required direction into the path of the enemy. Early in the 1950’s, he acquired one of these 21-litre unsupercharged 610 b.h.p. engines and conceived the idea of mounting it in a shortened Daimler Armoured Scout car chassis, replacing the rear-mounted Daimler D8 18 engine. 

The Wilson gearbox was discarded and replaced by a Vauxhall 30/98 gearbox which coupled direct to the armoured car 4 wheel drive transfer gearbox. Typical of Ted, he made a new aluminium lid for the transfer gearbox upon which were raised cast letters giving very rude lubrication instructions! This gearbox did indeed give trouble from time to time absorbing some 6 times it’s designed rating, but the vintage Vauxhall main gearbox seemed to be quite trouble-free. The Scout car transmission incorporated 4 crown wheels & pinions, driven by 4 prop shafts from the above transfer gearbox and various people have asked me how it was possible for such high speeds to be obtained bearing in mind the maximum r.p.m. of 2,900. The answer is that as in my own 27-litre Swandean Spitfire Special, the main gearbox was reversed so that bottom gear was direct drive and all succeeding gears were overdrives!

Ted very bravely sat in the nose of the Flying Saucer with his back to a Ford V8 radiator behind which the Kestrel belched flame from it’s stub exhausts. The car was usually tow-started as although there was provision for a starting handle via a reduction gearbox built into the engine, the moment the engine fired it immediately burnt off the unfortunate mechanic’s eyebrows. 

Some time around 1957 I had sold the Spitfire Special and a Hampshire garage offered me the Saucer, Ted having apparently given up competitive driving due to a tiff, it was said, over his Competition Licence. I couldn’t resist another aero-engined car and took the Saucer home with me on the end of a tow rope to Worthing. Apart from a broken transfer gearbox which was easily replaced from war surplus stocks, the car was in good order and a tow-start down the Worthing to Arundel road soon had her running. Competing at Brighton Speed Trials, I soon found the short wheelbase produced distinctly twitchy handling with a great urge to drift towards the iron railings and the sea. Disaster overtook the engine at Thorney Island Speed Trials when a con rod appeared through the side of the crankcase.

Fortunately, I had a spare supercharged Kestrel engine but whilst I was considering building another unblown engine out of the bits, I was approached by Hawker’s who were in desperate need of a blown Kestrel engine to restore a Hawker Hart to flying condition. They wished to buy both Kestrel engines and after much thought I decided that, on balance, it was more important to get the Hart back in the air again. Hawker’s told me that they had scoured the world in a fruitless attempt to find a suitable Kestrel engine. So the Triangle Flying Saucer and both engines were sold, and the Saucer itself was broken up for scrap in Percy Voak’s scrapyard at Worthing. The only parts which survived were the 30/98 gearbox passed on to a Vauxhall owner, and the badge from the nose. It is on my desk as I write and is triangular shape reading “Triangle Soucoupe Volante” and depicts a Flying Saucer. Doubtless, Ted Lloyd-Jones is now at the controls with the throttle wide open.

F. M. Wilcock
Jersey Motor Museum 

The BBC’s Grand Prix coverage 

Sir, 

I can understand the BBC not wanting to send Murray Walker to the circuit at all so that they can get him to add his commentary in the studio. But why is it necessary to dub the sound of the cars in later as well? Could that be cheaper than synchronising sight and sound? 

Sight and sound do not correspond, and that takes away half the thrill of the race. 

The other half is nullified if the commentator seems to be in a state of perpetual hysteria. If the BBC could do car events as well as they do horse events our gratitude would be unbounded.

Owen Lawrence-Jones 
Maldon 

VAT on motorcycling helmets 

Sir, 

You appear to be under the impression that protective helmets are liable to the standard rate of VAT (Matters of Moment, April 1980). 

Such helmets have always been zero rated under the Zero Rate Schedule Group 17, item 3 (page 61 of VAT notice 701: Scope and Coverage). 

Item 3 “Protective helmets for wear by a person driving or riding a motor bicycle”. Notes. “To qualify for zero rating, the goods, whether of home manufacture or imported, must both conform to the appropriate British Standards Institution standard AND be marked or labelled with the British Standards Mark (known as the ‘Kitemark’) indicating compliance with that standard”. 

The appropriate standards are:

(c) Protective helmets for motorcyclists: BS 5361 : 1976 or BS 2495 : 1977. 

I would suggest you contact your local VAT Office if you require a copy of the notice, under Customs & Excise in the phone directory. 

Many thanks for what is usually an interesting and accurate magazine. 

David Clark 
(Customs Officer) 
Sunderland 

* * * 

Sir, 

I would like to congratulate you on the April 1st issue of Motor Sport and your excellent April Fools Joke regarding the VAT on safety helmets. Doubtless this will have caused considerable response from various quarters pontificating with lengthy corrections that VAT does not apply. 

The amusing aspect of your editorial should not be allowed to distract, however, from the serious point you are making, i.e., that the individual should be allowed freedom of choice whilst still advocating the use of safety devices — albeit without compulsion. 

E. T. Ogilvie-Hardy 
Chairman and Managing Director, Griffin Helmets Ltd. 
Halesowen 

Silverstone historics 

Sir, 

May I beg use of your columns to comment, somewhat bitterly, on two topics which have been discussed in your correspondence columns over the past twelve months, namely the cost of spectating at events and historic racing car authenticity.

Last Easter I attended the Silverstone Bank Holiday meeting and thoroughly enjoyed an uncrowded, moderately priced day out and in particular the historic single seater race which was sensibly programmed in the middle of the meeting with practice for it late in the morning. Thus the cars had maximum exposure. Enthused, I encouraged friends to come this year. But I shall not go again, my recently rekindled enthusiasm for historic cars notwithstanding; entrance costs were unacceptably high and to schedule the start of the main event for 6.05 p.m. (it actually started at 6.30 p.m. ) was ridiculous and many with young children or long return distances to travel were heard to complain bitterly. I can only presume Stirling Moss’s participation at Thruxton was the cause. Furthermore, I then found myself sympathising, mistakenly, for those non-starters Messrs. Corner, de Cadenet, Lindsay and Norman who I presumed had suffered technical problems during practice. I now learn that they withdrew as a result of petty wrangling over the authenticity of the Moss Ferrari. They may have a case, but I hope they remain happy that they spoiled a considerable part of my, and other ordinary people’s, Easter trip out. It was the sort of action one might expect from modern Grand Prix stars — but not from a body I believed to be made up from Sporting Gentlemen. Perhaps D.S.J. would care to comment?

This leads me to my next point: authenticity. Most readers will be familiar with the arguments previously rehearsed so I will be brief. No racing car remains absolutely original after its first race. May I propose, therefore, that the test is whether or not the car matches its original specification. So if Mr. Corner blows up his V-12 engine and has funds to commission the building of a true replica and have it subjected to scrutiny then I for one shall be happy. Because, in the final analysis I want to see both his and Moss’s car racing — providing, of course, that they have not both got the latest Cosworth Formula 1 engine under their bonnets. As to who wins? I could not care less and I am disappointed that Corner & Co. feel it is that important.

Major W. L. Pender
Bulford, Wilts. 

From the other side of the fence 

Sir, 

As a long-time Historic car racing enthusiast (and actually a former member of the HSCC 10 Years back when I owned an Abarth Zagato) who graduated some time ago to racing on two wheels, I have followed with considerable interest your recent articles and correspondence on the question of the authenticity of certain historic racing machinery. Permit me therefore to offer a few unsolicited comments from the other side of the fence.

Some months ago some fellow bike racers and I founded the Classic Racing Motorcycle Club. Not altogether to our surprise membership has boomed, as owners/riders of 50s and 60s machines not catered for by the Vintage (i.e. 25 years old or more) Club recognised that here at last was a movement which provided them with the opportunity to air their machines in either a race or parade context on the track without being blown off by modern-day (mostly Japanese) 2-strokes. I imagine the HSCC was formed for much the same reasons. We cater too for the period 1945-1972, approximating most closely to the HSCC dates: after reading their PRO Mr. Pratley’s letter in your last issue it appears we have even more in common in terms of approach.

Racing motorcycles — like cars — are built to be used on the track: it’s their natural habitat. Over the years they are used thus, win races, finish last, blow up, overrev, wear out, crash, run like clockwork and sometimes not at all. They may be loved or despised, cherished or neglected, well maintained or badly prepared, rebuilt, renovated or left to rot. More and more of them eventually pass into the hands of someone like myself who prefers to race machines of a previous era (though I ought for the record to admit that I do also run a Formula 1 Kawasaki). We restore them, and put them back on the track again, where they belong. To do so will often entail replacing parts that have corroded, worn, broken or are simply unsafe (Lotus mag wheels and Aermacchi steering damper brackets are good examples of the latter). In the process some “originality” must be lost — but is it better to have the machine out on the track again where both the public and the rider/driver can derive pleasure from its appearance, or locked away out of sight in a garage stagnating (sorry — forgot to use the speculators’ term: “appreciating”)?

When faced with the question of originality we examined our reasons for existence, and developed a pragmatic approach. With over 500 members and nearly 2,000 machines in the Club we have no need for extra paperwork, so the FIVA-type registration form was briefly considered, then rejected. After all, what’s to stop the dedicated rule-bender from altering the specification after the machine has been approved? With 200-300 machines to be scrutineered for safety at each meeting, there’s no time to compare every detail on every machine with its carnet. And while cars are less numerous at meetings there’s more to them, so more to check. 

We therefore decided to concentrate on outward ritual authenticity (not originality) — to make sure that our races looked “right” (meaning of the period). Thus a Manx Norton with non-original mid-60s type Oldani front brake is quite acceptable, even though the component was manufactured after the machine’s production run ended. A front disc or Yamaha drum brake would by the same token not be acceptable. But if in order to get the machine to the line the owner has had to fit a new (even pattern) frame, new crankcases, Venolia piston or even to build the engine up out of spares, provided the engine is externally unmodified and the cycle parts visually authentic — that’s good enough for us, and I can’t for the life of me see why it shouldn’t be so on four wheels as well.

A similar problem to your “replica” 250F currently confronts the CRMC. A total of 12 Linto 500 c.c. GP machines were constructed in 1969/70; 6 are known to exist still (four alone are in the UK!). Nos. 13 and 14 are currently being built up in Italy out of spares left over after the effort to beat Ago and the MVs way finally doomed. One of these will have a newly-constructed frame, built on the works jig, and is apparently destined for Britain. We shall welcome it with open arms, because the sight and sound of such a beast at British Classic events will only serve to enrich the whole spectacle. It can’t possibly enrich the owner very much, because with No. 14 stamped on the engine it will be known to one and all as what the purists would seem a “replica” — but none the less worthwhile for all that. And it is a Linto — just as much as our Manx Norton with the new frame and reconstructed engine, replacing the original parts made unserviceable in the course of years of competition, is a Manx. 

If I may be allowed to pontificate for a moment, what’s gone wrong with Historic car racing is first of all that the cars have got to be worth too darn much, and secondly that the whole thing has got much too serious, with European Championships and the like (mostly contested by journalists and dealers, as far as I can see!). If someone wants to pay through the nose for a 250F Maserati of doubtful heritage — why not let him? And if he wants to run it in historic racing — why can’t he? When I used to watch Charlie Lucas driving the 250F on the limit 10 years ago or so, there was always a gaggle of six or seven similar cars behind him, and a great sight, sound and smell it was too. Where are they all now? Busily appreciating in their garages, no doubt, just like all the D-types. “Oh but they’re too valuable to race.” That’s the cue for the punchline: what man has made, man can make again, and if this whole business of “originality” went out the window, you’d see a lot more of the cars you all want to see back on the tracks again. 

May I just say that if any clubs or race organisers would like the CRMC to put on a Classic racing bike display or parade at semi-racing speeds at any of their meetings, we’ll be more than happy to oblige. Please write to me at the address below. 

I’ve read Motor Sport now since the age of eight — my first copy recounted Mike Hawthorn’s first GP win! It’s now the only car magazine I read — and I couldn’t imagine the first of the month without it. Long may you prosper.

Alan Cathcart 
CRMC, PO Box 147, London W5 

Authentication 

Sir, 

Peter Dixon seems to have misunderstood the point of my letter. The method of accepting historic racing cars practised by the VSCC is surely the most practical and acceptable way. They do not issue their own passport/carnet document as he implies, but of course they do endorse the FIA/RAC document for those members who wish to enter International events. As far as I know, this applies to the AMOC. There does not seem to be any point in issuing an almost carbon copy of this rambling five-page document thereby duplicating an unsatisfactory process which is not followed up. 

The VSCC may employ a small professional office staff but the relevant Committee consists of amateur members who will even go and examine cars themselves where doubt exists. 

The point is that if historic sports cars were authenticated in a similar manner by the HSCC, then event organisers could base their meetings on the two governing Clubs’ rules. In time, the RAC and FIA would become aware of this effective procedure and, hopefully, will modify their own rules accordingly for International events.

Barry Simpson 
Brixham 

A street rodding supporter 

Sir, 

The answer to E. C. Sharrocks question “Where have all the specials gone?” is to street rods and customs.

I realise thoughts of such cars conjure up ideas of drug-crazed hooligans in the minds of some of your readers, but this is simply unrealistic. Most rodders are respectable and knowledgeable car enthusiasts who dislike the “cowboy” element of the sport as much as you do.

Probably, the customised vehicles the majority of your readers disapprove of most are rods, these being based on cars of pre-1949 design. If the cars used were in excellent original condition and then ripped apart simply for the body, disapproval would be understandable. Most cars used, however, are rescued from scrapyards, farms or old ladies’ gardens or are purchased through classified advertisements for usually under £100 and are past restorable condition to the original design. 

Furthermore, the parts that are not used (normally mechanicals, but often chassis, glass, lights and seats) are usually sold, thus increasing the amount of such parts on the market, through advertisements in the rodding magazines. I recommend owners of the more mundane machinery, e.g. sidevalve Fords, Austin Devons, etc., to look in such magazines for parts, indeed some of the more enterprising restorers even advertise for the parts they need. 

I hope this letter clears up a few points about street rodding, which is growing all the time, and before you dismiss it as a passing phase look at one of the magazines. You’ll be amazed not only by the paint but also the detailed engineering involved. 

Thanks for the space!

Simon Beeton (16) 
Waltham Cross 

Throw-away ‘bikes? 

Sir, 

I think Mr. Jules has got his wires crossed (Motor Sport, February ’80) when giving his reason for the death of the British motorcycle industry. 

It is precisely because the new ones were just as bad as his 15-year-old BSA that they succumbed to the Jap. models. 

If Mr. Jules could just forget his blind prejudice and really look at them it would be obvious how advanced was the thinking and design that went in to them from the outset, and still does. Better still have a ride on one and then think back to your thumping old Beesa.

The only annoying aspect to me about the whole situation is that with such a clear example to learn from the British car industry seems hell bent on following the same path to oblivion.

If anyone is throwing away Jap. ‘bikes as Mr. Jules contends I wish someone would throw me a “Goldwing”.

Jack Carpenter 
Maldon 

Information required 

Sir,

For my sins I am deeply embroiled in writing hopefully definitive histories of BRM, Cooper and Lola competition cars. If any readers who have had first-hand experience of any of these cars feel they can contribute something worthwhile to my research I would be very grateful indeed to hear from them . . . anything, however minor it might seem, could well prove to be the missing part of some very complex jigsaw puzzles. I hope somebody out there might be interested?

Doug Nye 
Farnham, Surrey 

[Letters will be forwarded. — Ed.] 

A Vauxhall pedal car 

Sir, 

I was particularly interested in the photograph accompanying the letter of Mr. Seyd (Vintage Postbag January 1980) and in your obvious appreciation of the small pedal car. My middle son, Reuben, has a very similar car and I enclose several Photographs which may be of interest to you and your readers. 

It was made by Lines Bros. whose trade mark and name appear on the nearside running board, and has been substantially restored. 

The vehicle drives superbly, so I am told, on the level but it is too heavy for the size of driver on anything but level ground or very slight inclines either way. 

The piece of rope, which can be seen in the photographs, is to prevent my intrepid lad running away with himself. 

He tells me the car is extremely comfortable, which I put down to being suspended on half-elliptic springs front and rear. The wheels are quick detachable type apart from one driving wheel at the rear.

Roger Ll. Whittaker 
Ilkley 

Wrong driver 

Sir, 

Having been a reader of your excellent magazine for many years, I was surprised to find a mistake in the small paragraph entitled “Silverstone Formula Three”. 

The caption for the second photograph said “Acheson leads Columbian Roberto Guerrero (Argo JM6) and Nigel Mansell (Works March 803). The trio had an enthralling dice in the early laps but Guerrero eventually dropped to finish fifth and Mansell had to settle for fourth place”.

The trio in the photograph did have an enthralling dice, but Acheson did not lead Guerrero. It was the Belgian Thierry Thassin (Argo JM6) who was involved with Mansell and Acheson in the fight for third place. On lap 10 Thassin’s over-enthusiasm caused him to spin at Woodcote and drop to thirteenth position, and he eventually finished twelfth. 

While this trio were locked in battle, Guerrero was actually in second place in an effort to try and catch the leader, Sweden’s Stefan Johansson, who was not to be caught. Guerrero did drop back to fifth place at the finish having been passed by Acheson, Blanchet and Mansell.

Sarah Taylor 
Manchester 

[Our Kiwi caption writer has donned the appropriate sackcloth and ashes. — Ed.]

Rubber glove power 

Sir, 

I was delighted to see a reference to my Speed 20 Alvis in your Pomeroy report even if you got nearly every detail wrong! It is a saloon not a tourer (Olympia Show Car in fact) and the rubber glove was in addition to a metal cap. Normally one would not fill the tank to the brim but one has to for the Pomeroy and the filler is level with the top of the tank. The glove was a precaution against surge. In fact we tried to tape two or more of the fingers down to create a more aesthetically appealing shape, but the rubber was neoprene in anticipation of another RAC regulation relating to rubberware and no tape would stick! The glove expanded with petrol vapour but the hoped-for thrust producing burst at the start of the standing quarter, did not happen.

D. G. Rouse 
Halstead 

Esson-Scott’s XK 120 

Sir, 

I was delighted to read your article, ending up with a lovely photograph of his Jaguar XK 120 FHC, VPE 181. 

I am quite sure this was not a 1952 car, as the late Philip Cunliffe-Lister bought it new in 1954 and we did the Tulip Rally together in 1955.

He had the C Type modification done and stiffer front torsion bars, all by Jaguars.

Dunlops kindly made up some “Fort” covers with racing rubber, so that they would last!

In the wet they were lethal, but second gear was fabulous on the hilly sections and out of hairpin bends!! 

Working up to the Tulip, it won the Concours, after the Redex Rally at Hastings in November 1954, and apart from the wing mirrors looks exactly the same.

H. M. Gadsby 
Chichester 

Restructuring Sports Car Racing 

Sir, 

With reference to K. R. Stubb’s letter in the March issue of Motor Sport, I would like to draw your attention to the following two sets of proposals aimed at restructuring Sports Car Racing. 

The first of these was submitted to the CSI in 1975 by Keith Duckworth of Cosworth Engineering and Ralph Broad of Broadspeed Engineering but a reply was never received. They maintained that whilst no Company was willing to invest the huge amounts of money needed to try and break the Porsche monopoly of G5, the only way ahead for Sports Car Racing was for the manufacturers, entrants, circuit owners, promoters and drivers to get together and draw up some kind of reciprocal agreement. 

To give some indication of what the regulations for such a championship could be, Duckworth and Broad submitted the following outline which, they said, would provide a spectacular form of endurance racing in which as many manufacturers as possible would be in with a chance of outright victory.

Definition 

Special production cars for which no minimum production number is required but which originate from cars recognised in Production Touring Car and Production Grand Touring Car categories.

General specification 

Body/Chassis unit: Series production coachwork and/or chassis unit as well as the exterior coachwork dimensions must be retained without modification except as regard to the following:

It is allowed to strengthen the body/chassis unit. To lighten all non-structural members and to modify the inner wheel arches and chassis side rails to facilitate the fitting of larger wheels and tyres but in no way must these modifications weaken the main structural member. 

Aerodynamic devices: These must be contained within the overall width, height and length determined by the recognised body dimensions, excluding the wing extensions, with the exception of rear aerodynamic devices which may project beyond the rear of the recognised body shape by no more than 30 cm. Aerodynamic devices fitted to the front of the car must be mounted below the horizontal line determined by the centre of the front wheel hubs. No aerodynamic devices must be fitted to the rear which obstructs the rear window by more than 33⅓% of the rear window vertical depth, i.e. if the vertical depth of the rear window is 30 cm., the aerodynamic device must be no higher than 10 cm. from the lower edge of the rear window measured in the vertical plane.

Wing extensions: These will be permitted on condition they do not entail an increase of 7.5 cm. on the wing width of either side of the car.

Minimum weight: 1,100 kg. 

Engine: Cylinder capacity limits as follows: 6.0 litres — 2 valves per cylinder pushrod operation; 5.5 litres — 2 valves per cylinder, free operation; 3.5 litres — 4 valves per cylinder, free operation; 2.0 litres, supercharged/turbocharged — 2 or 4 valves per cylinder, free operation.

There are no classes — all cars run on a scratch basis. The FIA reserves the right to amend the engine cylinder capacity limits after the first 12 months is it is found that one capacity class has too great an advantage. 

The original cylinder block recognised on the basic car must be used. The cylinder capacity is free up to the above limits. This can be achieved by altering the bore or stroke or both. 

It is permitted to strengthen the cylinder block, provided the origin of the series production cylinder block may always be ascertained. 

The engine must remain in the original engine compartment. 

The engine must be capable of being started by on board means. 

Wheels: Free but must be of the same diameter on all four wheels. 

Tyres: Free but maximum tread width must be no greater than 15 in. 

Brakes: Free. However, the braking system must be so conceived that the effect of the brake pedal is normally exerted on all four wheels. In case of a leakage, at some point in the piping or a fault in some part of the brake transmission, the action of the pedal must still be exerted on at least two wheels. 

Other Mechanical Components: Free. However, the drive wheels on the recognised basic model should remain the drive wheels. This implies that a four-wheel-drive transmission can only be used on a car or designed at the origin. 

Suspension: Free.

Steering: Free.

Electrical & Lighting System: Free, but lighting system must conform to the basic configuration of the recognised car regarding the external appearance.

The second set of proposals was revealed in April 1977 when it was announced that representatives from Porsche, BMW, Ford, Leyland, Chrysler, Vauxhall, Opel, Saab and Toyota had discussed the possibility of establishing a new sports car formula using production-block 2-litre engines in front-engined rear-wheel-drive, 4-seater cars. They felt that this would acknowledge the need for the costs of competitive participation in the World Championship of Makes to be drastically reduced as well as talking into account current trends in world-wide road car legislation and design. They added that besides cars from their own factories those from Alfa Romeo, Colt, Datsun, Fiat, Lancia, Lotus, Mazda, Renault and VW would also be eligible to compete under these rules.

It would now appear that the CSI intend on reconstituting Sports Car Racing along the lines of the Le Mans/IMSA GTP category which allows for closed 2-seater cars with covered wheels, the rules falling somewhere between the present G5 and G6. Jean-Marie Balestre has stated that Porsche, BMW and Ferrari are interested in the new proposals. The Japanese Dome company has already announced a new car which they intend to enter in the GTP category at Le Mans this year. However, Sports Car Racing will not return to its former level of competitiveness if manufacturers are to race at Le Mans. To overcome this I would suggest a revision of the Sports Car Racing calendar along the following lines: 

In addition to Le Mans there would be races at Daytona and one other American venue whilst in Europe there would be the 1,000 km. of Spa-Francorchamps, Monza and the Nurburgring. Each of these circuits has lost its F1 race and would surely be guaranteed of a large crowd if this became their major meeting of the year. In addition to this I would advocate a British round of the series at Silverstone (why not restore the old TT status) and a final race at Brno in Czechoslovakia where 120,000 people annually attend their round of the ETC. 

Surely this would provide a secure financial basis for a new World Championship of Makes aimed at attracting new manufacturers as well as those already established in Sports Car Racing?

Marc W. Broddy 
Orpington 

Ford’s versatile V8 

Sir, 

Recent correspondence as to the versatile nature of the pre-World War 2 Ford V8 engine has prompted me to turn out the enclosed photograph taken in the Sinai desert in 1942.

The vehicle shown was a lightweight reconnaissance truck used in the 1938 Palestinian campaign and adapted locally for hived gauge railway use. The previous machine gun mounting on the top of the cab and the fittings for extra petrol cans at the rear can be observed. The door murals are an early example of customising!

I used it for inspection purposes in and around a rail-served ammunition depot then under construction. 

Being fitted however with a normal automobile gearbox its speed in reverse was extremely limited, certainly not enough to enable me to retire in time from a head-on collision with a shunting locomotive using the same line — but that is another story.

J. H. De La Rue 
Leicester 

Wrong marque 

I thank you for reviewing “Maserati Road Cars”, by Richard Crump and I, in Motor Sport.

Unfortunately one error was made. Richard Crump is the Maserati man, selling and servicing cars of this make. Next to supplying spare parts he has many parts made, thus helping a lot of Maserati owners to keep their cars on the road and track. 

I specialise in Ferrari cars and parts.

Rob De La Rive Box 
Seon, Switzerland

Amaroo Park 

Sir,

I enjoyed J.W.’s account of his driving experiences in Australia. 

I may have the solution to his problem of the rock face run-off area at Amaroo Park near Sydney. The photograph on page 33 of Motor Sport, January 1980 shows a Commodore 5.0 Estate going around the circuit in the wrong direction. 

Lots of luck mate! 

Reg Darwell 
(ARDC Member) 
Roseville, NSW 

Viva la Fiesta 

Sir,

I always enjoy your “My Year’s Motoring”; may I be permitted·to comment? You were rightly nice about the Fiesta, but I have not heard of the fierce clutch complaint here where all of the very many Fiesta comes from the Valencia plant. The clutch pedal certainly has little feel, and unless one knows the car it is difficult to immediately choose the effective part of the pedal travel; I imagine this is probably true of all diaphragm clutches? [No — Ed.] 

An engineer friend and I own three Fiestas and find they are extremely well finished and put together little cars. This is after ten years of using Spanish built Renault and Seats, all of which have excited favourable comparative comment when taken to the marque’s service stations when in Britain. With petrol at an equivalent of £1.41 for 90 and £1.64 for 96 it is good to be able to use the former on the 957s and a mixture of the two on the 1100. “Viva la Fiesta Española”

P. H. Hylton 
Malaga 

Philatelic journey 

Sir,

I should be obliged if you would publish the contents of this letter.

In June 1980 I am driving my 1936 Talbot tourer to a point beyond the Arctic Circle and back to raise money for the Gunnar Nilsson Cancer Treatment Fund.

One of the means of raising money is by the issue of “Special Event” philatelic covers. These covers carry engravings of the car and the route to be followed. Some will be franked at the point of departure and the balance in Norway. A number of the covers will carry the signatures of famous drivers and motorcyclists, past and present. Amongst those who have agreed to sign are Stirling Moss, Sammy Davis, The Duke of Richmond & Gordon, Geoff Duke, Mike Hailwood and Guy Edwards.

Anybody wishing to purchase these covers should apply to J. & M. Arlington, 45, Lakenheath, London N14 4RL. The covers will cost £1.10 and £1.85 for the unsigned and £3.25 for the signed. 

D. J. S. Lambert 
Liverpool 

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