Rolls-Royce investigates its rivals

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Last month I described how Rolls-Royce investigated two Delage cars, and had been unimpressed. However, Royce and his engineers were also trying ‘used’ cars of other makes, including a 1912 38hp Lanchester, vintage Chryslers, a 1938 3.5-litre SS-Jaguar, Humber Super Snipe, Essex Terraplane, V16 and V8 Cadillacs, a 1939 Buick Eight, a Hotchkiss, the FWD Citroen and a V12 Lagonda, even the post-war Austin 8. I have told in Motor Sport how Royce also had a 37.2hp Hispano Suiza on trial and knew of such cars as the Lorraine-Dietrich and T35 Bugatti (indeed, he had used a small Bugatti long before that), and how during the 1914/18 war he had owned a Calcott light car.

In the matter of Delage cars, in November 1934 Rolls-Royce tried for a short distance a 4-litre ‘100mph’ Dotage with a Figoni drophead coupe body. It was reported as being very noisy and very rough, with a loud exhaust boom and body rattles everywhere. The brakes were spongy and ineffective, failing to lock the wheels, and they eventually seized up, while the ride was described as very harsh and the gearbox noisy, “with no easy-change devices”. Summing up, the report said “10 years ago this might have been a good car, but it bought home what a good car the 3-litre Bentley is!” Dotage enthusiasts must remember, however that the car was probably a well-used one driven only for a short distance, and that a Bentley could not attain 100mph at this time.

Another car sampled by the Rolls-Royce technical staff was a 5-litre supercharged Mercedes, which must have been a Type 500K. They were impressed with the performance of this coupe-bodied Merc when using the blower, “which enabled 90 to 1000mph to be attained in London before Bignall’s Corner on the by-pass was reached”. The accelerator control of the supercharger was approved of, even though the blower was very noisy, “a feature apparently liked by most German owners”. The suspension was “good for a sports-car but not for a town-carriage”, the steering was light, selective and entirely free from road shocks, and “fast cornering gave no feeling of insecurity or jumping out on the corner”. In an emergency stop there was a violent front-end judder, which the German driver said was because “the brake linings were unsuited to English conditions”; but RR attributed this to the rubber-mounted independent front suspension. Knocks came from the rear independent suspension “no excuse was given”. The car was very tractable in the direct third gear but the other gears seemed “too wide” and the syncromesh hardly worked. Thus the attempts to sustain the supremacy of ‘The Best Car In The World’.

You may also like

Related products