WHAT I LIKED AT THE SHOW SOME NOTES ON THE LATEST SPORTS MODELS
ALTHOUGH the majority of cars are becoming more than ever uniform in type, and in externals are liable to follow the fashion of the moment, among the sports cars there is always to be found something of interest. There is a good variety of genuine fast cars suitable for competition work, mainly replicas of the actual vehicles which have represented their manufacturers in the chief races of the year. Also, for the man who is not intending to go in for competitions and who does not wish to spend a great deal of money, there is an attractive selection of what might be called semi-sports cars. This description is not meant to be disparaging, but simply to include the slightly modified standard chassis with sports bodywork. This type is never intended for racing, but has a very definite place in the scheme of things.
A Great Variety. .
When it comes to the actual purchase of next year’s model, ideas have to be modified by more sordid considerations than those of size and performance, but Olympia gave the opportunity of gloating over what is to be available to the comparatively few, and every owner of a sports car, great or small, will have made as soon as possible for the Mercedes stand where the new 8-litre giant with 6 speeds, self changing gears etc., is on view. To the average sports car enthusiast this will savour of making driving too easy, but it is certainly proof that this firm believes in keeping ahead of the times. For real snappiness concentrated in a big car one can conceive nothing more attractive than the supercharged “38-250.” Another representative of the large class, and one which has for some time been this country’s chief hope in international racing, is the Bentley. Here is another 8-litre car, with a very impressive, battle cruiser sort of appearance. In this make again, however, it is not the largest models which are most attractive to the sports car owner,
and the 41-litre supercharged model, with its fine racing record will appeal the most.
The pelage straight “8” of just under 4-litres is another fine example of a really fast car with plenty of comfort, and a stripped chassis on this stand gave an opportunity to appreciate the very robust yet not too heavy construction. The huge Xshaped cross member amidships, made from a deep pressing, is a fine example of adding strength without much weight, while the engine is a beautifully neat piece of work. The Lancia Diiambda is suited for similar work, and bears the stamp of clean design for which Italy is famous, as well as many original features, such as its independent front springing, and special ” staggered ” 8cylinder engine, which in conjunction with a remarkable performance make it an ideal car for touring.
The success of the ” 90 ” model Talbot this year has attracted much attention, and accounts largely, no doubt, for the fact that several coachbuilders have produced attractive models on this chassis, in addition to the makers themselves.
Visitors to the Bugatti stand were probably disappointed not to see an example of a Grand Prix car, as all their exhibit consisted of saloons on the larger chassis. The engines are, of course, typical in all models, having the appearance of a square metal box. The latest 4i-litre Invicta is a most inspiring sight with its radiator cap almost level with the tyres, and as 100 m.p.h. is claimed for it, it appears to merit further attention from those whose tastes lie in that capacity class.
In the smaller classes, 2-litre and under, there was a pleasing sprinkling of actual road racing replicas, the Hyper Lea-Francis looking very businesslike. Fine examples of successful racing cars were to be found on the Alfa and O.M. stands, these two Italian makes being remarkably similar in appearance. The 1000 miles race type O.M. and the stripped Alfa-Romeo chassis, both of course
supercharged, must havelicaused many to break the tenth commandment!
A British Favourite.
In the 1500 c.c. class the AstonMartin stands out as being one of the finest 14-litres that this country has ever produced. Although the engine is not really a racing job, in that it is of normal compression ratio, unsupercharged, and very sweet running, it is really fast and has acquitted itself well in races against the best that our foreign rivals can produce.
The Vernon-Derby, which is handled in this country by Morgan Hastings of Albermarle Street, W., is another car which immediately inspires confidence in its stability and handiness, while the Ruby engine installed is a well-tried and proven job. Alvis have reintroduced their 12-50 h.p. 4-cylinder model, and many owners who had such wonderful service out of their old 12-50 of a few years ago, will welcome the return of this model in its latest improved form. Although only shown in touring form, this model has a definitely ” sports ” performance, while the demand which is sure to arise for a fully sporting edition of it will probably lead to this being available. It is not, however, listed at present. The six cylinder Silver Eagle is a genuine 80 m.p.h. car with roomy and comfortable coachwork, although the engine is well under 2-litres.
The 2-litre Lagonda engine, shown separately on their stand, attracted considerable interest and the 2-litre supercharged model is a very attractive car. M.G.s provided a choice for various pockets, the Midgets looking very snappy, and one knows that their performance is up to their appearance. The M.G. Speed Six is another 80 m.p.h. car with qualities of refinement and smooth speed which have gained for it a most enviable reputation in the sports car world, which is as critical as can
well be imagined. 0. B.