A WANDERER AT THE SHOW
THE SHOW A WAND 'RER
Afterthoughts of Olympia.
iN these times of mass-production utility vehicles there are many who assert that the day of the specialised car, built for the enthusiast who takes a pleasure in driving, is dead.
Anyone pessimistic enough to take this view could soon have been revived by a visit to Olympia, where in spite of the cry that times are hard, and so forth, there was plenty to interest the keen sports car owner, and what is more, it was evident at the show that there are more buyers than ever for this type. To say this "type " is perhaps misleading, for the very existence of sports cars depends on their individuality. However, there is one common factor to all sports cars, and that is that they all have a common object—efficiency.
Racing has developed performance and road holding so that the results can be passed on to the sports car, and though the effects are noticeable in touring car design, they are here hampered by demands for large body space, cut prices, and other useful but uninspiring items, whereas the pukka sports car is not so fettered.
True the amount of money available varies enormously with individuals, but the demand is not so much for as much motor car as possible for the money, as for something good in its own class. If the only class available to the buyer's pocket is something small, there are cars which anyone should be proud to own, at a reasonable price. If price does not enter into the question and the choice of the world's finest sports cars is open to him—well, I wish I were in his shoes !
The usual effect of Olympia is to leave one in a complete haze, and one brings little away from the show but confused impressions and a severe headache. However, a renewed attack and a little consideration clarifies things and one realises that this show had some very fine sports car exhibits.
" 750 " Popularity.
In wandering round one saw that the M.G. attracted much attention, and in view of the wonderful year they have had this is hardly surprising. The Montlhery model Midget is already familiar to followers of the sport, though its price of £575 puts the supercharged model out of reach of any but the competition man who must have a fast "750." Personally I found the M.G. Magna chassis the most attractive piece of work on this stand, with its ultra low frame level and neat lay-out. The 1,250 c.c. engine in such a small chassis should give a. wonderful power weight ratio and I think it will be one of the year's "best-sellers."
Another firm with an excellent record for this season, especially in the matter of reliability is Aston Martin, and their stand was bound to attract anyone with an eye for a really high class job. These 1 -litre cars are notable for quiet and pleasing lines and first class design and workmanship. They are not cheap, but anyone who has seen and studied the chassis and components will realise that they are worth the money, and that they would outlast the majority of sports cars of any size.
Fiat produced a very snappy looking sports car of obvious continental type in their 2k-litre. Although recently associated with family motor cars, the firm's racing experience is as old as motoring, and it will be interesting to see how the new model performs. Students of design will find the Derby interesting as it is now front-wheel driven, and though not intended as a full sports car, is said to have a very good performance.
Another unusually interesting foreigner is the new 2i-litre 8 cyl. La.ncia ; the engine with staggered cylinders has no greater length than the average four. The chassis is a fine example of the scientific use of pressed steel, and the braking system and adjustment, together with the fine chassis lubrication system, were points to be noted.
Of the Alvis range, the 12-60 sports models are probably the most attractive to MOTOR SPorr readers, and practical experience of this model has shown that its economical running is almost as remarkable as its performance. Moreover, it is not unduly expensive for such a well built and finished car.
The self changing gear-box is gradually spreading, and although at first sports car drivers were apt to sneer at such a device, it is now proving its value, and it is also most entertaining to use. The Lagonda " Selector" chassis has a Maybach 6-speed gear-box with pre-selective gear, and it has been definitely shown that average speeds can be increased by means of the gear. The 2litre supercharged unit was another attraction on this stand while Mercedes are also devotees of the self-changing gear on certain models.
The new 3i-litre Mercedes was chiefly remarkable for its amazing compactness, for some years now a feature of this famous make.
The larger English sports cars were represented by Invicta, with the low 4i-litre which has been so popular this season, and the " 105" Talbot. The amazing performances of this fine car have made it almost a synonym for consistency, and we can imagine few more delightful fast motors than a " 105 " chassis with a really full four-seater open body. The International regulation body shown will also appeal to the prospective competition man.
Rileys have provided a very attractive intermediate type between the Brooklands model and the touring car in the" Gamecock," an attractive sports two-seater.
The big 8-cyl. Delage is a wonderful combination of speed and comfort, and moreover it is not expensive. It is a good example of the way successful racing experience can be applied to sports cars.
The O.M. stand always shows some good cars, and the big 8-cyl. Bianchi is angther good example of Italian engineering. For those to whom price and cost of running mean but little the big Hispano must have been attractive. This chassis had a V-12 engine with an R.A.C. rating of 75
h.p. and with the petrol tax at its present rate the exchequer should do well out of any purchasers.
Among not quite so big cars, the Stutz " Bearcat " is a real good-looker, and previous experience of this make has shown us that the performance is fully up to expectations. The 8-cylinder engine now has two overhead camshafts, and is guaranteed capable of 100 m.p.h.
It was impossible th see every car at the Show in a single survey, but no visit can be complete without a brief worship at the shrine of Bugatti. The name conjures up memories of hundreds of historic struggles on road and track, and on the stand was the "touring" edition of the famous " blown " 5-litre.
The engine is a 2-overhead camshaft straight-eight with a total capacity of 4,840 c.c. The engine has the typical square cornered Bugatti lay-out, even to the camshaft casings, and the wheels are the patent Bugatti type of aluminium alloy cast in one with the rims and brake drums. I strolled over to examine the great rival of this make, the Alfa-Romeo, and here again was a wonderfully neat and symmetrical engine in the 2,300 supercharged car. Both designs are entirely distinctive however, and the much fancied piping and dull sandblasted finish of the Alfa was in marked contrast to the shining fiat surfaces of the Bugatti mechanism.
In spite of modern tendencies to standardise, the Show was still interesting.—L. S.