Rumblings, November 1932





I’M glad that they have started racing once more at Miramas, because a little more experience of track racing may encourage more foreign drivers to come over for our own B.R.D.C. Empire Trophy and 500 Miles Races at Brooklands. Apparently the rough surface and partial banking made the race very heavy on tyres, and the long periods of full throttle work caused a certain amount of engine trouble retirements.

Miramas was the scene of the late Commander Glen Kidston’s first appearance in a big race, the Hartford Cup, and I remember the enthusiasm his performance in .finishing fifth aroused. He drove one of the first 2-litre Type 35 Bugattis, and I believe his was the first car of this type to be seen in this country, when he raced it at Brooklands. However, I am open to contradiction, and if anyone would like to correct me I should be glad of the information.

European Cars at Indianapolis.

This revival of Miramas track has once more brought to my mind the extraordinary fact of the inability of European racing cars to produce their best form at Indianapolis. The two tracks bear a certain resemblance in conditions, and the average speed of Sommer at Miramas of 109 m.p.h. was higher than anything that has been attained on the American track. Bordino took one of the 2-litre Fiats over, Ascari tried with a 2-litre All a Romeo, and I believe Benoist or Chiron raced there with a 1i-litre Delage, but they never succeeded in getting placed.

I should like to see Nuvolari go over there next year With a” monoposto “Alf a Romeo. With sufficient time to get car and driver thoroughly acclimatised I feel sure that the pair would be capable of pulling off the race.

How are the Mighty Fallen !

A few years ago the real racing enthusiast was he whose car was fitted with an almost unchangeable gearbox, whose ratios none but he could shift. Nowadays what with the self-changing boxes fitted to Talbots, the new Magnetth, the Invicta and so forth, a bad change Should be beyond the scope of the most ham-handed. Not that something untoward cannot still happen if second is selected instead of third, with a resulting abundance of r’s.p.m. ! In this connection the control on the Magnette, which

is similar to the quadrant gates fitted to motor-cycles, should have advantages, for the notch cannot be overshot as long as the lever is pressed sideways. It has been suggested in the Daily Press that the mechanic should move the lever ready for the real change, the driver merely depressing his pedal when the change is required. Some definite code of signals would be required in the case of a sudden emergency, and a facetious friend suggests taking a tip from the ladies, by painting the driver’s thumb-nail green and his little finger red for up and down changes respectively, so that only one finger need be raised from the wheel !

M.G.’S for the Mille Miglia.

I was very interested to learn from Mr. Cecil Kimber that Earl Howe has purchased three M.G. Mag,nette racing cars for next season. The intention is to run the team in the Italian 1,000 Miles Race next year, with Earl Howe, Sir Henry Birkin and G. E. T. Eyston as first drivers, and E. R. Hall and Count Lurani as reserves. It is good to hear that the decision to run the team has been reached in good time, for there will be all the Winter in which to get the cars in really good trim.

Last year the ” 105 ” Talbot and the Austin Seven were the only British cars in the race, and caused a very favourable impression among the Italians, and it is good news indeed to hear that this splendid work will • be continued next year.

The cars will also be run in the Round-the-Town race at Douglas, Isle of Man, and as some of the 1,100 c.c. Maseratis are expected to come over for this race, a thoroughly good battle in this class will be ensured.

Changing hands.

I was down at the Frazer Nash works the other day, and noticed that the famous” Slug “Frazer Nash racing car is for sale, the price asked being £250. I remember the fine speed this car put up in some of the old 200 Miles Races, when I believed it once put in a lap at 108 m.p.h. A good car.

Continental Visitors to the Show.

The Show always brings over a good many distinguished people from the Continent, and this year I saw that famous French designer and manufacturer, M. Louis Delage on the stand bearing his name. With him was his son, and Mlle. Helle-Nice, that charming French

actress who has competed at various Continental concours d’ elegance with a Straight 8 Delage, but is, of course, more famous for her very fine driving of a 2-litre Bugatti in many of the big races abroad.

Plans for Next Year.

I understand that the brothers Adrian and Denis Conan Doyle are getting together a team of three Mercedes-Benz for an extensive racing programme next year, including several Continental events. One of the cars is the actual machine raced by J. E. P. Howey in the last 6 Hour Race at Brooklands, after which it was bought by H. Stisted, who ran it at Southport and in the 1931 “500.” The pit manager will be R. King-Farlow.

The performance of the team will be watched with interest.

A Good 1/11d. Worth.

A friend of mine recently acquired a V.8 Ford coupe, and soon became extremely enthusiastic about its performance. He found that the Ford’s remarkable accelerative powers allowed him to play the most amusing tricks with the owners of small sports cars. He would let them pass him, and then proceed to scotch them up, so that the wretched owners would be driven to the most lurid excesses in their attempts to keep in front. Then he would open out and sweep silently past. But this exchange of places would allow the owner of the small sports car to observe the ” V.8 ” monogram on the hub of the rear spare-wheel of the Ford, and deciding that any further opposition against such a powerful rival would be useless, they would draw up at the side of the road and nonchalantly light a cigarette.

This curtailment of the fun gave my friend cause to consider the matter, and he decided that the substitution of a normal plain-finished Ford hub-cap, as used for the 14 h.p. and 24 h.p. cars, would meet the case.

The cost of the new hub-cap was about is. 11d., and now the game of cat-and-mouse goes on indefinitely, to the great entertainment of my impish friend.

A Good Party.

It came as a most pleasant surprise to everyone when Sir William Morris arrived at the M.G. Car Club’s First Show-Time Dinner-Dance at the Cafe Royal, just after the speeches had begun.

Sir William himself made a speech which was enthusiastically received by a large gathering which included such well known motoring personalities as Earl Howe, Sir Henry Birkin, Mr. G. E. T. Eyston, Mr. Cecil Kimber, Capt. A. R. C. Waite, C. R. Whitcroft and many well known M.G. drivers.

Dancing followed, in which I noticed that Sir William took an active part, joining in all the “Paul Jones” numbers, and thereby adding a very convivial air to the proceedings.

This Show-Time Dinner-Dance must become a permanent fixture !

manent Oh Bother !

I do not know Italian, nor was I near the Alfa Romeo pit at Miramas during the Marseille Grand Prix, but having seen Tazio Nuvolari verbally exhort his car to produce still more speed on being challenged during a race, I should dearly love to have heard what Nuvolari had to say about things when he was told that a mistake had been made, and that he was a lap behind Sommer !