Letters from Readers, November 1936

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fateA,a

HIGH SPEEDS

Sir,

I read with interest a letter from ” Member—A.R.D.C.,” Melbourne, Ans., published in your June issue, in which he doubts a Mr. Thompson being able to do the trip of 126.2 miles from Melbourne to Ararat in 2 hours 10 minutes.

As I did not see Mr. Thompson’s letter, I am a bit hazy as to how the objection arose, but according to ” Member’s” own statement the road is good and there are no towns to mar speed.

If Mr. Thompson is any kind of a driver and the Master Chev. any sort of a Chev., the 2 hours 10 minutes is quite believable in spite of ” Member” and any amount of his friends. ” Member ” probably knows the New South Wales highway from Goulburn to Sydney. It is 136 miles. I have a 1929 Standard Buick tourer (Silver Anniversary model) and left the G.P.O. Goulburn with two friends at 9.50 a.m., arriving in Sydney at the G.P.O. at 12.20 p.m. (2i hours). This time included two stops and the last twelve miles was through heavy mid-day traffic. The Buick isn’t tuned up specially for speeding, although

I look after its innards.” Perhaps ” Member ” doubts that. He can write my two friends or come along next time I am down that way. My home is 250 miles from Sydney and the Buick does that pretty regularly In from 5 to 5i hours, depending on catching the punt across the Hawkesbury

River. A friend of mine here with a Chrysler Airflow does the trip in 4* hours, but I’m not a speed hog. The roads are excellent of course but I don’t like to see ” Member ” doubting Mr. Thompson’s ability with his Chev., apparently because ” Member ” owns a more expensive car than the Chev. I would like to see a crowd of the English racing and sports-car enthusiasts out here for the Round Australia Race next year. They would have a wild time with every make of road for about

9,000 miles. Concrete, bitumen, dirt, black soil, red soil and cart tracks and possibly no tracks at all. It should be exciting and an excellent advertisement for the cars that get through. Perhaps some of us, out here, will be able to show your crack English drivers a thing or two when it comes to “timber topping” per car.

I have only lately been getting the MOTOR SPORT but it makes me envious of those who get round the country side “flat out” more or less. I would like to be with them. I am, Yours etc.,

New Member—N.R.M.A. Sydney,

N.S.W., Australia.

ONE FOR THE ” SPECIALS”

Sir, In “Club News” in the September issue of MOTOR SPORT, I notice a certain amount of jubilation is caused by the

location of an I.O.E. G.N. Suppose I were to whisper details of a full o.h.v. G.N. engine ? This was removed from its chassis to make room for a fourcylinder plot. More of that anon. The engine is complete with two spare cylinders, con-rods and a few other oddments, but is lacking one set of top rockers. These, judging by the remaining set, should present no undue difficulties to manufacture. In certain earlier articles, you have commented upon various epic performances put up by i5 cars. Surely, there is nothing outstanding in this ? With expensive cars of this type one would expect to journey at least as far as John o’Groat’s and return, without falling to pieces as extensively as a certain French marque is reported to have done. A year or two ago. I purchased a 1925 Gwynne eight for the modest sum of

20/-. Mileage covered to date is some 29,000 odd. Its previous total I am unable to find out, as it has only a 10,000 mile speedometer. This is not by any means a record mileage, but it has been covered without recourse to a garage, although there have been one or two involuntary stops, which have, however, responded to treatment.

” Nellie Gwyrme’s ” last long run may prove of interest.

She left London late on the Friday before August Bank Holiday bound for Pendine. Crew consisted of three, and cargo, besides camping equipment, was composed of a trailer and two racing cycles, the idea being to participate in the sand-racing organised by the Carmarthen and District LC. & M C.C. The equipe arrived about mid-day on Saturday, the run being entirely uneventful. Racing over, and the cycles proved to be not so hot as we had hoped, the return journey was begun. Carrying two only this time, ” Nellie ” proceeded to hold 55 for as long as the roads would let her. I should add that, on occasion, the trailer was prone to have a will of its own. Another trouble-free run ensued, except for a little bother outside Uxbridge when that indescribable trailer broke its tow-bar and careered across the road, leaping a pile of gravel, crashing through a hedge and turning “base uppards ” in the field beyond with the bikes underneath. Fortunately, the speed at the time was low and the road was empty. The crew managed to scrape up the mess and tie it all together sufficiently well to finish the journey. I should explain that I was not one of the crew on this occasion. I was holidaying in Cornwall with the Special (G.N. chassis, etc.) and drove up to Pendine to meet the Gwynne, return ing to Cornwall after the event. The following day, ” Nellie ” came down to join me and later we returned together. On this journey she demonstrated the 55 business time and again, and on one memorable occasion, showed me her heels to the tune of an honest 60! Mile

age for that week about 1,200. By the way, the Gwynne still has its original pistons!

A description of the Special might interest you. G./3. chassis, 12-50 Alvis power plot, Citroen front axle, Riley wheels, earlier Citroen steering gear, and a sprinkling of Bugatti, Bentley, Bianchi, Buick, Gwynne, Essex, Rover, Sunbeam, Swift, Ford, Wolseley and assorted oddments, not forgetting almost a complete A.C. tricar front axle to carry the spare wheel. Took almost four years to build, evenings and odd week-ends. Has a maximum of 84, the Alvis being quite standard,

does 30 m.p.g. Three speeds, 4 to I, 5.’2 to I, and 9 to I, and is altogether a pleasant motor to drive. If you can give me any information about the 2-litre Arab, about 1926, I

should be very grateful. I have been offered one of these, but except for the fact that it is a product of the late Parry Thomas, I know nothing at all about it. I am, Yours etc.,

C. H. PEACOCK. Isleworth,

Middlesex. [Can any readers help Mr. Peacock? Ed.]

STEAM CARS

Sir,

I enclose some interesting data referring to the performance of the Stanley Steam Car in 1905, 1906 and 1907, also a copy of a letter on steam power from Sir Malcolm Campbell, and a reference to a very interesting boilerless steam engine patented by Mr. H. R. Ricardo in 1920. Should they be ” muzzled ” or permitted to “let off steam ” ? STANLEY STEAM CARS From Derr’s ” The Modern Steam Car and its Background,” Sir Thomas Dewar, an Englishman, and a great lover of clean sport, offered a cup known as the “Dewar Cup” to be held by the one who could drive a car a mile in the shortest time. This cup was open to world competition, and the first International meet occurred at Ormond, lorida In January, 1905, it was won by Louis Ross in the then record time of 38 seconds for one mile, and in a Steam Car. The power plant in this car consisted of two 16 inch Stanley Boilers in which was

carried 800 lb. pressure, and two 2f x 3* Stanley engines.

The following January, 1906, we entered a car to compete in the Ormond races. This car had a power plant comprising a 30 inch boiler and a 41 x 61 engine. Now a 41 x 6* engine had, with the same steam pressure, practically four times the power of two 2* x 3.* engines. This car was driven by Fred Marriott and won the Dewar Cup, going a mile in 281 secs. It also made two miles in 591 secs. This was the first car to go two miles in one minute.

The boiler pressure used in these trials was 1,000 lb. The engine made one revolution whilst the driving axle made two. So the engine made only 300 revolutions to the mile. And, since the mile was made in 28* secs., the engine made 10f revolutions per second and the wheels twice that number, or 21 revolutions per second.

In the following year, 1907, we sent another car to Ormond to again compete for the Dewar Cup. This car had a much improved engine, and a boiler designed to stand a much higher steam pressure. But unfortunately the beach was in bad condition. There had been continuous strong east winds and the surface of the beach was wavy. But Thursday there came a strong north-wester and swept the beach in fine shape. The next day about noon the car was brought out, and Fred was instructed to go over the course at about two miles a minute. He went a mile in about 291 secs., and discovered there was only one bad place in the mile. After some discussion my brother consented to have the trial made. The crowd was anxious and Fred was desirous of lowering the record. Fred went up about nine miles

beyond the starting line. He set the automatic so as to raise the steam pressure to 1,300 lb. When he crossed the starting line he was going at a rate of speed never before seen. But when he reached the bad place in the course the car left the ground completely for a distance of nearly 100 feet, and it turned slightly in the air and struck at an angle, and of course was instantly smashed. The boiler was torn out, and with a tremendous roar of steam from the broken pipe, rolled several hundred feet down the beach. When. that accident happened, the car was travelling at nearly three miles a minute, or fully 250 feet per second. Now 260 feet per second is faster than the speed of a golf ball when it leaves the club of a powerful expert.

The mile made in 28* secs. on January 26th, 1906, stood as a record for six years, and has never been lowered by a car weighing only 2,204 lb., which was the limit at the time. Had the beach been in perfect condition in 1907, the record would have been lowered by Fred Marriott to close to 20 secs., or at the rate of three miles in one minute.

From Sir Malcolm Campbell to ” Steam Car Developments and Steam Aviation” January, 1935. Sir,

I have always felt that it is unfortunate that so little attention has been given to the development of the light steam unit for the purposes of road and air transport.

If the inherent disadvantages of steam as applied in these directions can be overcome, there are countervailing advantages in its use which are simply immeasurable. Obviously, the goal can only be reached by close and careful experiment, which has been lacking during the past twenty years.

At the moment there seems to be a revival of interest in steam and, according to report, some remarkable results have already been achieved—results which, if confirmed, cannot fail to be far-reaching in their influence on the future of aviation in peace and war.

1 wish you well in your efforts to maintain the interest.

Malcolm Campbell.

From a Correspondent in San Francisco, January 1935.

If you look up British Patent No. 165,263 of April 15th, 1920, issued to H. R. Ricardo, you will find a most practical suggestion for a boilerless engine, complste with controls. I am, Yours etc.,

Manchester. G. J. A. HOWARTH.