PLAYING ” IN ” THE GALLERY
A REVIEW OF THE ACCESSORIES AT EARL’S COURT APPEALING TO SPORTSMEN
SPORTING motorists are not, as a rule, numbere&a.mon.gst those visitors to a motor-show • who “only stand and gape,” or, worse still, merely ask silly questions designed to catch out the stand attendants. The sportsman usually takes a keen interest both in technical and practical exhibits, and, apart from the main show of cars, nearly always finds time to wander round the galleries, where gadgets and accessories after his own heart are displayed. The galleries at Earl’s Court, even if many found it difficult to find their way about the numerous ramifications,
had much of outstanding interest to offer. It is not proposed to deal solely here with accessories of a purely sporting character, but with a number of those which appeal to the discerning motorist, who realises what is useful in motoring, as apart from a mere “gadget.” One of the first things that an enthusiast wishing to improve the performance of his car does is to raise the compression. This may be done in three ways—machining the face of the cylinder head, fitting pistons with a higher dome, or fitting a thin gasket. The cheapest method is the last, and here ” Klingerit 1,000,” made by R. Klinger, is useful. This gasket is manufactured in all sizes from in. to h in., and takes its name from the claim that it will withstand 1,000 atmospheres, even at a temperature of 1,500° Cent. A change this year is that no steel mesh is now used to combine with the asbestos fibres. The thin /414. in. gasket. raises the compression quite a lot, but the faces of the head and block must be true, without distortion. Klinger die-pressed.non-metallic brake and clutch linings were also seen on this stand. Another manufacturer of thin gaskets was
J. Payen, who, amongst other types, supply thin copper gaskets for those who prefer this material.
As regards pistons, many types were on view, and enthusiasts were interested in the Specialloid, for this type is used on the majority of E.R.A.s. It is of a Y-alloy with great tensile strength at high temperatures, withstanding 11 to 121 tons. Some touring types of piston, it may be mentioned, will only stand 4 tons. Small clearances are possible, and the crown is reinforced by eight ribs.
Hepolite pistons, made by Hepworth and Grandage, also have many racing successes to their credit, and these were on show in various metals, such as Yalloy, silicon alloy, and cast iron. Then there was the Aerolite (Light Production Alloy Co.), slotted to prevent heat distribution to the pressure faces, and the Covmo, also slotted, and with a split skirt to allow even expansion. Another slotted piston was the Wellworthy ” Welflex,” with the head separated from the skirt except at the gudgeon-pin bosses. Wellworthy are famous for piston rings, such as the Simplex type, which has saw cuts round its circumference, to allow for expansion sideways. This type has no elasticity of its own, but is backed by an expander behind the ring to press it towards the cylinder walls and provide a perfect seal. Exhibits of split crankcases and such broken parts on stands as of Laystall and Barimar remind the enthusiast of that day at Brooklands . . . Instead of buying an expensive replacement, however, these broken parts can be scientifically welded “as good as new,” or better. The Laystall company have many other services for the man who wants the best out of his car, besides welding. There are Nitralloy cylinder
liners and brake drum liners, of special hardened steel, both alloy and light cast iron pistons, and a special tuning and overhauling service, while special racing camshafts or crankshafts can be made to order. Magneto ignition is popular among sporting motorists, and performance may frequently be improved by fitting a modern rotating armature instrument such as the Scintilla Vertex, examples of which, giving off huge, fat sparks, caused the crowds to stop. Magnetos of this
type, designed to replace a coil-ignition distributor unit, were also shown by the Lucas and B.T.H. companies. The chief novelty among sparking plugs was the new range of K.L.G.s with Corundite ” insulation, a substance similar in appearance to porcelain, but with different heat-resisting qualities. This is the first time that K.L.G. plugs for cars have appeared with insulation other than mica, and the well known mica range, with the racing plugs that have served many drivers so well, is continued
in addition to the newcomers. The Corundite plugs are not yet included among the racing range, hut the” coolest” model is designed to stand up to a hotstuff sports engine. Champion. Bosch and Lodge showed their well tried ranges of sports and racing plugs, both in 14 mm. and 18 mm. sizes, and such a wide variation is available that no extensions have been found necessary. Lodge showed a 12 mm. plug. Even sporting folk like to be able to start their cars quickly in the morning, and Solex showed a new thermostatic starter control, automatically operating the separate part of the carburetter used for starting from cold. This device is
brought into operation by the suction of the engine, and shut off by a thermostatic spring when the engine is warm. Another new Sokx feature, on their downdraught carburetter, is the provision of an intermediate position for the handoperated starter control, to enable the car to be driven away with a rich mixture when cold. A third new feature is a membrane pump, also on the downdraught model, automatically operated by the depression in the induction pipe, and able to eject a stream of petrol when the throttle is opened for acceleration. Incorporated with this is a “speed jet,” which comes into operation at high speeds.
The S. U. thermostatically controlled starting device, with electric operation by means of a solenoid, first appeared last year at Olympia, but during the last year it has been fully tested out. With this fitting, the usual S.1.1 control for the variable jet is not necessary, and a small adjusting screw is covered by a dome nut. Hydraulic brakes, with smooth and equally-divided pressure, are much used on racing cars. Lockheed have introduced a new slotted shoe anchorage, with which the shoe is allowed to move slightly at its pivot point, so as to exert equal pressure all round its circumference even when there are slight irregularities in the drum. The Lockheed “hill-holder,” which keeps the brakes applied when the clutch is put out, is a useful fitting for trials enthusiasts in restart tests. I3endix showed a new ” pistol-grip ” handbrake control, which can be conveniently
mounted under the dashboard. The Girling brake lay-out, with its directpull operation, was also an interesting exhibit.
Those who have lain under a car in the mud adjusting shock-absorbers welcome the Andre Telecontrol system. The latest type has friction discs, with a central adjusting nut, as on the normal Hartford type, but once the central nut has been set, further variation, up to ” solid,” can be obtained by the dashboard control. Hydraulic shock-absorbers can also have dashboard
control, as with the Luvax system. Other hydraulic shock-absorbers on exhibition were the Armstrong and the Newton-Bennett. There is au. increasing tendency to make the driving position adjustable for drivers of varying heights and reaches. A very practical innovation seen at Earl’s Court was the Dover adjustable steering
wheel, which has telescopic arms. As these are slid in and out, the amount of ” dish” is varied, and as much as
31 in. adjustment is possible. Any controls located in the centre of the column are not affected. The Bluemel telescopic wheel, where the hub and column are machined with longitudinal splines, is another contribution to driving comfort. In both cases a positive locking device is provided. Castrol had a remarkable ” film-bar” for visitors, who were able to look through eye-holes and see Sir Malcolm Campbell in his record-breaking “Bluebird,” and, by means of an car-phone, listen to the famouc driver giving advice on winter motoring. Shell had a special machine to test lubricants. Cleveland Discol is so popular with folk with high-compression engines that their stand was much visited, and on the Duckham stand an indefatigable young chemist demonstrated by an ingenious machine the properties of the new ” Adcoids ” in resisting
cylinder corrosion. National Ben.zole had on view a complete model showing the production of their fuel. On the Dunlop stand the new Port tyre was worth studying. The outer ribs have serrated edges, and the walls have been further strengthened. Those interested in technical developments could study the new “synthetic rubber,” called ” Gaco,” and handled in this country by George Angus and Co. This is similar to the German Buhna material, but it is stated that at present tyres would cost six times the price of those in the
normal material. One practical use already being made of the new product is for oil seals. It is claimed that Gaco will remain effective with a 3 in. shaft running at 7,000 r.p.m., whereas many types of leather seal would only stand 3,400 r.p.m. There was one day during the course of the Show when the fog was so thick that it actually pervaded the exhibition hall. Some say that ordinary lamps, dipped, are all one wants for driving in a fog. In the experience of the writer this is not the case. Indeed, on the Lucas stand one of their special fog-lamps was erected opposite to a screen which simulated a fog, and through which a ” cyclist ” could be discerned. The difference with the special flat-topped beam, given by the well known Passlight, compared to rays from an ordinary lamp, was marked. The Passlight has a split reflector and a shielded bulb, to throw a broad, low beam, entirely non-dazzling, and without the upward rays that cause trouble in a fog. A new type has a shallower contour, to enable the lamp to be fitted where space is restricted. It was also possible on the Lucas stand to listen through headphones to the note of various types of
horn. These, of course, could not be sounded openly in the exhibition. It is not possible to mention here all the different types of fog-lamp which were on view, but mention must be made of the Bosch, a firm famous wherever electrical equipment is mentioned. The Bosch fog-lamp also gives a wide, flat beam, picking out both sides of the road. It is available with either tinted or clear glass, or alternatively amber or clear bulbs may be used. A larger version of the fog-lamp is now available, to increase the scope as an ordinary, non-dazzle driving light, and this larger lamp can now also be fitted with a dipping reflector. Bosch also showed replacement units for the headlamps of fast American cars, some of which, with 6-volt batteries, have lighting not suited for the roads of
this country. This should be a great boon for sportsmen who love a long, fast run at night.
Rally review, October 1971
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