Echoesfrom the Last One
THE news that Mrs. Peter Clark has bought one of the 1914 G.P. Mercedes recalls the dramatic adventure that befell one of the team on the outbreak of War in 1914. In April of that year the famous German firm had given a luncheon to the Trade at our Trocodero. At this gathering a director arose and naively stated that his firm thought it advisable to win, for publicity reasons, the forthcoming French Grand Prix ! Long beforehand Mercedes had been conducting experiments at the Lyons circuit. The
result ? As we all know, six of the four-cylinder 41-litre, sixteen valve, rear-braked Mercedes started and the finishing order was Lautenschlager (65.85 m.p.h.), Wagner and Salzer—all driving Mercedes. Came the War. One of the team was seized by the military authorities while still in France and was sent to Rolls-Royce, Ltd. at Derby, where the engine was carefully examined and, they say, finally benchtested to destruction. From this research evolved our 75 h.p. Rolls-Royce ” Hawk ” aero-motor, which was built at Straker-Squire’s works. This may be said to have been the least successful of the long line of Rolls-Royce aero motors. Yet, when a German Phalz aeroplane was shot down in France it was found to have an engine to all intents and purposes identical with those which won the French Grand Prix so convincingly for Mercedes at Lyons, except that the cars were four-cylinder and the aero-motor was a ” six.”
One can hardly visualise aero-motor designers copying racing-car engines to-day ; indeed, when Peace is declared it may well be that the aeroengine of war-time will point the way to getting even greater performance from racing ” bolides ” than we did in 1939, and to making racing under the lilitre Formula—which we shall presumably then commence using—even more sensational than anyone expected.
To-day, our Supermarine ” Spitfire ” single-place fighter goes 367 m.p.h. on a Rolls-Royce “Merlin II ” motor of 1,030 h.p. and Germany’s Messerschmitt Me 110 two-place fighter does 385 m.p.h. on two Daimler-Benz DB 601 motors of 2,200 total h.p. This time, although Brooklands staged a picketgate complete with policemen towards the Aerodrome end of the aerodrome road within a week of war, and showed dazzle-painted splodges here and there on its grey surface, it seems likely that we shall be able to go on using the Paddock club-house and perhaps bits
of the Weybridge estate for social events. It was different last time, when you couldn’t get into the place and, anyway, the solid-tyred R.A.F. lorries played havoc with the surface (excuse for present roughness which ” A.P.B.” is too much of a gentleman to resort to). Even so, Brooklands had its wartime race-meeting. It happened on August 7th, 1915, and was termed the ” All-Khaki” meeting. Mostly it was motor-cycles and only the Railway Straight was in decent enough order to be used. Entry fees were just 2/6 and admission was 11per head. We find Maurice Newnham astride a Douglas, 0. M. Baldwin on a Matchless and a P. V., R. A. Woody with an Indian, Frank B. Halford driving a Calthorpe Minor car, H. F. Edwards fighting a 90-bore Zenith, and W. G. McMinnies with his Morgan. Other cars included G.N., Singer, Richmond cyclecar and Baby Peugeot. Officials included the still well known names of Loughborough, Low, Ebblewhite, and Reynolds. If in 1915, why not in 1940 ?
Even in these days of considerably curtailed mileage one has opportunity to notice shortcomings in modern cars. For example-pistol-type handbrakes which jamb one’s knuckle against the roughly-finished backedge of the facia, and window winders that refuse to
operate fully when a sliding front seat goes back far enough to contact the winder. Seat backs and squabs, too, that sometimes possess unpalatable angles. He would be a brave man who could forecast what improvements popular cars will incorporate after the war that are not evident now, but at least cars did become better in certain respects, in general, by
1918 as distinct from 1914. When lasting Peace arrives we shall probably want to motor peacefully, so at all events designers might get down to a study of these, and similar, minor problems, right now. As for the trend of design of racing-cars ; well, we will merely content ourselves with presenting a survey of design as it was up to this year, under the 3-litre Fornmla, in a future issue.
Where are they Now
News continues to come in of well known personalities who are nobly doing their bit in time of need. MorrisGoodall runs a canteen for troops, Gwenda Hawkes is trying to be allowed to help the Polish army, or was ; Chiron deals in French Army Transport of the fourlegged kind, Ripley is in the A.S.C., Murton-Neale is a Pilot Officer, R.A.F., Peter Clark is a policeman, and contrives to use his Le Mans H.R.G. on active service, Scannell is a fireman, Ansell and ShawTaylor are gunners, Duke Woolley is R.4.A..F., Hugh Hunter an A.R.P. Warden.
Capt. 0. E. T. Eyston deals with war supplies, H. L. Brooke is in a demolition squad, Mathieson is an A.D.C. to Authority ; Major Gardner is again in the Gunners, Wakefield is a pilot in the R.N.I,T.R. and Yarburgh Bateson is waiting to put out fires. Sommer, Wimille, Benoist, Senechal and Veyron are in the army. In Wales, Benn does A.R.P. work including ambulance driving instruction to Bright Young Things. Any more, please ?
Capt. Mister Miller has associated himself with an ambulance scheme said to embrace “reconditioned
chassis that once belonged to millionaires, and which are to be manned by racing drivers.”
Newport, Monmouthshire, has in its Mayor a fart sighted motorist. He has formed the Newport Motor Volunteer Corps, for car drivers of both sexes and all ages, and driving ability is specially considered. In consideration of our views expressed in the October issue under the heading of “Vast Drivers Not Wanted” this is of particular interest. You enroll at Newport Town Hall. Now, then, London and other big cities !
Three thousand one hundred and fifty six more cars were registered in July 1939 than in July Confound Hitler . . . The biggest increase was the 8 h.p. class.
Jack Barclay has dug out a 1903 Stanley Steamer to eke out his petrol rations.
The open, straight-eight Jensen is shown off very well in the film ” Q-planes,” wherein an Airspeed Envoy pretends to be a 330 m.p.h. secret bomber, or suchlike, and Brooklands Flying School ” Moths ” figure as fast chasers. Other cars include a sports Singer Nine and an old-school Bentley.
Correction.—In the article ” Multum in Parvo ” in the skeleton October issue we said that one-third of a pint of oil lubricated the blower interior. This should read : one-third of a pint per gallon, oil being mixed with the Discol. Prospective owners of blown ” Ulster ” Austins kindly note !