British High-Performance Cars for 1947
Never before has the British Motor Industry been more deserving of publicity. By its contribution to the war effort it most certainly ensured our present Freedom, and the Peace which politicians are making so precarious and comfortless. Nevertheless, seldom has a nation looked more successfully to its export market so soon after the termination of war. And never before has the British Motor Industry offered sounder or more interesting motor vehicles to an expectant (and patient) buying public. Those of us who feared that standardisation would kill the enthusiast’s type of car can but be delighted and stimulated by the products which our manufacturers, particularly the smaller concerns, offer us, or hope to offer us, in the forthcoming year.
Those who supplied the aircraft, tanks, guns, ships, vehicles and all the complex and varied paraphernalia essential to successful participation in modern warfare, are displaying like genius, perseverance and tenacity in the doubly-difficult task of offering sound, worthwhile modern cars to the world.
There are those who bewail the demise of the “sports car,” stating — and truly — that present-day high-performance cars are as different from the old idea of a sports car as chalk is from cheese, as different indeed as the V12 Lagonda was from the 3-litre Bentley. Let these good and earnest folk remember that road conditions and motoring requirements have changed very considerably from what prevailed in 1927. That drivers not in the least interested in motoring as a way of life, are yet clamouring for cars possessed of considerable maximum speed, vivid acceleration, sure, effective brakes and safe handling qualities, is an indication of real progress down the years. Most of us who have reason to go rapidly from place to place almost every day of the week appreciate the comfort, safety and convenience of the modern high-performance car. Those sports-car enthusiasts who, offered the choice of a 4 1/4-litre Rolls-Bentley or a 1921 “30/98” Vauxhall, would unwaveringly accept the older car, need not entirely despair. How would the secondhand traders live without good folk possessed of this sentiment to a greater or lesser degree? In the review of 1947 high-performance cars which follows, however, we present details of all the worthwhile products of the British industry which appeal to modern-minded drivers who consider a new car of this sort essential to their day-to-day health, happiness and peace of mind, and who are prepared to hand a big bag of purchase tax to the Government to acquire such a car — when they can get one.
A proportion of our readers will have nothing to do with British cars, or so they would have us believe. We crave their indulgence for those pages of this issue of Motor Sport devoted to the high-performance products of an industry which contributed so much to the recent battle for freedom. We of Motor Sport have preached the gospel of the Continental car in the past, in the hope that British designers, technicians and production engineers would learn something useful from the experiences of those who, from personal preference, drove B.M.W., Fiat, D.K.W., Lancia, Renault or Opel cars. Whether those responsible for producing our useful little 8 and 10-h.p. family cars have heeded these lessons, time alone will tell. But when high-performance cars, such as we review hereafter, are under consideration British products undoubtedly show the way to the rest of the world. Judged on all-round capabilities and general practicability, our 1947 cars are the best thing of their kind. And they display design-initiative and technical brilliance unsurpassed by sports cars down the ages.
As a nation we possess a happy reputation of disparaging ourselves whenever we can. In the past some of the family saloons produced in tens of thousands by big combines have been such that designers and sponsors should have been heartily ashamed of themselves. But our high-performance cars have not been too terribly bad. Whether it was a question of going round and round Brooklands Track for 24 hours, or covering over 100 miles in 60 mins. way back before that Kaiser war, exceeding 200 or 300 m.p.h. on a flying run lasting a few brief moments, taking world’s records with a light car, or beating France at her own own game year after year at Le Mans, this much-maligned little country has not exactly disgraced herself. We do not doubt that had Nuvolari come to Ulster in 1933 to win the T.T. with a Macaroni Gordini instead of with a Morris Garage, Britishers would still be talking of his victory at every available opportunity. If the late Sir Henry Birkin, Bart., had finished second in 1930 at Pau by grace of a car from Molsheim instead of one from Welwyn Garden City, or if “La Bentalie from France,” in place of the Bentley from Cricklewood and the Lagonda from Staines, had won Le Mans after Le Mans, not a single British schoolboy or enthusiast would ever let you hear the last of it. Let us remember our past achievements and look to the future with confluence. And let us boost our high-performance cars as they deserve — a much nicer task, incidentally, than boosting the atom bomb.
Already Miss Haig’s A.C., Imhof’s Allard, and Brunot’s Riley, amongst others, have done well in post-war events.
Let us do everything in our power to further Raymond Mays’ proposed team of British G.P. cars, that they may go out and meet the at-present-invincible Italian Alfa-Romeos and Maseratis. Let us hope that British high-performance cars will soon be doing honourable battle again against such things as Bugatti, Darracq and Delahaye, and that we shall build cars to lead home those incredible hordes of Cisitalias. Meanwhile, here is what the British Motor Industry hopes to make in 1947 in the way of high-performance cars. We have included all those cars which perform better than mundane types of the same size or rated horse-power. If you find omissions, it is because the manufacturers concerned had nothing finalised when we approached them for particulars of their products in September (invariably this is no fault of theirs, the cause, as likely as not, being unexpired Government contracts or an unfair dose of red tape and restrictions, or both) or because they were too busy to reply to our letter. Or because our idea of a high-performance car differs from yours. Seriously, though, this review is a most stimulating record of what Britain can do when she decides to build good cars, and we commend it to you, whether or not you are in the market for a 1947 car.
(Armstrong-Siddeley Motors, Ltd., Coventry)
At the outbreak of peace, Armstrong, Siddeley, Ltd., were quick off the mark with the introduction of entirely new cars, sleek in appearance as befitted their excellent performance. The engine is a six, of 65 by 100 mm. (1,991 c.c.), with push-rod o.h.v. in unit with it is a 4speed synchro-mesh gearbox driven through a Borg and Beck clutch, with the alternative of a centrifugal clutch and 4-speed self-change steering-column-controlled box for those who like the more difficult aspect of driving done for them. Constant-track, torsion-bar i.f.s. and normal 1/2-elliptic rear suspension is used, damped by Luvax-Girling shockabsorbers. The wheelbase is 9 ft. 7 in., the tyre size 5.50 in. by 17 in. and Armstrong-Siddeley, Ltd., have chosen Lucas electrics, Dunlop tyres, a Stromberg downdraught carburetter, Girling brakes and A.C. fuel pump for these fine cars. The bodywork is particularly well appointed and very modern in outline, being offered in two forms, the “Hurricane” coupé and “Lancaster” saloon. The prices are, with purchase tax, £1,150 15s. in both instances. The 1947 Armstrong-Siddeley does not suggest a 2-litre car, either by its imposing appearance or by the way in which it motors. Its present popularity is readily understandable.
(Alvis, Ltd., Holyhead Road, Coventry.)
Alvis, Ltd., are concentrating on one model, the 4-cylinder, 74 by 110 mm., 1,892-c.c. car of 14 h.p. It has a 3-bearing crankshaft, push-rod o.h.v. pump cooling, and one S.U. carburetter, fed electrically from an 11 1/4-gallon tank. The unit, synchro-mesh 4-speed gearbox has ratios of 4.875, 6.48, 9.42 and 14.46 to 1, and the drive is conveyed by an open shaft to a hypoid-bevel rear axle. The brakes are Girling, the steering Marles, and Dunlop disc wheels carry 6.00 by 16 Dunlop tyres. Alvis were early in the field with a rigid, part-boxed chassis, and the “Fourteen” retains this form of construction, but has 1/2-elliptic springs front and back. The wheelbase is a compact 9 ft., and the very well-balanced, modern-looking saloon costs £1,093 5s. after the Government’s purchase-tax demands have been satisfied. The chassis, with front wings and bonnet, costs £640, plus tax.
(The Allard Motor Company, Ltd., 43-45, Acre Lane, Brixton, London, S.W.2.)
For some years before the war Sydney Allard’s conception of a sports car was known to combine Ford reliability with a refinement that was the car’s own, and to offer very high performance indeed. In trials alone the Allard made a most enviable name for itself. For 1947 — indeed, production was well in hand some months back and several of the new cars are already in use — Allard has a car much as the pre-war models in conception, but with new chassis, suspension, etc., and bodywork of ultra-modern, almost futuristic, form. The range comprises a short (8ft. 10 in.) and a long (9 ft. 4 in.) wheelbase chassis, with choice of competition 2-seater on the former, and 4-seater tourer, coupé and saloon on the latter. The prices, less purchase tax, are, respectively, £750, £765, £850 and £926. The standard Ford V8 30 engine is used, giving 85 b.h.p. at 3,800 r.p.m. on a 6.12-to-1 compression ratio). The normal 3-Speed gearbox is employed, in conjunction with a 4.1-to-1 axle ratio (or a 3.5-to1 axle on the open cars), and 6.25 by 10 tyres on steel “Easyclean” wheels.
As the dry weight of the 2-seater is 21 cwt. of the 4-seater 23 cwt., and of the coupé 25 cwt., performance, acceleration especially, is obviously outstanding. Lucas electrical and ignition equipment is fitted and the steering is Marles in conjunction with a 17-in. Bluemel wheel. The Allard chassis is a special job, designed with an eye to weight-saving. Front suspension is by swinging half-axles and transverse spring, and is thus independent, and rear suspension is by transverse André-bushed spring. The shock-absorbers are Luvax-Girling, set to suit this particular chassis. A normal Ford rear axle is used, reduced in width for all models save the coupé and located by a Panhard rod; the chassis frame is boxed for rigidity. Lockheed brakes are well up to the heavy demands made on them in view of the car’s immense performance. The rear fuel tank holds 17 gallons, with reserve, and the electrical system is 12 v. 60 a.h. The tourer has a turning circle of 28 ft. 9 in. Trials drivers will appreciate a 9 in. ground clearance. Naturally, the Allard is largely an individual production, and such things as o.h.v. heads, superchargers, over-drive axles, etc., will probably be incorporated to special order. We believe that eight 8 ft. .4 in.-wheelbase cars are to be built but not listed as production models. Export orders in most encouraging numbers are already to hand. Mr. Godfrey Imhof, a private owner, took delivery of his 1946 Allard 2-seater last July and has completed a Continental holiday with it. Here are his impressions of this alluring and urgeful car:—
I have just covered 6,000 miles — mostly on the Continent — with my new Allard 2-seater and have begun to know the car fairly thoroughly. I expected the performance to be good, but I did not expect it to be so refined. With much of the weight at the back to aid grip in trials, I thought the front-end lightness might cause trouble on fast corners, but the front stays put at any speed, and I find my wife is happy when taken round corners 15 m.p.h. faster than in any previous car I have owned.
The performance can be judged by the fact that while in Switzerland we entered for the International Maloja-Pass Hill Climb near St. Moritz with the car quite untuned and unprepared for such an event. With a 3.5-to-1 rear axle and 7.50 in. by 16 in. rear tyres (chosen for reliability trials in England) we were very over-geared for the seven-mile climb, as at 6,000 ft. there is a loss of power of 20 per cent. In spite of this, and being strange to the course, we came 12th out of 25 entries, averaging 41 m.p.h. against the winner’s 43 m.p.h. in a specially-prepared car with low gear-ratios.
We also entered the Ostend Concours d’Elegance, in which the car was awarded a Grand Prix and Silver Cup. The biggest mileage covered in a day so far is 575 miles, and the best average 400 miles at 47 m.p.h., both runs made in France. The strongest impression I have is of smoothness, effortless power, good roadholding and excellent steering. The front suspension layout is extraordinarily successful.
(Aston-Martin Ltd., Feltham, Middlesex.)
This famous concern helped as much as any in the munitions drive, for which it pays the penalty of not being able to resume car production until early next year. They have, however, practically completed development work on the new engine which will go into this car. It is a 1,970-c.c., 82.5 by 92 mm., 4-cylinder unit with stiff 5-bearing crankshaft having thin-wall bearings, and o.h. valves, the exhausts inclined, opeated from a highset camshaft via short push-rods, the timing chain being at the back of the engine. The combustion chambers are specially formed and the water pump supplied the head on the exhaust side with jets of coolant to the valve seats. This engine is a rigid, efficient job, laid out so as to be easy to service. We can well believe that it is far from “woolly” and likely to give a very good account of itself.
(A.C. Cars, Ltd., Thames Ditton,Surrey.)
Catalogues about the new A.C. are expected early next January and production is scheduled for March, 1947. All we can say at present about the car is that it will continue as a 2-litre, using the well-known light-alloy, o.h.c., 65 x 100-mm., six-cylinder engine which, basically, dates back to 1919 or thereabouts. A unit 4-speed synchromesh gearbox will be used, controlled by a normal lever. The chassis is to be entirely new, and A.C.s will again make their own bodywork. A saloon and convertible coupé will be offered, having a low bonnet line, headlamps blended into, and sidelamps recessed in, the front wings, and the rear wheels covered by side panels. A shortchassis sports 2-seater may be introduced later.
(Alta Car & Engineering Co., Ltd., Fuller’s Way, Kingston By-Pass, Surbiton, Surrey.)
Apart from the Grand Prix Alta racing car (the engine of which Abecassis apparently used in his 1 1/2-litre car at Prescott), the basic cost of which is provisionally £1,850, a sports model of similar specification will be available. Indeed 2- or 3-seater open and coupé and saloon bodywork is to be offered, the first-named being of aerodynamic form with a wide front seat, ample luggage accommodation, a fully disappearing hood, and wind-up windows. The 4-cylinder twin o.h.c. engine of 83.5 by 90 mm. (1,960 c.c.) has a Roots supercharger, oil-cooled pistons, and, in unit with it, a 4-speed, synchromesh gearbox and a single-plate clutch. The tubular chassis has rubber independent suspension, front and back, hydraulically damped, and Girling brakes. 5.25 by 18 tyres will be used on the sports model, but the G.P. car is to have 6.50 by 16 covers on the back wheels. The sports job should be the world’s fastest sports 2-litre. (See also Motor Sport, January, 1946.)
(Bentley Motors (1931), Ltd., Conduit Street, London, W.1.)
The Mk. VI 4 1/4-litre Bentley represents the famous Rolls-Royce-built Bentley in its most modern form; it is a car which the term “high-performance” befits better than any other, for every aspect of Bentley performance, from response to minor controls to speed, is so beautifully and satisfactorily blended. The o.h. inlet, s.v. exhaust 88.9 by 114.3 mm. 6-cylinder engine has numerous refinements which, performance apart, place the car in a category of its own. The compression-ratio is 6.3 to 1, and two S.U. carburetters supply the mixture. The sump holds two gallons of oil, which circulates at a rate of 7.3 gallons per min. at 4,000 r.p.m. and the drive goes via an 11-in, diameter clutch to a unit gearbox having the well-chosen ratios of 3.73, 5.0, 7.51 and 11.13 to 1. On this high top gear the Bentley is good for something like 90 m.p.h. at 4,150 r.p.m., the engine/road speed, in conjunction with 16 by 6.50 tyres, being 920 r.p.m. at 20 m.p.h. In 3rd, 67 m.p.h., and in 2nd, 45 m.p.h., are attainable at the r.p.m. equivalent to 90 m.p.h. in top. The very stiff chassis, with its coil spring and wishbone i.f.s. and 1/2-elliptic rear springs, weighs 33 cwt. dry, has a wheelbase of 10 ft. 0 in., and is retarded by Girling hydro-mechanical brakes put on by the famous Rolls-Royce servo mechanism. This very silent, very fast car is rendered individual by such features as light-alloy head, chromium-plated upper cylinder bores, cadmium-plated and polished rear spring leaves, automatic and driver-control of rear suspension, corrosion-treated exhaust system, silent starter-pinion engagement, central chassis lubrication, in-built heater and radio and walnut facia. At 2,500 ft. per min. piston speed the car cruises at. 72 m.p.h. The chassis costs £1,785, not including purchase tax, and a wide range of custom-built bodies is available, of which the James Young 2-door saloon costs £3,910 15s. with purchase tax. The Mk. VI Bentley is one of the finest of the moderns.
(The Daimler Company, Ltd., Coventry and Birmingham.)
The Daimler Company offers a range of exceedingly fine and pleasing models. The well-established 2 1/2-litre 6-cylinder 2,522-c.c. car is continued, but it has been modified to give greater power at lower engine speed than hitherto, while the bodywork has been “cleaned up” to give better visibility and accommodation. The compression-ratio has been increased, and 70 b.h.p. is now developed at 4,200 r.p.m., the car being intended for effortless 70 m.p.h. cruising. Thermostatically-controlled water heating of the induction system, it is claimed, has resulted in better pick-up from cold, much improved acceleration, and a 25 per cent. improvement in fuel economy. The 69.6 by 110.49 mm. engine has inclined, push-rod-operated o.h.v., and the transmission embraces the famous Daimler fluid flywheel and a 4-speed pre-selector gearbox, while the wheels carry 6.00 by 16 tyres, inflated 28 lb./sq. in. front, 30 lb/sq. in. rear. This was a truly fine car before the war (see Motor Sport, June, 1940) and is even more appealing in 1947 form. The saloon costs £1,304 1s. 8d., with purchase tax, the coupé £1,425 9s. 5d., and the basic price of the chassis, which will take kindly to sports bodywork, is £815.
The 2 1/2-litre is backed by two magnificent quality cars, to contemplate which does one a power of good in this utilitarian age. There are a 4-litre six and a 5 1/2-litre straight-eight, developing their maximum power, 110 b.h.p. and 150 b.h.p. respectively, at 3,600 r.p.m., on a 6.3-to-1 compression-ratio. They are very fast cars and both retain a proper radiator in the Daimler style. The basic chassis prices are £1,400 and £1,700 respectively, moderate enough in all conscience for cars of this calibre to-day. All Daimler models have coil spring independent front suspension of perfected layout, Girling brakes, S.U. carburetters, A.C. fuel pump, Lucas electrical equipment, and Dunlop tyres. The larger cars use Clayton Dewandre vacuum brake servos and the respective gear ratios are: 2 1/2-litre – 4.375, 6.82, 10.15 and 17.85 to 1; DE 27 – 4.727, 7.21, 11.15 and 19.73 to 1; DE 36 – 4.09, 6.25, 9.65 and 17.08 to 1 (tyres 8.00 by 17 on larger chassis). These cars are a credit to C. M. Simpson, their designer.
(A.F.N., Ltd., Falcon Works, London Road, Isleworth, Middlesex.)
Up to the war the German B.M.W., particularly the 328, ranked as one of the world’s greatest high-performance cars. A.F.N., Ltd., due to the foresight of the Aldington brothers, had control of sales in this country. Those days are over. But the Aldingtons have brought about another great amalgamation – with the Bristol Aeroplane Co., Ltd. The new Frazer-Nash Bristol is the resulting car. With 66 by 96 mm., 2-litre, 6-cylinder inclined o.h.v. engine giving 85 b.h.p. at 4,500 r.p.m. on a compression-ratio of 7.4 to 1, by grace of triple S.U.s and 10 mm. plugs, etc., in a car weighing 22 cwt. ready for action, and having gear ratios of 3.9, 5.07, 8.46 and 16.77 to 1, the new Frazer-Nash ranks as one of the most significant of 1947 cars. Particularly outstanding features include a free-wheel operative on 1st gear, independent, transverse leaf spring front suspension with independent rack-and-pinion steering, 11-in. diameter Lockheed 2LS brakes, with cable-operated separate rear brakes and specially laid-out torsion bar rear suspension located by radius rods. 5.50 by 16 tyres are used, on bolt-on “Easyclean” wheels, and the wheelbase is 9 ft. 6 in. All modern conveniences are there – Radiomobile radio, Bevelift jacking, Smith’s heater, reversing and stop lamps, oil and water thermos., exterior lockable luggage accommodation, etc. This is a fast car for up-to-date people. You can cruise it at 77 1/2 m.p.h. at the safe piston rate of 2,500 ft. per min., run at 20 in top at only slightly more than 1,000 r.p.m., or open up to over 90 m.p.h. Semi-aerodynamic saloon or cabriolet bodies will be available. The Aldingtons, it seems, have done it again, as we expected they would.
(A.F.N., Ltd., Falcon Works, London Road, Isleworth, Middlesex.)
As if the Frazer-Nash Bristol isn’t sufficient to put aside war-born blues and create an urge to go motoring, the sports Frazer-Nash is announced. Same engine, much the same chassis, but compression ratio up to 8 1/2 to 1, giving 100 b.h.p. at 5,000 r.p.m. Larger sump, oil circulating at three gallons per mm., slightly smaller radiator with hand-controlled shutters, and higher gear ratios-3.54, 4.55, 7.59 and 15.05 to 1. Light-alloy linered brake drums, 5.25 by 16 tyres, on “knock-on” wheels, 16-gallon fuel tank, 7 ft. 10 1/2 in. wheelbase, and a total weight of 16 cwt. This Frazer-Nash will have aerodynamic 2-seater bodywork, enclosing the rear wheels, and should cruise at 85 and exceed 100 m.p.h., with other performance factors to match. The 328 usurped!
(Gordono Motor Co., Ltd., Limeridge, Clapton-in-Gordano, Somerset.)
The Gordano, to be produced by a group of west country enthusiasts with the right ideas, has been awaited with keen anticipation. We are now able to reveal that it will be a 75 by 85 mm., 1,496-c.c. 4-cylinder car, with one-piece light alloy block and crankcase with wet liners. The crankshaft runs in five bearings and these, like the big-ends, are lead iridium alloy lined Vandervell steel shell-type. The valves are inclined in a light-alloy head, which has valve seat and plug inserts, and a high-level camshaft in the cylinder block actuates the valves via hydraulic tappets and push-rods and rockers. Ignition is by high-voltage coil, and there are twin S.U. carburetters. Cooling is by pump and fan, with thermostat control, and the block content is “stagnant” to ensure a high cylinder temperature. The lubrication system embodies a very accessible, full-flow filter on the off side of the engine. The timing gears are at the rear, and the dynamo obtains a drive from the fan and water-pump belt. The drive goes via a single plate clutch to a 4-speed box with synchro-mesh on top and third. Two arrangements of ratios will be available, so that the requirements of sprint and trials drivers can be met separately. The box-section chassis has all-independent suspension, by a coil-spring, Lancia-like layout at the front and through the medium of rubber in torsion at the rear. Driver-control of auxiliary torsion bars is an interesting feature. A low-set transmission line terminates in a hypoid bevel rear axle. Fuel is carried in a 12-gallon tank slung between the frame members at chassis level, to obviate overhang from a conventionally-located tank. 1 1/2 gallons are trapped in reserve and feed is by engine-driven pump. Rudge wheels carry 5.00 by 18 Dunlop tyres and 11 in. by 1 3/4 in. high-duty, cast-iron brake drums are used. The front brakes are operated hydraulically, the rear via enclosed cables, on the Girling hydro-mechanical system. The hand lever operates only on the back wheels. Bishop cam steering gear gives a ratio equivalent to 1 1/3rd turns lock-to-lock, with a 16 ft. turning circle, and the Gordano has a wheelbase of 8 ft. 6 in., a track of 4 ft. 8 in., and 6 in. ground clearance. The dry weight comes out at 1,400 lb. Electrics are by Lucas, and there is centralised chassis lubrication. The body is to be a semi-aerodynamic 2-seater of semi-monocoque construction, leaving the wheels unenclosed. The tail offers luggage accommodation, or an occasional seat under the hood, as the spare wheel lives under the floor. The lamps are recessed within the body. Altogether, the Gordano sounds most interesting. It is said to give excellent performance by reason of low weight, small head resistance and a sound chassis, and at 2,500 ft. per min. piston speed it cruises at 80 m.p.h., the gearing giving 1,112 r.p.m. at 20 m.p.h. in top gear. Chassis will be available.
(Humber, Ltd., Coventry.)
The Humber did much to win the war; it will not be the fault of its designers if we lose the export drive. For the modern Humber is a practical, well-constructed, high-performance car especially stilted to overseas markets. The “Super Snipe” is the nearest approach to the enthusiast’s car in the range. Rated at 27 h.p., it develops 100 b.h.p. at 3,400 r.p.m., and pulls the high axle ratio of 4.09 to 1, the lower ratios being 5.99, 10.14 and 16.07 to 1. Stromberg, A.C., Hardy-Spicer, Lockheed and Lucas contribute to the efficiency of this fine car, which costs, with purchase tax, £965 9s. 5t1. in saloon form.
(Donald Healey Motor Co., Ltd., The Cape, Warwick.)
It was a happy idea on the part of Donald Healey, well-known Monte Carlo driver in the past, to produce a really high-performance, aerodynamic British sports car. The Healey, in both open roadster and coupé form, has already appeared in one or other of the Cavalcades. It has a 2.4-litre, 4-cylinder Riley-base engine in an entirely new chassis. 100 b.h.p., or just over 40 b.h.p. per litre, is developed, and the Healey turns the scales at under a ton, so the performance abilities are obviously of a very high standard. Over 100 m.p.h. and 0-60 m.p.h. acceleration in 10 1/2 sec. is claimed. The steering is specially laid out to give extreme accuracy of control and freedom from kick-back, the front suspension is independent on the trailing-link principle, using a coil spring, and the rigid rear axle is also sprung on coil springs. Dunlop disc wheels carry 5.75 by 18 tyres, and the brakes are 11-in. by 1 3/4-in. Lockheeds. The bodywork, both open and closed, is aerodynamic, with the wheels covered by wings blending into the body sides, and all lamps sunk into the frontal aspect. The wheelbase is 8 ft. 6 in., and the gear ratios come out at 3.5, 4.963, 7.542 and 12.761 to 1 — very high ratios for a car of under 2 1/2-litres capacity, which undoubtedly are made possible by the effective streamlining, which should also make the Healey a most economical fast car.
(H.R.G. Engineering Co., Ltd., Oakcroft Road, Kingston By-Pass, Tolworth, Surrey.)
Before the war H.R.G., Ltd., built some of the highest-performance small British sports cars. It was a happy idea of theirs to continue these models at the conclusion of hostilities, offering, in addition, new aerodynamic 2-seaters on the 1,100-c.c. and 1 1/2-litre chassis. The engines are 9 and 11.9-h.p. Singer units, respectively, and the chassis is in the vintage tradition, with stiff springing, 1/4-elliptic at the front to a tubular axle, with shock-absorbers arranged as radius arms, 1/2-elliptic at the back, a remote-control close-ratio gearbox, and cable-operated four-wheel brakes with electron drums. The 1,100-c.c. car gives 40 b.h.p. at 5,100 r.p.m. on a 7 3/4-to-1 compression-ratio, has ratios of 4.55, 6.67, 10.32 and 16.34 to 1, weighs 13 1/2 cwt. dry, and, with 4.75 by 17 tyres, does 1,170 r.p.m. at 20 m.p.h. in top gear. With normal sports 2-seater bodywork the price of this worthwhile car is £812 2d. 9d. with pur chase tax paid. The 1 1/2-litre gives 65 b.h.p. at 4,800 r.p.m. on a 7-to-1 compression-ratio, has ratios of 4.0, 5.86, 9.06 and 14.37 to 1, weighs 14 cwt. dry, and does 1,030 r.p.m. at 20 m.p.h. in top. Normally bodied, £882 8s. 4d. satisfies both the makers and the Government. On this chassis the aerodynamic 2-seater (see also Motor Sport, July, 1946) is already making a great hit. It is, in our opinion, one of the best-looking of the modern wind-defeating cars. The fuel tank and spare wheel are mounted at the side, one balancing the other, the knock-off wheels are not fully covered-in at the front, but are enclosed beneath Dzus-fastened panels at the rear, and accessibility has not been lost sight of. The all-in price of this striking car is £991 0s. 6d., and at 2,500 ft. per min. piston speed it cruises at 71 1/2 m.p.h. Export orders are coming literally from every quarter of the globe. Charles Follett, who is sole world concessionaire, and Peter Clark, a private owner, have already taken 1 1/2-litre aerodynamic H.R.G.s abroad. Of this experience, Clark writes: As the new H.R.G. had covered less than 250 miles when we reached Folkestone, it was obvious that no performance figures would be obtainable this trip; for the time being we had to be content with 2,000-2,500 r.p.m. (40-50 m.p.h. in top gear). Nevertheless, the trees (and pot-holes) of N.1 sped past happily enough, and we had leisure to admire the excellent driving position; there is plenty of support for the small of the back, the steering wheel on the end of quite a long column rather like a 57 Bugatti comes right down into the lap and, of course, the fall-away front gives splendid visibility. The driving position is particularly fascinating at night, the low-set headlights giving excellent range, and the two front-wheel “sponsons” making a friendly silhouette with the “flight deck” bonnet in between.
With the mileage gradually piling up, we were able to increase engine speed to 3,000 r.p.m., glancing cautiously at the thermometers, which stayed resolutely at 60° C. for the oil and 70° C. for the water. Without ever exceeding 60 m.p.h. we put up a really surprising time back from Paris to Boulogne, forming the opinion that the roadholding of the aerodynamic shows a marked improvement over “the old car,” and looking forward with keener anticipation than ever to sports-car racing in 1947.
(Jowett Cars, Ltd., Idle, Bradford, Yorkshire.)
The Jowett previously has never been a high-performance automobile, but the new “Javelin” appears to be in this category. The old-established Bradford concern has had the happy idea of putting a 1,485-c.c. version of its flat-four engine into a new chassis with 8 ft. 6 in. wheelbase, torsion bar i.f.s. damped by hydraulic telescopic shock-absorbers, an 8 1/2-in. ground clearance, and with integral pressed-steel Briggs Motor Bodies saloon coachwork. The body is semi-streamlined, with lamps recessed into a full-width frontal aspect. The engine is in light-alloy with wet steel cylinder liners, and gives about 50 b.h.p. It is of 72.5 by 90 mm. bore and stroke and has in unit with it a Borg and Beck clutch and 4-speed gearbox. The Jowett “Javelin” weighs 18 cwt. dry, does 50 in 3rd, and goes along effortlessly at about 70 m.p.h. in top gear. It is crab-tracked and has Girling brakes. This is unquestionably one of Britain’s more promising small saloons.
(Jensen Motors, Ltd., West Bromwich.)
Before the war the Jensen established itself as a Ford V8-engined car of very good appearance. For 1947 one model only will be offered — a new 85 by 85 mm., 4-litre straight-eight-engined car. This new engine has wet liners in a light-alloy block, and light-alloy head with steel valve inserts and bronze plug inserts. The o.h. valves are inclined, all in the same plane. at 20°, and operated by push-rods and rockers from a block-located camshaft. Zero-Lash self-adjusting tappets are used. The crankshaft runs in nine 2.48-in, diameter bearings and has 2.09-in. diameter crankpins. The pistons are bimetal and the oil pump delivers at 10 gallons per min. at 2,400 r.p.m., front a 1 1/2-gallon sump. Two S.U. carburetters are fed by A.C. pump from a 19-gallon tank. This engine, which is of Meadows’ conception, gives 130 b.h.p. at 4,300 r.p.m. on a 7 1/4-to-1 compression-ratio and drives via an 11-in. diameter Borg and Beck clutch to a 4-speed synchro-mesh unit gearbox with ratios of 3.4, 4.5, 7.5 and 11.0 to 1. 600 by 16 tyres are fitted, and at a piston velocity of 2,500 ft. per min. the new Jensen would be doing 106 m.p.h. in top gear; at 20 m.p.h. in top the r.p.m. equals 84.6; dry weight 29 cwt. Altogether this seems to be an exceptionally fine automobile. Front suspension is by coil springs and unequal wishbones, rear springing by coil springs, and Panhard rod to a normal axle. Girling brakes, Luvax shock-absorbers, Bevelift jacking, Lucas Bijur chassis lubrication and Lucas electrics are employed. Production will commence next May or June, and the saloon will cost £1,997 18s. 4d. all in.
(Jaguar Cars, Ltd., Coventry.)
We believe that for 1947 Jaguar Cars, Ltd., will continue to offer 1 1/2-, 2 1/2-, and 3 1/2-litre versions of cars which were widely appreciated before the war for their fine lines, performance capabilities and competitive prices. The larger cars now have Girling two-leading-shoe brakes, air-conditioning, de-froster and de-mister.
(Lagonda, Ltd., Staines.)
Technical information and pictures of Lagonda’s 1947 car will not be released until early next year, but we are permitted to say that it will be a 6-cylinder, 2.6-litre car of very high performance, fine finish and notable economy, and rated at 23 h.p. Suspension will be independent all round. The prototype is on test and possesses most attractive lines.
(Lea-Francis Cars, Ltd., Coventry.)
For 1947 the old-established Lea-Francis Company is again offering its high-quality 12 and 14-h.p. 4-cylinder cars, which have 90° o.h.v. operated by very abbreviated push-rods from camshafts on both sides of the engine. The 12-h.p., 1 ,496-c.c. engine gives 50 b.h.p., the 14-h.p., 1,767-c.c. engine 65 b.h.p., at 4,700 r.p.m. on a 7.25-to-1 compression-ratio. A single S.U. carburetter is electrically-fed from an 11-gallon rear tank. The drive goes via a 9-in. diameter Borg and Beck clutch to a 4-speed synchro-mesh gearbox and other items of the specifications of these decidedly attractive cars are Hardy-Spicer propeller shaft, 1/2-elliptic springs, front and back, with Harris-rubber-bushed eyes and shackles, 13-in. Girling brakes, Burman-Douglas steering and 5.50 by 17 tyres. The gear ratios are 4.88, 6.70, 10.53 and 16.19, and 5.13, 7.05, 11.07 and 17.01 respectively. Lea-Francis coachcraft is particularly interesting, light-alloy being used in a form of stressed-skin construction, resulting in an appreciable saving in weight, in conjunction with aluminium alloy bonnet and wings. The complete saloon body is said to weigh a mere 6 1/2 cwt. Special rubber-mountings are used to damp vibration from the efficient engine/gearbox units. The price of the saloon, on either chassis, plus purchase tax, is £959 1s. 8d.
(The Lanchester Motor Company, Ltd., London and Coventry.)
The 1947 Lanchester Ten looks like a family-type saloon, but goes, they say, far better than that. It. apparently achieves its 45-50 m.p.h. in 3rd gear, does about 70 m.p.h., and handles like a sports car. The 3-bearing, 4-cylinder o.h.v. engine has a 7.4-to-1 compression-ratio and, for a capacity of 1,287 c.c., gives 40 b.h.p. at 4,000 r.p.m., and 60 lb.-ft. torque at 2,000 r.p.m. There are Girling brakes, Daimler fluid flywheel, 4-speed gearbox with steering column, pre-selector control, and Zenith, A.C., Blundel and Lucas equipment. The ratios are 5.0, 7.55, 11.65 and 21.4 to 1, and 5.25 by 16 tyres are inflated 26 lb./sq. in. front, 28 lb./sq. in. rear. The body is of pressed steel and the car weighs 23 cwt. wet. Altogether a most intriguing little saloon. The purchase-taxed price is £761 0s. 7d.
(Morgan Motors, Ltd., Malvern Link, Worcs.)
The Morgan 4/4 is being continued much as before, as a lively small car endowed with excellent high-speed cornering abilities by reason of its classic coilspring i.f.s. and low build. It is available in 2- and 4-seater form and also as a coupé, at all-in prices ranging from £449 1s. 8d. to £556 11s. 8d.
(The M.G. Car Company, Ltd., Abingdon-onThames, Berkshire.)
The 1947 M.G. is the 2-seater “T.C. Midget,” a sports car admirably suited to trials work and competition motoring. Its push-rod o.h.v., 4-cylinder, 1,250-c.c. engine has twin S.U. semi-downdraught carburetters and its ribbed light-alloy sump holds 1 1/2 gallons of oil. The 4-speed gearbox has ratios of 5.125, 6.92, 10.0 and 17.32 to 1, the bottom ratio being a useful one for trials restarts. The engine peaks at 5,230 r.p.m., which affords you over 60 in 3rd and over 40 m.p.h. in 2nd gear. Lockheed brakes assure “safety fast” and the specification includes S.U. petrol pump, Burgess silencer, Dunlop wheels with 4.50 by 19 tyres, Lucas “Altette” horn, 5-in, speedometer and rev.-counter, Bluemel steering wheel, Bishop steering gear, Luvax-Girling shock-absorbers, Lucas 12-volt electrical equipment, etc. The body follows the lines of previous “Midgets,” but is wider and possesses very good weather-excluding equipment. The b.h.p. is 54.4 at 5,200 r.p.m. and maximum torque 64 lb./ft. at 2,700 r.p.m. The wheelbase measures 7 ft. 10 m., and the “T.C. Midget” is a compact, very brisk, 80 m.p.h. fast-touring or competition car of proved design. Jarvis, of Wimbledon, are offering service and facilities for London users of the famous Abingdon products.
(The Rover Company, Ltd., Solihull, Birmingham.)
Rovers state that they “do not build cars that would really conform to the generally accepted idea of speedy sports machines.” But it is nice to know that their range of very high-grade 10-, 12-, 14- and 10-h.p. models continues. The smaller are “fours,” the two larger cars are “sixes,” all possessing extreme refinement and no mean performance. Prices range, with purchase tax, from £690 15s. for the Ten saloon, to £876 0s. 7d. for the Sixteen sports saloon. Normal, very effective, 1/2-elliptic suspension and the dashboard-controlled free wheel are retained.
(Riley (Coventry), Ltd., Foleshill, Coventry.)
The 1947 Riley is a very elegant and imposing 4-cylinder, 1 1/2-litre car of entirely new conception and having refreshingly modern lines. Its 69 by 100 mm., 1,496-c.c. engine naturally incorporates typical Riley valve gear, 90° o.h.v. being operated by short push-rods on both sides of the block. With a compression-ratio of 6.7 to 1, this engine, aspirating from a single H.2 type S.U. carburetter, gives 55 b.h.p. at 4,500 r.p.m. and a maximum torque of 76 lb./ft. at 2,750 r.p.m. At 4,500 r.p.m. the piston speed is 2,950 ft. per min. Champion L.105 plugs are ignited by way of a Lucas coil and an A.C. mechanical fuel pump delivers petrol from a 12 1/2-gallon tank. There is 29° valve overlap. The drive goes through an 8-in. diameter Borg and Beck clutch to a unit, synchro-mesh gearbox which the engine likes you to use. The ratios are: 4.89, 7.23, 11.2 and 19.42 to 1. The engine lubrication system incorporates a full flow filter, and at 3,500 r.p.m. the oil circulation is 3 1/2 gallons a minute.
The Riley has torque-tube transmission, its own make of steering gear, and a wheelbase of 9 ft. 4 1/2 in. The car’s dry weight is 24 cwt. and there is 7 1/2 in. ground clearance. The suspension is an outstanding feature of the new Riley. At the front it is by torsion bar with independent action, at the back by long 1/2-elliptics. The chassis is liberally braced with tubular cross-members, and the wheels are of bolt-on type. At the pleasant piston pace of 2,500 ft. per min. the car cruises at 61. m.p.h. The price of the saloon, purchase taxed, is £863 5s.
(Sunbeam-Talbot, Ltd., London, W.10.)
Before the strife, Sunbeam-Talbot cars were renowned for their up-to-the-minute appearance and their easy, smooth-running manner of going. For 1947 the well-known Ten and 2-litre models are continued, with important refinements. New cross-members stiffen the frame, a new rubber rear engine mounting washes out vibration, and the combustion chambers of the aluminium heads are improved. Jacking is improved and the Ten’s crankshaft now has balance weights. The Ten now gives 41 b.h.p. at 4,500 r.p.m. against a former 38 b.h.p., and the 2-litre, 56 b.h.p. at 3,800 r.p.m. instead of 52 b.h.p. These are very good figures for s.v. engines. 10-in. Lockheed brakes retard the 2-litre, and Stromberg carburetter, a pleasant-to-handle 4-speed synchro-mesh gearbox, Lucas hydraulic shock-absorbers, Triplex safety glass, and “Easi-Lift” jacking are other features. There is provision for radio on all models, and the gear ratios are: 2-litre, 4.44, 10.97, 6.62 and 15.83 to 1, with 16 by 5.25 tyres; Ten, 5.22, 7.79, 12.90 and 18.63 to 1. A variety of bodies is offered, stylish and nicely finished — sports saloon, drophead foursome coupé and sports tourer and 2-seater. Prices range from £646 0s. 7d. for the Ten tourer to £844 1s. 8d., for the 2-litre coupé, inclusive of tax.
(Singer Motors, Ltd., Coventry Road, Small Heath, Birmingham, 10.)
For many years before the war Singer cars found favour for competition work by reason of efficient, reliable o.h.c. engines offered in a variety of forms – 4-cylinder “Nine” and 1 1/2-litre, and 1 1/2-litre 6-cylinder. The 4-cylinder engines are also used with every success in H.R.G. cars. For 1947 Singer Motors offer the “Nine Roadster,” one of the few openbodied moderns. It retains the 4-cylinder, 60 by 95-mm., 1,074-c.c. o.h.c., 3-bearing engine, which gives 36 b.h.p. at 5,000 r.p.m. on a 6.9-to-1 compression-ratio. Loex light-alloy pistons, and an A.C.-fed S.U. carburetter are used. The crankshaft runs in 1 3/4-in. diameter steel babbit-lined bearings and has 1 5/8 diameter crank pins. There is a 12 v. 51 amp. hour battery, and coil ignition and thermo-syphon cooling figure in the specification. The 3-speed, synchro-mesh gearbox has ratios of 1, 1.84, and 3.3 to 1, the axle ratio being 4.1 to 1. A 7 1/4-in. diameter Borg and Beck clutch takes the drive, and the rear axle is a Scott Tubular. The brakes are 8-in. diameter Girlings, a 17-in, spring-spoke wheel actuates Burman steering gear, and the 5.00 by 16 tyres run 20 lb./sq. in. front, 26 lb./sq. in. rear. With a wheelbase of 7 ft. 7 in. this trim and lively little economy sports car weighs 15 1/2 cwt., and carries seven gallons of fuel. It is priced at £492 13s. 11d. with purchase tax. It is backed up by a 1,193-c.c. Super Ten saloon and a 1,525c.c. Super Twelve saloon, the former giving 38 b.h.p. at 4,800 r.p.m. on a 7-to-1 compression-ratio, the latter 43 b.h.p. at 4,400 r.p.m. on a ratio of 6.6 to 1, and both having 4-speed gearboxes.
(The Standard Motor Co., Ltd., Coventry.)
The new “1800” Triumph is a striking-looking car, already seen in numbers on the road. Raymond Mays has been using one. For those who like razor-edged lines there is the saloon, with notably thin screen pillars and neat wings, priced at £888 16s. 1d. with purchase tax. If you prefer rounded contours, the clever Roadster Coupé offers them, for the same expenditure. Between them these cars offer many desirable features — ample luggage space, spring steering wheel and column gear-lever location, telescopic fuel filler (on coupé), triple screen wipers (on coupé), special ventilatory arrangements (on saloon), etc. The light-alloy-panelled coupé opens by folding the hood down behind the front seats, and the dickey accommodates two, on folding seats; the occupants are protected by glass windows in the lid of the dickey, which hinges forward to act as a windscreen. This feature alone is an attractive one, and the “1800” Roadster should be in big demand. Three people can occupy the front seat. Both models have a 4-cylinder, 73 by 106 mm., 1,776-c.c., o.h.v. engine, giving 65 b.h.p. at 4,500 r.p.m., on a 7 1/2-to-1 compression-ratio; 4-speed silent synchro-mesh gearbox with oil dipstick; Girling hydraulic braking. with 10-in. by 1 1/2-in. drums; tubular chassis; i.f.s. by transverse leaf spring; 1/2-elliptic rear suspension with anti-roll bar; Luvax-Girling shock-absorbers; Marles steering, and 10-gallon fuel tank. The saloon has gear ratios of 4.86, 7.06, 11.80 and 19.18 to 1, the coupé ratios of 4.75, 6.64, 11.10 and 18.04 to 1; both use 5.75 by 16 tyres and have wheelbases of 9 ft. and 8 ft. 4 in., respectively. The respective weights are just over 25 cwt. and 22 1/2 cwt., and Triumph’s claim 30, 50 and 80 m.p.h. on 2nd, 3rd and top for the saloon, with 0-50 in 16 sec., and 30, 50 and 84, with 0-50 in 15 sec., for the Roadster coupé. They give plenty of technical data and claim 26 m.p.g., and braking 30ft. from 80 m.p.h.