Letters from Readers


I read in your interesting and up-to-the-minute description of the Brighton Speed Trials that Abecassis beat me in my Bugatti when we ran together. This is not the case, since I passed him shortly before the finish, which was actually evident by the time.

It is also worth noting that I. F. Connell's E.R.A. was actually second in the 1 1/2-litre class, but you no doubt omitted to record this fact because in his 1 1/2-litre class run there was a false start and he had to re-run at the beginning of the next class. The official results of the Brighton and Hove Motor Club make this quite clear, his time being recorded therein as 28.66 sec., 77.95 m.p.h., being beaten in that class only by F. R. Gerard, E.R.A., with a time of 28 sec.

Incidentally, it may interest your readers to know that on my first run my speed over the finish was 115 in the Bugatti, and in my second run, which was at a slower average speed, my speed over the finish was 120 m.p.h. This pathetic state of affairs would appear to indicate rather indifferent driving at the start, which I think was the case. My wife's speed over the finish was no better than 110, which means that her start must have been, and was, very much better than mine. It is a fact that the average speed over the last few hundred yards in a sprint of this sort makes hardly any difference in time compared with the way one gets off the mark.
I am, Yours, etc.,
P. R. Monkhouse.
[We apologise for the error in our report, but would point out that the Brighton Constabulary would not let us watch the finishes of the match races, that the old signalling system indicating to those at the start who had won has been discontinued, and that the official results given to us after the meeting showed Monkhouse's speed in Class 18 as 77.41 m.p.h., Abecassis's as 77.61 m.p.h. Abecassis actually averaged 76.61 m.p.h. — but you see how the unfortunate pressman, journalist, scribe or what have you, trips up. — Ed.]

S/Ldr. Boothby does not now appear to disagree fundamentally with my views on the merits of the Austin Seven, so I will reply to the second part of his letter.

Regarding the Railton, I did not make the conversion personally, and so, I fear, can claim no credit for the contributions to his museum. It was, however, done with the full approval and on the recommendation of the makers of the engine, who supplied some of the parts for the conversion. The carburetter was not changed when the car was in my hands.

The reason why I halved the engine was not because it was too powerful, but because I could not afford the tax, nor find the petrol to run it.

The performance was actually improved, because on eight cylinders it boiled at over 60, whereas on four it could cruise at 70 (by speedometer).

I sold the Railton because I found that both before and after the conversion it took longer to complete my daily journey from Chertsey Bridge to St. George's Hill (near Brooklands) than did my 1931 Austin Seven saloon, so the increased running cost and discomfort of the Railton hardly seemed justified.

In conclusion, I would like to wish S/Ldr. Boothby the best of luck with his new project. We can certainly do with a really potent sports car at a reasonable price. I look forward to meeting him again in competition.
I am, Yours, etc.,
A. R. M. Mallock (Capt.).
Catterick Camp,

In reply to M. M. Usher's letter in last month's issue, you were quite correct in stating my two Norton engines are a Model 18 and an ES2, as although these as now fitted by Nortons are the same, my two engines vary somewhat. The Model 18 is a 1930, I think, with cylinder head bolted to the block, exposed valve gear and flat-topped piston. The ES2 is a 1938 with cylinder head bolts going right through the cylinder into the crankcase, enclosed valve gear and a H.C. piston. I was unable to find a camshaft engine at a reasonable price, but am hoping to get over 40 b.h.p. from the ES2 with a 14-to-1 compression.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Tim Carson.

Perhaps, through your columns, some of my friends in the 750 Club can add to my small existing knowledge regarding the actual number of "Grasshopper" type Austins existing.

I believe that there were three English team-cars driven, at times, by Hadley, Buckley, Langley, Goodacre, Scriven, etc.

The Scotch "Tartan Grasshoppers," were driven by Carlaw, Valentine and Blyth.

Then I believe Hadley had a grey "free lance" car, and there was one driven in the Paris-Nice by Mrs. Petre and Madame Itier; this was painted blue and is at present owned by Wilson, of the Scottish Sporting Car Club.

Can anyone account for any more?
I am, Yours, etc.,
H. L. Biggs.

Having become the latest victim of Motor Sport's campaign against those cars which have character enough to be named and are courageous enough to besport those names in spite of the recent lecture in this publication, I feel that I must write, not only to protest against being branded a bad type, but also to sympathise with those cars whose owners have not sufficient affection for them to give them a name which they are not ashamed to inscribe on their bonnets. I admit hastily that some of the names that we are called could not possibly be emblazoned for all to see! — not even in small letters.

Surely it is a far better thing, and certainly in better taste, for us rather to have our own names visible to the public eye than those of our owners whom we suspect of trying to perform a little personal "buildup." I consider that the only circumstances under which an owner's name should appear on the car are when he has been the actual builder of the car concerned; then, his name followed by the hallowed word "Special" may appear. If a famous special has been acquired from the original owner-builder and somewhat modified, I do not think that the new owner is entitled to call it either by its original name or to call it his special. As regards the point in the lecture that a name does not help anyone to appreciate from what components the car is made, I have the following remarks to make:

If the spectator or seeker-after-knowledge is an enthusiast, he will get a lot of fun out of working out for himself just what has been put into the particular car by hints dropped by capacity, noise, chain transmissions and general observation.

If our friend is not an enthusiast then he will not be interested anyhow.

Finally, although I inwardly sympathise, I think that Motor Sport should practice what it preaches and only mention the name "Alphonse" once per column. But then, perhaps, Alphonse is a good type and does not flaunt his name on his bonnet.
I am, Yours, etc.,
[We hasten to say that "Alphonse" is not painted on the bonnet of the Editorial Hispano-Suiza nor attached to the car's make in programmes. It is a contraction of the official Hispano-Suiza type-name "Alphonso XIII" and not a pet name applied by us to the car. — Ed.}