Letters from Readers
May I be permitted to express my opinion on Mr. Cecil Clutton's letter in this month's issue of your very excellent journal, please.
Such satirical observations are, to my mind, definitely injurious to the greatest and cleanest sport in the world — especially so during present times when surely the aim of every motorist should be "100% Unity."
What does it matter to Mr. Clutton, or to anyone else, if Mr. Thursby-Pelham's claims appear to be incorrect. But then, maybe Mr. Clutton's statements are absolutely infallible, and he has never been guilty of even a little "wishful thinking." If this be so, he must indeed be the only motorist possessing such rare qualities.
I would suggest that we all are guilty at some time or other of a little "romancing," at least, it does prove enthusiasm. A great deal more comradeship and a great deal less sarcasm and petty quarrelling is what we motoring enthusiasts need. For example, look at the strength of the C.T.C. and N.C.U. organisations.
With best wishes to your paper, and to all people interested in any form of motoring.
I am, Yours, etc,
I saw Mr. Clutton's letter in your October issue, in which he makes reference to my "exalted claims in your columns" for my T/A Midget, irrelevantly comparing it with some much modified vintage cars in the 1947 Brighton and Hove Speed Trials. To be strictly accurate, no letter of mine has previously appeared in Motor Sport.
I think even the most biased of your readers must admit in fairness that for a motorcar originally costing under £250, which is used every day and was not specially prepared, to come in 5th out of a class consisting of 22 in an International event, is a reasonable performance. If Mr. Clutton studies the results, he will also see that I was quicker than seven other cars in the next higher class, and beat four more in the 2-litre event. Incidentally, my M.G. was slower than in 1946, when I averaged 52.10 m.p.h., as the engine was still tight after overhaul.
Yes, Mr. Clutton, it does go to show something — that it takes all sorts to make a world; you chose to analyse the results as a whole to belittle my car's performance (which is a trifle petty, I feel, for one so well known in the motoring world), while I prefer to give credit to comparable cars which were faster than mine. It's just a different attitude of life.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Mr. Clutton's reply follows: —
I must thank Mr. Thursby-Pelluun for his letter, but I think he misses the point of my strictures.
In 1941 or thereabouts he claimed for his M.G. a tremendous performance, and the occasion was taken to draw disparaging comparisons with the general run of vintage cars. At that time, no opportunity existed of practical demonstration, so that he was left in more or less triumphant possession of the field. Therefore when, in 1946 and 1947, he so signally failed to make good his earlier promises, to the extent of being roundly beaten by many of the despised vintage and Edwardian ruins, I think he can hardly complain if he gets his leg pulled pretty hard.
I intend by this no criticism of the T-type M.G. which is, I am sure, an excellent little car with a performance well up to its engine size. But Mr. Thursby-Pelham did M.G. prestige no good by shooting such a monumental line about his own T-type which, as we now know, is a nice, ordinary little M.G., just like anybody else's.
I am, Yours, etc.
[We think the manufacturers partly to blame for having reprinted Mr. Pelham's claims as an advertising leaflet. This correspondence is now closed.c—cEd.]
After reading "The Reminiscences of Reggie Tongue" I cannot let the author's criticism of the Fiat "500" pass without comment, as it is most unfair. My own experience of these little cars is not extensive, but I bought a 1937 model last year while awaiting delivery of a new car, and covered 6,000 miles in it, the only involuntary stop being due to a sticking cut-out which discharged the battery.
Admittedly such a tiny engine requires a certain amount of care in driving, but surely an enthusiast should realise this as well as anyone, and adapt his tactics accordingly.
The statement that the car is only suitable for shopping will, I am sure, be loudly resented by a very large circle of users of the "Mouse," and is disproved by the fact that mine was used for at least one 200-mile trip each week during last summer and winter, and on one occasion 300 miles were covered in a day in complete comfort, and, most important, I finished the journey much less fatigued than after similar runs in larger cars.
A cruising speed of 40 m.p.h. is certainly low, but I managed to put up some surprisingly good averages for 2 and 3-hour runs without exceeding this figure, which, of course, is well within the engine's capabilities.
As for the steering, well, most people who have tried the "500" will agree that this is one of the most delightful features of the car, and is only equalled among British small or medium power cars by a very select few. It should be well known that any car will perform peculiar antics if put into a corner at a speed beyond the maximum which the design is capable of dealing with.
To sum up: the "500" will finish a 100-mile run only a very little behind the average 10 or 12-h.p. saloon; it is very easy to handle in traffic, or to manoeuvre for parking; is completely comfortable, with adequate space for all ordinary purposes, and what is very vital today, will go a long way on a gallon of "Pool," and that without a trace of "pinking."
However, what is more to the point perhaps is the fact that I shall shortly dispose of my 1947 car with the intention of replacing it with a Fiat; the 1,100-c.c. model if I can find what I want, for the sake of the extra urge for hill climbing, but failing this I shall certainly not hesitate to buy another "500."
I am, Yours, etc.,
In the second instalment of the development of the racing Austin Seven you stated that Viscount Ridley built his twin-cam Ridley-Special at his Blaydon Hall workshop in 1929. Viscount Ridley built his Ridley-Special at Blagdon Hall and not Blaydon Hall. Blaydon is mainly industrial and lies on the Tyneside, whereas Blagdon Hall is in the lovely countryside of Northumberland. Unable to take active part in racing, I follow it through your wonderful magazine. A mechanic by trade I am greatly interested in the V.S.C.C. notes that appear from time to time in your journal and simply revel in the details given. To my mind, the old-timers have something the modern car lacks.
One of my relaxations is to think back to Parry-Thomas, H. O. D. Segrave, Dario (Dolly) Resta and countless others, with the cars they drove. From 1924 up to 1939 I kept a carefully tabulated record of all racing drivers and their cars, but the volumes were lost, with many other treasured articles, during an air raid on North Shields.
May you and your journal flourish for many years to come.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Geo. B. Hedulan.
Further to your review of Gregor Grant's book on British Sports Cars, we feel that we must point out some serious errors in describing the Allard.
In the first place, we do not use Girling but Lockheed brakes; the clutch is the standard Ford centrifugally-loaded type and not Borg and Beck, as stated.
Mr. Godfrey Imhof, whilst giving us valuable assistance on many problems regarding advertising, is not a director. Nor does he have any financial interest in the Company.
Regarding the development of the original Allard Special it would appear, from reading the book, that the white T.T. Ford V8 used by Mr. Sydney Allard was rebuilt as the original Allard Special. This was not so, the T.T. car being sold in its original form and the first Allard Special being built as such.
We regret that these mistakes have been published and it is our opinion that such a book as Mr. Gregor Grant has written must be done by close liaison between author and manufacturer, where possible.
I am, Yours, etc.,
H. L. Biggs,
Technical Assistant. Allard Motor Co., Ltd.