A REVIEW OF THE SPORTING HIGHPERFORMANCE CARS AT EARLS COURT
The well-proved 2-litre six-cylinder AA’. appeared in open form as a 131tekland sports tourer. Only minor changes have been made for 10512 and a rigid front axle is still employed, so that whoever designed it eons of time ago can proudly link kinds with Ettore Bugatti Thk gear-lever and bonnet are like those of real motor ears. The compression-ratio is now 1;1 to 1. giving 76 at 4,500 r.p.m., the appearance of I he modern A.C. is dignified and italiv ii h tal, and the tourer eosts £39 more tic in Ow saloon, or £1,098, plus ILL
For the first time Earls Court visitors were able to feast their eyes on the ” 1900″ Alfa-Bomeo, of which Thomson .3c Taylor (13rooklands), Ltd., had imported four closed models. The 82.5 by 88 mm. four-cylinder engine uses twin o.h,c. valve operation, with chain drive; 80 h.p. is provided from 1,884 c.c. at 4,800 r.pan., and in spite of roomy coachwork the top gear is 4.1 to 1. Steel bodyeum-chassis Construction is employed, with coil spring and Wishbone i.f.s., and the gear-change extends from the steering -column. Fine ears, these ! They have Girling brakes.
A constant stream of visitors thronged the Allard stand to digest some interesting innovations on the new J2X model. This had a four-earburetter, 5.4-litre Chrysler ” Fire Power” Vti engine, (ietails of which were revealed by a transparent bonnet side and under-bonnet -lighting. The engine is 7i in. further forward in the chassis, providing better cockpit space, and so the radius arms for the divided-taxie i.f.s. now run forwards instead of rearwards. The doors are more substantial than those of the J2 but, although the seat :squab is adjustable, this is still essentially a competition car and there is no internal space for luggage— only a nylon nightie and a toothbrush, dear I The tail is filled by an enlarged fuel tank, having a capacity of 36 gallons. The spare wheel (centre-lock wire) is carried on an alloy ” hub ” attached to a bracket on the Off side or the chassis. The to air intakes of the ” T.T.” car have given way to a clever hump on the bonnet Which eitin be adapted to feed any number of -carburetters (Cl) to four without -external alteration. A Ford three-speed -gearbox is used and a Pat Warren final drive unit is available for the de Dion rear end -Which provides for no fewer than 80 variations of ratio multiplied by the available final drive ratios, or some 108 variations in all in overall axle ratio, varying from 2.06 to 0.08 to 1. This axle also provides a lower transmission line and enables the ratio to be changed expeditiously for competition events. The de Dion tube has been moved back to accommodate this axle. Lockheed 2LS
brakes moil this very fast and accelerative car, which develops 180 b.h.p. and weighs tinder 18 cwt. The wings are readily detachable, the hand brake is at. the side and a conventional central gear-lever is retained. The ‘K2 two-seater was shown with an
Arduri-Ford V8 engine, the bonnet having been widened to accommodate t his. The Allard convertible hail a neat A ” as its radiator grille motif and the saloon ‘a well-thought-out heater-put,screen defroster devised or a mixture of proprietary heater components and its radiator grille red t teed in deptlt. These cars, evolved and continually improved by a Manufacturer who is also a very successful and regular competition driver, are ” high-performance ” in every sense of the word.
Alvis made a particularly attractive ‘display of their 3-litre Type ‘1’1321 sports model. It has been vastly improved in appearance, ‘although the instruments,. contained in a fewunit-dials, look a trifle forlorn on the spacious instrument. panel. Over 100 rrupilt is spoken of front what is a handsome, comfortable-looking, typically British car. A big fuel tank is a useful item of the specification, which includes helical spring i.f.s.and Lockheed brakes:
As ever, the Feltharn marque of AstonMartin is one of Britain’s outstanding, n-ally fast ears. The D112 was ‘shown as a display chassis, enabling one to study details of the -clever tubular frame and roil-spring suspension.’ The chassis had a real gear-lever, the other ears Steering colian stalks.
The I win-eam 21-litre six-cylinder Lagonda-i aspired engine was seen in both normal 107 li.lt.p. and ” Vantage ” 123 b. lip. forms. It is an admirably quiet, smooth worker, able nevertheless to top 5,000 r.p.m. ‘rwo.saloons were shown, one finished entirely in white, as well as the chophead coupe. Centre-lock wire wheels are used on all models and improvement is confined to letting more air impinge on the Girling 2LS brakes. The crowds who flocked to thisatand no doubt did so to revete.A car which put up a magnificent performance at Le Mans and in the Alpine Rally.
The Austin A90 sports saloon, finished in peach, kid as its companion the A40 Sports convertible, which now develops b.h.p. at 4,800 r.p.m. and has discarded its old-style gear lever for one of” clenched list ” type.
The essence of the English quality car, the Bentley, in spite of a basic chassis price of over £2,100, cannot fail to sell itself, and we sometimes wonder why Bentley Motors (1981), Ltd., employ a publicity man. Anyone who has driven behind that responsive o.h.v. six-cylinder engine, handled that impeccable and inimitable right-hand gear-change, operated the beautifully made minor controls or slowed the car from its habitually high cruising gait with those mechanical-servo four-wheel brakes—or who merely listens to Bentley owners describing these delights—must know that, given the opportunity, there is no other car. The suspension over-ride control is another pleasant mechanical feature of this peerless chassis.
So sober and non-wind-defeating were the saloons displayed, although compact and well-proportioned, that the uninitiated might well wonder why these ears should be included amongst highperformance vehicles. Yet, with engine recently enlarged from 4i to 41 litres (4,566 c.c.), a genuine 100 m.p.h. and slightly more is attained by this car, whose magic is contained in its name and which performs as a silent sports car, Inspired by Rolls-Royce, should. A Bentley saloon, Park Ward drophead coupe, James Young two-door saloon and H. J. Mulliner saloon were displayed and, admiring them, prosperity seemed to have returned to this England.
Ninety-five miles per hour from a 2-litre saloon is Bristol’s achievement, which shows what the pioneer aeroplane manufacturer can do when shown a German sports-car engine. But there is more to the Type 401 Bristol than this. The two saloons standing side by side in fine isolation on their roomy stand showed a painstaking craftsmanship of construction and finish that makes the Bristol worth every penny of its f-8,260 in the eyes of satisfied users—suchas Bob Gerard
The good roadholding qualities of the traction avant Citroen are world famous, and the Light Fifteen and the sixcylinder car cover a lot of ground in a usefully short space of time in extreme safety, the safety-factor further enhanced by the sturdiness of Citroen one-piece steel construction. We were glad to see that the fine appearance is unchanged ; Citroen’s honest lines and sensible design features have won the make many friends amongst motorists of long standing who appreciate a really good car.
Daimler, the car chosen by Royalty, offers the most dignified form of transport any motor car can give. It also incorporates that technical highlight of fluid flywheel combined with a self-change gearbox. The delightful 21 litre
Special Sports ” Daimler is a handsome stylish drophead coupe endowed with brisk performance by reason of its 85 b.h.p. six-cylinder o.h.v. engine, not to mention remarkable staying powers.
A French high-performance friend, long with us, the 8-litre D6 Delage was shown as a Guillore drophead coupe and a Letourneur et Marchand saloon. That delightful mechanical achievement, the Cotal electric gearbox, is used on the DO.
Selborne (Mayfair) Ltd. showed the fine Type 135M Delahayes in various forms. The use of the Cotal finger-tip gear-change, centre-lock wire wheels and high-compression engines, enabling these roomy, luxurious cars to pull an axleratio as high 3.51 to 1, were not lost on the discerning.
From the enthusiast’s point of view the Ferrari exhibits were the most interesting at Earls Court, and Brooklands of Bond Street deserve to reap due reward for bringing them over. Thus the engine, a V12 2.6 litre with a camshaft above each bank of cylinders had an ignition distributor driven from the front of each camshaft, a 86-nun. Weber downdraught
carburetter feeding into a water-heated manifold between the V of the cylinders, the main water off-take going direct from the manifold jacket to the forwardmounted radiator and returning via a pump driven from the timing gears. Fuel feed was by a petrol pump on each cylinder bank, driven from the timing train, and the exhaust system on the outside of each block consisted of pipes from cylinders 1 and 2 and 5 and 6 merging into two, thereafter to unite with the Separate pipes from 3 and 4, into a single exhaust pipe running beside the chassis tubes to the silencers. The engine was four-point mounted and the unit gearbox had a single rubber mounting at the back. Front suspension was similar to that on racing Ferraris, but at the back there were twin /-elliptic rear-shackled springs on each side, the built-up axle, with its elliptical tubes, passing between them. These double springs are apparently used only on the long chassis. The gearbox, with stiffening channels on the side of the electron easing, and the propellershaft were above the level of the tubular Side-members. At the back the shockabsorbers were carried on brackets built up front the frame and there was a substantial steady bearing for the propeller shaft. Notable features included
rubber vent pipes for rear axle and gearbox, a deep ribbed sump below the five-speed gearbox, a hairpin return spring for the clutch pedal, and the Ferrari badge in the steering wheel centre and their Roman numerals to indicate gear positions on the lever knob.
This 2.6-litre chassis was backed by a 2.6-litre Chin two-door coupe, with space for luggage or occasional passengers behind the seats, and the imposing 4.1-litre Type 842 Chin four-door sixseater saloon, with its spare wheel at an angle in the boot. The coupe was approximately 4 ft. 4 in. high, the saloon approximately 4 ft. 7 in. high. The bodies were beautifully finished but we did not altogether approve the big grouped dial built into the facia of the saloon. These Ferraris gripped the imagination of Show visitors. The price, with duty, runs near to five figures, however.
The 2-litre six-cylinder Frazer-Nash needs no introduction to MOTOR SPORT readers. It was shown in “Le Mans Replica,” “Mile Miglia ” and new twoseater convertible forms. The new convertible is an attractive car endowed with the 85C Bristol engine and having the fuel tank in a front wing to leave lots of space for luggage. The” Mille Miglia ” car now has a raised bonnet line to accommodate the same radiator grille as the other models. The spare wheel is cleverly accommodated under a panel in the nearside wing. The engine gives 125 b.h.p. at 5,500 r.p.m. and is available in various forms. We believe the car shown was about the fourth to be built. The more familiar “Le Mans Replica” model, which won the I.O.M. British Empire Trophy Race and the Targa Florio this year, gives similar power, uses the same transverse leaf front, torsion-bar rear suspension, oil radiator and one-shot chassis lubrication, although the oil radiator tubes are horizontal in the ” Mille Miglia ” car, vertical in the “Le Mans.” Centre-lock disc wheels are used on these two models, bolt-on discs on the convertible. The “Le Mans Replica” costa over £3,000 with p.t., and is one of the world’s most potent road cars. The Frazer-Nash was ever a truly first-class sports car and the present model, with engine by Bristol out of B.M.W., is no exception.
Healey showed the now well-established Nash-Healey (export only) and the new Alvis-powered car, with very clean, all-enveloping lines and a modified form of coil spring, trailing-link i.Ls. The 3-litre 106 b.h.p., 84 by 90-mm. engine is reached via a panel in the top of the front structure. A 3.77 to 1 axle ratio is used and we noted the secure attachment of the Ace hub discs which cover the bolt-on wheels: That old friend the Riley. powered Healey, first closed car to reach 100 m.p.h. post war, was shown as a smart Tickford saloon.
HOTCHKISS How to observe that the
How pleasing to observe that the great ” Paris-Nice ” Hotchkiss is unspoilt in exterior form. The 3/-litre engine remains as before, gives over 100 b.h.p., and pulls
a 3.6 to I axle ratio. There is now Gregoire patented coil-spring progressive: suspension stiffening, applied to the felliptie back springs. This is one of the Continent’s truly great ears, built by an armament factory under the aegis of an Englishman. The I fotchkiss has proved Its worth time arid again by winning the Monte Carlo Rally.
The Jaguar is one of the most. inspiring of all present-day higlt-perforilliMCC ears, competition proved. On a revolving dais was displayed the magnificent 11.1-litre Mk. VII saloon, finished in black, a fine British car by any standards. It has the XI:120 twin o.h..c. six-cylinder engine ilia roomy, beautifully styled saloon that should exceed 100 m.p.h without any trouble, and the trailing shoe brakes of which lutive vactoun-servo actuation. The side-located fuel tanks ensure luggage space to meet the needs of the longdistance traveller, and this entirely desirable car is rivalled only by the fixedhead XI:120 Jaguar two-seater coupe, perltaps the most beautiful series-built car ever seen at a Motor Show. Naturally the now immortal XE120 sports two seater Was displayed and crowds stood on the Jaguar stand and admired front opening time until the National Anthem. Jaguar prices are competitive—the XE120 fixed-head coupe costs only £1,088, basic, for instance. Jaguar won both Le Mans and the T.T. this year and further comment would be superfluous !
JENSEN ” ” the
The ” Interceptor ” Jensen, with the 4-litre six-cylinder o.h.v. engine that propels the massive Austin Sheerline luxury car, is not only a very smart car but a very fast one. It van exceed f(0 m.p.h. and, in spite of pulling an axle ratio of 3.28 to 1, its acceleration figures are exceptionally good. The compression ratio is quite modest, the weight not skimped, and normal gear levers are retained. We expect to hear a good deal more of the Jensen ” Interceptor” in the future than we have in the past. It strikes a pleasingly individual note in the high-performance field.
That. brilliant design, Ilte sports Jupiter, evolved front the equally-brilliant Javelin saloon, was shown as a Show chassis and in its Millibar drophead guise in which it has performed well in races and rallies. The walnut facia has been replaced by a steel panel, the instruments regrouped and detail fittings altered. But essentially the Jupiter, one of our few 11-litre sports cars, is its former self, offering smooth, comfortable 70-m.p.h. cruising with extreme economy of fuel. The flat-four engine ahead of the front wheels is a technical masterpiece ; It. now has its oil radiator at the front off side of the engine, as on the elms-winning T.T. ears. We gather Jowett’s may eventually discard the drophead Jupiter in favour of a coupe or an open twoseater, but for 11)52 it is retained, a most appealing little car, at a price of £1,893 with p.t.
LAGONDA The is a
The is a very fascinating car,
and one which contradicts rin? suggestion that. design is stagnating. It lots the W. 0. Bentley-inspired twin-rant 21-litre engine adopted so successfully by David Brown in the 1)132 Aston-Martin, in a ft. 51 in. wheelbase, X-braeed chassis with all its wheels suspended independently. There is swing axle rear suspension to provide back-seat passengers with front-scat steadiness, torque-tube transmission and Lockheed brakes. This line car gets along as effortlessly as a 4-litre and faster than some of this size ; it is also a.delightful car to-drive, the visibility excellent and steering, brakes and gearchange functioning in happy harmony.
What an exIdtirt was the Iancia, Aurelia short-chassis Gran Turismo coupe! You remember how it took second place in this year’s Mille Miglia ram ? here it was ” in the flesh..•’ for connoisseurs to examine its compact V6 engine, enlarged to 1,991 c.e., against the 1,756 c.c. of companion Aitrelia models, its ingenious independent rear suspension with universal joints outside the wheels, unit steel body-eum-chassis, and the well-proved Lancia coil-spring ifs. The remaining Models are very little less high-performance but. alas, Aurelias are unobtainable in England.
The Lea-Francis exhibits included the well-known sports model, a ” real car” modernised in detail only, and with the high-efficiency, hemispherical ‘combustion chamber, 75 by 100 ram, 21-litre, fourcylinder engine. There was also an Estate car that brought memories of red pet rot.
The famous ” ” M.G., for some unknown reason still termed a ” Midget,”
was seen as a complete sports two-seater and as a chassis set about with indicators pointed to its umprestionerl higldights. The soft coil-spring and wishbone i.f.s., the simple but effective push-rod o.h.v., 66.5 by DO min. 1,950-e.e. engine, which gives 54 1).1t.p. at 5.20o r.p.m., but can be ” boosted ” to nearly 190 b.h.p. using sl:oolard and approved components, anti the almost ” vintage ” but well boxedin chassis frame of this little fast car that its captivated the U.S.A., were universally admired. In appearance, too, the ” T1)” makes no concessions to an excess of eltrome, retains it proper radiator bonnet, and separate wings and runningboards, and has a fold-flat screen ; its gear-change, too, is altogether delightful and its Lockheed brakes fully in keeping with M.G.’s sensible slogan : ” Safety Fast.7 The bask: price is a modest i:470.
The mia-g:La motor Co. showed a most attractive range of Morgan Plus Fours, and visitors were evidently well pleased with them. A Show-finished chassis was supplemented by the well-known twoseater Plus Four, a team of which won the Team Prize jun the R.A.C. Rally, a smart coup6, and a new four-seater. The installation of the rugged 2-litre four-cylinder, 68-b.lx.p. Standard Vanguard engine in a simple, lightweight chassis gives the Morgan a vivid performance for a modest consumption of fuel. ft is essentially fun to drive, immensely good aceeleration being matched by effortless 70-m.p.h. (Taisho!, a delightful gear-change :mil very effective Girling hydraulic 21,5 brakes. Refreshing design features :ire the coil-spring, vertical slide i.f.s. wit It automatic lubrication, Separate gearbox, and a very low chassis, the Z-section side-mernbers of which are below the gearbox and pass under the back axle. The bodies arc generously upholstered, hand finished in bright, durable colours, and It ore is shnple but thoroughly effer•tive weallter protection. The enthusiast’s ideal lets long centred round a
big engine in a lightweight car, and the Morgan certainly provides this, for 2,088 e.e. and a weight of l8 cwt. cannot fail to spell vivid and endearing performance. The Plus Four in two-seater form, with two spare wheels, costs 2535 without pt, and possesses performance unbeatable at the price. The Plus Four is ensured of a great future in the hands of enthusiasts who appreciate the older style of motor car.
The two Porsche on view, by the foresight of Connaught Engineering, have a high performance for their modest engine size, because of the very clean lines of the bodywork, in which the ” hotted-up ” version of the 1.2-litre flat-four Volkswagen engine lives in the boot. Some road impressions of this, the first German car to be displayed in England since the war, appear in this issue.
RILEY excellent and
The excellent and warmly-admired 2k-litre Riley is virtually unchanged for 1952 save for detail alterations which include a towel-rail used as a rear bumper. Unfortunately the open three-seater Roadster seems to have been abandoned and only the saloon—a very handsome car—is available. Nevertheless, speeds not far short Of 100 m.p.h. have been attained.
The Salmon ” Randonne,” enterprisingly brought to Earls Court by Connaught Engineering, deserves mention because its 2.2-litre four-cylinder engine has twin o.h.v. valve operation and is Made largely of Alpax light alloy. This is another car that discloses its exclusiveness by a Cotal gearbox ; it also has j-elliptic back springs.
The Sunbeam-Talbot set out, before the war, to be a very smooth-running, smoothhandling car different from the ordinary Hillnum models Of the great Rootes Group. This tradition is splendidly maintained in the current Sunbeam-Talbot ” 90,” which, with a lively, long-stroke 70 b.h.p. o.h.v. engine of 2,287 c.c., is a car of good performance in which the noncompetition driver can go fast and still feel well within himself. Most attractive is the sports convertible model, which can be used fully open, fully closed or in halfopen forms, as climate or mood dictate. Rootes-built cars are notable for their practical features, and at a basic £805 this coupe is a car of which their design team and production engineers can be proud.
EARLS COURT ECHOES
Amid a scarcity of open-air models Singer exhibited a four-seater Roadster, now with the S.M.1500 oh. camslutft engine of 1,497 c.c. and, of course, The width of the Humber Hawk saloon we have sometimes noticed when wanting to pass them on the road. On Press day we were reminded of this when four young * * *
The Austin A40 Sports and Jensen Interceptor had identical radiator grilles. * * s•
The Hooper Golden Daimler limousine would be safer used West than East of Earls Court, said a wag, who likened it to a flying saucer, seen but not believed in. * *
Another pre-view surprise—the Jaguars in their neat cellophane-bag,s. * * *
Overheard remark : “The FrazerNash is a good car—at a good price.” * * *
The Aston-Martin and Lagonda Show chassis were completed in 14 days—which doesn’t mean Feltham is preparing for mass-production. • * *
Where were the sidelamps on the FrazerNash drophead ? And do the rear lamps use red bulbs ? Their glasses were white ! * * *
Last year Bristol showed one Type 401. This time there were two on the stand. Does this explain the ample seating accommodation adjacent to them,—for those customers whose orders have not been met ? * * *
Lots of cars have grown unsightly goitres on their bonnets. * * *
Centre-lock wire-wheels were encountered only on Ferrari, Allard, AstonMartin and Delahaye. * *
Very goal publicity for motor sport— the Jaguar placards in Earls Court Underground station, listing venues and contests in which Jaguar successes have been achieved. * * *
In a lily ‘pond on the Ford stand five lilies opened and closed to display model componeots of the 5-Star Ford range and a model of a complete ” Consul.” Rival attraction—the exceedingly clever X-ray Hillman Minx. Very clever, too, was Fiat’s folding and unfolding engine. * * *
There was always a crowd studying the 2i-litre Ferrari chassis. It was in quite a sober finish, compared to the Show chassis of most British exhibitors. * * *
The Delahayes arrived literally hot from their drive to Earls Court on preview day but the little Panhards had not put in an appearance when the Show opened. * * *
The beat ” buy” at the Show ? The Fiat 500C ” BelVedere ” station wagon ? All the more unfortunate that it was Labelled “not for sale.” * * *
The most attractive ” model ” ? The girl Nuffield used, balanced on a rail before the cutaway Oxford and sitting in the ” TD ” M.G. Midget.
ladies sat in the boot of one to be photographed. * * *
Shades of the Thinwall—the Alvis engine in the new Healey bore a valve cover inscribed—” Healey.” Three cars were on view on this stand,, powered by Alvis, Riley and Nash engines, respectively.
PORSCHE RECORDS On
On September 30th, Mueller, Glockler, Von Hanstein, Ramelow and Von Frankenberg broke the 500-mile, 1,000kilo and six-hour International Class G records at Montlhery. They drove a 1,100-c.c. Porsche. The new speeds are, respectively, 100.5, 101.2 and 101 m.p.h. and the losers of these records Eyston and Denby, whose Riley speeds the Porsche beat by 2:32, 2.0 and 1.93 m.p.h., respectively. On October 1st, in another Porsche, the team broke Class F 4.000 and 5,000-kilo records formerly held by themselves with the V.W. The new speeds are 98.878 and 98.916 m.p.h., respectively, an improvement of’ 2)) m.p.h.
FREE LUBRICATION CHART FOR CONSUL AND ZEPHYR OWNERS
Latest addition to the Castro’ library is a lubrication chart covering the Ford Consul and Zephyr models. Copies of this chart, measuring 22 in. by 17 in. and giving full lubrication data, may be obtained free on request to C. C. Wakefield and Company, Ltd., Grosvenor Street, Lon(lon, W.1.
CLASS I AND J RECORDS
The specially-streamlined Cooper-J.A.P. did what it was intended to do at Montlhery on October 8th and 9th, namely, capture several international records in Classes I and J. John Cooper tried lirst, with the 850-c.c. ” one-hinger ” J.A.P. installed, and set up new Class J records for 50, 100 and 200 kilometres, 50 miles, 100 Trifles and one hour, his speeds being 90.82, 92.13, 91.98, 92.02, 91.80 and 90.27 m.p.h., respectively. The former records were held by Moss, Gregory and Neill with a Kieft, and Cooper shattered them handsomely, raising the ” hour” by 10.90 m.p.h. ! W. S. Aston then got piing with the 500-e.c. V-twin J.A.P. installed and set new figures in Class I for the same distances, of 99.30, 09.59, 99.13, 99.16. 90.41 and 9,9.41 m.p.h., respectively. Again the Kieft was robbed of its honours, its hour record, for instance, being bettered by .8.07 m.p.h. There is likely to be quite a battle for record-honours in these two classes, especially in respect of who will first cover 100 miles in the hour, so we append a history of this record in both classes :-
A fine gathering of Morgans was present at the Morgan 4/4 Club’s Driving Test meeting held at Queensford AcrodrOme, Dorchester-on-Thames, on Oct.7th.
The winner of this event was G. j. Stallard, of Hallow, Worcs., driving his. 1949 Standard-engined Morgan. Second place was taken by .1. S. Atkins, of Derby, in his 19:17 Coventry Climax model, and S. G. Dyke, of Newcastle, Staffs, obtained third place.