In this predicament, I remembered seeing the name of Arthur Bryden, of Leeds, advertising Riley parts in Motor Sport. I rang up to see if I could buy a spare magneto from him, whereupon, after hearing my position, Mr. Bryden insisted on my borrowing a magneto, and keeping it until my own was repaired. What really staggered me was that Mr. Bryden refused to accept any deposit. but merely observed that he would be extremely annoyed if he failed to get his magneto back! It is a pleasure to have dealings with such a firm.
If this is typical of the service Motor Sport readers can expect, there is clearly more value in our eighteenpence-worth than the monthly enjoyment of your columns: I have been reading them since 1933, and hope to continue for many years.
I am, Yours, etc., W. T. Weatherhead.
When the 500-c.c. racing-car class was first discussed, I wrongly thought it intended to give the back-yard car builder a sporting chance. No doubt the wonderful Cooper and Kieft cars, by dominating this class, have done our prestige good, and enabled promising drivers to develop their skill.
These thoughts were inspired by your remarks on the new R.A.C. trials car formula. The photos published below showed that there has been plenty of scope for the amateur designer to try putting his own ideas into competitive practice.
I wonder whether a 500-c.c. trials class would be the answer for those of us with “all the reefs taken in on their pocket-linings”?
I am, Yours, etc., O. Grigson, Teddington.
Speed Six Bentley And 36/220 Mercedes
The articles entitled “Cars I Have Owned” have become a feature of Motor Sport which makes very pleasant and interesting reading but they also have the psychological effect of formulating opinions about certain marques and models outside the experience of most present-day enthusiasts based entirely on the misfortune or good fortune of the owner concerned.
With this thought in mind, may I offer a contrasting point of view to Mr. Mortimer’s, vide his excellent article in last month’s issue as a balancing factor to whatever the younger generation of motor sport enthusiasts are now thinking about the 36/220 Mercedes-Benz compared with the Speed Six Bentley?
These two cars were near enough equals in engine capacity, the Bentley with six pots, 100 by 140 of 6,597 c.c. and the Merc. with six also, 98 by 150 of 6,789 c.c. The Bentley developed 175 b.h.p. and the S Mercedes 120 unblown and 180 blown. Maximum speeds in standard trim at 3,200 r.p.m. were approximately 90 for the Bentley and 110 blown in the Merc. Please note “standard trim” as I already know that a Speed Six did 130 at Brooklands in racing trim.
Mr. Mortimer seems to have been most unfortunate in acquiring four not very good Speed Sixes and crowned them all with one very, very bad 36/220 Merc. The first Speed Six collapsed its front wheel when “putting on all the steam it had,” later estimated to be 70-75 m.p.h. and even so at this normal cruising speed the driver is lucky to be alive to recount the episode. The second one was “tiring to drive” and the fourth was “nowhere near the performance of the others.”
If the 36/220 Merc. “could not hold a candle” to any of these Speed Sixes I am simply appalled to contemplate how any 36/220 could have fallen into such disrepair although oddly enough the engine was not disappointing after experiencing four Speed Six Bentley’s!
“Full steam” in any average 36/220 will better the ton and I have never heard of one folding up a wheel under the strain. The only tiring operations in driving Mercs. are firstly holding hard down to the floor-board the powerful supercharger foot-controlled clutch-spring on the throttle and secondly, applying the brakes when you get frightened, both of which can be an extremely exhilarating way of getting tired.
Otherwise the pleasure of driving the big Mercedes and particularly the 36/220 is sheer unbridled joy. The roadholding is par excellence coupled with precision steering light as a feather at high speeds. Mr. Mortimer’s adverse opinion on the roadholding and pleasure of driving of the 36/220 is the first such comment I have ever read.
The 36/220 Mercedes has quite an impressive racing record having in this country and Ireland achieved fastest lap time in competition with Speed Six Bentleys on two occasions, namely, 1929 Eireann Cup, Dublin, speed 83.8 m.p.h. (Bentley average 79.8) and the 1929 Brooklands Six-Hour Race, speed 81.19 m.p.h. (Bentley average 75.88).
Continental triumphs (not against Speed Sixes) were: 1927 German G.P. 1st, 2nd, 3rd.; 1928 German G.P. 1st, 2nd, 3rd., and at the 1927 Boulogne Speed Trials a 36/220 averaged over 70 m.p.h. from a standing start kilometre.
In closing I should not wish anyone to think that I put pen to paper in order to disparage the Speed Six Bentley. They were undoubtedly one of the world’s finest and fastest sports cars of those days, as was the 36/220 Mercedes whose honour I hope to have vindicated; so out with those “candles” as we sigh for the days which have passed and taken with them the cars made for men.
I am, Yours. etc., R. H. Johnson, Limpley Stoke.