Lord Lyons and the Flying Horse

Having announced that the Austin-Healey 100 is the fastest production car in the world, L. P. Lord, Chairman and Managing Director of the Austin Motor Co., Ltd., and the British Motor Corporation has issued the following correction:


I have been asked by Mr. William Lyons, the Chairman of Jaguars Cars. Limited, to issue the following statement:

“In recent advertisements appearing over the name of the Austin Motor Company the claim was made that the new Austin-Healey “Hundred” (2,660 c.c.s) is the world’s fastest production car exclusive of capacity.

“At the time this claim was made it was believed that the 3,442-c.c. XK120C-type Jaguar was a racing car and not a production car in the generally accepted sense of the term.

“Mr. Lyons wishes me to say that the Jaguar C-type is in fact a production car, and therefore the speed it has attained of 148.4 miles per hour entitles it to be described as the fastest production car in the world.

“Since the original announcement the Austin Motor Company and the Healey Company have modified their advertising by the inclusion of the words ‘under 3.000 c.c.s,’ so that the claim now is that the Austin-Healey ‘Hundred’ is the fastest production car in the world under 3.000 c.c.s.

“The previous statements were issued in good faith and Mr. Lyons and his team of sports-car enthusiasts have the congratulations and good wishes of the Austin Motor Company and the Healey Company for the contributions which they have made to British sports-car prestige all over the world.”


We can sympathise to some extent with Mr. Lord for imagining the XK120C Jaguar to be a racing car, inasmuch as we understood that before a customer could take delivery of one, even in America, he or she had to furnish to Jaguar Cars, Ltd., or their agents satisfactory proof that he or she was a qualified competition driver and wanted to use the Type C in competition events. On the other hand, surely Mr. Lord, as Chairman and Managing Director of one of the largest motor-car manufacturers in the industry, might have been expected to know that the Jaguar’s speed of 148.4 m.p.h. for the mile had been widely accepted as a production-car record? As a matter of fact, as we emphasise elsewhere, a contemporary has exceeded the Austin-Healey 100’s speed with a Type C Jaguar sports car in the course of a normal journalistic road-test, timing it at 143.7 m.p.h. An Austin-Healey 100 tested by the same journal put up a mean speed of 106 m.p.h. Mr. Lyons, therefore, convincingly wins his case, especially as we believe the Austin-Healey 100 which put up a speed of 142.636 m.p.h. over the mile to have had raised compression ratio, a specially streamlined body, and possibly other non-standard modifications.

We have absolutely no wish to see production-car records abolished, but must emphasise that they are unofficial, as no official records specifically for stock cars are recognised outside America. It is a little droll that while the Heads of Industry squabble over their ” fastest-ever” claim the Spanish Flying Horse temporarily wiped the eye of both Jaguar and Austin-Healey 100, with a speed, accomplished by a Type Z-102-S 2.8-litre Pegaso carrying road equipment, of 151.041 m.p.h. over the kilometre and 150.125 m.p.h. over the mile. These n,ew records were accomplished on the Ostende-Gand motor road and at the same time the s.s. kilo was accomplished at 86.367 m.p.h. and the s.s. mile covered at 98.873 m.p.h.

However, Jaguar had a reply, for on Oct. 20th at Jabbeke, using catalogued optional equipment on an XK120 Jaguar which had a cockpit cover and undershield, a two-way flying mile was covered at 172.412 m.p.h., using English commercial-grade fuel. In addition, using the light-alloy sports/racing Jaguar prepared for Le Mans but not used on that occasion, a mean flying mile was covered at 178.383 m.p.h. It only remains to consider which is more nearly a stock car, the blown 2.8 litre Pegaso or these 3.5 litre, respectively, “hopped-up” and sports/racing Jaguars. Anyhow, warm congratulations, Mr. Lyons!


750 M.C.

The October Bulletin of the 750 M.C. is naturally full of interesting “inside” stories of the successful, if damp, Six-Hour Silverstone Relay Race.

The positions, at the time of publication, in the Goodacre Trophy contest were R. Grirnsley, 56 points; L. West, 38 points; J. French, 33 points. Motor Sport offers condolences to Mrs. French on French’s unfortunate accident at the N. Staffs M.C. Silverstone meeting and wishes Jack a quick recovery.

The Rushmoor speed trial was successfully staged on September 25th near Aldershot in conjunction with the United Hospitals M.C. The quarter-mile course is unhampered by close proximity to civilisation, has a good surface and provided excellent sport, although a fast right-hand bend immediately after the finishing-line was difficult for drivers of the faster cars and put one Invicta into a tree and another Invicta and Waring’s Lago-Talbot into a fence somewhat off-course. F.t.d. was made by Waring’s Lago-Talbot and Jack French’s Austin Seven “Simplicity” was the best 750 Formula car. This event was excellent fare for the 750 and 1,172 Formula competitors and we hope it will be repeated. Secretary: K. Welfare, 56, Harrow Road, Bedfont, Middlesex.


The “Motor Sport” Clubs Trophy

As shown below, Peter Gammon (M.G.) – deservedly – has won the Motor Sport Clubs Trophy for 1953, with which goes a replica and a cash prize of £50. Second prize of £20 has been won by W. F. Moss (Alfa-Rorneo), and the third prize of £10 by Major Bailey (Bentley). The contest will be repeated in 1954, probably on a simplified basis.