Advertisements in British periodicals are noted for their good taste and integrity. But just recently the more lynx-eyed amongst our readers may have noticed some exaggerations and odd statements in motoring advertisements, as the copy-writers warmed to their task inspired by the proximity of the London Motor Show,
For instance, the Austin Motor Co., Ltd., surely sailed a bit close to the mark, in claiming the Austin-Healey 100 as the “World’s Fastest Production Car,” on the strength of a speed of 142.7 m.p.h. over the Utah Mile. If the specially-tuned and streamlined Austin-Healey used to achieve this speed can be termed a “production car,” so, presumably, can the Type C Jaguar, and when it is remembered that Jaguar obtained a speed of 148.4 m.p.h. from one of these cars. over the f.s. kilometre at Jabbeke and that a weekly contemporary clocked 143.7 m.p.h. with a probably less-special Type C, the Austin-Healey claim is unsubstantiated. The performance set up by the 2.6-litre Austin-Healey and the International Class D records up to 24 hours that it captured in less-specialised form are so enormously creditable it was a pity to see the copy-writers resorting to exaggeration when proclaiming its prowess.
Then the advent of the new Bristol 404 induced a certain components supplier to enlarge on the noisy speed we put up with in the past, in comparison to the manner in which the Bristol 404 “moves at two miles and more a minute like a wraith in the sunlight” — the first speed claim we had seen for this fine car. Alas, their examples from the past were badly chosen. There was “Count Zborowski’s 100-h.p. chain-driven monster.” Presumably this referred to Chitty-Bang-Bang I, but this car, often referred to as of 600 h.p., had a 300-h.p. Maybach aeroplane engine, which actually developed 305 b.h.p. at 1,500 r.p.m. It had such an easy time propelling the old Mercedes chassis round Brooklands that it wasn’t particularly noisy — as anyone who heard Chitty II run at the 1952 Brighton Speed Trials will readily appreciate.
This same advertisement refers to “the giant four-cylinder Rouge-et-Noir” and “the 7.7-litre four-ton supercharged Mercedes-Benz.” The former suggests Humphrey Cook’s 30/98 Vauxhall, hardly a “giant four-cylinder,” while the 7.7-litre Mercedes-Benz was scarcely a car which “hustled noisily on road and track.” Whether the Bristol 404 will exceed 120 m.p.h. we shall need to wait and see.
While on this subject, Peugeot, a difficult name to pronounce, is apparently also difficult to spell, for in a Redex advertisement announcing the result of the 1,100-1.500 c.c. class in the 6,500-mile Trans-Australian Trial we are informed that “Puegeot” cars took first and third places.