Letters from Readers, November 1954

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68

Engine Similarity
Sir,

After reading some comments in one or two of your contemporaries about certain new products of the B.M.C., I have made the following little chart, which I think is not without interest :—

I am not an engineer, but it seems to me that, in these three instances, rationalisation has produced some rather irrational results. Presumably the Magnette has twin carburetters, but, even so, would one normally expect the same engine to deliver more power (20 per cent, more) with a c.r. of 7.15 to 1 at 4,600 r.p.m. than at 4,800 r.p.m. with a c.r. of 7.43 to 1? No doubt I am being silly, and the explanation is very simple.

I am, Yours, etc.,
J. Stansfield,
Liverpool.

Sports-Car Race Rules
Sir,

With reference to the recent correspondence concerning the future of sports-car racing, I have been reminded by reading “Those Bentley Days” that the Le Mans regulations formerly required cars to be standard sports cars with four-seater bodies carrying ballast equivalent to the weight of three passengers.

I feel that a reversion to this principle would go a long way towards providing a solution of the present problem, make it a little more difficult to disguise Grand Prix cars as sports cars and lead to the production of sports cars slightly more logical than today’s beautiful projectiles which use lorry engines to haul coachwork barely adequate to carry one of those Khirgiz Dwarfs in addition to the driver. To the great regret of a good many people the sports four-seater has disappeared from the market and the reintroduction of the old regulations for all cars of over, say, 1,500 c.c. should lead to the production once more of sporting cars making provision for one or two additions to the family as a valuable by-product of the improvement of racing conditions.

Formula racing should provide sufficient experience in ultra-high speed conditions and sports-car racing give experience in load-carrying at speed instead of approximating to “real” racing as it does now.

I am, Yours, etc.,
P. H. Starling,
Norwich.

Motor-Racing Charges
Sir,

May I draw your attention, and that of all motor-racing enthusiasts, to what I consider to be excessive charges for spectators at Aintree? I recently received a circular from the Aintree Automobile Racing Co. soliciting my support for their meeting on October 22nd, and enclosing a form for advance booking of tickets. The circular promised that “the World’s leading Grand Prix drivers are being invited to compete for the main event of the day” — 17 laps formule libre, a total of 51 miles in all. How many of the World’s Grand Prix drivers would be expected to rush their entry forms in I can leave your readers to guess. On the promise of such an entry I am asked to pay 35s. for an uncovered roof seat in Tatts or Aintree Stand, and those who attended the last meeting will agree that the word “seat” is hardly applicable. One cannot even expect to see any real pit work at such an event. A much better seat can be obtained at Silverstone, for less money, to witness real Grand Prix racing — but perhaps motor-racing is now expected to subsidise steeplechasing? Furthermore — and think hard on this, chaps — f the motor-racing fraternity see fit to pay these prices for second rate stuff, what will they be expected to pay when there is real racing at Aintree?

Aintree is a grand track and has many advantages over other circuits — such as catering facilities, ease of access, good car parks near main roads, etc. It could be the circuit, but don’t let the owners think that the pockets of the racing enthusiasts are bottomless.

I am, Yours, etc.,
A. Johnson,
Liverpool.

* * *

The Bishop Ban
Sir,

As I am not in the market for a new car, and don’t like them much anyway, British or foreign, may I give the views of a detached and delighted observer of your little tiff with Nuffield’s?

The weekly motoring press gives us admirable objective road tests, with a wealth of statistical data. On their own admission, and quite rightly for their reading public, these tests are written for the average purchaser of the type of car under test.

We who read Motor Sport are not “average” purchasers who regard their cars objectively. On the contrary we regard them in a highly subjective fashion. And so, of course, Motor Sport gives us subjective road tests written from the point of view of a motoring enthusiast. Enthusiasts are but a small percentage of the motoring public, and probably quite incomprehensible to Mr. Bishop and his team of “stylists.” But we wield great influence among our motoring friends — count the people you have influenced. I did and it was quite gratifying.

If Gargantua does not like plain speaking, well, we still have our influence and can draw our own conclusions.

I am, Yours, etc.,
“Nil Nisi Carborundum,”
Stroud.

Sir,
We do not agree with Mr. Bishop that the journals he mentions are beyond criticism over their road test reports. Any faults encountered are usually either muffled with apologia or damned with faint praise, so that it requires considerable experience of reading these reports to be able to assess their implications.

We prefer the frank opinions of Motor Sport.

Secondly, is it not true that, except for the higher priced cars, the conservatively-designed British Car is frequently inferior to its more progressive Continental counterpart ?

Finally, Mr. Bishop might well have given a sounder reason for the refusal of the B.M.C. to submit cars for test; namely, that B.M.C., cars are, with few exceptions, produced for the undiscerning masses and are unlikely to appeal to readers of Motor Sport.

We are, Yours, etc.,
J. A. M. Reid,
J. P. Sargent,
Bishops Stortford.

Sir,
Mr. Bishop’s smug statement that the weekly motor journal methods of road testing and reporting are surely beyond criticism from the readers’ point of view rather savours of wishful thinking.

In the spring of 1949 I took delivery of a Morris Minor tourer in Trieste. This was an admirable car in most respects but suffered from two major defects in design.

The engine lacked “steam” with the result that most continental mountain roads, however well graded, brought the car down into second or even first gear. The cooling system, however, did not suffer from this complaint and it was necessary to replenish the radiator every two or three miles on the Dolomite Passes and on the Gross Glockner.

The electric petrol pump was located above the exhaust manifold which caused that instrument to work overtime in hot weather.

Now those two faults are not even hinted at in the eulogistic road tests in the early Minors which appeared in a weekly motor journal.

A letter I wrote to that journal criticising the cooling system was not published, but was acknowledged by the Technical Editor who admitted that he had suffered front the same trouble in his own car.

I now look upon the road test reports by these journals as merely factory publicity handouts and have now given up reading them regularly.

I am now running a 1927 Humber 14/40 purchased recently through your advertisement columns. This car has given every satisfaction and averaged 29 m.p.g. on a recent weekend trip from Preston to Goodwood to see the Anglo-American Vintage Car Contest. Oil is replaced at the rate of one pint per 500 miles.

I am, Yours, etc.,
M. C. Polyblank (Major),
Preston.

* * *

The Topolino
Sir,

With all this talk of Volkswagens, Renaults and 2 c.v. Citroëns in your columns, everyone seems to have forgotten the marque which did as much as any other to establish the baby-car cult, namely the Fiat 500.

Whilst this can be a horrible machine to anyone wishing to adjust its tappets or clutch without removing the engine, it has many virtues, most important being its superb roadholding at the miserable speeds of which it is capable.

My own example, a 1937 slightly-warmed convertible, averaged 42 m.p.h. for half an hour during the S.U.N.B.A.C. high-speed trial (this refers to the other entrants only) at Silverstone on September 18th, and I swear that from the second to the penultimate lap of the 12 I completed, my foot was pressed firmly down to the floorboards with the car flat out in top.

This strategy produced an indicated 55 m.p.h. at Beckett’s, and an indicated 65 at Woodcote. Unfortunately, the engine’s abysmal lack of urge resulted in my leaving Beckett’s at an indicated 40 m.p.h., having used up most of the available horses in producing an unholy howl from the tyres and groans from the chassis. On the first lap, deafened by these noises, I changed down halfway through at something like 45 m.p.h., resulting in an even more deafening scream from the engine. On the last lap, I used my brakes for the first and only time, at Woodcote, to avoid entering the boot of a Zephyr driven by a lady who had about three laps in hand to qualify. Luckily I didn’t need them — I’m not strong enough to make them work properly.

So what have we got; an engine which, in spite of an aluminium head incorporating all Ricardo’s precepts, produces less b.h.p. per litre than almost any other, excluding American cars and the Daimler Straight Eight; a gearbox which is excellent up to 35 m.p.h., and then runs out of gears; a prop.-shaft which constitutes a sound barrier which is only passed (down very steep hills) when the speedometer needle goes off the dial at 70 m.p.h.; a chassis which, though flexible, has roadholding qualities the equal of any, when used with the weight and weight distribution of the standard saloon Fiat; a longevity of life which, in my hands at any rate, is practically negligible.

I have today noticed my oil pressure has returned to the 10-15 lb. it had before the last blow-up, 3,000 miles ago.

The front end, having been partially renewed in respect of ball-joints and wishbone bushes, etc., for the S.U.N.B.A.C. meeting, will now have to be renewed completely.

Incidentally, the Friday before this meeting I broke-the front leaf-spring while motoring very sedately round a bumpy corner that I normally take safely at twice the speed, and as a temporary bodge at short notice, I borrowed a very much flattened spring from Ken Smith, ex-, I think, the first Smith 500. This caused the car to ride firmly on the bump rubbers, and I wonder whether this introduction of increased roll-stiffness could account for apparently improved roadholding. Perhaps other Fiat owners can comment on this.

From the price angle, the car is damned expensive compared with English cars of similar intention. Spares, though plentiful enough, are not always cheap; e.g., reconditioned exchange engines at £35 to £38, and at the other end of the scale, cut-out points — points only, mark you — at 8s. 11d, a pair, against a complete Delco-Remy cutout at about 12s.

In spite of all this, I wouldn’t part with my Fiat for anything, except money.

I am, Yours, etc.,
David R. Kelsey,
London, N.8.

* * *

The 1,100 Fiat TV
Sir,

I wonder if any of your readers in Great Britain are lucky enough to be the owners of a Fiat 1,100 TV saloon! I acquired the first one to come to New South Wales last May, and after 6,000 odd miles of delightful motoring in her, it is my considered opinion that there is no other car which combines all that is best in other makes, without any vices. Performance is terrific, and is really in the 1,500-c.c. class as demonstrated recently in competition.

On Sunday, Sept. 19th on Castlereagh airstrip, near Sydney, the Australian Sporting Car Club held their annual “Records Day”standing quarter-mile and flying eighth. The TV (“Bellezza-Grigia” or Grey Beauty) established new records for both distances, viz. 21.41 sec. for quarter-mile and 5.76 sec. for eighth-mile. Surface was fairly heavy with loose screenings.

Then on the following Saturday at Newcastle, the Hunter Valley S.C.C. held the hill-climb championships in King Edward Park. It is a difficult hill, with two steep horseshoe bends about one in six grade and two nasty hairpins of one in four, the first one approached through a narrow stretch little more than car width. Owing to insufficient entries in the under 1,100 c.c. class the TV had to run in the 1,101-1,500 c.c. category, the previous record being held by an M.G. “Y”-type saloon, at 78.6 sec. TV bettered this on each of her three runs, finishing up with 75.52 sec., which I think you will agree is quite good, and caused quite a sensation among those present.

Second gear was used most of the way, up to 50 m.p.h. on speedo, but the last 200 yards was in third at 53 m.p.h. On Sept. 28th the motoring editor of A.M. weekly took her over his test course of 210 miles, during which two hill-climbs were made, also acceleration tests, full lock, rolling and braking, also two flying miles, and sustained 50 over three separate miles to check speedo (dead accurate). Brakes showed no fade after a long steep descent, rolling test at 30 m.p.h. recorded only 20 lb. resistance per ton on the “Tapley,” lowest ever recorded by any car — next best being 30. Tachimedion average speed for the distance was 38 m.p.h., petrol consumption 39.1 m.p.g.

Peter Antill, who is Australia’s foremost trials driver, conducted the test, and he definitely puts the car in the 1,500 c.c. class. It will give me great pleasure to forward the issue of A.M. containing his report to you.

I am also enclosing a press photo of the TV on the second horseshoe bend, showing how steady she is at speed on corners, no roll at all. The black lines are skid marks recorded by various other makes, and they show the different techniques employed by drivers in their approach to the bend.

I look forward to delivery of Motor Sport every month, and think it is “on its own” for detailed interest. I think I’m probably the oldest competing driver in this country, being in my 66th year, but the “Sport” keeps one young.

I am, Yours, etc.,
E. D. (Ted) Ansell,
Narrabeen, N.S.W..

* * *

Comparisons
Sir,

During the past five years I have owned, or had a “family partnership” with, among other cars, five Nuffield products and two German cars, so I would like to make a few comments. To enumerate more fully, with some remarks.

M.G. M-type. My introduction to this marque was owned in partnership and I had little driving experience. Not a sports car, but quite an entertaining little tourer. M.G. J2. Very different from its predecessor this little car, within the limits of its two-bearing crank, provided some very pleasant driving in the true sports tradition. Such excellent points as the grouped greasing nipples could well be copied today.

M.G. TC. This was the car which took second place in the 1949 Alpine Rally and has worn its years well. I did quite a lot of rallying in it and raced it successfully in a handicap at Charterhall. The ride was a bit bumpy and the steering inclined to wander at speeds. Just a pity that it wasn’t 1 ½-litres. Incidentally, the instruments were decidedly inaccurate, speedometer reading 15 m.p.h. fast and the rev.-counter being 500 r.p.m., optimistic, at maximum speed.

Wolseley 12/48. Somewhat overbodied, but soundly made, a sensible family car and possessing a pleasant mixture of unexpected performance and handling which one does not associate with a 27 cwt. 1 1/2 -litre car. Tyres ran 20,000 miles per set and it was first rebored at 52,000 miles, at which point the oil consumption was not high.

Wolseley 6/80. A very disappointing vehicle except on a straight dual-carriageway with no traffic, where, once speeds in excess of 70 have at last been reached, they can be held indefinitely. Cornering is admittedly better than many comparable cars, but the steering ratio of nearly five turns lock-to-lock of a not-very-generous Iock made heavy by the vast o.h.c. engine makes it decidedly clumsy. The engine is incredibly sluggish for a 2 ¼-litre o.h.c. engine, uses oil and has burnt valves at 20,000 miles, fuel consumption is a ruinous 18 m.p.g., irrespective of what one does to the carburetters. Tyre consumption is about 6,000 miles per set. Whereas the 12/48 was notably safe on ice, the, 6/80 is the opposite and driving is like walking on polished linoleum with new shoes, after someone has sprinkled the surface with banana skins. Once off the hard road you’ve got to hire the next tractor. Yes, it has its good points; nicely equipped even if the equipment is not very well made.

Opel Cadet. Much abused before we got it, but it had obviously been a design too far before its time and had not been particularly well made — although it’s surprising how many are still running about the roads. Ours never went more than 40 miles without returning to the garage for repairs.

Volkswagen de Luxe (1,192 c.c.). By far the most outstanding car I have ever driven. Once one masters the oversteering tendencies (which took little time) it becomes incredibly delightful to handle and can be cornered much faster than anything I know personally, except perhaps the Buckler I assembled last winter. Due to the high gearing the engine is running so “slowly” that one very often does not realise just quite how fast one is entering a corner (unless one’s eyes stray to the exceptionally steady speedo needle). As for engine performance, I was frankly expecting it to be a bit sluggish; that that is definitely not the case may be gauged from the fact that I have put 34 miles of varying roads into 35 minutes, with that feeling of safety only shared by the Buckler. The finish and equipment is excellent — you’ve virtually got to open a window before shutting the last door, so airtight is the body. Petrol consumption on hard driving is about 37 m.p.g. That high top gear (often described as an overdrive) is the thing that astonishes me most, for the low torque and resultant slogging power can take one up surprisingly steep hills before resorting to that most endearing feature of all — the synchromesh gearbox. I have always been in the habit of double-declutching my downward changes at high speeds — in the VW one can push the lever from top to third as fast as one can move it at car speeds approaching the mile-a-minute. I used to think that M.G. gearboxes were the cat’s whiskers, but the VW has them beaten. Bad points? Yes, two: fierce traffic brakes and the difficulty of maintaining a straight line in a strong cross-wind.

It is easily apparent to me why the VW does, and will continue to, outsell British cars where they compete on equal terms. Furthermore. VW have an excellent service system; Nuffield groups are singularly unco-operative, frequently letters to the works remaining unanswered for weeks. Your magazine and your road-tests have my full confidence, Mr. Boddy; much more than does the short-sighted action of Mr. Bishop!

I am. Yours, etc.,
Ian W. Scott Watson,
Kelso.

Sir,
I write this letter in appreciation of your judgment of the Volkswagen as from time to time expressed in your pages. My de luxe VW is just a month old and is still a source of wonder and delight. It is an amalgam of most desirable, but what are generally conceded to be, irreconcilable attributes. The gearbox is wonderful. One can never catch it without a suitable answer to any situation. The steering, roadholding, and the “finish,” deserve the highest praise. Only points of criticism — the clutch is a mite sudden, and the pedal not too well placed. The brake operating pressure is on the high side, but they hold their adjustment well, and really work.

Driven fast, it must surely be the most economical vehicle in production. Fully laden, I have had a carefully checked 41 plus m.p.g. (cooking petrol) on a Cornwall-Croydon trip, the going varying between main and unclassified roads, and with no attempt at economic methods, Crossing Salisbury Plain the speedo needle was “off the dial,” and would have been showing 86-87 m.p.h. had the figures been there. (Probably a genuine 80.) At this speed no sound is to be heard, and ease of control is outstanding. Everything is performed effortlessly and with an entire absence of “fuss.”

Thank you, Motor Sport, for your sound and moderately expressed views which largely persuaded me to acquire this, so unorthodox but roadworthy vehicle. I am well able to understand how 23 per cent. of all new Swiss registrations last year came to be VWs.

I must conclude by saying that although you have praised the VW (and have thereby been “accused” of being pro-German) you have not praised it nearly so highly as its merits deserve. This will indicate hew I view the effrontery with which some interested persons claim that you are “Anti-British.”

The truly anti-British among us are those who, assisted by the past hard earned slogan “British and Best” have during these postwar years been scattering shoddy, ill-made and faulty goods across the globe, to the defamation of our prestige, and to the long-term sabotage of our national effort. That this has been occurring is, unfortunately, beyond doubt, and no condemnation can be too severe for those responsible.

The ordinary citizen can only fervently hope that the eventual consequences of this act of folly will be less disastrous than might be logically supposed.

I am, Yours, etc.,
E. F. Goldsmith,
Old Coulsdon.

Sir,
I wonder if you would like to hear from someone who holds the Volkswagen in as high esteem as yourselves. I got the VW after owning a number of cars — all new or newish. The first car was a TC M.G. which served faithfully over 25,000 miles, fairly fast miles. The TC is so well known as to need no elaboration on its performance or handling. The next car was a newish Morgan 4/4 of which I rid myself as quickly as possible — fortunately I still had the TC. Then came a delightful little “buzzbox” in the form of an o.h.v. Minor saloon. What a pity it buzzed and vibrated at high speed and had such poor spacing of the third and fourth gears. The finish left a lot to be desired too. Next came the amazing Volkswagen which is truly the fastest slow car I have ever driven. I have read many letters regarding the performance of the VW and some have indeed made fantastic claims. I remember someone having claimed to have “dusted up” a pair of tuned M.G.s — this being at the time when I had the TC. I scoffed then but honestly I am not so sure now. On paper the VW should have no performance (24 b.h.p. at 3,000 r.p.m.) and I suppose if the last “rev.” is wrung out of them most comparable British cars would out accelerate it and have higher top speeds. The secret of the VW, however, lies in its high, effortless and vibrationless cruising speed. Now that I have got accustomed to the oversteering characteristic, I think the VW is also the safest car I have driven — certainly the most comfortable. The finish is really excellent and the only complaint I have is about the lack of leg room for the rear passengers.

I am, Yours, etc..
L. R. Jenkins,
Durrington.

Sir.
Perhaps you will allow a new recruit to the ranks of Volkswagen owners to reply to one of the points made by Mr. Flickinger in his letter. I have driven 2,000 miles in three weeks in a 1954 de luxe 1,192 c.c. saloon which I bought secondhand with just over 2,000 miles on the clock. In that time I have learned to respect not only the obvious care with which the car has been built (only the hinges to the glove box lid seem to be exceptions to this); I have also learned that this little car can cover the ground amazingly fast. I am used to cars of the 3-litre Bentley, Light Fifteen Citroën and Alvis type, and far from finding the VW feeble on hills, I find that on one long local pull which I can sometimes top at 65 in my 1947 TA 14 Alvis, I usually manage 55-60 in the VW, which is surely very good. Mr. Flickinger should try pushing down his accelerator a little harder. A 31-mile run which I do frequently, ending near Gray’s Inn Road, Holborn, can sometimes be done in the Alvis in as little as 56 minutes in morning traffic; my only trip so far in the VW returned 55 minutes — a result of smaller size coupled with reasonably quick acceleration and first-class gear ratios, which are, incidentally, both features of the TA 14.

I bought the VW entirely on the evidence of Motor Sport reviews of the car; I had never sat in one till I bought it. I don’t yet feel at home with the sudden oversteer on wet road corners, being used to vehicles about half a ton heavier, but no doubt experience will put that right. I am much impressed by the 34 m.p.g. average on my farm work, which is 12-14 miles better than I am used to from anything I have had before.

This includes a 1954 Consul, which returned a fast driving 22 m.p.g. in spite of every attention to its carburetter, no doubt partly because on farm work no gear but bottom was the slightest use over the rougher tracks, on which I do four to five miles each day. I have yet to drive a shoddier-built car. Worst feature of all was the bench seat; I always thought the purpose of this type of seat was to carry more than two people, but with three average-sized people it sagged so badly that a normally-poor driving position was made quite impossible. The handle-bar gear stick never once in 7,000 miles made possible a clean change to bottom gear, which often could not be selected when standing still. The back axle at 35 m.p.h. howled like an air-raid siren (pity the man who bought it at nine months old). As to the roadholding in the wet, the less said the better; even though I always carried two cwt. weights in the boot. And to think that Austins now find it worth their while to build a Consul model.

I join issue with Mr. Elliott who denies the accusation of poor design on these new type Fords. I would instance two items on the Consul, presumably also featured on the Zephyr. First, the incredibly crude exhaust system — obviously a money-saver to the manufacturer, but surely very inefficient, and the first item which an enthusiastic owner replaces with something better. Second, the peculiar mushroom growth to the right of the throttle pedal. Perhaps the designer was afraid to put the throttle near the side of the car, where it should be, for fear of the customers rubbing a hole in the tin side-panel. But I found it essential to remove this foot-rest, since when I drove with my foot hard down I always found my shoe caught under the edge of the mushroom excrescence. And I had the same experience as another reader who took delivery of a Ford in a “partly-assembled state.” Our Consul was so full of loose bits and pieces that it took several months to tighten them all up, by which time the first offenders were making themselves heard again.

I am, Yours, etc.,
R. D. English, M.A.
Larkfield.

* * *

A Small Sports Four-Seater
Sir,

In your article on the “Decline (and Fall) of the Small British Sports Car,” you omitted, I am desolate to say, to mention, to praise, to glorify one of the few excellent small cars, namely my one and only S.S.II, 1935, sports, four-seater.

When I was searching for a secondhand sports car. I found no car with sufficient leg room for my own elongated chassis (legs 3 ft., bodywork ditto). The S.S.II, with its 9.9-h.p. engine, aluminium cylinder head, twin Arnotts, outsize rear wheels, leather upholstery, and a long graceful coachbuilt body, looking better than the latest M.G., is a sports four-seater which cannot be surpassed.

I am, Yours, etc.,
Eunice Black (Mrs.),
Little Hadham, Herts.

* * *

Alvis Service
Sir,

In recent issues of Motor Sport there have been frequent letters complaining of the delay in getting spares for British cars abroad. Here is a pleasant change.

I have run a 1934 Speed Twenty Alvis in Germany since last November. At various times I have required quite an assortment of spares, ranging from oil-pump gears to a temperature gauge. Without exception I have received them, on writing to the makers, by return of post. I also had a photostat copy of the instruction book within a fortnight. How sorry is the plight of friends who have not seen the Vintage Light. Their cars, ranging from Javelin to Vanguard, are less reliable and when they break their owners wait in vain for parts

which literally have taken months. Readers of Motor Sport doubtless know what sort of cars to buy!

I am, Yours, etc.,
A. B. Maxwell Hyslop,
Lieut., 17/21 Lancers.
B.A.O.R.

* * *

The Citroën in Australia
Sir,

May I, rather late in the day, comment on Mr. G. W. Taylor’s letter (March issue)?

The Holden is by far the most popular car in Australia at the moment, as the following figures show. During March, new registrations included: 3,306 Holdens, 2,262 Fords, 1,086 Austins, 981 Morrises and 905 Standards. The total of new registrations in that month was 16,695, so it looks as though Holdens are capturing roughly one-fifth of total sales — the proportion for previous months has been much the ame.

I would say that the reason for this is partly, as Mr. Taylor says, the good resale value and the almost universal good service one can get for the Holden — it is a comparatively simple car and even the dimmest mechanic can’t do it much harm — and partly its comparative availability. The average Australian buys “a car,” simply in order to get from A to B in a reasonable time; he is not, by and large, a car-enthusiast in the true sense, although there is a very strong nucleus of this happy breed among the “Philistines”; and, unless he is a city-dweller, he is likely to be a long way from expert service. These factors, together with the Holden’s economy and medium price, tend to make him overlook its manifold faults, especially as he can replace it every 20,000 miles or so with comparatively little monetary loss. He may have to renew his shock- absorbers once or twice during that time, but his overall maintenance bill is unlikely to be high. In the case of a bad accident repairs come pretty expensive, but then nearly everyone here carries full insurance.

But if Mr. Taylor is interested in a Continental car somewhere in the same price-range, I commend him to the all-French Citroën Light Fifteen. It’s a sturdy, tough, no-nonsense job, and stands up to bad country roads and hard conditions amazingly well. Its roadholding and safety are second to none, and it is sheer joy to drive, especially on long runs when fatigue becomes a factor. Having driven English, American and Continental cars in many and various conditions, I can truthfully say that the Citroën is less tiring to drive long distances than any of them.

I’ve owned and driven my Light Fifteen for 16 months and 12,000 miles — many of the latter over pretty adjectival country roads — no decoke so far, the Michelin tyres are doing exceptionally well, and running costs have been remarkably low. The agents here have had the foresight to appoint expert service-agents at strategic points in country districts, so that the chief objection to running a fairly uncommon car away from the city is largely overcome.

But above all, the Citroën is immense fun to own and to drive. Its qualities are almost those of a sports car, combined with the comfort of a really well-sprung and particularly dustproof saloon (the latter is a boon without price here). It seems to enjoy being thrashed round on tough grades and rough roads, and although mine does get plenty of care and affectionate attention, it’s by no means pampered. Anyway, you may possibly gather that I rather like it!

I am, Yours, etc.,
P. V. Hetherington,
Willoughby, N.S.W.

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Comment
Sir,

Since my idea of motoring is a motor-cycle, perhaps I am on the outside looking in so far as your journal is concerned. However, as a matter of simple fairness, I want to reply to the letter of J. M. B. Dove.

I was rather amazed at your extreme enthusiasm for the 2 c.v. Citroën, and as I spent six weeks in France just after your road test, I took the opportunity of studying the little car closely (and there are certainly plenty of them to study on the roads of France).

I can now say that your attitude to the car is absolutely correct and justified. Watching them performing on Alpine roads amazed me. I would suggest that the car on which J. M. B. Dove is basing his comments was in a defective condition.

I am, Yours, etc.,
William T. Bell,
Newcastle-on-Tyne.