Rumblings, November 1955

Show-time is usually records-time, or was when Brooklands was booming and Monthlèry was a busier place than it now seems to be. This year the interest has centred on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, where at the end of -September the American drivers Tony Bettenhausen and Marshall Lewis performed with a 78 by 78-mm., four-cylinder, 1½-litre, streamlined, all-enveloping Osca (alias Simpson Special), said to weigh only 14½ cwt. in starting trim.

It established International Class records (subject to F.I.A. confirmation) from 10 miles to 12 hours, at from 132.1 m.p.h. to 160.3 m.p.h., which would seem comfortably to shatter all the Porsche records in that class for such distances, and some of the M.G. records held by Goldie Gardner, Ken Miles and George Eyston, and a Borgward record.

But records are made to be broken, and we may hear of activity at Monthlèry to coincide with the Paris Show. If so, more anon. Wasn’t it Goldie who once had a beautiful Christmas card prepared, listing the records he held, which, ere it reached us on Christmas morning, had had to be overprinted because in the meantime some inconsiderate someone bad annihilated some of Gardner’s figures?

The new banked autodrome at Monza obviously lends itself to records and we may expect that Taruffi will probably have first go, in a re-engined version of his famous Tarf.

A New F.1. Engine
Details have been released of the F.1 racing-car engine which Les Brooke has been hatching up in Coventry, abetted by local personality Alderman Harry Weston, with W. T. Oliver and B. J. Dalton at the drawing board. This S.E.L. engine, product of Speed Engines Ltd., is a light-alloy, 90-degree wet-liner VA, of the pleasing dimensions of 81.3 by 61 mm. Each cylinder bank possesses twin overhead camshafts, bevel-gear driven from the timing train at the front, the camshafts running in needle roller bearings. There are two inlet and one exhaust valves per cylinder, a la early Bugattis, which the cams prod through piston-type, shim-adjusted tappets. Two Champion plugs in each combustion chamber are fired by twin Lucas vertical racing magnetos. There is a water-pump to each cylinder bank, water flow being divided to obviate connecting passages between head and block, and the lubrication system incorporates two pressure pumps, one supplying the main hearings and big-ends, the other the valve gear and gear trains, and twin scavenge pumps, as this is a dry-sump layout.

The crankshaft runs in five plain bearings. At present four double-choke Solex carburetters are mounted vertically between the cylinder banks but the aim is to provide this interesting eight-cylinder engine with S.U. semi-fuel-injection. The intention is to supply the S.E.L. engine for installation in suitable F.1 cars and it would seem to be just the job for owners of worn-out Maseratis and the like. David Murray, we gather, is interested.

A GN Muddle
Basil Davenport, who, if H. R. Godfrey is the “G” and “Archie” Fraser-Nash the “N” of G.N., must surely be. the “D” of development, treated unwitting confusion when he brought both his famous G.N. Spiders to Shelsley Walsh for the Golden Jubilee Hill-Climb. One contemporary endowed his old car with a J.A.P. engine and another mistook his 2-litre car for the ex-record-holding 1½-litre.

The truth is that the old Spider has a four-valves-per-pot 1½-litre G.N. engine that was used with sensational success in sprints by Davenport between 1925 and 1931, the car originating, with two-valve G.N. Vitesse engine, in 1923. The 2-litre Spider has a special engine of G.N. type evolved by Davenport in 1946/7, installed in a front-wheel-braked chassis incorporating H.R.G. components.

This winter we hope to visit Macclesfield to talk and play G.N, with Basil. If we do, more anon.

The Timex Key-Ring Watch
The Timex key-ring watch, which attaches to the ignition-key, is an excellent purchase for those whose cars lack clocks or who cannot rely on such “electrikery.” Having an overall diameter of 1 in., this little watch is surrounded, for protection, by a miniature tyre, has a chromium-plated case, luminous hands and dial, unbreakable glass and a shock-resistant V-conic movement which cannot be overwound. It carries a guarantee, keeps good time, and costs only 52s. 6d., packed in a neat suede-lined box. Just the job as a Christmas present It is made in Scotland and sold by Timex Ltd., 161-167, Oxford Street, London. W.1.