85 mph-Real or imaginary?

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The new high-compression engines in the Austin A35 and Morris Minor, necessitating the introduction of lead indium big-end bearings, were tested by driving along the German autobahn at an average speed of 60 mph for 25,000 miles-commendable, but no more than many German motorists cover in a year, often at higher speeds.

In the course of a publicity hand-out issued by BMC it was stated that “the speedometer needle flickered on the 85 mph mark for mile after mile …” This was a foolish statement to issue, because people still exist who believe speedometers to be accurate. Robert Walling, for example, who, in the Evening Standard of October 9th, stated that “At one time both the Austin A30 and Morris Minor touched 85 mph.” Millions of people will now expect the new BMC economy cars to attain this near-sports-car speed. Future road-test reports in the technical journals will confirm the true maximum speed of these little cars.

We have commented on the exceptionally high compression ratio (8.3 to 1) used for these models, and we can hardly wait to see Auntie going uphill in top gear in her A35 which she has insisted on filling with cheap-grade petrol! A sports-car owner who puts such fuel in a high-compression engine qualifies for a mental-home but purchasers of economy vehicles can hardly be expected to buy expensive petrol, especially as recent price-increases, led by Shell-Mex and BP, instituted by the petrol companies constitute a cold welcome to the majority of motorists.