Rumblings, November 1958



Get those used-car prices down
Indignation is rising at the absurdly high prices frequently asked for interesting but old cars and even for cars which are old without being particularly interesting.

Some dealers appear to think that any pre-war car is a vintage vehicle and worth the earth; the majority believe that desirable old cars will command exorbitant prices.

Last month in MOTOR SPORT two pieces of evidence were published which refute these ideas. A correspondent expressed the opinion that a Trojan in working order has a top value of £10; at the other end of the scale, Field Marshal Montgomery’s Rolls-Royce Phantom Ill, a late model with a magnificent special body and presumably in “mint condition,” was valued, by the motor dealers themselves., at £500.

These valuations set limits beyond which, except in very exceptional instances, private buyers would be foolish to go. Indeed, getting prices of used cars down to a sensible level is in your hands. Pay what you consider a car is worth, not what the vendor asks for it. In many cases recently, cars have changed hands for less then half their advertised price. Armed with this knowledge, those whose car-buying enthusiasm is aroused by the Earls Court Show but who are obliged, from economy or choice, to acquire a used car, can look with renewed optimism at the vehicles advertised for sale —our advice is to ignore the price until the time comes for the banknotes to change hands, when it may well be that far fewer will be required than is suggested by the figure at the end of the advertisement.

An Air-cooled 140m.p.h sports car
A pleasing aspect of the 1958 competition season has been the return to sprint motoring of that fast and courageous driver, Sydney Allard. The car with which Allard has entered the more recent speed trials and hill climbs is an excitingly potent vehicle.

It was built largely by Sydney Allard himself, as a spare-time project, which took some twelve months to complete.

The chassis of this latest sprint Allard is made of 6 in. dia. D-section steel tubing, two tubes forming the side members and two further tubes, forming a narrow A-pattern on each side, carrying the floor and seats. Front suspension is by cut-down Ford Anglia coil-spring struts, with Ford Zephyr bottom links, track-rod, etc. Front hubs and brakes are also Ford Anglia.

De Dion rear suspension matches this strut-type i.f.s., the assembly having been prepared some years ago for a proposed four-wheel-drive sprint Allard which was never completed. The de Dion tube is of two-piece construction, flange joined at the centre, and the driveshafts have Layrub couplings where they emerge from the differential unit and Hardy Spicer universal joints at their outer ends. An interesting point is the use of fully-floating hubs in which the splined ends of the shafts are carried. Final drive is Ford, with a non-lip differential, and inboard Ford Zephyr brakes are used, the drums having special dural back plates. This back axle assembly incorporates an Allard reduction spur-gear train which enables a quick alteration of axle ratio to be made. The available ratios range from 2-to-1 to 5-to-1.

At the rear suspension is by supple five-leaf .25-elliptic springs with radius arms above them, these springs being anchored ahead of the axle.

As a power unit for his latest ” special,” Sydney Allard employs an air-cooled V8 Steyr engine prepared by Dennis Poore for installation in a proposed Formula I car, using a Cooper chassis, another project that came to naught. This war-time general-purpose engine has a bore and stroke of 88 by 92 mm., giving a Swept volume of 4,455 c.c. Poore, intending to use dope fuel, put the compression ratio up to 13 to 1, but as the Allard runs as a sports car, this has been reduced to about 9 to I. Otherwise the Steyr engine remains as purchased, with eight 1.125 in. Amal carburetters fed from four float chambers, the throttle slides actuated by Bowden cable, although a pending modification is replacement of these cables by rods. The valves are operated from a single camshaft located centrally in the crankcase. Ignition is by a Lucas racing magneto on the nose of the camshaft, Lodge R47 plugs being used. Lubrication is by wet sump, the system incorporating a Steyr oil radiator inclined behind the nose aperture in the forward-hinged single-piece bonnet

It is significant that no fan cools this air-cooled engine, which probably develops 200 b.h.p., and although the bonnet incorporates two air deflectors, no air chute to the carburetters is employed. Moreover, tests at Shelsley Walsh showed that the car runs just as well with the bonnet removed.

The chassis is exceedingly compact, the big engine and sports body being installed within a wheelbase of only eight feet. The all-enveloping two-seater body with flap-type doors is extremely low. At the back 6.50 by 16 tyres are used but the idea of using 13 in. Ford wheels at the front had to be abandoned because racing tyres are not available in this size, so 15 in. Lotus wheels were substituted after the car had been built, necessitating lips to extend the front whell-arches over the 5.00 by 15 tyres. Dunlop racial tyres are worn.

The engine drives through a Ford commercial clutch and open shaft to the back axle. Fuel is carried in a three-gallon tank within the head fairing behind the driver and feed is by an S.U. high-capacity electric pump behind the engine bulkhead via plastic piping. A Ford Anglia steering box is used, a universal joint being located where the wheel would normally be mounted on the column, allowing a 12 in. extension to a wood-rimmed Italian-style Derrington wheel in the cockpit.

This is a sports car in the racing/sports tradition, which will horrify ” D. S. J.” I It weighs approx. 13.5 cwt. and the headlamps consist merely of Lucas reversing lamps, with an extra bulb to act as a sidelight, shining through perspex holes in the bonnet!

This Allard Special can certainly step off! It covered the top section of the Brighton kilometre at 125 m.p.h. and won its class at Shelsley Walsh and Prescott. and two classes at Stapleford. The old Steyr engine runs up to 6,000 r.p.m. and top speed on a favourable axle-ratio is calculated to be in the region of 140 m.p.h.— quite a sports car!

A working model Vanwall
Tri-ang have produced a splendidly turned out. electrically-driven Vanwall in their ” Minic ” series. The car uses two 1.5-volt torch batteries and has stub-axle steering. The price of this attractive model is 29s. 6d. Details can be had from Minic Division, Lines Bros.. Ltd.. Merton, London. S.W.19. on mentioning MOTOR SPORT.