The Ford 7-day-and-night marathon at Goodwood

The New Anglias Cover Well Over 10,000 Miles, Each At Over 60 m.p.h., Average 32.2 m.p.g.

During the the week in in which the Ford Anglia celebrated its 21st birthday, but not, we think, on account of this, the Ford Motor Company booked Goodwood for a week and set three New Anglias to lap the course for a week, setting as their target a distance of 10,000 miles.

They allocated Roy Salvadori, Gordon Wilkins and John Mitchell to drive one car, Graham Hill, T. C. Harrison and K. Ballisat another, Bruce McLaren, Edward Harrison and Tommy Wisdom the third Anglia.

Under R.A.C. observation this arduous run with cars which, with becoming modesty, the Ford Motor Company refers to as the most successful British car ever made, commenced on the afternoon of September 26th, to conclude before an assembly of guests on October 3rd. Before this officially-observed demonstration a “guinea-pig” Anglia had been run at Goodwood for a week. The G.P. drivers then put in some practice, the outcome of which was that they found the task considerably tougher than had been anticipated. Satisfactorily high lap-speeds, especially in the wet, were possible only by using Michelin “X” tyres, inflated to pressures in the region of 45 lb/sq. in. That drivers of the calibre of Salvadori, Hill and McLaren insisted on “X” tyres on these otherwise normal family saloons is a simply splendid tribute to Michelin.

The cars were standard Anglias, even to their shock-absorbers, apart from being fitted with Speedwell electronic rev.-counters (which were of great value for judging speed at night), identity lamps and twin spot-lamps. They had radios and sponge-rubber was used to pad the gear-levers, while the drivers wore shoulder harness.

The aim was to hold a lap speed of 2min.15 sec. in daylight, to compensate for a drop to around 2 min. 18 sec. at night. Weather conditions proved formidable, teeming rain and high winds being encountered, but no fog. Puddles of water and gusts of wind would deflect the cars, for they had to be driven really fast to keep to their schedule speed, the drivers lifting off for St. Mary’s and Lavant corners, using all the road at Woodcote, but never actually touching the brakes—the chicane had been removed.

This sort of driving imposed enormous strains on the wheel bearings and suspension in particular and had its effect on the track surface, so that one night road-menders’ lanterns had to he put out while workmen repaired the surface—another hazard for the drivers, who were too busy to become sleepy but who tended it mistake one corner for another until markers were put out. There were no lamps round the track, only red reflectors on posts at the corners.

Tommy Wisdom did particularly well, for he arrived from abroad without having practised and did his first “stint ” in the dark without trouble.

The R.A.C. timekeepers were splendid. giving lap times for every lap, which were conveyed to the drivers from the depot. It is interesting that throughout the run the engines were topped-up with B.P. Visco-Static oil but the sumps were never drained, nor were the cars greased, which should be encouraging news to those who hope to economise by infrequent servicing of their own cars. Oil cunsumplion averaged 11,000 m.p.g.

Every six hours the near-side front tyres were changed, the three remaining wheels being replaced every 12 hours and the tanks replenished with Shell premium petrol, Jeff Uren proving an extremely cheerful and efficient track manager. Incidentally, the driving pells were arranged so that each driver got 12 hours off duty, and between spells in the Anglias some of them learnt to fly, a light aeroplane having been thoughtfully provided on the Goodwood aerodrome. Pit-stops averaged between 60 and 95 seconds.

The demonstration was not entirely trouble-free. The car captained by Graham Hill needed new wiper blades, the radio had to be replaced, the identity lamps changed twice, the fan belt tightened and a cylinder head changed when an exhaust valve burnt out. Bruce McLaren’s Ford also developed burnt exhaust valves, necessitating a new cylinder head, the off-side headlamp shipped water and had to be changed, the left-band wiper blade needed replacement, new wiper blades were fitted, the off-side front sidelamp bulb failed, as did the identity lamp, and more new wiper blades and eventually a new wiper motor were required.

Roy Salvadori’s Ford was the least fortunate, for after 512 laps, he mistook Lavant for St. Mary’s, the car overturning in the ditch. It had to be towed in, and the front bumper and identity lamp removed. Roy continued the run and subsequently a new bumper was fitted, the damaged wing and door handle being repaired and bodypanels beaten out. Later a new identity lamp and the near-side headlamp glass were renewed, and after 3,761 laps a 1/8th inch toe-out in the steering was rectified. Finally, when Wilkins was driving this Anglia a half-shaft failed and the car had to be towed in for a replacement to be fitted. Under the circumstances it is remarkable that this car covered only 103 miles fewer than the fastest of its fellows. In fact, the cars accomplished the following performances :

No. 1 : 10,468.8 miles at 62.34 m.p.h., at 32.07 m.p.g.

No. 2 : 10,423.2 miles at 61.89 m.p.h., at 32.715 m.p.g.

No. 3 : 10,365.6 miles at 61.53 m.p.h.. at 31.85 m.p.g.

Thus Ford accomplished what they set out to do, with a very comfortable margin in hand. In stating that these mileages represent “the equivalent of a year’s motoring by ‘Mr. Average Motorist’ ” they are being modest, for the Anglias were averaging far higher speeds over a circuit on which they had to be cornered so fast that they took severe punishment. After the demonstration had concluded the writer had this proved to him when he was driven round hy Salvation, Hill and McLaren is turn. Salvadori was as warm in his praise of the Anglia’s excellent steering as he was of the good road-holding and long life el the “X” tyres. The cars felt “lifty” at the rear through the corners bit it never got out of hand and it was obvious that they had started out on standard shock absorbers, which had stood up surprisingly well. The bodies did not rattle, the silencers were intact and the 1051, engine, sounded as good as new. Incidentally, at first Levant, most difficult of the corners, was taken in top gear at some 3,000 r.p.m. Iater tactics called for third gear here and an engine speed of 5,500 r.p.m.

This R. A.C.- observed run was not in any way an attempt to break international class records. Indeed, had this been so, none of the three Anglias would have finished, for under record-breaking conditions the driver must get his car to the depot if it stops and it can be repaired only with spares carried on the car. Salvadori would not have been able to extricate his car from the ditch, and even if Wilkins had pushed his in, replacements to his and McLaren’s car could only have been made if they had had a half-shaft and spare cylinder head on board!

These 7-day-and-night runs have a definite fascination. Ten years ago, back in 1950, Alan Hess took an Austin A40 to Montlhery and in that period it covered 10,009 miles. The banked track would have been kinder to car and tyres than Goodwood but remembering how comparatively crude was the A40 of that era, this was no mean achievement, compared to the Ford performance. A year earlier Hess had taken an Austin A90 to Indianapolis in successful pursuit of American stock-car records and on that occasion the 168-hour stint was completed at an average of 70.54 m.p.h. for 11.850 miles. Come to that, 31 years ago, in 1929, the Cordery girls covered 30,000 miles at Brooklands at 61.57 m.p.h. in a vintage Invicta. And in 1952, at Montlhery, a Jaguar put over 16,851 miles into seven days and nights, averaging 100.31 m.p.h.

Some years ago B.M.C. put on a similar demonstration of the Morris Minor at Goodwood but ten days were taken over the 10,000 miles and an ingenious travelling trolley was used so that the cars could be serviced without stopping them, so this was a rather different type of run. To Ford goes the credit of using the smallest engine so far employed for a stock-car publicity stunt lasting seven days and nights.

This run provided useful pre-Show publicity for the Ford Anglia, slightly overshadowed, perhaps, by the longer endurance run at Miramas by the new five-bearing Simca. It also indicates to ‘ Mr. Average Motorist ‘ the worst he may expect in a year’s, or several years’, driving in one of these cars, and has proved to him that he can transform the cornering powers of his Ford Anglia by buying it a set of Michelin ” X ” tyres …

We would welcome further R.A.C.- observed runs of this kind in future, at Goodwood or Silverstone, Monza or Montlhery, if only to discover which is the least-expensive car that would put up a similar show with no trouble at all or without the need to change cylinder heads or half-shafts. But it is unlikely that such demonstratious will become commonplace for this recently-concluded run at Goodwood probably cost the Ford Motor Company a sum of money approaching five figures. W.B.