Rumblings, November 1960

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A late contender in the Formula Junior race is the Kieft Junior. The name of Kieft has been in the shadows recently but now that well-known competition driver Lionel Mayman and his co-directors have taken over they are determined to put the name back in the limelight.

The initial step was to design a rear-engined Formula Junior car and as the firm was interested in developing the Triumph Herald engine this was used as the power unit. A Renault Dauphine Gordini gearbox is mated to the engine in the upside down position as used in the Lotus. The chassis is built up from 17 gauge 1 in. and 1 1/2 in. seamless tubing and double wishbone suspension is used front and rear with radius arms at the rear.

Coming so late in the season no plans are being made to race the car until next year but a series of six is planned for customers. The prototype will be modified during the winter and in fact is so designed that a 1 1/2-litre Climax engine can be installed with little trouble. The ambition of the directors is to have a Kieft in Formula 1 Grands Prix before very long. In the meantime next year’s cars will probably use the Ford 105E engine tuned by Jim Whitehouse of Arden for whose conversion equipment Kieft are sole distributors.

With the Herald engine giving only around 60 b.h.p. lap times have been encouragingly good and it is hoped that with the Ford engine the Kieft will be one of the fastest of the 1961 F.J. cars. Development is still being continued on the Herald engine and conversions are offered for this engine and the TR3 unit. Our road impressions of Lionel Mayman’s TR3-engined Morgan Plus Four will appear next month.

Disc brakes for Ford

More and more manufacturers are using disc brakes. The Ford Motor Company Ltd. of Dagenham has introduced them for their Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac cars, but only as optional extras, on the front wheels. These brakes are 9 3/4-in. Girling discs, with automatic adjustment of the quick-change pads. Vacuum-servo assistance is provided and the size of the cylinder for the drum back-wheel brakes is reduced in size when discs are used on the front wheels. The price, inclusive of purchase tax, is £29 15s.

We were able to drive a Ford Zephyr with these brakes for 200 miles and found them satisfactory but, at normal speeds, virtually indistinguishable from the drum brakes, although the vacuum-servo action could be detected. The main advantage, of course, is not so much more powerful retardation as immunity front fading under repeated heavy application of the brakes.

The Zephyr is still the same excellent, if characterless, car it always has been—roomy, accelerative and fast. In the wet the Goodyear tyres were unable to check a noticeable skittishness of the rear end, when the power, all 85 horses of it, was turned on.

Miniatures News

News of motor-car miniatures this month is that Playcraft have brought out a very fine replica of the latest type of Austin London taxi, of the kind that will be busy round Earls Court this month. It is No. 418 in the Corgi series and is particularly attractive as it has glazed windows, the full complement of seats inside, and a high-gloss finish.

Lesney tell us that they intend to continue with their extremely popular ” Matchbox” series, retaining a total of 75 but deleting some as they become outdated, improving others, and adding new models to replace those that become obsolete. Thus recent additions include a Pickford removal van, a Tate and Lyle Foden sugar container, while improved versions of breakdown lorry, Routemaster ‘bus and caravan, and a Vauxhall Cresta with two-tone colour scheme, windows and towing-hook, are now available, these fascinating little miniatures selling for Is. 6d. Lesney also make ” King Size” models of contractors’ plant prototypes, which are attractive very detailed replicas costing from 2s. 11d. to 3s. 11d. each. In addition, and one of their finest achievements to date, is a splendid replica of the famous 1907 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost touring car. This will be eagerly sought after by Rolls-Royce owners and vintage-car enthusiasts, for it is extremely realistic, although Lesney modestly remind us that it is not manufactured primarily as a model but as a massproduced miniature made literally in hundreds of thousands, to sell at only 3s. 11d., inclusive of purchase tax. Even so, we predict that soon these Silver Ghosts will grace the desks of many RollsRoyce personalities—and this is just the job to take home to kids left behind while you went to Earls Court. Many hours of patient work went into its production. Ask your toyshop for these Corgi and Lesney miniatures.—W. B.

Tactful!

Announcing an increase in British insurance rates for the Renault Dauphine of front 25% to 50%, the insurance brokers explain : “This small rear-engined car is considered in some circles to be a ‘ bad risk’ because its good road-holding qualities cause drivers to become over-confident and so turn over when cornering at speed.”

Magistrate Louis Levin

At times it seems as if the police, the traffic wardens, even one’s fellow motorists, conspire to make present-day motoring a burden. Under the circumstances it was nice to read in the News Chronicle of a magistrate, Mr. Louis Levin, at Nottingham, who after hearing a case, protested to the police that a quarter of a mile is too short a distance for bringing a charge of speeding (the motorist, who was doing 40 m.p.h., was fined £1 and his licence endorsed). Later, when a driver was summoned for parking for 85 minutes in a Nottingham side-street, Mr. Levin gave the motorist an absolute discharge, remarking, “It is surely unreasonable to book someone for bring there just for on hour or so. The motorist cannot be plagued off the streets just for parking for an hour ….” More magistrates with the fairness and common-sense of Mr. Levin would go a long way towards bringing about the much-needed improved relationship between civilians and the police.