Cross flow heads and Stags

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Sir,

Having been a frequent “Boddy-Knocker”, I find myself agreeing with him on nearly every page of October’s issue, so I thought I’d celebrate the phenomenon with a letter.

I was recently Asst. Clerk of the Course at a race meeting at Castle Combe, and was lucky enough to be loaned a Triumph Stag as a course car. I indulged myself with one fairly rapid lap at the end of the day on a damp track, and found the steering just as you describe in your road test. One has the impression that one has permanently “lost” the thing and one is perpetually trying to correct skids that haven’t really happened! Most nerve-racking. On the other hand, I didn’t share your horror of the gearbox, and found the car pleasing in all other respects and its elegance is beyond dispute.

You ask in your correspondence section, who else apart from Lancia used a cross-flow head, discounting twin-overhead-cam, and T-heads. Sir! you were watching two at Thruxton as described on page 1075. The MG J4s of Geoff Coles and son (circa 1933) had single o.h.c. engines with beautiful four port per side cross-flow heads. MGs were in fact using this head in 1932 and on the J2 and the later C-type Montlhéry Midgets, and the basic design was retained on all the o.h.c. models until 1936, when a sort of pre-war Lord Stokes put a ban on official MG racing. MGs were never quite the same again, which is why I find myself agreeing with your Editorial about the Leyland decision to quit competitions.

Having discussed the o.h.c. MG engine, it is worth mentioning that in 750-c.c. Q-type form, it had the highest b.h.p. per litre output in the world pre-war, indeed a Q-type holds the Brooklands 750-c.c. outer circuit lap record at 122 m.p.h. Furthermore, it was an 1.t00-c.c. K3 version of this same engine design with which the late Major Goldie Gardner achieved a staggering 206 m.p.h. in 1939. This 1,100-c.c. engine gave 202 b.h.p. at 7,500 r.p.m.!!

That sir, is what you call a cross-flow head.

S. DEAR, Chairman MMM Register – Congresbury.

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