Letters, November 1991

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Opinions expressed are those of correspondents and not necessarily those of Motot Sport

***

Motorway diversions

Sir,

I was most interested to read the September “Matters of Moment” about Motorway Madness. Like many others I spend quite considerable time on the overcrowded British motorways and often see the results of “motorway madness”, poor driving or sheer lack of attention.

Having just returned from a holiday in the Ticino area of Switzerland, it was a delight to drive on the Swiss and French motorways. In France, probably because they are “toll” roads, the motorways were virtually empty. However, with many drivers completing distances of hundreds of kilometres in a day on these European highways, tiredness and lack of attention must become a real problem. In many areas the authorities have addressed “motorway boredom” by stimulating the attention of drivers through providing non-distracting art beside the motorway. This comes in the form of abstract art around the tunnel entrances, brightly painted designs along the concrete crash barriers and 3-D visual art along side of the motorway. Near Chalon-sur-Marne the motorway embankments are decorated with a selection of attractively coloured pyramids, spheres, cubes and totem poles. These decorations extend for a distance of many miles. Not only did it relieve the tedium for me but it also amused my family.

The investment in this sort of art along the motorways of Britain could prove an aid to road safety since I am sure that it would reduce frustration for those drivers in traffic jams as well as combating motorway boredom for both the driver and passengers. It would also have the secondary effect of providing a much needed commitment to modern British artists.

BJ Walsh,

Leicestershire.

***

Belsize spark

Sir,

I enjoyed your good article on the Belsize Bradshaw. Yes, I had one of these strange animals! I bought mine for £27 in London one evening and drove home to Bath where I was then living. It was dark and the dynamo was driven by belt off the propshaft. The battery was a bit down and with the belt slipping it got more depressed, as I did. I managed on side-lamps by keeping close behind other cars and, when they left me, waiting for another.

The engine was an uncertain starter due to the inherent bother with a weak spark on a 90-degree twin with a magneto; as you say, later models had a coil, which I did not know. Petrol consumption was about 40mpg and oil also was about 40mpg. All the same it did me quite well but I had to be careful when putting the gear lever into neutral as it was easy to centralise the lever in the gate and still leave one gear engaged; a poke with a screwdriver cured this. In the end the splines on the prop-shaft wore away and there was no drive. A new shaft was obtained from a London firm called Elephant Motors (do you remember them?) (Yes! WB) and then I disposed of the car. Shortly after the new owner drove her the drop-arm broke and he went through a hedge, without any damage to himself! You may remember that Zenith fitted some Bradshaw flat-twin 500cc engines to their bikes and that Montgomery also used single-cylinder 350cc Bradshaws. A friend of mine had one and we used to tour together. It was a truly pleasant little bike; this would have been in 1926 I think. Motor Sport as good as ever! I must be one of your oldest readers; started at age of 18 or 19.

Richard Chapman,

Corsham, Wiltshire.

***

Orient excess?

Sir,

Re Matters of Moment, October: I realise that it is unfashionable now that Britain is becoming a mere assembly plant for “Nippon International Corp” to question any product or institution of the Land of the Rising Sun, but there are still a few “old fashioned” types around.

Really, DJT: “The Orient prides itself on its business ethics”. Really? Have you not heard of the continuing scandals on the Japanese Stock Market? The corrupt “backhanders” flying around finance houses and dealers? The shady dealings of ‘front’ organisations for crime syndicates? The dubious relationships between big business and leading politicians?

Japanese business is riddled with what we in the West would call corruption; the scandals have been reported by the financial programmes.

However, the over-riding ethics of Japanese culture appear to be what they always were; it’s ‘good’ if it promotes Japan (and blow the consequences for the rest of the world). And I haven’t even mentioned the merciless exploitation of natural resources in developing countries in order to feed the greed of Japanese industry!

John Clegg

Manchester.

(We said the Orient prided itself. We made no comment on how justified such pride is. ED)

***

Alpha particulars

Sir,

I read with great interest your article “A Breeding Improvement” in the September issue. However some specific references to the Weber Alpha Engine Management System caused us concern.

Contrary to your writer’s understanding there is no requirement for 2 ECUs as stated.

We are running successfully 12 cylinder and full-house DFV F3000 engines with a single ECU. The statement detailing the function of the hall-effect crankshaft sensor implies that the magnetic type is of inferior accuracy. This is not the case and indeed this type of device is used extensively by most vehicle manufacturers as Original Equipment.

With regard to a misfire at 6200/6300rpm the Weber recommendation was in fact to use our capacitive ignition pack and an offset to the crankshaft trigger. This configuration will run a V8 engine up to 14000rpm. Weber Alpha remains the only proven complete aftermarket engine management system available in the world.

G Bangs,

Weber Concessionaires Limited, Middlesex.

***

Derby winner?

Sir,

Reference Ray Amm Remembered (Letter to Readers, Oct): surely the fastest lap of 147mph at the Montlhéry track was not achieved by a Grand Prix car, but by Mrs Gwenda Hawkes in her husband’s 2-litre fwd Derby Special way back in the 1930s. I suggest my good friend Jenks refers to the interview of Mrs Hawkes by the late Dennis May, which appeared in the July issue of Speed. In this a lap at 147.2mph is mentioned, which I am quite prepared to admit could have been fractionally improved upon by a Grand Prix car after the Hitler war.

Joe Bayley,

Kent.

***

Morgan hunter

Sir,

I have recently purchased a Morgan Plus Four, built in 1952 and registered KUY 474. The first owner was J Ray of Prescott Lanes who drove it successfully in many competitions for a period of approximately two years, some of the results of these are noted in a number of Morgan related books. The car then passed to KH James who drove it in at least one competition. I wonder if you or your readers could assist me in tracing any further history of this car or in contacting former owners?

PA Lideliard,

Maidstone, Kent.

***

Summit Clock

Sir,

Some years ago you asked what had happened to the Shap Summit Leyland Clock. I cannot remember if this was resolved but it was recently pointed out to me on view at the entrance to the Folk Museum in Appleby.

P Hitchman,

Birmingham

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