Letters from readers

Talbot to the fore

Sir,

Congratulations on such an excellent article on BGH 23, the 1934 Talbot Team car. The letter from your correspondent Don Nicholas caught my eye, as I have recently bought the 1932 Talbot Team car PI 7363, which was a member of the first ever British team to achieve the exceptional result of a faultless performance in the Alpine Trial, winning the Coupe des Alpes. On checking the old log book, I discovered that it was in fact the same car which was owned by Mr Nicholas in 1954, and to which his letter refers.

Since then the car has been raced by Sandy Murray in VSCC events and owned by various others before being bought by Brian Grigg in 1965. In his Georges Roesch and the Invincible Talbot, Anthony Blight mentions that PI 7363 was under restoration in 1970. This restoration I am now in the process of completing. The car is one of the most original of all the extant Team Talbots and has not been seen since 1965. It will be restored to its original colour of Alpine Green. Mr Nicholas and I have now made contact and he looks forward keenly to a reunion with the completed car sometime next year. If there are any former owners of PI 7365 out there, please get in touch for the relaunch of a truly historic car.

I am, yours, etc.

David A Thomson, Harpenden, Hems

News flash

Sir,

I am looking for information about a car known as The Red Flash, owned and built by Mr R Wellsteed, a well-known car dealer in Newport, Monmouthsire. I understand that the car was originally based on a Morris commercial chassis, and raced at Brooklands. I have a photograph of the car which was taken in 1975, when the car was borrowed from the Leyland Moor Museum for a promotion at Mr Wellsteed's former garage. If anyone has any further information or knows of its whereabouts today. I would be most grateful for any assistance.

I am, yours, etc.

Stewart Williams, Rock Wood Specialist Cars, South Wales

In the hard seat

Sir,

Your article in the September issue on Commander Glen Kidston has special significance for me. My mother took me to watch the practice for the 1929 IT on the Ards Circuit, considering me to be too young for race-day. My father was also a naval commander, and after practice my mother breezed up to Glen Kidston with a suitable self introduction and asked if her 'small boy' (being me) might sit in his Bentley, whereupon he picked me up and planted me in the mechanics seat.

I can still remember my thrill but also my surprise. The Bentley seats were pneumatic, but to lower the mechanic the left-hand seat was not inflated so that I found myself sitting on a hard board for five minutes. The mechanic had to sit there for 410 miles. It was that day that I fell in love with sports car racing.

However in your report of Glen's Senior Race you state that there was "Boris Ivanowski's 1.5-litre Alfa Romeo to catch". This is not correct: Ivanowski won both the junior and Senior races in Alfa Romeos but it was in the "over 2-litre car" that he beat Kidston and not as you state – I have the programme to prove it.

I am, yours, etc.

Mr A G Ryan, North Canterbury, New Zealand

Rally support

Sir,

Please name your greatest rally car – (Question in your October ‘Readers’ Greatest’ feature.)

Frank Williams: "Haven't got one."

Ron Dennis: "What's a rally car?"

Roy Salvadori: "None."

Murray Walker: 'Don't know"

Doug Nye: "Lancia Stratos – but so what?"

What sad, sad people, blinkered with the modern view that nothing matters but Formula Nicotine.

Thank heavens for Motor Sport, which lives up to its title by covering every form of fun on four wheels, allowing those of us who love cars of every type even Grand Prix cars, as they used to be known to indulge in our pleasure.

Please keep up the good work of ignoring the big business which employs Messrs Williams, Dennis and Walker and keep trying to convert the other two. The rest of us are already converted.

I am, yours, etc.

Ian Norris, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

Inappropriate setting

Sir, Entry to the recent Wroughton Festival of Transport included admission to the Science Museum's two massive WW2 aircraft hangars, full of transport items – one aeronautical and one terrestrial. The terrestrial hangar houses huge numbers of exhibits largely awaiting restoration including tractors, cycles, cars, trucks, traction engines, motorcycles, trams and buses, and in the middle of this lot, in original (unrestored) condition, sits a Connaught racing car.

It seems a great pity that it sits in a hangar that is closed for most of the year, surrounded by inappropriate neighbours. It would be much more sensibly exhibited in a relevant setting, (Donington or Beaulieu?), or, even better, restored and raced.

I would be grateful to hear if your readers know of the history of this car, or indeed its likely future.

I am, yours, etc.

Richard Gibbs, Battersea, London

Ulster uprising

Sir,

Once again it was a pleasure to be involved in the Coy's Festival and I am sure that all participants in the Pre-War race would agree that the Burnett, Schumacher and Bradfield Talbot was a well-prepared car superbly driven.

However, I beg to suggest that the 'clear cut winning performance in dry conditions (letter from Don Nicholas, Oct 1997) on Sunday' was actually the ex-Derrick Edwards Le Mans and Mule Miglia Aston Martin Ulster, driven by Fred Blakemore and myself.

In second place was also an Aston Martin Ulster (Mason and Mason), and furthermore we were the only team to have three cars finish in the top six places in the aggregate result.

Congratulations on the great new format.

I am, yours, etc.

A Bell, Ecurie Bertelli, Manchester

The other one

Sir,

My compliments on Mark Hughes' remembrance of Gunnar Nilsson. However, I must point out that Nilsson and Fangio are pictured at the Ontario Motor Speedway in California, not the Mosport Park circuit in Ontario, Canada.

The pair were at Ontario in 1976 to watch Fangio test his old mount, a Mercedes-Benz W196, for Road &Track. Fangio won the star-studded historic F1 race at Long Beach in this machine that year. Apparently Nilsson managed to squeeze in a visit to Disneyland as well.

I am, yours, etc.

Sean Vigie, Versailles, USA

You can be sure its Schell

Sir,

I am puzzled by the picture at the top of page 51 in the October issue. No problem with the caption: "On his day Lewis-Evans could match Vanwall team mates Moss and Brooks: in Portugal, after a front row start, his third place backed up Moss' win." Except that the picture is of a BRIVI.

From the angle of the head the driver looks like Harry Schell, who was No 6 at the Portuguese Grand Prix one year later.

Perhaps your picture was mis-filed?

I am, yours, etc.

Sheridan Thynne, Reading, Berkshire

(Thanks for the get-out, but we can't blame anyone else; It was a last-minute slip in this office which replaced one green car with another. Our apologies. GC)

Circuitous enquiry

Sir,

I am writing a book entitled Motor Racing Circuits, Then and Now and need confirmation (or otherwise) as to whether racing took place at certain venues and if so, when.

The venues in question are Catterick, Elvington, Filton, Full Sutton, Flukeborough Linton, Ouston (or Ousden?),Thornby and Whitchurch. Circuit maps, photographs and dates of race meetings for the above if racing did take place there.

I know that racing took place at the following but I have no circuit maps: Blandford, Fersfield, Gamston, Gransden Lodge; photographs at all except Ferfield are desperately needed. Debden is still used as a Sprint venue but I have been told that it was used as a racing circuit as well; can anyone confirm this and supply a circuit map?

Full acknowledgments will be given, and expenses and royalties paid.

I am, yours, etc.

Peter W Singer, Ambleside, Stowmarket, Suffolk

Clark's lost TR3

Sir,

In Jackie Stewart's article on Jim Clark he refers to Clark driving a TR2 or TR3. As Register and Archivist of the TR Register, I can confirm that Jimmy drove a white 1957 TR3 for a season, 1958 I think, and was most successful in the car. Its registration number was RSC 190.

We in the TR Register have been looking for this car, without success, for many years does anyone know of its fate? Incidentally, the correspondence in late 1969 and early 1970 in Motor Sport directly led to the formation of the TR Register. Framed copies of the original letters to the magazine hang on the walls of the club's offices at Didcot, Oxfordshire. Long may the magazine prosper!

I am, yours, etc.

B Piggott, Shelford, Nottingham

Straight win

Sir,

Your correspondent Terence Brettell pictured in the ex-Whitney Straight Maserati 26M queries whether it won the Albi Grand Prix in 1934. Indeed it did, driven by Buddy Featherstonhaugh averaging 88.95mph for 1 hour and 52 minutes.

My source is the invaluable Record of Grand Prix and Voiturette Racing by John Sheldon. He reminds us that it is a win often forgotten by British fans when they compile lists of British race winners.

I am, yours, etc.

Brian K Joscelyne, Braintree, Essex

Mass x velocity

Sir,

May I offer to Mr GHH Bryan a hypothesis to explain the behaviour of the Grand Prix Mercedes-Benz and Auto Unions when jumping: inertia. Anyone who has been in a car cresting, say, a hump-backed-bridge knows that there is a brief moment where the car goes 'light'. This is the point where the car has got used to the idea of climbing and wants to continue to do so; just before gravity, presumably caught napping, reigns in matters.

Inertia, as we all know, is proportional to mass and velocity. The car cresting the Melbourne brow would have uniform velocity but an uneven mass distribution. The Mercedes, I guess, has more mass at the front of the car, the Auto Union has, I am sure, a more rear-biased mass distribution. Inertia forces are therefore greater at the front of the Mercedes and the rear of the Auto Union. In both cases the forces were obviously sufficient to lift the front and rear wheels of the Mercedes and Auto Union respectively.

I am, yours, etc.

J A Lambert, Coventry

Nothing new

Sir,

This month's report on the new Jaguar saloons states: "Until now Jaguar had never designed an eight-cylinder engine."

It is forgotten that in the mid-'50s Jaguar constructed a huge V8 engine displacing around nine litres. Although it was never intended for automobile use, it certainly qualifies as design.

This project was written up in The Autocar of the day, where a photograph also appeared.

I am, yours, etc.

David Culshaw, Hindly, Wigan

History today

Sir,

Since April the debate has raged in these pages as to whether Motor Sport was right to dedicate itself to historic motor racing. I think it was an inspired editorial/management choice. Your magazine is now one of the few quality publications which deal with his subject, whereas there are an increasing number who restrict themselves to only the latest news and events.

Born in 1956 I am old enough to remember the names of some of the cars and drivers you feature – Jim Clark was one of my first childhood heroes – but I actually knew very little facts and my interest in racing came much later. Thanks to Motor Sport I now feel that I can rediscover some of my childhood, and learn much about the earlier years which I find fascinating.

Regarding the criticism that some readers have made about losing a new generation by concentrating on events before they were born, the current edition contains a piece on Dr Jonathan Palmer proving that it might not be long before we are reading articles about Senna, Berger, Williams and McLaren. After all what is last year's news if not this years history?

I am, yours, etc.

Mr T Brown, Truro, Cornwall

Message waiting

Sir,

I have read Motor Sport for even more years than the gentleman who has now cancelled his subscription (Letters, Oct 97). Indeed I was lucky enough to be able to afford to race my own sportscar at those magic circuits like Goodwood, soon to be reopened to the delight of enthusiasts.

Perhaps there is a message for 'modern motor sport' in the ever growing numbers, of all ages, who visit the Festival of Speed or Coys Historic Silverstone. Has the writer of the letter, I wonder, attended either of these events?

I am, yours, etc.

Col H G Willmore, Crowborough, Essex