Mr. S. F. Edge’s Views on Racing, Trials, and
N interview with Mr. S. F. Edge is always full of interest, and invariably a delight. It is interesting because he has a great store of knowledge and experience of motoring in all its aspects, particularly those appertaining to the sporting side, which know, ledge he is not chary of imparting. It is diverting because there is always in his way of stating his views an element of surprise, which, often enough, leaves his hearer gasping, until the explanation follows. This, and another of his characteristics, that of coming at once to the point, were exemplified right at the commencement of our recent interview with him.
“Well, Mr. Scott Hall,” he began, ” What can I do for you, or what are you going to do for me ? “
“I want you to tell the readers of The BROOKLANDS GAZETTE,” I replied, ” your reasons for so persistently entering A.C. cars for racing and sporting events of all kinds, obviously at considerable expense, which would not otherwise be incurred ? ” ” Am I right,” I continued, thus giving a lead, “in presuming that your object is publicity pure and simple ; the bringing of the name A.C. to the attention of a number of people who would not otherwise be cognisant of it, or who, on seeing it in print, would attach no more significance to it than they would to that of any other make of car ? Put in a few words, may I take it that your object is to attract new customers.”
” No,” was the surprising answer, ” I do it to please the customers that I already have, those who already own A.C. cars.” Our bewilderment was clearly obvious, for the explanation followed unasked : ” You see, it is my belief that by far the greater number of motor cars are sold on the recommendation of people who own cars, and in the belief, I make the happiness of owners of A.C. cars my chief concern. Now it is a fact that every owner of a car likes to imagine that he has bought the best he could get. He is quite sure that he knows more about cars than his neighbour, who has invested in a car of another make, and he naturally hails with delight any evidence by which he an substantiate his claim to have made the better
purchase. A.C. successes, on road and track, are a perpetual help in that direction.
“That reason, however important though it be, is not the first and most imperative one. Chassis must be tested, to try out modifications, and to detect weaknesses. Making the tests public provides the desired satisfaction to the owners of A.C. cars, without actually involving any considerable additional expenditure. We merely kill two birds with one stone.”
“In what direction, then, do you think cars have benefited most, as the result of consistent use of the track for these tests ? ” “In reduction of weight. Cars of to-day, with
engines of 2000 , C.C. capacity, can now do more comfortably and safely that which was done previously by chassis having engines of 6,o0o c.c. The net result is that cars for a given purpose can not only be produced much more cheaply, but they are also much cheaper to maintain and run.
” It used to be regarded,” he continued, “in the old days, as essential that a car should be heavy, if it was to be comfortable. There are people to-day who have that belief. As a matter of fact, it is a pure fallacy. One of the things which I3rooklands has taught us most thoroughly is how to spring our cars most effectively. Not that the springing on a touring car is made the same as that on a racer, but that we are able to learn, from the behaviour of our cars on the track, what considerations have to be borne in mind when we have to equip a car with satisfactory springs for the road. “It is not wholly untrue, either, to state that there is some connection between the springing required for
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