HERE AND THERE.
SERVICE FOR OLD CROCKS.
An 1894 Clement, belonging to Mr. Bertram Plewes, was the oldest car in the recent Emancipation Day Commemoration run from London to Brighton to cover the course in scheduled time. The car completed its run of 3 hours 30 minutes without an involuntary stop, a great tribute to the work of Mr. Plewes in getting it into such good running trim. The privilege of helping him in this respect fell to the lot of Messrs. Barimar, Ltd., of 14-18, Lamb’s Conduit Street, London, W.C.1. A few weeks ago Mr. Plewes wrote to them explaining that the cylinder-head of the car, which had already been cracked and patched, was now cracked in another place. •
There was no time to make a new part, and in any case this would have been expensive. So Messrs. Barimar undertook to repair the cylinder-head. This they did by removing the patch over the old crack and welding both cracks by their scientific process. They have now received a letter from Mr. Plewes thanking them for their assistance, and congratulating them upon the way in which the repaired part stood up during the run.
run. THE ” WEAKER ” SEX.
It has often been stated that lightweight motor-cycles only are suitable for the fair sex, yet recently a woman rode in one day from Hull to Newmarket and back —some 300 miles—on an 8 h.p. ” S/S 100″ BroughSuperior. This machine is one of the heaviest (and quite the most expensive!) motor-cycle made, and, in addition, the rider carried a male pillion pdssenger ! Yet one talks of the ” weaker ” sex.
The ride was on the occasion of a Brough-Superior rally at Newmarket, when George Brough, the popular manufacturer, entertained 100 B.-S. owners to lunch. The response to his invitation was such that riders came from near and far—Scotland, Cornwall, Devon, and Wales. This speaks well for the enthusiasm of motorcyclists and their keenness to make the acquaintance of the manufacturer of their machines.
MOTOR CYCLES FOR EXPORT.
The Motor Cycle Show which concluded recently was remarkable for the interest which was displayed by foreign buyers. It is a well-known fact that the British motor cycle industry must export a large percentage of its output if it is to remain flourishing, and the popular reception of 1929 models by overseas customers is therefore very satisfactory.
The British machine is acknowledged the best in the world, and foreigners are therefore content to pay a -relatively large tax in order to secure it. On top of customs duties, of course, they also have to pay transport charges, these being heavy on some machines and light on others. An example of the latter is the FrancisBarnett, the ” built-up ” frame of which can be dismantled and packed into a very small space. We think we are right in saying that six Francis-Barnetts can be packed into about the same space as two or three motor cycles employing the usual type of frame, and since freight charges depend on capacity only, and not on weight, the saving is considerable.
We learn that the principle employed in packing halfdozens of these machines is roughly as follows :–Six gear-boxes and six Villiers engine units are packed in one case and six sets of the remaining parts are packed in another, neither case being much larger than that which would be required for one ” ordinary” motor cycle.
The overseas public, of course, benefits by the economy, this doubtless being one of the reasons why the FrancisBarnett is so popular abroad. The advantages of the built-up frame are thus of a very practical nature, for export, and I am surprised that more manufacturers have not appreciated them.
DIRT TRACK RACING RECOGNISED.
The general interest taken in dirt-track racing is well exemplified by the fact that an article on the subject has been included in the 1929 edition of the Daily Mail Year Book. Written by Mr. Frank A. Hardy, the article deals in a nutshell with the progress made during the first season in Great Britain. It is an interesting, and perhaps significant, fact that this article is accorded considerably more space than that dealing with greyhound racing.
CRITICISMS FROM MAGISTRATES.
From time to time reports appear in the Press in which Magistrates, in dealing with motor cyclists, have gone out of their way to comment on matters arising out of a case which are not relevant to it in any way. An example occurred recently where a Magistrate, in hearing a summons for exceeding the speed limit, is reported to have said that because a motor cyclist was not insured the fine should have been heavier.
One of the functions of the Motor Cycle Department of the R.A.C. is to follow up all such cases as this, and any motor cyclist who may have been the subject of adverse criticism of this character is invited to send particulars to the Motor Cycle Department, R.A.C., Pall Mall, S.W.1, if possible enclosing a newspaper report of the proceedings.
MOTOR-CYCLES FOR THE MILLION.
Certain sections of the press have woken up to the fact that millions of the workers who daily cycle home could be saved much labour by the use of a motorassisted bicycle. This type of vehicle has been tried many times—and has failed, for the ordinary pedal-cycle is not suitable for use with a petrol engine of even the smallest capacity. Nevertheless, there is truth in the fact that millions who now use ” push bikes ” would turn to ultra-lightweight motor-cycles if these were presented to them in a suitable form and at a really low price. For machines of this ” utility ” class, the small two-stroke engine would appear to be most suitable, on account of its cheapness, simplicity, and high powerto-weight ratio. An example of a suitable engine is the 147 c.c. Villiers, which is to-day used extensively by some twenty manufacturers. Price, however, must be .studied if the ultra-lightweight is to become really popular with the British working classes. Low price, reliability and cleanliness are the essential factors of the machine for the millions. Most 150 c.c. motor-cycles cost about 00, but there are exceptions at prices in the neighbourhood of twenty guineas. Mass production methods could provide first-class “babies,” -equipped with leg-shields, and a simple electric lighting set at 01 or £22. If these were offered to the public at gi down, and a month for 1.8 months, the sales would probably be enormous. Any manufacturer who can see his way to doing this on a large scale should reap a veritable harvest.
G. W. WALKER NOT TO RETIRE.
There is no truth in the rumour that Graham Walker, the well-known racing motor-cyclist who so nearly won the Senior T.T., and who won the Ulster Grand Prix at over 80 miles per hour, will retire from the racing game at the end of this season. Walker’s activities in connection with the Sales Department of RudgeWhitworth, Ltd„ will prevent him from riding in reliability trials and in minor races, but he will be seen in the important races on a Rudge-Whitworth as in the Past.
Graham Walker’s career as a trials rider is therefore concluded, and he has capped it with success in the recent International Six Days’ Trial. In this event, he was a member of the British team which won the International Vase, and was also a member of the winning ” Centre ” team.
NEW MODEL HILLMANS.
It has just been announced that the Weymann Saloon Hillmans, which are made in both four-light and sixlight types, are now available with Sunshine roofs at an extra charge of 00. The standard Weyniann Saloon, with this fitment, will therefore cost 045 and the Safety edition 085. The new head is of exceptionally neat design and when it is closed the car is almost indistinguishable from the ordinary Weyniann saloon.
Another new model which has just been introduced is a drop-head coupe on the well-known 14 h.p. chassis.
This has a Fountain body of an exceptionally luxurious type, and the dicky is capacious and well-upholstered, SQ that it provides greater comfort than the rear seat of many other cars.
The new coupe is listed at 095, whilst the ” Safety ” type costs :6430. The standard finish of both is brown and huff, and furniture hide upholstery is used.
It may be supposed that last summer took its usual toll of temper and coach work. But there are signs that progressive surveyors are increasingly going in for the newer road dressings which set quickly—with a firm grip on the coat of chippingS—which do not soften or “
bleed” in hot weather, yet cost no more than tar.
Near Leicester recently there was a demonstration of ” Shellspra,” which is the variety of bituminous dressing produced by Shell-Mex Limited, and of machines for spraying it.
Some of these latter were wonderful examples of how mechanical devices can take the place of human labour. In some cases the mixture to be sprayed is heated, .spread, brushed in, and even coated with chippings by the same machine in one operation.
How quickly ” Shellspra ” sets was shown by the fact that a heavy lorry drove over the road five minutes after it had been sprayed, without disturbing the dressing or picking up on the wheels.
Motor cars, too, went swiftly over the newly sprayed road without the familiar rattle of stones which greets the motorist from an ordinary road dressing, and strikes terror into the heart Of those who have any care for their coach work. We are not concerned with whether tar properly selected and applied is or is not capable of giving a similarly good result. The fact remains that as it is applied, by the average British surveyor, it is probably the greatest curse of motoring, and if these newer dressings are available at no more cost why cannot we have them ? That is what motorists, as the most numerous class of road users, want to know.
THAT DOUBLE-TWELVE RECORD.
This is a time of year when motor-cycle stunts are expected, but the recent Dunelt stunt is of more than ordinary interest, in that the machine employed was a standard production, selected from stock by officials of the Auto Cycle Union.
The actual facts were these :—The machine, having been selected, was driven from the Dunelt works at Birmingham to Brooklands, an A.C.U. observer being in attendance. On arrival at the track it was looked over, again under official supervision. At 8 a.m. on the morning of 18th September, it set off on an attempt to beat the existing double-twelve record which, incidentally, already stood to the Dunelt with a distance of 1,095 miles. The machine was ridden alternately by N. Anderson and R. B. Talbot.
By 8 p.m. 590 miles had been covered, and the speed averaged was well within record. The machine was then locked up for the night (continuous 24 hour rides are forbidden at Brooklands) and at eight o’clock next morning the riders continued. At the end of the 24 hours, 1,155 miles had been covered and the record had been broken by 60 miles!
In view of the fact that a standard model was used, and that no special ” tuning ” had been effected, the results are particularly meritorious. They also prove that the 1929 edition of the Dunelt—for it was this type which was used—is even better than that of 1928. Incidentally, at the conclusion of the run, the machine was sealed and taken over by the Auto Cycle Union, with a view to further tests being carried out later.
MOTOR CAR INSURANCE.
An announcement has recently appeared in the Press that an agreement has been come to by the leading Tariff Companies under which they will issue a standard policy giving identical cover in so far as private car insurance is concerned. The new policy will also contain certain additional benefits.
This new arrangement follows the policy which the R.A.C. adopted many years ago in regard to motor car insurance. Believing that private motorists as a whole did not understand the details of insurance, the Club evolved a standard policy known as the ” R.A.C. Policy,” and authorised its issue by the leading Companies and Underwriters.
The policy became immediately popular, and its popularity was undoubtedly due to a large extent to the fact that motorists who were members of the R.A.C. were able to take it up without concerning themselves as to what it actually covered : the fact of its being the standard R.A.C. policy being sufficient guarantee of its worth. In the same way the agreement arrived at by the Tariff Companies will simplify the whole of motor car insurance, as once the terms of the standard policy have become familiar, motorists will be able to accept the policy from any Company without the need for a close scrutiny of its various provisions.
ROAD ACROSS AFRICA.
Racing Motorist Arrives at Cape from Cairo.
Through desert and jungle Mr. G. S. Bouwer, the South African racing motorist, has averaged just on 250 miles a day for 9,000 miles on his return journey across Africa from London, which he left in August, to Cape Town, where he has just arrived.
He undertook the adventure to demonstrate the practicability of a highway between Cairo and the Cape, and he travelled by a route which he had prepared for himself seven months ago.
“Although I averaged 300 miles a day over the ironstone Nubian deserts,” Mr. Bouwer states in a message to the Dunlop Company in London, “and 500 miles a day on bush track in central Africa, I had a bare thirty hours in which to complete the last and most difficult 1,000 miles and the slightest delay would have ruined my chance. For the first time in my experience I drove this last lap without one puncture ; I had never previously had fewer than four on that route.
“I had no mechanical trouble at all, and only one crash, when I hit a tree stump at speed, smashed two front springs, and bent a front axle.”
At one time Mr. Bouwer was 90 miles from any water supply, and he carried a 40 gallon petrol tank in the back seat with a five gallon auxiliary oil tank.