THE motoring public, and those more closely et)iinected with car development , are now quite used to the ruling of the Society of Manufacturers and Traders that their members may not compete officially in reliability trials. This rule was doubtless made with the best intentions but from the point of view of the sports car owner it has serious disadvantages. Many keen buyers actually wish to compete in such events themselves, and although they can get some guidance from the performance of private entries, there may be instances where indifferent handling spoils a car’s performance through no fault of its maker. There is also a far larger number of potential • sports car owners who like to see what rough going
the various makes will stand, although they may not actually intend to take part in trials.
On the other hand the manufacturer himself suffers a serious handicap by this ruling, in that he is unable to try out his own products in competition with other makes, with a two-fold result. If his car is fully capable of standing up to the rough going of a sporting trial, and therefore suitable for the hard driving which an enthusiastic owner will give it, he has •no opportunity of
proving it. If it is not capable of such a performance and, although quite fit. for ordinary work on the roads of this country, is liable to give trouble on a strenuous continental tour, he has no ready chance of finding out the trouble for himself, and has to await the onslaught of some enraged owner, who is anything but good propaganda for the vehicle in. question.
The characteristic apathy of this country makes it slow work reversing any established custom, but once started we usually seem to be successful, as the present speed records show. With regard to the ban on trials some manufacturers consider that they will serve their public and do better business by abstaining from membership of an institution which thus cramps their style. Perhaps others will bring pressure to bear to modify this ruling, as in these times any activity which can lead to increased business should be entirely
• unrestricted. After all, what is the object of this ban ? The S.M.M.T. obviously must be anxious to further the progress of the industry which it represents. And now that the cry of “Wake up England 1” is no longer
necessary to the British motor trade, this rule right well be discarded.