RUMBLINGS, October 1937
CHATTING with a group of enthusiasts in the B.A.R.C. Clubhouse before the “500,” many
things of interest were touched upon. One member of the party waxed enthusiastic over the Continental Grand Prix; the thoroughness of the Germans and the amazing technique of the Master Nuvolari, who passes in the most impossible places without revealing his technique to the most wary watcher, who can merely say that the car does not seem to slide, yet is never for a moment in the correct line. Seaman, I heard, has been going as fast as his particular Mercedes-Benz will go, not having been specially instructed to go slowly. His crash at Monza was due to opening up in the w.,-ong place, apparently, for the Mere. is tricky with the taps open for a newcomer, but his other accidents have been pure bad luck. The rumours that he is not too happy in Germany seem to have no foundation, but I believe his mother is not too pleased at his regular association with ultrarapid motor-cars, for which reason he may return to this country next year unless he can persuade her that the 4i-litre cars will be quite safe motors. Parts of the Nfirburg Ring were likened by our informer to Shelsley—up one side and down the other and he said that the cars reach 180 or so downhill, bends notwithstanding, and that it looks like 250! There is a beautiful story being told of the Mercedes-Benz team. They were invited to take part in one of the smaller races and duly arrived for practice. Before the event was run it was discovered that this was a national race and that the German cars were therefore not eligible. So they were asked to go home. To which Herr Naubauer is said to have retorted” We will require the starting money, for we were invited, and also the prize money we should have won .
At this time none of us knew whether the team really would 1_) at Donington or not, but hopes ran high and we heard that one Mercedes had arrived as early as September 19th for experiments with gear-ratios. Everyone was emphatic that a really well-staged official reception should be given to the Continental participants.
” SOO ” Reflections
The only car to make its debut in the ” 500 ” was the Bowler-Hofman-Special, which is virtually a 1922 3-litre Bentley chassis with a 4i-litre Bentley engine and a long-tailed, cream single-seater body. The radi ator is special and cowled in the modern style, and not enclosed with an open cowl of the older style as on the Pacey-Hassan-Special. The Bowler-Hofman, as befits an outer-circuit car, is sans front brakes. The front springs are very carefully and neatly corded and there are friction shockers for the front axle and Luvax and Hartfords for the rear axle. Unlike the PaceyHassan the gear-lever is inside the body and the carburetters inside the bonnet. The radiator cap was of ordinary screw-pattern—the fuel tank in the tail. There did not seem much room for Dr. Beaver between steering wheel and seat-cushion, nor did we envy him the view of the immense front tyres dancing on each side of the narrow bonnet. The balloon-pattern track covers were used, 7.50″ x 20″ front and rear. In view of the age of the chassis it is interesting to learn on very good authority that 1922 Bentley front axles are of a material that has never been known to fracture through fatigue and that apparently the Brooklands scrutineers will pass them if they show no defects
after polishing. The Pacey-Hassan is also basically a 1922 chassis.
Although the balloon Dtmlops that appeared last season are now the fashionable wear for this race, the Sunbeam ran on the ordinary track-type covers of 32″ x 6.5″ and only one stop for changing was made. ” Bira’s ” Delahaye put up a most impressive show for a stripped sports-type car, lapping at over 125 m.p.h. and having a trouble-free run. You hear a lot about an outer-circuit race being tough on an engine because a driver does not lift his throttle foot and so the oil has little chance of going upstairs. Actually, there is a bit more in it than that, especially as Robin Jackson now says that the outercircuit has to be driven like a road-course with superfast small cars, and we know this is so in big 120 m.p.h. stuff. In a road-race you have a succession of upward
gear-changes after the corners, and however much a driver attempts to maintain constant revs., near to “peak,” an engine must drop down momentarily after a change and accelerate up again, quite apart from the appreciable over-run periods. In a track race it is the almost full bore throughout that stresses things, as well as the very brief throttle-back periods. Certainly your track car may pull appreciably higher gear-ratios, which in small high-speed units may make for better balance between mechanical and pressure loadings, but even so engines will be giving maximum power, and pressures and heat-flow will be at their highest.
A Curious Experience
It transpires that at the Cfoydon Speed Trials Waddy’s ramming of the bank with Fuzzi was largely brought about because as he changed ratio the forward unit took second gear but the rear unit stayed in first, Waddy getting an appreciable shock when the rev-counter, which is only connected to the rear engine, showed rising revs, out of keeping with the behaviour of the front engine—or is it all t’other way round ? Anyhow,’ things were in great order at Shelsley, and Miss Richmond did extremely well, considering she had only driven Fuzzi for a couple of Brooklands laps beforehand. We have long admired Joan’s driving ability, which goes up considerably in our estimation now that she has entered the stick and string brigade. Fuzzi has H.R.G. style brakes and should be excellent in a Mountain Race—which we may see on October 16th. Waddy tells me that the very inextensive damage incurred in the Bristol smash should satisfy the scrutineers of ruzzi’s suitability, while be has the necessary official expansionboxes. Fuzzi is transported on a most amusing trailer, one wheel of which has to be detached before the car can be stowed, while the electric starting apparatus in its doll’s pram should become immortal.
Let us become serioas. The Institution of Automobile Engineers last month opened their imposing new headquarters at No. 12, Hobart Place, London, S.W.1—the fifth home of the I.A.E., which has previously been accommodated at Albemarle Street, Queen Anne’s Gate, Victoria Street and Adelphi. The new premises, together with the Research Centre on the Great West Road, are admirably suited to a body which works in such useful and close liaison with a great industry. This summer the I.A.E. visited Germany, following visits to U.S.A. in 1913, Belgium in 1914 and France in 1934. Amongst the important concerns inspected were Humbolt-Deutzmotoren A.G., Opel Motor Co., and the Bosch and Daimler-Benz works. At the I.A.E. Banquet at the Hotel Marquardt, Stuttgart, Capt. Irving paid tribute to German automobile engineering, with particular reference to tubular frames, independent suspension and unit construction of chassis and bodywork. In his reply Dr. E. C. Rassbach emphasised that if the mission of transportation is to override existing barriers, real or fancied, then the motor-car
is the foremost agency of this evolution and the automobile engineer one of its foremost servants.
The I.A.E. series of lectures will shortly re-commence and we intend to keep in close contact with what takes place and to publish a résumé in MOTOR SPORT of anything of interest.
John Cobb’s victory in the” 500 “was very popular, for the Brooklands crowd just loves that NapierRailton. Driving the big car in a race of this sort is no light task, and Oliver Bertram seemed not quite at home with it at first, for he has done little rapid lappery this year, and confessed to feeling tired, so that he was rather glad when a tyre went on the Byfleet and Cobb took over. Cobb is having another big record-breaker built by T & Ts, for short-distance world’s records work, and Oliver Bertram may acquire the Napier-Railton for Weybridge motoring next season. Jenkins, by the way, recently smashed Cobb’s 100 kilo. record, taking figures from 50 kilos. to 500 kilos. at speeds of from 166.38 to 177.43 m.p.h. before floods at Utah stopped his Monmon Meteor. This raises the old figures by 1 to 6 m.p.h., Stuck (Auto-Union) holding two, Cobb one and Jenkins the rest.
In the ” 500 ” the Napier needed two stops for fresh tyres and finally finished, dramatically enough, with a rear cover in shreds. Its best lap was at 136.45 m.p.h. Taylor sat proudly in the driving seat as the big car was towed in after the winning ceremony.
A Bad Business
The Press Bulletins of the” 500″ were subsequently found to be incorrect, but not before the dailies and one motor paper had published incorrect reports. Our own report is in accordance with the corrected results. Mistakes will occur, but it is particularly unfortunate that these errors should have arisen over a race of such importance, organised by a body of the standing of the B.R.D.C.—though the Club was not responsible for the incorrect placings of the first three cars that appeared in the report by an eminent motoring correspondent, in one of the leading evening papers ! To avoid any misunderstanding, Cobb did
win the race ! We believe the timing errors arose because of difficulties with the Leroy-Brine timing apparatus loaned by the Road Racing Club.
Vive Delahaye !
A very remarkable achievement was that of Rene Dreyfus and the 41-litre V12 Delahaye, in winning the second of the big prizes offered by France this year. The Delahaye which, it is significant to note, conforms to the 1938-40 G.P. formula, covered 200 kilos. of the Montlhery road-circuit at an average of 91.13 m.p.h., thus netting the 1,000,000 francs (00,000) prizemoney. The performance should still further enhance the marque’s reputation in the eyes of those British sportsmen who feel covetous when the name of Delahaye is uttered. Bugatti made a desperate bid for the prize with an unblovvn 4.7-litre driven by Benoist, but troubles intervened and could not be rectified before the time-limit expired. It will be recalled that Wimille (3.3 Bugatti) won the 400,000 franc prize earlier in the year, averaging the same speed as the Delabaye for the same distance.
The Motor Ball
The eleventh annual Motor Ball in aid of the Motor and Cycle Trades Benevolent Fund will be held on October 19th (Motor Show week) at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London, W.1. A competition has been arranged for which numerous prizes have been donated. These include a Hillman ” Minx” car presented by Mr. W. E. Rootes and Mr. R. C. Rootes. Competitors are asked to estimate the attendance for the last day and for the whole period of the Motor Show, and the prizes will be awarded to those making the
closest estimates. Tickets for the ball and full particulars may be obtained from Mr. A. H. Dawson, secretary and organiser, at 204/6, Great Portland Street, London, W.1.
Freddie Dixon is disposing of the “Silver Bullet” for a very low sum. Its big Sunbeam 12-cylinder aeromotors might suit a boat—or one of them might be incorporated in a modern chassis, as outlined in MOTOR SPORT last December. It is unlikely that any humorist will run the car in speed trials, for transportation would prove a big item. Personally, we would rather have ” Djelmo.”
John Bolster, we hear, gets his Frazer-Nash hubs re-conditioned on a broach that suits the job, at the Tilling-Stevens works at Maidstone. This might be useful information to others who have to re-model RN. hubs.
Oliver Bertram drove off in a 20-25 Rolls-Royce, after the “500.”
Seen at Brooklands—an early sports Beardmore.
Prince Chula and ” Bira ” return to Siam this autumn but there are high hopes that they will return for the 1938 season.
For the 1938 formula Mercedes-Benz will run 8-cylinder 3-litre blown and 12-cylinder 41-litre unblown cars and Auto-Union 12-cylinder 3-litre blown and 24-cylinder 41-litre unblown cars.
Raymond Sommer is French champion for this season.
The winner of the Crystal Palace Imperial Trophy race of October 9th will get £150 for the thirty mile race.