It’s up to you
Whether racing miniature petrol-driven model cars will ever give anything like as much relaxation to enthusiasts here as it has to Americans remains to be seen. If this pastime does not catch on certainly Mr. D.A. Russell, A.M.I.Mech.E., Managing Editor of The Aero Modeller, will not be blameworthy. As we announced exclusively some while ago, he has decided to try to popularise this hobby, now that the flying of petrol-driven model aeroplanes is prohibited and the real thing is completely dead. Accordingly, he has caused to be published in the September issue of his paper a design by A. Galeota for a 2.5-c.c. petrol-driven model racing car. This model should be quite simple to build, embracing as it does many Meccano parts, a hardwood body and model aeroplane “air-wheels.” In appearance it is not particularly realistic, the wheels being too small and the wheelbase on the short side, as so often happens in model work. Doubtless the designer had cinder-track outlines in mind when he set to work; why, we cannot imagine. But at least this is a start. The front wheels drive, the rear axle steers, and there is no clutch. A beginner’s racing car, obviously. The power developed must be quite moderate, as Meccano gears, locked merely by their grub-screws, suffice to transmit the drive. With a 2.5-c.c. Spitfire two-stroke engine, having a 5 1/2-oz. flywheel, speeds in excess of 24 m.p.h. are achieved. As speeds of over 70 m.p.h. are regularly reached by American models, very obviously there is plenty of scope for development. Apart from the fascination that such models present in action, much amusement should be had by staging long-duration records “around the pole.” To encourage the pastime Mr. Russell is offering two prizes of £10 10s. each for the best average speeds set up over 10 laps of a 50-70 ft. diameter course before December 31st, 1942, by cars up to 6 c.c. (Class A) and between 6 and 10 c.c. (Class B), respectively. Entry forms are available from The Aero Modeller, Allen House, Newarke Street, Leicester. A wise, and important, stipulation is that cars shall “bear a distinct resemblance to the fullsize machines,” although they can be of free-lance conception and of either sports or racing type. Runs have to be timed by two independent timekeepers, both over 21 years of age and each using his own stopwatch. They may be appointed by the entrant. We are convinced that if this does not arouse interest in model car racing in this country nothing ever will.
A more than man-size rumour is going around to the effect that someone in this country bought, before the war, the 1 1/2-litre V16 Miller engine with which the late Frank Lockhart achieved 164 m.p.h. We have, we believe, been very “warm” on a number of occasions, but each time stony stares and evasive answers have been our lot and we have not yet so much as caught a glimpse of this famous and historic engine. If it were to be placed in, say, a 1 1/2-litre Maserati chassis, and geared correctly, something both startling and useful might well happen. Another hush-hush engine we wot of is something which Alfa-Romeo had in hand before Mussolini noticed Hitler’s beckoning gestures. Rumour, and accurate rumour at that it seems, says this engine is a 5 1/2-litre V6 two-stroke, developing 240 b.h.p. at 1,800 r.p.m. There are two exhaust valves per cylinder with hairpin valve springs, the pistons are oil-cooled and needle-roller bearings are used. The cylinders, in two banks of three, measure 95 x 130 mm. (5,522 c.c.) and a Roots’ blower supercharges at 4 1/2 lb./sq. in. The dry-sump lubrication system has thermostatic control. This intriguing engine gave a perfectly flat h.p. curve and weighed about 10 1/2 cwt. Heavy, but grand for a 4 1/2-litre Bentley chassis, adds rumour….
All motor racing, midget car and motor-cycle included, has now been stopped in the U.S.A.
His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, who was killed on Active Service with the R.A.F., was President-in-Chief of the British Racing Drivers’ Club and a very keen motorist, notably with a 4 1/2-litre Bentley car. He frequently spectated at Brooklands and attended the last Donington Grand Prix, being driven round the course before the race by Dick Seaman.