LETTERS from READERS, October 1944



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I have the July issue of your very excellent paper Moron SPORT, but there are one or two inaccuracies which occur in it which I feel should be drawn to your readers’ attention.

In your first article—a most intriguing account of, as it were, behind the scenes of the development of the Rolls-Royce R-type engine, you state that the normal fuel consumption was 14 gallons per hour —page 136. This is, presumably, a misprint for 140 gallons per hour.

The next point, and this, in my opinion, a serious one, is your reference to Fit.Lieut. E. G. Brettell, D.F.C. You will note the spelling and award which differ considerably from your own, and I should have thought that since he was fairly well known, such details would not have escaped you. Another, and final, point is in reply to Jack Lawrence’s letter concerning a possible duel between Hampton’s Bugattis and P. F. Whalley’s Talbot and Alta. While I, too, am a Bugatti enthusiast, Mr. Lawrence should not allow his enthusiasm to blind him to the fact that a if litre Alta, in proper condition, has very considerably superior performance in. every way, except possibly roadholding, to that of a Type 37A Bugatti, and if Whalley’s Alta does lose this race with the Type 37A Bugatti, it will only be because the car is not being properly

driven, or is not giving its best performance.

Regarding the Talbot duel, I would personally say that it was a foregone conclusion in favour of the Bugatti, Type 57 S.C., and do not consider it to be a fair match, since, presumably, the Talbot is not supercharged.

In conclusion, I heartily endorse your editorial remarks in ” Rumblings ‘ regarding the present inflated prices charged for vintage sports cars. Although I am a trader myself, I fully realise the very great damage that would be done to the sports-car fraternity if one was foolish enough to take advantage of the fact of the great rarity of these cars and the possibility of people having a little bit more money than usual these days. This state of affairs will not last for ever, and a trader who ruins his market for the sake of what he can make to-day, and probably cannot keep, has only himself to thank if his future clients mysteriously desert him when better times come. I am, Yours, etc.,

Watford. P. R. MONRROUSE. [The Editor has no particular desire to reiterate the very difficult conditions under which he prepares MOTOR SPORT these days, in his spare moments from a war job—many readers would probably consider such conditions almost fantastic ; no typewriter, no secretary, bad light, air-raids, etc. But he must defend him self from critic Alonkhouse by repeating that he doesn’t see proofs. Some people are truly unappreciative. Nevertheless, the fact remains that 14 galls, per hour oil consumption for the R-type engine is correct.—En.] Sir,

Your April issue has just arrived—and what a wealth of fascinating reading ! The article by Gordon Jones, “Mainly Frazer-Nash,” is really the tops, and his experiences add much hope to another impecunious enthusiast. The local flavour is very strong for me, too (being a Birmingham man) ; the mention of the Austin ” bull ” brings home very near.

This article has especial appeal to my friend Arthur Hull, who I know has been in contact with you. We have had many and lengthy chats on the Sport and of our great hopes with the peace.

By some queer twist of fortune I have met more people interested in motoring Sport than I thought possible since I came abroad. The hot sands of Egypt. brought me two bosom friends, fanatically keen, and we are impatient for the time when we shall meet in the right atmosphere—bags of Ca.strol ” R ” and all that.

At present but one of the trio is suitably mounted (” P” M.G. Midget), and the rest rely on that small creation of Mr. Morris—the inevitable” 8.”

Naturally post-war cars feature largely in our discussions. Arthur is a rabid ‘Nash fanatic, and my ideal reads H.R.G. But I have little hope of possessing one, with prices so high, and so interest in this marque is inclined to pall a little. Probably a case of” the grapes are sour ! “

The ” 12/50 ” Alvis holds out a strong appeal, although old, and, of course, the Type 37 Bugatti. The latter would seem to be a pleasant, but highly expensive in the maintenance line, car.

The aluminium-bodied Gwynne Eight Sports is, I suppose, very rare these days. They went out of production about 1925, and I well remember a model, with polished body not unlike the 1923 2-litre G.P. Fiats, to be seen regularly in Birmingham. Spares would be a not inconsiderable problem, but I would cherish one of these cars.

Equally,, I wonder if any reader knows, or knew, the whereabouts of a 1923 Gwynne Eight ” Hipbath ” 3-seater, OK 6698, or a 1924 4-seater, OM 4711? Both of these were owned by my late father, the latter until 1932—eight years of yeoman service.

The ” Ulster” Austin also holds out a wide appeal—also a rare type now, and among the larger cars we have great regard for the ” International” AstonMartin.

We wonder what the outcome of all these hopes will be. Probably—horrible thought—all the worthwhile cars will have been snapped up long before we arrive back in England, or else prices will soar right out of our limits with the coming of peace.

A great pity the Morris Eight has but a 3-speed box—at least mine, a 1935 2-seater, is in that unhappy state. I wonder if the Series ” E ” engine could be fitted without much trouble ? Or, maybe, a Ford Ten unit—more power even if triple cogs. These modifications, plus a mild boost, might make the Eight into quite an exciting little bus, but really—is the expense warranted with so normal a car ?

Anyway, even if not either fast or exciting, the Morris should still provide reliable transport for a considerable time to come. And let’s hope that during that time prices will have become a little more comparable with pre-war ones to enable the long-exiled impecunious enthusiast to find a soul-satisfying motor car.

With best wishes to MOTOR SPORT. I am, Yours, etc.,


R.A.F. Sir,

You can’t imagine the interest R. P. Gordon Jones’s article, “Mostly FrazerNash,” in MOTOR …ipont. for April, 1944, caused here in Burma. As a matter of fact I was the proud owner of the ” Leaf ” he mentioned would do 97 on its P. and C. radiator thermometer ” ! However, that is beside the point.

It is remarkable, though, here in Burma, with the war over five years old, that an article such as this can stir up such interest in the Sport. I have many a friend here, scattered about in different formations, who manages to drop in and discuss all the articles in MOTOR SPORT each month, the Jap permitting ! Congratulations to your staff for keep

ing such a high standard of publication going in these hard times.

A point of interest to 3-litre Bentley owners. I fitted modified Lancia ” Lambda .” front suspension to my “Red Label” before the war, after much hard work, with really outstanding results. I am, Yours, etc.,

J. PANICS (Major). S.E. Asia Command. * * Sir,

Opportunity, so we are told, knocks but once. For some years past, it seems to me there has been loud and persistent knocking, seemingly quite unheeded, signifying that the time is ripe for enthusiasts, in all branches of motoring Sport, to write and provide themselves with a representation to the world at large.

First let us consider this “spirit of enthusiasm.” It runs into so many diverse branches. We have motor-racing enthusiasts, trials enthusiasts, veteran enthusiasts, vintage enthusiasts, motorcycling enthusiasts and so on, each operating separately, but each equally keen and ready to defend their ideas to the last.

Should I he wrong, therefore, if I made bold to suggest that, however widely spaced their individual interests, the spirit that moves them is one and the same?

That spirit has been, during the past 4.1 years, of very real value to our country. We do not care for war-making at all, but when some men start throwing their weight aboul and knockif.g innocent people about with rubber truncheons, then our enthusiast puts his E.R.A. or his” Manx” Norton aside quite resolutely and takes to a” Spitfire “or a Tpyhoon ” like a duck to water.

He takes his priceless sense of humour and his natural love of good machinery with , him, too, and no matter what the odds against him, he makes war for long enough to teach silly men not to be stupid any longer. Quite frequently he gives his own life in the effort.

As a rule, he doesn’t care for sentimentalities, at least not on the surface, but we who are left will miss many cheery faces when we can all “go dicing’ again m our brave new world.

The spirit of enthusiasm, then, was always most estimable, but the past 4i years have shown it to have a rather deeper meaning, both for ourselves and our country, than we at first thought.

When we come back from war-making we shall need a lot of things. We shall need fairer treatment in the matter of a reasonable road policy. We shall need assistance to sell our motor cars all over the world.

We shall want to race our vehicles, no matter whether 23or 4-wheeled. We shall want to run trials and veteran rallies, and forgather over large pots of ale and be ourselves again. Older and sadder, perhaps, but still ourselves, and still enthusiasts. Now I count myself fortunate, if the personal pronoun can be excused, that I love motor ears. I also love motorcycles. I am a confirmed veteran and vintage enthusiast, but before the war I had to live two separate lives, one on two wheels and one on four, so to speak. Wherever I went, however, to the Donington Grand Prix, or to a “Motor

Cycle” Clubman’s Day at Brooklands, I found the company different, very different, but the spirit behind each show was identical. Now I do not advocate at the moment a wholesale mixing of the motor car and motor-cycle fraternities all at once, but I do suggest, in all seriousness, that the problems that beset them are common problems in their essence, and that there should be co-operation on a broad basis.

I do not happen to care for trials ; I love motor-racing. A friend of mine doesn’t care for racing, but goes wild about trials, but that doesn’t mean that we are not both quite genuine enthusiasts and equally concerned about such questions as the insurance rates for sports cars, and whether Sunday sporting events are advisable or not.

I could go on enlarging for a long time on this point, but hope that it is clear enough already.

Now where lies the solution ? I can only suggest the broad lines along which we should proceed. Supposing, as a start, that every club representing the many varied aspects of motor Sport were asked to send a representative to a preliminary conference to settle vital matters of post-war policy as soon as possible after the end of the war ? The following problems are bound to be pressing at that time :—

(1) The whole question of racing, bearing in mind that there will be thousands of new recruits from the forces, who have learned to ride or drive since September, 1939. We must not have countless haphazard events all over the place.

(2) The old, old problem of racing upon the public roads.

(3) Sunday events. A policy should be laid down representing all interests.

(4) British representation in Grand Prix and T.T. racing.

(5) The establishment of ” nursery ” tracks. (6) The problem of the impecunious enthusiast. Can we help him

(7) The collection and preservation of documents, records, etc.

The most important thing would be a whole-hearted resolution that all forms of motor Sport should be encouraged. The science of high speed will play a great part in the future. Its disciples need and, I hope, deserve a united representation as soon as possible.

There must be no circus stuff. The whole thing must be treated as something of real importance to the nation. I regret that my suggestions are so vague. I am no expert, but I do realise that after this war we shall have two outlooks to deal with. There will be the old, old outlook of “Encourage the rail ways,” ” Preserve the beauty spots,” and “The roads for the pedestrians,” and I hope there will be our own progressive

outlook, strengthened by its war record, going forward, backed by each and every enthusiast for aeroplanes, motor cars and motor boats. Unquestionably we need a united front. Will someone come forward and set the pace ? Already there are signs of co operation on a great scale between the motor clubs, and for that we should be deeply thankful, but the thing is bigger than that. Readers of MOTOR SPORT

are amongst the most enthusiastic of any. It is peculiarly ” our ” paper. What do you feel about it ? I am, Yours, etc.,

” SIMPLEX.” Sir,

Regarding the question of 500-c.c. and 750-c.c. racing for amateurs raised in previous issues of MOTOR SPORT, one of the main troubles is the virtual nonexistence of any standard road car but the Austin, and the very rare 750-c.c. M.G. in the 750-c.c. class. This precludes most people from racing anything but hottedup Au.stins on the score of expense, and it has the effect of making everything rather dull for both competitors and spectators, while if drivers have to build their own 500-c.c. cars, it is going to cost a lot of money and again bar the impecunious. If there really is sufficient interest in ultra light-cars, then it Would pay some ot our manufacturers to produce something to meet the demand, and I think that anything that would encourage a return to something like the pre-last-war cyclecar days, with all the tremendous enthusiasm associated with those grand little cars and their drivers, is to be heartily commended. Remember the G.N., the G.W.K., the early Morgan, the wonderful little Baby Peugeot of 1913, and dozens of others, some very good, some not so good, and the remainder very, very queer I

Recent ” Shelsley Specials” are our nearest approach to the early cyelecarsnot forgetting, of course, the three-wheel Morgan, but surely there would be a demand for more such cars ? With the reappearance of standard road-worthy cyclecars there would be great opportunities for amateur racing and competition driving, and providing courses were limited in size there would be no reason why very great enjoyment and excellent racing experience could not be obtained by all.

Incidentally, is there really any need for people to poke fun at small cars Your contributor, Sqdn.-Ldr. J. R. M. Boothby, in his “Cars I Have Owned,” says nasty things about an Austin Seven.

After all, they are basically rather woolly little touring motor cars, and even supertuned they would be rather tame after riding things like T.T. motor-cycles, an SW.5 Douglas and driving a . 3-litre Sunbeam .! In case it may be thought I am prejudiced, it should, perhaps, be said that I have never owned a car under 1,100 c.c., and at present have a 2-litre Lancia

Lambda.” I am, Yours, etc.,

ROBT. E. NEWELL. Shankill,

Co. Dublin. Sir,

I should like to congratulate you on the very high standard that MOTOR SPORT has maintained throughout this war. At present I have a standard 2seater P.A. M.G. which is awaiting my return, and although I realise the limitations of this car, I intend to modify it and try to improve the performance. I think that as several other enthusiasts must be in a similar position, an article written by someone who has information on tuning the various types of M.G.s would be most acceptable. My own ideas on the subject are based on the normal amendments as detailed in MOTOR SPORT, with the addition of a supercharger blowing at about 7 lbs. per sq. in. I am particularly interested to hear about other readers’ experiences along these lines, and would like to buy a suitable supercharger, racing crankshaft and rods and any other parts from a “Q” type or racing M.G. that may be available. I am, Yours, etc., PETER STANTON (Capt., R.E.). Lloyd’s Bank,