RUMBLINGS, October 1948
Los Angeles Whisper
From Los Angeles comes a whisper, in which there may be several grains, if not the whole, truth, as to why Don Lee’s 3-litre V12 G.P. Mercedes-Benz didn’t shine at Indiana polis either in 1947 or this year. It is said that the car was pretty thoroughly
stripped before the 1947 race and, indeed, stayed stripped for some three months. One cylinder block, we are told, had aluminium shavings inside it, and apparently several new pistons had to be fitted. There is a story to the effect that little was done to the Mercedes-Benz between the 1947 and 1948 Indianapolis races, but that after a cylinder block had cracked in the first of these races a spare was sought in Germany, but that in the end the old block was patched up and used again. The car, it seems, was assembled three weeks before this year’s race and flown to Indianapolis, where four different drivers tried it and all disliked it. According to our correspondent, the front suspension wish-bones were heated and bent to a new shape to satisfy one person who elected to drive the car. We are told that the Mercedes-Benz was the only car to come to the line dirty and unpolished. It is rumoured that in 1947 some ill-feeling was caused by suggestions that Duke Nalon was afraid of the German car—the pit apparently intended him. to drive it half-throttle for the full distance in order to nurse the engine, but the mixture was too lean and a piston burnt out. Incidentally, this Mercedes Benz was the Von Brauchitsch car, if the initials “H. von B” on the back of the seat are to be believed. Our informant completes his dismal story by expressing the opinion that this car will never run properly again. If this is true, we can only say, “what a pity, what a fearful pity.”
More cheerful news from the States is that a straighteight 1i-litre Delage is in existence there, in good fettle, which, will surprise those who thought that the only remaining examples of this classic Grand Prix car were in this country. It seems that the U.S.A. example was driven at Indianapolis in 1929 by none other than Louis Chiron, who finished 7th, at 87.73 m.p.h. We believe the Delage ran without front brakes on that occasion, but these have since been refitted. The car, indeed, seems to be in original condition and ” un-Chula-ised,” which is very good news indeed. After that 1929 outing at Indianapolis the car stayed in the States and was raced on various occasions. Don Lee acquired it and is said to have clocked it at 101 m.p.h. on the Salt Flats. He sold it recently to someone who is keen to get it going once more. The car is apparently No. 1 of its series.
In the Air
Those who follow aeronautical activities have derived considerable interest from the successive successful attacks on the World’s 100 kilometre closed-circuit record. This record is timed over a 62.1 mile circuit embracing a on four turning points and thus sets a on manmuvrability, as well as demanding maximum speed ; many authorities rank it as a greater technical achievement than the absolute air speed record. Last year a. D.H. “Goblin “-engined de Havilland Vampire set. the figure at 497 m.p.h. Early this year a Gloster ” Meteor ” with Rolls-Royce ” Derwent ” jet motors improved on this, recording 543 m.p.h., only to be beaten by a Supermarine ” Attacker ” with a RollsRoyce “Nene” engine, that flew the course at 565 m.p.h. Then John Dersy’s tail-less de Havilland 108 with D.H. ” Goblin ” engine raised the record again to 605.23 m.p.h., reaching 635 m.p.h. All these British aircraft used patent variable-displacement fuel pumps, barometric pressure controls, throttle valves, fuel accumulator units, burners and starting equipment made by Joseph Lucas, Ltd. Lucas electrical equipment also figured on the Aston-Martin, H.R.G., Healey, Jaguar, Sunbeam-Talbot and Allard cars which have this year scored such convincing successes at Spa and in the Mille Miglia and French Alpine Rally. We learn that in the misty conditions prevailing at Spa, Lucas lighting contributed nearly as much as Lucas ignition to AstonMartin’s outright win and the H.R.G. team-victory. You can still be proud of the Union Jack 1
Matter for the Future
One thing in particular emphasises the success of Goodwood—the murmur of unconsciously-uttered, ex cited comment that emanated from the enclosures during the Goodwood Trophy race. Seldom does a British
crowd let itself go to such an extent— the collective effect was most impressive. This is the sort of racing people want—the J.C.C. can rest assured that the public will return for more.
The R.A.C. Brighton Run for pre-1905 horselesS carriages promises to be better than ever this year. Not only does it fall on the actual anniversary of the original run, but a revision is to be made to overall
minimum average speeds, those time checks at various points, which rather spoilt the event of recent years, being washed out. Purely to render the thing legal there will also be maximum speed limits for the two sections. Entries close on October 11th.