PRE–VIEW by the Editor
QUITE early on the first public-view day of the recent S.B.A.C. Display, when the weather was by no means set-fair, it was announced that 100,000 persons had passed the turnstiles.
Attending that display before it became so enthused, I spotted certain hush-hush 1949 cars in the car-parks and I wondered whether as many people will go to Earls Court at the end of this month, to see what our British Motor Industry has to offer the world, as went to Farnborough to see some of our latest aeroplanes. If you have decided that you can discover all about the new models from the technical Press and, in any case, do not intend to catch the proverbial Motor Show cold, I would remind you that seeing the new engines and new looks in steel and cellulose is the only way to make personal judgment of the 1949 cars, and that colds caught at the S.M.M.T.’s Exhibition cannot be any worse than those incurred in watching Raymond Mays netting the Hill-Climb Championship at Prescott.
This great Motor Show that is to be staged in the part of London which lies between once-fashionable Kensington and the West End is our first since the war. At it we shall see the very latest British cars and their rivals from the Continent and from across the Atlantic. Car fashions are, if anything, more important to-day than car technicalities. It is for you to decide whether you consider a given example of modernistic British car a thing of beauty or a slavish imitation of what America was thinking before the war. Whatever your taste in car externals, there is no doubt but that the British Industry has produced new cars which will leave a profound impression on every visitor to the Exhibition. We have frequently” stolen-the-show” in the past. Remember, for instance, such exhibits as the first Baby Austin, the Leyland Eight, the 8-litre Bentley, the “Phantom I” Rolls-Royce, and, continuing this theme for other firms that will display their wares this year, the “light-alloy “six-cylinder A.C., the ” T.T. Replica ” Frazer-Nash, the ” 12/50 ” Alvis, that 12-h.p. Arm.strong-Siddeley that boasted a six-cylinder engine, Lionel Martin’s beautiful s.v. Aston-Martin, fresh from long miles of Continental testing, the munificent ” Double-Six ” Daimlers, the Hillman Fourteen that was so roomy yet so inexpensive, that first Humber “Snipe,” the clever ” flat-four ” engine of the Jowett, the straight-eight Lanehester, the Cozette-blown fabricbodied Lea-Francis, M.G.’s original Midget, that five-seater Oxford saloon for
2.285 all-on, the Riley Nine in 1927, the O.E. improved “30/98,” and so on. Those were cars that brought crowds to the stands on which they were exhibited, as will the ” high-lights ” of this year’s Motor Show. British cars will be seen that have been painstakingly planned from the road-clinging and good handling aspects, and which offer performance
second to none—the sort of performance which brings success in keenly-contested International Alpine trials and long duration sports-car races. Petrol restrictions have sadly cramped many of our activities and I cannot give you first-hand impressions of all the notable cars which you will see at Earl’s Court, for the simple reason that there are several the manufacturers of which have not yet placed a test car at my disposal. But I have been very en couraged by what I have seen of Britain’s latest cars and particularly by the Austin A40, the Jowett Javelin, the post-war Allard coupe, the Lanchester Ten, the largest of the Jaguar range and others that I have driven hard for considerable distances. At last our manufacturers appear to have realised that only up-tothe-minute safe-handling, brisk-perfor mance cars can meet the weight of com petition that will be seen under American and French colours at the Show. Cer tainly many of the 1949 models, from both the joy of ownership and practical transport angles, will try the national patience to its limit—for delivery dates to British customers seem as far away as ever. Britain’s salvation lies in successful export, and it is well that our virile Motor Industry should have produced
such stimulating new models at such a vital time in our history.
It is my intention to outline hereafter the major attractions which will be on the car manufacturers’ stands at Earls Court. In the next issue of MOTOR SPORT, which will be published on October 27th, —the opening day at Earls Court— will be found detailed descriptions, technical data, and illustrations of these cars, British, French and American, and information on the leading components and accessories exhibits. Meanwhile, with the condensed pre-view which follows will be found an alphabetical index to the stand-locations of all the car-exhibitors.
The actual cars which will be on show are quoted in the cases of such firms as have taken the trouble to submit details to MOTOR SPORT.
A.C. will show their well-known light-alloy six-cylinder o.h.c. engine in a normally-suspended chassis endowed with modern, very roomy bodywork. These exhibits will attract those who know the value of careful construction in a car and those who seek qualities lacking in less expensive vehicles made in great numbers, while staunch A.C. ” fans ” will make an early visit to Stand 131. A.F.N. Ltd. will presumably show the very exciting 2-litre aerodynamic sports Frazer-Nash, one of the fastest cars we produce today, an example of which was purchased recently by H.I.M. The Shahinshali of Iran:
Alfa-Romeos will be displayed by the firm of Thomson ar, Taylor (Brooklands) Ltd., on Stand 159, where a saloon on the 2nd series 2.5-litre 6C sports chassis and a convertible sports cabriolet on the same chassis, will be exhibited. Representing the very latest from an old-established, race-successful firm and Italian automobile engineering at its best, you will need to go early to Earls Court to get a comfortable view of these fine cars !
The Allard Motor Co., L.td.’s exhibits on Stand 133 will be a centre of an enthusiastic crowd, as they have been at all the Continental Shows, for a competition-bred motor car able to take honours in strenuous trials, in rallies and in speed events, has a big following.
Three Allards will be on the stand, a very snappy two-seater on the 8 ft. 10-in, wheelbase chassis, and an open tourer (how nice to see a modern open car !) and a very stylish coupe, both on the longer chassis, which has a wheelbase of Oft. 4 in.
Alvis Ltd. are continuing with their well-tried Fourteen four-cylinder car with normal -elliptic suspension, and at Earls Court will exhibit their very handsome four-light saloon, a drophead coupe, and another car with a new body, details of which are not available as I write. The 2-litre Armstrong-Siddeley, one of the first entirely new British postwar designs, and a car which is large for its engine capacity and which is serving staunchly all over the world, will be exhibited on Stand 147. Nothing more
than minor modifications have been made ; the “Lancaster,” ” Hurricane ” and ” Typhoon ” models will be on the stand. Make a note of Stand 138—it will contain the new Aston-Martin with
push-rod valve-gear and coil-spring suspension, about which everyone is talking, remembering its convincing race victory at Spa. Two models will be shown. The Austin Stand (No. 144) will be discernible by the press of humanity it will attract—for there will be on display not only the brisk little MO, which Mount SPORT road-analysed last month, but the larger version of this car, known as the A70, the very modernistic and rapid A90, and that luxury automobile, the Austin ” Sheerline.” We shall have more to say about these ears next month but, meanwhile, make a note of the actual Austin exhibits, which will com prise A40 ” Devon ” saloons, A70 “Hampshire” saloons, and A90 ” Atlan tic ” convertibles, one example of each with left-hand drive, the others with right-hand drive, and a left-hand-drive
A125 ” Sheerline ” saloon. Three A185 Austin ” Princess ” saloons will be shown on the stand of Vanden Plas Ltd. in the Coachwork Section. Whether they can afford one or not, Britishers will pay homage, and foreign visitors will jostle one another, to see the Mark VI 41-litre Bentley on Stand 168. On show there will be a four-door sports saloon by the manufacturers, a Park Ward-bodied drophead foursome coupe, an H. J. Mulliner-bodied four-door sports saloon and a Gurney Nutting Sedanca coupe. In addition, in the Coachwork Section of the Exhibition Messrs. Hooper, IL J. Mulliner, James Young, Gurney Nutting, Park Ward, Rippon Bros., Windovers, Freestone &
Webb and E. D. Abbott have chosen this fine chassis on which to display their wares. The Bristol, that beautifully-appointed car that contrives to run so well and so
fast on ‘2 litres divided between six cylinders, can be inspected on Stand 142.
Chryslers will occupy Stand 149A, and the much-liked f.w.d. Citroens will be found on Stand 152. The magnificent and unspoiled Daim lers, those 27-h.p. and 30-h.p. straighteights—cars deemed good enough for
the Royal Family—will repay a visit, while presumably the 21-litre Daimler, also a chassis of very high quality, will be on show.
The French Delahaye, handled in this country by Selbourne (Mayfair) Ltd.. will be represented by three of the Type 135 Special cars, which have 8-litre, triple-carburetter, 180-b.h.p. engines, one
with a sedanea, one with a fixed-head and one with a drophead coupe body. These bodies are foursomes designed by the British concessionaires.
Dodge cars will occupy Stand 149, and the famous Ford models will be on Stand 165, with General Motors’ products on Stand 137. The ever-useful Hillman Minx, in its latest modernistic, all-enveloping guise,
with i.f.s. and steering-column gearchange, can be inspected at Stand 100. Harold Radford & Co., Ltd., hope to show three versions of the well-established 31-litre French Hotchkiss. The twocarburetter G.S.3 short-chassis car they plan to exhibit as a two-door sports saloon, together with a five seater ” Cabourg ” saloon and a drophead coupe on the normal chassis, the engine of which uses one carburetter.
The new Hudson, so its lavish catalogue tells us, brings you face-to-face with tomorrow. It also claims to put you in command with super driving, lets you loll away the miles and Make friends with winter. Its makers are not afraid of technicalities, and the dropped chassis with its coil-spring i.f.s. and sturdy s.v. six-cylinder engine should be of interest to engineers. Humber will stage the latest and lavish ” Super Snipe ” and other models, while the new Jaguar exhibits will be of especial interest, consisting of high-performance models of up to 81-litres capacity, with independent front suspension, new chassis, all-hydraulic 2 L.S. Girling brakes, P.V.7 Girling dampers, wide-rim base wheels carrying 6.70 by 16 Dunlop tyres, built-in headlamps, infra-red ray instrument illumination, much improved bodywork and many minor modifications. These new Jaguars will be on Stand 143.
The post-war version of the straighteight Jensen will be another Earls Court attraction, exhibited as a four-door saloon and a four-door convertible. On Stand 188, alongside the 14-litre Aston-Martin, will be shown a saloon and a coupe version a the W. 0. Bentleydesigned 21 litre Lagonda, a car technically exciting by reason of independent suspension of all four wheels, with inboard location of the rear brakes, and of notably dignified appearance. The Jowett ” Javelin ” is assured of a continual stream of visitors throughout the Show, for this British newcomer, so well-proportioned as to belie its spacious interior, so brisk as to suggest Something bigger than the clever lightalloy o.h.y. flat-four 11-litre engine that propels it, is now a much sought-after car. Besides a standard saloon in golde n sand finish, a turquoise saloon with Jowett’s transparent half-roof and an entirely new drophead eoupe are expected to be on Stand 174. There will also be a black saloon sectioned from bonnet to tail to show the ingenious internal construction of the “Javelin.” The engine will be retained unsectioned to show how its compact layout permits such generous
body space on a chassis of only 8 ft. 6 in. wheelbase, but a sectioned engine will also be shown, enabling those who are interested to assess the merits of this unit, which, when not cut in half, gives over 50 b.h.p. at 4,100 r.p.m.
Lanchester will concentrate, I presume, on their relined, fluid-drive “Ten.” Sports models of the real and refreshing kind will be found amongst the LeaFrancis exhibits on Stand 176, endowed with very efficient four-cylinder engines having their inclined o.h. valves poked open by short push-rods operated by a
high-set camshaft one each side of the cylinder head. This engine has been developed for cinder-track racing in the States, when it gives a very impressive output on a high-compression ratio. The modern American automobile will be well represented by Buick and by
Lincoln, the latter to be shown in” Cosmopolitan” town sedan, sports sedan and “Mercury” six-passenger coupe forms. With sportsmen the M.G. is ever popular and at Earls Court the Abingdon firm will be represented by the famous ” TC ” Midget sports two-seater, which sells so well to discerning American
motorists who have tired of streamstyling and rock-a-bye springing, and by the now well-known 11-litre four-door saloon. If I read them correctly, the Morgan Motor Co., Ltd., will have examples of the Morgan ” 4/4 ” sports two-seater, open four-seater and drophead coupe models on Stand 189. It is possible that
a chassis will also be shown, and certainly it is nice to again encounter a maker not afraid to offer open cars. Morris will occupy Stand 168—make a point of seeing it ! No details have
reached us of the Oldsmobile, Panhard et Levassor, Renault or Riley exhibits, but the baby Dyna-Panhard, the very
desirable rear-engined Renault, and the 1+-litre and 2+-litre o.h.v. Rileys should be attractive exhibits on these stands.
The Packards on view will consist of a Super Eight de luxe seven-passenger limousine, in black, with black leather upholstery in the front compartment and tan broadcloth in the rear, a Super Eight Convertible Victoria in maroon, with electrically-operated hood, windows and seats, and a de luxe Eight four-door touring sedan, in blue and grey w 111 grey-blue cloth upholstery. All will ha ve right-hand drive. U.S. Concessionaires Ltd. will have Pontiacs on Stand 178.
Rolls-Royce cars need no introduction or embellishment. At Earls Court you will see the famous “Silver NVraith ” presented as a Park Ward four-door sports saloon, as a Hooper touring limousine, as an H. J. Mull iner sedanca de ville and as a Gurney Nutting drophead foursome coupe. In the CarriageWork Section the ” Silver 1Vraith ” will be found on the stands of Messrs. Hooper, H. J. Mulliner, James Young, Park Ward, Gurney Nutting, Rippon Bros., Vincents of Reading, Windovers and Freestone & Webb.
Rover four-cylinder ” 60 ” and sixcylinder ” 75 ” cars will be exhibited in fourand six-light saloon forms, and the ” 75 ” will also be shown as a maroon Tickford drophead coupe. The interesting four-wheel-drive Land Rover will also be on show. The latest Rovers are claimed to provide the most critical motorist with an entirely new conception of what a motor car should be. The new i.o.e. cylinder head, permitting a high-compression ratio in pursuit of fuel economy, will interest the engineers. Singer will presumably catch the eye with the new semi-aerodynamic 11-litre saloon which has been undergoing extensive testing on the Continent, while Standard will present their sensational “Vanguard,” over which so much controversy prevails. This is, of course, their only model, as the famous ” Eight ” was dropped some while ago, the last from the line being presented to Standard’s oldest employee, as a tribute for his long service—one assumes he actually placed an order two years or so ago ? Overseas visitors must make a point of carefully examining the “Vanguard,” which is designed for export. It will be shown as a left-hand-drive saloon in champagne, upholstered in rust, as a mistletoe-green saloon upholstered in dark red, as a righthand-drive saloon in grey, and as a green right-hand-drive saloon. Most interesting, a chassis and estate car will also be shown. The Stand No. is 150 and on the same stand will be seen a Triumph
” 1800 ” roadster in grey, with red interior. Mulliner’s will also show an estate car and a black Triumph saloon, and ” Vanguards ” will also figure on the stands of Messrs. Fisher & Ludlow and T. Firth & Sons.
The Studebaker Corporation propose to show a green “Champion Regal” de luxe four-door right-hand-drive saloon, a red “Champion Regal” de luxe fivepassenger coupe, a green “Champion Regal” de luxe convertible coupe, a black “Commander Regal” de luxe ” Land Cruiser,” and a grey “Commander Regal” de luxe convertible. I fear that the bathing lovelies that go with present-day Studebaker cars will not be a feature of Stand 156, but you will be able to obtain coloured literature depicting them. The latest SunbeamTalbots will be shown on Stand 154, and those new Vauxhalls that combine modern outlines, real economy and vigorous performance, on Stand 162.
Wolseley Motors Ltd. will present something new on Stand 151, and amongst the hordes of accessory and component manufacturers who are exhibiting, too numerous for individual mention, will be found such old friends as Automotive Products Ltd. (Stand 325), Ferodo Ltd. (Stand 273), Lodge Plugs Ltd. (Stand 248), Joseph Lucas Ltd. (Stand 253), and the Dunlop Rubber Co., Ltd. (Stand 203). I believe Johh Cobb’s Land-SpeedRecord Railton-Mobil-Special will also be at Earls Court.
This Earls Court Exhibition is going to be an outstanding Show, even though schoolboys can no longer grab a Trojan carrier in which to store their loot, and if father and mother will not be able to try the seats and admire the lines of the car of which they will take delivery the very same day. Delivery delays to the home market apart, British motor engineering will be seen at its very best, and our treatment of front suspension problems, the efficiency of our new engines, the realisation that at last our designers are conscious of the need for good roadholding and the attractive exteriors of the majority of our cars, whether inexpensive economy vehicles or magnificent limousines, must surely be the envy of the civilised world. Even those who prefer the old-fashioned way of motoring and who are discomfited by present-day trends and the frequent allusion to “lorry” tendencies in vintage cars, can derive comfort from the knowledge that the engines of certain modern cars owe much to the farm-tractor.—W. B.
EARLS COURT, OCTOBER 27th to NOVEMBER 6th STAND NUMBERS OF THE CAR EXHIBITORS
A.C.-131 Alfa-Romeo-159 Allard-133 Alvis-166 Armstrong-Siddeley-147 Aston-Martin-138 Austin-144, Bentley-168 Bristol-142 Buick-170 Chrysler-149A Citroen-152 Daimler-153 Delahaye-172 Dodge-149 Oldsmobile-175 Packard-177 Panhard-171 Pontiac-178 Renault-169 Riley-141 Rolls-Royce-164 Rover-161 Singer-145 Standard-150 Studebaker-156 Sunbeam-Talbot-154 Vauxhall-162 Wolseley-151 Enquiries : S.M.M.T.-69 Ford-165 General Motors-137 Hillman-160 Hotchkiss-134 Hudson-167 Humber-157 Jaguar-143 Jensen-173 Jowett-174 Lanchester-158 Lea-Francis-176 Lincoln-136 M.G.-148 Morgan-189 Morris-163