Matters of Moment, October 1949

The 34th International Earls Court Motor Exhibition

On the day this issue of Motor Sport is published, the second British post-war S.M.M.T. Motor Exhibition will open at Earls Court. It will be fully representative of modern European and American automobile engineering, for the 51 car exhibitors representing the products of 32 British, 16 American, seven French and three Italian manufacturers. In addition, there are 19 exhibitors in the coachwork section, 48 in the motor-boat section, 271 in the accessories and components section, 15 in the tyre section, 84 in the equipment section, 21 in the caravan and trailer division and 16 miscellaneous exhibits.

Visitors to the Show will be able to examine in detail those fine cars which have broken export records for the British Motor Industry during the first six months of 1949.

New models will not be particularly numerous, but the E.R.A.-Javelin will be a surprise of great appeal to the seeker after high performance, Rover has gone aerodynamic, Rolls-Royce show their new “Silver Dawn,” Healey the recently-introduced “Silverstone” sports model, and Allard their J-type.

The enthusiast is well catered for by the many high-performance cars and it is particularly encouraging to note the big proportion of manufacturers whose cars have done well in competition and who are proud to tell the world of their achievements — Allard, Aston-Martin, Austin, Bristol, Ford, Healey, Jaguar, Javelin, M.G., Riley, and Sunbeam-Talbot. The 3 1/2-litre “XK” twin o.h.c. Jaguar, as winner of the Production Car Race and proven fastest production car in the world, is likely to again “steal the Show.”

The less spectacular cars have in many instances been improved in important matters of detail, showing that sponsors of new 1949 models have been ready and willing to heed lessons brought to light during the initial year of owner-usership in spite of the bustle to step-up production. how these minor but desirable improvements have rendered sound transportation still more sound you can read about in the make-by-make review of the exhibits elsewhere in this issue. Externally-clean, if not truly-aerodynamic, bodywork is now taken for granted, whereas only last year it was the subject of varied comment. Rover have gone over to it and very few makes retain the lines of the traditional motor car. Independent front suspension is almost universal, about the only manufacturers to retain rigid axle beams being AC., Ford, Sunbeam-Talbot, and M.G. on their smaller model — they may, or may not, have the courage of conviction of the late Ettore Bugatti. Alfa-Romeo, Lagonda, Lancia and Renault go the whole hog and have independence of all four wheels.

This year’s Exhibition is as interesting as any of its predecessors; it remains open until October 8th.

The Blandford Road-Race Meeting
It was most refreshing to have racing on a real road-circuit again at the end of last month, the occasion being the meeting at Blandford Camp, by generous permission of the O.C. and Army authorities, and so ably organised by the W. Hants & Dorset C.C.

That severe accidents happened, in one of which Gordon Chilton Woods lost his life, cannot be blamed on the organisers and should not influence future decisions as to employment of this excellent circuit for car racing. The road is narrow and in places flanked by buildings, but it is the racing driver’s job to stay on the road and no one suggested before the war that the remarkable round-the-town Monaco circuit, for instance, was dangerous on account of its nature. Perhaps if Blandford had attracted only the Continental aces no untoward incidents would have occurred. Which merely emphasises that our drivers have yet to learn road-racing, although the accidents which happened could just as easily have happened at other venues. When Fairman crashed the road was not entirely blocked but the remaining cars were stopped because petrol and oil were spilt on the road and because soldiers invaded the course to drag the wreckage clear — they could hardly be expected to do otherwise, and they obeyed the polite command of a police chief to go back to the enclosures as soon as they saw they were no longer helping. By this time there was the possibility that the crowd elsewhere might have assumed the race stopped and be on the road — so it was stopped, wisely, under the circumstances. And Fairman was in the unique position of being awarded second place in spite of over-doing things and crashing Incidentally, he was able to leave hospital on the Monday afternoon and sportingly has apologised for spoiling the race.

Blandford was a worthwhile fixture, which should be resumed next year, perhaps with the proviso that the less-experienced entrants be given more chance to practise and be strictly observed. All of which reflects on the seriousness of the lack of a permanent, open-all-the-week circuit where such practice and observation can be properly conducted — as it was at Brooklands. If any criticism can be made of Blandford it was the stiff fines inflicted on those drivers who forgot to bring with them their competition licences — there are better ways of obtaining contributions to charity.

To the relatives and friends of Gordon Woods, and particularly to the young lady who accompanied him to race meetings, Motor Sport offers deep sympathy.

The 1949 Hill-Climb Champion
It is very satisfactory that hearty, rugged, modest Sydney Herbert Allard has won this year’s R.A.C. Hill-Climbing Championship, because, although he is a director of the Adlard Motor Co. (South London Ford dealers) and of his own Allard Motor Co., Allard’s racing activities are undertaken very largely on an amateur basis. Certainly “S.H.” is personally responsible for the technical development of his cars, and for the various methods whereby the power of the captured German V8 aircooled Steyr engine used in his sprint car has been increased from 85 to some 140 b.h.p.

At Prescott Allard clinched the Championship with a new course record, gaining 39 points to Poore’s 34 and Moss’ 30 — Fry finished with bad luck and 28 points, Walker and Butterworth tied with 22, Mays got 15.

Allard commenced racing in 1929 with a Morgan three-wheeler, later converted to four wheels. A T.T. Ford led to Ford specials which begot the Allard, subsequently put into production and today one of our best high-performance cars. It is pleasing that the new J-type super sports Allard has evolved from lessons learnt in racing the 3.7-litre Steyr-Allard sprint car.