Rumblings, October 1954
Here, for the record, are the International class records broken in America during August by Austin-Healey and M.G. cars. (How nice to see G. E. T. Eyston still at it!)
Records by Eyston and Miles (M.G.):
International Class F
500 miles at 125.3 m.p.h.
1,000 kilo. at 120.9 m.p.h.
1,000 miles at 120.13 m.p.h.
2,000 kilo. at 120.19 m.p.h.
3 hours at 120.91 m.p.h.
6 hours at 121.42 m.p.h.
12 hours at 120.74 m.p.h.
f.s. 10 miles at 153.69 m.p.h.
Thus return to Britain records held formerly by Bugatti, Porsche and Inka cars. In addition, 14 American National Class F records were taken from Austin, Duesenberg and Miller cars, and 15 other American long-distance records.
Records by D. Healey (Austin-Healey):
International Class D
5 kilo. at 182.2 m.p.h.
5 miles at 183.7 m.p.h.
10 kilo. at 183.8 m.p.h.
10 miles at 181.0 m.p.h.
1 hour at 156.7 m.p.h.
In addition, these rank as American National Class D records, to which is added the American National Class D kilometre record at 192.7 m.p.h., which could also be regarded as an unofficial fastest ever “production-car” record.
The M.G. was an all-enveloping record breaker, EX 179, with non-supercharged engine developed from the TF Midget power unit, giving 84 b.h.p. from 1,466 c.c., and pulling a top-gear ratio of 2.88 to 1(5.50 by 15 tyres), varied somewhat as conditions warranted.
The Austin-Healey had an all-enveloping, closed-cockpit body, and a Shorrocks C2508 supercharger.
In addition, an Austin-Healey 100S, the new competition model with 130-b.h.p. engine, close-ratio gearbox, disc brakes and an all aluminium body took the following records: —
International Class D/em>
3,000 miles at 132.1 m.p.h.
5,000 kilo. at 132.2 m.p.h.
24 hours at 132.2 m.p.h.
and 50 other International and/or American National Class D records.
These successful British record attacks were made at Utah.
At home a milder form of unofficial record-breaking has been indulged in by R. B. James and C. P. Nichols, who drove a Triumph TR2 for 24 hours over British roads, during which time they covered 1,003 miles (41.79 m.p.h.) and, incidentally, averaged no less than 37.28 m.p.g. of National Benzole Mixture. Does this suggest a new level at which to aim, chaps?
Last month we enlarged on this page on the fascination of motorcar miniatures and referred to the new Scalex M.G. and latest Dinky models. Farmer-enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that they have not been forgotten, for Chad Valley make a very fine working model of the Fordson Major tractor. This model is made in conjunction with the Ford Company, who have always taken a close interest in any replicas of their products from the time when simple tinplate versions of the model-T tourer, saloon and coupé were put on the market.
This Fordson Major model is a far more robust affair. To a scale of 1: 19, it is 7 1/2 in. long and has a hinged bonnet, beneath which is a beautifully-detailed engine with all components correctly represented and a rotatable cooling fan. All wheels are rubber-tyred, those at the back having correct straked treads, while the front wheels steer correctly, by means of substantial connections to the steering wheel. The front axle is correctly pivoted in the centre and the towing-linkages at the back of the tractor are cleverly modelled; they include a detachable tow-bar, etc.
The model is provided with clockwork mechanism, wound via the near-side back hub, enabling the Fordson Major to run the length of a room. Farmers who use the full-size Fordson and model collectors in general will find this Chad Valley product impossible to resist! The price is 45s. 6d. We understand that David Brown users are likely to be similarly catered for some time next year.
Two new bits of motoring legislation are in the news — compulsory red rear reflectors and parking-meters. So far as the former are concerned, we suppose that any step which can be taken to reduce road accidents must be commended, although the fact remains that most motorists are going to incur additional expense in buying reflectors. Many are no doubt in difficulties because they cannot obtain reflectors (for which the demand for several million pairs, while gratifying for the accessory manufacturers, is likely to lead to supply shortages) and for a while we can expect police checks and fines where reflectors have been wrongly located or have fallen off.
Over and above which, the law surely places responsibility on those who motor to have sufficient light to see where they are going; those of us whose cars possess very adequate dual rear lamps are going to be the least enamoured about fitting reflectors. As we must fit them, is it too much to ask that the police will at last make a proper drive against pedal-cyclists who ride about after dark not only without rear lamps or reflectors but in many instances without provision for fitting them?
This suggestion is not made with any intent to reopen the motorists versus cyclists feud, far from it, but common sense suggests that with every other vehicle now carrying lamps or reflectors, normally both, unlit bicycles will constitute a greater menace to safety than ever before. Incidentally, the compulsion on rear reflectors is perhaps another instance of authority taking cover from its refusal to commence a proper road-building programme.
Parking-meters are rather beyond our comprehension at present; we have not progressed beyond the stage of tipping an (un-uniformed) official in order that we may park a car in a London square all day when the official’s employers expressly stipulate that the limit shall be two hours! (At one time we tried withdrawing the tip, or rather reducing it to a rate of a mere 1s. 8d. per week, because our attendant was absent when it rained, never very helpful at finding us even a tiny gap, didn’t appear to watch over the car at all, and was careful to disclaim any responsibility for luggage and belongings left in it. This we found was a mistake, as a slanging-match ensued, during which we discovered that this square wasn’t a parking place for non-tippers, not even for two hours at a time, whereas those who gave adequately to the well-dressed and comfortable-looking “attendant” could, it seemed, stay all day, and all night as well if they wished.)
At least parking-meters won’t argue . . .
* * *
A Frontenac Turns Up
Those of our readers who like the bizarre amongst cars should have been with us the other evening, when we were introduced, in a Hampshire garden, to an unusual car registered as a Springbok.
The basis of this sports four-seater is model-T Ford, front and back axles and transverse leaf-spring suspension being of this origin, while the slender steering column has the Ford epicyclic reduction gearing. The wire wheels shout early Ford and the engine is a model-T with an imposing push-rod Frontenac o.h.v. conversion, a big Solex carburetter and a Bosch magneto. In unit with it is the Ford two-speed epicyclic gearbox, pedal controlled, but a lever lying horizontally on the floor of the car suggests an additional over-drive gear.
The wheelbase is very long and as the body is a brief sports two-seater the bonnet is very long also. The chassis side-members are hidden by polished valances and behind the bucket-seats is a luggage compartment containing well-made, fitted tool-boxes, a lid neatly shutting down on these and forming a luggage rack, access to which is via a detachable panel in the back of the hood.
The stock of instruments on the dash, the presence of an automatic upper-cylinder lubricator under the bonnet and the elaborate polished dummy radiator cowl emblazoned with the name Springbok all suggest that the car was evolved by an enthusiast, while the body and single-pane screen would appear to date from the nineteen thirties. Yet the helmet mudguards (there are no running-boards), wheels and power unit, and the once-white-walled tyres, are typically American.
The radiator is not that of a model-T, having a separate block covered by the aforesaid cowl, but the flimsy central hand-brake looks original, as does the three-branch exhaust manifold on the off side feeding via flexible tubing to the tail-pipe. The steering wheel is partially cut away and the rear suspension incorporates a big snubber spring over the transverse leaf-spring, this and the aforesaid overdrive probably being proprietary extras available in the nineteen-twenties for the model-T.
This car is said to gallop quite well but not to stop (small rear brakes only), which may be why the front axle was appreciably bent when we encountered the car.