Letters From Readers (Continued), October 1957

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68

And So Say All of Us

Sir,

I have been a reader of your excellent magazine for some years. I have followed the various attempts to produce a world-beating Formula 1 car. We now have one, bravo Vanwall!

Mr. Tony Vandervell has gained a great deal of prestige for this country in general, and the British motor industry in particular.

Is it right for one man to bear the cost of the whole enterprise? The rest of the industry will gain, by the Vanwall victories, an increase in demand for their cars abroad.

Surely, it is only right for the car manufacturers to make a donation to the Vanwall concern, and make sure that money is not lacking to produce more of these fine cars in the future?

I am, Yours, etc., A. John Simons. Hornsey.

*

Origins of Roadholding

Sir,

Regarding Mr. K. Eames’ letter published in your excellent September issue and referring to what Mr. Eames calls the founding of the science of vehicle handling, may I suggest that the name of the French scientist Monsieur Georges Broulhiet should be remembered?

If my recollection is correct, it was as a result of his work and initiative that Peugeot first produced the combination of a welded box frame with soft independent front suspension.

Monsieur Bouton would also most certainly be surprised to see the results given by his de Dion axle on the fastest cars of today.

The original work of the Citroen firm is certainly too recent, I hope, to have escaped even Mr. Eames’ attention.

I am, Yours, etc., Georges Roesch, M. I.Mech.E., M.S.I.A., M.S.A.E. London, N.W.11.

*

Mourn for the Riley

Sir,

I was not surprised to read your editorial note “Mourn for the Riley,” and wholeheartedly agree with your views on this subject.

I am sorry, though, that you did not make a passing reference to the relevant B.M.C. advertisement in other journals. The irony, no doubt unconscious, of the specification which after listing all the typical features of any B.M.C. product, ends by saying: ”And, for enthusiasts — there’s the traditional Riley radiator, symbol of a great name in motoring proudly maintained” gave me bitter amusement.

I am, Yours, etc., G. A. Boden. Tollerton

*

Rootes — or Rationalisation Rationed

Sir,

There must be many besides myself who are wondering why Rootes have gone so far and no farther in rationalising their production of what I may call their small-car range: Hillman, Singer and Sunbeam Rapier. We all know that these various models use basically the same body pressings and differ only in engines and “embellishments.”

The engine picture is the most confused and confusing. As Motor Sport has in the past pointed out, the pepped-up version of the Minx as supplied in the Rapier cannot really be said to turn the latter into a true gran turismo vehicle — and, indeed, Alexander-Laystall have now done a better job with their particular Minx conversion. The Singer engine as used by Rootes at present has very little edge over the standard Minx engine. This is the more to be deplored because we know the potentialities of this engine: at the 1955 Motor Show, the old Singer company introduced the Hunter “75,” the performance figures of which were pretty astonishing.

I am grateful to Rootes for many things — they give us one of the smartest hard-top coupes available anywhere, and the only drophead in the medium-price range. But they could cut prices and thus do themselves and the public a good turn if they did away with the multiplicity of models now offered (five, with three different engines) and concentrated on essentials. For what do we really want?

One four-door Saloon (and possibly a really smart estate-car?).

One hard-top coupe.

One drophead coupe.

Let each of these be offered with a choice of engine :—

The standard Minx engine for the family motorist.

The Singer stepped up to 75 b.h.p. for the more sporting type.

I am, Yours, etc., E. Junge. London, N.W.7.

 

Enthusiasm

Sir,

Your articles describing visits to factories on the Continent and in England make very interesting reading. As a Dauphine owner, I especially appreciated the one entitled “Parisian Affair.”

In a country where the tendency is to regard a car merely as a means of covering a vast distance with as many passengers and as much luggage on board as possible, people who enjoy driving their cars and who select them accordingly form a relatively small proportion of the motoring population. In Johannesburg, however, we have our fraternity of motorists who take a pride in their cars and in their manner of piloting them. One sees, of course, flocks of VWs, all containing their — to a greater or lesser extent –fanatical owners. These are watched jealously by an ever-growing band of Dauphine owners, who go to great pains to show that jauntiness at the corners and liveliness at the traffic-lights are not necessarily VW prerogatives!

We shall continue to wait impatiently for our copy of Motor Sport, with its meaty reports on overesas events, and, of course, its unique approach, which one can perhaps only describe as “young at heart . . . “

I am, Yours, etc., Patrick G. P. Coyne.

*

I.T.C.A. (With apologies to the late Tommy Handley)

Sir,

As we share your enthusiasm for Volkswagen, we asked for and obtained an agreement with them. We had been handling cars from one of the larger English firms, but couldn’t see that our sales of their products would be necessarily prejudiced. We were informed by them, however, that they would not renew our Agreement with them unless we gave up Volkswagen. As we prefer to make our own decisions concerning what we sell, we made our choice. Does anyone want an illuminated sign going cheap?

I am, Yours, etc., T. S. Moore, Arthur Moore & Sons. Gt. Witley.

*

Twenty-Nine Years’ Faithful Service

Sir,

Driving my 1927 Austin Heavy Twelve through a Sussex town recently, I saw a similar car in mint condition parked outside a garage. Wishing to contact the owner for a natter, I made inquiries, and discovered that the garage owner sold this very car 29 years ago to a pair of old ladies from a nearby village. He said he regularly serviced the vehicle, and that it was only used for weekly shopping expeditions and for an annual trip to Cheltenham. Last year, they called in high dudgeon, complaining bitterly that the speedometer did not work. He was able to replace a sheared speedo. drive within the hour, but they were still indignant when they collected the car, saying: “Nothing has ever gone wrong before” !

A relative of mine has a 1956 Austin A30 van “on his firm.” At 6,900 miles the differential literally blew up, but the B.M.C. agents say that no spare axle assemblies are available or are likely to be for some months. Comment seems superfluous.

I am, Yours, etc., L. R. James. Peaslake.

 

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