Matters Of Moment, October 1959

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The World’s Sports Car Championship

Goodwood on September 5th provided a Tourist Trophy race which developed many of the themes and thrills of these famous events when run over the Ards road circuit before the war. We had the drama, the accidents, the Big Fire and the varied field which to some extent reflected the glory of earlier sports-car T.T. races. It is splendid that Aston Martin snatched the Championship from Porsche and Ferrari. Britain thus gains another slice of prestige at a time when she is winning Grand Prix races and when her Motor Industry is putting some astonishingly interesting new models on the World’s markets.

Aston Martin has been exclusively a sports car make from the days when Bamford and Martin thought up the original side-valve models through the A. C. Bertelli regime of complicated o.h. camshaft cars to the present-time David Brown period. The modern DB Mk. III and DB4 cars are magnificent machines and that this make won the 1959 World’s Sports Car Championship in spite of the adversity which overtook them in the T.T. should be a cause for rejoicing.

Liege-Rome-Liege

That toughest of European rallies, the Liege-Rome-Liege, proved to be a convincing demonstration of the effectiveness of rear-engined cars at a time when many prominent writers and some engineers are striving to tone-down the advantages to be gained from such a layout. The outright winner was the Porsche, driven by Buchet and StrahIe. It was followed home by two Renault Dauphines and Porsches were placed fourth and fifth, convincing proof under the typically severe conditions that rear-engined cars need not handle in inferior fashion! The result could to some extent answer the attacks of political savagery which Ford and Chrysler have instituted in America in attempts to belittle Chevrolet’s new rear-engined Corvair.

Highest placed British car in the general classification was a Triumph TR3, driven by les girls, Mlle. Soisbault and Mme. Wagner. Another Porsche (the German cars giving away half-a-litre, of course) was sandwiched in the results between this TR3 and another driven by Ballisat and Bertaut. Two Renault Dauphines and a Citroen ID19 beat a Sunbeam Rapier in the Touring Car Class. Was this a testing event? Out of 97 starters only 14 got to the finish . . .

The London Motor Show

This year’s Earls Court Exhibition opens on October 21st and promises to be the most interesting since the war, because all manner of new and improved models will be shown in the economy, sports and luxury car categories. Britain will show new small cars equal or superior to the best from the Continent, in the form of the Triumph Herald and B.M.C. mini-cars, while the new Ford Anglia, described on page 755 of this issue, at last comes into line with other modern small cars in having overhead valves and four forward speeds in its gearbox. Rootes will show the new 100 m.p.h. disc-braked Sunbeam Alpine, an improved Rapier, and also their two-pedal Hillman Minx IllA which, the first British 1½-litre car to have fully-autornatic transmission (the efficient Smith’s “Easi-drive”), is surely the answer to many a maiden’s prayer? The V8 Daimler Dart will be amongst the 120-m.p.h. newcomers, together with new V8 Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars described overleaf. Altogether this will be an exceptionally worthwhile International Exhibition.

Motor Sport will occupy Stand No. 27 and the next issue, specially enlarged, will be on sale during the first Tuesday of the Show.

A Note for our Readers

It would seem that the readers of Motor Sport are to be congratulated on being “top men.” A Special Correspondent writing in Advertiser’s Weekly quotes an investigation of the vast magazine field carried out by a public relations company and lists 22 journals selected by business executives and other top people for their personal reading. We note that we are listed alongside such illustrious papers as Punch, The Tatler, Illustrated London News, Country Life, Time and National Geographic Magazine, etc.

A Note for Stirling Moss’ Fans

We have received the following letter bearing on last month’s Editorials :

Sir,

I must really take you to task for your lack of taste in printing such a crude anecdote in your “Matters of Moment” in the September issue. The story is not very funny, and does nothing to recommend your magazine in mixed circles. 

And while writing about the same article I cannot agree with your views on the conviction of Stirling Moss. The action of the individual who informed is something to deprecate, but to change lanes in the Mersey Tunnel at any time other than the dead of night is dangerous, and far from being “a comparatively harmless motorist misdemeanour.” A collision in the Tunnel often affects cars in all four lanes, due to the lack of space, and the offence for which Moss was convicted is a prime cause.

I am, Yours, etc., Brian Heaney. Woolton.

Woolton. BRIAN HEANEY.

[We are always sorry to hear that someone is not pleased with our efforts; our anecdote was not intended to appear crude, just to emphasise how delighted we were with the B.M.C.

Regarding the Moss incident, we are reminded of a saying of the late Sir Harry Lauder. “We have rules and regulations to go by and we go by them.” Authority must, quite rightly, enforce the rules and regulations implicitly irrespective of who may suffer, but we know Moss would not commit a dangerous action on any Public Highway. We still however, have no time at all for an informer, no matter whether he acts for O.G.P.U., the Gestapo, McCarthy, the Employer, the Trade Union or just simply for himself. — Ed.]