Matters of moment, October 1960
Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom
We have praised Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom before but their recent epic drive in the Liége-Rome-Liége Rally placed them not only in the forefront of sportswomen but the equal of the most skilled and experienced rally drivers of either sex. This Liége-Rome-Liége Rally—see page 815 — lived up to its reputation of being one of the toughest events in the rally calendar; if confirmation of this is needed, note that out of 83 starters a mere thirteen finished, thus converting, incidentally, an unlucky into a lucky number so far as the most capable crews in the most suitably prepared and intrinsically durable motor ears were concerned!
In winning outright Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom set the seal on their growing prowess as rally drivers and navigators; let no-one refer to them as the weaker sex, charmingly feminine as they appear when holding steering wheel or map in their hands. That they achieved this great success at the wheel of an Austin Healey 3000 which, if it has all the guts and performance necessary for an arduous task of this sort, is not the best-handling of cars over going of the kind encountered on the Liége-Rome-Liége. Add to this consideration the fact that the car was not entirely trouble-free, so that the two girls had considerable anxiety as to its well-being and their epic drive was “tigering” in the hest traditions of the Sport.
Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom have linked their names with other great women drivers of the past, such as Camille du Gast, Dorothy Levitt, Kay Petre, Gwenda Hawkes, Elsie Wisdom (Ann’s mother), Madame Juneek, Dorothy Stanley Turner and many others. We salute them.
Let us, also, not forget those 13 cars which finished this tough rally — three Citroëns, three Porsches, three Austin Healey 3000s, and one each of Volvo. Triumph TR3, Austin Healey Sprite and Auto Union. Congratulations, particularly to B.M.C., on thus demonstrating the stamina and performance of their products.
After the congratulations, condolences—to Donald Campbell in respect of the accident to Bluebird. He will try again. brave man that he is. but meanwhile, as the days, weeks and months slide past, with the “fastest-ever” motor-car speed record unbroken, spare a thought for another brave man, the late John Cobb, who has held the honour since 1939 and whose memorial stands beside black Loch Ness, where he was killed attempting the “fastest-ever” water speed record.
Unless some exciting rumours materialise this year’s Motor Show at Earls Court does not promise much allure. Not many new models seem to be about, unless they are wheeled on, dust-sheeted, at the eleventh hour. Citroën have no need to change anything on their very advanced productions. Volkswagen have already announced how they have “gilded refined gold,” their remarkable vehicle being hailed on high authority both here and by unbiased reporters in America as the “best buy” in its price class. B.M.C. have cleverly introduced van and estate-car (for bijou estates?) versions of their extremely safe and fastcornering economy 850s.
Vauxhall have derided that more power from their bigger models is the answer to falling sales of the Luton product, and Simca have put extra bearings in their engine. But it takes more than this to bring vast crowds to a Motor Show and it is to be hoped that rumours of new twin-cam engines, fast disc-braked G.T. coupés from the Essex marshes, British ears that ride and corner like Citroens and other rumoured new-comers will grace the Earls Court acres. At least one “lost cause” will he revived there, namely, the Lea-Francis from Coventry; let us hope this resurrected make will fulfil the promise such as winning the first Ulster T.T., which have bestowed on the name.
The introduction of traffic wardens into London’s West End has brought yet another burden for the harassed motorist. The 39 wardens pasted no less than 344 of their parking tickets wrapped in little celophane bags on windsereens in the Mayfair parking meter area during their first day of duty, which will represent a minimum income of £688 to the Government. A police spokesman admitted that this was a higher revenue than the police would have obtained in a similar period, indicating, perhaps, that the wardens are being over-zealous on their first tour of duty.
The news that a doctor, rushing to a patient who had suffered ii heart attack. had been issued with one of these £2 tickets filled us with disgust. Surely, even if the rank-and-file motorist has to put up with these irritating impositions the medical profession could be exempted? Even better, why not build some car parks on the bomb-damaged property which has not been touched since 1940, or is that a too simple solution and less profitable than the £2 ticket line scheme?