On the road with the G.S.M. Delta



On the road with the G.S.M. Delta

RACE-GOERS can hardly have failed to notice a pretty little G.T. car circulating the tracks this season in the hands of Jeff Uren as it has won its class in several International events. ‘The car, the G.S.M. Delta, originated in South Africa and the prototype was brought to this country and raced with some success by its designer J. van Niekerk. At the time it was fitted with a 1,172-c.c. Ford engine and known as the Dart but when a company was formed in Great Britain to manufacture the car it was fitted with the tosli Anglia engine. G.S.M. Cars Ltd. is situated in London Road, West Malting, Kent, and has extensive floor space for the manufacture of this glass-fibre-bodied car, which is being produced at the rate of four or five per Week. Much of the production goes to the United States and Canada, where many racing successes have been gained.

The chassis of the Delta is a ladder type with two very largediameter steel tubes having sub-frames front and rear to carry the suspension. Front suspension is by transverse leaf-spring with a single lower link and an anti-roll bar. A shortened version of the Ford Anglia king-post is used and, in fact, Ford components are used wherever possible, the Burman steering gear with three-piece track rod being identical to the Ford layout.

The rear suspension utilises a Ford tooE axle which is well located by twin parallel trailing arms and an ” A “-bracket, the springing, being provided by co-axial coil-spring/damper units. The tooE axle is used because development engineer John Passini prefers the spiral bevel axle to the bypoid type but lack of alternative ratios will probably force a change to the 105E axle before long. Girling 8-in, drum brakes are fitted all round, racing versions having turbo tins.

The engine is the trusty tosE, which can be obtained in many stages of tune up to oo b.h.p. according to one’s needs and pocket. All engines. intended for competition work are tested on the Heenan and Froude dynamometer which is installed at West Mailing. Of the four main stages of tune available the car we tested was fitted with the 75-b.h.p. version with twin doublechoke Weber carburetters and close-ratio gears in the Anglia box.

On the road we soon found that this was an exhilarating car to drive, for 75 b.h.p. is able to push along to cwt. at very high speeds. The howl of the close-ratio gears, although of the helical type, competes with the roar of the carburetters and valve gear clatter to produce some fearsome noises. The engine produces little power below 4,500 r.p.m. but once above this figure the engine becomes beautifully smooth and will go on up to 7,500 r.p.m. with no fuss at all. It is possible to see 7,000 r.p.m. in top gear. 1.

on quite short straights, which is an honest too m.p.h., at winch speed the mechanical noise is probably at its lowest. Wind noise, too, is remarkably low, much better in fact, than many mass-produced sports cars with less efficient aerodynamics.

The main charm of the G.S.M. is in its road-holding and acceleration in the gears, which, on winding British roads, can be exploited to the Mi. Certainly there can only be a handful of cars capable of keeping with the Delta in such conditions. The car has understeer characteristics when motoring at 6/iOths. but when really pressing hard oversteer can be induced and the Porsche-type wischen or wiping motion can be applied to negotiate slower corners. Roll is virtually negligible and in any case the Microcell seats hold the driver and passenger in position against the dreaded side slip. The ride of the G.S.M. is on the firm side as one would expect from a car of its type but this does not become unduly discom

forting unless one drives over really rough country. Bumpy corners do tend to displace the rear end slightly and directional .stability is affected by side winds. The steering is not so light as rack-and-pinion layouts but at 21 turns lock-to-lock is very positive and accurate.

In this country the G.S.M. is assembled by the purchaser in order to avoid purchase tax and naturally the manufacturers have had some difficulty in producing a car which can be assembled in the average garage whilst still comparing favourably with massproduced sports cars. The final standards of finish will reflect the workmanship of the assembler.

For instance, our test car allowed some rain to enter under the windscreen and door surrounds, which most owners would seal up as and when these leaks displayed themselves but as the test car was brand new it had never been in the rain. Apart from this and a slight rattle there was little to complain about in the finish of the G.S.M., and the interior trimming and instrument layout are of a very high order indeed. The glass-fibre body is one of the smoothest we have yet seen and Mr. J. P. Seott, Managing Director of G.S.M., expects a better finish still when a nm steel mould comes into production shortly.

For a basic price of Lsoo„ less engine and gearbox, the Delta kit appears to be remarkable value for money. The engine can, of course, be tuned to whatever stage the owner desires depending’ on the use to which he would put the car. Certainly we would not like to use the 75-b.h.p. version on the road all the time and the 60-b.h.p. standard model kit seems to be excellent value at £696.—M. L. T.