THE VENOM-AUSTIN

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a few F.J. events, but soon got Daniel Richmond to obtain a Lotus Eighteen for him. Richmond became interested in the Venom and soon fitted one of his own Austin engines, mated with a Dauphine-Gordini gearbox having standard ratios.

Handling problems soon became apparent and these were sorted out by a Cooper expert, who fitted an anti-roll bar. This was later removed by Mr. Richmond, who discovered that it handled much better on hill-climbs without it. The engine, which is a well-used unit from an A35 is, of course, very highly tuned and is tilted slightly to the right in the chassis. This allows oil to collect in the valve cover and a system of plastic tubing connected to an A.C. pump drains this off and returns it to the sump, no trouble having been experienced so far.

A good deal of success has come his way so far this season in hill-climbs, most of them being covered at a steady 8,000 r.p.m. in second gear! The greatest surprise was winning the F.J. class at the Brighton Speed Trials, covering the kilometre in 27.8 sec. to beat Heathcote’s Lotus-Ford, which did 28.48 sec. He had taken the precaution of using a richer mixture, which paid off as most of the other F.J. cars were in ordinary racing trim and not tuned for continuous full-throttle work. Downton Engineering is installed in its new workshops and showrooms but already they are outgrowing the space available and will be soon adding new buildings to the factory. The main

business at the moment is in supplying conversions for the Minitwins, over 3,000 having been supplied so far. The racing conversions on the Minis are giving 90 b.h.p.„ which gives some startling acceleration figures and proves very hard on the gearbox, which will quite easily strip a gear on full throttle!

Daniel Richmond is waiting to get his hands on an Austin Seven Cooper which should soon be showing a clean pair of heels to most cars on the road. Meanwhile, excellent workmanship is being put into the many conversions which are being dispatched from this Wiltshire village.—M. L. T.