Matters of moment, October 1963

The Liege

The most arduous of rallies, this year’s Liége was described by Eric Carlsson as the toughest yet. It was won outright by Bohringer and Kaiser in a Mercedes-Benz. 2.30SL. In 1962 the winners drove a Mercedes-Benz 220SE. Here is further significant endorsement, surely, of Motor Sport’s opinion that the best cars in the world today are made by Daimler-Benz? Only 20 out of 120 finished the 3,430-mile course. The successful were: Citroën DS five, Ford four, Mercedes-Benz two, Rover 3-litre two, Volvo two, and lone examples of Saab, Austin-Healey 3000, blown Allardette, D.A.F., and Skoda.

So the products of Stuttgart triumphed, self-levelling hydro-pneumatic suspension assisted Citroën to field the greatest number of finishers and win the Constructors’ Cup; the class-winners were Saab, Skoda, twin-cam Ford Cortina, Volvo, Rover, Ford Anglia, Citroën, Austin-Healey and Mercedes-Benz. The joke is on those who proclaimed the belt-drive air-cooled flat-twin D.A.F., a joke, for any car that gets home in the Liége isn’t to be despised. Nor was this astonishingly tough little car quite the last to finish. When the details of the 1963 Liége have been forgotten the first six makes to finish deserve to be remembered by the World’s customers for cars. They were: 1st Mercedes-Benz; 2nd Saab; 3rd Citroen; 4th Ford Cortina; 5th Citroën; 6th Austin-Healey.

World Champion

This year’s Drivers’ World Championship, for what it is worth, goes to Jim Clark, deservedly. Clark is a polished and very fast G.P. driver; he has proved himself also to be a fearless and versatile racing motorist. His splendid second place at Indianapolis in the Lotus-Ford and subsequent victory at an American banked track endorse his all-round virtuosity. Here is a British World Champion of whom even Floyd Clymer should approve. Congratulations, too, to Lotus, winners of the 1963 Manufacturers Championship, and Coventry-Climax for aiding Clark to clinch the Championship.

The Madeira Drive, over which the annual Brighton Speed Trials are held, was laid down in 1905 as a motor speed course. It is to be hoped sincerely that rumours about converting it into an ornamental garden have no foundation and that the very sad fatal accident at this year’s event will not be used as an excuse for closing this fine and historic course. Nowhere is the long tradition of seaside sprinting better carried on, nowhere are spectators safer than at Brighton’s kilometre. Where else could the numerous rallies that start or finish at Brighton be better accommodated?

This year the sling-shots were an added attraction, although the contest between Allard in his gentlemanly Chrysler-engined Allard, which threw a couple of rods, and Duce in his bullet-like Chevrolet-engined Revell Mooneyes was a fiasco because no timing over the 1/4-mile was provided and they ran singly in the interests of safety. But just to see Duce’s smoking take-off was worth the journey to Brighton. Mickey Thompson arrived at the last moment with his

Warm congratulations are due to George Brown on calmly and bravely breaking the course-record astride his supercharged Vincent Special motorcycle “Super Nero” in 19.29 sec. (115.96 m.p.h.) and. to K. Wilson for equally calmly and skilfully making fastest car time in his 2 1/2-litre B.R.M. May the Brighton Speed Trials have a prosperous future ahead of them!

New cars

New cars are prolific this autumn, so the London Motor Show, at Earls Court, open from October 16th to 26th inclusive, Sundays excepted, will be of exceptional interest. Motor Sport will welcome readers, on Stand 27, Ground Floor.

The new cars range from a jollied-up D.A.F. which any beginner can master, to the ultimate best car in the World in the form of the 6.3-litre V8 air-suspension, fuel injection Grosser Mercedes-Benz with its power steering, electronically-regulated heating system, automatic ventilation, optional air conditioning and hydraulic services. In this issue we publish test reports on the new S-series Jaguar and Vauxhall’s price-cutting, high performance; new 1-litre saloon. There is increased power for the bigger Vauxhalls, a greaseless Singer, the exciting flat-six Porsche, the Aston Martin DB5, the Austin range of brilliant B.M.C. 1100s, the B.M.W. 1800, more powerful Lancias, and, at last, N.S.U.’s Wankel-engined car and the new 996-c.c. N.S.U. piston-engined saloon. And there are more new models on the way.

Everywhere the talk is of cars, whether between experts in bars or the ladies at their coffee-parties. There is exciting variety in the 1964 motoring scene, plenty to discuss and enjoy. See you at Earls Court…?

B.O.C. Prescott (September 15th)
The second National Prescott of the year, held in brilliant sunshine on September 15th, saw Peter Boshier-Jones’ supercharged 1.3-litre Lotus 22-Climax snatch first place from Peter Westbury’s 2.6-litre Felday-Daimler; Westbury having the consolation of making fastest time of day in the class runs at 48.95 sec., just 0.27 of a second slower than Tony Marsh’s outright course record set up at the first Championship meeting of the year with the 2.5-litre 4-cylinder B.R.M. Third place in the Championship class went to Ray Fielding’s ex-Team Lotus, Lotus 21-Climax at 49.51 sec., from Jersey driver Mac Daghorn in the ex-David Boshier-Jones’ vee-twin Cooper-J.A.P. The other scorers in the Championship class were David Good (2.6 Cooper-Daimler) and Tony Griffiths (2.5 B.R.M.), in fifth and sixth place, respectively. Championship contender Tony Marsh suffered an acute loss of power with the 2-litre Marsh-Climax and could only manage ninth and last place in the Championship class but took second place to Westbury in the over 1 1/2-litre racing-car class at 49.96 sec. Another driver in trouble was Brian Eccles with his 4.7-litre Cooper-Chevrolet which suffered transmission failure in the class runs.

The popular Bugatti Handicap had fewer entries this time but standard of driving and turnout was exceptionally good, with a close finish between Carmichael’s 1 1/2-litre Type 37A and Boulton’s 3-litre Type 49. In the Historic Racing Car class the E.R.A.s were completely out of the picture and the winner on handicap was A. J. Gibson’s 1936 supercharged 1 1/2-litre Frazer Nash, from H. Clifford (1 1/2-litre Alta, circa 1937) and J. Horton (1950 2-litre A Series Connaught). Warwick Banks’ ex-Fergusson “Tatty Turner” made the biggest improvement on any class record by clocking 54.52 sec. in the 1,001-1.600-c.c. sports and G.T. class but unfortunately somebody noticed that he had brought the car on a trailer and protested, the class win therefore being passed on to second-placeman Bob Rose in his 1 1/2-litre Lotus Elite, who made the original record at 56.76 sec. at the last meeting and made a new one at 55.66 sec. at this meeting.—E. W.


Brighton Speed Trials (September 14th)

Brighton in September, with the temperatures well into the 70s, a heat haze almost obscuring the bright sun at times and a sea so calm that the more daring types were out on water skis. That was the picture for this year’s Brighton Speed Trials, where for the first time real American dragsters were down to run. However, a fatal accident to a woman competitor in the morning saw the organisers discreetly changing the Allard versus Dante Duce drag race into a demonstration of wheel spinning, tyre-burning get-aways and parachute stops, which adequately compensated the many shirt-sleeved spectators for the sudden change of plan. In addition to Sydney Allard’s Chrysler-engined Slingshot and the mustachioed Dante Duce’s Chevrolet-engined Mooneyes, Mickey Thompson turned up with the Harvey Aluminium Special Dragster complete with Ford engine reputed to turn our well over 500 b.h.p. Thompson also had a 1,000-b.h.p. engine on the stocks but decided the bumpy Madeira Drive was only safe for the de-tuned motor!

Highlight of the meeting was the record-breaking run by George Brown’s supercharged Vincent-engined motorcycle “Nero,” which clocked a best time of 19.29 sec.-an average of something like 115 m.p.h. for the standing kilometre.—E. W.

The fastest ten cars

K. Wilson (2.5 B.R.M.), 23.10 sec.; M. F. Braby (Cooper-Ford F.J.), 23.34 sec., M. R. G. Eyre (3.5 Cooper-Buick V8), 24.42 Sec.; Mrs, P. Coundley (Jaguar D), 24.90 sec.; D. A. Beckett (Lister-Jaguar), 24.98 sec.; J. Randles (3.0 Cooper-Monaco-Maserati), 25.2 sec.; J. A. Playford (Lister-Jaguar), 25.27 sec.; D. Piper (Ferrari 250GTO), 25.27 sec.; Miss P. Burt (2.0 Cooper-Climax, 25.81 sec.; T.B. Gibson (Jaguar C), 25.85 sec.