N.B.—Opinions expressed are those of our Correspondents and Motor Sport does not necessarily associate itself with them.—Ed.
No Assistance from the A.A.
The sentiments expressed in your correspondence columns concerning the appalling service rendered by the A.A. came back to me very forcibly at approximately 12.30 a.m. on Sunday, August 24th, when I was flagged down by a Mr. G. F. H. Jowers, of 10, Holly Road, Hounslow, Middlesex, who had run out of petrol towing a boat and whose car was dangerously placed half-way up a very steep hill miles from anywhere in the countryside between Petworth and Chichester.
Not knowing any garage open for petrol in the early hours of the morning, I drove Mr. Jowers into Chichester having a forlorn hope that a garage there might be open and was at first delighted to see an A.A. van (registration number NJD 271E) on the road ahead of me. The A.A. patrol driver stopped in response to headlight flashing, but when asked if he had any petrol we could buy, he refused to hand over the gallon he had with him and directed us to Worthing, some 20 miles away. No amount of reasoning did any good as Mr. Jowers is not an A.A. member. Even references to the damage done to the reputation of the A.A. by critical correspondence in your columns produced no response.
One can only assume that this particular A.A. representative is not interested in promoting the goodwill with motorists which would inevitably lead to an increase in the number of memberships. Or is it now official A.A. policy not to invest any time or effort on any non-A.A. members?
London, W.11. D. C. Blackburn.
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After reading Mr. J. B. Kemp’s letter in your August issue I feel I must recount my very different experience with the A.A., in very different circumstances.
En route to Heathrow Airport on a Sunday morning, my car (a Fiat 850 coupé) blew a cylinder-head gasket in Bayswater. After telephoning all the agents listed in the London area by Fiat, I called the A.A. in desperation and asked for assistance, even though I was not a member. Twenty minutes later an A.A. Service Van arrived, driven by a very polite and competent mechanic. He quickly diagnosed the trouble, made arrangements by R/T, and towed me to an A.A.-appointed garage in North London, subsequently returning me to Central London. This enabled me to catch my flight at 12.30 p.m.
This service was carried out quickly, efficiently, and in the most pleasant and courteous manner. Needless to say I am now a member of the A.A.
Hartlepool. David Manners.
* * *
—And R.A.C. Service
I would like to endorse the points raised by your correspondent, J. B. Kemp, my experience having been with the R.A.C.
I was en route for Gibraltar in a Triumph Herald when the top hose went between Granada and Malaga in Spain. This is a sparsely inhabited area and my efforts to get help at the nearest garage convinced me that such rural establishments had little faith in vouchers.
This chap had no top hoses, anyway, so with the aid of a plastic bag I pressed on to Malaga, but even here I had no joy in the few garages that were open on that festive Saturday, St James’ Day. Eventually I was helped by a bus driver, who adapted a piece of spare hose sufficiently to get me the 80 miles to Gib.
There I purchased a new hose, visited the R.A.C. agent, and told my tale. His solution? I should have rung him, then stayed in a hotel until he was able to get the hose to me on the Monday.
On returning to England I sent full details of the incident to the R.A.C. and asked for a refund of 24s. expenses in view of the failure of their “service”. Six weeks later I received a letter to say they had carefully considered the case but could see no grounds for a refund. They evidently had no comfort to offer the motorist who chose to break down out of easy reach of a well-organised garage.
Yet when I failed to renew my membership they had the cheek to write a letter about “bad faith”!
Motcombe. W. Luffman (Major).
* * *
A.A. From The Inside
The letters exposing A.A. deficiencies, particularly that of Mr. E. H. Leyton (Motor Sport September issue), have prompted me to write to you and tell you of my experience as an employee of that organisation.
During the early fifties, after a spell of ill-health, I decided to take an open-air job to improve my health, deciding again that it would be for a limited period only as the A.A. pay for a patrolman at that time was only £11 a FORTNIGHT. I quickly found that it would have been easier to take Holy Orders than to get a job with that august organisation—they were very particular. However, my qualifications, interest in vintage cars, racing motorcycles and most things mechanical seemed to satisfy them and I landed the job. In addition to the qualifications, the beautiful house in which we lived complete with garage and workshop probably helped them to make up their minds.
Now I’ve always liked work. I may be rather a nit but there it is and it was not long before I found that I had joined the wrong organisation. They shuddered at the sight of me bent double under bonnets, stretched prone under cars and the sight of my uniform crumpled and stained with grease sent my inspector into fits of uncontrollable gibbering.
One August day I came upon a Riley car stationary at the side of my beat. It was nearly lunchtime and my stomach was sticking to my backbone. There was no badge on the car, but the doleful countenance of the owner who was standing bewildered on the kerb prompted me to pull in and enquire what the trouble was. I gathered that “it had seized”. Further questioning on the exact symptoms seemed to point to very serious trouble at the bottom end. I pointed out that he, not being a member, could scarcely call upon my services, but if he would take a form and promise to join at the earliest convenience that would clear me if my inspector, who was in the district at the time and likely to appear, did in fact chance upon the scene. He agreed, his wife assuring me that she had been worrying him to join for quite some time.
I was underneath the car when, squinting upwards, I saw a pair of very shiny, shoes and two khaki-clad legs. The inspector had arrived. I wriggled out black as the Earl of Hell’s waistcoat and produced my log sheet. If looks would have killed, I’d have dropped dead that very instant. His beady eyes flickered towards the badgeless bonnet, but he said nothing, signed my sheet, and left me to get on with the job. I drained the sump and removed it, finding that a big-end bolt had fractured and the journal had come up hard against the con-rod, bending it rather badly. The owner looked glum when I told him. “Could you get me to a garage,” he asked. “You must be joking,” I replied. “There’s nowhere around here that’d touch you on a Sunday. Anyway, it’s too big a job and Riley spares for this model’ll be scarcer than hen’s teeth.” I asked him where he was going and found that they were travelling from Prestwich, near Manchester, to their caravan at Point of Air, North Wales, with their two children for the day. He brightened somewhat when I promised to see what I could do. Figuring that it might be possible to remove the offending con.-rod and piston and get him home, a distance of nearly 50 miles, on three cylinders, I commenced to work, removing the cylinder head. I then found that the bend in the con.-rod prevented me getting the piston high enough to remove the gudgeon pin and extract the piston from the top of the bore and drop the bent con.-rod out of the bottom (the splash plates at the bottom of the cylinders were too close set for this). It took nearly an hour’s work to straighten the con.-rod with hammer and tyre levers (even with the car jacked up on blocks there was damn all room), but I finally made it, clamped two pieces of rubber hose over the oil hole in the journal to give him some oil pressure and replaced the sump, the cylinder head and ancillaries. A journey of a mile or so to purchase a gallon of oil completed the job and the engine started off the button first time. The time then was approaching 5.30. I’d been saved from starvation by eating the family’s sandwiches, apples and chocolate, drinking their tea, and smoking their cigarettes. In addition to this he gave me a pound for the job and another two guineas for the joining fee, plus 10s. for the badge. I waved them off in the direction of Manchester, the Riley running well, albeit a trifle roughly. The owner, a builder-from Prestwich, assured me that he had another identical model in his yard at home and would canabilise the two engines.
The following Wednesday afternoon I was enjoying a cup of tea at a roadside mobile canteen (dead against the ruling of my employers; you’ve no idea of how finicky and trifling they can be—it’s worse than the blood Army) when the small yellow van drew up and my inspector got out. I was given a terrible dressing down for the job I’d tackled on the previous Sunday. I was told that my duties didn’t extend to taking the bread and butter out of the mouth of the local garages. I then blew my top. I told him that if he checked at the Manchester office he’d find that I’d made a member and that without members the A.A. would not want me, and that I was bloody well certain that they would not want him. He reddened and said nothing, signing my sheet and departing.
On the Sunday a waving and happy family in a rejuvenated Riley flagged me down, pressed a basket of fruit on to me, thanked me profusely for getting them home and, after all, that’s what patrols are for, aren’t they? I mean, that man might never need the services of a patrol again in his life, but he can always tell people that when he was in need that the A.A. had come to his rescue.
I soldiered on with the Association for the best part of a year and then, healthy once more (motorcycling is a wonderful tonic), and fed up with an employer who was happy just to have patrols standing at the roadside saluting like a lot of stuffed so and sos, I left and took up my previous profession.
I wonder why the Association patrols have been put in vans. The old motorcycle combination was less remote, more homely and personal somehow. Excuse me maundering on, it’s the first letter I’ve ever written to you and probably the last. Oh, by the way, life would not be the same without the monthly arrival through my door of Motor Sport, and your companion magazine Motorcycle Sport. They’re the only things worth buying—they’re INTELLIGENT reading.
Wirral. W. Barber-Powell.
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Decongesting Britain’s Blocked Roads
While not condoning in any way the general unrealistic attitude of the administration’s transport ministry, I would like to suggest that we reflect a little more before complaining too much about the lack of road-building in this country. Before arriving at this ready conclusion, we should really be asking ourselves if we are making efficient us of the roads we already have.
There must be many ways in which improvements could be made, and I would offer the following three which would considerably ease the situation:
1. In Sweden, street parking on through routes in town is absolutely forbidden, and side-street parking is acceptable. In this country, on the other hand, parking on the road anywhere is neither forbidden nor acceptable, it is tolerated rather, and we tend to “get away with what we can”. Consequently, drivers in towns other than London avoid using the near-side lane on main thorough-fares, as the presence of an obstruction can almost be relied upon. I attribute the mobility of traffic in London largely to the more effective control of on-street parking. Could not the principle be also applied more stringently in provincial towns by relaxing regulations covering side-street parking?
2. In Germany, if one remains in the outside lane of an autobahn after overtaking a slower vehicle, one can be fined.
In this country, on our three-lane motorways, many drivers remain in the centre lane when the nearside lane is deserted, and are oblivious to the fact that they have reduced the efficiency of the road by a third, sometimes baulking faster traffic. Might this be because the near-side lane is referred to as the “slow” or “commercial” lane and it offends the “mimsers'” dignity to use it? For these drivers, I would like to point out that it is safer to put as great a distance between yourself and the oncoming fast traffic as possible!
The sad fact is, of course, that one is unlikely to “get through” to these people by means of your magazine, which caters for people who take an interests in motoring matters and who are, one imagines, better-than-average drivers.
3. The effectiveness of one-way traffic for speeding flow is consistently underlined in various towns throughout the country. Without incurring the expense of building dual-carriageways, would it not be a practical proposition to expand one-way systems beyond town boundaries? It is a rare cases when there is only one route between adjacent towns. Turning inter-town roads into one-way roads would, of course, involve longer journeys for some people—but would not the overall result be smoother and safer?
While we all have a great deal to complain about in this grossly over-populated country, it annoys me to hear complaints from groups of people who have the opportunity of improving matters, yet do nothing.
Ryton-on-Dunsmore. J. K. Holman.
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“A Cynical Disregard . . .”
For some time I have been noting the similarity between this Government and that of Oliver Cromwell, and it has become too much of a likeness to be coincidence. The vindictive treatment of motorists and the restrictions on any pleasures which might not be in accordance with the wishes of the righteous give some indication of the lengths to which a hypocritical set of politicians will go to bluff the ordinary man.
I include in this hypocrisy the so-called concern over road accidents, which is really another rod to punish the motorist, whether he is to blame or not. If we look at the highest figures of death and injury due to accidents it will be found that the number of accidents in the home (and the lack of action to prevent or punish such incidents) contrasts strongly with the punitive attitude towards the public when the ride or drive a vehicle on the roads.
If the extent and scale of punishment inflicted on motorists applied to the many domestic accidents and other cases of carelessness, then most of the housewives and mothers in this country would have been fined, jailed or prevented from running their homes until they had passed an efficiency test.
It is rather appropriate that the Minister responsible for this lack of action should be called the Home Secretary, for as a politician he must be the most inefficient guardian of the home this country has ever produced. No wonder the British treatment of children shocks the rest of the World, the misplaced sympathy of coroners and magistrates is almost an encouragement to continue the bad work and the cynical disregard of these tragic events by Members of Parliament can only be due to their unholy determination to get votes regardless of principles.
Unfortunately the vote of the motorist is entirely disregarded, as we noted when Barbara Castle contemptuously ignored the largest petition ever presented to Parliament on the road-users’ behalf. Retribution will, of course, be not long delayed, but again the vote cast will be considered to be due to anything but the protest of motorists. If the A.A. and the R.A.C. were to remember that they were originally formed to protect the motorist, and act accordingly, democracy would be more practical and Members of Parliament more respectful.
Stockport. J. C. Armstrong.
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Herbert Austin—A Great Pioneer
In the July 1969 edition of Motor Sport, under the heading “Austin Racing History”, you refer to my article “Carried away with Nostalgia” which appeared in Torque magazine.
Your comments are correct, for although I did have my first drive on Brooklands, in 1930, the race referred to was in fact the 1931 Easter Meeting, the car being one of the few Type 39 blown 1½ -litre straight-eight Bugatti G.P. racers. I believe it still exists in America.
It is not generally known that the late Lord Austin twice held the World Water Speed Record at Calshot during the period 1910-1912, first with Irene I (christened after his eldest daughter, the Hon. Mrs. Arthur Waite), fitted with a very advanced Austin o.h.c. V12 engine of 200 b.h.p., and later with Irene II equipped with an improved 280 b.h.p. engine.
After World War I, plans were made to fit this engine into a car for Arthur Waite to attack the Land Speed Record but—possibly due to the unsettled financial position of the Motor Industry at the time—the project was not proceeded with.
Your reference to the multi-cylinder engines devised around Austin Seven cylinder blocks, cranks, etc., included in particular a straight-eight 1½-litre supercharged racing engine and several 16-cylinder 3-litre engines.
Immediately, following World War I, “Pa” Austin built and marketed and Austin Whippet light two-seater aircraft which sold for the remarkably low price of £275.
Then there were automatic transfer machine tools developed for the factory, agricultural tractors, exciting petrol and diesel trucks, some with very low space-frames and twin propeller-shafts, advanced automatic transmissions and numerous development projects, all under the personal supervision of “Pa” Austin, who could always be seen in the factory at any time during the week-end.
We owe so much to Herbert Austin for ideas which today we take for granted. His poorly publicised contribution to the development of atomic energy is not generally appreciated.
Another obvious example of a great thinking man involved in car manufacture at the time is F. W. Lanchester, whose ideas ranged from electronics to aeronautics. Regrettably he died a very poor man.
London, W.4. F. T. Henry,
Chairman, The Austin Ex-Apprentices’ Association.
* * *
British Leyland’s Loss—Porsche’s Gain
After reading your article on the VW-Porsche 914 I could not help but look back to the article in your January issue on the Rover BS experimental coupé.
Yes, it seems that the British Motor Industry has lost another chance in the World market. The layout of the two vehicles is almost identical and now that the design has been reproduced by Porsche on can only assume that British Leyland has some brilliant engineers who are being suppressed by the men in the board room.
If Britain can come up with such good designs at £1,000 less (and better looking), then why don’t the powers that be put them into production instead of giving us mouth-watering (or, in some quarters, worrying) glimpses and then pulling them from under our noses?
What the cobweb-infested Motor Industry needs at present is a couple more Colin Chapmans.
Wirral. Stephen Price.
* * *
Too Much Racing?
May I take the space in your columns to comment on Mr. J. G. Ward’s and Mr. May’s letters, both of which suggest in different ways that there is too much motor racing in England? However much I and many others involved in the Sport agree with them, nothing is likely to be done about it until the R.A.C. and M.C.D. decide who is controlling motor racing in this country. Mr. Webb, who directs operations for M.C.D., has often stated that his company must look at things on a business-like basis. Fair enough, but has it not occurred to him that he is killing not only the goose but many of the prospective goslings? Only the R.A.C., which is the self-stated governing body of the Sport, can alter this situation by insisting that the number of meetings is reduced and such circuits (or rather non-circuits) such as Mallory Park Club abandoned.
Since many R.A.C. officials are obviously overworked (I am talking about the same timekeepers, scrutineers and stewards that one sees time and time again at club meetings), I would thing that they would welcome a less crowded calendar and it’s about time they put the screws on the Competitions Committee. I believe we would then see full grids, very active and therefore well-sponsored championships, and most important of all happy spectators, who have as Mr. E. Ward rightly suggests, plenty of other attractions competing for their attendance. Clubs are already negotiating for dates in 1970—is it too much to hope that the R.A.C. will take actions NOW?
S. Woodford. John Reynolds.
* * *
Girl or Car
I am married to the Man you referred to in the July “Matters of Moment”.
If I have a new coat it’s “What! after only five years!”, but She can have a new coat and She will look “smashing” while I only look “O.K.”
Her ear-splitting din is music in his ear, but two consecutive words from me, and I’m nagging.
She can have a new set of rubbers while I milk the cows in leaking Wellingtons.
I do have a few things that She hasn’t—well, I can cook anyway.
Somerset. “The Missis.”
* * *
The Futility of M.o.T. Tests
Over two Summer vacations I managed to save enough pennies to buy myself a 1961 Mini with a good body but doubtful engine. Anyway, after having the engine and steering stripped and renewed I decided to have the car tested whilst I still had some come back on the garage. Thus with my 25s. in hand I presented myself at the nearest authorised testing station. After half-an-hour spent attacking my car with screwdrivers, etc., the proprietor informed me that he wanted a road test, so I acted as passenger whilst he drove (at high revs even though the car was “running-in”) intent on testing the brakes. He used a meter which measured braking force (in cabbages or something) whilst sitting on the car floor. So far so good! On the foot brake test 95 was recorded. Very good, now the handbrake. “15”! And thus I failed the test. Having paid my 23s 9d. I went to the nearest hill (a 1-in-4 double-hair-pinned affair) to test the handbrake. Sure enough it held, even on that gradient, yet I had been failed for being unable to raise 25 (cabbages?) on the meter. Having rectified the “fault” I returned for a re-test, whereby I was charged 25s. for the check without even going to the formality of a road test.
It amazes me that the handbrake will hold, without human help, on a 1-in-4 gradient, yet fail a test. Yet we know it makes sense . . . ?
Saltburn. Christopher D. Simpson.
* * *
“Shopping for a Daimler”
As an ex-member of the Daimler Drawing Office Staff I was very interested in the article “Shopping for a Daimler” in the July issue. At the time this car was designed I was dealing with the specifications and know this particular model very well.
In the first place this car was a development of the DB 18, the curved radiator shell, however, was inspired from the larger six-cylinder DE 27 and eight-cylinder DE 36 also current at that time which had the filler exposed underneath a hinged flat on top of the radiator.
Due to many design factors the filler cap had to be placed under the bonnet on the Special Sports and, to make it look right, the dummy cap was placed on the top of the radiator shell much to the disapproval of some of the design staff! The DB 18 Barker drophead was not dropped for the Special Sports and for a while the two cars were manufactured together.
The Consort, which was a development of the DB 18, went into production after the Special Sports and acquired the curved radiator shell.
When the DBB 18 finally ceased production, the Barker DB 18 drophead came to an end as well. Quite a few Barker Special Sports were made after this, however, and retained the DB 18 type worm drive rear axle which I believe was the last British car to be made with this type of axle: the Consort was fitted with a hypoid.
Why the Special Sports was so called no one ever seemed to know, because really, it was most unlike a sports car, being very quiet running, silky refined, and with a very easy gear change thanks to the Victorian Sinclair fluid coupling and the Wilson pre-selector gear box.
There is no doubt that the Barker Special Sports is a very desirable car to have and is a good substitute for a small Rolls-Royce and you can take my word for it—they were really built to last . . .
Broadstairs. F. T. Alexander-Prebble.
* * *
“Shopping for a Daimler”—A Warning
Regarding the letters about the 2½-litre Daimlers, my experience with two of these cars may be interesting. I sold my Mk. I Ford Zodiac in 1956 and purchased a 1952 model Daimler Consort, my intention being to acquire a car which would give me years of trouble-free motoring. I spent the next five years in a constant battle with rust, caused mostly by “water traps” in the bodywork. Getting fed up with purchasing and applying fibreglass repair kits, I sold the Consort and purchased a Hooper-bodied Empress. Now, I thought, my troubles will be over. I spent the next three years replacing rotten woodwork, a far more difficult job than repairing rusted metal! Also the car was off the road for four months with a reconditioned gearbox was being obtained and fitted. In 1964 I purchased a Wolesley 6/99 and sold the Empress. The Wolesley, although a mass-produced car, I have found to be superior to the Daimlers in every way. No more coach-built cars for me; one needs to employ a coachbuilder in order to maintain them!
Yeovil. J. Tonks.
* * *
“Autolycus” Replies to Alfred Woolf”
Firstly, I must disagree with Mr. Woolf’s figures regarding the power outputs from the Fiat 124 engines, which of course are twin o.h.c. engines with their known advantages of large valves and potentially better breathing characterisation than the single o.h.c. with in-line valves as the Hillman Imp.
Quoting form the technical data taken out of the publication issued by Societa Italiana Additivi Per Carburanti S.p.A. — S.I.A.C. Via Turati 28—20121 Milano, Italia, to whom the technical—as distinct from public relations—department of Fiat would supply the information, the true D.I.N. (i.e. as installed in the car with air cleaners, exhaust etc., and which Mr. Woolf refers to as net) ratings are as follows:-
Model: 124 Special, 70 b.h.p., 5,400 r.p.m.
Model: 124 Sport Spider and Coupé, 90 b.h.p., 6,500 r.p.m.
Reference normal tapped head thickness compared with the loose biscuit used by Fiat. The head thickness on the Jaguar tappet, for example is 0.200 in. and the Fiat biscuit is 0.150 in. Therefore, I consider that my choice of the word relative was correct in this context; just as Mr. Woolf is a relatively good P.R.O. for Fiat.
* * *
I take much offence to Mr. F. R. B. King’s recent letter suggesting ignorance of engine fundamentals on the part of the staff of Motor Sport. For the uninformed, Mr. King is the editor and avid
supporter of the “Intertia” Theory of Engine Breathing”. I make the following points:—
1. Lanchester is not the creator and has on occasions been wrong, e.g., the swing axle.
2. Mr. King’s postulations on engine breathing are totally empirical and very much open to question.
3. Mr. King has on a number of occasions written in various engineering journals and his methods have been criticised by such notables as Annand, Broome, Lyn and Kastner.
In conclusion, to be both so definitely rude and dogmatic, one has to be very sure of one’s facts. No one person does know—far be it Mr. King. Could we in future persuade Mr. King to provide more fact to substantiate his claims and a little less derogatory comment on the competence of individuals?
Peterborough. I.D. Middlemiss, B.Sc.
(Student of both engineering and the art of breathing.)
* * *
Bentley Service in Britain is Inferior
Your correspondent Mr. Frank Walker who had “same-day” half-shaft replacement whilst in Italy on holiday is a very lucky man.
The offside rear wheel bearing of my post-war Bentley suffered the same fate this July in England. To date I have not had the use of the car as the Bentley dealers have not been able to obtain the half-shaft required. (When a Bentley runs a wheel bearing it needs a new half-shaft!)
I might not be sure when the car will be on the road again, but I am sure that the Rolls-Royce mechanics will take a damn sight longer than the ten minutes taken by Mr. Walker’s “untrained” Italian when they come to fit it.
They tell me the job takes at least four hours!
Rugby. A. V. Hardman.
* * *
A Rebel Speaks Out
In answer to your query “when are we going to rebel?” I would answer that we are. The current slump in car sales might be due to the squeeze, but I very much doubt if this explanation is the whole truth.
In my own case I would normally change my car right now. The money is available and the shiny new model I would like is in the showroom, but in view of the penal taxation on all matters motoring indifferent after-sales and servicing standards, prowling traffic wardens and patrol cars, inadequate road and parking facilities and the many other injustices so better described by your pen than mine, I have reluctantly withdrawn form a sport and hobby I love, and my motoring in future will be minimal and utilitarian. My money will earn me about 9½%; I hope the cars now choking the showrooms are going likewise for someone.
I will be able to amuse myself with golf or sailing (a sport in which one can charge all over the place in any direction, there is no water tax, and should there be a collision—even if the injury is caused—there is invariably no prosecution, and, of course, insurance is not compulsory). The manufacturers will be able to amuse themselves also, counting their ever-mounting stocks, in between placating grown men who argue first over who is going to drill a hole and who then argue over who is going to fill it up again with a bit of bent tin, which is going to fall out in any case.
When it is realised that it is the last 5% of sales which brings in the real gravy for the manufacturer, it requires only minimal drop in sales to have a profound effect upon the Industry and the Economy. Ten bods in my frame of mind means the loss of about £15,000 to the trade, a hundred would withhold £150,000, a thousand . . . the rebellion is on, sir, the rebellion is on, and entry is free and unpunishable (at the moment).
I should point out that I am not suffering from the after effects of being fined, and my motoring record is perfect—no accidents, no endorsements.
Suffolk. R. B. Weatherley.
* * *
Like W.J.D. Clarke of Bromley, I too enjoy reading Motor Sport cover to cover, including the small ads., and also re-reading back numbers, including the first copy I purchased, dated 1953. Where, oh where, have all those delectable cars gone!
But to matters in hand. I have read with interest all the letters so far from people who have bought cheap cars and got their money’s-worth out of them.
I sold one very cheaply and would like to know if the purchaser was happy with his buy. The car was a 1937 Bentley 4½, Reg. No. WG 5800, and it was sold at an auction three years ago for, I believe, £70. I had spent a small fortune in having it restored; new steering king-pins, shockers, headlamps, reconditioned dynamo, starter and body, new battery and a set of tyres. Unfortunately, I couldn’t then afford to run it and pay the repair bill, so the garage “disposed” of it for me. Indeed if the present owner reads this and cares to call with the car I’ll offer a weekend’s hospitality.
My own cheapest and reliable motoring was from a 1948 G.P.O.-type Morris 8 van, which cost me £10 and gave me two years’ faultless running, needing only a couple of remould tyres and a new set of king-pins—the steering being nearly solid when I got it—at a cost of £7 10s. 0d. the lot, including fitting. I used it for two removals and a motorway trip from Somerset to N.E. Scotland in the depth of winter. The only snags were a broken accelerator return spring, repaired with a bit of string, and a worn set of dynamo brushes, overcome by a boost charge while having a cup of tea.
Good luck to your magazine—may it long continue. If I could be allowed one suggestion it would be to include a page of Autojumble adverts. I, and I’m sure many other readers, have large quantities of motoring jumble they would be happy to give away to anyone interested enough to collect it or pay transport costs—mine includes a battered but almost complete Jowett Javelin down to the entrails of several Citroën Light 15 gearboxes—but normal adverts, etc., are a bit expensive for that sort of ploy.
Street, Somerset. H. Douglas Forbes.
* * *
Showing Up That Savage Tax
I was heartened recently to see a petrol station advertising its petrol at 1s. 10d. per gallon . . . plus 4s. 6d. tax. Why, I wonder, do not more stations do this, and so bring home to the motorist the extent to which he is being soaked?
Tavistock. Roger W. Mathew.