Letters from Readers, October 1974

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N.B.—Opinions expressed are those of our Correspondents and Motor Sport does not necessarily associate itself with them. – Ed.

RAC Travel Service

Sir,

I would like to draw your readers’ attention to the poor service provided by the RAC in its Travel Service department.

I recently reserved, through the RAC, hotel accommodation in France for my family and friends and found on my arrival at the various hotels that the accommodation reserved was incorrect and that I had been grossly over-charged by the RAC. I took both these points up with the RAC upon my return. They will accept no responsibility for the errors and inform me that their standard booking charge is 40%. I would also mention that I noticed an error on the reservation vouchers before my departure and pointed this out to the RAC, who informed me that there was nothing to worry about and the correct accommodation would be provided.

I am sure you will agree that this is another case of the RAC’s incompetence to provide a reasonable service for its members. Furthermore, with a standard booking charge of 40%, the RAC is cashing in and taking a financial advantage of its members rather than looking after its members’ interests.

It is clear to me that the so-called motoring organisations in this country are entirely motivated by profit and not by a desire to provide a decent service for members.

Knutsford.

D. W. Mansfield

* * *

Marauder Savaged

Sir,

Would you kindly print this appeal in your magazine.

I own the first production model of the Marauder (1950). Whilst at Harris Mayes garage at Watford the front grille badge was removed. As only six of the original fifteen cars are known to be still in existence it will be hard to find.

Perhaps the badge has been offered for sale to a collector or it may be adorning someone’s mantelpiece. In any case I would be appreciative for its return as the car’s restoration is well under way.

Godalming.

G. A. Moore

* * *

Motor Racing Television Coverage

Sir,

There are numerous programmes providing opportunity for the followers of various sports to pursue their “game” via the medium of television.

Those people interested in motor sport in any of its various guises are, by and large, denied this privilege.

Horse racing, football, cricket, rugby, athletics and show-jumping are given an enormous amount of time, and no doubt they should be since they are very popular activities. Snooker has a regular airing and crown-green bowling has had slices of time.

The comparatively little time given over to motoring sport is of course gratefully received, even if it does from time to time seem to be presented rather poorly. One channel it is noted with pleasure, now sees fit to include results of each Formula 1 Grand Prix race very briefly, during the Sunday evening news broadcast.

Ingredients such as excitement, endeavour, achievement, colour, interest, sophistication, glamour and history, seem to be good qualifications for television presentation. Personalities appear to be abundant in all spheres of the sport. Given all these characteristics, comparison with horse racing for instance seems favourable. The latter sport receives many, many hours of television sports coverage.

With imaginative production and research is there any reason why a whole series of short programmes presenting the history and development of this sport could not be mounted? There must be endless amounts of material and film available which, suitably edited, would provide enough programme subject matter to last for the next decade. The results may have far wider appeal than to motor sport fans alone. A service which would be most welcome would be the inclusion of the results of the more important events, both in the UK and abroad, with the rest of the sports results on Saturday and the remainder on Sunday. Is it possible to provide such a service?

Motoring sport is not, I believe, a minority sport, and it is certainly one of the very few United Kingdom sports which have produced World Champion sportsmen, and is probably capable of producing more.

It is to be hoped that all those concerned with the sport, particularly with its organisation and presentation, will be able to see, in the near future, a way of providing a better service on the television medium. Indeed it is hoped that they consider this sort of exposure beneficial to the sport and a necessity for its survival.

In conclusion and for interest I attach a list showing the total time given over to each sport as listed in the TV Times and Radio Times for the week August 17th-23rd inc., 1974.

Total time devoted to each sport during week August 17th-23rd, 1974, by all three television channels. Where two sports are included in one overall period there is no indication in the TV Times or Radio Times of separate times.

An analysis of the time allocations for one year would be of more interest but the task is too large for this man, and no doubt the television authorities have these sort of figures to hand.

Cheadle Hulme.

J. D. Haworth

* * *

Better Buy A Wankel…

Sir,

May I presume on a readership of Motor Sport going back to the Twenties to take you to task for showing prejudice against the Wankel engine. If mention is made at all it is generally disparaging, never enthusiastic. Why?

You will remember the dictum of the late C. G. Grey of the Aeroplane – “Simplificate and add more lightness”. I am sure he would have thoroughly approved of the Wankel (as made by Toyo Kogyo for the Mazda RX-2. I don’t know anything about the NSU, but it doesn’t seem to have been such a big success). Power, smoothness, flexibility, utter reliability, lack of temperament, and simplicity all in a light compact package.

The type of machinery you and your staff seem to enthuse over has two (or four) overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, petrol injection and turbo-charging. Complication on complication! Literally hundreds of little bits to go wrong. With the cost of servicing what it is today isn’t it time that the virtues of simplicity were extolled a little more?

You will say that this is achieved in the Wankel at the expense of fuel consumption. Well, the virtues of desirable motor cars are generally achieved at the expense of something, often first cost and maintenance costs. Actually the Mazda doesn’t burn much more fuel than most cars of similar performance and costwise it has the advantage of using the lowest grade available, which offsets largely the slightly higher consumption.

On my last runs to Cape Town (300 miles) and Johannesburg (800 miles) to see the SA Grand Prix I recorded 28/29 m.p.g. and overall consumption since new has been 23.20 m.p.g. over 15,000 miles, mostly stop-start motoring – not wonderful but nothing to be frightened about in view of the other virtues.

I got my first motorcycle in 1921 and my first car in 1926 and of the long succession of vehicles since then the RX-2 has been the most personally satisfying to drive and own. It is not an expensive vehicle but the car is very adequate without perhaps justifying superlatives, and the engine is a dream.

Perhaps your opinions are based on trials of early Wankel engines. If this is so I feel they might be altered if you were to try one of the latest versions made by Toyo Kogyo, who have really licked the problems encountered in the early versions.

With usual disclaimer and all good wishes to your excellent journal.

Knysna, S. Africa.

H. R. B. Waters

* * *

…Or Should You?

Sir,

I found J.B. Fuller’s letter in last month’s Motor Sport most interesting. I have been caught by an Ro80 also. I found it the most wonderful car possible to drive, and have never enjoyed a car so much. But after a few months the transmission began to whine and a noise appeared in the engine, which the agents said was nothing.

After 12,000 miles the noise increased and I took the car to another agent (an NSU enthusiast with considerable knowledge) who said I required a replacement gearbox, a front axle and the noise in the engine was seal chatter which would mean a replacement engine at 18,000. However, as I had complained within the guarantee I should get considerable help from the makers. Since then I have been writing and ‘phoning for six months to Audi NSU GB Ltd. and the works in Germany. The answer, when you get one, is: “We are looking into it”. I now have to drive a 1967 Riley Elf as I consider the Ro80 with its doubtful gearbox and noisy front drive barely safe to have on the road. I could get it repaired for about £750.

Westbury, Wilts.

A. D. Weguelin

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