Letters from Readers
I feel I must continue the seat belt controversy with my own experiences and views. Two years ago I rolled over an MG Midget at about 70 m.p.h. with my wife as passenger. Needless to say, the soft top was no protection whatsoever, as it was worn away by the road. We were not wearing seat belts and were both pushed under the dashboard. Our injuries were minimal and we sustained only cuts and bruises.
Had we been wearing seat belts I would not be writing you this letter as we would, of course, have remained in an upright position and would probably have been decapitated, a view incidentally, shared by the Police attending the accident.
When discussing details of accidents with other people, the subject of seat belts usually crops up, and there seem to be many cases of similar circumstances, i.e. people who might have been much more seriously injured had they been wearing seat belts. Also, I have not yet met anyone who can actually claim to have been saved by a seat belt.
Don't take this to mean I disagree with seat belts, but please let's have the decision left to people's own discretion. As the House of Lords and the Editor obviously realise, by making the wearing of seat belts compulsory the law would be strapping some drivers into a death chair.
[Name and address supplied]
[I was thrown out of an Allard at a pre-war speed hill-climb, the cockpit of which was crushed. Verb. sap.—Ed.]
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Beauties or Beasts?
As a regular reader of Motor Sport I always admire the excellent colour photos in your centre spread, and I often mentally comment to myself how aesthetically attractive some of the current crop of Formula 1 cars are, and conversely how ugly others are.
My personal opinion as to the most attractive some of the current crop of Formula BT44. I wonder what other readers' opinions may be.
F E. Walker
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Big Brother is Watching You
May I first thank you for publishing such a splendid magazine whether it be made of glossy paper or "comic" paper, after all it is only the contents which are important. As a relatively new reader (I have only been reading Motor Sport for 10 years, since I was 13), I must congratulate you on your 50th birthday and may you continue to a ripe old age. I feel I must put pen to paper on two subjects, one to join the moaners and the other to ask for assistance.
The first is the police control over the stretch of "motorway" at my back door - the two lane M5. Not content with the normal Motorway patrol cars, the police now use unmarked white BMWs to catch the unsuspecting motorist who may stray over the 70 m.p.h. speed limit. I thought this was a dastardly dirty deed until, a month ago, I noticed a helicopter flying approximately 150 ft. above my house (200 yards from the Motorway). At first I suspected surveyors for the proposed M42, until I noticed it now comes every day and passes over sometimes every quarter of an hour. I always thought the minimum legal height was 500 ft., but then I suppose the policeman/co-pilot would not be able to see the registration number through binoculars (yes he is that low); now on top of this, recently announced with great fervour on all the local news, the police are to use VASCAR. Thank goodness I drive a 1959 Citroen 2CV which cannot reach the 70 m.p.h. limit. The poor unsuspecting motorist! (Incidently I can just reach 55 m.p.h. on a flat road and average 62 m.p.g)
My second subject is the BSA front wheel drive cars of 1934-1939, these were advanced vehicles in many ways, with their front wheel drive and independent front suspension. Can any person offer advice on the pretty little 10 h.p. series 5 coupe built 1938? Fortunately the BSA owners' club have forwarded me some literature mainly on the chassis, but the coupe body of my car is in a sad state: photographs, drawings of the body would be appreciated and returned.
(Name and address supplied]
[We have heard of someone being convicted for momentarily using the third lane of the M4 while towing a trailer, on evidence supplied by a helicopter pilot! Which political party will use part of its election manifesto to promise drivers decent immunity from such unwanted and expensive Big Brothers?—Ed.]
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The Castrol Morgan
I would like to endorse your comments concerning the Castrol 75th anniversary exhibition and particularly with regard to the Brooklands paddock scene which included a Morgan Three-Wheeler.
It is regrettable that in this case Messrs. Castrol found themselves unable to take up an offer, made at their request in the first instance, of a really genuine exhibit in the form of the Morgan raced by Clive Lones over the late twenties and early thirties, and featured in your publication "The Vintage Years of the Morgan Three-Wheeler".
In this day and age it is increasingly difficult to isolate the genuine from the synthetic and Motor Sport is to be congratulated on its never-ending vigil in this respect.
We in the Morgan Three-Wheeler Club know of the whereabouts of all three cars which competed successfully in the 1933 and 1934 LCC Relay Race at Brooklands and portrayed in your aforementioned history.
I only hope that one day we shall be able to arrange to bring this team together again so that genuine students of "Morgan Mania" will be able to appreciate them.
In conclusion we should not be to hard on Castrol's attempt at self congratulation, for their support to the Sport and Motor Clubs in general would be sorely missed.
N. H. Lear
Hon. Sec., Morgan Three-Wheeler Club
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In your August issue you published a letter I sent you about the 1903 Peugeot. Unfortunately there was a very small misprint which spoiled the effect of one sentence. I wrote: "I loved that car, because it was the first I drove alone at the age of eight and you printed at the age of eighteen (18) which made no sense.
Fact is, at that age 18 I was driving a 5 h.p. Le Zebre to and from observation posts in front of Verdun and other unpleasant places with an artillery officer.
Experienced drivers were scarce in 1917, and I was one!
During wars, driving licences could be obtained at age 16.
Always glad to get Motor Sport, although motoring is losing much of its charm nowadays.
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I rarely write to motoring magazines, usually preferring to sit back and read about other peoples problems, etc. But Mr. Fletcher's letter on Vauxhalls has made me put pen to paper.
Just because he has been unfortunate enough to have had trouble with one of his fleet of Vauxhall Vivas, he advises would-be buyers to think again. Why, may I ask, apart from the feeble reasons he gives, did he change from BLMC in the first place?
As for the long delay on parts for and parts missing from one of his new Vivas, if one casts one's mind back one will recall that around October last year Vauxhall were hit by very bad industrial action, just when their new models were introduced. Mr. Fletcher was indeed lucky to get one Viva, let alone a fleet of them.
Regarding the account business, I can well understand the garage stipulating a minimum of £20 a month being spent before an account can be opened, (I would have thought that with a fleet of cars Mr. Fletcher would easily spend that amount each month on servicing alone).
He says nothing of the other Vivas he bought, so one presumes they are giving reasonable service.
I must admit I am biased, having owned three Vivas, starting with a 1967 HB. I now have a 1974 HC 1256, and can honestly say that, apart from regular servicing I have had only the minimum of repair work carried out.
So I say to anyone wanting a well-equipped, well finished value-for-money car look very closely at the Viva, compare it with the Escort etc. and it comes out very much on top.