Around and about, October 1976

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D-type win at Laguna Seca . . .

Martin Morris added another notch to his D-type’s historic belt (the first D-type to win a race, the 1954 Reims 12-hour) at the Historic Car race meeting at Laguna Seca, Monterey, California, an annual meeting dedicated this year as a —Tribute to Jaguar”.

Morris took the D-type all the way from Devon to win this race for racing cars built between 1948 and 1955 from former World Champion Phil Hill in the Briggs Cunningham D-type. Another D-type took third place in the hands of Steven Griswold.

Hill took the laurels in another race, though, with a win in his own magnificent 1938 Talbot-Lago coupe.

Watching the Jaguar victory were Leyland Chief Executive Alex Park, Leyland Motors Inc. President Graham Whitehead and Leyland Cars Sales Operations Director and onetime D-type driver of note, Bob Berry. Earlier, Berry had presented a paper to the Society of Automobile Engineers on the contribution of motor racing to the development of the Jaguar motor car, at which gathering he had 1953 Jaguar C-type-mounted Le Mans winner Tony Ron as an interested listener. Rolt later drove Morris’ D-type, which he raced as a factory car in the mid-50s.

The Jaguar XJ-S took its US (and, indeed, world) racing debut at Lime Rock, Connecticut, a few weeks ago in the hands of Bob Tullius of Group 44. The XJ-S also set a new Production lap record and has qualified for the prestigious Road Racing Classic at Road Atlanta on October 24th-31st. What Leyland in the UK doesn’t do today, Leyland in the States did yesterday. . . .

Competition Cars at the Motor Show

A BRSCC-organised motor sporting feature display with more than 20 competition cars of all kinds will be included at the London Motor Show, which runs at Earls Court from October 20th-30th. At this 61st London Motor Show there will be 335 exhibitors, including 55 car makers and eight specialist coachbuilders and stylists.

Sunbeam-Talbot Alpine Register

Gerry Simmonds, 145 Peartree Avenue, Bitterne, Southampton, SO2 7JJ, is the new man to contact in relation to this Register.

Good for BMW

I am glad to learn of the detail improvements made to the 5-Series BMWs. The altered bonnet with a central hump is probably a production economy, as the Series-3 cars share the same thing, but removal of the fuel-filler to the side of body will be easier for those pump attendants who cannot find the cap under the rear flap. The fuel tank has been given improved breathing, it is said to prevent blowback when fuelling but this, I suspect, is a move to stop the alarming partial vacuum experienced when the petrol contents are low.

I am glad to know that the 528’s carburation flat-spots, which I have experienced, have been eliminated, and that steps have been taken to reduce over-servo-ed brakes and road-noise transmitted via the rear dampers, because both represent a minor annoyance on the Editorial 5201. Having suffered a gritshattered windscreen, I am also glad to hear that laminated screens are now standardised. The cool air-flow into a BMW has always seemed inadequate, simply because it cannot be directed onto the driver’s or front passenger’s face, which may have good medical implications but makes the occupants think the car is inadequately ventilated. So the introduction of adjustable-vents is most welcome. Nice, too, to know that a sliding roof can be ordered and that for all models except the 518 electric front window-lifts are another optional extra, because when a passenger has quietly opened the Window on the TVs to get sonic air and has later vacated the car, the driver cannot safely raise it while behind the wheel. In these and in other small ways an excellent car becomes even better, in the BMW tradition.

W.B.

Volvo’s middlemen

The 1.4-litre Volvo 343 plugs the gap in the company’s range between the family four and six cylinder large cars, and the surprisingly successful Volvo-modified DAF 66, which outsells many beffer-known mantes.

With its front-mounted 1,397 c.c. Renault four-cylinder engine developing 70 b.h.p., the 2,154 lb. Volvo 343 is not a fast car, but there will be plenty of customers who will appreciate the automatic transmission, three doors, beak nose, and the provision of comfortable interior space within sensible exterior dimensions. Technically speaking the De Dion back suspension and rear-mounted stepless transmission has a lot in common with DAF, and the car is actually made at -a former DAF plant in Born, Holland.

We drove two 343s at a wet Goodwood Press day in September, one a run-in LHD model and the other a new RHD. Although the LHD model was marginally quicker, the RHD car was better trimmed and silenced with a speedometer 0-60 m.p.h. coming up in 17 seconds and a top speed of 84 m.p.h.

Despite the treacherous conditions the ears adapted quite well to the circuit, though the brakes were smoking, owing to the lack of any low-gear holds to save the disc-drum layout in hard use. We thought the instrument layout clean, modern and useful, and were delighted to find that it was actually made by Smiths Industries; one of 227 items supplied from the UK for Volvo.

Another “new” Cortina bows in

Bluff good business sense is said to be rife in Yorkshire, so it was particularly appropriate that Ford, the only section of the British-based motor industry to remain. healthy through the last few years of trouble and strife, should present their latest version of the best-selling car in the UK. It may he unfortunate for the private motorist that Ford are operating the American policy of updating their popular models frequently, though we have not yet sunk to the yearly sheet metal revisions. However, there’s no denying that the company sells a lot of cars, and makes money (a cardinal sin in Britain today?) so it is hard to argue. This policy has made a best seller of Cortina with each model made since the original introduction (remember W.B. comparing it against the BMC 1100?) in 1962.

Enough of the past, what are Ford offering us from September 29th onward? In effect, the Taunus sold to Germans from the beginning of the year, but with a British engine range that stretches from 1.3-litre pushrod of 49.5 b.h.p. to a two-litre s.o.h.c. of 98 b.h.p. The floorpan of the new cars is from the previous Mk. 3 and the Estate is actually all Mk. 3 Taunus, save the front metal work.

While the running gear utilises the same components as before, the suspension is sharply improved by the adoption of variable rate rear coil springs. Also affecting the live rear axle is a boost in roll bar stiffness that amounts to 33 per cent. At the front wishbone-end of things the introduction of a degree of negative camber is accompanied by a slight measure of toe-out. Ghia Cortinas have gas-filled damping from Bilstein and S models have the gas dampers, additionally aided by higher poundage coil springs.

Aerodynamically the bodies have been improved considerably by the adoption of built-in front spoilers and the long, flat, boot area that is said to balance the improved front-end downforce.

We drove the two-litre S saloon (only available with four doors), and Ghia Estate cars over the bumpy moorland test route, followed by a quick 10 miles or so in the “rep’s delight” 1600L. The S handling modifications certainly work, the Ghia has an exceptional standard of trim (particularly the seats) and even the L reflects the suspension improvements have been made.

New Cortina prices start at £1,950.39p for the 1300; the S is £2,872.35p and the most expensive model, that two-litre Ghia Estate, is listed at 3,394.75p.

Spares overflow

Despite C.R.’s generosity in donating an extra page for the article covering Mr. Tyrrell’s activities between GP events (see page 1183) we were unable to squeeze in a list of the spares that the Tyrrell team take in their transporters.

Because there are 62 items to check before the drivers can take the trucks away, we cannot reproduce it all here.

So far as the cars themselves are concerned, the objective is to carry virtually everything except a spare monocoque tub. Thus you find two sets of front and rear uprights, a box of wishbones and, “suspension spares,” listed amongst the gallery of air powered spanners, Acetylene welding and Dunlop tracking equipment.

With two of everything, and the pair of transporters, plus the multiplicity of wheels used on the current Gardner racing car design it is little wonder that just packing the spares is a job for a strong mathematician!

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