Has dear old Motor Sport gone schizophrenic? I refer to the editorial “faster and faster” (Motor Sport, July 1988).
Initially you support the sale of super-fast high-performance road-cars. Speed itself is not a menace. The great accelerative powers, the crisp response to the controls and the high standards of road-clinging which such cars undoubtedly possess are safety factors. Since their top speeds are scarcely usable, legally on most of the world’s roads, such speeds are only a kind of prestige bonus (nobody sane would do anything like them on the motorway).
Then comes a complete change of tack. Such cars are so dangerous that they should only be sold to those holding special competition licences. The average customer is unlikely to possess the skills of a racing driver. Should he then be buying cars which can do only 20 mph below that of the best Le Mans cars?
Another change of tack. The motorways are so congested we should raise the speed-limit, and good luck to those who buy super-fast cars!
A Dickinson, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Oxon
Our correspondent has missed the points raised. Super-fast cars embody many safety factors but their maximum speeds are illegal. The idea that only those used to driving 200 mph can be allowed to buy them was put forward just as an idea, because even at restricted speeds skill is required to drive the very fast and powerful cars satisfactorily. Many authorities, police chiefs, included, favour increasing the motorway speed-limit to 80 mph, but this is rather different from 150-200 mph. WB
As my copy of Motor Sport, dropped through this morning’s letterbox, I almost choked on my cornflakes. Searching for a little bit of lightweight reading, I turned instantly to your review columns. I was staggered by the remarks made by IB about Radio Le Mans – The Video.
Surely, IB must realise that taste is subjective. Radio Le Mans does not appear to be hastily cobbled together, far from it. Cramming 24 hours of motor racing into 100 minutes of tape is hardly straightforward. And who wants to see a video of race scrutineering?
As for quality, mine also had a muffled soundtrack. I addressed the problem to Sports Seen, and they issued me with a fresh copy, and courteous apology, by return of post. The new copy is perfect, and I will watch it again and again.
As it is, IB’s observations can do nothing but harm to what I – and countless friends, some of whom were at the race – found to be jolly decent effort, and good value to boot.
If anything was hastily cobbled together, without a moment’s thought, it was IB’s review.
Brian P Whitcombe, Epsom Downs, Surrey
Grand Prix louts!
It is disturbing to read of Laurence Meredith’s encounter with a “Yobbo” element among the British crowd at Le Mans (Letters, Motor Sport, August 1988). I suggest that the problem may run even deeper, as evidenced by the report on qualifying for Hockenheim in Arab News on July 24.
“Piquet…said he was delighted with the Louts team’s newly-introduced driver-controlled computerised suspension system. It enables the Louts drivers to adjust the ride of their car from soft to hard…”
Geoff Uren, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Helmets and open cars
A recent picture in The Scotsman shows the Prince of Wales touring round Brands Hatch at 50mph in an open Bentley with his minders, etc., and all are kitted out with helmets.
It is this kind of rubbish which gives the nanny state the idea of compulsion and no doubt Bottomley or Channon will have taken notice and may well act at some future date.
I am glad that I am an old man and have lived in the happier days when motoring or motorcycling was a pleasure, without all the crash-helmets, seat-belts, annual tests, and the multitude of restrictions which have had little effect on safety, as the main cause of accidents is the general decline in courtesy and a growing boorishness among the public in general.
Desmond Aherne, Edinburgh
It is also notable that the picture caption values the 1926 Bentley at £250,000! WB
May I thank you for your excellent coverage of events for us “Vintage Type”, and take advantage of your journal to mention Stuart Harper in his 1927 three-wheel Morgan.
This man often enters events where there is not even an award, but I am sure his pure enthusiasm, pure guts, and a large portion of ability have brought joy to enthusiasts on a great many occasions.
To see the little “red peril” passing enormous Lagondas, Bentleys and so on is a sight for sore eyes, and I can’t imagine what other drivers think when it’s slotted under their tail!
Full marks to Stuart Harper, and perhaps this letter will be one small accolade. Keep up the good work!
John J Creasy, Sutton Coldfield
“The Fastest Rover”?
It was interesting to compare the road test of the new 2.7-litre Rover Vitesse in Motor of July 2 this year with the road test of the previous 3500 Vitesse published in the same magazine on January 29, 1983. Despite the advertising hype surrounding the new “fastback”, it is difficult to see in what ways this represents such an advance on the previous model.
Key comparisons from the road tests include:
0-60mph: 3500 Vitesse 7.1sec, 2.7 Vitesse 8.2sec
Standing quarter mile: 3500 Vitesse 15.8sec, 2.7 Vitesse 16.5sec.
0-100mph: 3500 Vitesse 19.9sec, 2.7 Vitesse 22.1sec.
Top speed; 3500 Vitesse 132.1mph, 2.7 Vitesse 136.8mph.
Accepting the top speed is somewhat academic on British roads, the earlier Vitesse has the edge on the Vauxhall lookalike on all the acceleration figures. Can Austin Rover be surprised that I, for one, have opted to keep my real Vitesse?
T F Brockbank, London
In part of your Lola T70 story (Motor Sport, June 1988, page 572), you used a photograph of a car which I have acquired – the Chris Amon Team McLaren. I have a fair history of its racing activities here in the States in the CanAm series, but I would like to be able to fill in the gaps with its racing in England. I am unsure whether Chris’ car was a 1965 convert or a new car constructed in early 1966.
Patrick Dekle, Valrico, Florida, USA
I wonder how many followers of motor sport are embarrassed by see champagne waste on winners’ rostrums? No doubt it seemed a bit of a lark when first thought of, but it has become an undignified ritual of which the sport should be ashamed.
LGF Bradshaw, Bolton, Lancashire