RUMBLINGS, September 1930





On Turning Over.

ikSHORT while back, members of MOTOR SPORT staff might have been observed, engaged in the seemingly childish occupation of playing with a toy motor car on the office floor, the property (the car, not the floor) of our artist.

The business started with a discussion, prompted by poor Gillow’s recent pile up, as to how anyone could turn upside down in a motor car, remain in it, and get away with it, all at nearly 100 m.p.h. It has been done quite often, hence the fact that several people, all with different theories to expound, came to be rolling a perfectly harmless model Alfa-Romeo, round the room, complete with a model figure at the wheel. The general conclusion arrived at was that the driver must be .thrown sideways, and so come below the level of the top of the car (or above when the whole show is inverted). After all it wouldn’t do to remain normally seated, as to have a car skating along at some 90 m.p.h. upside down, balanced on the driver’s crash hat, would be most embarrassing for the gentleman concerned ! It must therefore be the rotation of the car continually leaving the driver behind, as it were, that makes it possible for the car to perform this unconventional manoeuvre, and yet leave the driver to drive again. All this talk of turning over reminds me of a rather amusing incident which occurred some years ago to a member of our staff. This was in the days when the optimist, inquestion was engaged in the attemped manufacture of a now defunct cyclecar. He used, in the days before he discovered that it was much easier to tell stories. about motor cars than to make them, to travel to the scene of his labours each day in an ancient 3-wheeler, of immense altitude and negligible stability. Being late (as usual) he attempted to negotiate a S-bend on wet tramlines, at a speed some knots above the safety limit for the chariot in question, and performed a pretty broadside, into which he steered as

Thirty-one years old, and there’s life in her yet.

per instruction book. This, however, was prior to the days of lowered chassis and such luxuries, so the device, instead of sliding prettily, turned straight upside down, flung the driver out, fortunately on his head, and followed him down the road at speed on the remains of the windscreen and one wing, the whole troupe finishing up at the feet of a gang of workmen mending the road. When the latter had overcome their mirth sufficiently to assist, the vehicle was reinstated on its wheels, refilled with the assorted junk which it had disgorged on to the roadway, and being more or less undamaged (what is a wing or so after all ?) was started up. The point which had escaped his notice, however, was that in turning over it had also turned rotmd, and he proceeded some miles in the wrong direction before waking up sufficiently to realise the fact! The derisive cheers which greeted the battered remnant at the works that day, failed to quench his appe

to on this page.

tite for old motor cars, and there is no doubt that, given the right temperament, and sufficient sense of humour, old crocks are good fun.

The Old Brigade.

The recent event at Brooklands for vehicles of 1904 or earlier vintage provided plenty to interest any students of design. Davenport’s winning 1899 Progress cyclecar had some remarkable features, the springing being a bit peculiar, judged by modern standards. The designer, apparently appalled by the complications involved by having the engine in the front, and driving a back axle which moved relative to the engine, got over the difficulty by lumping engine and all at the back and not having the rear of the chassis sprung at all. The front, not presenting such difficulties, was sprung on the axle, and the front of the body was attached to the chassis. As the rear of the chassis was unsprung the back of the body was

sprung on the chassis.

Another point was that the radiator was filled by removing a floor board, thus exposing the water tank. The front seat was arranged to rotate on a vertical axis, so that if the driver got tired of the passengers’ faces, he could give the seat a shove, and the said passengers would be seated with their feet dangling in front of the radiator. The starting handle fitted in the side, gramophone-wise, while nearly all the controls were by levers of various dimensions on the steering column. Driving was certainly a full time job in those days !

Nevertheless this particular vehicle averaged 25i m.p.h. for 2 laps of the mountain course, which means that it must be capable of a good 35 m.p.h. on the road.

Season’s End.

There is certainly no falling off in the number and quality of racing events towards the end of the season, and this month will provide plenty of interest. Not many of us will be able to get over to Month it is true, and the scrap between the Maseratis and sundry other ” attis ” will be worth watching. However, no tears need be shed for we have the Amateur event at Shelsley Walsh on the 13th, and there is no doubt about the interest of that. There are all too few real amateur events for cars these days, that is events that ordinary mortals with ordinary incomes can afford to go in for, and a show like Shelsley is just the right idea.

Another good event is of course the Manx Grand Prix, which is the Amateur T.T. under a new guise and with suitably adjusted regulations. These make it possible for the poor fellow who has collected a few boni, in the endeavour to reduce the expense of his hobby, to enter and ride without getting hauled over the coals. Also they keep out the lads who have ridden in the actual T.T. and other International races, and who might be inclined to spoil the fun by being a bit too warm for the rest.

Not that the rest don’t put up some mighty‘ fine shows ; after all, many of the star T.T. riders of today, such as Charlie Dodson, had their first shot at the I.O.M. course in the old “Amateur.” The Junior Race is on the 9th and the Senior on the 1 1 th so there will just be time for those fortunates on holiday at that time to get back from the I.O.M. in time for Shelsley.

The following Saturday is fixed for another B.A.R.C. meeting, and in these days they are something not to be missed. I gather that more than the usual number of records will be getting a sharp jolt this month, as several machines are being got into trim for that purpose. I was in BoydCarpenter’s place in Kilburn the other day, and found that they were finding time in between building ” B.C. Specials,” to get a motor ready for some 750 c.c. record attempts. This was actually the chassis which Spero has been run

ning lately at the track with a body that looked like a tank. This chassis used to belong to BoydCarpenter and has now returned there, and is being completely rebuilt. It is also being fitted with a very neat body which looks just like a cigar and is the narrowest thing ever. The seats are as narrow as they can be made, but even so they are considerably wider than the rest of the body, and the body is faired where it joins them to keep the streamling in order. Also it is barely as high as the wheels, and certainly ought to present less surface to the wind than any Austin, past or present. Getting in and out is rather a work of art, but that can’t be helped on this sort of job. Spero’s tank-like contraption was all very well, but I could never bring myself to take it seriously, and always thought someone must have designed it with their tongue in their cheek. I mean, why double the frontal area of a racing body if you don’t have to ?

A Fable.

During a meeting at the Track there occurred a mild accident, and a certain ordinary fellow having given what assistance he could, and wishing to return whence he came without undue exertion, saw a Person in a Motor Car, about to go in that direction, and said, “Can you give me a lift ? ” To which the Person replied, “I cannot, I am a Marshal you see ! ” That’s logic, as Tweedledum (or was it Tweedledee) would have said.