Rumblings, September 1931

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48

r8) kurriblings 7,0 0/1 HER E S

Record Activity. last few weeks have seen

seen a deal of activity in the record market, and the small class is getting plenty of attention. Following the fine Austin performance, which is described elsewhere in this issue, a side-valve Morris Minor appeared at the track complete with blower, in the hands of Van der Becke, who has performed very well at Shelsley on a home-made special, and who has already proved his ability as a tuner.

The car was entered by Sir William Morris as a demonstration for some new lubricant which is shortly to be marketed. for Morris cars. So he is at least willing to admit that racing and records have some value after all ! The car put up mean speeds for the mile and kilometre of 100.39 m.p.h. and 101.96 m.p.h. which although not actually records, are very remarkable indeed.

This engine struck me as a particularly good one to work on, the first time I drove one of the new 100 cars, as it was far snappier than I expected and being a side valve is fairly easy to tune up and also less liable to violent derangement in the valve department if it is over-revved.

Van der Becke’s had a standard cylinder block and pistons, so it is evident that the engine is basically tough enough to stand supertumng. Perhaps we shall yet live to see the R100-100 m.p.h. vehicle though on the whole it might be safer not to.

The next on the list for records is Viscount Ridley, who turned up with his completely special vehicle and proceeded to raise the ” 750 ” mile and kilometre records to 105.42 m.p.h. and 104.56 m.p.h. respectively, which is really moving.

The streamlining is reminiscent of the edition of Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird which he took to Verneuk Pan, being ultra low in front and rising quite sharply round the cockpit. It is a job after the enthusiast’s own heart being put together by its designer at his own workshop at Blaydon Hall, Northumberland Most of the special parts, and they are all special, were made by Laystalls, and the result is yet another testimony to the accuracy of their work.

The actual car was first built some two years ago. But this is its first appearance in. search of record honours.

Eyston Again.

The list of fine performances this month is encouragingly full, and George Eyston’s efforts with the racing Riley at Monthlery are among the brightest of the lot.

The most remarkable thing about these records is the fact that they were established with an =supercharged engine. There is no doubt that Rileys are very much in the front of design in the matter of cylinder heads and valve gear, which have to be very cunning indeed if the full amount of gas is to be coaxed into the engine at high revs.

The records taken by Eyston were the 50 miles and kilometres, 100 miles and kilometres, one hour and 200 kilometres. These are long enough to show that the engine has plenty of stamina, and the speed of over 108 m.p.h. for all except the 50 kilometres is a big increase. After the 50 m.p.h. he burst a tyre and did a little gyratory exercise before coming to rest. He was soon under way again though, and got the further records mentioned. The engine was kept turning over at a steady 6,000 r.p.m., which in conjunction with the high compression used, caused a very high oil

temperature. But the Castrol oil used, was =affected by this and played a big part in his success.

The Rally habit appears to be spreading and the increasing number of British drivers in foreign rallies has led them to demand similar events over here.

The Rally run in conjunction with the Ulster T.T. seems to have been a great success, and had the effect also of focussing local attention on the T.T. before the actual start of practice.

Another good event the week before the T.T. was the Craigantlet hill climb, in which R. G. Nash repeated his Shelsley Walsh success on his Frazer-Nash, breaking Earl Howe’s last year’s record by a useful margin. Mr. and Mrs. Wisdom on their Frazer-Nash both clocked exactly the same time and were equal, second to Nash.

The 120 m.p.h. Circle.

Members of the B.A.R.C. who have beaten 120 m.p.h. for a lap of Brooklands are now entitled to a special car badge which differs from the normal affair by having the figures “120 m.p.h.” between a pair of wings at the top, and the date of the aforesaid indiscretion is engraved on the back. The first on the list of this exclusive ” club ” is K. L. Guinness, who achieved this speed in 1921, while among those who have joined the circle this year are H. W. Purdy

on the Thomas Special, Earl Howe on the G. P. Delage, E. L. Bouts on the 2-litre Stinbeam, and PennHughes on the Bugatti.

P. W. Thoroughgood (Bugatti) and Jean Chassagne have exceeded this speed for a lap, but apparently only B.A.R.C. members are eligible for the badge so they are not included. And it worries them a lot, —perhaps !

The only lady driver to hold the honour is Mrs. E. M. Thomas, at that time Mrs. W. B. Scott, and she really ought to get more credit for it than is given, for people seem very quick to forget such a performance by anyone who is not always keeping at it.

Shelsley once more.

The next important event on the amateur’s calendar is, of course, the Amateur Climb at Shelsley Walsh on the 5th of this month. Such is the nature of the sport of hill climb

ing, that the main performers in the amateur climb will be:the same as in the open event, for this type of show is the real haven of the amateur.

He doesn’t need a very costly motor car, it certainly needn’t be new, and it need not be standard in any respect. In fact, he has the absolute minimum of regulations to take note of, and he can spend his money on timing his motor instead of building bodies, etc., to ‘conform to International standard rules. Not that these rules are not essential for standard car races, but these are out of reach of the impoverished amateur except in rare cases.

Hence the appeal of the hillclimb of which we have all too few. However, the Midland Automobile Club make the best of their event, and all roads will lead to Shelsley on the 5th. It’s a funny thing what an amazing fascination there is for

many of us in the pukka cycle car. This, strangely enough, does not seem to be so much a question of money, but simply of an instinctive liking for the primitive. I know a lot of drivers who travel from place to place in perfect comfort and utter boredom in the most modern of motors, and yet who will go into raptures over the crudest possible buck-board with unorthodox and inefficient transmission and an engine which ought to have been long ago relegated to the scrap heap. There is no doubt that there is something very attractive about constructing a vehicle, however ineffective it may prove to be, and there will always be some home-made efforts about, in spite of the general trend to standardise everything. What is more, there are few better ways of getting a knowledge of some of the ills to which an automobile is heir than to attempt to make or assemble one off one’s own bat.

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