Attractive 14 h.p. Car, capable of 70 m.p.h. and offering remarkable value for money at the price of £240.

THE last two years has seen a remarkable growth in the vogue of the open sports car, models of this type now appearing in increasing numbers on the programmes of many manufacturers whose chief energies are devoted to producing saloon cars for the general motoring public.

Such an instance can be found in the introduction of the ” Stratford ” open four seater on the 14 h.p. Vauxhall chassis. As will be seen from the illustration on this page, this new Vauxhall does not depend upon any radical departure from orthodox coachwork lines for its appeal. Rather has the aim of its designers been to provide a comfortable open 4 seater body which at the same time has a pleasing appearance founded on the accepted tradition of fast motor-cars.

The ” Stratford ” Vauxhall body is made by Whittingham and Mitchel, Ltd., of 126, New King’s Road, London, S.W.6, makers of the famous series of ” E.W.” and ” Daytona ” bodies on the Wolseley Hornet chassis. It is of the 2 door type, the rear seats being easily entered by tipping the front bucket-seats. Both in the front and in the rear compartments a thoroughly comfortable seating position has been obtained, and the wheelbase of the chassis allows ample leg room for the tallest passengers. In conformance with sports car practice, the steering wheel is well raked and comes nicely in the driver’s lap. This has been effected by dropping the column, and adding a 3 inch extension, the driving comfort being completed by means of a Bluemel ” Malcolm Campbell” steering wheel. The horn button is on a special arm below the steering wheel, and can be reached without taking one’s hands from the controls.

A longer bonnet than standard is used, and in conjunction with cut-away sides and a folding screen gives the car a handsome appearance. The tail of the car is of orthodox design, the hood being neatly enclosed in an envelope, and the spare wheel being carried on the rear panel. If desired, the wheel can be fitted on the running-board, and a luggage carrier provided at an extra charge of 25. Special attention has been paid to the problem of jacking the rear wheels, which can be accomplished without difficulty. A full length tonneau-cover, with Zipp fastener, is provided, so that the front seats can be kept dry in a shower without raising the hood. Well-fitting side curtains turn the car into a comfortable

and snug closed model.

The only model of this car available for a trial rim was not fully run-in at the time of writing, having only covered 300 miles. In a short run round the outskirts of London we were able to form some idea of the performance of the car on the road, and we were very favourably impressed with our experience. The 6 cylinder push rod o.h.v. engine is smooth and silent in operation, and the carburation is even throughout the range of the engine revolutions. First gear is

The new 14 h.p.” Stratford” Vauxhall Open 4-seater possesses clean, sporting lines. in the nature of an emergency ratio, and should be sufficient to cope with really steep gradients. Second is normally used for starting, while third (which is of the syncro-mesh pattern) gives lively acceleration in traffic, being on the low side. On top gear the car is responsive and accelerates quickly, thereby completing the allround performance of the car. Judging by the short distance in which 60 m.p.h. was reached we should say that the maker’s claims of a maximum of 70 m.p.h. would be more than amply fulfilled when the car is properly run-in. The steering is light, not too low geared, and positive. Our only criticism concerned the suspension, which while adequate for fast cornering at low speeds and good roads up to 50 m.p.h., was inclined to give the car

a pitching action on a bad road at more than this speed. Friction shock absorbers to supplement the existing hydraulic type would undoubtedly remedy this fault.

As soon as the car is. run-in we shall make an extended test of the machine, and the performance data then obtained will be published in a future issue of MOTOR SPORT. Not the least attraction of the ” Stratford ” Vauxhall is the remarkably low price, 2240. To produce a 6 cylinder, 70 m.p.h. sports touring car of only 214

tax, capable of carrying four adults in complete comfort, is an achievement which might very well rank as a landmark in motoring history.

For those who prefer a closed car, the “Aerodynamic Coupe” made on this chassis by Abbey Coachworks, Ltd., will be of interest. Features of this model are a sloping screen, with eddy-free front, and a sloping roof tapering in the rear to the base of the car, in conformance with the ideas of aerdynamic streamlining. In the middle of this fiat roof-cum-rear panel the spare wheel is fitted in a vertical position and covered with a neat casing in the form of a stabilising fin. This fin is optional. The design of the body provides plenty of luggage space behind the two bucket-seats, 2285 is the price asked for this model.