RUMBLINGS, September 1937
The Noise Nuisance
Local inhabitants are wont to complain of unusual noises that they do not like and which they think ought to be stopped. Sometimes they have reason, and sometimes not. I believe that the Crystal Palace road-circuit would gain increased revenue if it were to be opened every week-day for testing and practice, as is the case at Brooklands. But as soon as racing commenced at the London road-circuit complaints were circulated from residents of neighbouring houses about the noise nuisance, and we believe that these complaints, while they have, very fortunately, not had any effect on Mr. Edwards’s racing programmes, may have had quite a lot to do with the long periods of enforced inactivity at Sydenham. Naturally, all motoring enthusiasts will sympathise with the RoadRacing Club, but sympathy is not a cure. Brooklands opened in July 1907 and racing and testing went on regularly, Sundays included, until August 1914. Motor work was resumed in May 1921, and yet it was not until the middle of the 1924 season that residents in the Weybridge district lodged their complaint against the noise nuisance which led to the enforcement of official expansion-boxes on all racing motor-cycles and cars using the Track— after straight-through exhausts had been permitted for seventeen years. The strike of motor-cycle riders which greeted this enforcement was only a temporary distress, but I wonder how much revenue Brooklands has forfeited because recordbreakers went to Montlhery and how much prestige British cars have lost on account of this silencer ruling ? When the official silencer was originally imposed it was estimated to dock a car of five or even ten m.p.h. of its maximum speed and, apart from this important consideration, it is quite impossible to estimate the number of buckled exhaust valves that have fallen onto pistons, the number of overheated pistons and, indeed, the divers retirements that must be attributed to exhaust back-pressure set up by Brooklands official expansion-boxes during the thirteen seasons they have been in use. It may be that the rising rate of racing engine operation, on account of the rapid development of the small car, was to blame in 1924 for evoking action on the part of householders over a noise that is sweet music to you and me. The
fact is there was a fuss, in spite of most of the householders having taken up residence after 1907, when Brooklands opened. Silencers were enforced, though 1,000 h.p. R.A.F. aircraft still shatter the peace of Weybridge and Byffeet inhabitants, unmolested. People’ living near Croydon Aerodrome complain, folk living by R.A.F. stations fret and fume, and have to grin and bear things or get out. But no Government will ever realise the value to prestige and research of motorracing, and consequently we advise Mr. Edwards to watch very carefully the manifestations of these Sydenharn residents who have delicate ears. It would seem that at all events they have a stronger case than the noise-nagged householders of Weybridge. After which solid observation let us recall the sporting action of a racing-driver who brought his 1 h-litre Delage from afar, very keen to run it at a Chalfont hill-climb, when, hearing that the racing was proving bad for a near-by invalid, and knowing his car to be the noisiest present, he declined his runs . . .
Although America has eaten eagerly into our Australian market, news is to hand that the Chief Commissioner of Police in the State of Victoria has chosen three 4.3-litre Alvis cars for high-speed patrol work. Which reminds one that one of the most striking of the 1938 sports-cars so far announced is the new short-chassis 4.3-litre Alvis.
British enthusiasts have a decided weakness for really big-engined cars and at the last show the 4.3litre Alvis was hailed as a welcome new-comer. In closed form it would do 92 m.p.h. Now we are offered the special short-chassis sports tourer, priced at 1,995. The 4.3-litre chassis has improved suspension, better brakes, increased cooling and a quieter exhaust system for next season. It should be a remarkable proposition for enthusiastic sportsmen.
The 1938 Models
Apart from the new Alvis just mentioned, very few new sports-cars have yet been released to intrigue fast drivers into parting with their existing cars. But we expect that this year’s show at the new Earl’s Court will hold plenty of interest to enthusiasts. Years ago the sports-car was so far removed from the utility car that developments and innovations in the latter category were of little moment to those who thought only in terms of speed and acceleration. To-day the position is very different. For one thing, competition work no longer necessarily involves an incursion into the realm of the racing -car. Clubs cater for the owners of normal, even closed, motor-cars, so that the circle of sportsmen is much larger than it once was. Then the utility car itself has taken on much of the driving appeal of its more rapid brethren. Perhaps this is hardly the case with the very cheapest ” just transport” cars, but it very definitely does apply to the growing range of semi-sporting cars, with low-slung frames, remote gear-control, good seating positions, lively engines, and smart coachwork, of which M.G., Riley, S.S., British-Salmson, Rover, Triumph and Talbot list representative examples. The point-to-point average speed, the convenience, and the dependability of such cars combine to render them extremely desirable possessions. Then there are other cars, still not exactly sports-cars, that possess high performance, driving appeal and the individuality which higher price commands, like the Lancia Aprilia, Frazer-NashB.M.W., A.C.,• Daimler, Alvis, Armstrong-Siddeley,
Antovia, and Hotchkiss. So that there are really very few stands at the Show which will not appeal, even though only nineteen of them can be said to bear the names of truly sporting marques. These nineteen stands, where true sports-cars will be shown, apart from other models, are those to which readers of this paper would go naturally if they had very limited time in which to see the exhibits. They comprise: Morgan, Railton, A.C., S.S., M.G., Talbot, Alvis, Riley, Rolls-Royce. Delahaye, Aston-Martin, B.S.A., Bentley, Lagonda, Mercedes-Benz, FrazerNash-B.M.W., Lancia, British-Salmson and Bugatti. Their order is that in which they would be seen by entering at the main entrance, walking to the right of the first row and then walking along a diagonal line of stands and back along the next.
Bravo, G. P. H.-N.
G. P. Harvey-Noble put in continual, almost daily practice at Brooklands with his special-bodied supercharged 746 c.c. M.G. Midget, before going out on August 6th and officially capturing the Class H outercircuit lap-record at 122.4 m.p.h. The previous holder was Charlie Dodson (Austin) at 121.2 m.p.h. HarveyNoble should be a useful driver for the B.R.D.C. ” 500,” for he must know the outer-circuit intimately. And those who scoff at the thought of Brooklands driving should recall how much Parry Thomas’s success was attributed to his constant practice ” round the outside.” Other activities at Brooklands have included a prolonged oil-consumption test conducted by the Rover people with one of their 1938 Twelves and other consumption tests with a Vauxhall. We should be sadder and less wise men without the Weybridge Track.
About three weeks ago Capt. G. E. T. Eyston left this country to take a look at the Utah salt-lake
course, preparatory to attempting to reach at least 350 m.p.h. thereon with his new six-wheeled twentyfour cylinder 4,800 h.p. record-breaker. Few attempts on the ” Land Speed Record ” have been kept so quiet as this latest venture of Eyston’s. Some years ago it was the correct thing for onlookers in racing circles to gently remind the active members of our community that it is better to do the deed first and seek fame and fortune afterwards than to reverse this order of things. Applied to starting money in racing this doctrine is not so logical ! However, the fact remains that Capt. Eyston has said almost “nothing to no one” about the biggest exploit he has yet tackled, so that we all wish him sportsmen’s luck at Utah and we shall all be able to sympathise readily if for any reason his new car—as yet, still unnamed—does not realise the aimed-at speed on its initial attempts. Good luck, Sir !
Gear-changing has always been one of the factors in car-driving over which the enthusiast has been proud to display a finesse above that of the ordinary car-owner. Or, at least, that was the state of things until the arrival in perfected, commercialised form of the Wilson pre-selector aroused gearbox designs to greater efforts and synchro-mesh became universal. Far be it from me to suggest that this form of change is unwanted on sports-type cars. For do not Bentley, Alvis, Lagonda, M.G., and the rest of the best make use of it ? Yet the fact remains that some synchromesh systems will not permit of double-declutching changes, others only give slow changes and cannot be hurried, others work at times and not at others, and very many have a tendency to stick in one position of the lever. And even when double declutching is possible, there is no indication whether more work is not being imposed on the friction-clutch-mechanism than is the case by just making a straight-through change. A driver who does not profess to be an expert rather put the matter in a nutshell, I thought, when he said that while he often thanks his stars for synchro-mesh when he has it, somehow he always
seems to manage a rapid change-down with a plain box when occasion arises. Incidentally, which do you consider the world’s most tricky gear-change ? My friends seem to vote about equally for Leyland lorry (circa 1920), Bean and early sports Lagonda. It is interesting that those modern manufacturers who hani their clients the compliment of giving them plain gearboxes comprise Bugatti, B.S.A., Bianchi, Lancia and H.R.G.
We understand that there will be coming over from Germany, teams from both Mercedes-Benz and AutoUnion for the Donington Grand Prix on October 2nd.
We presume that the Mercedes-Benz team will be piloted by Seaman, Caracciola, Lang and Von Branchitsch and Auto-Union by Rosemeyer, Stuck and Hasse.
Billy Cotton has acquired Manby-Colegrave’s E.R.A.–the ex-Seaman car. Humphreys now has Fairfield’s E.R.A. with both the 1,100 c.c. and 11-litre engines. H. P. Bowler asks us to correct the statement made in the July issue that he is building the Bowler-Hof manSpecial. This Bentley engined, outer-circuit type car is actually a child of Edward Bowler of Messrs. E. Bowler and Co. of Alperton. Harry Bowler has no
connection with them, although, curiously enough, his 3-litre Bentley is prepared by them for racing. This Bentley is regularly used on the road in the ordinary way between races.
The Vintage S.C.C. will hold a Rally on September 19th. A big gathering of interesting cars is expected, and doubtless some enthralling adventures will be had by some of the participants. * *
We hear many expressions of appreciation of presentday Germany. Forrest Lycett, writing before returning for a holiday there, says he is going back because he has just come from Germany and had such a good time. He adds : “The Germans are extraordinarily affable. The Frankfurt-Heidelberg Autobahn is a wonderful road and makes quite fast cars appear slow.”
H. G. Symmons, well known in competition at the wheel of Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. cars, has ordered an Allard Special V8 similar to that described in MOTOR SPORT in the July issue.
The Horton-Special has turned up again. It ran at the Bristol Hill-Climb as Borborygmus (medical term for a belly-rumble). It has an Alta engine.