Rumblings, September 1940

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24

Patience

I DEEPLY sympathise with those youthful enthusiasts who were on the threshold of their motoring career when war broke out a year ago, and are now waiting to resume, with but few personal reminiscences to lighten the period of waiting. Our correspondence columns used to bear witness to the fun obtained by impecunious enthusiasts who ran very cheap cars to Donington, Shelsley-Walsh, Prescott and the other sporting venues, somewhat envious of the real fast stuff, but getting heaps of enjoyment from their own means of transport. Some of those really cheap cars seem to have given great service, and I have just read a letter from someone whose 1928 Riley Nine tourer cost him £8 in August, 1938, and which gave no terrible trouble in 6,000 miles, although driven flat out on the cheapest petrol and on sump drainings contributed from friend’s cars. Fifty to fifty-five m.p.h. was realised with a fuel consumption of 28 m.p.g. I wonder where this enthusiast is now!  The preparation on the evening prior to leaving for a sporting venue far distant, the early start with a cheery crew of sport-loving fellows and girls, and the successful conclusion late at night of a long day’s motoring and spectating was all very real fun, which thousands of us are longing to return to. Memories of such times, if they slightly depress, certainly make us resolve to “Keep At It” so that peace will return all the sooner, and make us read with great enjoyment of the successes of our R.A.F. which will do so much to hasten the end of hostilities. In the meantime, we must count ourselves very fortunate to be able to get in some ordinary motoring still. The limit of rather less than 200 miles a month isn’t really so bad now that spare-time for most of us is seriously curtailed on account of duty in the Services, or time devoted to work of national importance or defence. Even given a free day a week, there is a chance of two evening’s pottering, a day’s good motoring of 50 miles or so out and home, and a day devoted to working on the car, to pass the month away. With an annual mileage definitely restricted to 2,400, really cheap cars, carefully picked, are much less likely to give trouble or to demand new tyres than in peace-time, for they will be driven in much more leisurely fashion for only half and possibly a quarter of the mileage which the more optimistic enthusiasts used to demand of them in happier days. So I have no compunction about suggesting that there is nothing against the acquisition of cheap small cars as a means of relaxation, providing they are in reasonably road-worthy condition. Although secondhand prices are rising, in the case of really cheap cars they are getting lower, and one sees road-worthy Morris Minors and Austin Sevens for £10 that formerly cost over £20. There are, I know, some enthusiasts in the Services keen enough to forgo other pleasures if they can only go on motoring. Which is why we still give details from time to time of such cars in usable order that are going at breaker’s price . . . . The easier conditions of war-time motoring should suit the better-preserved of these cars very well, and, taking the proverbial fiver as a fair price, given luck, I am satisfied that motoring on basic rations might be had for as little as 15/- a week.

New World’s Records

The World’s 24 Hour Record has been broken by the American Ab. Jenkins, driving his Mormon Meteor at Utah. The new figure is 161.18 m.p.h., an improvement of 3.91 m.p.h. over the former figure, also established by Jenkins. In the course of his run, Jenkins altogether set up twenty new world’s figures, subject to confirmation, including the Hour, at 182.513 m.p.h., and the Twelve Hours at 170.21 m.p.h. After six hours, the salt-surface softened in the intense heat and the course was changed from the 12½-mile oval to the 11-mile circle, a change allowed under present rules. The latter circuit was lapped at 189 m.p.h., a local record. In all, the 750 h.p. Mormon ran 3,868.32 miles at timed speed. Jenkins’s co-driver was Cliff Bergere.

 

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