CARS I HAVE OWNED
IA rather shorter than usual, but nevertheless interesting, contribution by the well-known driver, M. P. Terbosch.–Edd
MY initiation to motoring took place (luring the summer of 1929 when, with a cousin, I learnt. to drive 111C fannly car, a ” 10/15 ” Fiat. We had sonic hair-raising experienves MI this 4?1(1 car, but. I remember its pulling pow ( is and a bottom gear which seemed as a it ‘voutd 8i1T11101111t all Nd !ling. The lirst. car I owned (and it xyas the forerunner rd eonsiderable experience on the make) was an Austin Seven Stadium model. I hail much fun camping out. one sin-miter (with plenty of rain !) ir. Dever’ and Cornwall and having my first glimpse of sonic trials hills. I forget when [was first bitten by the trials fever, but With my next car, an Ulster Austin Seven (and I think one of the finest jobs turned out—I should say definitely the finest at the price), I joined the M.C.C. and competed in the ” lands End ” and other trials, with satisfactory resuIts•
The following year, 1932, with the same car, I was more ambitious and discarded the standard -wings for cycle-type, tuned the engine, and ran in one or two Brooklands events—without any success, but with a great deal of enjoyment. I well remember a Brooklands Meeting one lovely summer day with George Chaplin as my mechanic, followed by it hurried reassembly of the wings, lights, etc., to compete, about twelve hours later, by moonlight, in the Brighton-Beer Trial. Those were great days ! With an urge for something a little faster, a ” .12 ” M.G. Midget was bought, because it calla. omit with a flourish–.” The Antiwar ” Road Test giving a maximum Of 80 in.p.h.—and a very iiretty body and hie petrol tank, etc., combining to deceive me and others, friends of mine, who were equally distressed to find their cars would only (10 about 70 ! [The car tested had, we believe, it higher compression ratio than the productit)U cars.–Ed.]
Next I turned to a Singer Nine sports four-seater, with which I obtained :,-everal P.A.s, and an introduction to the 11.A a’. Rally, and to the Donington road circuit , and a great deal of fun—a very reliable car.
A Hillman ” Aero-Minx ” streamline saloon was run in the London-Gloucester in the winter of 1933/34 and attraeted a gooI deal of attention in an easy climb of Nailsworth Ladder ; the workmanlike chassis and willing engine inspired the wri t or, who had then joined the Trade, to build a special Minx—with alloy head, Scintilla magneto, Hartford shoek-absorhers, and lighter-than-standard body, resulting in—among other :LehievemeT 1 t s —an average of 70.29 m.p.h. in the M.C.C. one hour High Speed Trial. I think this car obtained four premier awards. At the 1934 Show a most attractive exhibit was a Fiat Balilla ” Mille Miglia ” twc,_seater, with which Dudley Froy drove very uncomfortably round the Ahmetain circuit at Brooklands for 1,000 miles. I drove this particular car in the Cohnore Trophy, but found that the gears and NveifItit -dist libation were not ideal -for mud-slinging. In the .I.C.C. Members’ Rally, however, the little car was it: its element in the figure-eight tc,t —with tyres screaming and much wheel Winding ; and I was told afterwards it looked one of the best in this particular test. I had the seCond car to be delivered in this country, and after a hurried running-in perind the Scottish Rally was entered by Way of the London-Edinburgh, but the car was new to do well, and there had not been any time for prepara
tion. The High Speed Trial was another story ; the little car made light of the artificial corners and the way it handled was a very pleasant experience. With the co-operation of the Fiat Company, who showed us always the greatest, kindness, two other private owners and I chtered for the L.C.C. Relay Roce at Brooklands and alter a great drive our team finished fifth. My car did the fastest lap, at 83.5 m.p.h., which I think was a very creditable speed, especially as nearly all the laps were near this figm.c. The
following winter was spent in getting more speed from the engine, which, on liroking back, I think was a mistake. A 7,oller compressor was fitted and nitwit experimental work done, including raising the compression ratio. When the plugs were all firing together, which was not. often because of the high boost and oiling-up prevalenees, the car went very well and the best performance was first place in the 1,500 c.c. Super-Sports class at Lewes. The acceleration was somewhere in the order of 0-50 m.p.h. in eight seconds. Diming-ton was the scene of some exciting lappery, but the handicap was too unfavourable. I fell now–February, 1938—for a Type 230 Mercedes Benz cabriolet, which I am still running at the present time, having done over 28,000 miles. Cr time Mercedes as a genet al purpose car I eine nit
speak too highly. It Ns ill glide along in town silently and comfortably, ard on the open road you can put. it into corners quite fast with confidence. It has a very wellmade drop-head and I have (-tone long distances on the Continent W Khoo t holing any strain, due to the excellence of the independent svringirw and silent engin( . I regret it. is not a sports car, but one has to make concessions to our climate and the other sex. On one occasion a second visit was paid to the Nurburg Ring to see the late 1)i.,k Seaman win the Grand Prix ; a very fine show indeed, which the writer considers himself very privileged to have seen. The freed for a handy little runabout as well has been filled by a 500 e.c. Fiat, which, considering its size, is a pleasure to drive ; and, beeause it could be bought cficaply, by an A .C. t i 0-seater (.0111)0 which was lc use last year for a few months—its hard springing reminding the writer of sports cars handled in the past,
and making an ii let comparison between the relative merits of independent springing and” ILL Word shock-absorber ” type springing, on which note I ant concluding this article.
For teials work and other competitions I should say hard sininging is ideal, but for general purposes give me independent springing, which seems to eornbine towrcarriage comfort with fast cornering and smooth riding over rough roods. Of the several types Of independent springing which I have tried, the Type 230 Mercedes seems the best, and in addition to the B.M.W. and Fiat 500 mentioned above, I have handled Lancia ” Aprilia,” Citroen, and Renault Eight., with independent springing.