BEFORE THE ERA OF LITTLE TIN BOXES
Individuality as against Standardisation
NCE upon a time, before the populatiou of this island began to motor in a big and ever-increasing manner, even ordinary, mundane economy cars had an individuality all their own. Now,
at a time when the long arm of bureaucracy reaches out in our midst and the most exciting newspaper headlines for a long while are those announcing a million fabricated homes, all exactly the same, for post-war workers, it does one a bit Of good to ponder on what is past. Because the technical characteristics of sports cars are well known and because, here, performance enters into the argument, as it were, obscuring the issue by reason of the fact that a plain design full of urge appeals eqtially, or More so, than a coniplicated technique unable to skin the pudding, we will confine ourselves to very ordinary litt le motor ears indeed. We will, because the Editor is in that Mood, consider the cars of twenty-two years ago. And we shall, it is to be expected, be quite a little intrigued, perhaps even a little sorrowful, as we slam the door of our modern metal box and purr in undistinguished standarilisation to the 325th Home Guard parade.
Ah, yes ! We are at the Paris Salon in October of 1922, and we cannot well help noticing the technical ingenuity which, as the saying is, confronts the gaze. Using a solid rear axle, the M.A.S.E., for instance, makes do with a single brake drum set against the near side of the drive casing, and we get an even profounder shock when we look at the back end of the Astatic, for a De Dion drive with fabric-jointed shafts is used, the axle ends being carried on bell cranks and sprung by coil springs within cylinders lying inside the chassis Side-members, the brake being on the propeller shaft. The Dalila goes still further, having rods for attachment of axles to chassis, and only two springs, an inverted 1-elliptie at either side, coupled up to said rods. Even at this era Mathis have a 1,100-e.e. Six on view, the lan of which is positivelydriven from the forward end of the o.h. camshaft ; on the 4-cylinder Mathis the fan is on an extension of the armature of the positively-driven dynamo. On the Aries the starting handle engages the front of the oh. camshaft, so gaining a geared-up effect, and the Benjamin has neat planetary reduction gear in the steering. The Jancmian has a watercooled V-twin engine set motor-cycle fashion at the rear of a very narrow chassis, with an immense Rolls-Boyeeshape radiator beside it, a water pipe dropping from the header tank to each pot ! The Exau has a square-section front axle with a safet y bracket .above it in case the 1-elliptic spring should break. Let us recross the Channel and consider what British concerns are doing in preparation for the 1923 season. The Gwynne Eight has appeared, with its gearbox tarried on the torque tube, a layout favoured also by the V-twin Stoneleigh, Crouch, Marseal, and E.H.P. Dynamos, too, are ceasing to rely on whittle-belting for a drive, and positively driven examples appear on the Rhode, on which the dynamo and magneto form ” V ” at the front of the o.h. camshaft, on the Jowett, Austin Seven, sleeve-valve 10-h.p. Panhard, Riley Twelve, 1
7.5 Citroen, Peugeot Quad, Mat his and Swift Ten, the last two having dynamos driven from the nose of their crankshafts, with starting handle dogs therein, a la Bugatti. As to engines, some exciting. new Snail fours have appeared, notably the 2-1in. X 3 in. 696-c.c. Austin, the 50 x 70 mm. 600-c.c. Mathis, the Ricardodesigned 8-h .p. Angus-Sanderson, with forward swept exhaust off-take, and the Webb with very adequate-looking thermosyphon cooling arrangements. The Whitlock remains faithful to 1-elliptie rear susiwnsion, while the Webb has one I -elliptic above the other on each side, both front and rear. Let us go to Olympia and White City for a peer round.
The Ashby has a half-bevel and pinion steering reduction gear, uneased and carried on a single bracket, which also provides bearings for the shafts. The Calthorpe sports an electric horn on its detachable water outlet head, and the little 58 X 100 mm. Charron a eubby hole in its running board valance. The new sleeve-valve B.S.A. has an induction hotspot comprising interleaved flanges on exhaust, and inlet pipes, as had the Powerplus engines of later Prazer-NaJles. The sports Anzani-engined Elitield-Allckly has two ventilators on its scuttle, one serving as a mouthpiece for the horn, while the Derby uses deep ribs along its exhaust box, described by the Press of the day as a ” noteworthy refinement.” fhe G.N. has become a water-cooled ” four,” although the radiator is not that of the 1-cylinder chain-drive example seen in Paris and from which one wouhl not be surprised if Godfrey got his idea for the lines of the 11.11.G. radiator. The chit ns, alas, have gone, in favour of a constantmesh, dog-eluteli 3-speed gearbox. G.W. K. and Unit still offer friction-drive, however. Tine Jowett has its silencer mounted transversely across the chassis, the Alm-seal dynamo is adjustable for belt-tension by turning a big hand wheel, and the Meteorite has an elaborate system of rods to compensate its rear-wheel brakes. The 8.3 Renault has a very pre1914 look still, because the behind-themachinery radiator has not yet come flush with the bonnet sides, and Peugeot has redesigned the Quadrilette with equal track front and back, the 668-c.c. L-head engine driving to a minute 3-speed box on the worm-driven back axle.
The Princess has a V-twin engine in unit with the gearbox, the layshaft of which is also the camshaft, while the R.T.C. has a square-seetion hollow-front axle. The Standard Eight, with curiously low radiator, is not an eight at all, being rated at 10 h.p., and a luxury small car is the R.450 Straker-Squire. The Surrey has an unusual casting coupling the bottom water pipe to the radiator. Talbot has a push-rod six of 58 x 98 mm. on view, and to get at the works of the Tamplin cycle-car you calmly hinge-up the bonnet and ” header tank ” of the dummy radiator. The Turner has a cupheaded . gate-extension protruding from its gearbox, and the Westcar an adjustable accelerator. The Horstman has a cockpit kick-starter, turning the Anzani engine through it very coarse-thread worm OR the clutch shaft, while the Albert has an ingenious toothed segment on the clutch pedal to give instantaneous adjustment. The flat-twin water-cooled Arid l has a cumbersome arrangement of framework acting as clutch withdrawal, and I seaFrancis offers it model with 700-c.c. Bradshaw oil-cooled flat-twin engine like that in the Belsize Bradshaw, and another 8.9-h.p. 4-cylinder model, with ribbed cover for the normal push-rod o.h.v. Coventry-Simplex engine, both cars designed by Alderson.
The 7.5 Citroen had its starter motor within an engine bearer, and Salinson mystified people liv operating eight inclined o.h. valves with Jour push-rods, although the new o.h. camshaft engine had also appeared. The (inky has a stay from the dash to steady the steering column, and the Crouch, with V-twin water-cooled o.h.V. engine having curious sleeve-like valve covers to conform to the cylinder barrels, had double 1-elliptic front springs and curious, trailing T-head still) axles. The Tem perino actually has 1-elliptic suspension at the front and a vertical-twirl engine enclosed in an immense dish-cover and air-cooled by a turbine fan. All this happened at a time when the ” 30/98 ” Vauxhall was midisputed king of the road, befOre the 200-Mile Race had been won at over 100 m.p.h., before the wonderful lit tic Ansi in Seven had sent
the evele-car proper to its anal when the fastest speed attained by a car was a mere 120 m.p.h., the driver being .a gallant gentleman called K. Lee Guinness, and his mount the V12 181-litre Sunbeam, unleastwd on Brook lands. Direction indie:0-1)rs, synchro-mesh, umbrella-handle brakes, radiator ” birdeages,” automatic ign it ion advance, self-adjusting tappets. . Bah ! ••••••••••••••••••••••••• ••••••••••• • ••••••••••••••••••••••••• ••••••••••• • LORD NUFFIELD’S RIVAL
An observant small boy, asked who was the greatest maker of ears, replied, “Max Speed.”—Daily Telegraph.