RUMBLINGS, September 1944




Lord Maugham, a former Lord Chancellor and ex-judge, stated in the House of Lords recently, during a debate on road accidents, Morbid that he confessed with some shame Maugham that he had on several occasions driven at over 100 m.p.h. on the public roads of England, that he thought such speed absolutely wrong, and that it should be stopped. He continued :

” It N true there was no accident in My ease, or I probably should not be here. The roads ought to be adapted to the traffic.

” As a lawyer, I admit that the law on motor-driven traffic is defective and should be amended.

“We ought to alter the law on the killing of an unfortunate pedestrian if it should turn out that the only possible person who can give evidence On the cause of the accident is the motorist.

” That cannot be right. Such a person gets off scot free. ” The law might well be amended to make it more difficult for people of that kind to go away leaving a person dead or dying in the read—a thing that occurs far too .often in this country.”‘ Lord Maugham also said that after the war many manufacturers will give us cars which will, with (E‘ase, do 120 m.p.h., and lots of young men will be perfect ly willing to drive at that speed. These comments on speed seem those of a gentleman to whom age and, perhaps, a failing memory can be attributed, for how, otherwise, could one Who has personally enjoyed rapid motoring express such opinions ? -We have been driven at 100 m.p:h. on suitable British roads in Bentley, Bugatti, and Mercedes-Benz cars, and at no time has an accident seemed even a remote possibility, nor has any other road or pavement user been in any way inconvenienced—most pedestrians who witnessed these good cars in full flight appeared, if anything, to register appreciative interest and good will. Lord Maugham should know that sound cars, properly handled, are far, far safer than indifferent cars casually driven, and that 100 m.p.h. is a speed unlikely ever to be attempted, far less achieved, by the latter combination. It is just possible that his lordship ‘did his 100-m.p.h. driving in a quite unsuitable:: sort of car, or that his driving ability doesnot permit him to handle any type of car safely at such speeds, but in this ease he would be well advised not to waste public time and money presenting a bogey based on personal experience. He should also endeavour to be the sportsman he Once was and not deny the pleasures of fast motoring (in suitable cars on suitable occasions) to young men who have spent their youth risking their lives defending their country. Lord Leathers must surely realise that very few manufacturers will build 720-m.p.h. cars after this war, and that very, very few persons will be able to afford the luxury of owning them—war has to be paid for, and we imagine, therefore, that he will join with us in dismissing Lord Maugham AS a morbid time-waster, who raises points obviously calling for no new legislation in the future. Incidentally, we thought this particular bogey was for ever laid to rest some years ago, when a court dismissed a dangerous driving charge on the grounds that the only complaint was one of exceeding 100 m.p.h. However, it is as well to observe that this debate, which was opened by

Lord Brabazon of Tara (whom we trust), produced Lord Huntingdon and his description of the Mexican driving test, all complete with medical examination and taking of finger-prints, and resulted in Lord Leathers saying that after the war the steps to be taken to reduce road accidents would include more searching driving tests and, it was hoped, a revival of police patrols. This country looks even less like being fit for heroes to live in than in 1918, when no one worried much, we believe, about the possibility of rear-braked ” 30/98 ” Vauxhalls exceeding 80 m.p.h. In the name of enthusiasm, write to the Press, write to your M.P., take whatever action you can on behalf of the motorist, for it is always, and eternally, the motorist who is blamed, accused, suspected and legisla ted for the total loss of life on the road—and lots of young men and women who have helped win this war for us (in 400+ m.p.h. aircraft and the like) will soon expect to be able to motor with peace of mind in something faster than a 40 m.p.h. tin box. From Harold Biggs come details of a C-type M.G. Midget which Owen Finch, who has a technical job with Rootes, has recently rebuilt as Another a sports car. The C-type was an 750-c.c. M.G. unblown model based on the original record-breaking M.G. Midget, and had the inlet and exhaust ports on the same side of the cylinder head, although some of these cars were subsequently fitted with J-type heads which had opposed ports. Finch’s car is chassis No. C.025, with engine No. B.30534, and is 4 in. shorter than the standard C-type. It was driven by A. R. Samuel and Ashton Rigby in the 1934 B.R.D.C. 500-Mile Race, but broke an oil pipe after 18 laps and retired. It then had a 2-seater body with the passenger’s seat faired over, an uncowled radiator, and a long knife-edged tail. Finch came into possession of this car in 1940 and proceeded to completely strip it . down. The engine had a “Magic Midget” type crankshaft, polished ports and a Scintilla type VM4 magneto. A super:charger had at one time been driven from the nose of the crankshaft, but this had subsequently been removed. On the radiator stay-mounting was fitted a Tecalemit oil cooler and filter, and fuel feed was by Autopulse pump. The gearbox was a type 2114 E.N.V. crash change job. All the engine oil pipes were external and of considerable diameter and, although the float-controlled reserve oil supply was provided, it was not used. The shock-absorbers were Hartford triple-blade, and those at the rear were drivercontrolled via Bowden cables. The brake drums had

a diameter of approximately 13 in., and the liberallydrilled back’plates had light-gauze aluminium-alloy covers. The radiator was mounted 1 in. lower than that of a J2 M.G. Midget and had a stoneguard. Finch rebuilt the engine and chassis and, acquiring a crashed J2 M.G. formerly owned by George Symonds, fitted its rear tank and, after shortening it 4 in., the body, to the C-type. He also fitted the J2 inlet manifold with its two S.U. carburetters and made up a Bugattipattern unclerbonnet exhaust manifold. The completed car has been cellulosed black, with crimson hick upholstery, and it must be very potent indeed as a road car. Finch is now contemplating blowing the car again, possibly using the Type 75 Marshall supercharger from Biggs’s trials Austin Seven. Clayton’s Amilcar Six awaits better times in a South London garage, and O’Boyle’s Alta, with i.f.s., is stored not far away. In America Ab. Jen Odd Spots kins has converted his Mormon Meteor into a sports car, and he is reported to have in hand a new land-speed record car which he hopes will achieve 400 m.p.h. The Midland Motoring Enthusiasts’ Club continues its successful

monthly meetings. “