LETTERS from READERS, September 1944

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LETTERS from READERS

Sir,

In your August number, Mr. Clutton accuses me of having criticised a particular make of foreign car in “a recent public utterance.” I am sorry to have annoyed Mr. Clutton, but I cannot trace ever having mentioned this machine in any article or talk I have given. After prolonged cogitation, it occurs to me that Mr. Clutton must be referring to my description of a friend’s car as being foreign, having one carburetter and 16 sparking plugs. Now I have ridden in three different makes of car to which that vague specification applies, and know of at least as many more, so why Mr. Clutton should assume that I was referring to his particular pet I just cannot imagine. If I had mentioned that the 16 sparking plugs were on the wrong side of the head, or that the exhaust valves employed cast iron instead of liquid as a coolant, identification would have been easier. But, stay,

I did give one more clue to the species of the vehicle, because I said that it was “a very bad car.” In the same article it is suggested that there is something humorous about an 8-cylinder car with four carburetters. I have experienced the effects of fitting four carburetters to several straight-eights, which were as follows :

(1) An appreciable power increase at high engine speed.

(2) A considerable improvement in fuel economy.

(3) Immediate development of full power without fiat spots after starting from cold.

(4) An increase in noise at full throttle, coupled with a difficulty ih finding room for adequate silencing arrangements under the average bonnet.

I am, Yours, etc.’

Wrotham, Jouis: BOLSTER. Kent. [Please, Mr. Bolster, put an Editor exiled from his works of reference out of his misery—tell him the six or more makes which use one carburetter and 16 plugs !—ED.] Sir,

It was very good of you to reply so promptly about the ex-Wakefield Maserati, as I know that your time must be more than fully taken up at present.

I shall certainly write to T. and T.’s for any information which they can supply.

The Maserati has now been completely stripped and is at present in a city repair shop, where it (the frame) will be duly straightened when time allows. I found that the frame was quite badly twisted, but as it is such a straightforward design, it should be possible to achieve quite good results without any chassis measurements. The off-side torsion bar, which had been about one inch out of line ever since the crash, returned to normal as soon as it

was unbolted. This seems to show that “our allies” used good material in their pre-war products !

The two most serious results of the accident so far discovered are a broken ball-race in one front hub and a bent back axle housing caused by a nonstandard connection with the chassis side members. Of the eight wheels (four 17-in, and four 16-in.) five are undamaged and two worthy of repair. The eighth will supply a spare hub and a few spokes ! One rear brake drum and brake support plate are badly damaged, but, fortunately, the gentleman who brought it to Australia bought new replacements when passing through Italy. Ile also bought several other useful but less essential replacements.

I am enclosing a photograph of the car as it appeared when the sides and top of the packing case had been removed. This may be of some interest to you. (The ” power-cycle ” in the background is not mine !) If my memory serves me rightly the serial number I quoted in my previous letter was incorrect. It should have been 1546 not 1560. The present stable, incidentally, consists of a 1924 Straker-Squire 20-h.p. tourer, which has lately been fitted with a 1926 Chrysler 4-cylinder motor owing to the sad demise of the original. The present ” hack ” is a 1936 S.S. ” Jaguar ” 2i-litre, which provides some interesting but not altogether trouble-free motoring

on the present inadequate (but we do get some !) monthly ration of “propulsion spirit.” Number three is a 1914 Buick, which my brother is rebuilding with a view to post-war “veteran rallies.” Last, but far from least, is the Maserati.

I will not take up more of your valuable time, but would like to thank you on behalf of all S.A. enthusiasts, for keeping MOTOR SPORT going, and also for your promise to put something in the March issue re my search for Maserati spares. I am, Yours, etc., KENNETH BROOKS. Adelaide,

S. Australia. Sir,

This is somewhat of a strange request when one considers I’m quite a long way away from the realms of “Le Sport.” The fact is I’m desirous of acquiring one of the following motors—an L-type M.G. Magna, N-type M.G. Magnette, and a ” Brooklands ” Riley Nine. The first two you will no doubt frown upon, being nothing more or less than “buzz-boxes.” However, to offer an explanation—condition is immaterial, just so long as chassis and transmission are intact. I don’t mind terribly if the ” works ” are missing, as I intend to fit an alternative engine anyway —an A.C. Six to be precise. By the way, this doesn’t apply to the Riley.

If by chance you can help me, arrangements financially can be made through my esteemed parent, R. H. P. Beaumant, 40, Norbury Close, Green Lane, London, S.W.16 (‘Phone : Pollards 2864).

I still manage to preserve some semblance of sanity as MOTOR SPORT still continues to arrive at fairly frequent intervals—although May and June copies have not as yet reached me. Motoring is almost non-existent for Service people here, although I have seen a particularly stark ” 4t ” Bentley driven with great verve by an Army captain, and a “2.3” Alfa, horribly rough, in the hands of an Anglo-Indian. For myself, I have acquired a 1922 A.B.C., which hasn’t motored for a long, long time owing to a somewhat washed-up cross shaft. However, we have hopes in the near future.

Thanking you in anticipation. I am. Yours, etc.,

R. R. H. BEA-MIA/4T.

India.

Sir.

We had not intended to make any public statement about the Gordano so soon, but after your friendly paragraph in MOTOR SPORT, may we offer some comments on the points mentioned there, and also give some account of our aims ?

The suspension, as you say, has something in common with the Lancia, layout, but it also embodies the Dubonnet feature of having the whale of the steering linkage sprung.

We did consider fitting a single driving lamp, but have decided that, as filaments do still sometimes break, it would be much safer to have two. Price is an important point. We regard £800 (in pre-war values) as a rough dividing line between those who have a reasonable choice and the impecunious enthusiasts Or deserving poor ! These are the people for whom we are designing

the car. It is no good producing an enthusiast’s car which only one enthusiast in a thousand can afford to buy, and we intend to keep the price below the postwar equivalent of £800 if we possibly can.

The Donington ” model has not been considered in detail yet, but we fear it is not likely to be cheaper than the standard sports 2-seater. The money saved by making the car more stark will be spent on developing it for road racing. Incidentally, the seat in the tail of the standard sports model is a ” dickey ” and the normal crew will be only two. As for our general aims, we have

already said that we are designing for the impecunious enthusiast. Accordingly, the car is intended to be up to normal standards of comfort and convenience for daily hack motoring, but to be at its best in long, fast journeys, and in the sports-car classes at sprints and minor road races. Moreover, we share the enthusiast’s liking for a sound engineering job and his dislike of shoddiness covered up with tin; so we are trying to make the car really satisfying to contemplate and work upon. The general conception of the car is

based on current road-racing practice, from which it borrows a very low centre of gravity, stiff frame, soft, independent suspension, low unsprung weight and clean semi-streamlined form. It will have the vintage features of high gear ratios and high-geared steering. Accessibility is receiving special attention, and weightsaving very special attention indeed, since it brings so many blessings in its train.

We believe there is a very definite demand for such a car among enthusiasts, and eagerly look forward to the time when we can make more rapid progress than is possible at present.

R. R. Jackson, who needs no introduction, has now joined us in the preparation of this undertaking. I am, Yours, etc., For the Gordano Motor Company, Ltd., R. I). CiESAR (Director). Clapton-in-Gordano,

Somerset. Sir,

I was very interested to see in the May issue that you have been informed that Wing-Cdr. Evans is reputed to have bought the 0.E.44″30/98 “Vauxhall from me. I do not know how this has come to your ears, but there seems to be a slight mistake somewhere. I bought the car at a local house auction, where it had been stored in the garage some 12-15 years and had never been used.

Unfortunately, at the time I had no room to keep the car, and due to many other misfortunes, I foolishly took the first offer I got for it. I sold it to a local enthusiast, or reputed enthusiast. I am very glad someone who really understands and appreciates this car has now got hold of it and is prepared to fit it up with front brakes, etc., as this car is in most remarkable condition. I understand that the car was bought brand new by the people in Hale (near Altrincham) in 1923, and was run as a family car until 1929, when the old man sent the car back to the works to have it completely reconditioned. I understand from the son, who is now a man of about

50, that the reconditioning was absolutely complete, including engine overhaul and renewal of all inside leather work and seats, repaint, etc. The car was then run for a matter of only 400-500 miles, when the elderly owner died and his wife put the car in the garage, where it was left carefully covered up until I bought it.

It is even more remarkable when I can honestly state that when a 12-volt battery was put in, and the tank contained two gallons, the car started on the second pull of the starter without even taking the trouble to examine the plugs, points or anything. I then pumped all the tyres, but two of the six were not pumpable, and we had a spin round the local countryside. The car simply would not wind up beyond 2,000 revs., so I bought new plug wires, and after fitting these in the engine ran nearly perfectly. It was driven away by the person I sold it to, under its own power, to Manchester (about 10 miles). It seenis the only fault on this fine old car was the brakes, which, to say the least, were pathetic.

At the moment I am just completing the rebuild of a 1933 Wolseley Hornet ” Special ” which I picked up in an extremely good mechanical condition, but rather rough round the body work. I am afraid this is not the kind of car which suits me, but it runs extremely well and winds up to over 5,000 r.p.m. without much trouble. How long it will last being pushed around at this pace I do not know, but this car seems to have the same troubles that most of these Wolseley Hornets have. It does not steer very well, though the Telecontrol shock-absorbers fitted to it probably improve its roadholding.

You may remember from my previous letters to you that my heart is set on a Frazer-Nash, but round this district there seems very little available in that line and, unfortunately, bags and bags of money seem to be needed to buy anything worth while. I recently visited Kenneth Neve, of Lymn, where he has the T.T. Humber and a very nice short-chassis 4i-litre Bentley, to which he is fitting turned-over mudguards of the Le Malts style. In what spare time he has he is rebuilding a 1933 or 1934 T.T. Rep. Frazer-Nash, but, unfortunately, has not made much progress with it over the last year. I keep trying to urge him to get something done

so that I can buy it from him when finished, as he does not want to part with it as it is now.

I am sorry that I cannot contribute any interesting article or correspondence to assist you in running the MoTon SPORT. If I do manage to find time to write anything worth while, I will do my best.

Here’s to the not too distant future— we hope—when our cars may be on the road again. I am, Yours, etc.,

J. R. NORYIANTON. Hale,

Cheshire. Sir, I have read with much interest the letter from Mr. Eric Richter concerning Murray jarnieson’s career. First of all I would like to say that Murray Jamieson had no greater admirer than myself, and during the years he was connected with Raymond Mays I was fortunate enough to come into contact with him a great

deal. Whilst mentioning this matter, I should also like to say that Raymond Mays, I know, had the greatest possible admiration for him and looked upon him as a good and true friend. Apparently the remarks in my letter misconstrued to some people exactly what I wished to convey. I know of Murray Jamieson’s qualifications throughout his earlier career, but what I was trying to convey in my letter is the fact that Amherst ‘Villiers, Murray Jamieson, and Peter Berthon, to a very great extent,

owed their association and specialised work in connection with motor racing to Raymond Mays. It should here be noted that Raymond Mays entirely started Amherst Villiers on his motor-racing interests and career as early as 1921, when Raymond Mays started motor racing, and when both of them were at Cambridge University. Many years of experimental and development work were spent on Raymond Mays’s Hillman, Bugatti, supercharged A.C., etc., before Murray Jamieson joined Amherst Villiers, and I feel perfectly justified in standing up to my original statement that all three of the people mentioned owe a great deal of their success to the oppor

tunities and associations, direct and indirect, which they had with Raymond Mays.

I do not know if it was Murray Jamieson.’s original intention to make a name in the motor-racing world, but I do think Mr. Richter will agree that it was during his association with Amherst Villiers and Raymond Mays that he was enabled to put his experience to the test.

I am sure it would give the greatest possible pleasure to all readers of MOTOR SPORT if Mr. Richter could find time to write the life of Murray Jamieson, as mentioned in the last paragraph of his letter. I am, Yours, etc., H. L. P. LESTER (Wing-Cdr.). International Sportsmen’s Club,

London, W.1. Sir,

I am afraid that Robert 1-food’s racing Mercedes cannot be a 1908 Grand Prix car. The formula for that event laid down a maximum bore of 155 mm., and the Mercedes, ears used this with strokes of 170 and 180 mm. If the machine was originally designed for racing (as certainly seems likely) it is probably a 1907 G.P. machine, with a bore and stroke of 175 x 150, which conforms more closely with Mr. Hood’s description. The clutch sounds rather mysterious, since I believe that all racing Mercedes from 1901-1908 used the shoe and spiral spring affair. It appears, also, that they never used the L.T. magneto at this period., for racing.

With the other information quoted by Mr. Hood, this evidently fine car can probably be identified exactly by someone possessing at all complete Mercedes particulars. I am, Yours, etc.,

CECIL CLUTTON. London, W.11 . 11 11 11 11 Sir,

May I point out that the model o.h.v. racing Austin, page 142, July issue, has the exhaust pipe on the wrong side of the car !

On otherwise such a good model, I think the mistake cannot be forgiven ! I am, Yours, etc.,

HAROLD PRATLEY.

Liver!: ool. [The reason for the pipe being on the wrong side was given in the article.— ED.]

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