RUMBLINGS, September 1951




Pit work plays a very important part in the hard-fought races of today and would be greatly facilitated if direet contact could be established between driver and pit Radio Control manager. If this were possible, not only

would pit signals be completely secret, but much useful information could be given to the driver about, his. position in relation to rivals, the -state of the course, etc., while, in his turn, he could prepare the pit for any unforeseen repairs and adjustments he wished theirs to make. For these reasons radio contact between driver and pit has frequently been tried. We believe that. in 1922 S.. F. Edge had

something of the kind in mind when he went for the ” Double. Twelve -” record in a Mereedes-Spyker, and in the first volume of I3oddy’s ” Story of Brooklands ” is a photograph of C. M. Harvey in the ‘ 12150 ” Alvis which won the 1923 200-Mile Rave, all rigged up with headphones and primitive radio set for the same purpose. In practice such communications proved impractical. They were revived around 1930 by a Morgan crew but the noise of the three-wheeler’s engine mitigated against successful reception. The Evans, Denis, Kenneth and Doreen, toyed with the idea when they were running M.G.s in longdistance Brooklands races but not much greater success was achieved.

After the war short-wave radio was more commonplace. and Peter Clark got successful results when he used it in his H.R.G.s at Le MAILS. So, we understand, did the Cunningham team at i.e Mans this year. However, there are complications and-Shortcomings in voice transmission between ears and pit under racing Conditions. For this reason Edward Pool evolved a very ingenious system for Allard’s use at Le Mans.

Analysis of the 1950 lap-scoring sheets had revealed that more than 20 minutes could have been saved by closer liaison between driver and pit. What Allard particularly wished to know was whether he was above or below his scheduled speed, circuit by _circuit. But, the pits being situated on a curve at Le Mans, Sydney was often too busy to read visual data at this part of the course, while after dark the problem was obviously vastly magnified.

Consequently. Allard turned to radio communication. The normal type of WIT. transmitter and receiver was ruled out on the scores of weight, complication, and discomfort of headphones to the driver. It occurred to Pool that, with some modification, the type of radio-control used for model aircraft could be used to transmit a visual signal to the car, whieh the driver could read at his convenience. The idea was discussed with Electronic Developments Ltd., of Kingston-on,Thames, Surrey, who agreed to construct experimental equipment capable of lighting any one of three coloured lights mounted. on the dashboard of the car.

Owing to the difficulty in obtaining special parts, and consequent delay, the prototype was not tested under racing comfit ions until the practice period for the 24-hour race ; preliminary tests, however, were extremely satisfactory. The equipment comprised a transmitter operated from the pits, eonsisting of a box of approximately 14 by 8 by -8 in., on which were mounted the three switches controlling the lights, the ” °war ” switch, and a short lightweight aerial. The range was more than 1,000 yards. A battery with ample capacity for 24 hours was contained in the box. The receiver, mounted on -the-car, was about. $ by 3 by 3 in. For convenience the prototype was suspended by springs in a box mounted in the car and within 18 in. of a short whip aerial. Power in future models will be supplied from a small pack in conjunction with the car batteries. However, owing to supply difficulties, the prototype was powered by the battery-max type of cell. The weight of the production model receiver unit should not exceed 2 lb. No ignition screening is necessary with this apparatus, and more than one unit can be used without inter-unit interference.

As Allard retired, less was heard of this ingenious apparatus than might otherwise have been the case. But -competitors troubled by the problem of pit communication in future longdistance races will no doubt be interested, and well advised to take their problems to Electronic Developments, Ltd.

We called in at the spaciouspremises of the Connaught Engineering Co. at Ripley. Surrey, last month to glean from Charles Mies! details of the latest Connaught, A New of which the first batch of twelve is soon Connaught to be shipped to America. The Connaught

is one of those specialised small-production sports ears which the smaller British factories know so well how to make. It has a 1,767-c.c. Lea-Francis-base engine modified in respect of camshafts, tappets, exhaust system, etc., and is a very potent and handleable motor car.

The new model, known as the L3S11. (S.R. for sports/racing) is intended for serious competition work. It is normally supplied with a door on the passenger’s side only and aero-screens, a fullwidth screen and hood being listed as extras. The specification is very similar to that of the former Connaught, but the L3SR has i.f.s, of the double wishbone and torsion-bar type, an axle. ratio of 4.3 instead of 4.55 to 1, and is about 2 cwt. lighter. As the accompanying photograph, taken before the first car left for the States, shows, the 1.3S11 is a handsome car. The exhaust system sweeps under the chassis into Burgess silencers, and this particular car was finished in pale grey with upholstery in blue Conolly leather. The body was (uilt. by E. 1). Abbott, a Farnham.

These new Connaughts are for export. only, and interest in them is quickened by the recent good performances of the Formula 11 single-seater Connaught, which at lbsley and Boreham gave best only to Merrick’s al tra-warm Cooper. Six more of these tubular-chassis racing Connaughts are in process of construction at Ripley. The car raced at. present was described in Moron Secner some months ago but has since been given a torsion-bar de Dion back axle with quick-change reduction gearing in the final drive. Although giving away ‘233 c.c.. in its class, which suggests that an over-bored version may one day appear, the racing Connaught is a very strong contender for Miranda 11 honours. It would be nice to see it in the hands of a driver such as Tony Bolt. Before we left this Stimulating centre of small-scale automobile engineering at its best, Mike Oliver demonstrated the good effect which India tyres have had on the roadholding of his Ford Pilot, and Miesl told us that Connaught are concessionaires for Carrosserie de luxe Sitoutchik and Lag,,-Talbot in England, Eire, India. Australia and New Zealand : Australia and New Zealand concesionaires for Dyna-Veritas, which is a specialist drophead coupe version of the flat-twin Panhard, and Eire agents as well for Salmson. They also have the English. Eire, Pakistan, Singapore and New Zealand agencies for the beautiful little Volkswagen-base Porsche. At the Earls Court Show Connaught will exhibit fixed-head and drophead

Porsche coups, a Salmson saloon and, in the Coachwork Section, a two-seater fixed-head and a four-seater sun-roof CO110, both by Saouteliik on the 2.2-litre twin-o.h.e. Cotal-box Salrnson cluiss is.