LETTERS from READERS, September 1951-38-3
Surely Mr. A. K. Clerk’s letter is a rather unjustifiable attack on Mr. Aidington for writing in praise of a car in which he is interested.
The power unit of the Frazer-Nash may be out of date, but in 1937 the 2-litre 328 F.N.-B.M.W. was timed at 103 m.p.h. against the 115 m.p.h. of the 1951 3i-litre Jaguar XK 120, and it was also two seconds faster from 0-70 m.p.h.. than the larger car. Unfortunately, I have no performance figures for a modern ‘Nash, but, taking into consideration the much smaller engine, I Should say its figure of merit is high—not taking price into consideration, because price must be balanced against length of life and only time will show
whether a ‘Nash can outlast a cheaper rival. In the mid-’30s there were several American cars which for performance and refinement of running could crantl a Rolls-Royce for about two years, though they cost well under 11,000, but they are rough now, while a Rolls is still a thing of beauty and refinement.
It appears to me that the craze for ultra high speed is ruining the true sports car, by which I mean a car designed for fast touring and not racing. The owner of a 115-m.p.h. two-seater can rarely use the last 20 m.p.h. of his speed and few are fit to drive so fast, while his cruising speed is more likely to be 70 m.p.h., a speed well within the capability of the old four-seater sports car in which four enthusiasts with luggage could have a weekend outing at 15720 m.p.g. Now two cars are needed for such a trip.
One does not expect a 2-litre car to give fast four-seater performance, but 20 years ago 3i litres could and did do so. The following figures suggest to me that the Railton has the most useable performance of any fast car of which I have much data, though I know that the Invicta, 4i-litre Bentley, Mercedes and Alvis all had good acceleration between 80 and 70 m.p.h., the vital period for fast averages. All cost more than the Jaguar at present-day values, but many are able to give 99 per cent. of their original performance after many years of service.
I do not wish to decry the Jaguar, which is doing much to restore our prestige, but other cars, particularly FrazerNash, have 1.),Cen doing this for some years, and I hope that some day we shall see a return tothe genuine four-seater sports or fast tourer. Until then vintage cars will hold the affections of many, and Frazer-Nash has vintage blood in it.
Mr. Clerk’s remarks about the FrazerNash advertisements are in poor taste. There have been several claims for the fastest road car (but none by Bugatti to my knowledge), and only Rolls-Royce is universally accepted as the best car in the world. Friendly rivalry is a good thing but let us avoid slanging each other. To me there will never be a car like the Leyland Eight, but I see no objection to any other manufacturer or interested person praising his own fancy. Good hunting to all competitors in racing, which I love, but when talking of sports cars I prefer to ignore speeds
over 100 m.p.h. and rely on acceleration figures, unless it is intended to compete in races.
I am, Yours, etc.!
Oxford. N. J. WHITE. [The B.M.W. which did 103 m.p.h., was rather “hotter” that most 328s.—ED.] * * *