Matters Of Moment, September 1957



Fangio — The Champion!

His magnificent drive in the German G.P. has set the seal to Fangio’s right to the title of World Champion. He has won the Championship of the World four times and seems certain to take it again this year, for the fourth time in succession — an unparalleled achievement.

After the Monza 500 race, Floyd Clymer, the American publisher, seeking cheap publicity for himself and his country, suggested to Fangio that he cannot claim to be World Champion if he is afraid to drive in track races and challenged him to appear at Indianapolis next year. With the restraint that has won him his great place in Grand Prix racing, Fangio has replied that he will accept this challenge providing Clymer provides him with a car capable of achieving a reasonable degree of success. With a masterly touch Fangio has told Clymer he isn’t interested in his money — Floyd only offered about £800 anyway, if Fangio finished better than fifth in a U.S.-built car, which no European driver has done since the war.

Fangio having accepted the challenge, Clymer should set about finding him a worthy Indianapolis car — May 30th, 1958, isn’t far away, so let Clymer start searching right now and make known the result in good time. Indianapolis apart, the admiration of the motor-racing world goes out to the modest Argentinian on proving himself the greatest G.P. driver of the age — perhaps of any age. And, on the subject of age, Fangio, at 46, provides another body-blow to the “too old after 40” theory . . . 

Mourn for the Riley

Reading of the new 2.6-litre Riley, enthusiasts for this marque are likely to go into deep mourning. For the new Riley has a six-cylinder engine which isn’t individual to this particular car and which employs o.h. valves prodded by normal-length push-rods from a camshaft down in the base-chamber. For the past 30 years the Riley has had a splendid engine with inclined o.h. valves operated by short push-rods from two high-set camshafts, a classic power unit from which our so-successful E.R.A. racing engines were directly developed. Now that is all over, so far as the “2.6” is concerned.

No doubt the new engine will propel the car as well, perhaps much better, than previous Riley engines. Yet Riley followers will mourn the four-cylinder engine of which not long ago a contemporary wrote: “The basic design of this engine may well go down in motoring history as one of the most famous ever produced.” Has it been dropped to streamline production, to soothe shareholders? Certainly the 2.6 Riley represents yet another “special” from a combine specialising in “specials.”

Have You Seen Your Free Copy of “Motoring News”?

For many years our readers have been pressing us to print Motor Sport weekly. We have repeatedly explained that to produce Motor Sport weekly would mean completely altering its style of presentation.

Since 250,000 readers are enjoying the magazine and find it so good to keep for reference, we have, for some time, been considering the possibilities of presenting a weekly newspaper.

We have now secured an interest in Motoring News, which has hitherto been produced monthly. From Thursday, September 12th, 1957, Motoring News will be published weekly. A keen editorial team, led by Cyril Posthumus, will give you news of last weekend and provide you with a programme of the coming week’s events, with observations and tips on how to get to them.

Your newsagent should have given you a free copy of Motoring News for your perusal. If he has not done so ask him for it, for arrangements made by Motor Sport should enable him to hand you your copy free. If he has any doubt as to this arrangement, ask him to contact his wholesaler or Motor Sport direct.

It has, unfortunately, been found impossible to extend this arrangement to include our thousands of overseas’ readers, but copies will be available to their usual source of supply and we hope they will purchase a copy and place a firm order.

Your support of this venture may mean its success for, by following a policy of continuous improvement so successfully practised by Motor Sport, Motoring News hopes to be able to offer for 6d. weekly a similar outstanding value to that offered by its stable-companion, Motor Sport, monthly. This effort to provide you with a weekly newspaper will in no way affect Motor Sport, which will continue to be published on the first of each month. The editorial team remains unchanged and is led by William Boddy, who has so successfully edited the journal for nearly twenty years. 

Radar and Roads

While we do not agree that pleasure motoring is now non-existent in present-day Britain — enthusiasts can still drive fast over uncongested roads if they choose the right roads and/or the right time of day or night — the inadequacy of our main traffic arteries becomes daily more serious. Vital transportation, slowed to a crawl, is bad enough; traffic held stationary at cross-roads, level crossings and roundabouts is little short of criminal. In a few years’ time such conditions will represent a National calamity. We must build bridges and fly-overs NOW.

Instead, What do we do? Why, fiddle about with disguised police, radar vans for the purpose of trapping drivers who exceed by a few m.p.h. our low speed limits and, while raising the 30 limit to 40 m.p.h. on a few sections, we now impose limits on two-thirds of previously de-restricted highway. Folly indeed!

At tax-payers’ expense the new radar apparatus beloved by the Lancashire police may eventually be rendered foolproof for recording the speed of isolated vehicles — but it will never move-on improperly parked vehicles, apprehend the jay-walker or reprimand cyclists riding three-abreast or otherwise endangering themselves and others, as human “mobile-cops” can do. If Police Chiefs insist on radar-trapping instead of concentrating on safeguarding the community from child-murderers and the increasing crime-wave, we shall expect to find able-bodied men emigrating from the police force to more manly occupations, in which they can earn their keep and serve their country better than by peering at dubious dials inside their “Q”-vans.

Meanwhile, the A.A. and R.A.C. are watching this mean development, which can do little or nothing to reduce road accidents. Couldn’t the A.A. re-introduce its”no-salute” rule for patrols in the vicinity of ”Q”-vans, thereby providing a warning to its members, as it did so nobly in the days of excessive “ditch and hanky” speed-traps?