THE annual speed hill-climb of the Hants & Berks M.C. is held in delightful country not far from Reading, at Neil W. Gardiner’s charming estate, where the drive has a corner banked specially to encourage sprint motoring. This National fixture is, indeed, a speed hill-climb in the old tradition, the cars assembling in a field which serves as paddock, the spectators having an excellent view of the cornering from another large field, and the meeting going with a swing because Club officials work together for the good of the cause in friendly co-operation. The competitors, too, find it enjoyable, the 1/4-mile course abounding in corners, apart from the banked one, while three timed runs are allowed.
On August Bank Holiday Saturday rain stopped in time for the later runs to be made in the dry and some fast times were recorded. Fastest of all was 22.19 sec. in the 500-cc. racing-car class, by James Cooper-Norton, which made f.t.d. and was only 0.15 sec. outside the class record, although 1.59 sec. above Tony Marsh’s course record in the big Cooper-J.A.P. Second in this class was Willmott’s Cooper, slightly faster than Lovel in the Grenfell, who was one of the few to really use the banking.
In the 501-1,100-c.c, racing-car class the only runner was D. R. Good, and he had a mild incident on his first run and broke his gearbox on the third, leaving him with one intact run, done in 23.00 sec. Rivers-Fetcher was a non-starter, the camshaft drive to one cylinder of his Cooper’s J.A.P. engine out of action, while Marsh was in Germany. The 1,101-2,000-c.c. racing-car class was won by Berry in the 2-litre E.R.A. Special, the blown engine of which emitted a beautiful smell and was aided by twin back tyres. Second fastest in the class was Haig’s 1,132-c.c. Cooper, with Shorrock supercharger and Norton barrels to its J.A.P. engine. Roscoe’ s blown 1.220-c.c. Cooper was third, Patsy Burt fourth, although her Cooper Climax sounded very flat and she actually had four runs, stalling on the line at her third attempt. Lone competitor in the big racing car class was Doc. Taylor in the ever-welcome Caesar Special, which clocked a hair-raising 24.00 sec.
The sports-car classes were more strongly contested, Tallis (Lotus VI) winning the first in 24.34 sec. from Belcher’s aerodynamic Lotus-Climax and Coperman’s attractive 1955 T.T. D.K.W. two-seater, with body by A.F.N. Ltd. In the 1,101-1,400-c.c. section Derisley’s Lotus VII was drivers splendidly, clocking 22.85 sec., while second place went to Wickson’s Buckler 90, which was a mere 0.04 sec. faster than Belton’s Lotus VI, a creditable performance for a car with a s.v. Ford Ten engine with twin S.U. carburetters, which complies with the 1,172 Formula, especially as Hilton had crashed it in practice, necessitating hasty repairs. In this class the former record, which was Wickson’s, was broken by all three place-men, Derisley lowering it by 0.81 sec. Times were slower in the 1,401-2,000-c.c. category, which was won very creditably by Ashley’s 1930 Meadows Frazer-Nash with two-port 4ED engine, without, however, the deflector head. His time of 24.40 sec. beat Perkins’ Lotus, the mountainous bonnet of which concealed a 328 B.M.W. engine, and Anstis’ A.C. Ace-Bristol, both 2-litre cars! Ashley attributed this to Frazer-Nash roadholding.
The class for sports cars over 2.000 c.c. went jointly to Park’s neat Tojeiro with Aston Martin DB3S engine and Chapman’s Chapman-Mercury with Ardun o.h.v. heads and eight Amals. Third place was taken by Gardiner’s Austin Healey, in 24.67 sec., so this was indeed competitive motoring. Shutler’s Invicta coupé did a good 24.92 sec., and although Howell’s V16 Maserati was absent, this driver sportingly brought his vintage twin-cam 3-litre Sunbeam with belt-driven supercharger, in which he clocked 27.1 sec., beating L. Sears’ XK120 Jaguar. There were no entries in the gas-turbine class, nor did Major Lambton’s miniature G.P. Bugatti appear on the hill. Altogether this was most enjoyable sprint, which will, we hope, be repeated next August. The best dozen times were B. B. James (Cooper-Norton 500), 22.19 sec.; J. Berry (E.R.A.-Special 2.000 s/c.), 22.63 see.; W. D. J. Roscoe (Cooper-J.A.P. 1,220 s/c.), 22.78 sec.; D. Derisley (Lotus-Ford 1,172 sports), 22.85 sec.; D. R. Good (Cooper-J.A.P. 1,100), 23.00 sec.; D. A. Haig (Cooper-J.A.P. 1,132 s/c.), 23.22 sec.; Miss P. Burt (Cooper-Climax 1,500), 23.38 sec.; E. G. Willmott (Cooper-Norton 500), 23.59 sec.; R. Wickson (Buckler-Ford 1,172 sports), 23.64 sec.; R. Belton (Lotus-Ford 1,172 sports), 23.68 sec.; A. M. Park (Tojeiro 3,000 sports), J. P. Chapman (Chapman-Mercury 4,240 sports) and M. R. Lovell (Grenfell 500), all 23.93 sec.;
A film about tyres
Courtaulds’ new film (16 mm., sound track, colour, 15 minutes) “Getting Down to Casings ” depicts tests carried out by the American Rayon Institute to show that rayon is superior to nylon as a material for tyre casings. Rayon was introduced to the mid-1930s to replace cotton in tyre construction. The Courtaulds’ film claims that rayon’s tread life is up to 26 per cent better than nylon and that it gives the quieter ride, while being at least the equal of nylon under impact tests. Comparative tests are seen, in the searing heat of Texas and the bitter cold of Alaska, in this documentary filmed by On Films Inc. for the American Rayon Institute. Copies can be borrowed from Courtaulds Ltd., Coventry, on mentioning MOTOR SPORT and their publication “Why Are Tyres Tougher?” can be had free, from their London office at 22, Hanover Square, London, W.1. These claims for rayon in tyre manufacture are certainly interesting; in America many tyre manufacturers use nylon and here we find Goodyear, Firestone and Dunlop, with their new Road Speed RS4, and their racing R5, using nylon in preference to rayon. No doubt they will be producing counter-claims to vindicate this preference.
In this connection Chevrolet in America contemplated fitting nylon tyres to their 1959 models but have abandoned this idea. At first it was reported that the price factor was the determining influence but Courtaulds Ltd. are now sending out a circular stating that: “there seems little doubt that the major factor was the emergence of a new rayon yarn of greatly increased strength which has nylon ticked on a cost/strength basis. This new yarn allows manufacturers to make tyres appreciably stronger than nylon for the same cost, or alternatively, equally strong at lower cost.” They also state that the new yarn is the most economical tyre cord yet offered to the tyre industry. Conversely, Wheelspin, journal of the W. Essex C.C., believes that “Nylon tyres should provide extra safety and greater economy, because they run cooler, resist flex fatigue, impact and moisture damage. In addition, they should remould a number of times.”
There is a third method of tyre construction, the steel-cord, of which the Michelin “X” is so outstanding as to be on a pedestal of its own.–W.B.
The number of replicas of actual makes of car represented in the miniatures field is now monumental and those who collect comprehensively require extensive storage space for their models.
Meccano Limited have introduced an ambitious car carrier and trailer in the Dinky Supertoys series, which can transport eight Dinky miniature cars on double-deck ramps. Its methods of loading, if not in accord with full-scale procedure, is fascinating, though perhaps more so to children than their elders. Two new Dinky miniatures are the Hudson Hornet saloon and duo-tone Hillman Minx saloon, with realistic wrap-round rear windows and wrap-round screen in the case of the Hornet. No. 175, the Hillman saloon, is 3 9/16 in. long and costs 3s. 3d. inclusive of p.t. The Hudson is No. 174 in the Dinky series, is 4 3/8 in. long, and costs 3s. 6d. Collectors of Dinky miniatures can now obtain, from Meccano Ltd., Binns Road, Liverpool. 13, an annual Collectors’ Licence, like a miniature driver’s licence, in which to list the Dinky toys they own. Those who think model car collection is childish should note that Stirling Moss holds Dinky Toys Collector’s Licence No. 1. Every month he will select a number and the holder of that licence will be entitled to a visit to Meccano Ltd., all expenses paid, in the company of parents. Within two days of the announcement of this Club it had over a thousand members. Readers may care to enrol their children, mentioning MOTOR SPORT when they apply.
Lesney have really excelled themselves with No. 9 in their “Models of Yesteryear” series, this being a splendid 80:1 scale model of a Fowler “Big Lion” showman’s road locomotive. It is complete with canopy supported on twisted brass struts, dynamo, chimney clamped to the roof, tool-boxes, crane and flywheel, this 3 1/4 in. long miniature being beautifully finished in gay colours. The price is a modest 4/9d.
In the realm of larger, and historic, car models a reader showed us recently a fine non-working replica of the 350-h.p. V12 Sunbeam in its 1925 form, with streamlined fairings and long tail, as used by Malcolm Campbell to set the Land Speed Record to over 150 m.p.h. This model is complete even to correctly-disposed instruments, pedals and even the starting-magneto on the cockpit floor, and has exhaust stubs, radiator cowl, and steering connections, correctly detailed, although the steering does not move. The model is about two feet long, of wood and metal. We recall that Leslie Callingham also had one of these Sunbeam models, which were presumably made in some numbers for Campbell or perhaps for one of the petrol companies associated with his record-breaking exploits. Do any others exist?–W. B.