Road-Test Variety

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Jaguar Mark IX  Renault Dauphine Gordini  Dodge Kingsway

Variety, they say, is the spice of life and there was variety in our road-test itinerary last month, as study of the cars, listed above shows. The Jaguar was borrowed for “British Grand Prix week,” because the Continental Correspondent had intimated that he would be returning car-less to this country for the Aintree race and it behove the Editor to convey him quickly and comfortably to the scene of the contest. I had hoped for an XK150S, (the XKI50 having been reported on in Motor Sport for October 1958) or at least a 3.4 saloon but the best Bob Berry of Jaguars could do was to lay on a Mk. IX.

Now two years ago I tested the Jaguar Mk. VIII saloon and it was a car which much impressed me, on account of its luxury, performance, value-for-money and, for such a big vehicle, its good handling qualities. Those who are interested but did not read this report will find it in the issue dated November 1957 — incidentally, it is pleasing to know that our road-test reports are of more than transitory interest, for more and more orders are being received for back numbers containing them.

Jaguar Luxury and Speed

Because the Mk. VIII Jaguar was dealt with fully when it was a current model I do not need to devote quite so much space to its successor, the Mk. IX, which is the Mk. VIII improved by the adoption of the 3.8-litre engine, Burman power-assisted steering and Dunlop disc brakes on all wheels. Thus has Sir William Lyons once again produced a “winner,” at a price which is so highly competitive that it is difficult to see how Jaguar Cars Ltd. get away with it and still show handsome profits. For here is the business executive’s ideal motor-car, handsome, impressive, able to hurry to the tune of 0-60 m.p.h. in under 19 sec. and a top speed of over 115 m.p.h. when called upon, yet luxuriously and sensibly appointed and equipped. At a price of just over £2,000 inclusive of p.t. in fully-automatic-transmission form, this is good value indeed and one person who travelled in the Jaguar soon remarked that it is difficult to see any excuse for purchasing a —- or a —- , naming two of the world’s most illustrious and expensive motor cars. Be that as it may, the disc-braked, fully-automatic Jaguar Mk. IX is to all intents and purposes the epitome of luxury, from its well-stocked walnut veneer facia to its deep hide-upholstered seats and the well-equipped back compartment with its lockable documents cupboard, two cigar-lighters, clock, folding tables and deep nylon carpet. It also has a sliding roof over the front seats.

The Borg Warner automatic transmission has the usual control lever on the left of the steering column, its P, N, D, L and R locations neatly depicted by an indicator window which is illuminated at night. Normally upward changes occur at 10 and 35 m.p.h. respectively but by using full-throttle such changes are delayed to speeds of 35 and 55 m.p.h., while use of “kick-down” postpones the final upward change to 68 m.p.h. Nor is this all, because a flick switch on the facia, very conveniently located for operation with the right forefinger, locks out the upshift between intermediate and direct drive, when maximum speed becomes the limit of engine revolutions, say 5,000 r.p.m., equal to 80 m.p.h.

Thus this Borg Warner transmission, coupled with liberal employment of the “hold” switch, enables the full performance of the Jaguar’s beautiful and powerful (220 b.h.p.) engine to be used very effectively, while at the opposite extreme a novice can forget that the car has a gearbox and concentrate solely on steering and braking, creep and roll-back being safeguarded against in this clever transmission. When driving hard it is not possible to prevent some jerk as upward changes are made, and towards the end of the test there seemed to be a trace of uneasiness beneath the floor, suggestive of slight slip, not noticable previously. All in all, however, this automatic transmission is regarded as a worthwhile asset by many drivers, Stirling Moss and the late Mike Hawthorn included. A lady who is far from ready to take her test found control of this big and powerful car simplicity itself, due to the automatic gearbox.

The power steering is equally an asset. Without it, parking the Jaguar would be a feat of muscular ability but with the Burman mechanism all effort is removed once the steering wheel starts to turn. Although some “feel” is lost the steering is still reasonably precise, while helpful but mild castor-return action remains. Incidentally, higher gearing is used than with the manual steering of the Mk. VIII.

The Dunlop disc brakes kill speed very effectively on this heavy car but at low speeds firm pressure is called for on the double-width brake pedal, in spite of vacuum-servo assistance which requires that the engine shall be running when the brakes are applied. Very slight brake squeak was noticed late in the test, and the action was erratic, inasmuch as pedal travel was variable by pumping action. These disc brakes, however, are a valuable accompaniment to performance which will dispose of a s.s. quarter-mile in under 18 sec. and enable this spacious luxury saloon to exceed 115 m.p.h. under favourable conditions.

It was in this sumptuous Jaguar that we set off Aintree-wards on the Thursday before the Grand Prix. As the day wore on heavy rain fell, so that what practice there was at the circuit was of no moment. In these conditions I found the big car skittish at times when the Dunlop “Road Speeds” lost grip on particularly slippery surfaces, while rain dripped into the interior with the front quarter lights open. At the expense of repeating myself, for earlier in this article and many times in past issues I have exclaimed on Jaguar value-for-money, it can be said that very few points of criticism exist in the latest Mk. IX, in spite of the highly competitive price at which it is marketed. This ingress of rain is one, and although I soon found I could put this wide car through narrow gaps without disaster, I am of average height but not tall, and the rear-view mirror on the facia sill completely obstructed my view of the near-side front mudguard. Continuing in this vein, the front bench seat, although deep, was raked so that driver and passenger tended to slide forward, although otherwise the driving position was excellent, with adjustable steering column. The gear-control lever is a trifle close to the wheel rim, the solid-style anti-dazzle vizors are rather peculiar and the map light not close enough to the front-seat passenger, while I prefer concealed or rheostat panel-lighting to the Jaguar’s ultra-violet illumination of instruments and gear-positions. The two speed screen wipers are noisy and leave considerable areas of glass unwiped and the horn-note was too quiet, one horn seemingly out of action. The engine idled nicely at 500 r.p.m. but later “hunted” somewhat, a faint smell of petrol implying carburetter flooding.

These are very minor shortcomings in an otherwise splendid English motor car. The suspension (wishbone and torsion-bar at the front with anti-roll bar, ½-elliptic leaf springs at the back) transmits some road shock at low speeds but at higher speeds seemed rather more supple than that of the Mk. VIII. Roll isn’t excessive and the car is essentially safe but seems to corner a thought more soggily than the earlier model, while some road-noise, and wind noise from open quarter-lights, intrude. The front-door windows wind down with only two turns of the hands, but maps, etc. in the door pockets foul these handles. The lockable cubby-hole is useful but this V.I.P.’s carriage was rather like a travelling strong room, because two locks secure the boot-lid, both petrol filler flaps have to be unlocked prior to refuelling, the document carrier in the back compartment locks, and so on. Two very good points are the separate fuel tanks, one holding eight, the other 9½ gallons, with change-over control on the facia, enabling frequent checks to be made of petrol thirst, and the tool trays concealed in the front doors, which contain a set of tools, brake bleeder tube, spare plugs and lamp bulbs, valve-timing gauge. etc. The boot lid is held up automatically by a long strut and, although the spare wheel lies vertically inside the boot, it has a cover which a soiled punctured tyre can wear to protect the luggage, for which there is still an enormous capacity.

I took careful note of petrol consumption and was gratified to find this big Jaguar commendably economical. Driving moderately the figure was 16.9 m.p.g. and two further checks, driving much faster, showed 15.4 m.p.g. on both occasions. This represents a range of over 280 miles. Incidentally, the dual tanks should preclude running out but the excessively pessimistic petrol gauge is an additional insurance against stranded Jaguars. Under the bonnet is the pride and joy of every Jaguar owner — that beautifully-finished, smooth-running, quiet and unobtrusive twin-cam six-cylinder engine — I wouldn’t call it the heart of the Jaguar, however, because there is so much of merit about the car as a whole.

On the Friday, before going to the circuit, we took the car on to Southport sands, where motor races used to be held and where an aerodrome is still casually marked out by flags for the use of joyriding Austers and an ancient D.H. Fox Moth. This seems appropriate to this Victorian seaside resort which certainly cannot have changed in any appreciable degree since Richman and Merrill took off over twenty years ago from this same natural aerodrome in their single-engined Vultee monoplane “Lady Peace” on a daring trans-Atlantic flight.

After we had seen Brabham win the race we couldn’t get clear of Aintree until after 7 p.m., but so satisfied were we with the speed and comfort of the Jaguar that we deemed it feasible to proceed towards Lincoln, where we had business on the Sunday morning. At first this appeared an ill-advised gesture, because hotel after hotel was found to provide only liquid sustenance and not the solid food we were badly in need of. Fortunately a lucky glimpse in Altrincham of a sign “Open to Non-Residents” resulted in an adequate meal being eaten at the Unicorn Hotel. Thus fortified, we were able to press on over the Peak, the roads on this Saturday evening comparatively empty. It was our intention to stay the night somewhere in the country and consequently we were perturbed to come upon a notice announcing that Chesterfield is “The Heart of Industrial England.” However, it was now approaching 10.30 p.m. and the needle of the Jaguar’s fuel gauge had been indicating “E” for an uncomfortably long time, so a halt was called on the outskirts of the town, where the Hotel Portland provided an unexpectedly clean and pleasantly-furnished bedroom and an excellent breakfast at an early hour on the Sunday morning.

Although on that day we did not clear Lincoln until 11.30 a.m. the cross-country roads we followed proved so traffic-free on this July Sunday that the Jaguar could be held at 70 to 80 m.p.h. most of the time and with the C.C. navigating (to complaints that the National Benzole maps I had provided left too much to his imagination, with several serious mistakes and railways added as an afterthought with no indication as to whether they go over or under the road) we came rapidly south, getting to Elstree in time for the afternoon Air Display in spite of pausing for bread and cheese in a spotlessly clean country pub before mingling with the traffic on A5 just north of Dunstable. Yet it was only in the vicinity of London that we ran into traffic jams. So concluded over 760 miles of very aceeptable Jaguar motoring, during which the engine had consumed no measurable quantities of oil or water.

The Jaguar MK. IX Automatic Saloon

Engine: Six cylinders, 87 by 106 mm. (3,781 c.c.). Overhead valves operated by twin overhead camshafts. 8.0-to-1 compression-ratio. 220 (nett) b.h.p. at 5,500 r.p.m.

Gear ratios: Borg Warner fully-automatic transtnission. Low, 9.86-21.2 to 1; Intermediate. 6.14-13.2 to 1; Top. 4.27 to 1.

Tyres: 6.70 by 16 Dunlop Road Speed R54 on bolt-on steel disc wheels.

Weight: Not weighed. Maker’s figure: 1 ton 4 cwt. 56 lb., dry.

Steering-ratio: Burman power-assisted steering. 3½ turns, lock to lock.

Fuel capacity: 17½ gallons (8 gallons l.h tank;  9½ gallons r.h. tank). (Range approximately 281 miles).

Wheelbase: 10 ft. 0 in.

Track: Front. 4 ft. 8½ in., rear 4 ft. 10 in.

Dimensions: 16 ft.4½ in. by 6 ft. 1in. by 5 ft. 3 in. (high).

Price: £1,441 (£2,042 10s. 10d., inclusive of purchase tax).

Makers: Jaguar Cars Ltd., Coventry, England. 

 

Sparkling Dauphine Gordini Performance

The week-end after the Jaguar had been returned a Renault Dauphine Gordini came along for test and was driven by way of further contrast, to Silverstone for the Vintage S.C.C. Race Meeting. Let me say at once that this 38 b.h.p, four-speed version of the popular rear-engined French car is an immense improvement. Whereas the normal Dauphine proceeds nicely at 60 m.p.h. this Gordini version goes naturally to an indicated 70 m.p.h. cruising speed, and whereas the three-speed version is flat out at 50 in middle gear the Gordini model will do a genuine 50 m.p.h. in second and, given enough road, will wind up to a true 70 m.p.h. (76 m.p.h. on the speedometer) in third gear. It also accelerates extremely well for an 845 c.c. car, as the figures in the accompanying panel confirm, particularly as the degree of tune is by no means extreme, being confined to a 32 PKBT Solex carburetter, a new cylinder head giving a 7¾ to 1 compression-ratio and modified combustion chambers, redesigned valves of unchanged diameter, stronger valve springs, off-set rocker shaft and double water outlet, devised (divided) inlet and exhaust manifolds, etc. This Dauphine Gordini thus remains extremely docile, being quite happy down to less than 20 m.p.h. in top gear, nor is it particularly noisy, yet it out-accelerates most small cars. The four-speed gearbox in particular is such an improvement that it should have been included in the Dauphine specification from the beginning.

The Gordini gearbox retains the short, slight gear lever of the standard Dauphine, with conventional gear locations (reverse behind second), changes being very rapid, if a trifle harsh. The test car, incidentally, had been recently involved in the Daily Mail Air Race, which may have been the reason why certain electrical shortcomings developed, such as failure of the l.h. direction-flashers and one stop-light, and loss of the full horn note during a heavy rainstorm. Incidentally, many competitors in this race, including Maurice Trintignant and Stirling Moss, used Renault Dauphines for their short but sharp drives between landing ground and check point.

The increased power from the engine brings no disadvantages save for a somewhat hesitant start when hot and petrol consumption came out at 40.5 m.p.g., compared to 44 m.p.g. which I obtained from a normal Dauphine of which test impressions appeared in Motor Sport last April. This included taking performance figures and driving hard against a strong head wind, so I regard the figure as highly creditable, particularly from a small car capable of a top speed in the region of 75-80 m.p.h.

Alas, in this country the price of the Gordini exceeds that of the normal Dauphine by nearly £131, p.t. included.

Full road-test impressions of the Renault Dauphine were published in Motor Sport for May 1956, when it was a new model. I have been taken to task recently in the correspondence columns for some observations I included in a more recent road-test report and consequently on this occasion, like many an eminent physician and surgeon, I have sought a “second opinion.” The Dauphine Gordini was lent to an unbiased research engineer who, after he had driven it hard for nearly 200 miles in one evening, comments as follows :

“The driving position of the Dauphine was found to be considerably better than average. The seat, in its rearmost position was only just far enough back for a driver of medium height, but the wheel was comfortably far away and visibility over the short bonnet was very good. On the other hand, the pedals are displaced to the left by the intrusive wheel arches, the seat cushions are rather short, the backs offer little lateral support, the gear lever is too far forward to be reached comfortably in bottom and third, and at first the foot tends to be impeded by the steering column when it should be pressing the brake pedal.

“On the road, the front seat occupants found the engine conspicuously smooth and effortless at high revs, although in the back seats some vibration could be felt through the floor. The exhaust was clearly audible and had a hard, rather pleasant note, but there was very little road noise except for an occasional whine from the tyres on smooth surfaces. The suspension provided a firm but level ride in both front and rear seats.

“The footbrake, although not particularly light, seemed entirely adequate in all circumstances, and the handbrake was outstandingly powerful. The headlights proved to be better than their small diameter would suggest, but dipping by the rotary action of the combined lighting and horn switch projecting to the left of the steering column was not found particularly convenient.

“The four speed gearbox fitted to this Gordini variant was approached with interest, and it must be admitted that the first impressions were disappointing. The operating linkage between the lever and the box has considerable vagueness and falls well below the standard set by other rear-engined cars. Moreover, the selector mechanism seems to provide very positive location in gear, so that the change has a rather “notchy” feeling and can be quite difficult to dislodge from the gear in use. In time it became apparent that despite the small size of the car and the rather fragile elegance of the lever, this is in fact a box which needs a heavy hand. A technique of urging the lever beforehand in the required direction, to take up initial play, and supplementing this with extra force at the appropriate moment of easing the clutch, was rewarded by the quickest changes yet encountered on a production saloon. The splendid choice of close ratios, the unbeatable synchromesh and the small engine and light flywheel enabled these tactics to be employed silently and without unpleasant jolts and surges. The pedals are not arranged for heel and toe gear changing, and although simultaneous operation was possible with the sides of the right foot, the range of throttle movement thus available was less than the considerable initial free play in its linkage.

“With over 60 per cent. of the unladen weight on the back wheels, one would expect this car to oversteer, but the various suspension design features which have been included to counteract this tendency are largely successful in normal circumstances. Interesting features in the steering layout include an abnormally large castor angle, artificial steering centering by springs, and unusually low gearing for such a light car; approximately four turns are needed from lock to lock. These measures are successful in achieving stability on the straight and eliminating the over-sensitivity of handling from which oversteering cars usually suffer, though strong cross-winds produce considerable deflection. The steering is light, though not as light as would be expected in such a small car, and has pronounced self-centering.

“On dry roads the Dauphine can be cornered extremely fast with negligible roll and a considerable feeling of security. As the limit is approached there is some tyre squeal on most surfaces, and the normally almost imperceptible oversteer develops ultimately into fairly sharp back-end breakaway.

“On wet and slippery roads the controllability is less satisfactory. The steering conveys very little information to the driver about the state of the road surface and the impending behaviour of the car; this is hardly surprising since the centering springs cannot differentiate between road conditions in the way that the tyres can and do. The back-end breaks away with little warning at rather low cornering speeds and requires vigorous correction which is considerably hampered by the low-geared steering. For the fast driver, who may be expected to buy this Gordini version of the Dauphine, it is probable that considerably higher geared steering and reduction or elimination of the artificial “feel” would add considerably to his confidence in difficult road conditions.”

I am well content to leave it at that.

The Renault Dauphine Gordini Saloon

Engine: Four cylinders, 58 by 80 mm. (845 c.c.). Push-rod-operated overhead valves. 7.75 to 1 compression-ratio. 38 b.h.p. at 5,000 r.p.m.

Gear ratios: First, 16.19 to 1; second. 9.21 to 1; third, 6.38 to 1: top, 4,68 to 1.

Tyres: 145 by 380 Michelin “Pilote” on bolt-on steel disc wheels.

Weight: Not weighed.

Steering-ratio: 4¼-turns, lock-to-lock.

Fuel capacity: 7 gallons (Range approximately 283 miles).

Wheelbase: 7 ft. 5½ in.

Track: Front. 4 ft. 1 in.; rear, 4 ft. 0 in.

Dimensions: 12 ft. 11 in. by 5 ft. 0 in. by 4 ft. 9 in. (high).

Price: £598 (£848 5s. 10d., inclusive of purchase tax). With extras as tested: £884 12s. 7d.

Makers: Regie Nationale Renault. Billancourt, France.

Concessionaires: Renault Ltd., Western Avenue, Acton, London, W.3.

Performance Data:

Speeds in indirect gears (after speedometer correction):

First: 28 m.p.h.

Second: 51 m.p.h.

Third : 69 m.p.h.

Acceleration:

0-50 m.p.h. 18.0 sec. (18.65 sec.)

0-60 m.p.h. 24.0 sec. (25.5 sec.)

Standing start ¼ -mile  23.0 sec. (23.3 sec.)

(Figures in parenthesis are mean of runs in both directions).

A Good Dodge

I cannot refrain from remarking that in order to add to the variety of these road-tests it seemed a good dodge to try an American automobile after testing the dignified English Jaguar and the nippy little French Renault. Anyway, we arranged to borrow a Dodge Kingsway Custom saloon from the Chrysler-Dodge Service Depot at Kew, where, incidentally, they are falling over themselves to keep pace with orders for Simca Arondes, which they also distribute in this country.

The Dodge Kingsway is a typical automobile from across the Atlantic, of enormous width, with recessed dual headlamps and immense tail-fins. It is possible to carry eight people on a long journey in decent comfort, and the performance is equally big — a maximum speed in excess of 100 m.p.h. and acceleration which devours a ¼-mile in 18.4 sec. mean (best : 18.2 sec.); 0-60 m.p.h. occupies 10.7sec. The. speedometer is virtually accurate at 60 m.p.h. Yet this Dodge is less flamboyant than many of its kind and it has the merit of seeming quite a reasonable-sized car even in heavy traffic. A low-set wheel, an attribute to good visibility it shares with such diverse vehicles as the Volkswagen and the Armstrong Siddeley Star Sapphire, helps, and although supple suspension (torsion-bar i.f.s., ½-elliptic rear springs) irons out road irregularities, roll is decently suppressed, so that fast cornering and quick changes of direction in traffic hold fewer terrors for the driver than might be supposed. Up-and-down motion is also reasonably damped out.

Powered by a 318 cu. in. 90-deg. V8 Fury 225-b.h.p. engine, the Dodge is extremely easy to drive on account of its Torque-Flite three-speed automatic transmission. This works more smoothly than the best automatic transmissions on British cars. It has the usual throttle kick-down, when stupendous acceleration literally thrusts the car forward, supplemented by push-buttons, labelled 1 and 2, which hold in bottom and middle gear, the former to some 57 m.p.h., the latter until an automatic change-up functions high up in the speed range. These push-buttons are supplemented by larger ones selecting neutral, drive and reverse (N, D, R), the selector box located for maximum convenience of operation by the thumb of the right hand, and illuminated when the lamps are on. This is true two-pedal control, the accelerator of treadle-type, the brake pedal very wide, both having non-slip treads. It is possible to “play the buttons” for maximum acceleration, but normally “Drive” suffices, top being smoothly selected early in the speed range but ample acceleration existing for normally rapid motoring.

The dashboard contains a hooded 120-m.p.h. speedometer (the segments of which rise into view in multiples of 10 m.p.h. as speed is increased, and vice versa), not particularly easy to read, incorporating the flashers-indicator lights and a total, with trip, mileometer. The self-cancelling flashers are worked by a short stalk on the left of the steering column. Below, matching hooded dials give a minimum of information about amps, oil pressure, water temperature, the time and fuel contents, the clock having a seconds-hand. Plated knobs look after auxiliary services, there is a shallow, lidded, lockable cubbyhole and a hand-brake (labelled BRAKE) well placed for the right hand. The big two-spoke steering wheel has plastic grips, pleasant to hold, and both spokes and the full horn-ring with thumb-plates depress to sound the horn. Four big pull-up knobs placed centrally below the facia, labelled D, A, T and H, look after heating, demisting and ventilation, and push-button radio is an extra, supplementing the American megacycles control panel. The speakers are in the facia sill and rear window shelf. Panel lighting comes on with the side-lamps and there is an additional centre dash lamp controlled by a separate knob.

There is no crash-padding in this Dodge and its trailing doors have pull-up, instead of push-button, external handles. In a car of this width one misses push-button window control — ordinary handles are used, those in the front doors needing just over two turns, those behind 2½ turns, to fully lower the windows. The back doors can be locked by turning tiny handles; the front doors have to be keylocked. Coat-hooks are provided. A central roof light comes on automatically when the front, but not the back, doors are opened. There is a scuttle ventilator. Cigar-lighter and swivel ash-tray are provided on the facia, another ash-tray on the back of the front-seat squab. Door pockets are dispensed with but the back shelf is extremely wide. The screen washers are foot operated, with the lamps dip-switch just below this control. There are fixed rear quarter-lights and openable quarter-lights in the front doors with thief-proof catches but no rain-gutters, so that rain blows in forcibly when they are open in wet weather. The gas cap has its own key.

On the road the Dodge Kingsway Custom motors quietly and with entire lack of effort. The manually-operated steering gives some “feel” of the front wheels, although nothing, save faint vibration, and the sharp pull of the brakes, is transmitted through the steering-wheel. There is vivid castor-return unwind, which only partially offsets a steering ratio which calls for five turns, lock-to-lock, and parking requires very considerable effort. There is some reflection in the big wrap-round screen, not particularly troublesome.

My first impression was of good braking provided by the 11-in. hydraulic Total-Contact brakes with powerful vacuum-servo. From high speeds when heavily loaded, however, braking was less satisfactory, and after a hard week-end’s motoring there was a more pronounced tendency to pull to the left, which had already made itself evident, resulting in some doubt about which direction the car would point when braking on wet roads. A call at the Service Station saw a new shoe fitted and the dust blown out of the front drums in 20 minutes, but the trouble soon returned. As the drums virtually fill the wheels heat must be difficult to dissipate, and fade is evident when stopping from moderately high speeds. It is possible to corner fast without protest from the whitewall Goodyear tyres.

The bonnet conceals a truly imposing V8 engine with o.h.v. heads. There is no mistaking the quiet potency with which this engine hurls the car forward when the accelerator is depressed, sports cars being frequently left well behind. Oil pressure is normally 60 lb./sq. in. and after 800 miles only a pint of oil was required. A very rough fuel check indicated approximately 14-16 m.p.g.

The bench seats are comfortable if a trifle shallow in the cushion, the front one sliding forward when required under spring action; all doors have fixed side arm-rests but no centre rests. The bonnet is openable from outside the car and it stays up automatically, as does the lockable boot-lid. The dip-stick and the small 12 v. battery are very accessible. The boot provides for luggage for the family on tour, in spite of the spare wheel lying horizontally therein.

This Dodge provided another interesting motoring experience and proved a good deal more pleasant to drive on English roads than its dimensions predicted. At an all-in price of just above £2,800 with a great many extras, including Lucas spotlamps, it is a worthwhile proposition to those who want lots of space, lots of performance and lots of head-turning when they go motoring. But it needs more durable brakes, in which respect British cars with discs are well ahead. — W.B.

The Dodge Kingsway Custom Four-Door Saloon

Engine: Eight cylinders in 90-deg. V, 99.31 mm. by 84.07 mm. (5,212 c.c.). Push-rod-operated overhead valves. 10-to-1 compression-ratio. 225 b.h.p. at 4.400 r.p.m.

Gear ratios: Three-speed fully-automatic transmission, with hold controls on first and second speeds. Low, 8.2 to 1 to 22.2 to 1; intermediate, 4.8 to 13.1 to 1; top, 3.36 to 1.

Tyres: 8.00 by 14 ,Goodyear whitewall tubeless, on bolt-on steel disc wheels.

Weight: Not weighed. Maker’s figure: 35 cwt. (kerb weight).

Steering ratio : Five turns, lock-to-lock.

Fuel capacity: 23 gallons. (Range approximately 345 miles.)

Wheelbase: 9 ft. 10 in.

Track: Front, 5 ft. 0⅞ in.: rear, 4 ft. 11⅜ in.

Dimensions: 17 ft. 4¼ in. by 6 ft. 61/in. by 4 ft. 8½ in. (high).

Price: £1,980 (£2,806 3s. 6d. inclusive of purchase tax and extras as tested).

Makers: Chrysler Corporation, Detroit, U.S. of America.

Concessionaires: Dodge Brothers (Britain) Ltd., Mortlake Road, Kew Gardens, Surrey.

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