For the second time this season. the lap record has fallen at Snetterton, this time to Brian Naylor’s J.B.W. Maserati at the Snetterton M.R.C.’s Vanwall Trophy meeting on July 26. Previously, Jim Russell had taken the record with 1 min. 42.2 sec., but Naylor clipped off 0.2 sec. (making it 96.24 m.p.h.) in his meteoric victory in the Formule Libre race, having earlier had an easy win in the Vanwall Trophy.
What turned out to be a rather poorly-run meeting opened with a 10-lap scratch race in three classes counting for the Autosport Championship. John Whitmore got his Lotus Elite ahead of the field after two laps to win easily from Needham’s twin-carn M.G.-A with Wayne’s Elva Courier third. Bob Gerard and Paddy Gaston fought hard behind the leaders for fourth place and victory in the up-to-1,000-c.c. class, but the latter suffered gearbox bothers and finished with only top gear, being thus forced to let Gerard take the class win.
Eight laps for 1,100-c.c. sports cars went to Peter Arundell’s Lotus Eleven at 86.71 m.p.h., but not until he passed the chequered flag was his victory by any means assured. Mike McKee in the works Elva chased him hard for three laps until he spun at the hairpin, when Ian Raby took up the chase and continued to press hard for the rest ofI the race.
Another 10-lap two-class scratch race for the Autosport Championship was won narrowly by Dick Protheroe in one of his two Jaguar XK120s. Earlier Sir Gawaine Baillie had led the field in his lively Chevrolet Corvette, with Protheroe and Stoop (Frazer Nash) in close company behind, but Baillie ran into the bank at the hairpin and had to content himself with third place.
Main race of the day, 20 laps for single-seater racing cars over 500 c.c. for the Vanwall Trophy, was an easy win at 92.16 m.ph for Brian Naylor in his J.B.W. Maserati. He raced in close company much of the time, however, with Piper’s Lotus, which had put up second fastest practice time but had trouble on the grid and started a lap behind the field. An assortment of F.2 machinery raced hard for positions behind the leader finishing in the order Dennis Taylor (Lotus), Brian Whitehouse (Cooper), Chris Summers (Cooper), Richardson (B5 Connaught), Steve Wilder (Lotus), Stoop (Cooper) and Parkes (Fry). Mike McKee was to have raced Jim Russell’s F. 2 Cooper, but practice bothers had necessitated an engine change which could not be completed on time. George Wicken’s Cooper had a grumbling gearbox which only lasted seven laps. Carter spun his Cooper hectically going into the Esses, the car travelling some ten feet through the air on leaving the track, to come to rest undamaged on its wheels.
A quiet race for sports cars over 1,100 c.c. provided Piper with a fairly easy win after Bill Moss had led for three laps in the Lister Jaguar. Peter Mould (3-litre Lister Jaguar) and Gerry Ashmore (D-type) circulated in close company to finish in third and fourth spots.
Whitmore had the Elite out again for the eight-lap scratch race for saloon and G.T. cars and was soon half a lap ahead of the rest of the field. Meek, Shepherd-Barron and Ferrari with their Alfa Romeos gave an impressive display of close-formation driving in characteristic style to fill the next three places in that order, though outclassed by the leader.
Naylor’s record-breaking lap came in the 10-lap Formule Libre scratch race that followed. There was never any doubt as to who would be the winner. Had he been pushed one could well imagine that the lap record might have gone even higher. Mike McKee had the Russell Cooper out this time and gave an impressive display to finish second after dicing for most of the race with similarly-mounted Brian Whitehouse, who came into the pits after eight laps to give third place to Steve Wilder in the Lotus. Bill Moss brought the Lister Jaguar home in fourth place ahead of Naylor’s J.B.W. Ferrari (driven by Bill Lacey) and Gerry Ashmore in the D-type.
Final event in a long drawn out programme was for saloon and G.T. cars again over eight laps. Dick Protheroe and Sir Gawaine Baillie (Jaguar XK120 and 3.4) came round after one lap side by side, and although Protheroe managed to open up a few lengths’ lead thereafter the 3.4 caught him on the last lap and the two cars went over the line side by side again, the judges awarding a dead heat for first place! An uncommon thing in motor racing. Jack Sears’ 100-6 Austin Healey could not keep up with these two, despite having the new C series 2.9-litre power unit under the bonnet. The TR3 of Mike McKee caught fire at the hairpin, fortunately without much damage either to car or driver.—D.J.R.
The Cost of Car Advertising
Some interesting statistics are offered by the American Advertising Age in respect of the cost-per-car of advertising. Last year Chevrolet led in new-car registrations, with Ford second, thus reversing the 1957 positions of these two highly competitive companies. Chevrolet spent 23.9 dollars per car on advertising, Ford only 22.9 dollars per car. Highest expenditure last year per car was by Edsel, with 195.2 dollars per car, the lowest 3.87 dollars per car for American Motors’ Metropolitan. Amongst America’s leading 18 makes, total advertising expenditure last year was 147,819,407 dollars,broken up as follows:– newspapers, 66,508,398 dollars; network T.V., 36.463,874 dollars; general and farm publications, 29,347,597 dollars; outdoor advertising, 12,985.658 dollars; spot T.V., 2,513,880 dollars. The proportion of 1958 sales to advertising expenditure of America’s five best-selling groups is:
In the foreign imports field Advertising Age remarks on how Austin sales have diminished since their peak year in 1948, when sales totalled 8,000 cars. With sales of imported cars soaring, Austin sales fell to 3,642 in 1949, rose to 5,500 in 1950, fell to 3,800 in 1951, Mathes handling advertising in the U.S. until Austin handled its own advertising in 1952. It then moved its account to David Ogilvy but sales fell that year to some 4,800, a “horrendous flop.” They nose-dived. according to Advertising Age, to 3,000 in 1953, 1,400 in 1954. Charles W. Hoyt were given the Austin advertising agency in 1955, but it was soon switched to Hambro, because, it was thought, “Austin was puzzled by the American preference for the non-advertised, Volkswagen.” Hambro consolidated the entire B.M.C. advertising account with Bob Holley but sales continued to fall, being as low as 983 in 1957 and 1,708 last year, representing only 0.5 per cent. of the entire foreign-car market. Austin-Healey sales, say Advertising Age, have been a little better, “but the car has never been a sensational seller.” They continue: “The British Motor Corp. experience here has been especially disappointing in view of the ever-rising over-all sales of imported cars. It seemed that as import sales went up, B.M.C.’s share of the market went down. This year, for the first time, B.M.C. finds itself without an entry among the 10 top-selling foreign cars. The M.G., for many years the best-selling imported sports car, saw its share of the foreign car market drop last year from 6.5 per cent. to 4.3 per cent. M.G. sales of 16,255 in 1958 were still good enough to give the car sixth place ranking among all imports. R. L. Polk registration figures for the first four months of 1959 show that M.G. has now dropped out of the top 10 group.”
To combat this unhappy position J. M. Mathes, Inc., which dropped the VW account after February, re-acquired the Austin account last month. Apparently Austin is now prepared to spend some 750,000 dollars,”the largest ever put into the U.S. or any other foreign market by Austin.”
The reader who sent us the relevant clippings remarks: “I would rather buy a motor car on Motor Sport’s recommendation than rely on either my own judgment or distorted advertising claims — and the cost is only 1/6d. per issue compared with pounds per vehicle by the latter method! ” Yet this year we have been singularly unsuccessful in obtaining for road-test cars of Austin manufacture . . .
Foreign Car Sales in America
For the first time in history 50,000 new foreign cars were registered in one month and total sales were 180,546, compared with 96,241 for the same period in 1958. Close on 600,000 foreign cars are expected to sell in America this year and imports are currently close to 10 per cent. of the national market. Competition is keen. Opel, distributed by Buick dealers (ad. agents: McCann-Erickson) has beaten Fiat to fifth place and, in April, displaced Simca for fourth place. Vauxhall, distributed by Pontiac dealers (ad. agents: MacManus) rose this year from tenth to eighth place. Morris, B.M.C.’s best-seller after M.G., with 9,000 sold in the U.S. last year, has now fallen out of the top ten.
Incidentally, it is said that Dyna-Panhard is to make a bold bid to sell 10,000 cars in the U.S.A. this year — bold is right, considering that in 1958 they sold fewer than 500. — W.B.