Letters From Readers, September 1964





Well now we know what makes this the Best Car in the World, it has a “foot dinner”!

This conjures up pictures of W—–m B—y cruising at 80 m.p.h. down the M 1, nonchalantly pressing his “foot dinner” —the facia opening gracefully, and a tray of roast beef and two veg. silently being served.

Rolls-Royce—kindly take note—cocktail cabinets are no longer enough—get with it!, fit “foot dinners.”

Thanking you for so much monthly reading pleasure.

Penicuik.                                                                                                                                          FRANCIS A. HAMMOND.

[Yes, postal delays affected the putting to bed of the August issue and the printers made a haggis of my good intentions. For instance not being Fangio I do not corner a 300SE habitually at 100 m.p.h.; I wrote cruising at 100. Nor do Mercedes-Benz put upholstery in their ash-trays. As for that foot-dinner, the proof-reader is going to eat it, not me!—ED.]

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The following information regarding the Austin “Grasshopper” UI 3345 may be of interest to your correspondent Mr. Hornby.

I owned Ul 3345 in 1951-52, at which time it had a Ford Ten engine and the L.M.B. i.f.s. The two air scoops (extractors in fact) were fitted by myself in an attempt to improve the cooling at speed. The fitting of the Ford engine was not very successful, as the Austin radiator was too small and I never managed to make satisfactory connections between radiator and engine. The car also had oversize rear wheels at this time.

There were three aluminium-bodied cars built for the 1937 Le Mans, and fitted with 3-bearing crankshaft unblown engines. These were registered COA 118, 119 and 120. One of these, COA 118, was later blown, and another was written off (probably COA 119). I think, therefore, that UI 3345 was originally COA 120 and was fitted with i.f.s. and the Ford engine some time between 1947 and 1950.

I hope this will be of some assistance.

Princes Risborough.                                                                                                                             P. W. WIDDOWSON.

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Much as I am looking forward to the 3-litre unsupercharged/1½-litre supercharged Grand Prix formula of 1966, I feel it is very fortunate that the current formula has another year to go, as I feel that there is little doubt that the next year should be the best yet.

The first year, as we are all aware, was a Ferrari benefit, with only Moss being able to prevent the Italian cars running off with every race they entered. Although the picture changed dramatically with the advent of the British V8 engines in 1962, the years 1962 and 1963 must be regarded as those of two-man domination in Grand Prix racing, with Jim Clark and Graham Hill winning 16 out of 19 Grand Prix between them.

I feel that this picture is now beginning to change. Clark, with three wins so far this season, has a very strong chance of holding his title for 1964, but next year the picture may be very different. Dan Gurney, with a little bit more luck (may I even say, with a little bit less bad luck), would be well in the picture for a title, and John Surtees should at last have a racing car worthy of his talent. Already this year four different drivers have won a Grand Prix (what has happened to Jack Brabham after his brilliant start in non-championship meetings?), and we have still four championship meetings to go.

For these reasons and the fact that the current formula has brought about some stirring battles, I am only too glad we have another year to go.

My MOTOR SPORTs do not go back to the beginning of the current formula, but would I not be right in suggesting that last week’s German Grand Prix was the first race under the present formula in which a Climax-engined car (4 or V8-cylinder) has failed to score a Championship point ?

May I take this opportunity of congratulating you on your magazine’s brilliant photographs.

Bradford.                                                                                                                                            MICHAEL G. W. BELL.

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The prejudice shown by MOTOR SPORT against certain British products is fast outweighing the admiration for cars emanating from Germany.

In the last two issues of MOTOR SPORT disparaging references have been made to Dunlop tyres, the first at the foot of page 555, July 1964 issue, whilst in your Editorial under “Matters of Moment” on page 611 of the August issue you say: “Early reports quote Campbell as blaming the Dunlop tyres, which, if true is poor repayment to a vital sponsor.”

Now, Sir, IF Campbell blamed Dunlop I couldn’t agree more, but what is the source of these early reports? Having in mind the importance to both Campbell and Dunlop, I hope you verified them before having just another little “dig” at Dunlop.

For the benefit of those who may be misled by your remarks, it may be appropriate to quote from that most reputable journal The Engineer, dated July 31st, 1964:-

”                                                                          “BLUEBIRD’S” TYRES”

News of Donald Campbell’s success in securing the official World Land Speed Record must have been received with great satisfaction by the Dunlop company. The 4,500 h.p. from the Bristol Siddeley Proteus was divided between the front and rear wheels and this, together with Lake Eyre’s exceptionally harsh surface of salt and ‘bull dust’ (used locally as an abrasive for valve-grinding and similar purposes), were quite probably the most arduous conditions ever asked of any tyres and wheels. The fact that, in the event, conditions were adverse enough to tear strips of very thin 2-mm. tread rubber from the tyres, is a vindication of the tyre designers’ policy of ‘built-in safety’, which provided a considerable safety margin even at the car’s maximum speed of over 400 m.p.h.  Donald Campbell said after the runs: ‘The tyres did an incredible job in savage conditions. The salt was in a strange state—soft on top and very hard underneath, with razor-sharp salt crystals. The ruts were as much as 1½ in. deep in places, but although they slashed the tread rubber of two tyres the casings held perfectly. The technical skills needed to make ‘Bluebird’s’ tyres are based on Dunlop’s experience in providing tyres for every successful attempt on the World Land Speed Record since 1929. It is doubtful if the knowledge required for this sort of operation is available anywhere else in the world. ‘Bluebird’s’ tubeless tyres were made at Fort Dunlop, Erdington, Birmingham; the wheels were provided by the Dunlop Rim and Wheel Company at Coventry. They consist of two halves, joined by sixty high-tensile steel bolts, whilst eight bolts secure the wheel to the hub. The test programme included spinning tests at the equivalent of 650 m.p.h. to provide a significant margin of safety.”

With the kind permission of the Editor of The Engineer, the quotation is in full. I make no apology for its taking so much room in your correspondence columns since I feel that in all fairness you owe it to your readers and the parties concerned to print it.

I should, I suppose, add the usual disclaimer—I have no connection whatsoever with Dunlop Limited or, for that matter, the motor trade. I do, however, admit to being British and rather proud of it too.

Liverpool.                                                                                                                                                    A. JOHNSON.

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The Austin Seven rally at Beaulieu on July 5th was a deservedly popular event, but to a former Seven owner (1933 saloon AEV 828) it was disappointing to see, among the splendid examples in original or restored condition, so many vehicles presented in non-standard and often scruffy paintwork.

I do appeal to enthusiastic restorers of these delightful little cars to consider using the original Austin Seven colour options as far as possible. After all, maroon, dark green and dark blue, for example, can be just as attractive as garish yellow, pillar-box red or mauve. Coulsdon.                                                                                                                                                T. J. AUSTIN.

[Yes, but don’t forget that such cars appeal particularly to impecunious enthusiasts, such as myself!—ED.)