The fact that a Porsche holed a piston whilst being driven through slow traffic to the circuit emphasised the difference between present-day entries at Le Mans and the type of car for which the race was envisaged. Back in 1923 the purpose of the race, so far as I am aware, was to improve the performance and reliability of fast touring or sports cars, with particular reference to developing durable electrics! In recent years no less a person than John Wyer has lamented the demise at Le Mans of cars which were not so different from those which could be used for everyday motoring of a sporting type.
In the late ‘Thirties I well remember that Col. C. E. C. Rabagliatti, a customer at my father’s small garage off Belgrave Square, used an ex-Le Mans 4 1/2-Bentley for his ordinary motoring, later changing it for a “blower” 4 1/2, which so far as I know was also an ex-team car. One of the mechanics delivered this regularly to the Colonel’s flat in St. James’s without any trouble. One could get in and out of this car without difficulty too! Not being such a close follower of the sports/racing car scene as I used to be, I don’t know whether it would be possible to revert to racing at Le Mans with more normal near-production cars. But I am sure that in the recent past it was more interesting, when one had such cars as Bristol, Peerless, MG, Triumph, Sunbeam Harrington Alpine, etc. taking part. And’ I think that it improved the breed of cars which many people could buy, as opposed to today’s few’ exotics.
Totteridge J. CLASSEY