Letters, September 1986

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Opinions expressed are those of our correspondents, and are not necessarily those of Motor Sport

***

Auto Union’s “Championship”

Sir,

Your article ‘The Top Grand Prix Cars’ (Motor Sport, July 1986 ) made very interesting reading but there is one statement that must be challenged…”But had there then been a World Championship of Manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz would have won it easily, after that tie in 1934, up to 1939″. In fact, they had a poor season in 1936, as the attached list shows. I am not sure what points system you used, but without resorting to points it can be seen that Auto-Union would have been champions by a big margin that year. It used to be customary when considering results down to the first three places to award 3 points for first, 2 for second, and 1 for third. On this basis Auto-Union would have had 40, and Mercedes-Benz 9 only with Alfa Romeo (22) pushing them into 3rd place in the championship.

Results taken from Motor Sport  December 1936 so must be correct!

Les Talliss,

Coventry

***

Brands Fiasco

Sir,

I wonder how many others there were like myself who were unable to gain admittance to the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch despite having purchased Grandstand tickets over a year in advance and been issued with blue car park stickers.

Arriving at Swanley at 7.15 am I found the A20 closed by the police who despite all protests directed the traffic down the M20. No provision had been made for traffic control at the exit back onto the already congested A20 westbound at Wrotham with the inevitable result that the M20 became completely blocked and remained at an almost total standstill for 4 hours.

Having already missed the preliminaries I consoled rnyself that at least I would see the Grand Prix, but had not taken account of the police at West Kingsdown who had by now closed the A20 westbound again and refused me access to the main entrance, claiming the car park was closed.

I was then directed northwards towards the back of the circuit only to find a third road block just before the paddock entrance, whereupon I was made to head away to Fawkham. It was clear by now that with 2 pm approaching, the TV offered the only chance of seeing the race and so ended my day in the vicinity of Brands Hatch.

I do not know who is to blame for this fiasco but it this is the price of supporting Grand Prix racing at Brands Hatch, then I wholeheartedly support the move to Silverstone.

As a footnote, the only consolation for a thoroughly trying day was the M 635CSi which ran beautifully without a trace of fluffyness or rising a degree above normal temperature in the most impossible conditions any car could meet.

D.A. Langtry,

Northwood, Middx

***

Chips With Everything

Sir,

I was most interested to read your comments (Matters of Moment), August issue of Motor Sport on the surface dressing of roads at this time of year with the large volume of traffic at holiday periods. On an annual trip to mid-Wales on holiday my car was sprayed with chippings by an overtaking car which was doing an estimated 60 mph when the temporary speed limit was set at 15 mph. Very few motorists were taking notice of the warning signs. I take great pride in the appearance of my car and the damage incurred on a few miles of road to bodywork, underseal,, etc., was unbelieveable. This is only damage to a car, what about pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, who are all unprotected for this type of hazard. It is time that this method of road surfacing was carried out as you suggest in your article or stopped altogether.  I wonder how many fatalities have been caused directly or indirectly by road dressing.

J.M. Cranshaw,

Sheffield

***

Subaru Fan

Sir,

Re ‘Musings August 86, I read with interest your article on 4WD systems that are popular and commercially available. However, as is the norm for the British motoring press, the bias is almost total.

The article talks at great length of Audi, VW, Ford, Peugeot and Lancia systems, but with only one brief mention of the Japanese competition. Are your readers aware that Subaru, the Japanese car manufacturer, holds 30% of the European passenger car 4WD market, a far higher percentage than any other manufacturer?  Their range of 4WD passenger cars is far more numerous than any other producer, and yet they are often ignored by the press. Although at the time of writing we do not have a permanent 4WD system available in Europe one is in production and on sale in Japan and no doubt will be available over here before long.

Currently the Subaru range of 4WD passenger cars begins with the 1800 GLF hatchback, filled with the pushrod engine, and goes up to the XT coupé powered by a multi’ point fuel injected, turbocharged engine that develops 135 bhp with a top speed of 125 mph.

Subaru have had some success in the international rally circuit in the Far East, Australasia and Africa but have as yet not seriously competed in Europe. I understand however, that Subaru UK Ltd will be entering two RX turbo 4WD Saloons in this year’s Lombard RAC Rally.

David Henry,

Malmesbury 

***

Mad March Days

Sir,

With reference to your Robin Herd article in the July issue, I must take up his point on Ronnie Peterson leading more laps than anyone else. According to lap charts in Autocourse 1976, James Hunt led across the line 351 times, if each of these represented a full lap it would be 1,112 miles to Niki Lauda’s 341 laps 901 miles, Clay Regazzoni 88 laps 201 miles, Jody Scheckter 79 laps 245 miles and Ronnie 70 laps 243 miles etc.  Hardly . . more laps in the lead than anyone else . . but excluding Hunt and Lauda he led more individual races, and possibly more racing miles than the rest, an excellent achievement, especially on £50,000.

Why do I nit-pick? As an excuse really, to reminisce about surely one of the all time greats, and to hopefully keep alive the memory of a superb crowd favourite, the original Super Swede.

Peter Ferrigno,

Diss, Norfolk

***

Marendaz Specials

In your editorial “defence” on page 722 of your July issue you state:  you “accept the car that won the 1925 Easter 75 mph Handicap was entered as a Marendaz Special”, in this defence of your statement in The History of Brooklands  that the Marendaz Special was evolved from Marseal parts.” The only construction that can be given to your words “was entered as a Marendaz Special” is that the car was not a Marendaz Special.

In the first instance you are thereby denigrating the reputations of the clerk of the course and the Brooklands scrutineers, professional men who no longer are with us to defend themselves.  They were all well acquainted with Marseal Cars. It is also a slur on the Brooklands handicapper and Starter, A V Ebblewhite who had stood within a yard of Marseal Cars on inumerable occasions over the years before, whilst reducing the several eminent stewards of the meeting to non-entities, including the RAC steward. This leaves an implication on my hitherto impeccable integrity.

Your readers are entitled to judge for themselves the truth, and what is paramount to this, are the specifications of the two cars which are —

The 1925 Marendaz Special:

Front Suspension: Semi Elliptic Springs.

Frame: Front dumb irons; upswept over rear axle.

Rear Suspension: Full cantilever.

Gearbox: Marendaz Special,  4-speed and reverse.

Rear Axle: Marendaz Special; Steel; Full floating as Rolls-Royce.

Clutch and Brakes: Operated through Marendaz Special design mechanical servo independent of Engine and Vacuum boost; Hydraulically operated.

1925 Marseal:

Front Suspension: Quarter Elliptic Springs.

Frame:  No dumb irons; no upsweep over rear axle.

Rear Suspension: Quarter Elliptic Springs.

Gearbox:  Marseal Marendaz Design, 3-speed and Reverse.

Rear Axle: Marseal Marendaz Design; Not steel, not Full-Floating.

Clutch and Brakes: Marseal Marendaz Design; No mechanical servo.

It would be difficult to find two more differing designs.

 I must now correct your further defence “that you accept that some international class records were taken by this make, though these have long since been beaten by other cars, according to the RAC’s record list.”  Marendaz Special Cars were the first cars in the world to take three world’s international 24-hour class records which remains a record, forever a world record, and I remain forever the first driver to do so.  Marendaz Special Cars took these records at Monthléry, France, during 1927 and 1928.  Such records were never recorded by the RAC.  For the Editor of a magazine on motor sport and racing to so denigrate three world’s international 24-hour class records as, “some international class records” because the car and its designer-driver is British, is nothing short of outrageous, as is a quite uncalled for attack on all the above people, no longer living.

But besides this attempt to belittle a Marendaz Special being the first car ever to obtain three world’s international 24-hour class records, a 13/70 Marendaz Special Car owned and driven by Mrs Aileen Moss was declared by the RAC at the end of their 1932 1000 mile Rally to have pulled up from 30 miles an hour to zero in 24 feet, an outstanding record at that time.  This is still a world record standing to the credit of Marandaz Special Cars after 54 years.

It was confirmed by The Autocar ‘s test of 29/11/1935.

Capt M K Marendaz,

Louth, Lincs.

(When I conceded that the car dnven by Capt. M K Marendaz at the 1925 Easter Brooklands’ races was a Marendaz Special I intended this to imply that I accepted his statement to that effect and that I had been incorrect in suggesting in my Brooklands book that the car had been evolved from Marseal parts. This being the case, I do not see that I have denegrated the reputations of all those Brooklands’ officials listed by Capt. Marendaz, who, as he says, would not have allowed the car in question to pose as a Marendaz Special had it been made mainly from Marseal parts.

My concession endorses the integrity of the gentlemen concerned. The original misconception probably arose because historical sources quote Marseal production running to 1925, Marendaz Special production commencing in 1926.

So far as the Marendaz 24-hour records are concerned, whatever post-war records designations, before the war, World’s records were the fastest irrespective of class, and the fact remains that in 1928, when Capt Marendaz, Kaye Don, Gwenda Hawkes and Douglas Hawkes held the Class-G (1100 cc) 24.hour record with a Marendaz Special at 58 10 mph and Marendaz, Hanks and Forrest the Class-F  (1500 cc) 24-hour record with another Marendaz Special at 59.33 mph, the Worlds 24-hour record stood to the credit of Marchand, Morel and Kiriloff with a Voisin. at 113.50 mph. Both the Marendaz 24-hour records were established in 1928, the Voisin’s in 1927, and the first British driver to set such a record was S. F. Edge with the Napier, at Brooklands in 1907 but l concede that Capt. Marendaz was the first driver to hold two International Class 24-hour records at the same time, and there was absolutely no intention denigrating him because he is British.  I cannot accept, however, that Worlds records for braking were ever officially recognised, commendably powerful as were a Marendaz Special’s brakes 54 years ago — Ed.)

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