Classic MG

Introducing both Midget and 18/80 at the 1928 motor show was a turning point for MG. Cecil Kimber insisted on some firm orders at Olympia before committing to a big 2½litre 6-cylinder as the Edmund Road factory was made ready. A prototype 18/80 went on show with encouraging results, and the while the new car was not quite in the soon-to-be-vacated sporting territory of Bentley, it was more grown-up than most MGs. First to have the distinctive upright MG radiator shape that did so much to establish the identity of classic MGs, it was also the first 6-cylinder even though it continued using lots of Morris Motors’ components. Morris-derived engines in MGs had tended to be basic and side-valve, until the acquisition of Wolseley, along with Frank Woollard a former colleague of Kimber’s, who was made works manager. Woollard encouraged adventurous designs with an overhead camshaft, regarded by William Morris as a needless extravagance. Parsimonious Morris disapproved of the expense and the engine was never a success in Morrises. The 18/80 was treasury rated at 17.9hp but never attained anything like the 80bhp (60kW) implied in the title. About 60bhp (44.7kW) was its best ever. Advertisements claimed it had the sports performance and luxurious ease of a Two Thousand Guinea creation, “truly a competitor for the contemporary Alvis and Lagonda”. It was certainly a notable MG of the Vintage period, commendably smooth with strong torque and a surprisingly compliant ride. MG designed the chassis with 6in deep channel section side members and box-section cross-bracing, together with the axles although the torque tube transmission was pure Morris. One curiosity was the “MG” cast into the bulkhead uprights. It was neither octagonal nor could it ever be seen, except when the bodywork was entirely removed. Classic MG digital edition £7.56
BODY Saloon 4-door 4-seat; Sports 2-door 2-seats; Salonette 2-door 4-seats; Open Tourer 4-door 4-seats; chassis weight 19cwt (965.2kg), 2-seater 23cwt (1168.4kg), saloon 25.75cwt (1308.1kg) ENGINE 6-cylinders; in-line; 69mm x 110mm, 2468cc; compr 5.75: 1; 60bhp (44.7kW) @ 3200rpm; 24.3bhp (18.1kW)/ l. ENGINE STRUCTURE Duplex gear and chain-driven overhead camshaft; cast iron block, detachable cylinder head with pent-roof machined combustion chambers; two horizontal SU carburettors; chain drive to distributor, water pump, and dynamo , skew drive to oil pump and distributor; coil ignition; 4-bearing counterbalanced crankshaft. TRANSMISSION Rear wheel drive; five-plate cork insert clutch; 3-speed non -synchromesh manual gearbox; torque tube drive; spiral bevel final drive 4.25: 1. CHASSIS DETAILS Steel channel-section cross-braced upswept front and rear; upward-inclined half-elliptic leaf springs front-shackled 34in (86cm) front, 50in (127cm) rear; single arm Hartford Duplex shock absorbers; Perrot-shaft 12in (30cm ) finned drum brakes early cars, later cable brakes, some with servos; Marles steering; 10gal (45.5l) fuel tank; 2gal (9.1l) reserve; 19 x 5 Dunlop Fort tyres; Rudge-Whitworth centre lock wire wheels. DIMENSIONS Wheelbase 114in (289.6cm ); track 48in (121.9cm); turning circle 43ft (13m); ground clearance 8in (20.3cm); length 156in (396.2cm); width 60in (152.4cm); eight 62.5in (158.7cm) 2-seater, 67in (170.2cm). PERFORMANCE Max speed 80mph (128.7kph); 20.5mph (33kph)/ 1000rpm; 0-60mph 30sec; fuel consumption 18mpg (15.7l/ 100km). PRICE chassis only £ 420, 2-seater £ 480, Tourer £ 485, Salonette £ 545, Saloon £ 555 PRODUCTION 500
(Above right)The late Roger Stanbury’s Mk I speed model, black and red, chassis 6737, engine JC10532 first registered 10 June 1931 as a University Motors demonstrator. The other is my Twin-Cam 2.0 M-16 engined MGB.

Bentley Brooklands

I didn’t mean to praise Bentley quite so faintly. I liked Bentleys, but I guess in 1992 I felt compelled to emphasise Brooklands, since there really wasn’t much that was new about the car. They had taken the turbo off the Eight, as recounted in The Complete Bentley available digitally for £12.31. After tax changes the price of the Brooklands came down to £87,500, making this essentially the entry-level Bentley. The press launch had been at Brooklands the previous month and they gave me a plaque to say I had driven a Bentley on such of the historic track that remained. This was before the developments that have taken place since, including the magnificent Mercedes-Benz World centre that opened in 2006. Perhaps I gave the Bentley less space that week because I wanted to highlight Saab’s research. I was coming round, even then, to the view that technology held the key to developments in driving we hadn’t even thought of. This was four years before Google had been invented and two decades away from driverless cars. You can now buy a Bentley Brooklands for the price of a well-used Mondeo.
It is not easy for an old aristocrat to recapture youthful vigour without losing some dignity. Bentley Brooklands has a fine alliterative ring for buyers tempted to a new non-turbocharged version of the old Bentley Eight at only £91,489. Its badges will be in traditional British racing green, to emphasise the connection with the track built by H F Locke King on his Weybridge estate in 1907. Brooklands was the cradle of motor racing, and Bentleys won stirring contests here, such as the six hours endurance race of 1929.
The 'Bentley Boys' wove themselves into the rich tapestry of Brooklands, dyed into the wool as indelibly as the Spitfires and Wellingtons created there by Vickers-Armstrong. Some Bentley Boys, like Clive Dunfee whose car topppled over the lip of the Members' Banking in 1932, lost their lives.
Brooklands is now a thriving industrial park. Gallaher's offices fill a gap in the Members' Banking, and one small corner is dedicated as a museum to halcyon days, when Locke King's estates extended not only to a large part of Surrey, but a good deal of Sussex as well.
The Bentley Brooklands is a magnificent anachronism, strong, quiet, powerful, and furnished in impeccable taste. Burr walnut, and deep Wilton carpet with tailored overmats give the interior the feel and the aroma of luxury. The loudest sound is not the clock - quartz movements no longer tick - but the faint creaking of the Connolly leather on the sumptuous upholstery. The huge 6.7litre V8 engine rumbles under the long bonnet, rejuvenated with the latest electronic technology, but still devoutly middle-aged. It is an imposing car, introduced just as Rolls-Royce and Bentley sales show signs of a recovery in Scotland and the North of England.

Rolls and Royce

Inseparable as Gilbert and Sullivan or Victoria and Albert, Rolls and Royce created the world's most recognisable brand name 110 years ago, Wednesday 4 May 1904. They met at the Midland Hotel Manchester not only producing “The Best Car in the World” (Rolls-Royce was never modest), but aero-engine excellence throughout the Second World War and ever since.
Right: Merlin in a Spitfire.
Only a little of the credit belonged to The Hon Charles Stewart Rolls, (below) an Edwardian gentleman to his elegant fingertips, complete with uniformed chauffeur and mechanic, but famously stingy. The late Sir Thomas Sopwith described him as, “curiously unlovable.” Rolls felt he had little to learn from Royce, a northern engineer, a crane manufacturer with an infinite capacity for taking pains. But as an ardent balloonist and aerial adventurer Rolls’s lifestyle was expensive, and the sales company set up with £6,500 from his father, Lord Llangattock, needed a new line to augment his imported French cars. Flying exploits were his undoing. Rolls achieved the melancholy distinction of being the first pilot killed in a British air crash at Bournemouth on 2 June 1910.
Workaholic, obsessive, sickly Frederick Henry Royce’s pursuit of perfection knew no bounds and, ill from overwork, he dismantled his Decauville to make it function properly. It was a car, he concluded, “...marred by careless workmanship,” so he set about designing something better. The result was an experimental car Rolls drove out of the Midland Hotel's carriage court (demolished in the 1930s to make way for a reception area) and realised that this 2-cylinder was as smooth and quiet as a 4-cylinder. Rolls instructed his partner, Claude Johnson to take on the Royce car, and negotiate for C S Rolls & Co (Royce below)to have exclusive rights.
The great engineer and the parsimonious aristocrat signed their agreement on December 23, 1904. Claude Johnson thought double-barrelled names had a ring to them, and made his contribution to the motoring lexicon, inserting a clause stipulating that the cars would henceforward be known as Rolls-Royces.
Later one of the 40/50 cars was painted silver and called The Silver Ghost. It was the fashion to apply names to individual cars, rather like ships. The title stuck, and the Silver Ghost remained in production for eighteen years. Phantoms, Wraiths, Shadows and Spirits followed. Rolls-Royces were always beautifully made although scarcely inventive, and never above taking somebody else's component (an automatic transmission from General Motors, or a patent suspension from Citroën) and adapting it to its own exacting standards. An engine from Munich, transmission from Friedrichshafen, even an aluminium body from Dingolfing, has not been entirely out of character.
In 1914 the Admiralty instructed Lieut Walter Owen Bentley of the Royal Naval Air Service to find out why its new French aero engines were overheating. By 1916 he had designed one himself the Bentley rotary (below), which saw service in Sopwith Camels, and was used by the RAF until 1926.
After the war Bentley wasted no time getting into car production. His 3 Litre appeared at the London Motor Show in 1919, yet the foundations of the Bentley legend were laid at the Le Mans 24 Hours race in France. Bentleys won it five times against opposition from Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, and Bugatti, but following the 1929 depression even the extravagant Bentley Boys had to economise. In July 1931 Bentley Motors called in the receiver.
Napier had not made a car since 1925, it was now predominantly an aero engine manufacturer, but was so impressed with the new 8 Litre opened negotiations to buy Bentley Motors. In September The Autocar confidently announced that an agreement only awaited formal approval. The receiver called for sealed bids, but the mysterious British Central Equitable Trust dashed Napier’s hopes. Weeks later the subterfuge was revealed. Rolls-Royce, learning of Napier's interest, had pre-empted its rival.
Bentley never forgave what he regarded as Rolls-Royce's deceit, and although he joined Bentley Motors (1931) Ltd soon left, forbidden from ever applying his name to a car again.
In 1933 Rolls-Royce announced the Derby-built Silent Sports Car, and with a few memorable exceptions, Bentleys became little more than badge-engineered Rolls-Royces. The exceptions included the splendid Continentals of the 1950s, with sweeping lines inspired by a contemporary Buick, and the new Continental developed by the VW-owned company. More in The Complete Bentley, Dove Publishing Ltd. (right, WO Bentley bust at Bentley Motors, Crewe)

Divina Galica and Susie Wolff

Divina Galica and Susie Wolff illustrate the difference between quick and competitive lap times. Quite a lot of drivers can manage decent back-of-the-grid laps in a well set-up racing car. I have done it myself. And inside the five laps which, they say, shows you could go faster.
Reaching the middle of the grid is harder. A front row time requires not only native skill, visual acuity, lots of experience or whatever it is that makes a good racing driver. You have to be brave. Professional drivers deny bravery in public but in private they have told me they have caught themselves literally holding their breath trying for a fast lap. Sure there are the Jim Clarks and Sebastian Vettels, who have some magic ingredient that always makes them point something of a second a lap faster – or the Michael Schumachers who take risks on skis.

When it gets to actual racing wheel-to-wheel a driver needs an unusual degree of self-confidence, or maybe lack of imagination. It must get the adrenalin-flow that makes them face danger if not with equanimity at least with resolve. At that point it doesn’t much matter which sex you are.

Divina Mary Galica MBE held the British women's downhill skiing speed record at 125 mph so she could cope with speed. She took part in her first Olympic games at Innsbruck in 1964 aged 19, competing in downhill skiing and slalom. She was in the next two winter Olympics, at Grenoble in 1968 and Sapporo in 1972, both times captain of the British Women’s Olympic Ski Team, finishing in the top ten of the Giant Slalom. Aside from Olympic competition, Divina achieved two World Cup podium finishes downhill, taking third place at both Badgastein and Chamonix in 1968. She even returned to skiing at the 1992 Winter Olympics, representing Great Britain in speed skiing.
Divina drove so well in a 1970s celebrity motor race that she embarked on a new career. She raced karts before Formula 2, finding success in sports cars and later in the rough and tumble of truck racing. She drove in Formula Renault and Formula Vauxhall Lotus and publicity and sponsorship opportunities led to Formula 1. There was more single-seater racing before she switched to Thundersports S2000 sports cars, eventually becoming a racing instructor with Skip Barber Racing Schools. She rose to senior vice president of Skip Barber Racing, managing both its driving school and racing series. In 2005, at the Mont-Tremblant weekend of the Skip Barber Race Series, Galica announced she was leaving Skip Barber to work for as a director in the company.

Divina was cross with me for downplaying her chances in Formula 1 although I tried not to buy into the idea that her reputation on snow and her looks engaged the sponsors. Yet even the staid old Guardian took any opportunity to carry her picture. She certainly had the right stuff and really was only a few fractions of a second off the pace.
Susie Stoddart, now Susie Wolff will drive a Williams.

Divina Galica, the former Olympic skier, is to try and qualify for the John Player British Grand Prix on July 18. She could be the first British girl to drive in a world championship Grand Prix should she lap the Brands Hatch Grand Prix track in around lmin.23sec in the Surtees TS 16, with which she broke five British speed records last week.
John Surtees is trying to complete a new TS 19 car for her to take part in the biggest test of her two-year-old career at the wheel, but she will probably still use the car in which she lies fourth in the Shellsports 5000 European Championships,
The chances of Divina reaching the starting grid in the Grand Prix are slim. There are 30 entries, 26 places on the grid, and it will only be if some cars fail to turn up, or have trouble during practice, that she is likely to take part in the Grand Prix - round nine in the 1976 World Championships.
Two years ago Lella Lombardi, the Italian girl driver who subsequently took part in a full season’s Formula One, was entered for the same race and managed a lap at 1min. 23.3sec. Although there were five cars slower, she failed to qualify for the race by a full second. Recent alterations to the track have slowed it slightly, and James Hunt’s pole position for the Race of Champions in March was 1min. 20.4sec., so Divina will need to aim for something between 1min. 23sec. and 1min. 23.sec., to reach even the back row of the grid.
Yesterday I asked what her best time in private practice had been round the undulating 2.61miles, but she confessed she had not yet driven the full course. Her longest race so far has been only three quarters of an hour, to the two gruelling hours a Grand Prix would take.
Imperial Tobacco Ltd will take their cigarette brand insignia off the cars they have entered in the Grand Prix, which means the John Player Lotuses will appear in plain black and gold, without the J.P.S. logo. This follows an undertaking given to Dr David Owen, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Security last November.
Throughout their two cigarette manufacturing units, John Player and Sons and W. D. & H. O. Wills, Imperial Tobacco are one of the largest sponsors of motor racing in the country. No similar undertaking has so far been given by Phillip Morris, the American company who sponsor the Marlboro World Championship team.
Davina crashes
Divina Galica had a narrow escape from injury when she crashed her Hesketh on the first day of unofficial practice for Sunday’s Argentina Grand Prix. She went off on one of the fastest parts of the course, a 150 m.p.h. bend, and wrecked one side of her car against the safety barrier.
“I was trying out some suspension modifications,” she said later. “The car just turned round on me. It was very quick, and there’s really no explanation. We are getting the spare car ready for practice tomorrow.” Miss Galica had been having trouble getting down to a competitive practice time, and her accident might make it difficult for her. She needs to improve by seven or eight seconds - a big margin - to reach a qualifying speed.
She has been in Buenos Aires for several days, and so far has not posted a lap speed that would qualify her for the race. Mario Andretti (John Player Lotus), James Hunt (McLaren), and Niki Lauda (Brabham Alfa Romeo) were among the fastest drivers yesterday in good conditions, with a light breeze taking a little of the heat out of the strong sun.
Miss Galica was not the only driver who went off the road. Didier Pironi, the new member of the Tyrrell team, collected some catch fences on the right hand corner at the end of the pits, but damage was superficial.
Practice proper starts today with 24 starting places at stake for the 28 cars entered. It is already apparent that the winners will be those who pace themselves best on Sunday. Driving on the limit in this heat would, mean cars would be unlikely to survive two hours’ racing, even if the drivers did.
Tyres have gone soggy within a few laps, not so much from the influence of the hot asphalt, as the absence of the usual stream of cool air to keep their working temperature correct
Lap times until now must be treated with caution, because yesterday’s tests were more in the nature of a shake-down. Brake pads must be bedded-in, the gloss abraded off new tyres water and oil run through engines to make sure things are done up, but already there are signs to show who will be fast and which teams have tpo worry about starting places.
The military remains the biggest worry to the Grand Prix Circus. Like many other things in Argentina. The track officials take second place to the masses of heavily armed soldiery who stand about, taking on roles usually the preserve of police at European tracks, or as in Britain, volunteer marshals.

Good piece by Beverley Turner in The Telegraph today

Bentley 3 Litre

Could a 1924 3 Litre Bentley do 70 in second? Third maybe, but although a bare chassis was guaranteed to do 90, its weight and with what they used to call the “windage” of even an open body would restrict speed to not much over 85mph. So I somehow doubt “Open Throttle” in the Brooklands Gazette (later Motor Sport), writing enthusiastically in its very first issue that “With a slight pressure on the accelerator one can then speed up the Bentley in a few yards to fifty, fifty-five, sixty-five, and seventy quite easily—all on second. The leap forward when the increase of engine revolutions permitted by the sudden change from top to second, is a thing to be experienced to be appreciated.”

It was, he claimed, “one feature that may be described as unique… How many sporting cars will do seventy miles an hour in second gear?” His test car, moreover, had the five-jet water-jacketed Smith-Bentley carburetter, the 45BVS, used up till 1923, not the regular Speed Model’s two sloper SU G5s. Perhaps a 3 Litre Speed Model person can put us right.
Otherwise “Open Throttle” doesn’t materially contradict The Complete Bentley (Amazon e-book - £12.31). This first Brooklands Gazette of July 1924 gave the price of a 3 Litre with 4-seat body as £1,125 and with two seats £1,100. My research was based on contemporary advertisements and other accounts. I gave the Red Label Speed Model a couple of decimals’ difference in the top gear ratio. You could have any colour you liked on the badges but speed models were all red. “Open Throttle” discovered the “system of dual controlled magnetos” but surprisingly doesn’t seem to have counted the spark plugs. He gives the weight at 19½cwt although that was for the chassis only. Bodywork added 5-6cwt. I think I prefer Motor Sport’s later practice of initialling contributors, such as WB and DSJ.
A lot of 3 Lire Bentleys were burdened by heavy saloon bodywork.

1924-1929 3 Litre RED LABEL SPEED MODEL

Essentially a development of the TT Replica, Speed Models brought in four wheel brakes, and twin SU carburettors. WO maintained that hydraulic brakes had been tried on EXP2, but production cars had a mechanical system based on Perrot principles, which had a shaft with sliding universal joints. The front axle section was increased to take the strain, and instead of cast iron linings as used in the rear drums, all eight brake shoes had fabric linings. The handbrake operated an additional set of shoes and a single adjustment beneath the floor took up lining wear on all four wheels. There was no servo, but WO and FT Burgess developed and patented a mechanical compensator used subsequently in Bentleys up to the 8 Litre. There were several stages of Perrot-Bentley brakes, improvements having been tried out on Burgess’s experimental car ME 2431, that was doing effective duty as EXP4. The stage 1.1 Perrots ran to 1926, stage 2, which pinned the sliding keys, to 1929. There were gearbox developments and a larger sump as well as a gradual thickening of the chassis frame from 0.144in (3.7mm) to 0.156in (3.96mm), and in 1928 0.188in (4.78mm). Chassis flexure was problematical. LJK Setright: “(WO) carried over to his cars the notions of scale he acquired in railway locomotive workshops. So far as his chassis were concerned, the effect was almost always disastrous; everything about them was of heroic dimensions and villainous proportions, the outcome being an aggregation of components that was grotesquely heavy without being particularly stiff. Indeed the main chassis rails, though of very thick channel section, were only 4in (10.2cm) deep and their inadequate beam stiffness made it necessary for supplementary trusses to be bolted beneath, an arrangement which improved matters in bending but did nothing to improve the torsional stiffness of the chassis.” The reinforcements were struts and stiffeners below the main chassis members giving the effect of a deeper beam section. The radiator header tank was enlarged, making the domed shell 1in (2.5cm) taller and adding dignity to the prow. In 1926 steel rocker arms were replaced with duralumin even though they proved fragile at Brooklands in 1927.
BODY various coachbuilt; chassis weight 20cwt (1016kg); 1925 23cwt (1168.4kg); maximum with body 26cwt (1320.8kg) to 28cwt (1422.4kg)
ENGINE 4-cylinders, in-line; front; 80mm x 149mm, 2996cc; compr 5.6:1, 6.1:1; 85bhp (63.39kW) @ 3500rpm; 28.4bhp (21.18kW)/l; RAC rating 15.9HP
ENGINE STRUCTURE 4-valves, double springs; hollow overhead camshaft gear-driven from front; cast-iron non-detachable cylinder head, cast iron cylinders; aluminium crankcase; cast aluminium 2.5gal (11.4l) sump with gear-driven pump; long securing studs from block to crankcase; two sloper SU G5 carburettors; 2 spark plugs per cylinder; two ML CG4 later some RG4 magnetos, Autovac fuel system; 5-bearing Laystall forged steel crankshaft; water-cooled, L8 hourglass or BHB split skirt aluminium pistons.
TRANSMISSION rear wheel drive; Ferodo-lined 42.25in (107.3cm) cone clutch; separate 4-speed A-type gearbox, or C-type on Speed Models; right hand change; one-piece plunger joint propeller shaft; spiral bevel final drive 3.78, or 3.53:1
CHASSIS pressed 35ton steel channel section frame, 4 riveted cross members; half-elliptic leaf springs (different leaves according to body weight) suspension; Hartford, Duplex friction dampers; 15.75in (40cm) drum brakes with Bentley-Perrot shafts to front; worm and wheel steering; 11gal (50l) fuel tank with 2gal (9l) reserve; Rudge-Whitworth centre lock wire wheels, 820x120 tyres. Dunlop after 1926
DIMENSIONS wheelbase 117.5in (298.4cm); track 56in (142.2cm); length 159in 403.8cm); width 68.5in (174cm); ground clearance 7.25in (18.4cm); turning circle short right 46ft (14m) left 42ft (12.8m).
PERFORMANCE maximum speed, 86mph (138.1kph); 24.3mph 39kph app @ 1000rpm;
0-60mph (96kph) 40sec; fuel consumption 20mpg (14.12l/100km)-25mpg (11.3l/100km).
PRICE chassis only, £1050, 1924 £925; complete car (mostly VDP) £1275-£1475; 1924 £1125-£1350 PRODUCTION 513
THE sporting car, as a class, has characteristically more distinction than that possessed by touring types. Being essentially out of the ordinary, and representing the result of concentration upon a design intended to emphasise particular motoring qualities, the sporting car usually has quite an individuality of its own. Some sporting cars, of course, are much more conventional than others; whilst there are those which seem to stand quite apart from orthodox standards.
In the latter category one may place the three-litre Speed Model Bentley. This car embodies all the qualities which one has come to consider essential in a sporting car. In addition, it has features and characteristics quite its own. A brief review of the chassis reveals at once how interesting a proposition the Speed Model Bentley is, and this opinion is vastly enhanced when one takes the car for a trial on the road.
The engine is a four-cylinder monobloc of 2,996 cc. capacity and 15.9 h.p. on the R.A.C. rating. Its design has much originality, which has been well justified by the results obtained. There are two inlet and two exhaust valves in each cylinder, arranged in the head and operated by a totally enclosed overhead camshaft and rockers, running in oil. Both crankshaft and camshaft are carried in five bearings. The pistons are of aluminium, designed for high compression service. Cooling is by pump circulation controlled by an automatic thermostat. Ignition on a sporting car is, of course, a factor demanding the most careful attention. One usually has to “drive on the spark” more than is requisite on a touring car, and if one desires to obtain really the best running from the Speed Model Bentley one makes no exception to this rule with it. On this car one finds two M.L. high-tension magnetos, having a synchronised firing point control. The system of dual controlled magnetos enables one to obtain particularly effective ignition. Lubrication is by pressure to the main bearings and big ends, and by splash to the pistons and gudgeon pins. There is a pressure lead from the main oil supply to the hollow crankshaft, through which the camshaft bearings, cams and valve rockers are lubricated.
Carburation is by a five-jet water-jacketed Smith-Bentley carburetter. A notable point is that a petrol consumption of 25 m.p.g. at 30 m.p.h, is guaranteed. The speed model Bentley, considering its wide capabilities, is not under any condition excessive in fuel consumption. The clutch is of the inverted cone type, lined with Ferodo. It has compensated withdrawal mechanism automatically lubricated, and there is a special automatic lubricator for the clutch spigot. The four-speed gear-box gives ratios in the forward speeds of 9.35 to 1, 3 78 to 1, 4.72 to 1, and 3.53 to 1.
It is operated by a simple right-hand gate change carried on an extension of the box. The frame of the chassis is of particularly strong construction, and does not rely on the engine or gearbox for part of its bracing. Double Hartford shock absorbers are fitted to the back axle and single to the front. There are oil lubricated Wefco gaiters on all springs. Steering is by worm and wheel.
In a car of such advanced design as the Bentley, one naturally expects to find front wheel brakes, and the system of fully compensated internal expanding brakes operating on all four wheels and controlled by pedal is very effective. The hand brake operates direct on the rear wheels. Wear on the four wheel brakes can be taken up by a single adjustment.
The tank holds eleven gallons of petrol, and a two-way tap near the filling cap gives access to a reserve supply of two gallons. The cardan shaft is hollow and is loaded with oil through a plug, this reservoir providing an oil supply for the back universal joint. Chassis lubrication is by oil, supplied from an oil-gun through screwed oil plugs. The only grease cup on the chassis situated on the water pump. After the chassis has been lubricated it can be run for three months of normal mileage without further lubrication, apart, of course, from the engine’s requirements.
The wheelbase of the sporting Bentley is 9 ft. 9½ins., and the wheel track 4 ft. 8ins. The weight of the chassis is 19½cwts., and it runs on 820 x 120 m.m. tyres. The annual tax is £16.
From the foregoing it will be appreciated that the Speed Model Bentley is a particularly interesting car. Our road experiences with this model, although not at the moment as extensive as we should like, have convinced us that this car must possess a fascination for every sporting motorist.
The sporting Bentley is naturally a fast car. But that is by no means the sum total of its outstanding attraction. Very few sporting cars arc really docile in control, many are not at all comfortable to ride in. The Speed Model Bentley is a happy exception to this too prevalent rule. We drove the Bentley quite comfortably on top gear at an exceptionally low speed, and found it very docile in traffic and those places wherein “sporting” characteristics are not over appreciated. Owing to its high gear range one must, of course, remember that the four speeds are there to be used. Gearchanging is so easy a matter, however, that one finds not the smallest objection to always starting in first and to a fairly frequent use of the lower ratios in traffic. On each gear the car is instantly responsive its life and acceleration under all conditions being admirable.
Later Sloper carburettor
There is one feature of the Bentley that may be described as unique, and to this we would give due prominence. How many sporting cars, or cars of any sort, will do seventy miles an hour in second gear? Their number must be very few indeed. The Bentley, however, makes light of this. One can speed up in the ordinary way on the successive gears until one is going along smoothly and comfortably at, say, forty-five miles an hour on top gear. One then changes down direct to second gear, missing third - and things begin to happen. With a slight pressure on the accelerator one can then speed up the Bentley in a few yards to fifty, fifty-five, sixty-five, and seventy quite easily—all on second. The leap forward when the increase of engine revolutions permitted by the sudden change from top to second, is a thing to be experienced to be appreciated. The acceleration is quite remarkable, as remarkable as the fact changing down at forty-five miles an hour itself. The Bentley will hang on to round about the seventy mark on second gear indefinitely, and the change down at speed with a quick double-clutch is not unduly difficult. One can change into top at practically any speed, slow well as fast, and the Bentley will attain the neighbourhood of the eighty mark without much forcing.
Steering of the Bentley is delightfully easy, comparable in its comfort to that experienced on a high quality light car. The four-wheel brakes, operated by pedal, remarkably powerful, and very easy and smooth in operation. Although there is not an over abundance of seating room the Speed Model Bentley is quite comfortable to ride in.
The electrical and other equipment is very complete and the general lay-out of the car very pleasing to those who desire a high quality sporting vehicle which is quite
practicable for ordinary touring and exceptionally attractive amongst sporting designs for town and general use.
The price of the Speed Model Bentley with four seater body is £1,125 and with two-seater body £1,100, purchasers being afforded the option of choosing the colour of body and upholstery. The manufacturers are Messrs. Bentley Motors, Ltd., 3, Hanover Court, Hanover Street, London, W.1. The extensive Bentley factories are at Cricklewood. London, N.W. 2.
Interest in the Bentley is naturally enhanced by this car’s splendid victory in the French Grand Prix d’Endurance last month. The Bentley was the only British car amongst some forty competitors, and its outstanding performance throughout the race provided a notable tribute to British engineering in general, and to Bentley design and workmanship in particular Magnificently driven by Duff and Clement, the Bentley maintained a thrilling struggle with some of the best representatives of French automobile science throughout the twenty-four hours that the race occupied. This event is indeed appropriately named, a trial of endurance, for it is difficult to imagine a more exacting test under road conditions than this gruelling struggle of speed throughout a day and a night.
The Bentley had no mechanical trouble, and at the end of the race was in good condition and still lapping consistently. The distance covered by the Bentley in twenty-four hours with Duff and Clement alternately at the wheel, was exactly 2,188 kilometres, or 128 laps of the course. Second place was taken by the Lorraine-Dietrich, driven alternately by Stoffel and Brisson with 2,016 kilometres to its credit.

Jaguar R-Coupe

Richard Bremner was right. In his astute and entertaining Autocar column, THEY WERE THE FUTURE, ONCE, on September 4 2013 he wrote:
Bold R-Coupe had XK150 grille

A dozen years ago, Jaguar was a maker of new old cars for middle-aged men occupying the verdantly gardened mid-century detached homes of Warwickshire. Many worked for Jaguar itself. They drove little and large X-type and XJ throwbacks to the 1968 XJ6, visually troubled S-types or XK8s redolent of E-types but missing the original’s delicacy and drama. Jaguar needed to break from its past, and slowly, sometimes painfully, it has. And no more completely than with today’s boldly original XJ. Yet the car that triggered the big cat’s escape from the formaldehyde world has almost been forgotten.
Jaguar concept cars were once rarer than back-to-back Browns Lane profits and were more likely to be produced by design houses than Coventry. The XK180 and the F-type changed that, their debuts at last century’s end a prelude to a failed attempt at a production F-type. But these two were worryingly retro, despite their voluptuous details.
1998 XK180 with epitome of Jaguar heritage, a long-nosed tailfinned D-type

The 2001 R-Coupe, on the other hand, boldly launched forward. True, it had the Mk2 ‘mouth eating a banana’ grille, its long-bonnet short-tail proportions referenced the XK120 and it carried enough wood and leather to furnish a Regency drawing room. But this was no antique Jaguar.
The R-Coupe’s cabin was as on the money as London’s Met bar and just as desirable to occupy. Rich, smooth-contoured wood swept along the lower reaches of the doors and as deep-walled central console, while crisply-seamed leather sheathed curve-topped bucket seats redolent of an early E-type’s and the dash was packed with a battery of enticingly silvered instruments. More arresting still was a floor surfaced with the same pale blonde Connolly leather that upholstered the seats. This was the Jaguar cabin gone modern, but one still lightly tethered to a past that the company’s managers could just about feel comfortable with.
Crisp, clean, 2000 F-type concept
They also felt eased by the back-catalogued echoes of the R-Coupe’s crisply sculpted contours. The fuselage-like section of its body sides, the voluptuous bunching of the bonnet over its quarter of headlights, the shallow glasshouse and the full-length waistline crease were all to be found on Jaguars past. So was there something really new in this concept? There was. The bold air vents flanking its grille, a dynamic wide-tracked stance, 21-inch alloys, the subtle air vents in the front wings and its confident, untroubled sweeps of surface and form have characterised Jaguars since.
Yet at its 2001 Frankfurt show debut there were plenty who didn’t know quite what to make of the R-Coupe. It was less dramatic than the XK180 and the F-type, it was far from wildly futuristic and many were surprised to see the S-type’s grille. But there’s something about the elegantly contained muscle, its carefully teased proportions and confidently spare jewellery that appealed then and still does now. The R-Coupe made a fine start on a slow-burning revolution - and it’s still playing out today.
Bold, subtle, four headlamp R-Coupe

Richard was right about the 2001 R-Coupe concept being an unsung hero of the Jaguar revolution. What follows is the entry in my Jaguar ebook.
No Jaguar – no car ever – quite matched the E-type. UK stamp immortalised.

Jaguar celebrated the centenary of Sir William Lyons’ birth on September 4 2001, and a week later showed a concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show illustrating how Jaguar design might develop. The Frankfurt car was never going to be a production reality, it was scarcely even a running prototype yet several of its features emerged later. Built in six months, it had no engine and only rudimentary S-type suspension and was not based on any current or proposed Jaguar, but had been “constructed round a realistic 4-seater package and a V8 powertrain.” Its flights of fancy included F1-style paddle-shift gear changing, headlamp beams that followed the steering, electronic door releases and voice-controlled telematics. A challenge to Jaguar designers, it reflected the company’s aim to shift from a niche manufacturer to a major player in the premium car sector. “It represented a long term vision rather than anything we will see tomorrow,” according to managing director Jonathan Browning. Its styling included a front grille reminiscent of the XK150, and it was the first project to be completed following Ian Callum’s appointment as design director in 1999. He created a 15-strong Advanced Design Studio under Julian Thomson that took the lead in creating the R-Coupe, which was only revealed once it did not figure anywhere in Jaguar’s plans.
2000 F-type had wrap-round window Pewter paintwork, badges of solid silver and a silver-plated grille surround served to emphasise that it was strictly a one-off exercise of the sort that manufacturers prepare as a matter of course, ready to develop into production realities if required. Critical acclaim was not immediate. Automobile Year was disappointed in some respects although: “The overall concept achieved just what Jaguar needed, elegant and distinctive design, exclusive styling with beautiful proportions such as Jaguar always had in the past. Ian Callum has a knack of understanding exclusive design, as he did with Aston Martin.” Jaguar historian Paul Skilleter saw it as: “An enlarged futuristic XJ-S… a generous 2+2 … a lot bigger, 6.35cm (2.5in) longer than an XJ-S, wider by a massive 60.96cm (24in), and 8.89cm (3.5in) taller. Some said they could not have identified the car as a Jaguar if it had not been badged, but they were in a minority. … an endorsement that the R-Coupe is the bold step Ian Callum is convinced is necessary.” And so it proved. It certainly repositioned Jaguar, took it into new territory, and ensured partiality towards retro styling was by no means obsessive
INTRODUCTION September 2001. BODY Coupe; 2-doors, 4-seats. ENGINE V8-cylinders. TRANSMISSION rear wheel drive CHASSIS steel monocoque with subframes; independent suspension by coil springs and unequal length wishbones; anti roll bars; telescopic dampers; hydraulic servo ventilated disc brakes; alloy wheels
DIMENSIONS wheelbase 290.83cm (114.5in); length 492.76cm (194in); width 186.69cm (73.5in); height 134.62cm (53in). EQUIPMENT Ebony macassar wood veneer interior, blonde Connolly hide on seats, deep brown saddle hide elsewhere.
Pale blonde Connolly leather R-Coupe

Vauxhall Wensum

The Wensum was a Vauxhall 30-98 OE-type made between 1923 and 1927. As with most up-market cars bodies were made to order, mostly the elegant 4-seat open 3-door Velox tourer. Handsome and well-proportioned, although more dramatic the nautical-looking boat-tailed Wensum had no doors, no hood, flared wings, polished wood panelling and V windscreen. It cost £150 more than the plain Velox. Coachbuilders Mulliner and Grosvenor also catalogued 2-seaters. Designer Laurence Pomeroy’s departure from Vauxhall had been a profound loss not only to Luton but also the entire British motor industry. He had been figuring out an overhead camshaft 30-98 since 1919 with all the flair and inventiveness of a British Ferdinand Porsche. Pomeroy’s prescient approach to engineering led him to America in 1919 where he did pioneering work on developing aluminium applications in cars. His successor at Vauxhall C E King developed Pomoroy’s work with a pushrod engine for the D-type 25HP and the E-type 30-98 in 1923 making it the fastest catalogued car in Britain. Almost all were sold as fast tourers.

The new engine had much the same lower half as before, with a redesigned block and overhead valves so large they needed rockers on offset pedestals. Their seats extended to the edge of the combustion spaces. Double valve springs and substantial four-bolt Duralumin connecting rods were necessary for an engine that revved freely to 3400rpm – almost unheard of. The result was greater refinement but not, at first, a great deal more speed although in racing trim and with a high axle ratio 30-98s were guaranteed for 100mph. Later cars had a balanced crank and good hydraulic brakes. Wensum pictured at Windsor last year had a slightly taller windscreen than early ones and a whimsical Vauxhall bonnet mascot. Instruments were laid out flat and the colour scheme original-looking with black flowing wings which, according to a sales catalogue (when a Wensum was £1300 “complete”) reproduced in Nick Portway’s splendid Vauxhall The Finest of Sporting Cars 30-98, “offer little resistance to the wind and are fully effective in keeping the body clean.” Portway’s books are exemplars; essential for any student of the Vintage era. See‎ .

BODY: Velox fast tourer 1423kg (3136lb). Wensum sports 4 seater, complete car 1473kg (3248lb) chassis 1245kg (2744lb)
ENGINE 4 cylinders, in-line, front, 98mm x 140mm; 4224cc; compr: 5.2:1; 83.5kW (112bhp) @ 3400rpm; 19.8kW (26.5bhp)/l; rated horse power 23.8. Later cars 89.5kW (120bhp) @ 3500rpm
ENGINE STRUCTURE pushrod overhead valves; chain driven camshaft; detachable cast iron cylinder head; cast iron block; 5-bearing crankshaft; Zenith 48RA carburettor, pressurised fuel feed until 1923 then Autovac; Watford magneto ignition; water-cooled, honeycomb radiator, cast alloy fan.
TRANSMISSION rear wheel drive; Vauxhall multi-plate clutch; 4-speed gearbox; ENV spiral bevel final drive; ratio 3.3:1.
CHASSIS DETAILS pressed steel chassis, engine sub-frame channel pressed steel section; half-elliptic suspension all round; Hartford friction dampers; 4 wheel brakes from 1923, hydraulic in front from 1926; worm and wheel steering; 54.5l(12gal) fuel tank; 820x120 beaded edge tyres, centre-lock Rudge wheels to 1925 then 32x4.5SS rims.
PERFORMANCE maximum speed 144.5kph (90mph), 160kph (100mph) guaranteed when stripped for racing; 44.9kph (28mph) @ 1000rpm; acceleration 0-60mph, 17 secs; 19kg/kW (14kg/bhp); fuel consumption 15.7l/100km (18mpg).
PRICE chassis 1923 £1020, later £950
The 1930-1932 T and T80 was a derivative of the 1928-1929 R-type with taller radiator, and chrome flutes. The sole Vauxhall at the beginning of 1930 the stylish Hurlingham echoing the Wensum was also a rakish 2-seater with a V-shaped windscreen and small dickey seat. It was capable of 70mph but Motor Sport was uncertain. “Third gear enables an excellent average to be put up as it gives excellent acceleration and one gets into the habit of spending a good deal of time in this gear on anything like a twisty road.” But 55mph remained about the maximum and the steering was too low geared. Testers contrasted the Hurlingham’s gentlemanly behaviour with what it called the roughness of this old school Vauxhall. Production of the 20/60 T-type probably did not continue much after 1930 but the expensive (£750 for a 1931 saloon) Silent 80 (T80) sold for a further season.

Publicity pictures

Scanning images for a new edition of Dove Publishing’s Audi book, which goes back to the early years of the 20th century, shows the heritage of NSU, Horch, DKW Wanderer and Audi. What pictures. Take “The greatest motorcycle factory in the world” (above) in 1930. The enterprising Dane Jörgen Skafte Rasmussen came to Saxony as a student and aged only 25 in 1903 set up Rasmussen & Ernst GmbH, boilermakers. The firm bought an empty textile works at Zschopau, and profits between 1914-1918 led to making motorcycles in this vast factory with chimneys and grandiose offices.
The 1922 Audi Type K was a 4-cylinder 3.5 litre 14/50 with an aluminium block, pressed-in liners, a ball-action gearshift and four wheel brakes. A dignified car Sebastian Vettel would approve its radiator motif, a figure 1 indicating Audi’s place in the world.
Horch went for the premium market in 1922 with its 10/35 4-cylinder engine designed by Arnold Zoller (1882-1934). Probably better remembered for his supercharger, Zoller also designed an astonishing 1464cc 12-cylinder 2-stroke racing car. The block was cast in one, the cylinders in two rows, each pair with a common combustion chamber. All the inlet ports were on the left of the engine, exhausts on the right, superchargers on top. Unfortunately it all proved too much for their inventor who died before the cars were properly developed.
Paul Daimler (1869-1945) designed this twin overhead camshaft for Horch, shown in Berlin in 1927. Gear-driven camshafts, 8-cylinders, the 3.3litre was the first in a series to secure Horch’s prestige.

Wanderer (below) was more middle-class with the 1926 W10 6/30, a modest 1551cc 4-cylinder. Its appeal was helped by a new electro-plating facility for bumpers and radiator. Side-mounted spare wheel wrapped in tidy cover.

Publicity caption for the 1971 Audi 80L (below) says “…rear part of Audi models redesigned so that it appears broader and appeals more to public. It can radiate charm and grace.” Car manufacturers’ publicity pictures. Phds have been compiled on less.

800,000 Scots

I agree with Alistair Darling. He wants the 800,000 Scots living elsewhere in the UK to make themselves heard. I was Scottish Nationalist for about a fortnight when I was 15 but I got over it. It was a teenage symptom. Alex Salmon thought he would harness the yoof vote for the referendum, only for a recent poll to show that teenagers know the real world better than he does. Mr Darling was launching a London branch of the Better Together campaign and drew a comparison with the separatists’ Yes Scotland campaign, which asserted that people living south of the Border should not be able to donate more than £500 towards it. Sir Alex Ferguson handed over a symbolic £501 by way of contradiction. It says something if I can agree with Alistair Darling and Sir Alex Ferguson in the same paragraph.

The Better Together launch at Westminster was backed by Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Lord Strathclyde, former Leader of the House of Lords. Addressing the 800,000 exiles, which include 100,000 in London, Mr Darling said: “You may not have a vote in the referendum, but you do have a voice. You have a right to have your opinion heard and you have a right to play your part in keeping Scotland in the UK. The nationalists don't want to hear from you. They believe that, because you have chosen to live and work in another part of the country, somehow you shouldn't be allowed to be involved.” Le Mans 1956. The first of Ecurie Ecosse’s astonishing wins with Flockhart and Sanderson in D-type Jaguar XKD501.

Scarcely any of Salmond’s campaign is not now completely shredded. It is summed up by the editor of The Spectator, Fraser Nelson: “Only now is (Alex Salmond) facing proper scrutiny, and he seems strikingly unprepared. He has been flummoxed by George Osborne’s declaration that an independent Scotland may have trouble using the pound. For years, the SNP has hinted that it has legal advice claiming an independent Scotland could stay in the European Union. It has now been forced to admit that no such advice exists. The latest can of worms to burst open is the notion that an independent Scotland should have a properly funded pension scheme: dull matters, certainly, but important ones that expose the mess that separation involves.”

Jim McColl, one of Salmond’s greatest business backers, said recently that he would settle for “an independent Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom”. Some hope. A few weeks ago he was exposed as a Monaco-based tax exile. As with actors such as Sean Connery and Alan Cumming, the SNP finds nationalists who will do anything for Scotland except live there. Billy Connolly got it about right, describing Holyrood as a pretendy parliament. Remember Tony Blair reassuring somebody 20 years ago that it would be no more than a sort of parish council.

Agree with Tony Blair? Maybe that would be a step too far.

Scots in motor racing: (top) Jim Clark’s Rookie of the Year 1963 Indianapolis jacket. (above) When drivers wielded a wheel spanner. Jackie Stewart unbolts a wheel on his BRM in a Tasman race while Jim Clark drives up the pit lane during practice. (below) Dove Publishing ebook. Buy from Amazon £7.21.