10 to 100 m.p.h. with a 1½ litre Sports Car.
REMARKABLE FLEXIBILITY OF C. T. DELANEY'S LEA-FRANCIS, A CAR WELL KNOWN TO BROOKLANDS SPECTATORS.
IT is generally conceded that if a 1½ litre sports car is tuned to the pitch of being able to lap Brooklands Track at over 100 m.p.h., its owner does not use the car for anything but racing and speed trials.
It was therefore with very great interest that we accepted an invitation to drive Mr. C. T. Delaney's Lea Francis on the road. This car, which is a well known Brooklands entry, is fitted with a No. 11 Cozette blower instead of the No. 9 which is the standard fitting on the T.T. model "Leaf." The compression ratio is 4.3 to 1, and the back axle ratio 3.91 to 1, these being in accordance with the standard Lea-Francis specification.
Upon leaving Delaney's premises in Carlton Vale, London, N.W., and winding our way through the traffic in a northerly direction we soon discovered that here was a car that
C. T. Delaney's Lea-Francis is equally at home in London traffic as it is on Brooklands Track.
would present no real driving difficulties to the most staid motorist. Without any delicate manipulation of the controls it was possible to trickle along at 10 m.p.h. in top gear. This is, of course, only possible with "soft" plugs.
In third gear we noticed a good deal of sound issuing from under the floor boards, this being due to the fact that Delaney is rather fond of the Mountain Circuit, with the result that this ratio has had rather more wear than usual.
As would be expected the acceleration is extremely fierce, and it is not advisable to open the throttle at all wide unless the road surface is of the non-skid sort, otherwise there is a lot of revving, much black smoke from the rear tyres, two black marks on the surface of the road—and no acceleration. In other words there is wheelspin.
We found the brakes very effective, and even when applied quite hard at about 80 m.p.h. on a wet concrete road we could still guide the motor in a straight line. It was not necessary for us to time the car over a measured distance as this is done at nearly every Brooklanels meeting! The fastest lap so far timed was in the Canada Trophy when a speed of over 100 m.p.h. was averaged for several laps. 85 m.p.h. can be held with the blower pressure-guage needle practically at zero. If the throttle is opened wide at this speed the aforesaid needle will at once register 20 lbs. and other needles will become similarly active until "that hundred-mile-an-hour feeling" is felt to no small extent.
Altogether our short test was a striking example of what can be done by careful tuning and maintenance. The car is kept as an ordinary sports car with equipment including wings, hood, an efficient silencer and full electric lighting. Altogether a remarkable car.