Motor SportJanuary 1932
THE name of Hotchkiss has been an honoured one in the world of motoring since the very early days, and their latest product, a six-cylinder 3-litre car of typically robust construction and well thought out design, is a worthy follower of a long line of fine cars. It incorporates the best features of the continental type with those characteristics most desired in this country, and is distinctive in many ways.
For instance, although Hotchkiss is a French concern, the designer of the car, Mr. Ainsworth, is an Englishman, and the extremely modern and efficient factory is almost entirely equipped with British plant. Also, a great proportion of the material for this car is supplied by a famous British firm, and other important details, such as the large Exide battery, come from this country.
In this way it has managed to combine some of the best features of both English and
3-litre 23.8 h.p. six-cylinders,
push-rod operated overhead valves;
80 mm. bore x 100 mm. stroke (3,015 c.c.)
coil ignition, Solex carburettor.
Ratios, 4.9, 7.9, 10.8 and 20.8 to 1;
central change. Silent third speed.
Wheelbase : 10ft. 4½. inches;
track 4f1. 8 inches;
ground clearance 8 inches.
Continental types, the
result being one of the most pleasant cars for long fast journeys that we have handled for a considerable time.
The external appearance of the car, borne out fully by inspection of the body and chassis, would lead one to place the car in a price class approaching the 4-figure mark, though in actual fact, thanks to highly-efficient production methods, and the fact that it is one of the most popular models of its type on the Continent, the price, in spite of a recent increase, is still below £600.
The layout of the engine is extremely neat and all unnecessary excrescences have been avoided. The crankshaft is carried on seven bearings, but the length
of the engine has been kept down to a remarkable extent, giving a very stiff shaft and housing, and it is to this feature that the smoothness and freedom from any "periods" in the speed range, can be attributed.
The overhead valves are push-rod operated, and the whole gear is extremely silent. When ticking over the only sound is that of the carburettor intake, and the flexibility is very pronounced.
At the same time there is no suggestion of a woolly engine, and it is both lively and pleasantly sensitive to the ignition without being fussy.
First gear is in the nature of an emergency ratio, such as is required on a car which is built to take the Alpine passes under all conditions without faltering, and we never found we required it. Second gear is used for starting and gives a good getaway and a maximum of comfortably over 30 m.p.h. The silent third gear is really silent, and giving as it does an easy speed of over 50 m.p.h. without noise or vibration, often leads one to forget that one is not in top gear. The gear change is dead easy from the very first time of driving the car, the lever appearing to fall into place as required without thought or effort. 55 m.p.h. was reached on third gear, and there was no sign of valve bounce.
The steering is light without being too light, and a fairly high gear and sufficient caster action makes the car very easy to handle on corners or on the straight. And the Bluemel spring steering wheel contributed to the ease of driving.
There are some fast cars which can be made to put up a high average speed and there are others, not so obviously fast, which seem to maintain a naturally
average without any real effort from the driver.
This Hotchkiss belongs to the latter class, and the longer and harder it is driven, the better it seems to go. The maximum speed on the level was 70 m.p.h., on the car tested, which was the coach-built saloon. The total weight of this car was 32 cwt., and so the figures are very good. A very attractive model on the same chassis, and one which might appeal even more to readers of MOTOR SPORT is the open 4-seater sports type which is guaranteed to beat 75 m.p.h. against the watch in standard trim, and being considerably lighter will have even better acceleration.
The suspension and road holding is really first class, a further requirement of a people who consistently
drive their cars flat out over every type of surface, and who have no time whatever for a car which tires after a few miles of full throttle.
A cruising speed of 65 m.p.h. can be obtained indefinitely wherever traffic permits, and a long run leaves the driver perfectly fresh.
The brakes are direct operated through the patented Hotchkiss mechanism, and give positive and even braking at all speeds without undue pressure, and without any tendency to lock the wheels or affect the control.
The electrical equipment is well thought out and separate fuses are mounted in an accessible position on the dash for all lights. The Marchal lamps, for which the switch and dipping control is mounted next to the right hand and easily operated without moving it from the wheel, give an exceptionally good beam which enables high averages to be maintained at night. The dimming arrangement is probably the finest yet produced.
Although the car we tried had covered an enormous mileage, the body was as silent as when new, which is a great tribute to the strength and quality of the whole vehicle. The Solex carburettor functions excellently, and gives a consumption of 20 m.p.g. while oil is only required when the sump is drained and refilled occasionally.
A braking distance of 65 ft. from 40 m.p.h. is obtainable without harshness, and could probably be improved. The whole car is a high-class production which should make a strong appeal to the man who wants to go fast and far, and at the same time be free from trouble and expense, and have a minimum of routine work to keep the car in good trim.
The Hotchkiss is handled in this county by Hotchkiss et Cie, whose address is 70, Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, S.W.1.