The Vincent – simply the fastest motorcycle of the world. Today 150 miles per hour may not sound like much. In 1948 however there was more to this than numbers. Consider the way Rollie Free achieved this record: When his leather clothes tore at 147 miles per hour, he took off the gloves, boots and helmet and put on a pair of swimming trunks. Then he went for the record – lying on top of the bike with the seat removed! It was not just a matter of speed, but consider the circumstances: 1940s tires, suspension and brakes.
Vincents were not only fast, but also beautiful: painted entirely black including the enameled parts of the engine covers. And the names they were called were just as good: Black Shadow and Black Lightning. And to top it off they were practical too. So easy to operate that even if you had suffered injuries shooting down Messerschmitts in His Majesty’s air force you could still engage the clutch with two fingers.
Old adverts have the tendency to become satire and this is no exception. It is, however, easy to ridicule the Leyland Princess (as the 18-22 Series was re-named shortly after its launch). The car probably never had it all together, but it was certainly different. It featured an in-line six-cylinder engine transversely mounted in the front driving the front wheels. This unusual layout was made possible by the fact that the transmission of the E-Series engine is placed in the sump underneath rather than on the end of the engine block, making it more compact than normal configurations. The Hydragas suspension system invented by Dr. Alex Moulton gave it a comfy ride and was in its day only rivaled by Citroën’s exquisite Hydropneumatic. Its Tardis-like interior was bigger on the inside than you would guess. And not least Dirk Gently drives one in his recent TV-incarnation, giving the Princess the credit as a classic she deserves. Had Leyland only got it together… it would have been a superb rival for its continental competitors.
This truly remarkable edition of Austin-Rover’s Service News program features a service fix for Maestro and Montego door seals and what to do in cases of light throttle surge on multi-point injected cars. The introduction by the show’s host is a fine example of thorough market research and attention to customer demand that went into the company’s products:
“The service news team recently visited the dealer network to ask your opinion on video in general and in particular what you wanted to see in future service news programs. The overwhelming answer was: ‘More technical items’. So here we are a program packed with up-to-date hints and tips.”