PORTS CARS ILLUSTRATED in company with other motoring journals and newspapers was recently privileged to briefly try the new M.G.A. "Twin Cam" on the F.V.R.D.E. banked circuit at Chobham, Surrey. Although hardly suited for assessing the maximum speed of this promising little car, the circuit certainly served to demonstrate its high-speed handling and braking qualities.
The new car is understandably a little noisier mechanically that the "pushrod" model but this disappears as the car gathers speed -- which it does in a very convincing manner. Unfortunately the stipulated three laps of this very tricky circuit did not lend itself to extending the maximum performance -- the first two laps being used to learn something of its bends and intricacies, the last lap being the only one when anything like full power could be applied.
Similarly, it was not possible to take acceleration tests in fairness to other journalists who were dispatching themselves on the "saucer". It is however quite safe to say the acceleration figures of the "Twin Cam" far surpass those of the standard model, and that its maximum is well over 100 m.p.h., it being impossible to "break the ton" on the small Chobham track, in spite of all driving being done with the hood furled.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the "Twin Cam" is its superb Dunlop disc brakes. Of non-servo type and with 10 in. discs the power of the brakes is immense, no fade being evident even after a whole day of "Press Grad Prix" work.
Although the new car retains a live axle the handling is impressive and typically M.G., bends being managed at high speed without anxiety. It was noticed that the day's high-speed prompted the M.G. staff to keep a very watchful eye on the oil level, the dipstick being checked on an average every other three lap stint. The engines of all three test cars were obviously running with a rich mixture setting, presumably to safeguard against any risk of "drying up" of overheating. If the mixture had been au point it would probably have been possible to exceed the 102 m.p.h., best speed recorded at Chobham.
The customary excellent M.G. gearbox provided quick precise changes although the movement tended to become stiff after each strenuous use. Ratios are identical to the standard M.G.A. The clutch remained sweet throughout the tests -- a tribute to its efficiency.
All test cars were fitted with the optional equipment "competition" seats with padded edge back rests. These gave excellent support even at high cornering speeds. There is ample leg room for a "six-footer". A pleasant feeling of being "in" rather than "on" the car springs form its low seating position and high door sills and the deep pockets give sufficient arm movement for high speed motoring.
It is unfortunate for U.K. motorists that this worthy follower of the Abingdon tradition will, for the time being, be almost 100 percent for export. -- D.A.
With nose well down under the impressive Dunlop disc brakes the M.G. "Twin Cam" is slowed from 100 m.p.h. for part of the banked section of the Chobham F.V.R.D.E. track