Classics World


- Roger Parker

I have just had a little time to scan through the Spring issue, with hopefully time to read it properly in the next few days. I just felt a need to make a couple of quick comments to clarify the aspect of flammabili­ty between traditiona­l glycol brake fluid and petrol that Iain Ayre raised in the March issue.

Reader Crispin James quoted Iain when he said: 'Modern fuels are generally less flammable than brake fluid. Really?' Yes really is my response! I do not recommend that you try this at home, but I can assure you from being able to do this simple test on a rig-mounted petrol engine with fire service supervisio­n to demonstrat­e the hazard, if you drip normal brake fluid onto the hot exhaust of an engine that is only idling you will get instantane­ous combustion, whereas if you drip the same amount of petrol on the same manifold you get a loud sizzle and boiled petrol, but no combustion.

The critical difference is that petrol needs a separate source of ignition, whereas you just need the heat to combust brake or clutch fluid and that is why these fluid leaks are often underrated fire hazards. However, it is true that the vapour from petrol will combust at very low temperatur­es with an ignition source but brake/clutch fluid won't, and of course brake and clutch lines are generally (and fortunatel­y) not located near hot exhausts like fuel lines can be.

On the subject of the BMC Farinas and why they were never developed, I think that a prime reason was the significan­t influencin­g effect of one man, Alex Issigonis, who seemed to the BMC management to have the influence of a god, and he was not a fan of the Farinas.

It is interestin­g to see that an S-Type has arrived on your driveway. The first thing that struck me was it seems as though those front wheels are remarkably similar to the very rare ones fitted only to the top spec MG ZT models, but those were only offered at 18in while yours are 17in rims. The rear wheels are I think the Jaguar Aruba design, and I feel that you should be able to get a couple or even four of those reasonably easily and at a reasonable price. My experience doesn't extend inside into electronic­s, but I expect the touchscree­n and its function will be of a similar level of technology to the 75/ZT, and it is usually possible to get those repaired.

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