OPINIONS and QUERIES
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A HOUSE DIVIDED UNTO ITSELF . . .
 In your notes concerning operating aspects of passenger transport I read that at the September meeting of the Cardiff City Watch Committee the possibility of one department of the Council engaging counsel to fight. another department at a Traffic Commissioner's inquiry' was envisaged.
To avoid such a ludicrous position, the Watch and Transport Committees are to confer, so your report says. I think it more ludicrous that any sane person should have suggested that such a thing could be possible.
The Commissioners are' bound to take into consideration representations made to -them by a local authority. Presumably the Cardiff City Council conducts its business in a lawful manner and by resolution would authorize any objection to any application. Another resolution, authorizing the application, for the purpose of
• providing something against which to object would not only be ludicrous but unlawful, and, although some transport and watch committees, and even chief constables may not know it, it is not legal for them to put . forward applications or objections to applications without the proper authority of the Council.
In any case -the position would never have arisen in practice, as the barrister whose opinion they sought prior to engagement would have advised them of its
• impropriety, for, if any committee were acting outside its powers, the government auditor would not have AN INTERESTING SERVICE ORGANIZATION.
[48891 We thank you for the interest in this ASsociation which resulted from your leading article in The Commercial Motor dated September 11.
We would, however, like to point out that this Association is definitely intended to be a national organization, and not merely a local one. As a matter of interest we would mention that at the present moment we have members so far north as Carlisle and so far south as Jersey (Channel Isles), west to Cardiff and east to Hull and Canterbury.
With regard to the suggestion that the Association should be " linked to existing associations," we shall have some very interesting information for you in the near future I F. G. AITCHISON, Managing Director, Luton. For Breakdown Service Association, Ltd.
FORMING AN OPINION ON ENGINE-OIL VALUES.
(48901 The recent correspondence in your columns on the merits of oil-cleaning machines will at least have reminded your readers of the remarkably low oil consumption of modern engines. Mr. Walton mentioned 500 miles as a fair average for a heavy lorry, and in your issue of July 24 the figure of Messrs. Clayton Bros.' mixed fleet was given as 510 m.p.g. At, say, 2s. 6d. per gallon this is 6d. for 100 miles—which is about the amount a driver spends on cigarettes!
Obviously, therefore, nothing very tangible can be saved nowadays on the cost of engine oil itself, yet there is possibly more discussion about saving on the price of oil than on any other commodity.
The fact that the roads are not strewn with wrecked lorries using cheap oil proves that a motor engine will run without collapsing on practically any class of motor oil—so long as there is no restriction or choking of its oil circulation system.
This general immunity from immediate breakdown, no matter what oil be used, causes many fleet owners, unfortunately, entirely to overlook the great difference in lubricating value between the various classes of oil available;, but the percentage of usable material recovered from oil-cleaning machines is a useful guide on this point. Differences in quality are also reflected in maintenance costs, extent of between-overhaul mileages and length of useful engine life, but as each operator becomes accustomed to his own standard (whether high or low) on these items, many are quite unaware of the true economy of using the very best-class lubricants.
Fleet owners, therefore, should look much farther than for mere absence of big-end failures, seizures, etc., to form an accurate opinion on the quality and value of lubricating oil. T. R. PARRY, Director.
London, E.14. For T. R. Parry and Co., Ltd.
SHOULD VEHICLE AGENTS UNDERTAKE TRANSPORT CONTRACTING?
[48911 We read with interest your article on page 150 of your issue dated September 18 under the heading "Should Vehicle Agents Undertake Transport Contracting? "
This article is extremely short and does not adequately deal with the question which has now been ventilated, and which, we venture to say, is an extremely important one to all concerned.
Surely there cannot be any complaint from the manufacturers against reputable haulage and transport companies having an agency or concession for commercial vehicles as a separate department of their business? It must follow that if the transport contractor has sufficient faith in the article for which he is agent, he will not only sell it but use it in his business, at the same time fulfilling the very important task of maintaining contact between the mNufacturers and the users of the vehicles, in connection with service, spare parts, etc.
The complaint is apparently that agents who undertake "hire-maintenance contracts" curtail the sales of the manufacturers' new products by retaining vehicles for many years under this particular system, but surely the real complaint should come from the haulage or transport contractors, whose genuine business in letting on hire motor goods vehicles is damaged to a great extent by the manufacturers themselves and the agents who undertake this "hire-maintenance" work by :— (1) The manufacturers and agents endeavouring to sell direct to the contractor's customers without any regard to the contractor's position and whether he be actually using their particular product on the work. (2) The manufacturers and agents putting forward extremely athactive cost figures before users, who are at the time hiring the transport contractor's vehicles for their deliveries, in an endeavour to effect a sale.
(3) The agent offering hire-maintenance contract service at extremely keen rates, probably based on the manufacturers' operating-cost figures. Undoubtedly the operating costs put forward by the manufacturers are compiled with the object of making a sale and do not in many ways meet the varying conditions of delivery by commercial vehicles, which entirely misleads the purchasers as well as, apparently, some agents.
The result of this failure to charge a reasonable price for the service, thereby reducing the level of recognized charges, means that the genuine haulage contractor is forced to reduce his own charges to meet this unfair competition.
This, in turn, reacts against the manufacturers by the haulage .contractor having to retain his vehicle over a longer period in order to operate at these lower charges, thereby delaying the purchase of new vehicles.
W. F. FRENCH, Managing Director,
For United Service Transport Co., Ltd. London, S.W.9.
THE LORD WAKEFIELD GOLD-MEDAL ESSAY COMPETITION FOR 1937.
(4.392) As you are aware, Lord Wakefield has been good enough for many years past to present to the Institute of the Motor Trade each year a gold medal which is awarded to the author of the best paper of not more than 1,500 words on the subject selected by the General Council of the Institute ; replicas of the medal in silver are awarded by the Institute for the second and third best papers.
The following were the subjects selected by the Council between 1929-1936 (both inclusive) :1929.—No-charge and chargeable after-sales-service —where the dividing line should be drawn. I930.—What are the benefits of price-maintenance? 1931.—What are six essentials of a successful garage and motor-agency business.
1932.—The characteristics of a successful garage in 1940.
I933.—The I.M.T. Its ideals and opportunities. How to realize them.
1934.—Co-operation among neighbouring motor traders.
I935.—A suitable profit-sharing scheme for a garage and motor-agency business.
1936.—Sales and service—their relationship to ensure success of both.
My Council invites your readers to send in suggestions for the subject in connection with the 1937 competition. Only fellows, members, associate members and graduates of the Institute are eligible to enter for this competition.
E. W. GARNON, Secretary, The Institute of the Motor Trade. 201, Great Portland Street, London, W.I.
A STRIKING TRIBUTE TO THE LORRY DRIVER.  May I, through the columns of your journal, pay a tribute to an often abused fraternity—the lorry driver?
I recently came across an accident on the LondonCoventry road, between Potterspury and Stony Stratford, in which a car had run into the rear of a stationary lorry (the lorry's lights were in perfect order). The whole
B26 of the front of the car was smashed and the driver was pinned in his seat and had terrible head injuries.
Three lorry drivers and I managed to extricate the injured man from the car, and we rendered such first aid as we were able to. It was clear, however, that the man required prompt medical attention. As it was impossible to get in touch with the police or a doctor, we managed —with the aid of a wardrobe door as a stretcher—to get him into a partly empty lorry in which he was conveyed to a surgery at Stony Stratford. After treatment here he was taken to Northampton Hospital, and, due to the prompt attention he received at the time, there is every hope of his pulling through.
What I wish to emphasize is the kindness and thoughtfulness shown by the transport drivers concerned, those who were assisting giving up three to four hours of their time between 9 p.m. and midnight, time which, no doubt, they would have spent resting.
Engaged as we are, so largely in dealing with crashes involving all forms of road vehicle, I do feel that this example—one of many—of •road transport's ready help to others in distress deserves recognition.
I have never yet seen such camaraderie amongst other classes of road user, Hats off to the lorry drivers!
C. G. DURRANT, A.M.I.B.E., Director, C. H. Cave, Ltd. Stony Stratford. (Motor and General Engineers).
THE LICENSING OF FARMERS' VEHICLES.
[48541 We have read with interest your article, " The Farmer's Position in Licensing," which appeared in your issue dated August 21, but we are still not clear on several points :—May a farmer with a tractor running on kerosene utilize this vehicle on the road for the transport of sugar beet in a trailer attachment, and may he bring a return load of grain, meal or coal for his use?
Further, is it permissible for a farmer to do the above-mentioned work for his father at an adjoining farm if the father has an interest in the son's farm?
Dilwyn. STEWART AND SON.
LH a farmer wishes to use a tractor on the road for the transport of sugar beet in a trailer attachment and bring a return load for his own use,' the tractor must be taxed under the seventh Schedule, Part 2, 4(d) of the Finance Act, 1933. Furthermore, he would require no C licence for this work. We doubt, however, whether coal would be regarded as an article required for the purposes of the owner's land, although it seems likely that grain and meal would fall within this category. If the farmer wished to bring a return load of coal, even for his own use, he might have to take out a C licence and pay a higher tax. The fanner can haul produce belonging to his father at an adjoining farm if it be carried only occasionally, if only a 'small proportion of the goods carried belongs to the other farmer, and no payment or reward be accepted. The regulations appear to make no provision for the carrying of return loads for another farmer without the need for holding a C licence. We do not think that the fact that the father has an interest in the son's farm bears upon the matter. If, however, the son had an interest in the father's farm and proposed to haul produce and articles required for his father's farm, it is probable that he would be able to do so without any question of holding a licence arising. The main point in this particular seems to be whether the person carrying out the haulage could be regarded as doing so for himself through an interest in another farm. You will observe from our article, " The Farrner'S Positiion in Licensing," that the business of agriculture does not include the carriage of the produce of a farm for retail distribution. You will, of course, also appreciate that a tax of 8d. per gallon has to be paid on the kerosene used in the tractor.—ED.]