An American expeditionary force, doughty in tennis flannels, is in Australia just now for another campaign to recapture the Davis Cup. Communiqu�s from the battle front have been gloomy. During the past few weeks the Americans—a ragtag of green recruits and old campaigners—have participated in two tournaments and only the veteran Vic Seixas, 34, has been able to gain a quarter-final. Gardner Mulloy, 44, Herb Flam, 29, Barry McKay, 22, Mike Green, 20, and Ron Holmberg, 18, have all met defeat in early rounds and their tennis has generally been deplorable.
From their beleaguered captain, Bill Talbert, came this dark bulletin last week: "Our once gleaming hopes have taken on a dull complexion. Flam has been a keen disappointment, and his defeat by 19-year-old Ron Laver in the third round of the South Australia Tournament sent American tennis stock to a new low. If we do not play Flam in the second singles spot alongside Seixas, it must be one of the youngsters. Green is perhaps the hardest worker but his game has hit the doldrums, McKay has been disappointing lately and Holmberg takes things too casually although he has tremendous talent. We cannot count on Mulloy for singles because of his age, but he and Seixas are our doubles hope and they too have had rough going in their first major match here."
Talbert will probably get his motley force by the Philippines (Felicissimo Ampon & Co.) this weekend at Adelaide and Belgium (Phillipe Washer & Co.) at Brisbane on the next, but the challenge round at Melbourne, December 26-28 is a perplexing and difficult concern.
Talbert calls the 1957 Davis Cup campaign "a battle of dilemmas," the American created by want, the Australian by wealth. The task before the five Australian selectors—known as the Five Blue Hats because of the blue headgear they wear while scrutinizing the players from their special box with the intensity of bettors at the saddling ring—is to decide which members of an Australian squad deep in new, fresh talent are actually the best. Their most likely choices for Captain Harry Hop-man's team are Ashley Cooper and Mai Anderson (the Forest Hills champion this year) or Neale Fraser in the singles and Mervyn Rose and Cooper in the doubles.
"We all should have such dilemmas as the Aussies," brooded Talbert.
BACK TO FUNDAMENTALS
Austerity types who maintain that an automobile should not look like a jukebox, that a proper use of chrome is to plate an electric toaster, and that fishtails and gull wings are better left to their respective beasts, have a new champion in the American Air Products Corporation of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
American Air's 10-man production line is presently tooling up to turn out 100 Oldsmobiles a month—each one a replica of a 1901 model roadster (see page 11). Their fastidious little two-seater (top speed 37 mph) will, of course, provide only esthetic competition on the open road, but it turns on a dime, parks easily and has a further nostalgic recommendation—it will fit into the snuggest garage without elaborate maneuvering and frantic semaphoring. The 1901 Olds has a wheel-base of 67 inches and an over-all length of 93 inches, 124 inches shorter than the 1958 model.
American Air, heretofore preoccupied with a variety of metal products, is a newcomer to the motor car industry. While awaiting acceptance tests on a respirator for the Air Force not long ago, the company cast about for a profitable task to occupy its employees and hit upon the notion of manufacturing replica antique cars as "yesterday" displays for dealers' showrooms. The 1901 Olds was selected, said American Air's vice-president, Robert Dusinberre, because "it's attractive as well as antiquey." Moreover, an encouraging number of Oldsmobile dealers showed interest in the idea.
The company then decided that so long as they were tooling up anyway, why not make enough for Oldsmobile dealers to sell to "classic car" buffs in the general public. When a 1901 replica was exhibited at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week, the public response was reassuringly lively.