Is SPORTS ILLUSTRATED a magazine of sport? Yes, at least most of the time. I refer to your recent articles on the Corvair and Valiant. Are these autos sports cars? Or are they in any way remotely connected with sport? Certainly not.
Since you have seen fit to print these reports let us examine them more closely. We are told that the Corvair "is a rear-engined honey which represents real pioneering." This pioneering includes such features as independent rear suspension, aluminum engine with horizontally opposed pistons and air cooling, transaxle, and engine removal in less than one hour. A certain popular European import has had all these features since its inception in the 1930s. Admittedly it cannot boast that startling engineering breakthrough, the eye-level ashtray.
In the case of the Valiant, your praise was directed more toward performance (in the accepted Detroit sense of the word). The practical man will be happy to hear of such useful characteristics as a 97-mile-per-hour top speed and the ability to "leave the others behind in a drag race." Finally, do not be surprised if your claim of a "sculptured European bearing" for the Valiant results in vigorous complaints from irate foreign manufacturers.
CLARK F. WAITE
?By and large, those who are most interested in automobiles for sport have an equally deep interest in new developments in automobiles for transportation, both big and small, American and foreign. Detroit's new compact cars represent "real pioneering" in the U.S. by the Big Three.
Reader Kamerlink might also be interested to know that an inaugural race between the new American compact cars and European imports of the same size is on the schedule of the Sebring international road racing course for December 12.—ED.
BOATING: HOME-STYLE HYDRO-JET
Have just read your article (The Almost No-water Boat, SI, Oct. 26) about the Turbocraft, which uses a principle somewhat similar to that I have been using in my hydro-jet outboard unit (which I use to drive an outrigger canoe on my seven-acre fish pond). I first thought up the double-worm design in 1926 for a hydraulic turbine. I designed and built the hydro-jet outboard shown in the pictures in the fall of 1956 and winter of 1957.
The unit has driven various boats many miles on the creeks and rivers of this section (the northern neck of Virginia). On September 16 I explored Hoskin's Creek, starting out from Tappahannock, Va., on the Rappahannock River.
My hydro-jet outboard unit can be tilted up a bit so that the water jet can be in the air giving additional thrust. The 1� -hp four-cycle, vertical, one-cylinder gas engine gives a speed of six miles per hour or more. It can also go at very slow speeds. Good for fishing.
I go in about a foot of water, too; and with my air drive, in three or four inches of water.
WILLIAM R. WARD