Raymond Cutler's 1949 car was, in most respects, conventional and followed the lines of the early Coopers, though clearly well constructed. However, it did feature shaft drive from the JAP engine to the rear wheels at a time when nearly all 500s used chains. Initially this used a lightened three speed Morris gearbox and Fiat differential but a heavily modified Norton box was later substituted. Neither arrangement proved successful, partly due to the inherent problems with an extremely short drive shaft and partly as a result of the power losses inherent in a shaft drive system. It was however built to a high standard, Ray producing his own Elektron wheels with integral brake drums. Ray managed a respectable sixth at Silverstone in September '49 then fourteenth at Prescott, ninth at Shelsley and nineteenth at Weston Super Mare. The car was for sale by August 1950 but  Ray took a second in his heat and fourth on aggregate at Silverstone in September and it was not sold until an auction in the late 1950s. We do not know of it's current whereabouts.

Above, Ray Cutler at Shelsley in 1950 (possibly 10th June) with his wife looking on. Photo Courtesy Raymond Cutler. Below, the rear of the Cutler showing the JAP engine, mounted sideways, with gearbox behind.

Chains are Crude!
Mr. R. H. Cutler of Streetly, Birmingham, writes: I would like to pass my opinion as an engineer and amateur " 500 " builder on some of the points raised in your article on Chain Drive in the January issue. The chain drive to my mind is a crude means of doing the job and has a very uncertain length of life, coupled with the fact of harsh treatment being stressed on the supporting members ; namely chassis frame and engine mountings. If the engine and gearbox could be placed on thick blocks of rubber no doubt fractures would not occur, but the chain drive will not allow this, unless the engine, gearbox and final-drive sprocket are made up as one unit, so as to eliminate any independent movement of the abovementioned components. The shaft drive lends itself admirably to rubber mounting, and to my way of thinking is the right and reliable means of final drive . After all, reliability is what one seeks with the " 500 " racing car, if it does mean sacrificing a little efficiency at the rear end. What is more annoying than to enter into an event, complete one lap and finish by the wayside just because a chain has broken—come off or perhaps one of the numerous sprockets come loose? Anyway, I intend to continue with shaft drive for the forthcoming season, after modifying the crown-wheel and pinion and utilising a differential . In passing, I wonder if " Iota " could publish the difference in efficiency between the chain and a straight tooth bevel crown-wheel and pinion. -Extract from Iota February 1950.


The Cutler on track:

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And reviewed in Iota in March 1950

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For sale in Autosport February 1951