EDITORIAL NOTES. Dead Displays v. Live Performance., April 1926
AT the beginning of a new motoring season a large section of the public is occupying itself with the selection of cars for touring, sporting and business purposes, and in many cases will choose machines which are capable of giving satisfactory service in each of these spheres. Even the owner who commits the heinous offence of travelling at more than twenty miles an hour on an open country road, frequently indulges in ordinary touring, and still more frequently uses his car as a means of transport for business, or for professional purposes.
This brings us to the point of deciding the best medium for placing the desirable points of any car prominently before the attention of the purchasing public, which, generally speaking, has but two criterions from which to judge, namely, Dead Displays in exhibitions and showrooms, and Live Performances in road trials, hill climbs and similar events.
Pictures, works of art, and so on, are purchased to give pleasure to the eye and can therefore be selected on sight, but with motor cars the situation is rather different, as no display, however skilfully staged, can give the remotest indication as to the performance of which the machine is capable.
Every year the motor industry is faced with the problem of introducing something that will catch the eye of the prospective purchaser, burdened with the enormous cost of introducing new models—often as distinct from improved models—in the hope that some novelty will attract a public that is already weary in carrying out experimental work at its own expense, in order to teach manufacturers where the weak points of their improved models lie.
Almost every year motor shows bring forth some more or less unwanted machine, for the production of which thousands of pounds of the shareholders’ money has been frittered away. Gaping crowds of casual sightseers give such models but a fleeting glance, wonder why they have been produced, whilst those who know something of the industry from within predict the sad sequence of events that almost invariably follows. But according to the mandates of the powers that be, all this trouble and expense must be taken in good part by those whose interests would be far better served
by participating in all-the-year-round trials, organised to demonstrate exactly the kind of service and reliability that the public demands.
The exhibitions show little or nothing but the excellence of the coachwork, the collection of extraneous gadgets held out as a bait to the motoring novice and offers admirable examples of the skill with which certain makers can produce four-wheeled vehicles which might be motor cars, if they possessed anything like reasonable performance. Of course, there are some visitors to motor exhibitions who purchase new cars on account of their appearance, the fact that flower vases are fitted as standard and the colour of the paint ; but these we venture to think are in the minority, and whether a car is required for town traffic, family touring, or high speed travelling, the real criterion is not “What does it look like ? ” but ” What will it do on the road ? “
Whichever way one looks at the problem of keeping British cars prominently before the attention of the potential buyer, a certain amount of money must be expended and the question therefore arises ” Can this best be done by perpetuating dead and artificial displays or by creating confidence as the result of practical competitive trials ? “
We have our own ideas on the subject. What do you think ?
Editorial Notes … … … … •••
Technical Talks. By Mr. F. T. Bersey.
3. On Maintaining Good Compression
… 312-314 The Victory Cup Trial … … ••• … ••• 315-317
Motoring Sportsmen : Mr. F. B. Taylor. By The Editor ••• ••• • •• ••• ••• 318-319
Sporting Cars on Test : The 8 h.p. Sene chal. By Richard Twelvetrees ••• 320-322
The Inter-‘Varsity Hill Climb … ••• .•• 323
Pictures … ••• 324, 325,338
Sports Model Motor Cycle Road Tests : The T.T. P. & M. Panther … • •• •• • •• 326-329 The Sorrows of a Scrambler ..• • 6 • 330-332 B.M.C.R.C. News ••• ••• •.• ••• ••• 334 Round the Clubs… ••• ••• ••• ••• 336-340