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A reader has drawn our attention to The Irish Times’s current feature Times Past. with especial reference to an item of motoring interest. This concerns the test, back in January 1934, of a Ford V8 saloon, the 22 hp version, which had been fitted with a patented serrated formation glued to its roof. The test consisted of first driving the Ford from Dublin to the top of Kilmacanogue Hill at Bray in normal form, and then over the same route with the roof addition in place. Petrol consumption was carefully measured from a one-gallon auxiliary tank, and the distance-recorder checked by a consulting engineer. He found that on the first run the car gave 22 mpg at an average-speed of 33 mph but that with the loads on the wheels apparently reduced by the roofsuction layer, this fell to 28.2 mpg.

The serrated roof equipment had been patented by a Mr Peter M Staunton, who claimed that, apart from giving better economy, it also increased ride comfort and tyre life, by reason of the air-lift provided. The inventor even went so far as to say that his device would enable small engines to be put into large cars. On the test run it was found that cornering roll diminished, because as the suction lifted the car the centre of gravity was thereby reduced! They must have cornered at extraordinary speeds. surely? It was said that railway trains could benefit from the idea, which one hopes would not lift them off the rails. Racing cars use powerful ground-effects to glue them to the road, so perhaps the reverse was true of this invention. But if you believed that…

W B