Although no P.R.O.s have replied to the accusation made by, the Editor of Motor Sport last month that rigid back axles are archaic, Jack French of Saab (Gt. Britain) Ltd. has responded to our query as to why the front-drive Saab uses a beam back axle. He claims that their rear suspension gives most of the advantage of i.r.s., particularly the light unsprung weight, together with the all-important feature that the rear wheels are always parallel to each other. He goes on to explain that Saab did build 22,000 cars with i.r.s. using trailing arms and geometry identical with that of the B.M.C. Minis, but using coil-springs as the suspension medium. The present Saab layout, claims French, is so arranged that in roll the dampers have a travel which is about 60% greater than in pure bump.
While on the subject of all-independent suspension, we congratulate the Leyland Motors Group on emphasising in their latest advertisements that their Triumph Herald has this feature: “The wheels, not you, take the bumps in a Triumph Herald 1200. That’s independent suspension all round. When one wheel of a Herald 1200 goes over a bump, it doesn’t tell the others (or you) all about it. It absorbs the shock, on its own. That’s because each wheel is independently sprung. When you go round a corner in a Herald 1200, the back of the car doesn’t rock or roll. Each of the back wheels can find its best way round the corner, without having to refer to its partner at the other end of a rigid back axle. That’s because each wheel is independently sprung.“
Good for Standard-Triumph International, for educating the motoring public to a design feature that should figure on every modern car.