Hot air

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

On November 8th, when I.T.V. fans were looking at “Pie in the Sky” or gaping at the smooth wisdom of Boyd, Q.C., the B.B.C. had Christopher Brasher looking at motor-car styling, in a programme called “Blueprints and Dreams.”

After we had seen an Aston Martin GT (“selling three a week”) and a Jaguar E-type (“they buy ten each week”) speeding out of reach, Mr. S.H. Grylls, M.A., was interviewed from the lofty eminence of the back seat of one of the Rolls-Royce cars he engineers, and strongly denied that these automobiles are a status symbol. He likes, does Mr. Grylls, to build cars “as no-one else can possibly afford to do,” which Brasher got him to elucidate as elimination of noise from the road and rotating parts and giving a nice feel to the switches. “We use two relays in the starter circuit,” explained Mr. Grylls, “to get the right feel”—which caused Brasher to question whether the feel of the average starter-key is so desperately in need of improvement! Nothing, you note, was said about road-holding, ride, performance or braking, but Mr. Grylls did refer to Rolls-Royces built to individual order, “one with zebra upholstry, another with a set of duplicate instruments in the back compartment, and an altimeter.”

Next it was the turn of Roy Brown, Ford’s Chief Stylist. He felt that a car cannot be just a wheeled box but must reflect the owner’s possibly suppressed desires, of importance, self-expression, etc. He then drooled a lot of obscurities, explaining why he would prefer looking at Gina Lollobrigida rather than at Brasher—something to do with curves—and explaining that a car must embody male and female implications—”whereas some stylists are so male they can only design steam locomotives, some so female they should concentrate on flowery hats.” Brown quoted the Ford Products Committee as taking two years to define a new model—which was wasted on the Consul Classic!—and regarded simplicity of line as his triumph with the Corsair which, he said, has its male aspect in its thrusting profile, the female in its curved doors.

Perhaps this was making Brasher as sick as the viewers, because he then cruelly showed some film of the 1948 Ford Edsel, telling us that it was intended for smart coming-up executives, that it was christened only after 18,000 names had been suggested (including Drof, which is Ford spelled backwards!) but that this Roy Brown brain-child flopped and cost Ford £100-million; although 3-million people sat in it very few bought Edsels. Brown said he was very distressed and disappointed and went out and got sloshed. . .

It looked as if the Edsel was filmed in England and no doubt the Classic American C.C. of G.B. is already inquiring if it is still here!

Next it was Alec lssigonis’ turn, he and Brasher being introduced playing with small model locomotives, presumably on the floor of Issigonis’ mother’s flat—I believe he has built successful steam-powered models in 00-gauge. Issigonis brushed aside market research, said sex doesn’t, in his opinion, come into car styling, but that he believes the philosophy of life has to be understood in order that those who work with and under the designer will go along with his ideas. Brasher tried to get lssigonis to draw a car smaller than the Mini, which has become a status symbol, as suitable camera-shots of royalty emphasised, but Alec explained that the engine is the snag—he could build it smaller still but the carburetter, air-cleaner and dynamo would not scale-down. “People want radio in cars, which is terrible, and will soon demand TV in them,” quoth Alec, “so you can’t dispense with a decent dynamo.”

The Rover engineer came on, looking at a 2000, on a rather remote take it or leave it, level, pointing, however, to the psycho-logical approach of dummy spokes drawn on the new car’s wheel discs, and Mr. Fogg of the Motor Industry research centre played down the stylist who, he said, could produce a dangerously weak structure in pursuit of pretty lines.—W. B.