Simplicity of design

Sir,

I read C.R.'s brief impressions of the Renault 5TS with great interest—though a 5TL owner myself.

Only one point upon which I take great exception, and that is the reference to the Renault facia gearchange as being "eccentric old push-pull". I think this is a most unfair criticism; true, the linkage appears to be pure Fred Karno, but the design is in fact simplicity itself and the function incredibly positive and smooth. I think it neither eccentric nor "old"—in as much as a good idea doesn't age at all.

Having tried both the floorchange and the facia-mounted change, I couldn't find any extra bonus in the former. At something over £20 extra, I consider the floor change to be more modish than faster or smoother. The great advantage of the facia type is that one's left hand is never far from the steering wheel Which is a consideration with front-wheel-drive, or indeed on any vehicle. I've heard various names for the "old" gearchange-umbrella handle being the most obvious, hut "Gallic Phallus" being less common.

Isn't it time that simplicity of design was taken as a criterion, rather than mere appearance?

Swanage JOHN T. DEAN