Sm—May I put forward a plea for better taste in car design ? In these days when manufac
turers pay so much attention to the appearance of their cars, it is a pity they do not show a little more good taste. It is a pity, I think, that American influences are creeping into coachwork and body designs in British cars. They are usurping the positions of clean, efficient design and good workmanship, which used to be, and in some cases still are, one of the chief characteristics of British car design. I have a suspicion that a certain
amount of blame for this change in taste can be put down to the increased number of lady motorists, and motorists who are influenced by their wives and families. They are more likely to be attracted by intricate moulding, and peculiar colour schemes, than the more conservative and experienced motorists. Admittedly body design has to be ruled
by chassis and engine design, but it is noticeable that the more shoddy looking cars, designed in the worst taste, usually have engines that are equally badly designed, and it cannot be argued that money saved in workmanship on the body is spent on the engine.
To come down to more particular details there are several trends in modern design which, I consider, definitely make a car look ugly, and take away all sense of balance, and beauty of line. First among these trends I would place
the practise of pushing the radiator forward over the front axle. Of course I know it gives more body space, and on this account might be pardoned in the cheaper ears; but cars that have quite sufficiently long chassis are tending to follow suit, and ruining the appearance of their cars. A bonnet situated over the front axle, low, with a long horizontal line running to the windscreen, is, in my opinion, a beautiful sight. But as soon as the bonnet is pushed in front of the axle, all that balance is lost. Another trend, I think is ugly, is the
modern design of some mudguards. The mudguard that extends behind the front wheel, does not give very much more protection, and does not improve the appearance of a car, especially an open car. It gives an appearance of heaviness and one thinks, ” Lord, another piece of tin ! ” What design can compare for pure grace with that which sweeps down to the running board in a shallow curve, as beautifully exemplified on the new M.G. Magnas’ in the photo of the 41 litre Lagonda you published last month. Other ways in which clumsy design
can and does ruin the appearance of modern cars, are in hideously curved bumpers, fancy moulding on saloons, fancy wheel hubs, pieces of tin beautifully louvred, supposed to give an a,ppearance of lowness, ornate bonnet louvres and many others. Think back ten years and compare the forerunners of some of the present day models, with the latest product. In those days efficiency and good workmanship
were the standard a car’s appearance was judged by, and together they gave good taste.
The present day popular cars are tending to become like the toy cars one used to buy” made in America.”
Unfortunately the motor industry is unable to educate the public to good taste, so it has to pander to the public’s bad taste.
It is fortunate there are cars left that still retain their old standard of worke manship, and we can only hope their influences will do something to stop thtide of bad taste, that is encroaching on bodywork design in British cars. I am, yours etc., W. EDGEWORTHJ OHNST ONE. 12, Sutherland Road,
West Ealing, W.13.
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