here and there, January 1931

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That Radiator Strip.

THE popular fashion for a chromium plated strip running down the centre of the radiator has met with criticism in certain quarters. It has often been said that use is ornament, and that ornament without use is unwarranted artistically.

On most cars where this radiator strip is fitted it serves no purpose whatever and artistic critics are doubtless right in condemning it. But on one of the first cars to employ it of recent days, the Rover, it has a definite use, for it forms the central support of the ” V ” shaped radiator stoneguard. This make, at any rate, must therefore be exempt from criticism.

British Policy v. American.

An interesting side-light on mass production methods was revealed in Coventry recently by Mr. T. G. John, Managing Director of the Alvis Company.

Mr. John explained that the cost of labour to a car manufacturer, in respect of work actually done in the factory, was a very small proportion of the cost of the car completed ; this item, he said, was the only one in which mass production methods could effect an economy. In their own case the most modern American methods could not reduce it by more than £20, and even then the quality and performance of the finished car would necessarily be affected.

“Most American manufacturers,” said Mr. John, “intend their cars to last only about three years. They use a big, inefficient engine, which is cheaper to make than a smaller, efficient one, and they make the rest of the car just well enough for it to last a certain time. This is their policy, and in its way it is a good one, for their cars soon find their way to the scrap-heap, so that there is a continual market for new cars ; but it produces an enormous rate of depreciation. It is commonly said, indeed, that an American car loses nearly half its value the very day that it is sold !

“Some of us in the British motorcar trade, on the other hand,” continued Mr. John, “make our cars just as well as ever we can. This means that the selling price must be relatively high, but the result is a low rate of depreciation, economical running and long life. I could quote examples of some of the first cars we made which covered from a quarter to half a million miles and are still going strong.”

New Factory for Bendix Brakes.

That the importance of maximum brake efficiency is to-day being realised more than ever is shown by the much increased business being done by the Bendix Perrot Brake Co. Ltd., of Birmingham. So considerable is this, indeed, that the company has just purchased the factory formerly occupied by the Bowden Brake Co. at Tyseley. This factory is eight times the size of the

present Bendix premises. It is being re-conditioned throughout, and will be in full working order by February.

It is interesting to note that Bendix brakes are now being used on Crossley, Humber, Star, Swift, WillysOverland and Willys-Knight cars, amongst others, whilst most of the leading aeroplane manufacturers employ them. An instance of the magnitude of the aeroplane industry to-day is found in the fact that the Company has received an initial order for 250 sets of brakes for the D.H. Puss Moth alone.

Lights on Private Roads.

In a case just decided at Guildford (Surrey) the solicitors to the Automobile Association defended a motorist charged with leaving a car on the highway without lights, the explanation being that as the car was on a private road, it was not thought necessary to exhibit lights.

Cases of this nature are frequently reported to the Association. It is essential for motorists to know that the Road Transport Lighting Act, 1927, makes it clear that for the purpose of lights on vehicles, “road “means any public highway and any other road to which the public has access.