FASHION VERSUS DESIGN

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FASHION P’ERSUS. DESIGN

Sir,

Thank you, ” W.J.T.” and ” W.11.” for explainiug many things. Your suggestion that the British Motor Industry must discard old designs and incorporate modern technical features, which the world’s buyers seek, is excellent, but like all generalisations it leaves touch to be desired and much to be said. The Manufacturers would have. us believe that the designs are changing constantly•and KO they are. but only in detail so that the design beeames obsolete all too soon. A car is pushed onto the market.. and soon there is a list of modifications a yard long. Just when you think ” teething troubles ” are ifvercome a new model is produced. What is new about it ? The stroke has been alteredNow you have a square engine, then, hey presto ! you have an over-square engine. Lastyear yoll bollnced on torsion-bars, this year

you bounce on coil-springs ! Last year you broke your finger nails pulling the windows down, this year you have handles to actually wind them down ! Last. year’s distance between centres on the bottom suspension-arm was 12 h in., this year it is 12 -15e.

To take advantage of expensive tooling, the number of units produced must be large, so why not stick to one design for say, ten years and so solve the problem of service and spares. ‘When the design changes let it be radical.

Regarding the modern technical features sought after by the world’s buyers—tosh 1 99 per cent, of car buyers could not differentiate between a technical feature and an ash-tray.

The features now regarded as new were practically all used within the first twenty-five years of the advent of the car. Technical features are like women’s fashions—they just keep digging the old ones up again ! Fortunately, with cars, as with women, there are features (not always apparent) which cannot be dispensed with. As one unknown wag once pointed Out: “The designer of the car distinguished by an Octagon must have shed a bitter tear when he found that the wheels still had to be round.”

Who decides what cars shall be like ? Do not tell me it is the customer. I consider that .MOTOR SPORT represents the customer, and look what happened when you had a criticism !

Any motorist, however, is aware of the result in a few months, of inferior chromium deposition on steel and in eighteen months on zinc alloy–but we still get it. No : the manufacturer decides what the car shall be, so the incentive to change is non-existent. How the chassis designer must squirm to be held constantly in check whilst his contemporary, the body styler (inaccessibility engineer), runs riot. The Research Engineer, Service Engineer and Road Tester are the epitome of the three wise monkeys ! I am, Yours, etc.,

Middleton Junction. H. DEARDEN.

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