WITH the gradual demise of specialist British coachbuilding firms many people have regretted that no company remains (or in fact has ever existed outside the luxury car trade) to challenge the supremacy of the Italian body builders such as Abarth, Farina, Allemano, Scaglietti, Ghia, Bertonc, etc.

Now a new British firm is aiming to break into this market, initially by producing a well-finished 4-seater sports saloon using Riley 1.5 components, and following up with other even more exciting projects. The instigator of this project is David Ogle, who has previously been concerned with the exterior design of radio and T.V. sets. With his co-directors he decided to form a company to produce car body designs for building in limited numbers on existing

production chassis. This is of course difficult in this country as only a few cars such as the Triumph Herald, M.G.-A, and Daimler SP250 have a completely separate chassis, while, of the unit construction type which predominate in this country few are constructed in such a way that the specialist body builder can use the basic platform in the same way that the Italians are able on the Fiat, etc. However, this problem has been overcome on the Ogle 1.5 to some extent as only the lateral and longitudinal Riley members

are retained, together with wing valances, so that the 66-b.h.p. engine, gearbox, torsion bar front suspension and pedal mounting points remain unchanged, while the stiffening is provided by a semi-space frame and a steel floor. At the rear the Riley leafsprings have been disposed of and the axle is suspended on coil-springs, rigidly located with twin radius arms and an " A " bracket. A tubular structure is mounted at the rear to carry the standard petrol tank and the rear of the body.

The body itself is a 2-door 4-seater constructed from laminated glass-fibre and Polyester resin, and cellulosed in three standard colours. Glass-fibre bumpers are fitted and all exterior trim is in anodised aluminium, whilst the interior trim is carried out in leather. Instruments designed for the Ogle grace the facia and most of the switches and the radio are contained in a central console. A deep parcels shelf is fitted on the passenger's side and all edges are crash padded. The seats are specially designed for the Ogle, the front having ventilated backs which can be used to fit safety straps, and the rear seats being of the hammock type. Winding windows are fitted at the front and rear opening quarterlights at the rear. The wood-rimmed steering wheel is adjustable for rake as well as fore and aft.

Although we have not yet had an opportunity to drive the Ogle 1.5 any considerable distance, the car is certainly extremely well designed and detail finish is of a high order: It should appeal to those who require a 4-seater Sports saloon of distinctive appearance coupled with the running costs of an ordinary saloon car. Basic cost of the Ogle 1.5 is f,r,o85, purchase tax inflating this to 41,574 7s. 6d. An impressionS test will appear in a future issue. All enthusiasts will wish for the success of this car, for if it is, some very exciting small cars will result, doing for the British Industry what Abarth has done for Fiat. kW, BY ASTON MARTIN—continued from page 556

The Dunlop " Maxaret " anti-skid braking system was also demonstrated, the new Ferguson four-wheel-drive car being the vehicle so fitted. This car which looks like an early Simca Aronde went down the skid pan having braked heavily and swerved several times without skidding or locking its wheels, while a Morris which attempted similar manoeuvres went out of control.

These are just a few of the many experiments going on at Crowthorne and the Laboratory at Harmondsworth. Others include the development of a motorist's crash helmet to fit inside an ordinary cap, crash injury research, windscreen materials, safety harness, vehicle lighting, road signs, and design of lamp standards in which the scientists have the pleasant task of crashing old cars into lamp standards of different materials, to try to discover which materials cause the most damage to car occupants. The results, so far, show that if you must hit a lamp standard try to avoid a concrete one!

In his speech to the Press, Sir William Glanville, who is Director of Road Research, pointed out that the track had nothing to do with motor racing, and speed as such was not their concern. However, if he had been present in the car When one of the RRL staff drivers took us round the banking he may well have amended his remarks!—M. L. T.