It is said that as men grow older they gain in common sense, their outlook matures, from wild excursions which were the order of the day in their youth they gradually turn to more sober things. And it is reasonable to suppose that the motor industry might follow roughly the same course up to the age of about 40, when, while it would have settled down to some extent, it would of course remain open to improvements, continuing thus it would avoid the road to senility of its human counterpart. But while the industry does to a large extent appear to have reached a mature state so far as the majority of car components are concerned, it is still sadly lacking in common sense in an extraordinary number of ways, and it would he interesting to hear from those responsible the reasons for many things.
For example, why did the 1929 Austin Seven’s engine accelerate violently if one turned the steering wheel to its limit ? Why was the 1934 Standard fitted with brakes which would have had difficulty stopping a wheelbarrow, when reversing, though they did have effect if the car was going forward ? Who on earth put the 1939 and early post-war Vauxhall’s clock opposite the driver, with the speedometer in front of the passenger, and the hand-brake practically under the bonnet ? The office boys at Jowetts must have had enormous amusement designing the contours of the roof in such a way that back-seat passengers are knocked senseless when the Javelin hits a bump, one of the few faults of the car. And as for the present series of Austins, where one can get but a brief bird’s-eye view of the engine through a hatch, well, they can keep them so far as I am concerned. The Vanguard has an intriguing feature, too, in the cubby-hole’s lid which opens upwards so that one cannot see what is inside and the lid is quite useless as a shelf.
All these faults, and many more like them, are so obvious and unnecessary that one can only doubt the sanity of those responsible, and dare them to explain the reasons.
I am, Yours, etc.,
DONALD C. ROBERTSON.