Springing mediums

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Sir,
In your account of the Ford Taunus I notice you refer to the leaf-springs used both front and rear. Had these same springs been applied to beam axles I suspect you might have called them cart-springs, and it would be refreshing indeed if you could now give the lead to motoring writers by eschewing the pejorative use of “cart-sprung” or “cart-spring.”

Without attempting to argue the merits or demerits of independent wheel suspension it will be agreed, I think, that the choice of the elastic medium for use either with rigid axles or independent linkages depends on a great variety of factors, such as space, weight and cost. The types of spring suitable include coils, helices, volutes, blades, torsion bars, wooden planks, rubber bags full of wind or water and what-have-you, as well as the versatile leaf-spring which is, after all, extremely adaptable as the variety of forms it can assume shows.

All leaf-springs, whether quarter-, half-, three-quarter, seven-eighths or full-elliptic, longitudinal or transverse, platform or nipper, cantilevered or cee, have the merits of low periodicity, by comparison with other types of spring, and a certain degree of self-damping. These qualities make them still, other things being suitable, a good choice for vehicle suspension, as the Taunus demonstrates. [Although Ford of Cologne admit that at the front they are a temporary compromise—Ed.]

So could we leave the carts to jolt upon their springless way? For, in fact, the majority of horse-drawn goods vehicles were totally unsprung and “carriage spring” perhaps conjures up a vision of easy riding luxury which rather fogs the picture.

Anthony Bird.
Odilham.

[I like Mr. Bird’s point about most carts being unsprung but would remind him that quite recently the well-known motoring writer D. B. Tubbs wrote of cars on retrograde “donkey-cart springs.” The inclusion of the term cart, he agrees, does underline how old-fashioned and antiquated some cars’ suspension systems are. In spite of Mr. Bird’s valiant defence of leaf-springs, A.C., Auto-Union, Lancia and Ford alone continue to use such springs at the front of their cars and then only for certain models, while at the back designers of such famous makes as Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, B.M.W., Buick, Chevrolet, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, N.S.U., Oldsmobile, Panhard, Peugeot, Pontiac, Porsche, Rambler, Renault, Saab, Skoda, VW and Volvo had discarded from their minds cart, sorry leaf-springs.—Ed.]

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