COACHWORK TENDENCIES

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SOME OUTSTANDING EXAMPLES SEEN AT OLYMPIA

Fashions in sports coachwork have gone full circle and once again at Olympia one saw on every sports-car stand cars with definitely open bodies, usually of the two-door type. Ingress and egress had been well studied, upholstery was in nearly all cases comfortable without being ” floppy,” windscreens, hoods and side curtains were of practical type, and luggage accommodation was provided in nearly every case, cleaning up the un

sightly rear elevation formerly considered inseparable with the open and indeed the dosed car. This tendency towards open cars was seen even on the more sedate chassis,

and most makers seemed content to allow the claims of the open air to speak for themselves without tryingto pretend that the cars took on racing characteristics by virtue of the change in coachwork. Partly because of this the number of open bodies shown by specialised coachbuilders was less than last year. The spate of exaggerated “streamlined” tails on dosed cars has definitely been stopped. Instead, gracefully flowing rear panels are general, providing room

for two or more suit-cases, with the spare wheel half-sunk in the lid and protected by a metal half-cover.

One of the most striking closed cars was the two-seater coupe mounted on the Bugatti ” competition ” chassis. Many people referred to it as the “battleship car,” from the appearance of the body which was constructed in halves with raised flanges riveted together, but this method of construction was not only done merely for effect. The panels were made of the extremely light metal elektron, which cannot be welded ; the same metal and method of construction

are used on the racing body on the Grand Prix ” 3.3.” This oar was stated to be capable of 125 tn.p.h., and the saving of weight is of material assistance in making this possible. The drop-head coupe continues to gain ground, and the cars exhibited at Olym pia were fully as neat and ingenious as those produced on the continent, and are in many cases better finished. Unfortun ately in their efforts to give a good shape to the rear quarters a few makers have introduced a multiplicity of hood sticks or hoops, and in more than one case one of these passes just over the heads of the luckless rear passengers, ready

to strike them a severe blow if the car is driven fast over rough roads.

On the saloon cars head-room is on the whole much better this year, but there are still a few examples in which a six-foot passenger is within millimetres of the roof without headgear and when sitting in the posture intended by the coachbuilders. In most departments, therefore, real progress has been made and the cars of 1936 will be more comfortable and a more

practical means of transport. It only remains for designers to co-operate with coachbuilders in providing readily adjustable driving positions, by embodying such improvements as telescopic steering column, and good visibility by avoiding high bonnets and low and reclining seating positions, and massive roof pillars on closed cars, for the millennium to be upon us. Perhaps we can expect it in 1937.

ABBOTT F. D. Abbott

F. D. Abbott Ltd., Farnham, Surrey.

For 1936, Messrs. Abbott are supplying a variety of convertible bodies of various types, one of the most interesting being the Hartley Grimston, which has already been reviewed in these columns, and which was shown mounted on a 27 h.p. Vauxhall chassis. As may be recalled, the roof is a rigid

one made of aluminium panelling. In the full open position it slides back on runners on the tail of the car, the number plate being visible through what is, the rear window when the top is raised. To close the car, the roof is slid up the rails with the aid of thin supporting pillars, and clips without further ado on to the windscreen, when the windows may be wound up to give the effect of a full saloon car. The roof is counter-balanced and is readily raised or lowered from within the car and is positively locked in the raised or lowered positions. This body costs £230 complete and is suitable for almost any chassis.

Neat drop-head coupes on the Talbot Ten and the Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. were also shown, and a new open four-seater on the latter chassis.

BARKER

Barker & Co. (Coachbuilders), Ltd., 66, 69, South Audley Street, W. I. Two distinctive four-door sports saloons were shown on the Barker stand, one of

them a 25 h.p. Rolls-Royce finished in grey with grey leather upholstery, and the other a Bentley finished in green with an untarnishable metal moulding. Both these cars were noticeable for their beautifully finished interiors and the comfortable riding position. A spacious luggage trunk was built into the rear panel of the Bentley.

Another type of body which is very practical for the driver who usually travels alone or with a single passenger is the coupe cabriolet, also fitted to the 3i-litre Bentley chassis. This type of body seats two people inside, with a large well under the hood for small luggage and a twoseater dickey with generously upholstered seats in the tail. In fine weather the top may be opened as with the ordinary twoseater, and when conditions are less favourable the drop head and the winding glass windows allow one to enjoy the worst of weather from the warm driving compartment.

FOLLETT

Charles Follett, Ltd., 18, Berkeley Street,

W.I. Specialising in Alvis cars, Messrs. Follett this year find increased scope for luxurious and striking sports coachwork on the new 31-1itre car. On the open four-seater car the bonnet, the scuttle and the rear part of the body are in one unbroken line, except for the cutaway for the elbows of the front pas

sengers. This gives the car a most striking appearance, while the passengers sit low in the body and have excellent weather protection. The hood is recessed into the rear part of the body and the spare wheel is blended with the rear panel.

Luggage accommodation is always a strong point on Follett coachwork, and on both the open and the closed models there is ample space for suitcases for all the passengers. The rear panel can also be kept in the half-open position and in this case one can also utilise an extra flap suitable for carrying a small trunk.

The graceful pillarless saloon costs £1,225, while the Speed Twenty open car, which is only slightly smaller than the 31-litre model, is priced at £795.

GURNEY NUTTING

J. Gurney Nutting & Co., Ltd., Lacland Place, King’s Road, Chelsea, S.W.to.

For really clean sweeping lines the open air saloon exhibited by Messrs. Gurney Nutting on a 31-litre Talbot would be hard to beat. The wings expand out of the dumb-iron cover in a graceful sweep and following the front wheels, where they are valanced, form first the running boards and then the prolonged rear wings. The tail sweeps down on a similar curve, with the spare wheel partly sunk in it and there is a luggage compartment with two large suitcases.

There are three frameless windows on each side, the large centre one winding down while those in the quarters can be wound back to give ventilation. A sliding roof is fitted, and despite the apparently low line of th2 roof there is ample headroom in the luxurious back seats.

MAYFAIR

Mayfair Carriage Co., Ltd. The Hyde, Edgware Road, N. W. o. A luxurious 4-5-seater sports saloon constructed to the designs of Mr. Frank Hallam, the well-known Midland motoragent, on a 3-litre Alvis chassis was one of the outstanding exhibits on the May

fair stand. The long bonnet gave the car a fine bold appearance, and a domed roof merging into a sweeping tail allowed a sporting line to be kept without any ” shut-in ‘ feeling.

A four-door is used, with very narrow centre pillars, and swivelling panels in front and behind the main windows provided ample ventilation without draft; a sliding roof is also fitted. The luggage accommodation is outstanding. The compartment is arranged in the form of a drawer which slides into the tail. When fully extended an area measuringat least five feet by three is available. The tools are stored in the hinged back flap.

The car was finished in pale grey with a chromium waist-line. The leather upholstery was grey to match, and with a Dunlop Latex overlay the passengers were most effectively insulated from road shocks.

H. J. MULLINER

11. J. Mulliner &Co., Ltd., Bedford Park Works, Bath Road, Chiswick, W.4. It is not always easy to provide good head-room and leg-room in a sports sal

oon, but this has been done most successfully in a four-door Mulliner saloon mounted on a 3k-litre chassis. The four large windows ensure a light interior. and there is a sliding roof for use when sunshine returns to these parts. Turning to the exterior, we admired the unusual wings which were, so to speak, fluted instead of having just one curved surface, while the rear ones ended with a streamline fairing. The spare wheel was sunk into the sloping rear

panel, which swings back to give access to the two suitcases and the tools which are arranged in fitted trays. The panel can be locked back when it is intended to carry an extra amount of luggage.

This car which was finished in metallic blue with blue leather upholstery costs .21,650.

NEWNS

E. J. Newts, Eagle Coach Works,

Portsmouth Road, Thames Dillon, Surrey. The ” clou ” of the coachwork exhibited by Messrs. E. J. Newns is the new light sports tourer on the Railton Terraplane which is fully described elsewhere in this issue. Apart from this a neat coupe de ville bode was shown on the

Railton, with special folding and disappearing cant-rails and a built-in luggage compartment ; the car complete costs £668. British Salmson chassis were also shown, one fitted with a neat foursome drop-head coupe with streamlined wings and running boards. The other was a two-seater open body with a large luggage compartment behind, upholstered so that it could be used for carrying occa

sionally a third passenger. The price of the 4-cylinder car with this body was £395.

OFFORD

Offord & Sons, Ltd., 94, Gloucester Road,. London, S.W.7. The low rigid chassis of the ” 105 ” and 31-litre Talbots lend themselves particularly well to open coachwork. The standard bodies of this type are now built

bv the old-established firm of Offord of South Ken SI ngtOn.

The sloping line of the new radiator is followed by the louvres in the long bonnet and scuttle and the wing treatment is modern without being outré and affords the maximum of protection. The folding windscreen has the wiper motor mounted under the bonnet.

Particularly rigid side-curtains are fitted and are stored in a special pocket in the luggage compartment. This latter occupies the whole of the tail, and is reached by hinging forward the rear seat squab.

OXBORROW & FULLER Oxborrow & Curzon

Oxborrow & Fuller, Ltd., ii, CurzonStreet, London, W. I.

The Oxborrow and Fuller convertible body has already won recognition this year in coachwork competitions and Concours d’Elegance, and on the latest models the details have been perfected so that the top can be stowed as quickly and neatly as on an open tourer with full, saloon protection in the raised position. The canvas top is secured in the usual way to the sloping windscreen. Rectangular winding windows are fitted in the two doors, with triangular panels which. act as side-screens remaining permanently

in position. The quarter lights are mounted on hinged struts, and when it ts desired to open the car completely, panels in the inside of the body are swung out and the quarter-lights hinge down into the recesses. The stowing of the top itself has been much simplified, and all that is now required is to undo two press-studs and to release a short zipp fastener running along the quarter on each side of the body. The standard body price is .2450 and the distinguished looking car we inspected

an a 3i-litre Alvis costs £1,225. A lighter version of the same body may beobtained on the Speen Twenty chassis. for £895.

PARK WARD

Park Ward & Co., Ltd., 473, High Road, Willesden, N. W.1 0.

Undoubtedly the most interesting body shown on the Park Ward stand is the new coupe de ville on a al-litre Bentley -chassis. The de. ville ,extension consists of a rigid panel with two movable cant rails. With the extension in position it is impossible to detect that the car is not an orthodox two-door saloon, but by moving a small lever above the windscreen the cant rails are drawn in beneath the panel, which is at the same time released from the windscreen. The panel can then be slid into the fixed head and the opening closed by a hinged flap. The forward sloping line of the quarter lights rear panel is unusual ; similar body is available on the 40-50 hp. Rolls-Royce but this has fourdoors and quarter light of orthodox shape. The Rolls-Royce costs £2,666, while the Bentley is priced at £1,655. Needless to say Park -Vard closed coachwork, the standardised saloon and drop-head coupe, are still available on the

54–litre Bentley chassis. The .saloon costs £1,460 and the coupe £1,485.

WHITTINGHAM & MITCHEL

Whittingliam. & Mitchel, Lid., 120, New King’s Road, Fulham. S. W.6.

An open body on the new Talbot Ten chassis will appeal to all prospective owners of the light sports car, and Messrs. Whit tingham and Mitchel have succeeded in retaining the dignified and quality lin,. of the larger cars of the range without any feeling of heaviness. The car complete costs £260. The Regent drop-head coupe on the 14 h.p. Rover is a particularly successful -attempt notable as giving comfortable accommodation for four Six-foot passengers on a chassis of medium wheelbase. There is ample head-room, the screen pillars are of steel and so can be made unusually thin, and the head is spring

loaded and folds down flush into a recess in front of the luggage compartment. The Regent Rover provides firstclass all-weather motoring at the reasonable price of £398.

YOUNG

Janus Young & Co., Ltd.,: London Road, Bromley, Kent. One of the most advanced bodies seen at the Motor Show was the Young ” Bromley ” drop-head coupe mounted on a 3?,-litre Bentley chassis. In the first mounting the two doors. Instead of being hinged either at the front or the rear, they were carried at the centre on two arms swinging on ball-bearings and connected up so that the door moved parallel with lhe body instead of swinging

out from it. In the rearward position the front and rear seats could be entered without difficulty, and provision was also made for locking the doors slightly open to ventilate the interior of the car in hot weather. The body was finished in grey, with green upholstery, and the wings of sport

place, the window area was unusually great for a car of this type, and besides the central window in each door no-draught ventilating windows were fitted in front and additional windows in the quarters. A unique feature was the method of

ing lesign with _”, paddle-box ” covers over the rear wheels strengthened the sporting line given by the low roof and the tapering line of the windows. This fine car is priced at £1,595 and the body alone costs .t495.