Let research proceed

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AUTOMOBILE engineering research should go on, in spite of the war. Anyone who takes the trouble to think about it must agree that, judging by the amount of motoring that is happening to-day, quite a large increase will occur as soon as peace comes again—exactly how full our roads will be must depend on how long we live in a state of war and our economic condition thereafter. But certainly the roads will not be empty. For that reason research should go on; the Motor Industry must not stagnate even as it slaves to produce our vast supplies of war weapons. After we have won. this war, we want to win export markets and we want our manufacturers to have a 100 per cent. grip on home sales. Better suspension to combat badly worn roads, more economical engines to combat the increased cost of living, brighter appearance and performance to combat war-jaded indifference—those are a few matters to which research could beneficially be applied. If you believe that sports-car design is such that no immediate improvements or investigations are called for, ask yourself if Cecil Clutton has not outlined a very attractive design for a sports-car in his article elsewhere in this issue—a car which about equals the 328 B.M.W. in performance in spite of having a smaller engine, and which possesses several desirable characteristics not possessed by the B.M.W., which many of us regard as one of to-day’s greatest fast motors. Research, instituted now, should make possible the production of a car something like this very soon after the armistice—and it would be a car extremely well received in the world’s markets.

Research on a reasonable scale need have no adverse effect on the Motor Industry’s great war effort—a few hours on the drawing board here, a few hours on the bench there, a substitution of the experimental car for the normal vehicles used by key personnel, spread over the years, and the desired data comes easily along.

Aston-Martin have followed these methods in evolving their independently-sprung, Cotal-transmission, aerodynamic 2-litre, employing usefully a conscientious-objector mechanic. Bentley and Lagonda are carrying on with important researches. We hope other manufacturers are likewise preparing for the trade war which will follow the present strife. The I.A.E., it is good to know, is continuing to operate its research centre, and to publish its journal.

A contemporary has inaugurated the useful idea of discussing the ideal after-the-war people’s car, publishing a series of articles by members of its staff. In view of the important part that the modern fast car plays in the life of the community, we feel that this idea might well be extended to embrace cars of sports type. We made an effort to set down our personal ideas on this subject on one occasion and have no intention of doing so again. But if experienced motorists amongst our readers would endeavour to express their views much of value might result.