ON THE SPORT, THE FUTURE, AND THE FAIR SEX
ON THE SPORT, THE FUTURE, AND THE FAIR SEX
HAS it ever struck you as curious that, while all the better motor-race meetings always draw a record number of lovely ladies, yet it is invariably the fair sex who is responsible for those sober saloon cars you see running about with the badges of the best sporting car clubs on their grilles ? It is a generally accepted fact that the enthusiast fits a screen, hood, maybe even side-screens, to his car because some irresistible somebody requests that it shall be so. From there it is but a short step to buying a vehicle with a button to press when it is required to commence and windows to wind up when the elements are unkind. Possibly, if the English spring were less uncertain there would be more real sports cars on our highways and byways. . . . Lots of reasons may be advanced why woman does not take very kindly to sports-car motoring and wants to dress up in a white bathing hat when she does venture out in such cars. The real answer is probably simply that when it rains you get far wetter and more miserable in a screenless, hood less car than you do in the theatre, cinema or dance hall, or at home by the fire—or even playing golf or intermittent tennis, or walking, for that matter. And very few of the older cars, even if they are not stripped for action, retain much of the weather defying equipment provided originally by their thoughtful makers. I will not go so far as a recent correspondent to a contemporary, who, I believe in reply to a letter from the now notorious "Sedan Fairy," suggested that women probably complained bitterly of the lack of protection provided on the floating logs on which their menfolk were wont to propel themselves, and that women have since been responsible for all the retrograde features introduced into automObilism, such as synchro-mesh, trafficators, automatic chassis lubrication, low-geared steering and the like. But I do think that it is -easier to take Sybil to Brooldands on a borrowed lady's brooch in a saloon than it is to get her to ride week-end after week-end in, say, an Aero Morgan for which you can't afford safety glass. You may induce Theodora to make herself really chic for a ride to a fashionable watering-place in father's ancient Morris-Cowley in mid-summer, but never be able to persuade her on to a veteran for the 7.30 a.m. start of a "London-Brighton." It seems possible, however, that all that may soon be changed. The fact is, the A.T. is taking very large numbers of girls of all ages (and, incidentally, appearances) and is training them not only to drive, but to understand quite a lot about " why the wheels go round." They are in many cases girls who have had no previous driving experience of any sort, yet they start on large vehicles which do not have synchro-mesh boxes. Obviously, too, listening to lectures on mechanics must teach them much about a subject previously they knew just nothing at all. And when a person understands a subject it is far easier to hold and develop that interest than it is if they know nothing. We who regard ordinary utility-car manipulation as just too simple for words are apt to forget that the whole business of motoring is very complex and, I submit, quite interesting to a woman if she understands what you are doing and discussing, and utterly boring if she does not. It now looks as though the A.T.S. is doing what the impatient male could not : explain the mechanics and manipulation of the motor-vehicle to the fair sex. Let this thought cheer some of my bachelor readers who have bought fast, stark cal* in which to visit sporting venues when we have won this war and who have a seat to spare—if only because monocars are no longer marketed. . . I have even seen these young ladies in uniform dicing behind acre-screens in an open cockpit, and I have heard girls who had never so much as held a steering wheel six months ago earnestly discussing double-declutching and the fvantages of the plate over the cone-clutch. Brave new world ! Incidentally, if this pricks at any vulnerable consciences, I believe there are plenty
‘'olontecrs still needed. Oh, and as some sort of excuse for this particular outpouring, in 1911 no less a journal than " The Autocar " published a love story and it was serial stilry at. that ! !