A Critical Forecast of the Forthcoming Shows. By INVESTIGATOR.
THE; evolution of the motor movement is a restless tide, and the manufacturers are longshoremen who, snatching up the flotsam take it away to their factories and examine it. Some of the flotsam is valuable and finds a place on the products of the manufacturers. Once every year the harvest of the tide is shown to the buying public at Olympia.
To forecast the features of the exhibitions is to anticipate what will be swept up on the tide of evolution and to do so, one must be in touch with the activities of the longshoremen. Some of them treasure up some of their discoveries in order that they may spring surprises on their patrons and thereby secure that attention which is so valuable at a time when motorists are considering their prospective acquisitions. The best bait of all which can be offered is that of low price. British manufacturers have, by dint of their absolute policy of building up to a standard, earned the faith of buyers, and it may be said that there will not be a dud car of home production at Olympia. Therefore the price consideration is an all important one, because the buyer does not have to consider whether he is buying dross—he knows that he is not !
Generally speaking, however, there is not a considerable difference in the prices asked for cars. If you pay E,400 for a vehicle, you are probably getting just as much value for your money as the man who buys a cheaper model, gets value for, say, .L200. The bigger the sale the better the bargain, as a rule, became establishment charges and consequently production costs work out at less per car in the case of a manufacturer with a responsive market. Prices will be a little easier, but not very much. At the same time, cars will be much cheaper because of the improvements which will have been effected and the fact that the manufacturers cannot stay still ; they must develop their productions.
I think that we shall see the fitment of balloon or semi-compression tyres on many cars, for these fat and comfortable tyres have, during the present year, proved themselves in the inciting pot of general usage. Undoubtedly they increase car comfort and increase the life. of bearings, because the lesser road shocks are entirely absorbed in them and the springs do not come into play to any extent on average roads. Balloon tyres are boon tyres, and their general adoption very shortly on all save the smallest of cars is to be expected. It is probable that we shall find a few vehicles installed with super-chargers as a standard fitment, though I cannot look kindly on a rather expensive method of improving carburation which, in my opinion, is fundamentally weak. It is surprising to me that carburation should not have received more attention from scientists, for it is the fact that fuel wastage is more considerable than fuel consumption, and that the petrol trusts, like the mustard manufacturer, make more dividends out of what is bought and unconsumed than what is actually employed in propulsion. Forty miles to the gallon is about the limit for the least consumptive of light cars, but it ought to be at least twice that m.p.g.
There is a demand for the light saloon, therefore we shall see them in profusion. There is a weakening demand for air cooled units, therefore we shall not see many.
The Motor Cycle Show.
As to the Motor Cycle Exhibition, which this year follows the car display, we may expect a very attractive Show. This is much more in the nature of an engineering exhibition, because the average motor cyclist is a better engineer than the average car owner, and is keener on the power unit. A man buying a car is not always concerned with what is beneath the bonnet, being more interested in the tout ensemble of the complete vehicle. But the average Man who buys a motor cycle, buys the engine, and regards the rest as an adjunct thereto !
Probably the main feature of the Motor Cycle Show will be the revival of the ultra-lightweight movement. This phase has, at the moment, practically disappeared. We have now no real ultra-lightweights, because the mustard-pot engines have -developed such power that they have been asked to and have propelled machines which are about as heavy as the normal touring mount of ten years ago. Yet there is a big and untapped market for a machine with the tractability of the pedal cycle and the simplicity of a perambulator. What is wanted is a machine of hundred pounds avoirdupois and sold at about twenty pounds cash. Such a motorcyclette is possible, and it may be that we shall get very near to it at Olympia this November.
As in the case of cars, we shall probably see a development of the balloon tyre on motor cycles, but only, I think, as equipment for sidecar machines. The disadvantages of the balloon tyre for solo machines are obvious. We may expect also to see the final overthrow of the unscientific and wasteful hand oil pump and the adoption of the sump system. Unlike the motor car movement, there is no such thing as ” fashion ” in motor cycles, for the humbler conveyance is regarded as either a utilitarian machine or an “implement of sport,” whereas the car is “property.”
Motor cycles exhibited at the coining Show will be more refined. There will probably be some interesting new frame structures, and a few more nails will be hammered into the coffin of the diamond frame. Spring frames are not likely to be popular because the expense and weight thereof outweigh the advantages, which are not considerable.
‘rue 350 c.c. or Junior machine, has undoubtedly arrived at pre-eminence among solo motor cycles and it is likely to stay there. I anticipate a reduction in 250 C.C. or lightweight mounts, because somehow this type appears to be neither the one thing nor the other. It is rather too much for the man who only wants a runabout, and not quite enough for the touring motor cyclist. The big: sidecar will be as strong as ever, despite the alleged deprivations of the light car in the cheap passenger market, but there may be fewer models of the ” sports ” type in favour of light touring models.
To sum up, there will, I anticipate, be few novelties but quite a lot of real development.
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