Stainless steel for cars

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Regular readers will know that we enthuse over Stainless steel for cars. Consequently, we find an article on ” Beating Corrosion in the Modern Car,” which appears in the Summer number of the Journal of the Stainless Steel Development Association, of particular interest. The colour cover of the journal depicts a Rover 2000 in a country setting, reminder that this car makes more use of stainless steel bright trim than any other British production car. The front and rear door frames, tread plates, wheel discs, numerous internal and external finishers and the wiper arm assembly are of this material.

The article refers to the pioneer use of stainless steel for bright trim on the Model-A Ford of 1929/30 and on certain Austin and Morris cars of the same era, and remarks that today it is widely used for this purpose on British, American and Continental cars, usually of 17% chromium steel, although some makers prefer nickel-bearing steels. British drivers do not regard bumpers as expendable hardware but stainless steel avoids unsightly rust-marks on these hard-used components. Peugeot, Auto-Union, N.S.U. and Alfa Romeo appreciate this, and the Renault 16 has the centre section of its front bumper of this steel. Audi bumpers of stainless steel are made of 1.5 mm. thick 17% chromium steel at the rate of 60 an hour on a British hydraulic roll-forming machine.

Rolls-Royce have used stainless steel for their radiator grilles since the early 1930s and still do so, although we do not suppose they will like the remark that ” the latest model has a radiator that has been slightly modified from the traditional angular design.” A shuttered vintage R.-R. radiator is illustrated and another picture in the Stainless Steel journal shows the radiator of a 1925 bull-nose Morris owned by Dr. W. H. Hatfield of Sheffield, said to have been the first car ever to be trimmed with stainless steel. Under the beading of exhaust systems the advantages of using stainless steel for silencers and pipes is expounded, Rolls-Royce being quoted as employing 1818 steel for their triple silencers and a British silencer of 24 s.w.g. sheet in 18/g steel being illustrated. (We have previously extolled the merits of stainless steel silencers and the Editorial Rover 2000TC now has one of these M.R.A. ” Nevarust ” tail pipes, which cost 27s. 6d.) The article concludes by stating that all metal parts for -screen wipers on British cars are now of stainless steel, which is also universally used for fog and reversing lamps, where corrosion might well prevent bulb replacement .—W. B.