Has the car really improved?

Alan from alanparcell.com replied to my post about E-Co Friendly and it brought me to thinking more about the car. Way back my first car was a Morris 8 Series 1 1947 with wire wheels. It was very modern having Lockheed hydraulic brakes and a starter motor. It also had a sunshine roof and if it got really hot the front screen could be raised to increase air flow. No air con just natural cooling, talking of which it did not have a water pump but work by thermo cycling.

My point is that this car would, given a fair wind and downhill reach 70 miles per hour and would consistently return 48+ miles to the gallon. No sophisticated fuel injection just a single SU carb and it only had 6 volts to power the electrics too.

My Ford diesel returns around 46 miles to the gallon and is a mine of wiring, sensors and what not. Of course it is cleaner and more environmentally cleaner than my Morris 8? Well apart from not using any wood ( Morris 8 had wooden floor) I am not so sure. The Ford is safer as it’s got airbags everywhere and has a sophisticated form of crumple zone around the cabin and it had disc brakes, ABS and traction control. I drive it a lot faster than the Morris 8 because I can and so does everyone else on the roads.

I have in my time customise a few cars, owning a Hillman Imp with a 1300 Ford crossflow engine in it and a Ford 100e with a Lotus twin cam to name just two. My aim was always to get the greatest mph for the least fuel and I had fun trying to achieve it. My motive was not entirely environmental but one of cost and the fact that fuel was always going up regardless of the world situation.

Now I appreciated this is a simplistic comparison but my thinking is that what has changed is the marketing of the car. I never needed air con and the increase it puts on the fuel consumption, but it’s almost standard on even some budget cars. Do I need metallic paint and alloy wheels? The marketing of the car has become an psychological manifestation of desire, that we must have. The fact that in the UK the public transport infrastructure is no longer meeting our needs just adds fuel to the desire.

I don’t deny many people need their own transport. I get up at 04.30 and get into work at 05.15 and although I have cycled it, I use a car because I get there quicker and in comfort. There is no public transport running at that time and when the first buses start I would need to make 3 changes just to get to work. Also I need to get to my other job some 20 miles away within the hour, before returning to my first job then home at 19.00  That’s my excuse for having a car.

That’s my thought for the day, thanks to Alan for being the prompt. Must go as there’s work to be done. See you

2 Responses to “Has the car really improved?”

  1. Wow, a Hillman Imp, Jon. I always wanted one of those. Nice post, thanks.

    Enjoy the journey.


  2. Hi Mandy,
    I had a number of Imp variants including the Singer Chamoise and the 998 Sunbeam. A great lilttle car driven by an engine used as an pump by many fire servcies in the UK in it’s day. The one I converted was a mean machine and required a lot of mods to keep it on the road. I still have the front lowering plates in my shed. yes I am a squirrel really.
    Jon Mc

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