What the Commercial Motor .Show has Disclosed.
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THE COMMERCIAL Vehicle Show which opened at Olympia on the 15th instant, and which closes on the 23rd instant, is certainly by far the most importani one which has ever been held in this country. Efficient transport is one of the crying need4 of the present time, and upon it depends, to a great extent, the price of every commodity. the railways have proved themselves totally inadequate to cope with the vast volume of traffic which post-war reconstruction has necessitated, and if it had not been for motor transport the situation would have become almost, if not quite, impossible. It is only at such shows as that being held at Olympia that one can gather a comprehensive idea of the importance of the commercial-vehicle industry • to this and to other countries ; and at Olympia are shown, not only the standard productions from the various factories, but also a considerable number of entirely new vehicles in which the trend of commercial-vehicle design can be noted.
There are very few branches of road transport not invaded and captured by' some form or other of motor vehicle, petrol, steam, or electrically propelled. Each class has its own particular sphere of action, and in few cases do these spheres overlap. The petrol vehicle has proved the best for long-distance work in which speed is an essential factor' and for the conveyance of passengers ; the steamer finds its province in connection with the transport of exceptionally heavy leads at comparatively glow speed, and is often used in conjunction with a trailer which limits its legal speed to 5 m.p.h. ; the electric vehicle is essen tially the town runabout or municipal vehicle operat-. . mg over comparatively short distances, and it is particularly useful when operated from a depot such as a municipal•one, where the charging can be done conveniently at low cost.
At Olympia are to be found examples of what prac. tically every country is doing in connection with motor transport. It is the first fully representative exhibition of its kind since 1913, and most of the -vehicles embody the improvements which have been suggested, by considerable experience gained during war service.
Radical changes are not to be expected, and are not to be found, except in a few instances. Makers have been too fully occupied in supplying urgent• demands to experiment with new types, and most of the progress has been in connection with improvements in details which, although important in themselves, hardly affect the outward appearance of the machines. A notable -advance, however, has been made in the development of vehicles for the conveyance of passengers, and in so designing chassis that the maximum, body' space possible has been obtained. The large number of machines shod with pneumatic tyres shows the advancement made in this direction, which is one of considerable importance.
The Position Concerning Large Pneumatics.
UNDOUBTEDLY a point which will attract the notice of commercial vehicle users—traders and hauliers—at the show will be the increased percentage of vehicles fitted with pneumatic tyres. The position as regards this-development is largely as follows: The pneumatic tyre is more expensive in the first instance and more expensive in upkeep. On the other hand, it enables higher speeds to be maintained and it protects the mechanism from small shocks. As time goes on, it' will permit of the specially light construction of trade vehicles, which may lead to some reduction in the cost of the chaSsis in a measure compensating for the increased cost of the tyres. As regards operating costs, thp better protection from vibration may reduce the repair bill in respect of the chassis, so as to compensate for the higher bill for tyre renewals. The higher speeds possible with pneumatics may help to reduce the operating cost of the vehicle per mile by increasing the daily mileage. Up to the present, the pneumatic has definitely made good on the lighter classes of vehicle up to about one ton useful load capacity. As regards the much heavier types, its use is still more or less experimental, and the fitting of giant pneumatics on show vehicles may be quite as much an advertising " stunt " to attract attention as a serious indication of what the vehicle manufacturer would actuay recommend. On heavy vehicles, the pneumatic will not really be thoroughly tested under the most advantageous conditions until some manufacturers have felt 3ustified in designing chassis especially with a view to its use. The gear ratios of heavy chassis of normal type are calculated with a view to the use of solid tyres; so also are the engine dimensions. On the whole, traders and hauliers will probably be disposed to leave the bulk of the practical experimenting with giant tyres to the proprietors of public service vehicles, who, by the use of these tyres, may be able to give their clients greater comfort with higher speeds, and so to charge enhanced fares. When the results obtained in numerous instances by the proprietors of motor coaches are known and analysed, it will be time enough 1'7er the average trader to consider the use of pneumatics on vehicles designed to carry anything above one ton of useful load.
The Ignoring of Warnings from Overtaking Vehicles.
THAT SECTION of the motor community which is legally entitled to travel at speeds up to P21 miles per hour has come to the definite conclusion, after its first full season's experience of the presence of the motor coach broadcast all over the
country, that the new public service vehicle is a real road obstruction, and it has commenced to bracket the goods-carrying vehicle with the other delinquent and to dernandfreform. Some effort is necessary on the part of owners and users and their organizations in order to reassure the users of the faster private vehicle that measures will be taken to meet the diffi culty and to check the abuse, because it is eminently desirable that there should be no split among the various sections of the motor movement. Rather, a united front is essential in order to counteract the evident desire, on the part of the Ministry of Transport, to show how busy it is, by the creation of all sorts of fussy regulations. Experience has shown that the paid driver of a heavy vehicle, succumbing mentally to the sheer monotony of the task, becomes oblivious to the needs, and even to the possibility of the existence, of the following traffic. He lives in a welter of noise : his thoughts are always o his front, and only an excep tional kind, of warning signal from an overtaking vehicle seems to penetrate the denseness of the medium in the region of his aural faculties. , Again, a danger crops up from the faot that drivers of heavy vehicles, being set Well within the full width of the body and load, are unable to signal to following traffic, and in consequence it frequently happens that the driver of the overtaking vehicle is afraid to pass, because he does not know whether the heavy vehicle has steered to the near side in response to the .. signal given or is likely immediately to steer outwards again. This indicates the need of an "I hear you " signal, the equivalent of the waving-on signal the driver of a slow-going private car is able to make. The danger which users have to guard against is the introduction of a regulation calling for a, rear
guard on every vehicle which is under any speed restriction. This would mean a great addition to the item of Wages, and is not to be thought of. But it is being talked about amongst the faster-travelling motorists.
In our opinion, mach can be done by education and training. Every employer and fleet manager should lay down a course of training and instruction, as is done by the London General Omnibus Co. Some of the country bus drivers are as bad as the lorry and coach drivers. The fitting of a large sound collector at the rear of the vehicle, and connected by pipe to an ear piece disposed Close to the driver's ear (there is such a device on. the market), may prove effective. Then the Commercial Motor Users Aesociation should take action to effect remedies. We are con vincecl that something can be done voluntarily, and that no lime should be lost in the matter if compulsion is to be avoided.
The Conference—Will It Succeed ?
WHEN WE ASK the question--" Will the forthcoming Conference be a success?" we do not do so in any hypercritical frame of mind. In some respects we believe that success is assured before the event. The programme of the conference is a strong one, and it has he valuable support of many well-known names which sufficiently guarantee the authoritative. character of the papers and the. high eta,ndard of the ensuing discussions. But we have known many instances in which some admirable speakers have participated in discussions that have both begun and ended in mere talk, neither immee diately securing nor ultimately leading to any tangible result.
We take it that the purpose of the forthcoming conference is two-fold. It seeks on the one hand and primarily to secure subsequent results by the moulding of public opinion, and by the interchange of views between representatives of all parts of the Empire, whilst, on the other hand, but to a _lesser degree, it has as its object the success of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Exhibition.
With regard to the first aim, intercourse among the delegates must help to makethem think, and, tninkMg, may encourage them to encleaVour to secure action. Many of the delegates will represent official interests at home and interests, official and otherwise, overseas, and they will be led to preach the gospel of motor transport and road improvement. Public opinion must be moulded and, when those who seek to direct it know their own minds definitely, and are at least, convinced of the principles underlying their action., they will be in a better position to lead public opinion in the right direction. There are principles that appear to us to be obviously sound, but which are still objects of doubt to the public mind, and for this reason it is . not always safe to say that the time to atop talking and to take action has necessarily arrived.
It is to be hoped that the conference will help us materially towards deciding whether alcohol fuel is a practical proposition. The canference, again, will have been successful if it helps to form public opinion throughout the Empire in favour of expenditure upon road irnprovethent. The standardization of our military transport throughout the Empire offers a good field for educational work, whilst municipalities at home and overseas that have hitherto ignored the advantages of Municipal motor vehicles should be led • by example and argument to revise their views. The conference includes delegates from practically every part of the Empire who, on their return, cannot fad to accentuate in their reports the extent to which the commercial motor industry has de-: velaped in this country, and the great variety of uses to which its products are successfully put. In this manner it will continue the work done by the Show.
The Duty of the New Reader to Himself.
N ISSUE such as the present one of The Com mercial Motor is abnormal in many respects, and new readers, attracted to it by reason of its special features, dealing with a. phase of the sub-. ject of road motor transport which happens to bring it into the glare of the limelight, cannot always obtain a fair idea of the policy, the style and the general contents of the journal.. The Commercial Motor gains new readers every week, by the process of the reader telling•the non-reader of its merits. But during a Show period it necessarily comes into the hands of a large number of new buyers, and to them we would prefer the request that they continue to see the paper for a few weeks until they have become familiar with its aims and objects. Then will they be better in a position to arrive at the conclusion whether they can afford to be without it every week op not.
The first aim of the journal is to secure the advancement of the commercial vehicle industry and of the road transport industry. It has a number of special features which are unique in this particular section of the motor Press. The weekly contributions addressed to dealers in commercial vehicles, to hauliers, to tradesmen, to owners of Ford vans, to agriculturists, and to motor coach owners, are widely read and greatly appreciated. Its articles are written by able and qualified men, and they deal with phases of road transport in all parts of the world. Every new thought and development is carefully studied, and the outcome is presented to the readers in a concise and readable form. There is not a dry line in the paper, and there is never the room for redundant or stale matter. The proof of the contents is the reading thereof, and we ask our new readers to submit the journal to -that test until they have formed their own judgment upon it.