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12th July 1921, Page 11
12th July 1921
Page 11
Page 11, 12th July 1921 — WANTED-A FARMER'S CAR.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

The Writer Says that Agents Might Do Worse than Design a Special Type of Car for Farmer's Personal Use.

By "Vim."

WHERE IS the motor substitute for the farmer's gig or dog-cart, or whatever is its proper name? I do net profess to be familiar with horsey language, but the horsed vehicle to which I refer is the useful affair used by farmers for a hundred-and-one jobs, such as making tours of inspection round their farms; taking their families aedriving (two or three -on the main Peat and two or three facing backwards on a removable rear scat); jogging off to market and returning with the week's shopping, a roll of wire netting, plants for the garden, and Heaven knows what other purchases comfortably stowed in the space left when the back seat is out and the tailboard is down; the handy turn-out which can be taken along cart tracks, through stock-yards, and generally subjected to hard treatment, without ever seeming to become much the shabbier in the process. You know the kind of thing I mean, no doulst, although I cannot give it its technical name. For its purpose it is an ideal contrivance, evolved out of many generations of farming experience, and to-day lacking only the benefits conferred by the internal-combustion engine. to make it capable of continuing to serve that purpose for many generations more.

Motor agents in agricultural districts will lose nothing by turnin_g their thoughts in the direction of a farmer's car. The majority of garage proprietors' now either have their own body-building shops or else are closely in touch with local coachbuilding firms, and, to my way of thinking, there is a great opportunity here for traders with ideas to meet an actual want, for it is chiefly a matter of bodywork. To expect manufacturers to produce special chassis for the job is too much, although it is more than probable that if they could be persuaded to do so, the same chassis would sell readily in the Dominions, because a British farmer's needs are not unlike those of farmers in the wilder places of the earth. Moreover, bodies can be designed and built, with the certain knowledge that they will have no structural faults, in a very short space of time, whereas chassis are not produced with such certainty or nearly so expeditiously. There are standard touring chassis available, which are more or less suitable for the purpose, but which I will not name, because it would ill-become me to instruct agents in this matter.

There can, however, be no harm in our going over together the points which should be borne in mind when trying to solve the problem of the farmer's car. Firstly, it hardly requires to be said that the complete vehicle must be cheap. The calls on a farmer's capital are always heavy, with prospects of becoming heavier at any moment, so that no matter how much be may happen to have in the bank* at a given moment, he seldom feels safe in spending much of it, unless he is of the improvident kind—in which case he does not remain a farmer for long! Price, therefore, is most important ; and since the chassis will make up the bulk of it, the selection must be carefully made. The power should be round about 15 h.p., but 12 Rye would not be too low, provided sufficient body room were available. By the way, what a pity it is that makere have abandoned the good old sturdy type of chassis with low-powered engines, in their eagerness to satisfy the modern clamour for " efficiency "! Some of thesmight do worse than dig up their 12 h.p. models of 1912-13 and reproduce them, sturdiness and all, for utility work to-day. Coming now to the body, this must be devoid of all flashiness as to its finish, for it will not be looked after with tender care, and rarely with any care to speak of. The more highly finished a car, and the more ornamental its appearance, the sooner it becomes shabby. The grade of painting should be about that applied to the better sorts of 'vans and wagons, which is both fairly cheap to carry out and 'fulfils its duty of protecting wood and metal against the weather even better than the innumerable' coats of paint and varnish necessary to give a high-grade car finish—which innumerable coats, being flatted down as each is applied, leave but a thin total coating after all, and one that chips off very easily. The colours may be bright, butspust not be delicate.

Fitting the Vehicle for Many Purposes.

We have to remember that frequently the car will have to carry packages of all kinds, and even loose 'articles of a rough description not calculated to improve upholstery. There is, to take an example already given, nothing more capable of injuring any material that. is tearable or scratchable than a roll of wire netting, so I should say that, in the main, such space as will be employed at any time for carrying goods had best be left either painted with durable paint (which can be touched up by the owner), or covered with good linoreum. Seating accommodation for at least four persons should be provided, although the full complement of passengers would not necessarily have to be carried with goods on board. The rear seats should, I think, be removable; and such upholstery as belong to them should collie out with them. The petrol tank should be slung, at the back of the ear, or somewhere below floor4level, with Autovac feed to the engine, and the front seats should have a clear run under them. It would not ho a bad plan to make the front seats also removable. and to supply a better set of seats for service when the car was to be used for visiting or touring, these seats being superior in upholstering and corn_fort to the set of workaday ones, which might be fitted with little more than padded back-rests. If the back of the body were made so that it could he let down after the manner of a tailboard, it would be a considerable advantage when loading up with goods and for carrying sacks filled with produce. A sack of potatoes, a bushel of apples, and so on, are presents that quite a number of farmers are fond of dropping unexpectedly on their less fortunate friends' doorsteps, apart from the fact that they are constantly having to fetch from the nearest town bulky articles which would not go conveniently into the space behind the front seats, even with the back seats out, unless the car had a tailboard which could be let down.

On the whole, I fancy that it will be wise to do without metal panels and to use wood instead. Curves are not wanted, and sheet steel or aluminium panels dent too readily. If metal is decided on, the panels should be small and almost flat for cheap replacement. I imagine that most agents who 'bay& their businesses in agricultural districts will agree that a chassis fitted with a body which met these requirements would prove a seller, and that the market would not end with the farmers, because it would be just the thing for owners of residential estates. For shooting, hunting, station work, and a score of other purposes, it would prove infinitely more serviceable than any ordinary touring car.


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