Out and Home.— In the Dark. In Methods. —By "The Extractor."
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Drivers of commercial vehicles will have discovered that police trapping in the London district is as rife as ever, and special constables are assisting in this noble work. I hear of many traps being worked by flashlights. The magistrates are showing little mercy on drivers who exceed the speed limit after dark. This would seem to be perfectly justified considering the lighting restrictions. In daylight the police seem to take little notice up to 25 m.p.h., but woe to the driver in the dark who exceeds the exact legal limit danger is assumed, and he is, in that case, cnarged with driving "to the danger of the public," and his 'licence is endorsed accordingly.
More Adaptability Wanted.
It will be seen from the extract given below, from a letter which I have received from an. old friend in Paris, how he criticises the dilatoriness of the British maker and concessionnaire and the failure to comprehend what is required if business is to be captured from the French user. My correspondent is a dependable straight-dealing man and by now, I believe, he is fixed up, but it occurs to me that his :observations will be of interest to many.
"As is usual with English firms, the Co. send me a leaflet with a price and letter but state no terms, (Es, counts or delivery dates, if they are in a position to supply
any regular quantities. Who makes their chassis? The place of origin must be stated. I prefer you, if it is not too much trouble, to just give these details to them, and explain that I am here, and cannot afford to lose time writing for information day after day, without receiving definite and complete information as to what they are prepared to do.
" This is my complaint against all British firms to a foreign inquiry; they either do not treat. it seriously or do not want business, because in almost every case 1 have been compelled to drop the matter through insufficient information, and lack of specifications and photographs to present my case before the officers here. The chassis may be well known in England, but here they are not known, and some confidence must
be instilled in them to consider the chassis, never seemed to realize what was wanted, none of the prices tallied nor do their specifications agree, and never yet have they really sent me a letter saying that if any business results from my efforts and orders are placed for France direct or through me or French agents, that I am to be credited with the commission and that such prices as I quote will be also quoted by them. You., of .course, understand there are many corns. to be given out to get the orders, and I have to sign letters binding myself to pay this, so that if I am landed in the end, I am going to suffer financially. No one here does anything for you unless paid for, and he wants his letter first. I think that you may he able to explain it for rne to makers and agents. I have lost many orders through not getting information in time to compete, and from not being in a position to satisfy my friends that their corn. was assured, and that I was empowered to act and put forward the chassis proposed.
"There have been and are so many ' dud ' agents canvassing here that everyone fights shy of getting into the toils of another get-rich-quick representative. I think this applies to the case, so you will be able as a favour, to place the matter before some firm responsible and trustworthy who I can rely upon, not to let. me down when the corn. comes due, a I see so many cases in the papers just now. If there is anyth'ing earned it may be big figures and -when it is in big amounts, the makers generally try to escape liability; of this we are all afraid here.
"A sample chassis will be bought to put up for trial as soon as some firm deals with the question in a businesslike manner, so perhaps when discussing this matter you might let them read this letter. I know that perhaps they have already received many letters from -over here, that have resulted in nothing, but in my case I can assure you it is serious, but so far have not really had a firm answer properly to my letters, or give me the assurance required.
"If you ever call in at , just tell them that the varying contents of their letters do not give me or my friends confidence, and the absence of a definite letter covering them all for securing the commission when due., greatly hinders my operations."
A Nautical Brake.
The brakes fitted to American trucks and touring cars used to be woefully inefficient. The makers have had it rubbed into them so much from this side that attention has been paid to it at last, but early • in the war many new makes of trucks were declined by the authorities here, mostly on account of inefficient brakes. I was talking to a well-known provincial agent who, although he has sold large numbers of Yankee touring cars, never would venture to drive one himself ; ire would sooner go home by train or bicycle if his usual car was unavailable... He has changed his opinion now, his confidence . being established. Not only American cars either were poorly braked. My friend spoke of one prominent _British make which developed, as he said, a . rare turn of speed, but when it came to stopping -. 'em, that was another matter. I told the makers, and I think it had the right effect at last, that I thought it would be safer to take off their brakes -and depend upon a coil of rope and an anchor for emergencies.
011a Pod rida.
Mr. Fritz Poppe, so well-known in connection with
the Polack tire is now, I understand, interned. Mr. Walter k. Johnson, the-British representative of Remy magnetos, proceeds almost inithediately to
the U.S.A. on a business trip.
Mr. Cecil Gnapp, who was London manager for the Maudslay, for a, long period, and who afterwards. made a prolonged tour in the East in connection with Rolls-Royce, has opened an office in Old Broad Street principally concerned now with the sale of com mercial vehicles.
The Vulcan Car Agency, of Great Portland Street, W., is extending its ramifications. Messrs. Wardman and Fitch, enterprising always, have enlisted the services of two well-known gentlemen further to develop the commercial vehicle side—Mr. Brett, so long associated with the Austin Co. and an excellent salesman, and Mr. Max Graddon, the well-known body builder. There will be some business going here.
Another enterprising concern has been turning its , attention to commercial motors for some time past, Heath's Garage, Ltd., at Birmingham, and as I saw for myself last week they have a very fine stock of vehicles for immediate delivery. I was greatly in-terested to see what a valuable connection they have amongst war-department contractors and munition makers. Heath's are very thorough in their system and methods. The balance-sheet of the Austin Motor Co.,Ltd. is showing a profit of over &3,000—orders are in hand for over 22,000,000.
Mr. P. J. Hays, of Hays, Hunter and Sta,nden, Ltd., and formerly associated with Tilling-Stevens, Ltd., is indisposed, and unfortunately is likely to he away from business for some weeks to come.
Mr. James Menzies, of British Bern,a Motor Lorries, Ltd., has accepted a commission, and is now on active service.
Sorry to hear that Mr. Fox, the chief of the engineering department of Edison Accumulators, is on the sick list.
To judge by the -amount of business in hand, it will be quite a long time before Mr. W. L. Bodman, of Clyde Heavy Motors, Ltd., takes another trip across the herring-pond.
On Saturday, 15th April, light up your lamps at 7.23 in London, 7.46 in Edinburgh, 7.36 in Newcastle, 7.39 in Liverpool, 7.32 in Birmingham, 7.33 in Bristol. 7.57 in Dublin.