Car Design 1
Re this week’s
Where's Car Design Going?, I wondered about noise
as a possible section that might have been included. Is today’s NVH
significantly better than the EH Holden?
Roger De Salis
Yes, vastly so.
Car Design 2
"Where's Car Design Going?" - Bravo! Some
excellent points. Might the "sweet spot" be a modernization of an older
car? For example, refitting newer engine management and shoulder belts,
maybe even adding in airbags and ABS to an older model.
Another aspect of the newer cars is that they are
more isolated - less NVH, but also far less sense of danger at speed, less
awareness of what the wheels/suspension are really doing - so easier to get to
speed and overcook things relative to conditions. The added safety features
often provoke a compensatory response in drivers - with airbags and ABS, they
gain an illusory sense of security and tend to follow more closely and brake
later. The introduction in the US of 3d brakelights (centre stop light) led to
an initial reduction in rear-end collisions, then the rate crept back up as
people acclimated (and as large SUVs crowded the roads and the sightlines of
other drivers). Finally, the added mass of the newer models necessitates
larger engines, brakes, etc - a small light car (such as a Mazda
Roadster/MX5/Miata or Lotus Elise) really exemplifies all the merits to be had
from reducing excess.
Personally, I don't mind cranking my own windows
or turning a knob to adjust my seat, but then I like to shift my own gears
too. Thanks for the perspective - on paper, the new cars are "vastly
superior", but in practice they often feel a bit "off" (some would say soulless
and without style, even)
Updating the safety of an old car to be
anywhere near current standards is impossible – the safety needs to be
incorporated at the design stage.
Car Design 3
On the article "Where's Car Design Going?", I
couldn't agree more but I also can't see there being a change any time soon. The
motoring magazines (not yours!) seem have too much influence on Australian
manufacturers’ design decisions. Every new model must have more power than the
last or it will surely be condemned by the writers. How about reducing weight
instead? A new VE weighs as much as the last WB Statesman, a BF as much as a
70's LTD! New cars have thinner metal, the glass is half as thick and they
seem to have done away with side intrusion beams. Airbags seem to have replaced
the fundamentals of good design physics.
Sharply angled windscreens cause more heat to
enter the car. Thank god the HVAC of a new car is better than an old one because
you can't roll down the windows instead as the wind buffeting is unbearable (try
and sit in the back of a new Falcon, it will almost blow out your eardrums with
the windows down).
Boots seem to be getting smaller with every model
despite the absence of full-size spare wheels. New style strut boot hinges which
the magazines say are a 'must' for a new car make the boot opening smaller,
allow leaves and water to collect on the platform causing rust and the struts
will surely fail in short order. A well-designed cantilever design doesn't have
to intrude into the boot area at all.
The biggest cause of new cars lack of ride is
directly attributed to the larger wheels and low profile tyres fitted as
standard nowadays. I am willing to bet if 15-inch wheels were fitted the ride
would be much better without any detrimental effects on real-world handling.
The biggest worry I have is that people are
becoming complacent with their driving skills as new cars are so un-involving.
Brakes are much better with ABS and EBD that people seem to sit much closer to
each other on the road. ESP will surely be 'mandatory' fitment on cars within
two years as the motoring writers have deemed it a necessity. How crazy will
this allow people to drive while the electronics save them from a sure-fire
accident. What will happen when they switch it off one day? Or worse, get into
another car that doesn't have it?
New cars are far safer than old cars. Boots are
huge. We like ABS and think ESP the biggest safety innovation in car electronics
ever. But as the original article said, we do agree on ride...
First up, good job. I have been a reader since
issue one and a subscriber not too long after. Over the years I have found
many good, informative articles, which do not simply focus on the big name, big
price tag modifications. I especially like the articles which cover areas
of modification which aren't normally considered (e.g. undertrays, the Airtabs
Like a lot of people I am a little dismayed at the
repeated articles. But my only real issue with them is that they do not always
state they are reprints of previously printed articles (you wouldn't believe how
many times I've read a quarter of the article with that nagging "I've read this
somewhere" feeling before realising I've got a print-out at home in my folder of
"good info"). But overall I like the continuation of new articles, and there
have been some reprints that I honestly missed out reading the first time
So I say, "good on ya!" Keep up the good
work, and keep bringing us articles on how to mod street cars for better street
P.S. I recently trialled some Airtabs on the roof at the
racetrack. There are a few mitigating circumstances (improved driving
performance over the day, and possible shift in wind speed/direction) but with
the Airtabs I was regularly seeing 160+ km/h down the straight, compared to a
pre-Airtab absolute max of 160 km/h. I would be keen to hear if anyone else has
tried Airtabs out in any situations.
We state when an article has previously
appeared only when the article is time sensitive. We’d suggest that if you can
read a quarter of an article without realising it’s been run before then you
can’t remember it very well!
Oval Cranks 1
In your recent column
Driving Emotion on innovation that
leaves modified cars for dead, your observation of oval-shaped chain-rings makes
perfect sense from a muscle physiology perspective. The relationship between
muscles force vs length has long been understood. This link is a good primer:
You will immediately recognize the force vs length curves as similar to the
ovality curves shown on Chris Bell's Highpath Engineering site.
Many people’s first contact with the application
of matching load to muscle length is when using the Nautilus brand of exercise
equipment. Here the drive chain/belt drapes over the ovality of the “nautilus
shell” shaped gear/pulley. The intent is to better match the load on the muscle
to its capability over the range of motion. Now imagine doing arm curls using
free weights; a mass small enough to move at full extension and full contraction
would be too small to effectively strengthen in the power zone near resting
length. However choosing a larger mass would limit the range you could move it
over. Similarly, I’ve thought other low hanging fruit would be scaling crank
length to leg length.
Oval Cranks 2
Re: Driving Emotion Engineering innovation that
leaves modified cars for dead. I have a Repco road bike (Superlite) that is 10+
years old and it has "Bio Pace" chain rings that are elliptical. Like you say
you don't feel the shape, it just feels easier. I thought that the idea was just
a fad and manufacturers decided to revert to the norm. Did a little research -
10secs and came up with these resources for you wikipedia.org and
on recumbents right at end).
Measuring Exhaust Pressure Pulses
In Frank's Exhaust, Part 2 you described a problem
of measuring exhaust back pressure and recommended using an "electronic pressure
transducer." But your article mentioned a problem with dealing with power
pulses. This sounds like a problem we have reading non-sine wave shaped AC
signals to get an RMS (root-mean-square) result. Could the algorithms for RMS
measurement be used to measure the effective back pressure?
Technology, technology wonderful
In response to
Technology of Adaptive Cruise Control... So, will our cars come
with ottoman's next so we can put our feet up, have a drink and eat popcorn
while we watch the latest Harry Potter movie on our widescreen windscreen, and
never touch the controls?! One wonders where the heck we're heading with all
this stuff. Maybe the car manufacturers should be inventing technology to
identify driver fault on the occurrence of motor incidents. Even better
still put the blame on the car... "I didn't do it, the car was driving
me!" And when this technology fails, the car manufacturers can charge us our
life savings to replace it because we absolutely need this stuff to get from
point A to B.
The money invested into this type technology would be
better used in fixing our roads, then maybe we could use the technology when we
travel on our Christmas Holiday sojourn along the Highway One parking
My philosophy = KISS. Nevertheless, another great article!!
Car airbag logging system can identify faults
in driving – more on this coming soon.
Did you enjoy this article?
Please consider supporting AutoSpeed with a small contribution. More Info...