Developments in the 1917 Car

The Story of the Magic Achieved by Automobile Makers.

April 1 1917

Developments in the 1917 Car

The Story of the Magic Achieved by Automobile Makers.

April 1 1917

Developments in the 1917 Car


The Story of the Magic Achieved by Automobile Makers.

AUTOMOBILE progress has been rapid during the past year and the 1917 car is a remarkable engineering triumph in many important respecta. Changes have been made in the bodies ensuring lightness, more room and comfort and a big advance in appearance. The chief advance, however, has been in the matter of comfort provided for both driver and passengers; the 1917 is almost like a luxurious apartment, so complete are its appointments,

This increase in comfort is reflected in all grades and makes of cars, from the highestpriced limousine, to the small roadster.

The whole story of automobile magic shown in the 1917 models is told by Joseph Brinker in Collier»’ Weekly. He says in part:

The Rue de la Paix dominates Fifth Avenue’s gowns. Just so does New York lead the way in the latest and moat fastidious automobile creations. During tho past year one of Gotham's most prominent automobile dealers had a gown designor of world renown employ her wide txperionco and good tasto to design the interior fitting of an ineloaed ear to match one of his wife’s frocks. This ear created such a sensation that acoras gathered around it «very time it stopped at the curb. Many wanted to buy it At a result the ultrafashionable motorist may now parchaos chameleonlike interior fittings and drapings to match her every gown. These drapings are interchangeable. Those to match the color tones of one fabric may be quickly and easily, fitted in plsce by simply snapping them over ¿mal), permanent bottons such as those on ladies’ gloves. When madam changes her gown, James has but to unhook one set of interior decorations and substitute another in its place.

The 1917 automobile is the acme of com-

Continued on pago 47.

( onti'iued from ¡mge 42. fort in wh ch the driver plays the role of a modern Ak.ddin. He steps from the running hoard to hi.position behind the steering wheel and reclines on a cushion seat far more comi fortable than even the best of our grand’ fathers’ parlor settees. Even the steering wheel may be hinged on its post and swung j up out of the way to enable him too reach his ¡ seat without tile least exertion.

Seated, he simply exerts the pressure of his -mallest tirger on a button which he tan reach withbut ev?n so much as leaning over in his seat.| This calis the genii of a hidden mechanism into life, and behold the motor starts pur¡ ring of its own accord like a cat just well fed! ! Perhaps he wishes to enjoy one of his rare ¡ Havanas while on his after-supper motor run through the countryside on a spring evening. If he desires to light the weed before starting, he simply extends his arm, pushes another m igic button, and before him stands ready and waiting an electric lighter with a flame equivalent to a whole box of matches ! and one which cannot blow out no matter how strong the wind.

Ready to start, he simply presses down a pedal which connects the waiting engine with j the remainder of the driving mechanism. Then he nr ay press one of several small push ! buttons extending from an inconspicuous black box on the -steering post below the wheel. This magic button calls forth that particular kind of genii which bids the car go fast or slow just as he orders them. These faithful little workers enable him to make the car go from aay one of its speeds to any other by no mor» exertion than an amount of finger pressure which would hardly dent a rubber erasfr.

Nor is this the last word in tha almost perfect ¡comfort and convenience provided for the automobile driver. If he so desires, he can fit another magic lever on his steering wheel within easy reach of his crooked arm. A halfinch; movement of this lever calls into being still: another class of genii of the electrical family that form themselves into a tug-of-war tearh and puU on the brake rods with such strength that the car brakes can be set more quickly afnd smoothly than by the foot or hand of tpe driver.

If: the driver should happen to be overtaken by darkness while on his ride, he simply presses another magic button on the dashboard of t íe ear within his arm’s length. This awakens another family of electrical woni der ¡workers which light all the headlights. | «ide lights and tail lights in one operation. ¡ If the driver wants to be sure to get home at ! the [correct time, he-simply presses still another inconspicuous button, which lights a j tiny electric bulb inside of the shield, which • enables it to illuminate the clock on the dash boafd but doi s not permit it to shine into his f acia.

Ajgain. if on the way home he should desire to visit a rriend whose house address he knows bettier thf n the house itself, he simply pushes another tuttpn, this time in the handle of a smajll pivotaii searchlight on the edge of the wind shie d oh side of the cab. Then, by tumi ingjthe handle, he is able to throw a small beam of light on the house numbers as he ¡ passes them.

If the driver is one of those automobile en► 'huiiasts who fit their cars with a closed i body in winter or with demountable top and -idd windows, he may also call into play the genii of lighting for illuminating the interior for himself or guests. He may be even more exacting still and demand that his hands be i kepjt warm while driving. Even this wish car be gratified, for by nibbing the magic lamp he can call out the ever-ready workers of the electrically heated steering wheel. Nor is this all he cun do, for his feet or those of his passenge *s can be kept toast warm by small electric heaters.

The 1917 car to-day stands at one of the !o\v| points of the chart in engineering de! velópment for the reason that most of the makers have continued theiT 1916 models with but few changes. Perhaps the two most im; portant achievements made during the last year which manifest themselves in the 1917 carp are the manufacture of really comfortable and finely finished bodies and experij mehtal work seeking to develop carburetors Continued on page 51.

Continued from pagi *7

w hich will! give better results w ith the lowgrade gasoline now being bought by the public generally.

1917 bodies are larger, as a rule, than those of 1916. They are also so proportioned and sprung on the springs that they make for ' easy riding both when only partly tilled and when th? capacity number of passengers is j carried.

tn many instances the roomir 1917 bodies I have been secured by increasing the wheelI 1 lie lengths of the vehicles and keeping the spaces taken up by the motors the same. ; Others have accomplished Abe same results by a redesign of the body shape—its floor ! plan, as it were. This has been made wider or longer, [as the case may be, to give the j driver or passenger the impression of a sense of ease tqat is comparable with that enjoyed wier. seated in one’s Morris chair before the open fireplace at home,

Each oassenger must have sufficient leg roem and elbow space if he is to enjoy several hours’ ride. Both of these requisites have been secured by making the bodies longer and wider bel ween the sides. To add to this comfort obtained by eliminating any chance for crampinR, most of the designers have paid especial attention this year to the cushionj mg of the seats. They tend to give the imI pression of riding on air. This has been accomplished by more detailed attention to the ! design of the spring element of the seat and its ability ¡to aid in the vehicle springs in absorbing tjhe road shocks.

The clovfr-leaf seating plan, with divided ; front seatsjnnd another at the rear for one or two passengers, gives those fn the rear seat i plenty of l|*g and elbow room. At the same j time they ¿re in sufficiently close proximity ; to those on the front seats to carry on a con! versation without having to lean forward, while tho«e on the front seats need do no more ¡ than slightly turn their heads.

This design has developed into one of the ! most distinctive of the season, the four-passenger roadster. This new style has « body somewhat along the lines of a boat with an j open cockpit, and the divided seats in front and the wide seat in the rear. Some of the ; twenty-five types of this style already offered ! have folring rear decks behind the divided i seats. The-»e decks fold down flush and cover j the rear seats when the latter are not needed.

Another comfort-giving feature included in many of th^ 1917 cars is the winter-summer body. Wnile this idea is not new it is worked ¡ out in a neuf and more practical way. Former w inter-sum|ner bodies consisted of some forms of demountable tops and sides which could be fitted in |*1 rfce of the roadster or touring tops as used dufing the warm weather. The new creation, hpwever, is made up of a perma! nent non Abiding top with glass sides which drop down out of sight within the body ¡ panels. In warm weather these are kept in their hiding places, but on the approach of a story they may be raided in a jiffy to provide a body witi as much protection against the elements as a conventional limousine. In the winter time the sides may be kept up permanently, thus giving the owner the same con: verience is if he had two cars, one open and the other closed, or two bodies, one taken off when the other is fitted.

father smaller items include storm cu/tains which open with the doors on touring ancf roadster bodies. These make for easy entrance and exit and should prove a great boon to those wHo desire to motor ip the fall and early spring in open cars. Even the doors themselves jhave been made wider and the i seats arranged so as not to obstruct the clear, way. Sti 1 ¡other small items which make for the individual comfort of the driver are seats adjustable jor height and a slight longitudinal movement;! steering columns adjustable in their height, and emergency brake and gearshift level-» so positioned as to be easily operated without bending over.

Not to be outdone by the many conveniI enees, the bodies of the new cars are much more pleasing to the eye. They are the work of artists rather than engineers. They are as if draped over the chassis in graceful curves with no nbrupt rasping angles or corners.

The most important engineering development of the past year was the introduction

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of |ht twelve-cylinder motor as a commercial 1 Jni; in a stock car. While such motors of he V type had been used previously in racing and in aeroplane work, they had never I before been applied to automobiles made in anyt quantity. The twelve-cylinder V type 'va» developed to answer the demand for greáter power and for a smoother-running inotbr. As time progressed and the cylinders increased from one to two in the older can andjthen to four and finally to six, the method of 'placing the cylinders in a line one after ^nether kept making tha engines longer and longer. If this method had been continued to its .logical conclusion in the eight and twelvecylinder types, the motors would have taken tp inore of the wheel-base length of the I average -vehicle than that for the driver and . - passengers.

Stpll, « certain class of automobile buyers demanded more power as exemplied by the ability to climb hills, to pull through heavy ' roads, and to travel under adverse conditions | on high gear; more comfort, as determined by tfce absence of vibration and jolting due to the motor or to road inequality; more flexibility, as shown in the ability to operate at front five to fifty miles per hour on nigh gear w ithout choking the motor and with n smooth application of power; more acceleration, as judged by the' ability to make a quick getaway from a standing start or to change speed rapidly from one rate to another on nil gears. Added to these mechanical requirements was the necessity for economy, to be easy on tires and to consume relatively small quantities of fuel $nd oil. 1

The 1917 car is somewhat lighter than its predecessor of 1916 and much lighter than that of 1915. This lightness baa been ae] curad by the use of better and stronger materiali and by a grouping of parts in units, thus rendering unnecessary many brackets ar d fixtures heretofore thought essential. A ear which ia light'and yet sufficiently strong 1 to eairy the load for which it was designed without excessive repairs may be compared to a heavier car, just as a lightweight boxer muy be compared to a heavyweight. The big, heavy men must expend a considerably larger part j*f their energy in moving themselves through -space than do the lighter men. The ; lat ter; are more active and use up more of their [muscular energy in performing actual werk bather than moving their own bulk from , pince ko place.

So It is with the lighter car as compared wi th the heavier one of the same motor horse* po verj. The latter is less efficient than the former because it must carry around its additionalj weight. This means more wear on the car ipself, more wear on the tires, snd s greater relative consumption of fuel for the work performed, all of which means a higher operating cost.

Economies which have been effected in weight reduction in the 1917 car and the savings made by the continued use of the machinery by which last year’s car were turned out would have probably resulted in | reduction of price had it not been for the increased cost of materials. As a result the pri res [of the 1917 car are slightly higher than those if last year.