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EDTToR Maurlce A. Smlth D.F.c. BPoRTa EDtroR Peter Garnler aa8r8?aNT EDrTona Leonard A. Ayton, Bonald Barker ttttDLAND EDrroB Edward Evee ART EOTTOn Howard vyse r3 MARCH t964

MANAotNo olnEoroB H. N. Priaulx u-a.e.

Left Leg Forgotten

T- OR a few days recently we were driving without H a windscreen washer. Literally, wc were back I in the dark ages of motoring, with a mud- splashed, semi-opa.que scroen every so often that the wipers only made worse. It set us to thinking how so many advantages of the car of today have been accepted almost unconsciouslS and how much more value in motoring we got for our money. Basic car pric.es have increased less than those of most other commodities in recent years, ard intrinsic value has risen more.

Who today would waot to rtul a car without a hcater? It is hard to rcalize that these are almost entirely a development of the past two decades, as are our screenwashers, winking i.Ddicators and our greenhouse-like expanses of glass. Plastic roof linings that can be cleaned easiln door handles that do not catch and tear our clothes, more cpmfortable seats aod, mo$ imlrcrtant, tyres ttrat do grtp the road in the wet, again are all comparatively recent dewlopY"

*

Nevertheleso, tllere is one aspect of a modero car about which our dcsigners could have fresh thoughts, and that is clutch operation Pushing a weight of 50lb or so with one leg a distaoce of several inches at frequent intervals, as nuny as thrce or four times a rninute in trafrc, is an unnatrral action for sorneone who is sitting doum" The effqfl and disance vary considerabl5 according to our road test figures, and the averages seetn to be about ,t0lb ad 5iu It is not a simple movemeot, either, aod involves most of ttre leg muscles ,.d somr others as well- The knoe has to be raised and ofteo the position of the steering wheel mates th€ movement even more complicated. Could it be a coutributory cau$e of the modern c-ompleints of tired backs and slipped discs? We know frm experir:oce that sooe cars a$e much worte tban others, end wheo a 7in. movemeDt is needed to free a clutch completely the contortions involved are abourd. They ought to be unnecessary. Few of us have an extra-long left leg, but some enginoers obvioualy thir* so.

Apart from bmke applications, where there is no servo assistance or when pedals are at absurdly assorted heights, ttre right foot and leg has a comparatirrcly restful tim€. A simple movement of the foot about its natural hinge, the ankle, is enough to work most accelerator pedals, and the leg stays conrfortably in a relaxed position. The left leg, by contrast, often feels as if it has walked a good pa:rt of the way the car has caried its owner after a uaffic jourrrcy, ard even walking is too kind a description- Climbing an eodless but intermittent fligbt of stairs might * -":. accurate.

Slipping clutches are rare, for linings arc good and springs are strong. The latest springs do noed less effort to comprcss them, but cnnnot our engineers give us some rnechanical advantag-in either its technical or lay meaning-that would let us depress our clutches as easily arxcl simply as we operate our accelerator pedals? Driving would be less tiring. Perhaps it is all part of a conspiracy to convert us to two-pedal systens or automatic transrnissio'ns.

Austin HeoleI Spr,te lll ond M.G.

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