The matchless quality sci-fi tv series, The Invaders" Seasons One and Two
is now available in its entirety on DVD. These pictures were produced
c.1967/68. My family thoroughly enjoys watching these exciting episodes.
While most of the cars and to a lesser extent, the trucks, appear very much
out of date, being models 40 years or more, even my young son commented
that airport scenes looked like they could have been filmed in 2009! Yes,
1967 airplanes amazingly look up to date.
Case proved: it has been incredibly wasteful of auto companies' resources
to keep reinventing the wheel through continuing model changes over the
years. Incremental improvements in fuel efficiency, emmisions and safety
features may have been necessary due to governmental regulations and public
pressure, but the persistant fetish of styling revisions for styling's sake
no doubt has contibuted to the sorry state of affairs we see today.
If Piper and Cessna had their products efficiently designed and finalized
("styled") by 1967, then why didn't GM accomplish the same for their
products? Even a layman can recognize the inefficiencies of those '67 car
models, most of which persist to this day. From day one aircraft design
proceeded at the speed of light, yet car design was more of a snail's pace,
with periods of retrograde thrown into the mix.
Remember the 5mph bumpers? Today's cars appear not to have real bumpers at
all. We had some 4 passenger models weighing in at 1800 lbs (VW Rabbit) yet
today nothing under 3000 lbs is the rule. Yesteryear's sedans had roughly
6.5 inches road clearance; some of today's ground scrapers have as little
as 4 inches (unladen to boot). I believe a rigorous analysis would reveal a
two-to-one ratio of backstepping vs genuine improvements in automotives, as
compared to non-stop advancement in aviation.
My last-ditch suggestion is for the car makers to lay off 80% of their
engineering staff and subcontract a new series of proper cars to Cessna and
Tupolev for design to aircraft philosophy, but value engineered to the auto
industry. The result would be a series of reasonably priced cars: durable,
safe, mechanically reliable, streamlined, lightweight, economic, service
friendly and timeless. These cars would sell, hold their value and bring
back to life our car industry.
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