Wednesday, 7 October 2015

7th October 2015 - Quintessential Quarterlights

Thought for the day:"I asked a few Facebook friends how much the Mona Lisa is worth and their answers were priceless!"

Drifting through the intertweb today I found a little article regarding the things that do not appear in cars any more. The list was primarily American and included things like "stick shift" just to show how out of touch that country can sometimes be - or that they should more closely target the audience...   but a couple of things rang a bell.. 

I recall seeing a strange plastic tube thing that was in the front of a fairly modern car - it stuck into a part of the facia which was obviously designed to hold cans or the occasional costa lot coffee mug, and I was rather confused as to its purpose.  It was in Crete if I recall - and I shall probably find a photo of it in time, and back post it just to show, sometime in the future. I had no idea what it was until I saw someone smoking in a car, and realised that in a modern car, if you want to smoke, you have to purchase an ash tray and fit it somewhere convenient in the car...

The article had ash trays as an item that no longer is required. They pointed out that the old cigarette lighter often used to be in the ash tray - true !

Of course, though we do not need cigarette lighters any more, where would we be with our sat navs, phones, music players and various items if they could not charge. Let's be fair - most modern phones would not retain their charge on a journey from Llanelli to London .. But I do note that most modern cars now have discrete "12 volt Charge Sockets" rather than cigarette lighters and the lighter themselves are rarely part of the structure..

Being American, the hooped hooter in the middle of the steering wheel found a mention. I think it was the old Zephyr that we used to have - a lovely bus of a car, used to have one - and they are quite correct - there is a great satisfaction in pressing the bar and hearing the horn blast out....
The bench seat also got a mention and I also miss this in the old Zephyr and also a Cambridge that we used to have. Leather upholstery. Seems that the arrival of seat belts took these away, though we still have a two-seater in the front of the Bothy..

No, the one that I really miss, and simply did not realise how much I missed it, is the Quarterlight!

Remember them ?  I do. I never really gained the full benefit in the old days. They were a design feature that allowed a good airflow into the car without the breeze. Without being blown around the car. If you wanted to get blown about - you bought a convertible - the design in olden days was such that the air flow over the vehicle was never really good enough to stop your hair blowing about - and interestingly normally forward not backward!

No, when I had cars with quarterlights I tended to have short back and sides as my hair style. Good Police standard haircut. No blowing about then. Now it is a different matter. I often take with me an old bandana so that I can tie my hair back - the hair bobble is never enough - there are always whisps that blow in every direction - and irritate the nose. Or a standard baseball cap (worn correctly of course - none of this "Boy Racer" I am going backward for Christmas mularky!)

I know part of the problem is that the main car we have has a fine heater - which sadly will not switch off, so the summer months tend to be quite warm - we are looking forward to the winter in her - and it is better than our previous van which had no heating at all - and was bitter in the winter months. But having no off switch on the heater does mean that you have to have the windows open much of the time.. My other car, well my mother's but I drive it most, is quite small and benefits form having the windows open in most weather. I find I can open the passenger window fully and the driver's window a little and only get a mild blow back....

But the quarterlight was designed for this !! You could keep your main window shut and open the quarterlight for circulation of air without draft. It has been superseded by all these cars with air conditioning I accept. With AC you do not open the window at all  - or if you do you get shouted at by whomever is paying for the fuel... But my cars do not have AC. Well one does - but just as the heater is always on - the AC is in need of a recharge or a transplant.

No - quarterlights would solve all my problems - and I miss them ..

So, if you know any car designers - let them know - bring back the quarterlight and I will raise a glass to you ..

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