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MODERN MOTORING.

90,000 MOTOR VEHICLES REGISTER. When Mr. McXamara, Assistant Secretary of the Post and Telegraphic Department, set out to order a supply nf number plates, he sought estimates from all sources of the number required. They varied ludicrously, and to be on the safe side, he ordered 72.000 plates. Air JlcNaniara was told that he was putting the number very high, but he renlied° that lie would sooner have live or s ix thousand plates too many than be five or six thousand short (says the "Dominion). Registrations are si ill coming in, and already two cable messages have been sent for additional supplies of plates, the total number of registrations to date being over 02,000. This includes both motor vehicle and motor cycle plates. It may interest motorists to know that the 72.000 |ih*si'x just ordered •vei"hed •'<- l«'is. Although the plates were issued nt 21 per set of two, the price next year "Hi be 1/ per set. or sixpence each. Mr. MrXnmani says he had desired to have a black plate with a white letter, but Californian plate manufacturers had green and white paint in their vats, and to have the vats emptied and oilier colours substituted would have cost money, and made the plates dearer. In any case the colours will bo-changed each year. Next year's Californian colours will bo yellow on a black background, and plates for New Zealand at sixpence each will be on the basis of our taking these colours. Many people are disappointed at the disappearance of the old local registration murks, and on tour there is undoubtedly a certain interest in knowing from what part of the country cars met on the road hail. However, blocks of numbers have been issued to different districts, and later on it will be possible to compile a key to them that will give a general clue to the districts to which cars belong. it will be only a general clue this year, however, as some districts have had too many plates sent them, while others have had too few, and the surpluses have had to be redistributed. In future years the numbers should give just about as good an indication of the home districts of motor vehicles as ever the old marks did. The very low numbers, "N.Z. 1." etc., have not been issued, They look very ugly on the number plates—filling up a very small space, and future lots will probably bet-in at 1000. In California, where there are over a million motor vehicles, no plate has more than five figures, and its place in the series is indicated by a star, etc., between the figures. j With over 90.000 motor vehicles in New Zealand, it means that there is one to every 14 people. On last year's figures there was one motor vehicle to ' every seven persons in the United States, one to every 13 in Canada, one to every 44 in Australia, one to every 74 in the United Kingdom, one to every 93 in France. It is not quite clear, however, that all these figures are on the s-y-ic basis, as in some cases motor cycles seem to have been included, while in others they are not. MOTORS REDUCE MILES TO MINUTES. Starting practically at zero a little more than twenty-live years ago, the number of motor vehicles in use to-day in the United States is over ir.,000,000. Throughout the whole recorded period of civilisation, probably 'no other mechanical factor has. affected . the nature of progress so,.vitally.;; To .review all the changes it has brought about would be an impossible "task excepting by the process of contrasting m every department of human activity, the conditions of twenty-five years ago with those of to-day. Yet in even a cursory review of these revolutionary changes we can point to no single valuable institution of human society j of pre-automobile days which has been | harmed by the advent of the motor car. To most of them, rather, it has proved a distinct and decided asset. •' When Edward Bellamy wrote his "Looking Backward," which was generally received with a smile, he definitely predicted the broadcasting of music by telephone, as was later done in England, and, by inference, the broadcasting of sermons, addresses and concerts as is done to-day by radio. His book, however, is singularly lacking in predictions of improved transportation methods. The automobile, as We know it seems not to have entered | his prophetic vision. Yet our histories I show us that, every marked .material advance has been the accompaniment of marked improvement in means of transportation. It w-as only ten years after the publication of Bellamy's work of realistic imagination that" Colonel Albert A. I-ope repeatedly said that it would be a matter of only a short time before horses 'were ruled off the roads. For him also people had a ready laugh. Yet there are some cities and boulevards in many cities where horses are not allowed. Although this faithful friend of mankind is still very much needed for many duties, he is fast disappearing from our city streets without the need of legislation to send him on his way. WJiile the motor car is a luxurious mode of individual transportation, we are so tuned up to its uso that we could not live our daily lives without it "any more than we could without the telephone, the telegraph or the transcontinental express. The investment in it is returned many times over in the one item of the greatest asset we mortals have—time. As such alone, it is,one of the greatest resources of our civilisation and one of the greatest producers of wealth. ,It reduces miles to minutes. It makes possible, the suburban residence away from the congestion of the city. It ends tho fanner's isolation, widens the mother's horizon, makes for better children and provides recreation for the father ar-l his family outside of his hours of L.bour. THE CLOSED-IN CAR. The gradual growth in -popularity of the closed-in type of motor- car body in America is evidenced by the appended table showing the production figures of one of the largest manufacturers of motor bodies in the United States:—

The closed-in type has found a great deal of favour in "New Zealand during the past two years, and it was recently stated that over 30 per cent of the imports are now of the closed-in type. as _ a city car, the closed-in type is eminently suitable, but for the country owner who has to drive long distances the open touring type has proved to be more favoured. This is doubtless due to the lighter construction of the bodies of the touring cars, with the lessened petrol consumption, and the greater amount of view that can be obtained from the touring car.

BRITISH OVERSEAS TRADE. Mainly due to the modifications in the type of car now produced, the prospects of improved overseas trade during 1920 arc very favourable, says an exchange. It is no longer possible to argue that British vehicles cannot be had at strictly moderate prices, having regard to their quality, and with characteristics rendering them really suitable for general overseas use. The British types of light car have been developed into vehicles which will give really good and economical service for a long period wherever made roads exist. They luwe the advantage over all competitors in respect of cost of operation. For districts "where made roads are lacking, there is now an ample choice among substantial British cars with which no fault can lie found in respect of such points as wheel track, ground clearance, suspension, engine power or cooling. These cars, moreover, represent 'iiiite as good value for money as do any of their foreign competitors. As to the do luxe type of car. for which the market is necessarily very limited, the popularity of certain British -makes, even in the United States, speaks for itself. In respect of commercial vehicles there h»3 never been any quest ion of the unsurpassed merits of the best-known British products. Tims, taking all the circumstances together, there is every reason to expect the year 1925 to be the best year for the British motor industry since the war. During the period immediately following the war, big prices were realised, but the position was thoroughly artificial, and output was n'ueh restricted, with a result that apparent profits were, really neutralised by the loss of goodwill in the overseas markets. Now, profits may be comparatively small, but there is every prospect of overseas trade increasing rapidly, and the business tha? is being done is certainly being conducted upon a thoroughly sound commercial basis. | THEN AND NOW. (By DUDLEY GLASS.| To-day I found a photograph which brought back memories dear — A horseless carriage: (' 1 its seat, yours truly, engineer! How well do I remember liuw I steered it on its course (While envious neighbours climbed a tree and hollered: "'Get a horse." There are the goggles which I wore, the rubber horn 1 tooted; The steering handle which I pushed while small hoys loudly hooted. There is the crank upon the side which oft .for hours I'd grind Amid remarks from idle folk more caustic than reflned. That car was more than human its deportment was satanic. To drive it seven blocks and bacK called for a. real-mechanic. For every hour upon the road, two hours I gave to toil " I Beneath the darn thing, eating dust well mixed with engine oil. How I would study diagrams, and trail Its wiring system. And check the pieces taken off, although I hadn't missed 'cm.' And if by chance that car came home, unaided, on its power, I'd hunt the fellows up next day and brag for half-an-hour. To-day my wife drives her own car, hut just what makes it buzs She doesn't know, nor care a hang. I She simply knows it does. | I never touch a tool these days, for ears are built to run;" It saves a lot of trouble —but we do miss lots of fun.

xear. mm 11)20 1021 1022 .. 1923 .... 1024 Open. 103.449 24.-..114 112,41)1 58,435 202". SOT 230,302 Closed. 31,318 83.864 87,706 00,7S0 217,032 333,477 Totnl. 134.7G7 328,078 200,107 158,224 420.400 574,070

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Bibliographic details

MODERN MOTORING., Auckland Star, Volume LVI, Issue 64, 17 March 1925

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1,705

MODERN MOTORING. Auckland Star, Volume LVI, Issue 64, 17 March 1925

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