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The power of a clean drawing board

I apologize for the long delay in getting this Snippet ready for the viva-lancia site. The sad passing of My dear Mother, Helen Vellacott in her ninety-second year on 28th February has been very traumatic for the family and has created so much on-going paper work. Thanks to the many Lancisti who sent cards and a special thanks to Pat Ure for the very touching obituary she wrote for the LMC's Viva Lancia magazine. A further thanks to Viva-Lancia Editor, Jack Romano for publishing it, after all, the magazine does not publish too many obituaries of people who have never even driven a Lancia! However, dear Mother did show remarkable confidence in the marque in putting up with my cruising at speeds of 90 (mph) plus, in my Aurelia B20 back in the early sixties.

A further reason (excuse) for the delay in producing the next Snippet has been my inability to find contemporary photographic or written evidence to dispel a now common story of Lancia copying a design, which, in fact they developed and others copied. So, to finally end the delay in getting Snippet six up, I have decided to reproduce an extract from the editorial of the August 1993 Australian Lancia Register Newsletter.

"This Newsletter is unashamedly mostly about the forthcoming Castlemaine Rally. However, before we get to the rally-related matters we would like to tell you about the connection between the 'Landrover Syndrome' and Vincenzo Lancia's discrete model policy.

Anybody with experience of consecutive Lancia models from the Vincenzo era has wondered at the almost total lack of carry-over of components between models. For example, the Aprilia and the Ardea; two outwardly very similar car designs only a couple of years apart, have hardly a common part between them.

Traditional thinking among the Lancisti has been the Vincenzo considered each model to be a work of art. To use identical components on successive models would be like Michelangelo painting identical backgrounds in successive pictures. It just would not DO.

That might have had lot to do with it, but we also suspect that the canny Vincenzo might have also been avoiding what we editors have recently christened the 'Landrover Syndrome'.

Take the following scenario: there are two cars in the workshop, each made in the early fifties and requiring the removal of the gearbox. One car is a practical workhorse designed to help the farmer operate his farm efficiently. The other is a plaything of the sporting dilettantes designed only to provide sophisticated motoring with scant regard for the sordid business of maintenance.

In one case the gearbox is out in half an hour, with little more than the removal of four chassis bolts and the uncoupling of the prop. shaft, wheel drive shafts, brake and gear linkages.

Meanwhile, five hours later in the second bay of the workshop, the other vehicle has had the seats unbolted, the floor removed, the handbrake drum removes and the transfer case dismantled before, at last, the gearbox is out!

The designers of one car started with a clean drawing board and no bean counters watching. The designers of the other started with someone else's chassis (Mr Willy's), raided their pre-war passenger car parts bin for an engine and gearbox, added a transfer case and four-wheel drive.

The comparison would have been considerably more onerous, had it been a simple matter of a clutch reline.

How do we know this? Both operations have been performed in the Long* garage in recent weeks. Thank you Signor Lancia, but somehow I don't think you would have ever convinced Spencer and Morris Wilks, the two brothers behind the Rover Company , which built the Landrover in those days.

* Long, as in Chris Long. Chris and I still edit the Australian Lancia Newsletter.

And, yes, I have checked a Landrover workshop manual, which confirms the removal of the floor and seats. Finally, please note, this was written for the very specific audience of Australian Lancia Register Newsletter. I trust it will not cause too much friction if and when seen by Landrover aficionados, now it is going "Global" on the internet!!

Paul Vellacott,
 Email: paul@viva-lancia.com,
Australian Lancia Register,
Melbourne, June, 2003

 

 Top of page

 Snippet 1: Vincenzo Lancia wins 1904 Florio Cup

 Snippet 2: Innovation, sophistication, simplicity

 Snippet 3: The luck of the French

 Snippet 4: The racy appeal of the little Lancias!

 Snippet 6: The Loosmobil

 Snippet 7: Foibles of the . Aprilia

 Home page of viva-lancia.com

 

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