It Nearly Makes Sense…

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This Talbot motor car was at the RACV show on Australia Day this year. It was near on 4:00 and the owner had probably had enough of the pestiferous park crowds by then – kudos to him for putting up with them as long as he did…

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Fortunately before he closed it down I got to see the dickie or rumble seat erected. And fortunately the crowd started to thin enough that I could get some unobstructed views. What I saw pleased me greatly but puzzled me a little. The curiosity was not about the modern owner – he had obviously poured years of care and love into the car to get it to be such a showpiece. The curiosity is for the original designer at Talbot and what he envisaged for the car.

Now rumble seats are not uncommon, though I note a lack of them on most of the Ferrari and Lamborghini cars I have seen. Perhaps the Italian builders have not encountered the idea yet…But they were common on cars in the early part of the 20th century. And they were an odd idea, really. Think about it…

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You need a seat for a driver in an automobile. If he or she is not a servant, they can be in the same enclosure as the passenger or passengers. It is perfectly feasible to have a car for one person, but they will be lonely, or two people, and they won’t. Or four or five or even more, if it is a charabanc – but if you posit putting four people in a car, why put two of them out in the slipstream? They cannot enjoy the dust, bugs, and fumes. Is it a way of punishing them?

From the looks of the padded seat on the Talbot, yes. Granted it has button upholstery, but look at the size of the hatch that opens into the rumble seat and the space left as a footwell. Even at the slow speed of the early automobile this must have been torture. Mounting to it would have required the agility of an acrobat.

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Okay, close the lid. Now you have a natty little deck with trainers slats and a rail to protect the luggage – and presumably to let you strap it on. And then you put another hanger-on luggage boot on the back behind that…

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I cannot help but think that it was an exercise in excess when a simple flat tray would have provided more haulage for luggage and an extension of the body to two more seats would have provided space for riders as well. Undoubtedly the design was derived from something earlier in transport – some form of wagon. Roll on the ute.

PS: Pictures taken with the Fujifilm  X-T10. Didn’t the colour turn out well?

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