Thursday, February 3, 2011

Designing a car

The design of a new motor car is the result of team - work. Engineers and Artists both work together. Broadly speaking, the engineers design the engine, the drive from the engine to the wheels (the transmission) and the hidden structures which support these items. The artists or stylists as they are known in the motor industry, decide the overall shape and interior layout in addition to colour schemes and chrome decorations.

The decision to start work on a new model is made by the Directors, who also decide certain overall details which are published in a secret document called a specification. This states the car's size, speed and performance, the type and the location of the engine and other basic details. The specification is passed on to the engineers and stylists who work in a well-guarded office where security is as strict as in a military camp.

The engineers investigate all the possible alternatives for engine, gear-box and transmission. They also consider whether anything from a previous model can be used. They also consider whether anything from a previous model can be used. The stylists keep busy themselves in sketching shapes to fit around the mechanical parts.

After a few months work, scale models change shape shape frequently the drawings. At this stage, the models change shape frequently perhaps to suit a stylist's idea of future fashion trends, perhaps for a technical reason, or perhaps simply to satisfy the whim of a director. These scale models are often tested in a wind-tunnel to check the flow of the air over the body - just as an aeroplane is tested before it flies. Wind-tunnel tests may reveal the fact that wind resistance or drag is too high, or they may show that the air flow lifts the front of the car. This is the time to find and eliminate error before any parts have been made.

When everyone is satisfied with the scale model several life size copies, called 'Bucks', are built. One of these is made in clay, on wooden framework, to check the outside shape. This clay buck is accurate to a hundred of an inch and almost indistinguishable from the real body. Another buck is used to design the interior, particularly the sating arrangement.

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