asked for it...here I am...The Sage of the Page: The King O' Pins
and President for Life of Wm Spear Design. If you need more soap
opera try THIS.
But, to hell with soap opera, lets talk about DESIGN! Design,
(the way things look and perform) should be an important part
of your life. Ever wonder why our country looks increasingly like
one huge trash heap? It's because there is a gigantic failure
of taste. We are drowning in a sea of kitsch: dishonesty, falseness
and sentimentality, If you look around you in modern America it
is almost impossible to find anything around you that isn't sickeningly
sweet, ripped off or trying to be something it isn't. (If you
are really interested I can heartily recommend "KITSCH: The
World of Bad Taste edited and partly written by Gillo Dorfles.
Universe Books 1968 SNB 87663 106 5).
There are lots of examples of good
and bad design that I could throw around, but, I wanted to keep
it kind of personal, and since I am going through a sort of second
adolescence viz. rolling stock and other means of personal transport
or locomotion, I thought I would choose some examples in this
category to discuss. If I have time, I will attempt over time
to go into more detail with each of these as I have with the Bantam
The St. Lawrence River Skiff.
Without much doubt the finest rowboat
ever "designed". Part whale boat, part gig, part guide
boat, part canoe, no one can really say how this particular shape
and configuration came into being except that it arose out of
a clear consensus of the people who rowed them.
The Ford 8N Tractor
Not just the design of N series
tractors, but the actual tractors themselves are still putting
in a whole lot of active and useful service all over the world
60 years after they were introduced (and absolutely revolutionized
rural life in America). It's without question the best tool I
have. Before you plunk down $40,000 for a fancy new Kubota, check
out the local farm auctions. You can still buy any part for one
right over the counter in any real farm town in the USA.
The Land Rover
No, not the Range Rover or any other
of those over-complicated devices. Except for the Volkswagen,
the LAND Rover has had the longest continuous production run of
The Jaguar E Type
Malcom Sayer was the principal designer
of four of the most beautiful and evocative cars ever made: One
after the other. The Jaguar C Type, D Type, E Type and XJ-13.
They never saw a wind tunnel.He developed them all from some secret
and lost series of aerodynamic numbers he had developed, Except
for the E Type they were all strictly racing cars, and it is not
even certain in my mind that he even cared what these cars looked
like. Form follows function, yes, but it is rarely as physically
beautiful as this.
The American Bantam
Alexis de Sahknoffski somehow was able
to make a tiny car look proportional and civilized. I'm still
trying to figure out how after 60 years! And it was Bantam who
invented the Jeep, a finalist in the "Car of the Century"
Wm Spear Supplement "Page Within a Page"
The Sunbeam-Talbot Alpine Roadster
Not too much, just enough: the essence
of elegance. This was a Raymond Lowey (remember the Coke Bottle?)
treatment which turned a slightly dowdy English four seater into
an elegant glass slipper fit for a Princess (really!)
The American Austin/Bantam: including a proposal to revive.
Special Wm Spear Supplement "Page Within a Page"
The Sunbeam-Talbot Alpine Roadster
Oh, you're not a materialist? You think that you are
not what you have but what you do? Okay. Here are a few things
I like to do.