Thursday, 23 September 2010

Bentley Azure, Arnage, Brooklands

Now, I don't normally provide comments on mechanical aspects of cars. I'm not an engineer, I'm not a professional driver, I'm purely here to discuss appearances. I'm a pretty superficial kind of guy.

So when I woke this morning to hear on the news that Bentley has problems with it's Flying B, I was shocked that such a prestigious company a) gives a damn about pedestrian safety and b) couldn't come up with a better system.

Now I'm not saying that Bentley are irresponsible towards pedestrians - in fact, they have considered the problem very carefully and ensured that the Flying B retracts in case of an accident in order to improve a pedestrians chances against a couple of tonnes of metal. So it's a little bit of a disappointment that such a problem has occurred.

When there's a little bit of rust on the Flying B, the mechanism stops working, and the Flying B doesn't retract if the careless owner of the Bentley drives into someone, meaning that Johnny Pedestrian can become impaled on a Flying B, which would possibly be the most Rock n Roll death certificate in existance.

However, there has not been any single reported cases of this happening, so the recall is precautionary, which is most definitely good. So we know that the owners of Bentleys costing more than £200,000 drive very carefully.

We also know that this affects models from 2007-2009. Seriously, you spend that much money on a car and it's rusty in 3 years? What the hell are you doing? Sprinkling it with salt every night? Why is there a problem with rust?

My car is 5 years old. It didn't cost as much as a Bentley. It doesn't have a spot of rust, and it is protected against it by a process called GALVANISATION. Yes, VW, That's GALVANISATION. You might want to Google it at some point.

So here are a few suggestions for VW to improve the safety of Bentleys.

1. Don't make your car out of 2 1/2 tonnes of steel. Seriously, if you want to improve pedestrian safety, stop lumping a whopping great engine under steel and make your car lighter. It will improve handling, speed, braking, everything. Don't want to give up your prestige? Fine, I've got another 4 suggestions coming your way.

2. Make the Flying B mechanism out of something that doesn't rust. That's right, your customers are paying, so you can use something a little bit more expensive. Such as stainless steel. Or as I mentioned before, galvanise your parts. Even if one part gets a bit exposed, the zinc will give sacrificial protection.

3. Don't have the Flying B up when the car is moving. Yep, retract it as soon as the car starts moving. That way, when the car is stationary, pedestrians are free to impale themselves on it at will, but as soon as the tyres start moving, it pops down and you don't have a problem. Wedding drivers would have to use something else to secure the ribbon.

4. Instruct your drivers not to crash. Seems to be a good strategy, working so far since this hasn't caused any problems whatsoever. Make your car expensive, and not only will your drivers not crash, other drivers won't crash into it either as they are scared of the insurance bill.

5. Make the Flying B out of rubber. If you're that concerned about pedestrian safety, make it out of coated rubber. Problem solved. Kind of. Then consider reducing your prices to 10% of what they were previously.

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