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LJK Setright

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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 23-09-09, 12:28 PM
ex member
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Nr. Stroud, Glos
Posts: 141

Surely the critical factor that governs the cornering/handling of a motor car is its weight and all of it's suspension and steering, not 4WS alone. Unless you've performed experiments to show that it makes a more significant, quantifiable difference, all you can do is express an opinion that may be incorrect, especially as it is no longer used in the form that you enthuse over.

For example a Caterham has its origins in the Lotus 7 that was designed in the fifties and yet it produces better track times, without 4WS, than modern Porsche's and various other heavier modern cars. It also accelerates more quickly with a less powerful engine.

If you search my name and Bristol, you'll find I do have a 400. It was the one they used to commemorate 60 years of the Goodwood Circuit. You'll also find stuff written by Dr APS Kimberley that you may find amusing.

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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 23-09-09, 09:53 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 27


Performed experiments? That is exactly what the car manufacturers did, especially Honda. Why would they market 4WS if they found it did nothing but degenerate the quality of a car's cornering ability? The problem was that few customers understood the benefits. Four wheel drive and anti-lock brakes have endured similar ignorance; both were fitted to the 1966-1971 Jensen FF, a technological fanfare that was also a commercial failure (just over 300 built). Customers were ignorant to the benefits and bought the Interceptor instead (approx. 6400 built!).

4WS may achieve greater understanding by the public in the future, just as 4WD and ABS eventually found acceptance. It may be something other than a car that breaks the barrier. Shopping trolleys utilise 4WS after all! Thankfully, my beloved Preludes do not handle like one...

Just take a look at improved turning circles and cornering speeds to find proof of 4WS’s superiority. There was one car magazine in the US that, in 1987, claimed the Prelude 4WS was the fastest road car they had ever slalomed, faster than the contemporary 911, Corvette, 328 GTB. I imagine the Caterham 7 would have been even faster if they had trialled it but I will come to why in a moment.

Away from the world of facts and figures, in terms of feel, I would argue that 4WS makes for a sportier, safer, more responsive drive.

Another comparison would be to take two versions of one model of car (two Preludes, two Lagunas, or two 300ZXs), where one has 4WS, one does not and drive them back to back for a period of time.

Regarding the brilliant, evergreen Caterham 7 then; yes, is so very potent because it is lightweight, has a low centre of gravity and the suspension is tuned for maximum roadholding. No regular road car can compete with that, but then Colin Chapman’s design has never had to concern itself with space for more than one passenger, a luggage compartment, weatherproofing, crash protection, and so on. Perhaps one would be better off with a motorbike?

Obviously, a Prelude 4WS would never lap a Caterham 7 on racing circuit, simply because its mass is greater and there will be greater compliance in the suspension; it is a mere ‘road car’ after all!

The power-to-weight ratio issue is fascinating. Bugatti recently discovered that one of their classic, 1930s GP cars (I forget which one) could cover a hillclimb sprint circuit faster than the current Veyron. I presume that is because despite having 1000bhp, the modern car weighs two tonnes.

In addition to that, I can recall attending a historic car race at Castle Coombe several years ago, where a Lotus Elan Sprint and a Ford Mustang GT competed for the lead; the American had the power advantage, but the Brit was so light that it was the Ford’s superior under braking and when cornering. And the Lotus’ power-to-weight ratio also ensured that it did not lose out under acceleration either.

Would 4WS improve something like a Caterham 7? I would argue with an emphatic ‘Yes!’ but I cannot prove it, because to my knowledge it has not been attempted. One can only speculate on the end product. I am not in the financial position to experiment with the concept.


Last edited by Blenheim Boy; 23-09-09 at 10:08 PM.
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 24-09-09, 07:40 AM
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Default LJK Setright

Does Formula 1 use 4WS?
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 24-09-09, 04:53 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Monschau/Germany, near the Belgian border
Posts: 107

No. It is not allowed in Formula 1, as far as I'm informed.

Kind regards,
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 24-09-09, 08:20 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 27

No 4WS in F1. No room for it on the Ecclestone/Moseley gravy train! Or is it a PR-ridden circus?
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 04-10-09, 03:05 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Burbank, California
Posts: 135
Default LJK Setright

His essay on speed limits is nonsense, in my opinion. Worsened by
repeating the first paragraph!
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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 04-10-09, 04:38 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 27

The duplication of the opening paragraphs is a technical error on The Independent's website.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 04-10-09, 11:12 PM
geo geo is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Orkney
Posts: 104

[quote=Blenheim Boy;1766]
L J K Setright: Two feet are better than one to get an extra bit of control - Features, Motoring - The Independent

I wonder just how many V8 owners do drive this way? Having done so for 40 years, I hate being in a manual car where this is an inadvisable way to proceed or stop!

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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 05-10-09, 01:50 AM
Ex Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: CANADA
Posts: 131
Default LJK Setright

I use my left foot to brace myself when driving hard but even for resting.
The idea of driving with my left foot hovering over the brake pedal is
weird and tiring !! Obviously many do a bad job of hovering, as I see
their stop lights on as they pull away from a light and continue down the
road!! In essence they now do not have a warning system that they are
Are you Mr Geo one of those?
Since I am resting or bracing my left foot on the floor it would take me
about the same time to go from throttle to brake as it would from floor to
brake. Nothing gained!
I do use both feet in an automatic when rocking the car if stuck in snow or
I also have several cars ( auto and manual) and it is safer to use a
constant driving style.

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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 05-10-09, 04:45 AM
UK6 UK6 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 46
Default Left Foot Braking

Dear Forum,
The late Setright's hypothesis of reduced braking distance through left foot braking has,I believe, some merit. Recall, most, if not all, competition go karts use this system. Using basic physics formula we can see that if there is a 0.2 sec time advantage to apply braking force to a vehicle travelling initially at a constant speed of 100km/hr, then using s=vt, the vehicle in question displaces itself approximately 4.8metres (~15')over this short time frame. Clearly, if one hasn't allowed sufficient safe space between fellow travellers, then under emergency braking situations an "extra" car length (15') could be of significant use!

As an aside, engineers may suggest that the brakes would have to work a bit harder under left foot conditions as there would be a tendency for most drivers to leave the power on for a split second during an emergency braking event.

In closing, irrespective of the argument for left foot braking, I believe that the roads would be much safer if more was done to ban the use of mobile telephones and loud music in cockpits. How many distracted drivers have you endured/avoided this week?

Brett B.
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 05-10-09, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK
Posts: 217
Default LJK Setright

Totally agree, I have to use an Automatic now on all my cars as I do not
have a left leg,
the only use for the left leg in my 407 is waving it around trying to find
the dip switch at
P.s. when I did have two legs I still only drove with my right leg.

Last edited by Kevin H; 07-10-09 at 11:33 AM. Reason: removed copious email artefacts, again...
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 05-10-09, 04:23 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 87

I thought it was dangerous and confusing to use the left foot at all driving an automatic, especially if you had the cruise control operating. My left foot is only ever used to operate the clutch on a manual car, but never the brake.
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 06-10-09, 01:32 AM
UK6 UK6 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 46
Default LJK Setright

Braking by Hand
I believe that most physiology books point out that humans have a quicker
hand reaction time vs foot reaction time. If so, then why don't we build
modern cars with motorcycle type brake actuation or indeed take up Mr
Setright's suggestion of a side mounted control column (joystick) which
could be used for steering and braking?

Re confusion, if we were brought up on the above system, we no doubt would
wonder how we coped with anything other than what we had come to learn and
use instinctively!


Last edited by Kevin H; 07-10-09 at 11:33 AM. Reason: removed email artefacts
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 06-10-09, 05:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 116
Default LJK Setright

I couldn't agree more.
Cruise control is fine if driving on a deserted highway in the States, just
to avoid speeding tickets, but in any kind of traffic, I find it gives a
feeling as if one is sitting on the back of a motorcycle. Totally without
control, even at the same speed one would normally be driving, with one foot
hovering over the brake pedal (right foot of course). I've just discovered
that tapping the "reset" knob on the steering wheel gives a slighly less
pronounced jolt than using the brake pedal.
I don't think cruise control actually saves fuel, slowing down going
downhill, and then accelerating like mad up a slight incline.
Like ABS, it just adds weight to the car, cost, and more things to go wrong.
For a decent sized car, I don't think that mileage has actually improved
since the 1930's, due mainly to weight increase, but I stand to be corrected
on this.
Just me being grumpy again.

Last edited by Kevin H; 07-10-09 at 11:34 AM. Reason: removed email artefacts
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 06-10-09, 07:00 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Kings Langley, Herts
Posts: 60
Default LJK Setright, Fuel consumption

Following on from the last email which suggested that fuel consumption was
not much better because the weight of cars had increased, I can tell you
that it has.
I fitted one of Derek Hughes overdrive conversions to my 401, mainly due to
running on motorways where I wanted to bring down the engine revs. This
was one of the best things I have done to the car and which has brought down
the fuel consumption to nearer 30 mpg. and with no loss of performance.

Now as far as a modern car is concerned I bought a SAAB sportwagon with a
turbo charged 1.9 Alpha Romeo diesel engine of 150 bhp. This is the first
time I have bought a diesel and can only say that I am more than pleased as
on a run it will return 60 mpg and local driving just under 50 mpg.
My regards,
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 06-10-09, 08:00 AM
ex member
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Nr. Stroud, Glos
Posts: 141
Default LJK Setright, Fuel consumption

I have a Mike Robinson overdrive on my 400 and it does 25-28 mpg
cruising at 70-80 mph, yet my heavy old 2L V6 Auto Rover does about 35
More to the point a now dated Rover 25 with a 1.6 engines has a
similar performance to a 410 and also does 35-40 mpg.

Last edited by Kevin H; 07-10-09 at 11:35 AM.
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leonard setright, ljk setright

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