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Old Big-Wheeled Models Failed To Give Comfort

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Old Big-Wheeled Models Failed To Give Comfort

Washington Times-Herald
December 31, 1922


Small Modern Running-Gear Provides Much Greater Degree of Ease.

Who remembers the giant 40 and 42-inch wheels of the Oldsmobile Limited and the American Underslung?

These wheels were considered to give unsurpassed riding comfort in their day, yet the finest cars of the present, embodying luxury ease undreamed of ten years ago, glide along on wheels of comparatively small size.

No less an authority than C. C. Carlton, secretary of the corporation which operates one of the largest wheel factories in the world, says that there is not necessarily any close relation between the size of wheels and their riding quality.

"It does not follow any longer that the larger the wheel the more comfortable the car," says Carlton.  "Large wheels were supposed to roll over ruts with less jar than smaller wheels, effecting in a measure the filling of road depressions.  As a matter of fact, large wheels, due to their greater unsprung weight, magnified the jolts upon the frame and axles caused by the rebound of the springs, tending to neutralize what advantage their greater size might have provided.

"Today smaller wheels with tires of no greater cross-section than were formerly employed, are providing a maximum comfort for cars of all types, from luxurious custom-built models to machines of lightest weight.

"With smaller wheels, giving a lower center of gravity, greater stability is also provided, minimizing tendency of cars to roll and side-sway.  All sorts of developments looking to the further improvement of cars may manifest themselves, but return to wheels of extreme size is certain not to be among them."

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