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Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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SIA Flashback – Bubbletop Cars: The Future That Never Came

Posted February 08, 2012 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: bubbletop George Walker

The car of the future invariably has a clear bubble canopy. Sure, it might have some nifty technology or an atomic engine, but if you really want to get the point across that this is what people will be driving 10 or 20 years hence, you give it a bubbletop. For SIA #114, December 1989, Jim Hockenhull traced the history and use of the bubbletop, the influences that gave rise to it, and how dumb an idea it really is.

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Guru

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: North West England
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#1

Re: SIA Flashback – Bubbletop Cars: The Future That Never Came

02/09/2012 5:43 AM

In 1989 Jim Hockenhull failed to take into account US Anti-Collision Legislation.

At the time the US car industry held the lions share of the US internal sports/soft top market. The car industry failed to invest in new models and a few years later this niche market was under serious threat to foreign competition from Japan, Germany, UK and Italy. The industry lobbyists got to work on Capitol Hill to protect this segment of the market and the Anti-collision laws were the result. This left car plants in Germany, the UK and Italy that had been specifically built to sell sports/ demi-sports soft tops into the US with serious overcapacity. The US car industry having secured a quick fix for this sector did not learn from the experience and still failed to invest in new models. With the benefit of hindsight, maybe the loss of this small part of the US market would have alerted them to the dangers of under investment, and the whole industry would not have needed the later bailouts.

In the circumstances I would exonerate Jim Hockenhull from any accusation of being dumb, but I might not be as forgiving of some US car industry executives.

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Associate

Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 42
#3
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Re: SIA Flashback – Bubbletop Cars: The Future That Never Came

02/14/2012 3:40 AM

I don't know about safety in older models but the new Nissan RV has seenic view on

the roof. next year that might be on all RVs.

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Guru

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#2

Re: SIA Flashback – Bubbletop Cars: The Future That Never Came

02/09/2012 5:57 AM

Actually, I wonder how many accidents would be prevented by clear visibility in all directions that the bubble provides. Most cars have blind spots and a lot of people make it worse by hanging things from the mirror and sticking a GPS to the windshield.

And he was definitely wrong about the white wall tires.

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