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Low-Cost Dream Car Hits the Road, Pedestrians, Etc.

Four Months from Concept to Reality

Dateline: Detroit Auto giant Mega-Motors today introduced Mega Dream 1.0, the first of an exciting new breed of production dream cars. Whereas typical cars are first prototyped, then tested, then redesigned, the MegaDream 1.0 went directly from the drawing board to production in under 5 months. Company spokesperson Clydesdale “Clyde” Snively credited the elimination of iterative design and testing with both the short time to market and a cost reduction in the $40,000 car of almost $300. “Consumers have always admired auto show concept cars. Now they have a chance to actually own one and save some cash to boot!”

We test-drove the new Mega-Dream and found the car just as exciting as all its Hollywood hype. With its smooth lines and distinctive design, heads are turned wherever you go. In fact, at least one head has to be turned: the driver’s. The auto maker boldly attached the steering wheel to the left door, with the driver seated facing said door, “to make driving in reverse just as safe and comfortable as driving forward.” (Company steering consultant Edward Harrow suggested they may change this side-saddle arrangement in the second release.)

The lack of user testing led to many of those endless and expensive meetings where groups of engineers close to the project sit around arguing over what naive drivers will actually do, in the face of no evidence whatsoever. Arguments over the layout of the cockpit area were finally laid to rest by enabling the driver to decide his or her own configuration. Gas, brake, windshield wiper, and other functions are all easily switched around by a driver-preference function of the horn: one beep for brake on the left, two beeps for brake on the right, and so on.

This horn configuration system has so far caused eight fatalities this first week, as drivers in heavy traffic beep their horns to prevent collision, only to find the brake pedal they’re stepping on has suddenly become the accelerator. An engineer close to the project admitted they had failed to consider that possibility but said they were planning an interim release that would instead tie the configuration to the current radio station. (No tests of this second design attempt are planned either: “Drivers have no business changing radio stations in heavy traffic, so they shouldn’t have any more problems.”)

We were impressed with the power of the new car, although the manual spark advance and choke, needed for every gear shift, were a bit daunting. Engineers pointed out, however, that bringing back driver-control over such features increased engine performance and versatility, and none of the engineers were having any problems adjusting them. (Spokesperson Snively admitted that making automatic spark advance a preference item is under consideration for version 2.0, “for the non-power-drivers.”)

All in all, we found the Mega-Dream 1.0 to be a wonderful car, if a bit quirky. Even though it may have its critics, we feel the savings of $300 more than justifies the lack of testing. And for those few drivers who are unhappy with this first release, MegaDream 2.0 will be offered to surviving registered owners for only $36,000, with proof of purchase.

Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini

¬ródło: ksi±żka Tog on interface Link points to external site, tłumaczenie: Marcin Wichary

Page added on 1st April 2003.

Copyright © 2002-2005 Marcin Wichary
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