I well remember while at college in the very early 1980s doodling on the inside covers of my lever arch work folders. The doodles were often deliciously cruel caricatures of my fellow classmates (I too was on the receiving end of similar idler’s penwork), but also many featured seemingly futuristic or innovative bus and car designs.
Being a bus man, my car designs rarely featured sports or race types, but instead focussed on squeezing as many passengers comfortably into a given space… just like a bus. And so it was, folks, that I invented the people mover. Windscreen thrust forward at the base over the front wheels, driver and front seat occupants moved forward, over the low-set engine, with two further rows of seats behind.
Of course, this idling never progressed any further than the covers of those files, but it does perhaps show that the kid staring out of the window might just have the best ideas, even if they do involve skipping the class.
I am now the father of five offspring. Two are grown and fledged, both living in London, achieving great things academically, things I would never have had the mind for. That leaves three smaller children, aged five and below and so all requiring booster or child seats. Modern car body sides are now stuffed with airbags and tech, and so internal accommodation seems to have shrunk. But kids are kid-sized and so are the bulky mandatory seats, which leaves me attempting to secure three of them onto the rear seats of our cars.
Twice I have owned examples of Volvo’s 940 Estate. They seemed commodious and they featured a built-in booster seat which doubled as a central rear seat armrest. That was genius! So why now, for goodness’ sake are such things not built into at least two seats in every five-seat saloon, or three out of six, etc…?
I do have a vehicle which provides a solution to this accommodation quandary, but it is a fifty-two- years old double decker and is often impractical to use on a daily basis. But I have come to the conclusion that what my family and I are going to have to invest in, in the very near future, is a seven-seater SUV.
Bums on seats is the aim of the game. The spaces in between will be untidily stuffed with luggage and toys bound together by food crumbs and spilled milk. A roof box will be bought and, most likely, a trailer, as we rarely travel light. And, on one fine, quiet evening in the future, while nestling a fine glass of whiskey in my hand, I will find a scrap of paper and doodle a solution to accommodating all of this neatly into a modern vehicle.
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