In The Gaps Between The Many Universes

…which is the kind of image that is worth a science fiction story, I feel. 

If anyone wants to spin a science-fiction story off that idea, they are welcome to use it as long as they are kind enough to credit the idea to me.

The notion suggested in the phrase is that there are spaces between the universes which are all packed together like multidimensional foam on a huge scale. Think of the gaps between tennis balls in a bag of tennis balls. That’s the rough shape of the spaces between the universes.

You could hide a fleet of space-ships in those voids. You could hide a star-system. Maybe something weird occurs where the boundary of one universe meets another. Would the two blend together? Would there be friction? Would splinters of space-time break off and plunge into the adjacent universe as happens when continental plates move laterally against one another.

I don’t do long-form fiction so all this is wasted on me. And it’s too good a concept to leave it as a headline for an article about the Peugeot 205 Cabriolet which is today’s car.  They don’t grow on trees around here and not in this sort of condition.

A certain amount of fragility characterised the standard car in either three or five door guise. They don’t endure. To take the metal roof off and replace it with the material used for low-cost sports hold-alls only added lightness, as Colin Chapman might have said, though in a way even Colin Chapman might have baulked at. So CJs endure even less.

Look at the blue cloth. Original, do you think?

Pininfarina can claim credit mostly for the assembly of the car, carried out in Italy. Apart from removing the roof, the main task of the engineers at Pininfarina had something to do with the beefed-up sill shown in the image below:

…. and possibly some thoughts about the way to do the B-pillar that was left-over. The rest of the development bill piled up on the detailed workings of the folding-roof and the treatment of the rear hatch.

The end result works very well which explains why for a long time Pininfarina made a nice living at these odd jobs. The CJ version retains much the same roof-line, only rendered in material used to line suitcases. of the better sort. As such it’s a good version of an already pretty car. The header rail is tidy and the fit and finish good for the standards of the time and good for today too.

Since taking these photos in June sometime, I’ve been dwelling on the concept of elaboration.

When a design idea is invented it gets elaborated.  Think of the growth of tail-fins on US cars in the 1950s or the complex sculpting on cars’ bodysides today. The transformation of Classical architecture into Baroque is a form of elaboration: seeking to make a difference between existing style and a new project, the architect might tweak a feature a bit. Baroque architects added a few degrees to mouldings to exaggerate perspective. Double-corners became triple corners (I don’t know why). So, elaboration is a very normal process though it has its limits.

The cabriolet here is not very elaborated. It’s more or less just the right amount of work for this idea to be acceptable: cut off the roof, make a folding-replacement, sell. This kind of car isn’t available any more, as in a cheap and simple convertible. Elaboration, you see.

Elaboration occurred in the meantime both in the structure and content of standard cars and in the convertible concept too. The hard-top convertible epitomised the point of over-elaboration. The last crop of convertibles stepped back to cloth before going extinct. See: Cascada.

Elaboration or the tendency for this means a car a light and simple as the Peugeot 205 CJ is unlikely to re-appear. I don’t refer to the complex electronics and addenda that all cars are burdened with; I mean even if many drivers might like a low-complexity funvertible like this car, they won’t get it.  Too simple, not elaborate enough.

When that itch is scratched you get a car that is neither fun or very cheap at which point people won’t buy it. See: Cascada. I happen to really like that car (and the Ford Focus CC) but customers went upmarket when asked to pay what Opel had to ask for a good-enough, nice-enough, comfy-enough, quiet-enough soft-top.

Resisting elaboration is like walking the wrong way up an escalator.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

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