about giving the Auto Show the once over tonight," suggested Gus Wilson to
his partner as they were closing up the Model Garage for the night.
"I'm game," Joe Clark replied. "Stop around for me any time after
"Can't you make it earlier, I'll have Bill Crowley in tow." "He wants
me to help him pick out a car."
"What!" exclaimed Joe, "Bill Crowley going to buy a car! Why, he's
always saying he hates automobiles?" "Yeah," grunted Gus, "that was
when he was broke. But he's made money recently, so he can afford a
Joe grinned. "Well, I sure don't envy you the job. No matter
what car you recommend, if he has any trouble with it he'll blame you."
"No, he won't, contradicted Gus as he shuffled his muscular frame into his
overcoat. "I've got a scheme to beat that. You watch how I work
Joe was just finishing his supper when he heard Gus's horn. Bill
Crowley was already in the car.
"Now the bug has stung another victim," grinned Joe. "Yes," Crowley
admitted sheepishly, "it's got me at last. I guess the only cure is to
buy one; but what gets me is which to buy, they all look so good."
"Now," said Gus, as they passed into the vast hall filled with shiny, new
models, "before we start going the rounds let's figure out about what type
of car you want, and how much you can pay, and also let's see if you have
any particular requirements that might affect your choice. How big is
your family, Bill?" "Four, the wife and I and the two kids. One
of 'em is eight and the other six." "Is your wife going to drive?"
"Yes," Crowley replied.
"Then I can see one mistake you've made right at the start," snorted Gus.
"You should have brought Mrs. Crowley along. She'll have a lot to say
about the type of body and the color scheme."
"That's what I thought when I first brought up the question, but she says
she doesn't know one car from another and doesn't care what kind I get so
long as I get a good one and get it right away."
"All right," said Gus, "now tell me how much you want to spend, and we'll
look over all the cars in that class."
Crowley hesitated, "I haven't decided that either," he confessed. "I
can spend up to a couple of thousand dollars, but naturally I don't want to
spend any more than I have to."
"Humph!" grunted Gus, "How am I going to suggest a good car to buy when you
haven't any idea what kind you want or how much you think a car will be
worth to you? Well, let's get started and see if we can't pick up some
They moved slowly from exhibit to exhibit and examined each glistening
machine. Now and then Gus halted before one and briefly pointed out
various mechanical and body design features.
"Of course," said Gus as they stopped to admire a particularly good-looking
coach, "it isn't so hard to point out the types of car you shouldn't buy.
For instance, you certainly don't want a roadster, even one with a rumble
seat in the back for the kids, because you will want to use the car in rainy
weather and in the winter, and the passengers in the back seat have no
protection at all.
"You might want an open touring car instead of a closed model, but that
would depend on how you use the car. If you want it mainly for trips
about the country when the weather is good - real pleasure driving - then an
open car is fine; but if you want to combine pleasure driving with
comfortable transportation in any kind of weather, you'll want a closed car.
Most of the open cars sold today go to old birds like me or to families
owning more than one car. Of course lots of cheap open cars are sold.
But there price is the main factor."
"How many cylinders ought a motor to have? Asked Crowley as he strained his
neck over the shoulders of a crowd gathered round an eight cylinder chassis.
"That depends on what features you value most," Gus replied, "From the
stand-point of reliability and general utility it makes no difference
whether you get a four, six or eight. Most of the possible sources of
trouble lie outside the cylinders. If the ignition system goes bad,
for instance, it will stall on eight just as quick as it will a
four-cylinder car, and the same applies to many other troubles."
"But the sixes and eights must have some advantages or they wouldn't sell
any," objected Crowley.
"Certainly they have," Gus agreed. "The more cylinders, the smoother
the engine runs and the more flexible and quiet it is. Also, it is
easier to build a motor with plenty of power by using a lot of small
cylinders than to use four big cylinders with correspondingly heavy pistons
what would cause excessive vibration."
"What's the advantage of a long wheelbase?" asked Crowley, seeing a sign
listing the lengths of wheelbase obtainable on a certain model.
"The longer the car the easier it rides, other conditions being equal," Gus
"On the other hand, a long car is harder to handle in traffic, and it takes
more space to park or turn around in."
"Well," said Crowley, as the three men stood gazing out over the sea of cars
and people after they had examined every exhibit, "now that we've seen them
all, what shall I buy?"
Gus revolved the question in his mind, "That's a tough one to answer," he
finally replied. "You want to use the car in an average way. You
are of average size; the average driving seat will be comfortable.
"You don't seem to have formed any opinions or acquired any prejudices.
I'll be hanged if I know what to advise - tell you what we'll do - let's put
it up to the readers of Popular Science Monthly!"