Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Motoring Heritage Day

Words and Snaps by Ben

If you are a motorhead and have never heard the Bosch moniker, you have probably not been living on Earth since the 1890's.

The relation between cars and Bosch is nothing short of a symbiotic bond. Almost every step of cars' evolution, Bosch was there with an innovation, and thus all the way since 1897 with the Magneto ignition, the very first engine starter. This device changed the life of car owners, who did not have to crank engines manually, saving time, efforts and even injuries.

Since then Bosch developed a taste to revolutionising the motoring world and within a century, has added over 355,000 more items to its list of products, to a point where it is now virtually impossible to find a car that does not carry a Bosch part.

It is to celebrate all those years of innovations that Bosch organised the Motoring Heritage day. This event wasn't just about showcasing Bosch's strong bond with automobiles, but also to let the crowds discover some of the rarities that are still surviving across the island.

And what a show it was! Singapore is well known for its ruthless rules regarding cars, which only leaves the most hardcore motorheads to stand firm and strong against all odds. To see all these classic wonders together wasn't just a show of history, but also an inspiration to keep fighting for our passion in Singapore.

While Bosch has the technological heritage, it's thanks to the Malaysia and Singapore Vintage Car Register (MSVCR) that all these out-of-time beauties were found and gathered for the event.

Founded in 1955, what started off as the Malayan Vintage Car Register has grown to have over 400 members worldwide, bringing together a wonderful collection of vintage pre-war and classic cars on Earth.

The Register's mission to encourage the use and preservation of period cars and bikes has stayed strong for over 60 years, and judging by the rides present at the show, they are doing it right.

What I especially love about classic cars and bikes are the details. Whether they are brought about by the owner, such as this 1930 BSA Sloper with a morning star gear shifter to set the mood...

Or original details, which adorned most cars if not all.

The hood pieces always catch my attention. Their original purpose was to be radiator temp gauge, as on this 1929 Morris Minor Roadster.

From there, and as engines became more reliable, they evolved to be decorative elements, most often lady-inspired.

Whether adorning a simple face or a full-bodied lady, the hood pieces were pieces of art.

Others were more brand specific, such as Bentley's Flying B...

Or Jaguar's leaping feline.

The interiors too were refined beyond function.

These were times where form met function in classy simplicity, and thanks to low volumes of production, car makers were able to put in all the efforts needed to make every model different. Every body curve unique. Every detail personal.

Through the show, we were able to spot some of Bosch's inventions, such as the turning signal, which they invented in 1928 (yes, you owe it to Bosch).

This BMW 327 Cabriolet was sporting its original concept: A panel that would flag out on the side of the car.

Another Bosch contribution are the windshield wipers, which they introduced in 1926.

It would take too long to list down all 355,000 innovations they brought about, but in more recent years, they have devised features such as the ESP in 1995, Start-Stop System in 2007, and more recently the Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC) in 2013.

"They don't make them like they used to" is a saying we'll never stop hearing, and it is true in essence.

Economics, globalisation and our materialistic societies have all but killed the degree of commitment that was given to each and every car models.

We will probably never bring such a golden age back, as we enjoy different types of motoring gratifications, such as reliability, safety, and of course, power.

All we can do is hang on to the old mementos and make sure they don't fade in time. MSVCR's pledge to keep is honorable, and the pride each owner has in sharing stories about their beloved cars is evident.

After this wonderful walk back in time, all we can do is wish the MSVCR to continue on its honorable path, while looking forward to more motoring innovations from the brains at Bosch.

There were so many timeless machines, that it would be unfair to leave without sharing more sights of these rare beauties. Enjoy the gallery!


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