Round 2: A Mechanical Tableau
The rest of the reviews and final standings.
Lucidoux Estate rear lawn, October 1937
A fortnight after their initial deliberations, Lady Miette and Gwen were greeted on their rear lawn by five gleaming mechanical art pieces being presided over by their company representatives.
“Hopefully there won’t be any deceit like there was with the advertising brochures,” Miette whispered to Gwen as they approached the group. She tapped the ground sharply to gain the attention of the representatives, “Gentlemen. I’ve gathered you all here today to present your fine machines to my compatriot Ms. Harkness. Hopefully she’ll find one of them to her liking and you’ll go home with a large commission from her and myself. I hope that you will all be honest with your sales pitches and answer all of her questions truthfully.”
A chorus of assent went up from the representatives and the girls strode over to the olive car on the end of the line.
1938 Mons Sparrow
“That is an…interesting choice of color,” Gwen said as she got up close to the Sparrow, “Do you mind if I test the steering angle on this…thing?”
The sales rep opened the driver’s door for her and Gwen slid behind the wheel. She yanked the wheel to one side and was almost immediately met with the sound of rubber scraping against metal.
“That’s what I thought,” she said over the squeaking of her turning the wheel back to center, “This car is much too low to be nimble like I’d want it to be. And it’s really an odd drab green.” She asked for the keys and let the car idle for a bit, surprised at both the smoothness of the engine and the performance numbers the sales rep was spouting at her. Satisfied that she’d heard enough about the car, Gwen climbed back out and asked the most important question: price. Her face blanched at the number the sales rep quoted to her, and when Miette asked if that included the special sports tyres and was told that it didn’t, her face drained of color as well. They both quickly thanked the rep for his time and moved on to the next car.
(The Sparrow is an interesting car. Close to replica caddy V16 under the hood, making for nice stats all across the board. It scores pretty well on realism to, especially with the choice of stopping at a luxury AM radio instead of going all the way to a record player like a lot of the entries. However, the Sparrow feels way closer to a restomod of a late '30s car instead of stock car from the era. The ride height is way too low, to the point that the wheels clip if they’re turned even 5 degrees. The tyres were a bit wide, but as sport tyres they aren’t too bad. The front end is nice and reminds me of cords of the era. The detailing goes into restomod territory the further towards the rear you go, with the deeply inset tail lights and conforming bumpers making it feel like a custom beetle in the rear. Paying close to the full budget though for a car that rated only middle of the pack for design and not so good on practicality and svc’s means that the girls won’t be picking this offering from Mons. A less drab paint color would’ve helped you a bit too, since the olive you picked is on the questionable side.)
1938 Pusilanime Sumptuous V-12 Special
“Already this feels like a much better option,” Gwen said as she approached the Sumptuous, “A nicer color, a quite eager presence, and what looks to be plenty of space and power too.” She climbed in to the driver’s seat and started the car up like she’d done with the previous one, completely oblivious to conversation in hushed tones between Miette and the Pusilanime sales rep. Just as she was getting comfortable with the suite of Bakelite buttons and knobs, Miette tapped her on the shoulder and gestured for her to get out of the car.
“I have some rather unfortunate news dear,” Miette told her quietly, “this nice young man has just informed me that they accidentally sent one of their testing prototypes over instead of a final production version. He profusely apologizes for this mix up and says that appointments in the final version are much more plush.”
“That’s a real shame,” Gwen said dejectedly, " I was really enjoying the character and feel of this car. Perhaps when we’re in America next we’ll visit their headquarters and try the fully refined version."
The girls both thanked the very chagrinned Pusilanime sales rep and moved on to the next car.
(It’s sad that such a nice car is held so far back in stats due to a miscommunication on how the techpool points work. The proportions and general design remind me very much of LaSalles of the period and everything you’ve done to modify the type 57 body is incredibly clean. It’s also probably the realistically engineered car here, besides maybe the saffron lotus. It is a bit spartan in terms of interior accoutrements, lacking any sort of radio, but cars of the era were just like that sometimes. I really wish this could’ve placed higher than it has. It’s my favorite out of the unbinned, non-talbot lago based designs.)
1936 Harris 45S by Carrosserie Marin
As Miette and Gwen made their way to over to the next car, they were accosted by the Harris sales rep before they could even fully approach it. He explained quickly that while the 45 S may be shown as quite low to the ground here, this is just for presentation purposes and the ride height can be adjusted at build time to the customer’s comfort level. Evidently he had overheard Gwen’s protestations of the wheel scraping in the Mons Sparrow and wished to rectify that perception of his own offering. Gwen did test steering at the current ride height it was set at though and was surprised at how far she could turn before scraping. Not quite lock to lock, but fairly close. She was also surprised to hear a slightly rougher pattering when she started the engine.
“What engine is in this?” she called out to the sales rep, “And where are the headlights? They’re not those tiny things by the front bumper are they?”
He told her that those weren’t the lights and directed her to switch the headlights on and come take a look at them herself. She was surprised to see them within the front grill, and yellow even.
Miette crossed her arms and asked the smug looking sales rep, “how exactly are we supposed to get them to change the bulbs when they burn out, and for that matter the rear wheels as well? I didn’t see an opening to get to the center of the wheel.”
The sales rep deftly showed them how to access both areas, as well as the rear license plate. Both girls were suitably impressed and when they asked the performance and price figures, those were quite acceptable as well.
“I do quite like this car with its combination of british engineering and french design, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to live with how difficult to access everything is,” Gwen stated, “I think we should move on to the next two and see of they’re as nice.”
(This car is really nicely put together. I know a lot of it is inspired by the Peugeot 402, but you have taken the rest of the body in an intersting and period aerodynamically sound direction. The use of a 4.5 L i6 is an intersting choice in a field of V12s, but seeing as it’s a british car in french wrappings, it makes sense. The attention to period correct detailing is wonderful, with a particular note of the semaphore style side indicators, starter crank hole, and cabin intake vents. The interior lets it down quite a bit in quality though, not only with the lack of headliner, but also in the choice of a record player as entertainment equipment. Those really weren’t a thing until the '50s. Overall the car is still a really strong contender though.)
1937 Bellemont Spectre V16 Touring Coupe
The girls semi-reluctantly approached the next car. Gwen put it through its paces like she had with the previous three cars. The only thing that really stood out to her was the monstrous growl that came from it when she tested the accelerator.
“How much horsepower does this thing have?” she asked the stony-faced Bellemont sales rep.
“350. Top speed of 145 mph, 0-60 acceleration of 8.35 seconds. The body was coachbuilt by Frizzitolini in italy. The available colors are…” He was cut off abruptly by the loud horn blare as Gwen’s head hit the center of the steering wheel, lulled to sleep by his rather monotonous and monotone voice.
Miette quickly retrieved her startled friend, addressing the sales rep, “We appreciate you bringing this fine automobile here, and I’m positive that it is probably the fastest car here, but we really must move on to the next option. Thank you for your time.”
(As stated, you car is the fastest, quickest accelerating car here. It is also quite unrealistic in how it achieves those specs. The engine is massive, even compared to Cadillac and Duesenberg standards, with a good 30 more hp than the supercharged dusey motor. It has the period inaccurate record player, which surprisingly netted you very little in terms of comfort, as well as huge tyres that are way wider than what would’ve been used in the '30s. The price is second highest, with cars decently cheaper getting similar performance times. A lot of that wouldn’t be as bad if the visual design wasn’t so boringly simple. I know it was a last minute entry, but things like not mirroring the hinges for your doors is inexcusable in a CSR challenge. It’s an ok looking car with unrealistically good stats in some places, and in a challenge where design is a highly scored metric, you have to make something that’s better than just safe.)
1938 Capital K38 Pegasso Royale Coupé
The girls moved quickly on to the final car in the lineup, a smaller red and black coupe.
“The front end n this one is quite cute,” Gwen remarked as she moved to put the car though its paces like she had with the previous ones, “And the way they’ve routed the exhaust through the rear fenders is intersting.” Upon entering the interior, though, she began to frown slightly at the quality. She poked at some the trim surrounding the window and it yielded more than she had expected. The rest of the interior did seem to be more solid however, not flexing and having satisfying clicks in the majority of the switches. She still didn’t understand why there would be a record player in the cabin in so many of these cars. She’d tried bring her portable one on rides with Miette in her Aether 17/2, but the bounciness of the road, even through the plush suspension, made the needle skip horribly. As she sat in the K38 though, She found that she really enjoyed the almost sprightly character of the car.
“If only it was in a more effervescent color,” she mused to herself. Miette took that moment to remind her that paint is one of the easiest things to change about a car. Gwen smiled at that and extricated herself from the car.
“I think I have a bit of deliberation I have to do with Lady Miette here,” Gwen said, addressing all the sales reps at one. She and Miette then retreated a safe distance away to discuss what the final decision would be.
(The only things really holding the K38 back are the odd choice of a record player, really wonky fixture treatment around the windows in the interior, and just a bit of lacking in quality bringing down the overall stats compared to others. It’s a really nicely designed car that is seemingly hard to photograph well, since it looks better in game than it does in your promo pics. The lack of car specific lore in your post didn’t help either. Overall though it’s a well thought out car with plenty of personality that while it does have lower stats than some, the price being lower as well helps account for that. Those factors let it rank fairly high in Gwen’s choices.)
After debating back and forth for what was close to ten minutes, long enough to make the sales reps nervous, the girls finally returned to the line of cars.
Addressing the group, Gwen stated, “While all of the cars you have presented to me have their merits, only three of them truly caught my attention. Out of those three, one I regrettably note was not up to the brand’s full strength, so falls in standing. The other two were quite close in terms of visual appeal and engineering prowess. The manufacturer I’ve decided to patronize this time is…”
In first place is the 1936 Harris 45S by Carrosserie Marin!
The combination of really strong attention to detail, realism, and just a well rounded package with great stats is why this won. The only two thinks Gwen actively wants to change on the car are fairly trivial. She needs the ride height only slightly raised (by only 2 advanced trim ticks in game), and wants the red interior and trim swapped out for a light grey blue. She also will probably request the grill be chrome, but that depends on how the blue would work. Otherwise she really likes the innovative french styling with the incredibly reliable and efficient british engineering underneath.
The Final Rankings are as follows:
Overall I think this challenge went fairly well as a first trial of using point buy techpool in a CSR round. I know that I keep picking unusual and niche prompts for rounds, but I’m glad that I received some really nicely built cars this time around. Hopefully the next round goes smoothly and can build on the techpool knowledge gained from this round.