Less tilt, more ob­jec­tiv­ity

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - ERICH DEDEKIND Pi­eter­mar­itzburg

I RE­FER: Wit­ness Wheels Fe­bru­ary 9, 2017 en­ti­tled “Com­par­ing SA’s thirdbest-sell­ing 4x4 bakkie.”

The photo of an Isuzu bakkie on the front page at an al­most rollover an­gle caught my at­ten­tion.

At first I was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed with the tyres which were sup­port­ing such a weight at that an­gle with no sign of side dis­tor­tion or sep­a­rat­ing from the rim. At se­cond glance I re­alised why this was so; the pho­tog­ra­pher used more than a fair share of artis­tic li­cence when fram­ing the photo. On this planet of ours, grass, weeds and trees tend to grow up ver­ti­cally at around 90 de­grees to level ground. Even if the ground is not level, most grass at the length de­picted un­der the Isuzu’s num­ber plate grows up­right. The weeds to the right of the bumper also show neat uni­for­mity all point­ing to­wards the heav­ens. How­ever, they do so at an an­gle of around 60 de­grees in the photo! To check this out, take a pro­trac­tor and place its hor­i­zon­tal axis on the photo’s hor­i­zon­tal base-line and take a mea­sure­ment along the bot­tom of the bumper.

You should at­tain a fig­ure in the re­gion of 60 de­grees.

Given a bit of ve­hi­cle body flex­ing, that fig­ure would still be in the re­gion of 55 de­grees at least.

Now comes the in­ter­est­ing part. Tak­ing the grass un­der the num­ber plate and the straight wat­tle be­hind the bakkie into con­sid­er­a­tion, a 90 de­gree set square will show the true an­gle of pitch.

Ac­cord­ing to my cal­cu­la­tions us­ing the bumper again as a ref­er­ence, this is no more than 20 de­grees lat­eral tilt.

In re­al­ity it ap­pears that the right wheel is lifted up due to the left back wheel drop­ping into a deep rut in the forestry track.

As a pho­tog­ra­pher my­self, and a great fan of the tough 80s Isuzu range, I was in­clined to look the other way on this seem­ingly triv­ial mat­ter; how­ever, I pre­fer ob­jec­tive re­port­ing and hope that mem­bers of the pub­lic re­alise that the ve­hi­cle in ques­tion was not be­ing driven close to the nearly 60 de­gree lat­eral tilt an­gle de­picted.

This is not to say that the ve­hi­cle was not trav­el­ling up a very steep in­cline; it prob­a­bly was.

What I am re­fer­ring to is the side­ways roll, which is ex­ac­er­bated by cam­era an­gle in the pub­lished photo.

Since many mod­ern ve­hi­cles tend to be de­signed a bit on the top-heavy side, it would be in­ter­est­ing to know this ve­hi­cle’s true abil­ity at around 60 de­grees lat­eral tilt with a de­clared weight in ex­cess of three tons.

Maybe the jour­nal­ist could be more em­pow­ered to check cam­era an­gle in fu­ture?

PHOTO: FILE

Even with the photo tilted up­right, the an­gle is no less seat-grip­ping.

Alwyn Viljoen

It is al­ways good to get an eru­dite let­ter to Wheels. You are quite right, the cam­era an­gle was se­verely an­gled as the cam­era car­rier rushed to snap a photo of the KB see-saw­ing over a deep axle ben­der with­out slid­ing down The Slope her­self. To avoid all the empty cor­ners above, we placed the photo at the an­gle it was snapped, catch­ing the at­ten­tion of many more read­ers than did this photo of Reece Wil­liamson tilt­ing his Hilux at the KZN 4x4 Chal­lenge in De­cem­ber. While lighter than 3000kg, the lifted Hilux shows the lat­eral tilt­ing abil­i­ties of mod­ern bakkies.

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