FITNESS: OF TIMES AND COUNTRY
Your editorial, Fitness for What? (SI, Oct. 26), has added to my weekly enjoyment of my times and my country. Nice going. Very nice going. At a time when nice going gets rarer and rarer. Morality, values and standards all seem to be going the way of all decay, because it seems easier to ignore it than fight it. Fitness for What? in a sports magazine is like a brisk anticyclone through the smog of shrug-it-the-hell-off.
PHILIP N. OBER
FITNESS: FIT OR FAT?
If This Fits You, You're Too Fat (SI, Nov. 2)—does this mean that if your weight corresponds to the figure shown opposite your height and under your age that you are too fat? If this is the case, it looks as though someone needs to revise their figures, and I don't mean physical figures.
I am 34 years of age, 6 feet 1 inch and weigh 180. I trust I am not too heavy.
T. D. CHANTLER
•Trust not. The Society of Actuaries says that a man of Reader Chantler's size and age is roughly 16 pounds too heavy.—ED.
Am I to gather that a man 59 years old, 5 feet 8 inches, who weighs 166 pounds is 20 pounds overweight? That is how I read your article. Such a statement I consider medically wrong.
Also, height is not everything, and there are a good many different types of human shapes. This should find expression in any tabulation of desirable weights.
R. W. BANNER
•The article said: "The average American is 20 pounds overweight.... " At 59, Reader Banner's sample man is older than average and heavier than he should be. The lowest mortality rate for 50-to 59-year-old men between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 10 inches is among those weighing 135 to 164 pounds, says the Society of Actuaries. Mr. Banner's sample man, at 5 feet 8 inches would find his best weight in the lower half of the 135-to 164-pound range.—ED.
Concerning your clarion call to the steam baths: caution! The proposition that the thin rats bury the fat ones has been scientifically established as a rule of thumb, true. But the next proposition, that fat rats ought therefore to become thin rats, is dangerous guesswork. Heavy-set people who drastically reshape themselves to fit medical fashion are very apt to get sick, and often are the first of all to die. Most of us either know or have heard of such cases.
New York City
COMPACT CARS: NEW COMPETITION
You stated the Chrysler Valiant is a fast car (Not Too Compact Is The Valiant for '60, SI, Nov. 2). But earlier (Chevy Puts Its Power in the Back, SI, Oct. 12) the Chevy Corvair was stated to do 60 mph in 17 or 18 seconds. The Chevy Corvair is a better car by far. The motor is far better. It has a six-opposing-cylinder engine with two single-barrel carburetors. This means far better carburetion. What has the Valiant got that Corvair hasn't?
Would it be possible to satisfy this argument by dragging all three cars—the Chrysler Valiant, the Chevrolet Corvair and the Ford Falcon—at a legal drag strip?
Is SPORTS ILLUSTRATED a magazine of sport? Yes, at least most of the time. I refer to your recent articles on the Corvair and Valiant. Are these autos sports cars? Or are they in any way remotely connected with sport? Certainly not.
Since you have seen fit to print these reports let us examine them more closely. We are told that the Corvair "is a rear-engined honey which represents real pioneering." This pioneering includes such features as independent rear suspension, aluminum engine with horizontally opposed pistons and air cooling, transaxle, and engine removal in less than one hour. A certain popular European import has had all these features since its inception in the 1930s. Admittedly it cannot boast that startling engineering breakthrough, the eye-level ashtray.
In the case of the Valiant, your praise was directed more toward performance (in the accepted Detroit sense of the word). The practical man will be happy to hear of such useful characteristics as a 97-mile-per-hour top speed and the ability to "leave the others behind in a drag race." Finally, do not be surprised if your claim of a "sculptured European bearing" for the Valiant results in vigorous complaints from irate foreign manufacturers.
CLARK F. WAITE
•By and large, those who are most interested in automobiles for sport have an equally deep interest in new developments in automobiles for transportation, both big and small, American and foreign. Detroit's new compact cars represent "real pioneering" in the U.S. by the Big Three.
Reader Kamerlink might also be interested to know that an inaugural race between the new American compact cars and European imports of the same size is on the schedule of the Sebring international road racing course for December 12.—ED.
BOATING: HOME-STYLE HYDRO-JET
Have just read your article (The Almost No-water Boat, SI, Oct. 26) about the Turbocraft, which uses a principle somewhat similar to that I have been using in my hydro-jet outboard unit (which I use to drive an outrigger canoe on my seven-acre fish pond). I first thought up the double-worm design in 1926 for a hydraulic turbine. I designed and built the hydro-jet outboard shown in the pictures in the fall of 1956 and winter of 1957.
The unit has driven various boats many miles on the creeks and rivers of this section (the northern neck of Virginia). On September 16 I explored Hoskin's Creek, starting out from Tappahannock, Va., on the Rappahannock River.
My hydro-jet outboard unit can be tilted up a bit so that the water jet can be in the air giving additional thrust. The 1½ -hp four-cycle, vertical, one-cylinder gas engine gives a speed of six miles per hour or more. It can also go at very slow speeds. Good for fishing.
I go in about a foot of water, too; and with my air drive, in three or four inches of water.
WILLIAM R. WARD