หน้าแรก > The 2021 Ford Mustang solves one of the Jeep Wrangler's biggest problems
The 2021 Ford Mustang solves one of the Jeep Wrangler's biggest problems
by Davis Thompson 30/06/2021
The 2021 Ford Mustang competes with the Jeep Wrangler in numerous ways - doors off, roof off, manual transmission, off-road heroes, squared-off looks - but as far as I can tell, it beats the Wrangler in one major way. When you take the doors off, the damn wing mirrors stay up
According to Paul Wraith, Bronco's chief designer, the process of putting the mirrors on the bodywork instead of on the doors like everyone else does is not a simple one. There were a lot of things to consider - but in the end, I think it was the right decision.
Last summer, I reviewed a Jeep Gladiator and wanted to take the doors off for fun. When I started driving, I quickly learned - as all my Wrangler and Gladiator readers probably already know - that I had no more wings to fall back on because they were off along with the doors. This is very frustrating, and I don't think it's the safest design either. Wing mirrors are very handy! Of course, you can always buy a separate set of wing mirrors and put them on yourself when you don't have the doors, but this seems like a solution to a problem you created yourself with the Jeep.
When you take the doors off a new Bronco, not only are the doors much smaller and more compact due to their frameless design, but you are also left with the wing mirrors because they are body mounted, not door mounted. (For a guide on how to remove the doors, click here! Other than the attractive wing mirrors on older cars, I can't really think of any modern cars that have body-mounted mirrors, except for the likes of the Ferrari Enzo.
But for Wraith and his team, it wasn't just a matter of deciding to move the mirror one day and just going for it. To put it bluntly, it was pretty damn difficult. A lot of things had to be considered in what sounds like a non-stop domino effect." It's one of the most complex parts of the vehicle," Wraith told me at Bronco's press preview event last week. The bottom of the A-pillar proved to be a real hot area where a lot of things had to come together." What we found during the design process was that everything was competing for attention," Wraith said, listing them." The A-pillar structure, the airbags, the visibility of the rearview mirrors, the air conditioning vents. Everything is vying for position."
Since the designers wanted to keep the retro horizontal elements throughout the dashboard - as you see in the original Bronco - they also needed to place the armrest in very specific places that, first, wouldn't block the driver's view when someone grabbed it and, second, still allow for clear air flow from the air conditioning vents. But this, of course, affects the rearview mirror.
"Every time we introduce an element that has a good reason - such as the armrest, the structure of the instrument panel or the position of the airbag - it starts to fight again with the mirror and the spacing of the mirror," Wraith said. It looked like the team would make one improvement just to create another separate issue.
Then there's the shape and position of the mirrors themselves. As a driver looking at a vehicle on the opposite side of the road, you must be able to see the mirror, but that mirror must also reflect the road behind you, which is federally mandated.
"Every time you move the mirror itself, everything around it changes," Wraith said." It's the ebb and flow of what's happening, constantly. Therefore, the mirror needs to move (in a product development sense) in three dimensions. The more you move forward and outward, the more the mirror surface changes. Also], the mirror housing itself has manufacturing tolerances. These are constantly being adjusted, and once these changes are made, it changes the dimensions of the mirror."
In other respects, removable doors must also clear the mirror, so special attention is paid to the way the door swings. But the doors also had to open wide enough to accommodate people of all shapes and sizes, and the designers managed to do just that. If you have the opportunity to pull open the Bronco's doors, you'll see that they clear just enough to hold the wing mirrors in place.
The easiest solution, of course, is to move the mirrors further back and possibly to the doors themselves. If the designers had done that, they could have skipped all the pressures of requiring standards such as taking into account the structure of the A-pillar and the air conditioning vents." All we did was make everything more difficult," Wraith said.
He went on to say, "Not often in my career have I been in a situation where for a long, long time we were thinking, 'We're not sure we can do this job right.' The only answer is to keep going because it's such a critical feature. It's strange that something so obvious and unique to the vehicle would come down to something as trivial as interference between air [vents], grippers, manufacturing tolerances for the mirrors, its position relative to the driver's eyes and the legitimate view of the road behind it."
On a personal note, I'm glad Wraith and his team stuck with it. The new Bronco's wing mirrors are just one small detail among all the other features of the truck, but it's one of the more practical and thoughtful details.