"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there"
L P Hartley 1953
Vintage vehicles offer an insight to a different way of doing things. So it was an education to encounter the first outing of a freshly-renovated 1950's camper in Yorkshire.
There is obviously the charm of a very different aesthetic. There is also a very different idea of personal space; it's ironic that when the roads were so much emptier of the traffic the vehicles upon them took up so little space.
But for me the constant surprise is how spartan the driver's layout is. The bare bones of the vehicle's construction are accepted as they are and any dials or controls are literally 'bolted on' rather than stylised to blend in.
Equally, but much more importantly, there is no attempt to turn the driver into a part of the vehicle either. There is no 'bucket seat' that curves in from every direction that leaves the driver is a coiled position that is neither sitting nor lying.
Instead, the driver is given sufficient support to be comfortable while still allowing the body to support itself.
(The whole seat can be removed in a couple of seconds, which makes it much easier to appreciate!)
The seat allows the driver to sit on a flat surface (instead of with his knees higher than his pelvis). Not only is this more comfortable while driving, but it also means there is less of a 'foetal position' to recover from after a prolonged journey.
This vehicle also allows the lower part of the driver's legs to be in a more vertical position than we are accustomed to. They therefore have the opportunity to play a more active role in their own support.
The minimal padding in the seat is a virtue in itself. It gives the driver's body feedback about where it is in space. For example, the body can tell whether the 'sitting bones' are level with each other or whether it needs to compensate (see video).
With so much ergonomically in its favour, its only fitting that this vehicle should be made by 'Atlas', the namesake of that crucial vertebra that links our skull to the rest of our spine!