ITERA – 1980 (Sweden)

An innovation which appears good on paper but turns into a commercial fail: this is the story of the Itera bicycle developed by Volvo. Substituting metal with plastic was the peculiar idea of a Swedish designer. In 1978, funding was released for this composite plastic bicycle project by a Swedish organisation, The Swedish National Board for Technical Development. In 1980, a functional prototype was produced and in 1981 the first models were presented to the press and to the retailers. In 1982, the bicycle models manufactured in a factory in Wilhelmina (Sweden) appeared on the market. Made of composite material with injected fibreglass stick rims all tinted in the mass along with polyamide wheels, the Itera is equipped with 3-speed Sturmey-Archer derailleur in the hub, including the dynamo, an anti-theft key, and an XM9 Iscaselle saddle.

The bike was delivered unmounted in a cardboard box, but there were complaints from purchasers about missing pieces or tools for the mounting. There were many reasons for the failure of this model including difficult maintenance, lightweight structure and replacement and replacement parts becoming out of stock to name a few. Plus, the Itera presented a certain fragility depending on the climate: if it was too cold, the frame could break and it was unbalanced. In reality, the perfect concept wasn’t quite so perfect: nothing could replace the good old metal frame. The Itera wasn’t the commercial success hoped by Volvo. The production ended in 1985 after approximately 30 000 copies and Itera became a collector’s item.

The Itera is on display in hall 3 of the Museum and is on loan from a private collector.

1915 MODEL T FORD

 

Ford Model T currently on loan and on display at Dundee Museum of Transport

1915 MODEL T FORD SV 8898

 

What we know today as the method of Mass Production, used by countless businesses across the world was started by the Ford Motor Company on the 1st October 1908. Thanks to this pioneering method that allowed many cars to be produced at the same time in an assembly line instead of handcrafting them individually (creating economies of scale), the Model T Ford SV became one of the first affordable automobile for the average middle-class American. Hence making independent travel much more affordable and accessible.

Not long after, the Ford Model T was also the first vehicle to be built throughout various countries at the same time. It first started in Canada, and Trafford Park, Manchester (England). They were later assembled in Germany, Argentina, France, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan.

Ford started its mass production combined with the knock-down kit concept ( a kit containing the parts needed to assemble a product, also called KD) practically from the start as all their production materials would be delivered in huge bulks.

This car is not only a great-looking vehicle, but also a symbol of human development and connection throughout history.