SCHOOL children have proved that the age of invention is far from past. They have on it an “add'” and “take away’ mini car. When need-be the car can grow from an ordinary four wheel British Leyland Mini to a six wheel truck, in which three people can sleep comfortably.

The “Add-a-Car” was invented in the technology department of a school in Daventry, England, by a group of children aged between 13 and 15 years. Backing them up was the school’s head of technology, Andrew Hopkins. It was the oil conglomerate, BP which sparked off the idea of building the oddest Mini on the road. They offered prizes to schools to build their own cars for use in the City as a “challenge to youth’. Ten schools entered and the youngsters came up with Some remarkable ideas.

One car was round and could spin like a top if need be! Another was designed for disabled people to use if they were confined to wheelchairs. But it was the add-a-car which won the final approval of the judges. It features four wheel steering, the “plug-in'” boot section with two extra wheels and the caravan which clips rigidly to its back. Despite its odd shape the car operated remarkably easily, for it had to be test driven to prove that as well as being very unusual, it was also highly practical.

Interestingly enough, the car cost less than $300 to build and will prove a great bargain to the school boys. They have received a brand new Austin-Morris Sherpa Minibus for their school to operate, and a gold-plated City Car Trophy as their prize. BP were delighted with the result of the competition.

Their managing director and chief executive, Mr Tiny Milne said: “It has been a really eye-opening display of ingenuity and engineering skill. “I am quite staggered at what has been achieved,” he added The derlined the ion uncompetition highly point that highly original design and invention could be achieved to a very high standard by quite young and inexperienced people. All that was needed was interest and incentive for the application
of existing technology.

The trick is to be able to
see things completely afresh, instead of through blinkers. The school children are now facing a new challenge from BP which will demand even more ingenuity from them. Their next Buildcar competition the finals are to be held next year will be extended to cover cars powered by different forms of energy.

Instead of gasoline driven cars they will be looking for good working vehicles that use natural forms of energy such as wind and the sun,, or Sources of power like steam, gas, electricity or methane. One thing is certain, there will be a lot of interest to see what the children come up with. Who knows they may even invent the final solution to thee world shortage of oil

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