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Size matters…

It may have been due to his age, but the cause was deeper. The customer in the classic store simply did not fit the car he wanted. Because the height of people is just as threatening to our passion as all kinds of legal measures. We Dutch are currently the tallest on earth. But 200 years ago we were still among the smallest: in two centuries we grew 20 centimeters! And you are on average 180,8 cm. That is brave boarding in an MG Midget!

We have grown

Then we are talking about the average height. In the Netherlands it was 19 cm in the middle of the 164th century. In Italy 161 cm, in Germany 164 cm and in England 166 cm. And Japanese? They were on average 155 cm. Americans were an average of 172 cm at the time.
Now the average Dutch person is 181 cm tall. Italy now supplies men with an average height of 180 cm. Body size is one of the topics of the nature nurture debate. In any case, the environment and health play a role, as do hereditary factors such as genes, while the height of the inhabitants of countries belonging to the third world generally lags considerably behind that of the inhabitants of the first world countries.

It has been the circumstances

This is a direct result of different living standards and a different liveability of the environment, things such as malnutrition, different sleeping patterns and whether or not they have to perform heavy physical labor at a young age. The health of the mother, especially during pregnancy, also plays an important role. The influence of the mother's age on the height of the child is not entirely clear, but most studies indicate that there is a greater chance of having a child with a large body size at a later age of the mother.
Our height increase is especially noticeable with classics from before - say - 1980.


After that, globalization in automobile construction had taken over so much that it was no longer possible to say “Of course Italian cars are smaller. Italians are smaller. ” And a Renault Alpine A 110 is also not designed with a 192 centimeter long, sixty-year-old North Hollander in mind.
The fact that cars have grown with us also puts our hobby in a different light. A full sized Yank Tank, the cars from before the first oil crisis, was a huge container for our parents. Our kids have Porsche Cayennes, BMW X7s, Range Rovers and the Mercedes GLS X166 in the picture when it comes to big cars. Indeed, a full-sized 1976 Buick LeSabre is a low, narrow car on thin tires by comparison.

The future?

Where will it go in the future? Our growth has since stabilized. And cars are losing their place of honor as the number one status object. We already saw an advertisement in which a car was advertised as 'the ideal platform for your smartphone'. Cars are apparently getting smaller in size again. And electric. Or are we going to run on hydrogen? We live in interesting times.


With the right format and a smile you sit neatly behind the window. Full sized compatriots stand out. Because Brits used to be shorter too.

To emphasize the size, people were simply made smaller

The Fiat 500 has simply grown with it

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Give a reaction
  1. My wife (158 cm) and I (175 cm) are the proud owners of a Porsche 912 (yes, the one with the 1600 cc engine) from the year 1965. Try to get in and out in an elegant way without practice. to step…. Watch your teeth!

  2. My former neighbor across the street had a Fiat garage. Every now and then he brought home a 500. It was there in the driveway. Neighbor was quite tall. When she started driving in the 500, she opened the roof and looked over the window frame with her head through the roof.
    You will never forget that image!

  3. I have been driving a Volvo Amazone since 1982, never no back problems, but I had a Japanese scanner a few times, fat miserable seats are much too small.
    Also lived in Amerike for a while so I drove an American also good seats.

  4. There is also a (expensive) solution to higher body height (and width). About 25 years ago I visited the company where my son worked, Church Green Engineering in the south of England where my son worked at the time and was able to admire a very beautiful Lotus 11 there. However, it turned out to be a counterfeit because it was 3 inches wider and 6 inches longer (both wheelbase and overall length) than standard. My son explained that someone had requested that his car be rebuilt in such a way that the car, while retaining all of the Lotus 11 features, could enable “smooth driving” for the owner who was over 1,90 tall.

  5. Ah, with motorcycles too; in 1973 with 1,82 m on a Triumph I was fine with Trophy 650 from 1969, now in 2020 I don't think it's a sight.

  6. Quite rightly a point of attention that length !!
    For about 30 years (a 60k km / yr) I have an adapted seat in the car. This is because in my Mondeo 1.8 td I got pain in my back and rides of more than an hour became a drama. First a Scheelstoel later an Ass I left in the Peugeot after a crash. The Ass that I have now had for about 12 years will no longer be able to be transferred (model is no longer made, so no more cushions / fabric). Transferring to another car costs (the boss) about € 300. What I do nowadays is to choose that Ass company (what's in a name 🙂 and ask which car they would like to install their seats in. This is because the internal dimensions of the car can ruin the seating position despite the perfect seat. since I got back pain in my back after half a year in a Megane Oh yes, bigger is not always better, an xc60 is not ideal in terms of sitting position !!

    Maybe that gentleman should buy a 2CV. Is in any case designed for clogs or large footwear. Do you have to bow your head at the stoppielichie😜

  7. I used to go to the RAI with my brother to try on cars, he is 205 myself 196 “small” over the years, still a lot of unsuitable cars
    Current is the _for me_ huge center console. Result me ​​and my brother certainly not, lost our right leg. With most classics that was never a problem they had little or no.

  8. A few years ago I was once allowed to take a seat in an A110 exhibited somewhere in France. My height of 181 cm already met what the average Dutch man can now count in centimeters. Nevertheless, I was called to order by the vehicle manager. Monsieur, you have to sit with your butt first and then bring your legs in. Once everything was inboard, it was great in that slender bolt.

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