I am not intending to start an inflammatory debate and my first effort at this post ended up with the moderators (oops) ..
I found the Top Gear show feature on the first car to be set up in the way that we know cars today interesting and I thought it was a tongue in cheek observation on the issue of spygate in F1 this season. It would seem from information presented on the show last that one of the first cars set up as we know today was a Cadillac and then the Austin Seven came along. The company developed the ideas and produced a car that would be more affordable by the masses.
I've been wondering for some time now why there has been so much fuss has been about with technical data passing hands. Technology is taken foward by those who did not originate it all the time, and it's what leads to further advances and refinement ..
Following a season dominated by McLaren being accused of cheating, and losing the constructor's championship, it's interesting to see that McLaren has won Autosport's car of the year award - and personally, I don't mind seeing them getting recognition for the car they have developed. Now Renault now find themselves facing scrutiny over data they have acquired. My thoughts are that teams will eventually benefit from the technology created by others as nothing stays secret forever.
Considering the cars seen on Top Gear last night, when you look at the way technology in cars has evolved since the first cars that appeared at the end of the 1800's which were little more than bicycles with a small motor, copying has surely been a good thing for us all.
Without forward thinkers who have taken ideas, learned from the ideas of others, and developed them further, little would have changed - in fact we might have been left with just the invention of the wheel, and nothing else to go with it!!