A-80557, OCTOBER 7, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 354

A-80557: Oct 7, 1936

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- IS WILLING TO FURNISH A CAR IN THE HIGHER PRICE FIELD WITHIN THE STATUTORY PRICE LIMITATION. CARS WITHIN THE STATUTORY LIMITATION FIELD WERE HELD ENTIRELY ADEQUATE FOR THE SERVICE INVOLVED. 1936: THERE HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION CONTRACT USDA-4968. THE SPECIFICATIONS ACCOMPANYING THE INVITATION FOR BIDS WERE. A MINIMUM WHEEL BASE OF 118 INCHES IS REQUIRED. A DEVIATION OF NOT MORE THAN 6 PERCENT OVER OR UNDER THIS WEIGHT WILL BE ACCEPTED. CERTIFICATE OF WEIGHT AND MODEL UPON WHICH BID IS SUBMITTED WILL BE REQUIRED. SERVICE REQUIREMENTS: THIS CAR WILL BE USED IN TRANSPORTING INSPECTION PARTIES OVER A LARGE PART OF THE NORTHEASTERN AREA OF THE UNITED STATES IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE MOTH CONTROL PROJECT.

A-80557, OCTOBER 7, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 354

CONTRACTS - RESTRICTIVE SPECIFICATIONS - COMPETITION LIMITED TO AUTOMOBILES BEYOND STATUTORY PRICE LIMITATION THE GRADE OF PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES TO BE PROCURED BY THE VARIOUS GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHMENTS HAVING BEEN FIXED BY STATUTE WITHIN THE $750 PRICE LIMIT, SPECIFICATIONS FOR PASSENGER-CARRYING AUTOMOBILES MAY NOT BE DRAWN SO AS TO GRATIFY AN ADMINISTRATIVE DESIRE, EXCLUDING ALL VEHICLES WITHIN THE STATUTORY PRICE GRADE AND LIMITING COMPETITION TO THE HIGHER PRICE FIELD, NOTWITHSTANDING ONE DEALER--- THE SOLE BIDDER--- IS WILLING TO FURNISH A CAR IN THE HIGHER PRICE FIELD WITHIN THE STATUTORY PRICE LIMITATION, PARTICULARLY WHERE, AS SHOWN BY ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT FURNISHED IN CONNECTION WITH PRIOR PURCHASES, CARS WITHIN THE STATUTORY LIMITATION FIELD WERE HELD ENTIRELY ADEQUATE FOR THE SERVICE INVOLVED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, OCTOBER 7, 1936:

THERE HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION CONTRACT USDA-4968, PURCHASE ORDER NO. 4549, MAY 12, 1936, CONTRACT USDA-1568, PURCHASE ORDER NO. 4746, JUNE 8, 1936, AND CONTRACT ALS-13103, JUNE 16, 1936, COVERING THE PURCHASE OF AUTOMOBILES FOR YOUR DEPARTMENT.

PURCHASE ORDER NO. 4549 COVERED ONE BUICK SEDAN, 1936 MODEL, F.O.B. GREENFIELD, MASS., BUREAU OF ENTOMOLOGY AND PLANT QUARANTINE, FOR THE DELIVERED PRICE OF $796.21, THE BID BEING $745.39 F.O.B. FACTORY, FOR SHIPMENT ON GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING, A FREIGHT CHARGE OF $51.26 BEING INCLUDED IN THE DELIVERED PRICE. THE SPECIFICATIONS ACCOMPANYING THE INVITATION FOR BIDS WERE, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

PASSENGER-CARRYING AUTOMOBILE, FIVE PASSENGER FOUR-DOOR SEDAN, LATEST MODEL, COMPLETE WITH STANDARD EQUIPMENT, 6-PLY BALLOON TIRES AND HEAVY DUTY TUBES, INCLUDING SPARE RIM OR WHEEL WITH 6-PLY TIRE AND HEAVY DUTY TUBE COMPLETE, AUTOMATIC WINDSHIELD WIPER, SPEEDOMETER, GASOLINE GAUGE, DASHLIGHT, DEFLECTING BEAM HEADLAMPS, MIRROR, COMBINATION TAIL AND STOPLIGHT, SHOCK ABSORBERS, FRONT AND REAR BUMPERS, FLOOR MAT, IGNITION OR GEAR LOCK COMPLETE, SET OF TOOLS, SPARE TIRE OR WHEELLOCK, BUILT-IN LUGGAGE TRUNK IN REAR. A MINIMUM WHEEL BASE OF 118 INCHES IS REQUIRED. THE COMPLETE VEHICLE, LESS BUMPERS, TOOL KIT, GASOLINE AND WATER, SHALL WEIGH 3,500 POUNDS. A DEVIATION OF NOT MORE THAN 6 PERCENT OVER OR UNDER THIS WEIGHT WILL BE ACCEPTED. A VEHICLE LIGHTER THAN THAT SPECIFIED HAS BEEN FOUND, BY EXPERIENCE, TO LACK THE STURDINESS REQUIRED.

CERTIFICATE OF WEIGHT AND MODEL UPON WHICH BID IS SUBMITTED WILL BE REQUIRED.

IMPORTANT.--- THIS CERTIFICATE DOES NOT MEAN SHIPPING WEIGHT, BUT MEANS THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THE VEHICLE WITHOUT THE ACCESSORIES AND SUPPLIES LISTED IN PRECEDING PARAGRAPH.

SERVICE REQUIREMENTS:

THIS CAR WILL BE USED IN TRANSPORTING INSPECTION PARTIES OVER A LARGE PART OF THE NORTHEASTERN AREA OF THE UNITED STATES IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE MOTH CONTROL PROJECT. THE DUTIES OF THE OFFICER IN CHARGE REQUIRE CONFERENCES AND INSPECTIONS IN COMPANY WITH FEDERAL AND STATE OFFICIALS AND FOR THIS REASON THIS CAR MUST BE CAPABLE OF CONTINUOUS AND LONG DISTANCE TRAVEL BETWEEN STATES AND SHOULD BE OF STURDY CONSTRUCTION WITH ADEQUATE AND FLEXIBLE POWER TO NEGOTIATE HEAVY MOUNTAIN GRADES, SAND, MUD, ETC., AND CAPABLE OF TRAVEL UNDER EXTRAORDINARY ROAD OR WEATHER CONDITIONS THAT LONG DAY BY DAY DRIVING REQUIRES. VARIOUS UNITS, SUCH AS IGNITION COIL, GENERATOR, DISTRIBUTOR, CARBURETOR, ETC., MUST BE OF HIGH QUALITY SO AS TO REDUCE TO A MINIMUM BREAK-DOWNS EN ROUTE, AS SUCH BREAK-DOWNS SERIOUSLY INTERFERE WITH APPOINTMENTS AND CONSEQUENTLY IMPAIR EFFICIENCY. THE EXPERIENCE OF THE PROCURING BUREAU IN OPERATING VEHICLES IN THE TYPES OF WORK IN WHICH THE VEHICLE TO BE PURCHASED HEREUNDER WILL BE USED HAS SHOWN THAT VEHICLES HAVING A SHORTER WHEELBASE AND OF LIGHTER WEIGHT THAN SPECIFIED HEREIN ARE NOT AS STABLE, PARTICULARLY AROUND SHARP CURVES, ON GRAVEL ROADS, MOUNTAIN ROADS, ETC., AND NOT AS SATISFACTORY OVER A REASONABLE PERIOD OF LIFE SO FAR AS COST OF MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION IS CONCERNED. A BUILT-IN TRUNK IS REQUIRED FOR BAGGAGE.

PURCHASE ORDER NO. 4746 COVERED ONE 1936 MODEL, BUICK SEDAN, FOR THE BUREAU OF ENTOMOLOGY AND PLANT QUARANTINE, FRESNO, CALIF., FOR $735.38, F.O.B. FLINT, MICH. THE WEIGHT, WHEEL BASE, AND EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS IN THE SPECIFICATIONS FOR THIS AUTOMOBILE WERE THE SAME AS THOSE QUOTED ABOVE. THE SERVICE REQUIREMENTS WERE STATED AS FOLLOWS:

THIS CAR WILL BE USED IN TRANSPORTING SEVERAL BUREAU ENTOMOLOGISTS TO AND FROM VARIOUS DRIED FRUIT PRODUCING SECTIONS OVER A LARGE PART OF THE PACIFIC COAST AREA OF THE UNITED STATES, PARTICULARLY MOUNTAINOUS ROADS BETWEEN SAN JOAQUIN AND IMPERIAL VALLEY THROUGH ARIZONA. IT IS NECESSARY TO MAKE FREQUENT TRIPS TO THESE REGIONS AND FOR THIS REASON THE CAR MUST BE CAPABLE OF CONTINUOUS AND LONG DISTANCE TRAVEL AND SHOULD BE OF STURDY CONSTRUCTION WITH ADEQUATE AND FLEXIBLE POWER TO NEGOTIATE HEAVY MOUNTAIN GRADES AND CAPABLE OF TRAVEL UNDER EXTRAORDINARY ROAD OR WEATHER CONDITIONS THAT LONG DAY BY DAY DRIVING REQUIRES. VARIOUS UNITS, SUCH AS IGNITION COIL, GENERATOR, DISTRIBUTOR, CARBURETOR, ETC., MUST BE OF HIGH QUALITY SO AS TO REDUCE TO A MINIMUM BREAK-DOWNS EN ROUTE, AS SUCH BREAK- DOWNS SERIOUSLY INTERFERE WITH EXPERIMENTAL WORK AND CONSEQUENTLY IMPAIR EFFICIENCY. A VEHICLE LIGHTER THAN THAT SPECIFIED HAS BEEN FOUND, BY EXPERIENCE, TO LACK THE STURDINESS REQUIRED. THE CHASSIS MUST HAVE A WHEELBASE OF NOT LESS THAN 118 INCHES, BECAUSE A CAR WITH A SHORTER WHEELBASE DOES NOT HAVE THE STURDY CHASSIS CONSTRUCTION REQUIRED IN THESE SPECIFICATIONS.

CONTRACT ALS-13103 COVERED THE PURCHASE OF THREE 1936 MODEL, BUICK SEDANS, FOR THE BUREAU OF ENTOMOLOGY AND PLANT QUARANTINE, BLOOMFIELD, N.J., AT $735.38 EACH, F.O.B. FLINT, MICH., LESS TRADE-IN ALLOWANCE OF $150 FOR THREE USED FORD SEDANS, OR A NET PRICE OF $2,056.14. THE DIMENSIONAL AND EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS FOR THESE VEHICLES ALSO WERE IDENTICAL WITH THOSE QUOTED. THE SERVICE REQUIREMENTS WERE STATED AS FOLLOWS:

THESE AUTOMOBILES WILL BE USED IN THE STATES OF NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, AND CONNECTICUT, IN CONNECTION WITH DUTCH ELM DISEASE ERADICATION WORK ON INSPECTING INFECTED AREAS, OBSERVATION OF DAMAGE, AND INTENSITY OF INFECTION. THESE CARS WILL BE SUBJECTED TO VERY HARD USAGE, AND THEREFORE SHOULD BE OF STURDY CONSTRUCTION WITH ADEQUATE AND FLEXIBLE POWER TO NEGOTIATE ALL KINDS AND CONDITIONS OF ROADWAYS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE AREA. THEY MUST BE CAPABLE OF SUSTAINED HIGH SPEED AND CHASSIS AND BODY MUST BE CONSTRUCTED SO AS TO WITHSTAND THE MOST GRUELLING TESTS THAT LONG DAY BY DAY DRIVING REQUIRES. VARIOUS UNITS, SUCH AS IGNITION COIL, GENERATOR, DISTRIBUTOR, CARBURETOR, ETC., MUST BE OF HIGH QUALITY SO AS TO REDUCE TO A MINIMUM, REPEATED OR EVEN OCCASIONAL BREAK-DOWNS EN ROUTE, AS SUCH BREAK-DOWNS SERIOUSLY INTERFERE WITH APPOINTMENTS AND INSPECTIONS, AND CONSEQUENTLY IMPAIR EFFICIENCY AND DELAY THE WORK. VEHICLES LIGHTER THAN THAT SPECIFIED HAVE BEEN FOUND, BY EXPERIENCE, TO LACK STURDINESS REQUIRED. THE CHASSIS MUST HAVE WHEELBASES OF NOT LESS THAN 118 INCHES, BECAUSE CARS WITH SHORTER WHEELBASES DO NOT HAVE THE STURDY CHASSIS CONSTRUCTION REQUIRED IN THESE SPECIFICATIONS.

ATTACHED TO BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 34099 COVERING THE VEHICLE PURCHASED MAY 12, 1936, AND TO BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 35194 COVERING PAYMENT FOR THE THREE VEHICLES PURCHASED JUNE 16, 1936, ARE UNDATED MEMORANDA OVER THE SIGNATURE OF F. H. SPENCER, BUSINESS MANAGER, IN SUBSTANTIALLY IDENTICAL LANGUAGE AS FOLLOWS:

THE ATTACHED VOUCHER IS RESPECTFULLY RETURNED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION. THE STATEMENT OF SERVICE REQUIREMENTS WHICH WAS ISSUED IN CONNECTION WITH THE REQUEST FOR BIDS IN THIS CASE, WHILE IT INDICATED IN A GENERAL WAY THE USE TO WHICH THE AUTOMOBILE WAS TO BE PUT, PERHAPS DID NOT EMPHASIZE SUFFICIENTLY THE FACTORS ON WHICH THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE BASED. IN ADDITION TO THE SHOWING IN THE SPECIFICATION TEXT, IT SHOULD BE STATED THAT THIS MACHINE IS TO BE USED BY ADMINISTRATIVE AND SUPERVISORY OFFICERS, WHOSE DUTIES REQUIRE THEM TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH ALL PHASES OF THE WORK OF THE PROJECT. THIS INVOLVES VISITS TO CREWS OF MEN EMPLOYED AT INACCESSIBLE PLACES WHERE ROAD CONDITIONS ARE EXTREMELY BAD. OPERATIONS ARE CARRIED ON AT POINTS WHERE ROADS ARE VERY ROUGH, WHERE MUD AND SAND ARE FREQUENTLY ENCOUNTERED, AND WHERE IN SOME CASES THERE ARE ACTUALLY NO ROADS AT ALL, BUT MERELY TRAILS THROUGH FIELDS AND WOODED AREAS. DRIVING CONDITIONS OF THIS TYPE REQUIRE A CAR OF HEAVIER AND MORE STURDY CONSTRUCTION THAN THAT OBTAINABLE IN THE MEDIUM- WEIGHT FIELD.

THE 118-INCH WHEEL BASE REQUIREMENT IS NOT A RESTRICTIVE FEATURE WHEN CONSIDERED IN CONNECTION WITH THE WEIGHT, BUT IS USED MERELY TO ESTABLISH THE TYPE OF CARS WHICH EXPERIENCE HAS SHOWN IS NECESSARY FOR THE WORK INVOLVED.

THERE WAS NO INTENT TO INTRODUCE RESTRICTIVE CLAUSES INTO THE SPECIFICATIONS, NOR IS IT BELIEVED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE, IN FACT, AT ALL RESTRICTIVE, USE CONDITIONS DULY CONSIDERED. THIS IS CLEARLY BROUGHT OUT BY THE FACT THAT THE FOLLOWING MAKES OF CARS ARE ALL IN THE SAME COMPETITIVE CLASS AND ARE FOR CONSIDERATION UNDER THE SPECIFICATIONS AS DRAWN: AUBURN 8, BUICK 41, CHRYSLER 8, NASH AMBASSADOR 6, PACKARD 120, STUDEBAKER PRESIDENT, AND OLDSMOBILE 8. REQUESTS FOR BIDS WERE SENT TO ALL OF THE FIRMS MANUFACTURING THESE AUTOMOBILES.

ATTACHED TO BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 34761 COVERING PAYMENT FOR THE CAR DELIVERED TO FRESNO, CALIF., IS A SIMILAR MEMORANDUM AS FOLLOWS:

THE ATTACHED VOUCHER IS RESPECTFULLY RETURNED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION. THE STATEMENT OF SERVICE REQUIREMENTS WHICH WAS ISSUED IN CONNECTION WITH THE REQUEST FOR BIDS IN THIS CASE, WHILE IT INDICATED IN A GENERAL WAY THE USE TO WHICH THE AUTOMOBILE WAS TO BE PUT, PERHAPS DID NOT EMPHASIZE SUFFICIENTLY THE FACTORS ON WHICH THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE BASED. THE CAR IS TO BE USED FOR TRAVEL TO WIDELY SEPARATED POINTS ON THE PACIFIC COAST, IN CONNECTION WITH INVESTIGATIONS OF DRIED FRUITS, WHICH INCLUDE AMONG OTHERS, PRUNES AND PEARS IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST AND FIGS AND DATES IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AND ARIZONA. IN ORDER PROPERLY TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH ALL OF THESE PROBLEMS, IT IS NECESSARY TO MAKE LONG TRIPS, OFTEN TO POINTS WHICH CAN BE REACHED ONLY BY TRAVEL OVER ROUGH, WINDING ROADS OVER RUGGED MOUNTAINOUS COUNTRY. THESE TRIPS CAN BE MADE MUCH MORE QUICKLY AND SAFELY WITH A HEAVIER TYPE OF CAR, AND WITH SUCH A CAR THE PERSONNEL ENGAGED IN THE WORK ARRIVE AT THE DESTINATION IN BETTER PHYSICAL CONDITION AND ARE THUS ABLE TO COMPLETE THE TASK IN HAND MORE QUICKLY AND EFFICIENTLY.

THE CAR WAS SHIPPED FROM FLINT, MICHIGAN.

THE 118-INCH WHEEL BASE REQUIREMENT IS NOT A RESTRICTIVE FEATURE WHEN CONSIDERED IN CONNECTION WITH THE WEIGHT, BUT IS USED MERELY TO ESTABLISH THE TYPE OF CARS WHICH EXPERIENCE HAS SHOWN IS NECESSARY FOR THE WORK INVOLVED.

THERE WAS NO INTENT TO INTRODUCE RESTRICTIVE CLAUSES INTO THE SPECIFICATIONS, NOR IS IT BELIEVED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE, IN FACT, AT ALL RESTRICTIVE, USE CONDITIONS DULY CONSIDERED. THIS IS CLEARLY BROUGHT OUT BY THE FACT THAT THE FOLLOWING MAKES OF CARS ARE ALL IN THE SAME COMPETITIVE CLASS AND ARE FOR CONSIDERATION UNDER THE SPECIFICATIONS AS DRAWN: AUBURN 8, BUICK 41, CHRYSLER 8, NASH AMBASSADOR 6, PACKARD 120, STUDEBAKER PRESIDENT, AND OLDSMOBILE 8. REQUESTS FOR BIDS WERE SENT TO ALL OF THE FIRMS MANUFACTURING THESE AUTOMOBILES.

IT THUS APPEARS THAT THE VEHICLES INVOLVED ARE FOR USE IN VARIOUS SECTIONS OF THE COUNTRY IN CONNECTION WITH DUTCH ELM DISEASE ERADICATION WORK, IN CONNECTION WITH THE "ADMINISTRATION OF THE MOTH CONTROL PROJECT," AND IN THE INVESTIGATION OF DRIED PRUNES AND PEARS IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST AND DRIED FIGS AND DATES IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AND ARIZONA. WOULD APPEAR REASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT THE SERVICE CONDITIONS TO BE ENCOUNTERED IN THESE WIDELY SEPARATED SECTIONS OF THE COUNTRY WOULD VARY MATERIALLY, YET THE CONDITIONS STATED ARE IDENTICAL.

THE FINAL PARAGRAPH OF THE MEMORANDA, SUPRA, NAMES SEVEN MAKES OF AUTOMOBILES "ALL IN THE SAME COMPETITIVE CLASS AND ARE FOR CONSIDERATION UNDER THE SPECIFICATIONS AS DRAWN * * *.' AUTOMOTIVE LITERATURE IN THIS OFFICE GIVES THE LIST PRICES OF THE AUTOMOBILES NAMED AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

AUBURN 8 --------------------------------------------- $1,095

BUICK 40 (1) ----------------------------------------- 885

CHRYSLER 8 ------------------------------------------- -----

NASH AMBASSADOR 6 (PRICE OF VICTORIA) ---------------- 835

OLDSMOBILE 8 ----------------------------------------- 940

PACKARD 120 ------------------------------------------ 1,075

STUDEBAKER PRESIDENT --------------------------------- 945

IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT ANY BIDS, OTHER THAN THE ACCEPTED BID, WERE RECEIVED IN ANY OF THE THREE INSTANCES HERE IN QUESTION. THE COMPETITION REQUIRED BY THE STATUTES IS COMPETITION WITHIN THE $750 PRICE CLASS AND NOT THE POSSIBILITY OF COMPETITION AMONG AUTOMOBILES OF A HIGHER PRICE. THE RULE WAS LAID DOWN IN 5 COMP. GEN. 776 THAT "THE PROPOSALS FOR BIDS MUST BE SUCH AS TO AT LEAST INVITE COMPETITION BETWEEN ALL DEALERS OF WHATEVER MAKE IN THAT OR SUPERIOR GRADES OF EQUIPMENT AND THE BID MOST ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT MUST BE ACCEPTED.' SINCE THAT RULE WAS STATED THE CONGRESS HAS BY STATUTORY ENACTMENT FIXED THE GRADE OF EQUIPMENT AS TO PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES AS WITHIN THE PRICE LIMIT OF $750, AND AS THE LAW NOW IS, SPECIFICATIONS MAY NOT LEGALLY BE SO DRAWN AS TO EXCLUDE VEHICLES IN THAT GRADE FROM COMPETITION, IRRESPECTIVE OF ADMINISTRATIVE PREDILECTION. IN A-57939, IN WHICH FINAL DECISION TO YOU WAS RENDERED DECEMBER 18, 1934, THERE WERE UNDER CONSIDERATION SPECIFICATIONS ACCOMPANYING INVITATIONS FOR BIDS OPENED JUNE 15, 1934, FOR THE PURCHASE OF THREE SEDAN AUTOMOBILES FOR YOUR DEPARTMENT. THOSE SPECIFICATIONS ARE QUOTED BELOW, IN PERTINENT PART, FOR COMPARISON:

SERVICE REQUIREMENTS.--- THE CARS TO BE PURCHASED UNDER THESE SPECIFICATIONS WILL BE USED FOR LONG TRIPS BY OFFICIALS ON INSPECTION TRIPS AND OTHER FIELD WORK OF THE DEPARTMENT, IN REMOTE SECTIONS OF THE COUNTRY. THE CARS MUST BE ADAPTABLE TO CONTINUOUS AND LONG DISTANCE TRAVEL BETWEEN PROJECTS AND MUST BE OF STURDY CONSTRUCTION WITH ADEQUATE AND FLEXIBLE POWER TO NEGOTIATE HEAVY GRADES, SAND, MUD, ETC., AND CAPABLE OF TRAVEL UNDER EXTRAORDINARY ROAD AND WEATHER CONDITIONS. THE ROUTES TO BE TRAVERSED BY THESE CARS WILL INCLUDE ALL KINDS AND CONDITIONS OF ROADWAYS, RANGING DOWN TO UNIMPROVED ROADS AND TRAILS IN MOUNTAINOUS COUNTRY AND ON PROJECTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

THE AUTOMOBILE MUST BE CAPABLE OF SUSTAINED HIGH SPEED AND CHASSIS AND BODY MUST BE CONSTRUCTED SO AS TO WITHSTAND THE MOST GRUELLING TESTS THAT LONG DAY BY DAY DRIVING REQUIRES. VARIOUS UNITS, SUCH AS IGNITION, COIL, GENERATOR, DISTRIBUTOR, CARBURETOR, ETC., MUST BE OF HIGH QUALITY SO AS TO REDUCE TO A MINIMUM, REPEATED OR EVEN OCCASIONAL BREAK-DOWNS EN ROUTE, AS SUCH BREAK-DOWNS SERIOUSLY INTERFERE WITH THE EMPLOYEES APPOINTMENTS AND CONSEQUENTLY IMPAIR THEIR EFFICIENCY AND ACTUALLY DELAY THE WORK ON IMPORTANT PROJECTS. ACTUAL EXPERIENCE HAS PROVEN THAT THE LIGHTER WEIGHT CARS ARE NOT SUFFICIENTLY STURDY IN CONSTRUCTION TO WITHSTAND THE LONG DAY BY DAY DRIVING UNDER THE SERVICE CONDITIONS STATED, WITHOUT SERIOUS DELAYS.

THESE SPECIFICATIONS ARE BASED ON SEVERAL YEARS' EXPERIENCE IN THE OPERATION OF CARS UNDER THE CONDITIONS DESCRIBED ABOVE AND COVER THE TYPE OF CAR WHICH OUR EXPERIENCE HAS SHOWN WILL SATISFACTORILY MEET OUR REQUIREMENTS.

THE CHASSIS MUST HAVE A WHEELBASE OF NOT LESS THAN 114 INCHES, A SHORTER WHEELBASE WILL NOT BE ACCEPTABLE AS CARS WITH A SHORTER WHEELBASE DO NOT HAVE THE STURDY CHASSIS CONSTRUCTION REQUIRED IN THESE SPECIFICATIONS.

WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS.--- THE COMPLETE VEHICLE, LESS BUMPERS, EXTRA TIRE, EXTRA WHEEL OR RIM, TOOL KIT, GASOLINE, AND WATER, SHALL WEIGH 3,100 POUNDS. A DEVIATION OF NOT MORE THAN 6 PERCENT OVER OR UNDER THIS WEIGHT WILL BE ACCEPTED. A VEHICLE LIGHTER THAN THAT SPECIFIED HAS BEEN FOUND, BY EXPERIENCE, TO LACK THE STURDINESS REQUIRED AND A VEHICLE OF HEAVIER WEIGHT INCREASES THE OPERATION COST WITHOUT RENDERING PROPORTIONALLY GREATER SERVICE.

IN A LETTER TO THIS OFFICE OF NOVEMBER 2, 1934, IN THAT MATTER, AFTER RECITING THE ECONOMIES RESULTING FROM EMPLOYMENT OF VEHICLES IN THE SECOND PRICE CLASS RANGE AND MEDIUM WEIGHT "UNDER SEVERE SERVICE CONDITIONS," YOU ADDED:

* * * HOWEVER, THIS ECONOMY IN USE UNDER SPECIAL SERVICE CONDITIONS CAN NOT BE SECURED WHEN WEIGHT BECOMES EXCESSIVE BY RISING ABOVE THE MAXIMUM SPECIFIED AS ACCEPTABLE (3,100 POUNDS PLUS 6 PERCENT) WHICH FACT IS ALSO REFLECTED IN THE SPECIFICATIONS.

IN A LETTER OF NOVEMBER 26, 1934, IN THE SAME CASE, YOU QUOTED FIGURES FROM THE RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS PURPORTING TO SHOW THE ADVANTAGES IN COST OF OPERATION WHICH HAD RESULTED FROM ELIMINATING AUTOMOBILES IN THE LOWEST PRICE FIELD AND REPLACING THEM WITH CARS IN THE SECOND PRICE AND MEDIUM WEIGHT CLASS. THOSE FIGURES COVERED THE PERIOD FROM 1927 TO 1934, INCLUSIVE, AND YOU STATED THAT AUTOMOBILES IN THE MEDIUM WEIGHT CLASS OR "SECOND-PRICE BRACKET" WHICH YOU SUGGESTED AS AN AVERAGE OF $620, ADEQUATELY SERVED THE NEEDS OF YOUR DEPARTMENT UNDERSEVERE SPECIAL-SERVICE CONDITIONS.

IT THUS APPEARS THAT IN NOVEMBER 1934, YOUR DEPARTMENT ARGUED THAT WHILE AUTOMOBILES WITH A WHEEL BASE LESS THAN 114 INCHES AND A WEIGHT OF LESS THAN 2,914 POUNDS (3,100 POUNDS LESS 6 PERCENT) WERE NOT ADEQUATE TO SEVERE SERVICE CONDITIONS, VEHICLES ONLY SLIGHTLY ABOVE AND CLOSELY APPROXIMATING SUCH DIMENSIONS IN WEIGHT SERVED EVERY NEED OF YOUR DEPARTMENT, WHILE PURCHASE OF ANY VEHICLE SUBSTANTIALLY HEAVIER WAS NOT JUSTIFIED "SINCE A VEHICLE OF HEAVIER WEIGHT INCREASES THE OPERATION COST WITHOUT RENDERING PROPORTIONATELY GREATER SERVICE.' THIS STATEMENT WAS BASED UPON AN EXPERIENCE OF 8 YEARS, DURING WHICH THE MEDIUM WEIGHT VEHICLES HAD BEEN PROVEN ENTIRELY ADEQUATE. IN APRIL 1936, APPROXIMATELY 17 MONTHS LATER, YOUR DEPARTMENT INFORMED PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS THAT THE DEPARTMENT MUST HAVE VEHICLES OF NOT LESS THAN 118-INCH WHEEL BASE AND NOT LESS THAN A MINIMUM OF 3,290 POUNDS WEIGHT (3,500 LESS 6 PERCENT) FOR USE UNDER SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR SERVICE CONDITIONS AND REQUIREMENTS, AS DISCLOSED BY A COMPARISON OF THE SPECIFICATIONS, FOR THE REASON THAT THE LIGHTER WEIGHT CAR "HAS BEEN FOUND, BY EXPERIENCE, TO LACK THE STURDINESS REQUIRED.' IN THE INTERIM, PRACTICALLY EVERY MANUFACTURER OF PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES HAS INTRODUCED IMPROVEMENTS AND REFINEMENTS WHICH THE MANUFACTURERS CLAIM CONTRIBUTE TO THE STURDINESS AND SAFETY AND ECONOMY OF OPERATION OF THEIR VEHICLES.

IT IS REMARKABLE, IF A FACT, THAT WHILE CARS WEIGHING FROM 2,914 TO 3,286 POUNDS PROVED ENTIRELY ADEQUATE TO THE SEVERE SPECIAL SERVICE CONDITIONS OVER A PERIOD OF 8 YEARS, IT HAS BEEN PROVEN BY EXPERIENCE, IN THE COMPARATIVELY SHORT PERIOD OF 17 MONTHS, THAT CARS OF SUCH WEIGHT, WITH IMPROVED CONSTRUCTION,"LACK THE REQUIRED STURDINESS.'

THE PRESENT RECORD WOULD INDICATE THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION WERE ,STEPPED UP" IN ORDER TO GRATIFY AN ADMINISTRATIVE DESIRE--- RATHER THAN AN ACTUAL SERVICE NEED--- FOR A PARTICULAR MAKE OF VEHICLE OR FOR A VEHICLE OF A CLASS NOT GENERALLY RECOGNIZED AS WITHIN THE $750 PRICE LIMITATION PRESCRIBED BY THE STATUTE. SEE 15 COMP. GEN. 1103, AND 16 COMP. GEN. 38.

IT APPEARS THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION WERE ISSUED AND THE PURCHASES MADE PRIOR TO PUBLICATION OF DECISIONS OF JUNE 15, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 1085; JUNE 16, 1936, ID. 1103, AND SEPTEMBER 1, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 207, AND APPROVAL OF OTHERWISE PROPER PAYMENTS UNDER THESE PARTICULAR CONTRACTS WILL NOT BE WITHHELD.

HOWEVER, THE MATTER IS BEING BROUGHT TO YOUR ATTENTION FOR SUCH ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO CORRECT WHAT APPEARS TO BE A PRACTICE NOT IN CONFORMITY WITH THE PURPOSE OF THE STATUTES APPLICABLE TO THE PURCHASE OF PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES.

CERTIFICATION OF BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 34099 IN THE AMOUNT OF $796.21, COVERING DELIVERED PRICE OF THE AUTOMOBILE FOR GREENFIELD, MASS., WILL BE WITHHELD PENDING A REPORT FROM YOUR DEPARTMENT SHOWING THAT THE ITEM OF $51.26 FREIGHT CHARGE INCLUDED IN THE DELIVERED PRICE IS NOT IN EXCESS OF THE MINIMUM COST OF DELIVERY FROM FACTORY ON GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING, HAVING REGARD FOR LAND GRANTS AND OTHER BENEFITS AVAILABLE, BY THE ROUTE AND METHOD MOST ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT.