Half a Million Dollar Motion Sickness Incident

Our new Editor-in-Chief tells us a great tale about almost losing her lunch in a Rolls Royce Dawn…

almost? She said that she made three technicolor yawns. I say it was too much drawn butter with the lobster. Next time, I volunteer to drive the Rolls for her. I am not similarly afflicted.

@jtsanders I volunteer as well! Maybe we can flip for it. The Dawn is a VERY pretty vehicle.

We’ll take turns. I’ll drive to Kennebunkport and you can drive back. :blush:

Having test driven as well as tuned hundreds of cars, I can attest to the ability of SOME cars to elicit the technicolor yawn in SOME people, ALL of the time. When the vibrations line up, the barf bags come out… I don’t get motion sick, but I can feel the queasiness at times.

Everything in a car vibrates to some degree. People’s bodies vibrate in sympathy with the frequencies of those various systems. For example, the motion of the car’s body is between about 1 cycle per second (Hz) and 2 Hz. Luxury cars tend more toward 1 Hz. That can give what feels like seasickness to certain people. Luxo barges (60’s and 70’s American cars) tend to be that way. A few miles and the passengers start looking for the railing!

The engine and transmission tend to bounce around 7 to 9 Hz or so. What we used to call the “barf frequency” is the natural frequency of your stomach, about 5-6 Hz, depending on your body type. If you are thinner and more toned, that can be more like 7-9 Hz so the engine bounce can make you barf if the frequencies line up.

There are other things that can vibrate; the windshield and rear glass can pump like a bass drum, the unibody itself can bend, drum and twist, the tires can dribble (about 11-18 hz), all of which can make sensitive people toss their cookies.

You can make use of those people if you know you have them around. We used a controls engineer as a “canary in the coal mine” at times because he tended to get motion sick. We knew we had a good car if he didn’t suffer during a test ride. Ironic. considering he wrote the control algorithm for the electronic shocks we were tuning.

1 Like

How did you like the Ferrari with GM magnetic ride control? Which model did Ferrari supply?

I, unfortunately, did not get to tune the Ferrari. Sigh… My French counterpart got that plum assignment. The first application was the '07 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano.

I can not go on simulator rides because of motion sickness. I think about that when I watch movies with horse drawn coaches where the coach body is suspended on leather straps acting as springs.
I’m fine on a boat when underway, even in rough water, but sitting still, gently swaying in the swell, stomach is off to the races.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder :eye:

I don’t find the Rolls Royce Dawn to be a pretty vehicle

To me, it just looks MASSIVE

I’m more old school, and I just don’t find the modern Rolls Royce vehicles visually appealing


I guess that would exclude all RR cars ever made, and that’s OK. I think it is massively gorgeous. I’m not rich enough to buy one and maintain it, even an old one, but that doesn’t change my opinion.

… and mental association with things totally unrelated to that sea sickness can persist.
Back in the '60s, we were on a little jaunt in my uncle’s cabin cruiser, and we had all been munching on hard-boiled eggs when my mother was suddenly overcome with sea sickness. For more than 10 years afterward, just the scent of a hard-boiled egg made her nauseous.