Bridget Gorfe’s Diary

In the spirit of even-handedness, we feel we should present selected extracts of this disturbing counterview to the recent pieces we have published by Myles Gorfe.

Micra

SUNDAY 14 DECEMBER 2014 (12.45am) : Sunday lunch is in the oven and Myles has just come in from working on the Granada. The poor love looked so miserable. He spent all morning fitting a new part he bought on Ebay and it doesn’t work. He’s just popped up to his man-cave to order another.

SUNDAY 14 DECEMBER 2014 (3.45pm) : Oh well, that was Sunday lunch. The kids liked it anyway but Myles was a no-show. I’ve kept his warm. He’d promised to have a look at my Micra today but it looks like that won’t happen. Continue reading “Bridget Gorfe’s Diary”

Fake Reverse Rake C-Pillars

Monovolume and estate cars tend to alarm designers.

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In Britain such vehicles are habitually likened to “breadvans” even though nobody has seen a breadvan in about four decades. One way to try to disguise the actual profile of the car is to play about with the graphics of the windows and create a false reverse-rake C-pillar. To my knowledge the first to try this was Honda who deployed it on a supermini concept car in the early 90s. I have not been able to find this but someone at Toyota saw it and used it on the Toyota Picnic. Continue reading “Fake Reverse Rake C-Pillars”

Our Cars: 1975 Ford Granada 2.0 L

Run by: Myles Gorfe. Total Mileage: 299,915. Miles since April 2015: 1. Latest costs: £169 for removing carburettor, £74.01 for installing the carburettor. £23 for repairing the headliner, £12 for loosening the rear-view mirror ball joint, £19 for new coolant and adjusting the air filter, £20 for a puncture and £100 for a new period Ford radio, £50 for the flat-bed truck, £490 for cutting, welding, filling and painting of a-pillar rust problem.

1975 Ford Granada 2.0 L
1975 Ford Granada 2.0 L

It’s been a busy month for the Grannie. Len Gudgeon at the Granada Garage installed the new carburetor but had huge difficulties with a sheared bolt that had to be drilled out. Gavin Chide revised his bill from £74.01 to £89.34 due to an error with the VAT calculation. The rust spot on the outside of the A-pilllar turned out to conceal an extensive area of rot underneath which Len Gudgeon dealt with, taking about three and a half weeks to prepare the area and source the right paint for the re-spray. Continue reading “Our Cars: 1975 Ford Granada 2.0 L”

What Is The Difference Between A Skoda Rapid And A Skoda Rapid?

…quite a lot if the first one is from India and the second one from Europe.

Images: Skoda India and Skoda UK.
Images: Skoda India and Skoda UK.

As a service to our eagle-eyed readers I have looked up details on the Skoda Rapid’s Indian and European incarnations. I am a bit embarrassed I did not spot the fact I posted an Indian-market Rapid instead of a European one. The Indian Rapid has two engine options: a 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol and a 1.5 litre four cylinder diesel. They turn out 77 kW or 104 PS respectively. Continue reading “What Is The Difference Between A Skoda Rapid And A Skoda Rapid?”

Cheap Saloons From Around The World: Peugeot 301

The ripples emanating from the dropped pebble that is the Fiat Ægea are still spreading ever outward.  

2013 Peugeot 301: www.paultan.com
2013 Peugeot 301: http://www.paultan.com

While prowling around to see what else is on sale around the world, I found a report from Automotive News. It was about a new PSA factory mooted for Morocco that reminded me of the existence of the Peugeot 301. This car is not setting the world on fire because these link (below) are pretty much all that’s out there.

The report mentions en passant that the 301 is to be made in Nigeria. I may very well have heard of the 301 before but I have since managed to Continue reading “Cheap Saloons From Around The World: Peugeot 301”

Obituary: Erik Carlsson – 1929-2015

Driven to Write salutes the passing of a motoring giant

Erik Carlsson RIP. Image via saabklubdanmark
Erik Carlsson RIP. Image via saabklubdanmark

The motoring world is a little bleaker today following news of the death of Erik Carlsson, Saab’s legendary rally champion and latter-day marque ambassador. Saab may well have made their commercial mark in the 1960s without his exploits on the special stages, forests and safaris of the World Rally championships, but Carlsson’s wins in the underpowered two-stroke 93-series were instrumental in making the world sit up and take notice of those funny looking little cars made in that funny sounding little place called Trollhättan.  Continue reading “Obituary: Erik Carlsson – 1929-2015”

Theme : Secondhand – Do Not Resuscitate?

As we approach the end of this month’s theme, we ask whether there is life beyond secondhand

Old XJ-S B

You may not have reached that age yet (though I think I did at around 16) but one day you look in the mirror and ask yourself “how did I get to look like this”? The physical proof of the passing of time seems totally out of proportion with the short period you feel you have spent on the Earth.
This appeared near to where I live in South-West London last weekend. It’s sitting in the street, the passenger window wide open to the elements. Has it been stolen and dumped or has someone local bought it, with the prospect of restoration, only to find that the electric windows go down, but not up? Continue reading “Theme : Secondhand – Do Not Resuscitate?”

Second Opinion: 2015 Citroen C4 Cactus 1.6 Diesel

SV Robinson’s review of the Citroen Cactus is deservedly our most nibbled item of clickbait here at DTW. I finally had a chance to sample the delights of Citroen’s stylish (or over-styled) supermini crossover so I hope to grab a slice of the action.

2015 Citroen C4 Cactus. I took too long to set up the photo.
2015 Citroen C4 Cactus. I took too long to set up the photo.

The version I tested had a 1.6 litre diesel engine and a five-speed gearbox. Whether it could muster 91 or 99 hp never became clear to me. The version I tested had the handy reversing camera and the full glass roof plus a centre arm rest for the driver. The interior is very colour sensitive and the grey tones of the test car dampened the sculptural quality of much the interior trim. There really is no reason to Continue reading “Second Opinion: 2015 Citroen C4 Cactus 1.6 Diesel”

Theme: Secondhand – Old Car Magazines

Far better than owning an old car is owning a lot of old car magazines. You can buy them for about the same price as a new magazine but they are miles more absorbing. They take up less space than an old car too.

Second hand car magazines - Autocar 1974
Second hand car magazines – Autocar 1974

One of the pleasures of buying a new car magazine is imagining what it might be like to drive some of the overpriced, over-sized and over-complicated space rockets that fill their pages. And that’s about it. There’s not much else in these magazines since the explanatory role of car journalism has gone the way of the BBC’s old aim of entertaining, informing and educating. It’s all entertainment now. If you want news go to Automotive News which is free. That’s a great site.

In stark contrast, old magazines such as the one shown here let you Continue reading “Theme: Secondhand – Old Car Magazines”

Wholly Toledo II: the 2012 Seat Toledo

In the previous instalment we looked at the first three incarnations of the Seat Toledo. In this article we ask what, precisely is the difference between a Seat Toledo and Skoda Rapid. And maybe make a few other points as well.

2015 Seat Toledo. I hate these leafless yards that car adverys so adore. These have inspired people across Europe to rip out their plants and cover their front garden with asphalt or gravel. Image: SEAT UK.
2015 Seat Toledo. I hate these leafless yards that art directors so adore. These have inspired people across Europe to rip out their plants and cover their front garden with asphalt or gravel. Image: SEAT UK.

The current Toledo appeared in 2012 and replaced the unwelcomed Exeo. At the same time, Skoda launched their Rapid which shares all the main mechanicals and a good deal of the gross physical form. Both are made in the Skoda factory in Mlada Boleslav. The Toledo first: it’s a hatchback that looks like a saloon. You have to Continue reading “Wholly Toledo II: the 2012 Seat Toledo”

Theme: Secondhand – The new car/used car gap

Stephen Fry wrote once that the world is divided into two groups of people. There are those who divide the world into two groups of people and those who don’t. Fry said that he belonged to the latter.

Used cars are available from the Swann Motor Centre in Cowley, Oxford.
Used cars are available from the Swan Motor Centre in Cowley, Oxford.

I believe the world to be divided in lots of ways. One of those divisions is the one separating people who only ever drive a new car and those who only ever drive something pre-loved. Another subdivision is being a journalist or not. Using just two parameters (new/used and journalist/non-journalist) we can Continue reading “Theme: Secondhand – The new car/used car gap”

Orange Car of the Day: Lancia Beta Coupe

While surveying the cars parked in the paddock at this weekend’s Classic Race Aarhus I noticed the broad range of colours. Red, yellow, light blue, green and orange were all there along with black and metallic grey plus various shades I could not more precisely determine.

1973-1984 Lancia Beta coupe.
1973-1984 Lancia Beta coupe.

This splendid orange Lancia Beta was not the only orange car but the only Lancia present. The interior featured a cosy light green velour and seating inspired by Italian furniture of the period. Only the cracked brown dashboard let things down a little. “The bodywork was developed in-house by a Lancia team led by Aldo Castagno, with Pietro Castagnero acting as styling consultant. Castagnero had also styled the Beta’s predecessor, the Lancia Fulvia saloon and coupé” says Wikipedia. Continue reading “Orange Car of the Day: Lancia Beta Coupe”

Ashtray of the Day: 1955 Ford Thunderbird

I would very much like to have been able to open this ashtray on what I think is a 1955 Ford Thunderbird.

1955 Ford Thunderbird ashtray
1955 Ford Thunderbird ashtray

The ashtray is a sliding tray and I invite readers to inform me if the ashtray is illuminated. I am betting it is not. Despite the chrome finish, it’s a bit small for the job, isn’t it? I think the ashtray needed to be double the width so that neither the driver nor passenger would have to reach too far.

Just Parked Up: 1983 Toyota Crown

Behold, a lovingly repainted Toyota Crown, from circa 1983.

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This weekend the Classic Race took place in Aarhus. I went along to have a look at the cars on view near the race track. However, the most interesting and unusual car I saw was not among the 911s, Ferraris, Beetles, Amazons, 2002s and Morris Minors gathered in the paddock. Continue reading “Just Parked Up: 1983 Toyota Crown”

History Repeating – XJ40 Part 18

Phase Four – 1986-1994: The Rhymes of Goodbye. As Henry’s new broom sweeps both baby and bathwater, XJ40 gets a final makeover before it bows out.

Twilight of a champion?
Best for last? The 1993 XJ12. Image: automobilesdeluxetv

Bent on beating General Motors to the punch, it appears the Blue Oval not only overpaid but failed to carry out a sufficiently thorough pre-purchase inspection. As the scale of Jaguar’s issues became clear, budgets and new car programmes were slashed. It didn’t take long for the briefings to start, the US giant unashamedly publicising their findings, seemingly oblivious to the negative PR this would engender – to say nothing about morale.  Continue reading “History Repeating – XJ40 Part 18”

Wholly Toledo: A Two Part Look At SEAT’s Ragbag Nameplate

With apologies to anyone who expected something else when Googling the term “Wholly Toledo”. I just wanted an amusing play on words so I could make this fake magazine cover:

If it doesn't exist, I will invent it. Wholly Toledo is the popular magazine for UK fans of the SEAT Toledo.
If it doesn’t exist, I will invent it. Wholly Toledo is the popular magazine for UK fans of the SEAT Toledo.

The Seat Toledo. How often does this name come up? Answer: not very much. Yet since 1991, SEAT have been selling something tagged as such. Right now it’s a quite conservatively styled medium-small car with the neat conceit of looking like a saloon but actually being a hatchback. Haven’t we heard this before?

Regular readers here will Continue reading “Wholly Toledo: A Two Part Look At SEAT’s Ragbag Nameplate”

Theme : Secondhand – Forecourt Temptations 7

DTW Goes Back In Time

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Seitz Automobiles in the Schwarzwald have this year 2000 Saab 9-3 2.0i Turbo SE for sale at €12,990. A high price you may think, but it has only covered 11,800 km. The 9-3 has proven to be an unexpected pleasure for one DTW member but, like me, they might be ambivalent to this timewarp example. Continue reading “Theme : Secondhand – Forecourt Temptations 7”

Gorfe’s Granadas: 1981 Granada Consort

Ford have always been masters of marketing. The 2.0 litre Consort edition of the Mk2 put the main features of the imposing Granada within reach of the average motorist. Myles Gorfe considers this neglected classic.

1981 Ford Granada Consort 2.3: wikipedia
1981 Ford Granada Consort 2.3: wikipedia

What was great about the Granada was, above all, its space. The 1981 Granada Consort offered that but without the hefty fuel bills associated with the Blue Oval’s powerful but thirsty V6s. For many people this sealed the deal, allowing them to Continue reading “Gorfe’s Granadas: 1981 Granada Consort”

Classic Race Aarhus: 1972 to 1976 Jensen Healey

At the Classic Race Aarhus today I spotted this Jensen Healey, which was the most succesful Jensen of them all, despite its short run from 1972 to 1976. It had a 2.0 litre Lotus engine and this very, very small ashtray.

1972 Jensen Healey ashtray. Classic Race, Aarhus, Dernmark.
1972 Jensen Healey ashtray. Classic Race, Aarhus, Denmark.

According to Wikipedia this fine handling car consisted mostly of Vauxhall bits. “Suspension was simple but effective with double wishbone and coil springs at the front, and a live rear axle with trailing arms and coils at the rear. Brakes consisted of discs at the front and drums at the rear. The suspension, steering gear, brakes and rear axle were adapted from the Vauxhall Firenza with the exception of the front brakes which were the widely used Girling Type 14 Calipers.” Girling, a name you could trust. Continue reading “Classic Race Aarhus: 1972 to 1976 Jensen Healey”

The Classic Race Aarhus – curiosities

Among the classic cars parked up in overwhelming numbers at this years KRAA, I saw this. It´s Volvo P1800 ES with a remote-controlled Volvo P1800 ES in the boot. Produced from 1972 to 1974, the ES was the last version launched and last version made of the P1800. 

1972 Volve P1800 ES at the Classic Race, Aarhus, Denmark.
1972 Volve P1800 ES at the Classic Race, Aarhus, Denmark.

Matters of a Spiritual Nature

It’s Sunday and in keeping with our unofficial Mini theme, DTW suggests four good reasons BMW was correct not to proceed with Rover’s 1995 Spiritual concept. 

The 1995 Mini Spiritual twins first shown in 1997. Image via smallblogv8/MVerks
The futuristic 1995 Mini Spiritual twins first shown in 1997. Image via smallblogv8/MVerks

It would have cost a fortune to develop:
The investment in a bespoke floorpan and drivetrain, modifying hydragas, body & interior tooling and of course refitting the factory to build it would have been huge. New concepts also mean teething problems, so warranty costs were likely to have been high. Even as a sales success, Spiritual would struggle to recoup its development costs, meaning Rover would most likely have lost £millions on it.

Continue reading “Matters of a Spiritual Nature”

The Bavarian Job – 1993 BMW Z13

BMW’s early ’90s attempt at blowing the bloody doors off…

BMW's Mini-like Z13 - image via pixshark
BMW’s Mini-like Z13 – image: pixshark

It’s been suggested that BMW management pushed through the decision to build an overtly sporting concept of Mini against the wishes of Rover engineers, who advocated a more radical approach. There is a nub of truth in this, but only a nub. With Mini’s centre of gravity shifting towards the sporting Cooper model, Rover engineers had been working on Minki, a heavily re-engineered version of the existing car, aimed not only at modernising the concept, but in effect refocusing it. Continue reading “The Bavarian Job – 1993 BMW Z13”

More Borgward News

USA Today reported that a Mercedes Benz executive, Ulrich Walker, will oversee the return of Borgward to production after a bit of a gap.

1960 Borgward P100 - was this affordable luxury? Image: www.history-of-cars.com
1960 Borgward P100 – was this affordable luxury? Image: http://www.history-of-cars.com

The article reported that Walker’s vision for the car is affordable luxury, which is rather intriguing as this translates as that class of car where there has been the most fatalities in the last few decades: Triumph, Lancia, Rover, Saab, Oldsmobile, for example. Further, mainstream brands that have had products that reached into the affordable luxury sector have been less and less successful. Continue reading “More Borgward News”

Fiat’s New Saloon

For anyone who pines for a Fiat saloon, Fiat has something new.

2016 Fiat Ægea: www.fiatpress.com
2016 Fiat Ægea: http://www.fiatpress.com

Fiat will unveil their new Ægea saloon at the Istanbul motor show. The car is described as being designed from the outset as a saloon though the one photo they show at their website  does not reveal the appearance of the rear three quarter which is unduly reticent, I would say. The name is a nod the Turkish input to the project and the fact it will be manufactured there. The car is supposed to be a stylistic balance between space efficiency and acceptable looks.

“No compromises” say Fiat about their car which is expected to Continue reading “Fiat’s New Saloon”

Alternative Paths In An Unpredictable Industry

DTW Considers The Alternative German Big Three

At the end of the 1950s, there was a sizeable group of home-owned players in the German industry, but we shall concentrate initially on three of them – Borgward, NSU and Glas. Only the first few paragraphs of this piece are fact, the rest is entirely speculation as to how things could have worked out quite differently, yet might have ended up much the same.

Borgward had been making cars since the 1920s. They were fast to restart manufacture after the War, being the first German company to put an all new car into production, the Hansa 1500. This was replaced in 1954 by the mid-sized Isabella and that was joined in 1959 by both the larger six-cylinder P100 and the smaller Arabella, featuring a flat 4 boxer that Subaru used as a reference point when developing their own engine. Continue reading “Alternative Paths In An Unpredictable Industry”

Fossil Traces: From Minki to MINI

Before MINI, there was Minki.

Minki schematic - Minki 2 featured a longer and wider body. Image via Austin Memories.
Minki 1 schematic – Minki 2 featured a longer and wider body. Image via Austin Memories.

You’re probably never heard of it, and nor had I until comparatively recently. Minki was a Rover K-Series engined Mini re-engineered with interconnected hydragas suspension, much like that of Dr Alex Moulton’s own modified Mini – and a hatchback. Built to suggest a possible developmental direction for the ageing original, time ran out for the concept, given Mini’s possible sales volumes versus the costs involved. Continue reading “Fossil Traces: From Minki to MINI”

Theme : Secondhand – Forecourt Temptations 6

DTW Goes Hunting

RR Hunting Car 01

I’ve previously mentioned my fickleness regarding cars. In the morning I fancy a luxury barge, by the afternoon I want a beach buggy. Here is something that fills both criteria, a hunting car built for the King of Morocco by the ever resourceful Sbarro.

http://home.mobile.de/MICHAEL-FROEHLICH#des_51923131 Continue reading “Theme : Secondhand – Forecourt Temptations 6”

Champagne Supernova

A personal assessment of BMW’s MINI remaster.

P0008757
If Cool Britannia was a car. Image uncredited.

There’s always been a faint whiff of the tribute band about Oasis, a nagging sense that it was all somewhat better the first time around. Similarly, despite the overwhelmingly positive reviews and its promising technical specification, I came to BMW’s R50 MINI with a sizeable chunk of ambivalence.

However, owing to frequent use of a 2006 MINI Cooper on regular visits home to Ireland, it’s a car I have come to know well, so has more intimate acquaintance with BMW-Rover’s retro recasting brought about an acquiescent change of heart? Continue reading “Champagne Supernova”

Theme: Secondhand – Opinions

I had quite a lot of those bits of received wisdom until recent years.

1976 Porsche 928 interior

Some of those shopworn gems include the idea that steering should be heavy, Opel make bad/dull/boring cars, Ferrari is interesting but Japanese cars are not; small saloon cars are drab, six speed gearboxes are a good thing, low profile tyres and big wheels are visually worth it, bright colour is wrong inside and out. Those are some of the bits of second hand wisdom I have accumulated and sloughed off.

Car journalism is full of ideas like these that hang waiting on pegs ready to Continue reading “Theme: Secondhand – Opinions”

A Photo for Sunday – 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser (J40)

I can’t figure this out.

1960-1984 Toyota Land Cruiser (J40) seen in Copenhagen, Denmark.
1960-1984 Toyota Land Cruiser (J40) seen in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It’s a J40 Toyota Landcruiser, last in production in 1984. This one looked as if it was brand new. That means it’s been restored, which is not something I’d ever expect of a Toyota. Then there was another curious detail in the surrounding circumstances… Continue reading “A Photo for Sunday – 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser (J40)”

Theme : Secondhand : Forecourt Temptations 5

DTW Admires Panhard …. Yet Again

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Wim Polman in the Netherlands are offering this very fine 1960 Panhard PL17 described as having original paint and just 19,633 km. Is that possible? Well, although it would be easy to restore bodywork, look at the excellent state of the plastic instrument nacelle. All these details are the things that it is near impossible to Continue reading “Theme : Secondhand : Forecourt Temptations 5”

Something Rotten In Denmark: 1976 Audi 80 Two Door

This is a good one: cherishably bad photos from the school of Douglas Land-Windermere. The car itself is going for 40,000 kr or about €5400 and seems to be in good condition. The question is…

1976 Audi 80
1976 Audi 80

why the oddly cropped photos? You don’t see very many of these ’70s Audis and the price being asked is on the high side for what is a quite uninteresting car. You’d think they would do more to sell its limited charms.

The Audi 80 existed as a competitor for the Opel Ascona and Ford Taunus. While it seems visually innocuous and rather unexciting technically, it managed to gain the European Car of the Year award in 1973. That was the same year Alfa Romeo offered the technically advanced Alfetta which had legendary handling to

Continue reading “Something Rotten In Denmark: 1976 Audi 80 Two Door”

2015 Ford Mondeo Vignale – What Autocar Says

It’s faint praise time for Ford again. Autocar have tested the Vignale version and came to a predictable conclusion. Yes, they like it but they still think you should buy a BMW 5 instead. Auto Express take an even harder line.

2015 Ford Mondeo Vignale
2015 Ford Mondeo Vignale

You can read the entire Autocar article yourself by clicking on the link above. What struck me was that the Vignale is clearly the Ghia X for our times. The key mistake they have made with this car is that it is lacking a distinctive, mechanical difference from the Titanium spec models that sit below it in the model hierarchy. I would dearly have liked this car to Continue reading “2015 Ford Mondeo Vignale – What Autocar Says”

Rolls Royce Unveil Some Brilliantly Purple Prose

It’s a slow day in the news department when the unveiling of a new name counts as reportable material. But the name in question is “Dawn”.

A 1950 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn: favcar.com.
A 1950 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn: favcar.com.

That’s not a new staff member at Rolls Royce but the name of their forthcoming drophead. This is what Rolls-Royce had to say: ‘Dawn’ perfectly expresses the character of the new Rolls-Royce. In its tentative, inchoate, anticipatory state, dawn is the world coming to light from the ethereal dark of the night. The early-day chill of dawn provides an erotic tingle on the skin, awakening the senses and passions as the day begins.

Like Eleanor Thornton, thought by many to Continue reading “Rolls Royce Unveil Some Brilliantly Purple Prose”

2015 Renault Clio Sport Tourer – Second Thoughts

A few weeks ago I tested the Renault Clio dCi ‘Sport Tourer.’ Today I had another chance to sample the exact same model. This time I noticed something else, something about the steering. Something unwelcome. 

Renault Clio Sport Tourer. Not very sporty. Not bad but not sporty: www.renault.dk
Renault Clio Sport Tourer. Not very sporty. Not bad but not sporty: http://www.renault.dk

I observed this: sudden inputs to the steering around the straight ahead don’t result in sudden changes of direction. If you jerk the wheel left the car doesn’t suddenly point left. The car changes direction smoothly after a small, smooth delay. The jerkiness of the input is smothered. It’s not as if the car understeers (in a noticeable way). And it’s not as if there is play in the steering around the straight ahead: every bit of a degree of turning of the wheel encounters resistance. This means that when you Continue reading “2015 Renault Clio Sport Tourer – Second Thoughts”

Theme: Secondhand – MINI

I should probably have offered these thoughts whilst we were discussing ‘retro’, but a recent article on another site made me reflect on the plight of Mini, or should that be MINI?

4 generations of Mini/ MINI
Four generations of Mini/ MINI: http://www.caricos.com

I’ll dive straight in and state immediately that I abhor what BMW has done to the design of the Mini. If ever there was a lesson as to what can go wrong with second-hand design, this has to be it. When I see one of the latest generation 3 door hatches (to mention the 5 door would be more gratuitous, but unfair because there never was a 5 door version of Issigonis’s original) something stirs within me, and it’s not nice. Continue reading “Theme: Secondhand – MINI”

Theme : Secondhand – Forecourts & Small-Ads

A DTW Writer Seeks Professional Help

Road 2
I’ve tried in a previous piece to put forward the many logical reasons for secondhand car ownership. I’d like to think I am that logical person but there’s another side to it. There are people in this world who have trouble with relationships. Playing The Field, Commitment-Phobic, Philandering, Flirting, call it what you will. People like that get a bad press. Love Rats, Don Juans, Tramps – there are so many nasty names. But I know exactly how those people feel. Continue reading “Theme : Secondhand – Forecourts & Small-Ads”

Theme: Secondhand – Rooting in the Parts Bins

Car advertising (like almost all advertising) commonly emphasises the new and the improved. There is not a single advert drawing attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle second lives of components intended for one car but which lived on in another…and another…and another…

The whole design takes its starting point from the door handles: www.spannerhead.com
The whole design takes its starting point from the door handles: http://www.spannerhead.com

Last week we discussed the afterlife of the Buick aluminium 215 engine. Such a re-use is not what I have in mind in terms of rooting around the parts bins. Rover had the decency to rework the engine –endlessly – to make it work so that by the time they had stopped fiddling in 2004 there was little a Buick engineer from 1957 might recognise other than the porosity problems and flagrant thirst. Continue reading “Theme: Secondhand – Rooting in the Parts Bins”

You’re Not Alone, Jaguar

We look closer at European luxury car sales

Large Car Sales Europe
Looking at European sales of the 7 Series, A8, XJ and S Class since 1997 (figures courtesy Left-Lane.com) in chart form is revealing. Of course, each brand’s sales pick up when a new model is released, but the S Class jump with its last three model launches is proportionally huge compared with the others. But as the model becomes established, it sinks to quite similar levels as the A8 and 7 Series. Why is this? One explanation may be the private hire trade. In this a Mercedes is the default choice and, as I heard from one guy who runs his own car, clients don’t like being picked up in a previous model – as soon as the new model becomes available he puts in his order for a car that lasts him 7 years. Continue reading “You’re Not Alone, Jaguar”

Twilight of A Champion Part Two – The Next Leap Forward

Where now for Jaguar’s flagship?

jaguar_xj.above
Image credit: Diseno-art

When it comes to full-sized Jaguars, the market is at best apathetic. Throughout the leaping cat’s history you’ll find the strongest selling and best-loved models have been more compact saloons and sports models. Even the original XJ6 began as a relatively close coupled machine, coming into being out of the perceived necessity for a larger, four-seater E-Type variant and the commercial failure of the full-sized Mark Ten. Up to the demise of the X308-XJ series in 2002, it remained broadly faithful to this template: low-slung, snug, a tad decadent.
Continue reading “Twilight of A Champion Part Two – The Next Leap Forward”

The Return of the Miller Cycle Engine

The launch of the Mazda Xedos 9 in 1993 gave James May the chance to joke about Windy Miller when he reviewed the car for Car.

http://myntransportblog.com/2015/01/11/mazda-cars-light-trucks-and-engines-fuchu-aki-district-hiroshima-prefecture-japan-1920-on/
1995 Mazda Millennia which is like a Xedos 9 but easier to remember: mytransportblog.com

The cue for the gag came from the unusual use of the Miller cycle engine in the form of the 2.3 litre KJ-ZEM V6. All those years later the only thing I recall is the weak joke and nothing about the car or the technicalities of the Miller cycle engine. The reason I am bringing all this up is that Audi have been reported here to be reconsidering the use of the Miller cycle in the chase for better fuel stats. Continue reading “The Return of the Miller Cycle Engine”

Theme : Secondhand – Forecourt Temptations 4

DTW Asks If Small Is Really Beautiful?

Chatenet CH26B

This is one of a bewildering variety of French microcars. I assume it is one owner since it has covered just 11,887 km. That seems modest until you realise that the Chatenet is powered by a 5.4 hp 523cc twin cylinder diesel giving it a maximum speed of 45 kph. Someone therefore has sat in this car and driven it for at least 264 hours. Continue reading “Theme : Secondhand – Forecourt Temptations 4”

The Post-Car Age – Considerations

Thinking about the end of the car age: the Guardian has been running a series asking readers to consider urban life in the future. This article gathers views on life after the car.

This is not we had in mind when private transport was envisaged: theguardian.co.uk
This is not we had in mind when private transport was envisaged: theguardian.co.uk

I have an ambivalent attitude to cars. The image shown here captures one reason why I think cars are monsters and quite possibly the biggest scam ever perpetrated on society. When you arrange everything to suit the car there is nowhere worth going to. Cars by and large worsen all the problems they are meant to solve.

Had we been a more prescient society around 1900 the car would be as practical an option today as helicopter travel. If cities had stayed as dense as they were then, the train and some buses and bikes would be all we needed and only a few determined people would Continue reading “The Post-Car Age – Considerations”

Gorfe’s Granadas: 2.8 Ghia Estate Automatic

Myles Gorfe on some of the highlights of the Ford Granada’s career. In this item, Myles considers one of the 80s’ best load luggers, the 2.8 litre Ghia estate.

1983 Ford Granada it its biggest and best: carandclassic.co.uk
1983 Ford Granada at its biggest and best: carandclassic.co.uk

Forget Volvo estates with their boxy looks. And you can forget Mercedes’ over-priced hearses. The 1977-1985 Granada ticked all the boxes: big, fast, comfortable and well-priced. It had more room than the Volvo 240 and Vauxhall didn’t even offer a serious alternative at any price. Citroen’s CX was a technical disaster on four wheels. Peugeot’s 505 was plain ugly and handled like a tugboat in a storm. Continue reading “Gorfe’s Granadas: 2.8 Ghia Estate Automatic”

Catastrophe

Jaguar’s commercial ambitions reached their zenith with this famously unsuccessful 1961 saloon flagship, whose legacy resonates to this day.

Image via Jag-lovers
Jaguar’s most influential car ever – from a styling perspective at least. Image credit: Jag-lovers

Some six months after the euphoric launch of the E-Type, Jaguar launched this radical saloon. Given the project name of Zenith, Mark Ten was a dashingly modern, dramatically styled leviathan of a car, conceived specifically for the North American market. Famed for his astute reading of market trends, Jaguar founder, Sir William Lyons didn’t believe in customer clinics or product planning. The Mark Ten was his vision of a full-sized luxury Jaguar Saloon – bigger, more opulent and technically sophisticated than any European rival. Continue reading “Catastrophe”

Unforgetting: 2003-2007 Chrysler Crossfire

One of these cars flashed past me today, prompting this small item. Now that I come to think of it, there was one parked on my road a few years back. It was the Chrysler Crossfire (2003-2007).

2003 Chrysler Crossfire. In 2003 it cost £1000 more than the faster Nissan 350Z: yakmee.com
2003 Chrysler Crossfire. In 2003 it cost £1000 more than the faster Nissan 350Z: yakmee.com

We all have small car moments, don’t we? For reasons unclear, our synapses fizz and fuse a little harder when we see a car and forever more the image, time, feeling and moment are irremovably etched on our memories. It’s a wholly random process, note. Some of my car moments involve worthless heaps of mediocrity.

The Chrysler Crossfire is taking up some of my limited and diminishing RAM with a set of memories related to Continue reading “Unforgetting: 2003-2007 Chrysler Crossfire”

Theme: Secondhand – The Rover V8

The story of how the Buick aluminium 215 engine became the Rover V8 is often-enough told so I will use this little posting mostly as a short guide to some of the most entertaining versions.

1986 Rover P6 V8 3500: theworldaccordingtomaggie.com
1968 Rover P6 V8 3500: theworldaccordingtomaggie.com

Sold to Rover, the engine powered Range Rovers, Rovers, MGs and TVRs along with Morgan. Jalopnik has a good short version of the story here In a nutshell, Buick wanted a lightweight, small capacity V8. They decided to use aluminium which led to a chain of problems that were still being dealt with 40 years later. Among those problems are slipping liners and porosity. If you scroll down the comments at the Jalopnik article you’ll find a neat list of V8 engines used by GM in the late 60s.   Continue reading “Theme: Secondhand – The Rover V8”

Theme : Secondhand – Forecourt Temptations 3

DTW Looks At The Used XJ Market

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Big secondhand cars are a bargain – until they go wrong. This one owner, 4 year old, dark grey XJ has done just 30,000 miles and could be yours for £19,880, almost 1/3 of its cost new today. Personally I wouldn’t choose the 3.0 litre diesel version, the idiot in me would look further up the scale on Autotrader for an entirely inappropriate Supersport. Otherwise, there’s an 8 year old X350 at just 28,000 miles for just under £13,000. In any case, the XJ looks like it is shaping up to be the wedding car of the next decade.

View It Here.