Mercedes have a channel designed for owners of their older cars. Now Porsche is following suit.
But Bristol were there long before, since most of their business revolved around re-selling their cars and keeping them on the road. In the case of Mercedes and Porsche the turn-over will be rather bigger than Bristol’s cottage industry. Is this the start of a trend?
Porsche have opened a centre in Gelderland, Holland to cater for the sales, service and restoration of their discontinued models. This is what they are offering (caution: chunk of cut-and-pasted text): “More than 70 per cent of the vehicles ever produced by Porsche are still running today. To ensure that these classic carsContinue reading “Future-Proofing Your Business”
Most people may think that a tiny Citroën from the mid-eighties (which means that it’s entirely a PSA product) is nothing to be very romantic about.
But as well as it doesn’t take a supermodel for a man to remember with fondness the time spent together, a supercar isn’t needed to create worthwhile memories of roads and places one shared with a vehicle. I liked this car with its tiny, but beautiful alloy wheels and the classy red stripes on the sides. I also discovered how cleverly it was constructed, with a small, but very rectangular boot that could easily be enlarged by locking the rear backrests in a more upright position, folding them down or removing them entirely. Continue reading “Theme: Romance! – My First Car”
Earlier in the week we discussed the phenomenon of glazed C-pillars – a design feature popular during the mid-to late 1980’s. Here’s another example of the breed.
Pininfarina’s 1985 Griffe 4 concept was created to honour the carrozzeira’s 30-year association with Peugeot, which began with the 403 model. What’s interesting here is not only its use of the glazed C-pillar treatment, (if indeed they can be described as pillars at all), but the fact that it resembles a rather prettier Subaru XT. Continue reading “A Concept for Sunday – 1985 Peugeot Griffe 4”
One of the more compelling conceits sold to us by car manufacturers is the idea that at any time, we can simply get into our cars and drive.
According to this romantic vision, the roadblocks to pleasure (both actual and metaphorical) are swept aside. There are no roadworks, nor glum-faced commuters, nor mechanical frailties. Nagging spouses are rendered mute; grizzling children are placated. The grind of day-to-day existence, the obligations and the toil, are airbrushed from the picture. It is a warm and fuzzy bubble in which the road is an unimpeded silvery thread winding away to a blue horizon of endless possibility. Continue reading “Theme: Romance -The Romance of the Road”
Valmet and Mercedes have announced that production of the M-B GLC SUV will increase at their Uusikaupunki plant. This is to make room at Benz’s Bremen plant which is already completely busy making GLCs.
Production of the A-class at Valmet will move to Germany. Valmet will make as many GLCs as they did A-classes so it’s a production swap rather than an increase. The change will result in an increase in labour requirements at Valmet.
The Granada name retired but its spirit lived on in Ford’s stunning Scorpio, writes executive classics editor, Myles Gorfe.
Quite why the Blue Oval decided to put the Granada name out to pasture is a much discussed point in Ford circles. Whatever the reason, the car that replaced it was every bit as good as its predecessors. In 1994 Ford ended a long run for the Granada and renamed its top-line executive cruiser the Scorpio. Self-levelling suspension came in for the estates and the hatchback was canned – not a problem as the style didn’t suit Granny’s exclusive image. Continue reading “Gorfe’s Granadas:1996 Scorpio 2.3 Ultima”
We are a responsive site here. The debate on C-pillars is raging and to help fuel the blaze I ask you to consider the 1986 Ford Granada, the 1988 Olds Cutlass Supreme and the 1990 Mitsubishi Lancer.
The Mitsubishi took the most time to find. It was also known as the Mirage in some markets. The Lancer is obviously a car which had very little impact, like most Mitsubishis, I suppose. They were quite common in Ireland in the 1990s. Continue reading “Glazed C-pillars From the ’80s”
A reader suggested the Mazda CX-3 as being a good example of the phenomenon of the blacked-out C-pillar.
Here is the original followed by my hasty remodelling of the car. The way I see it, the c-pillar of the actual car is just painted black. This is what Citroen does on cars such as the C1. The next step is to Continue reading “2015 Mazda CX-3 and Its C-pillar”
Around the year 2000 there was a wave of concept cars that had geometrical themes. These stood out among a sea of concept cars that today, 15 years later, merely look concepty.
The geomechanical look cropped up on Japanese and American cars more than European ones. Only the Renault Modus van fits the theme and even then that might be because it’s a van.
What characterises the geo-mechanical look is that the main elements are not blended together; there are flat or flattish surfaces and quite small radii. The graphic elements of the windows and lights tend to be treated in such a way as to be sharp.
It’s safe to say the Mitsubishi SSS is not among the most talked-about concept cars. At this distance the reason it ended up going nowhere are also the reasons it looks intriguing today. Notice the way the lamps are submerged into dominant horizontal lines. The stated aim to Continue reading “That Was the Future: GeoMechanical Style”
With a few changes this little car might have made a much better Ka than the drab little oyster they actually sold.
It’s the 2010 Ford Start which majored on efficiency and was shown at the Beijing Motor Show. Personally I dislike the C-pillar treatment, something of a theme of mine recently so I roughly changed it to show something less fragile and ill-considered. Continue reading “2010 Ford Start”
Citroen plan to bring back a unique suspension system in 2017, reports Autocar.
“Comfort is a core value of the Citroen brand, and this is our way to recreate the benefits of the hydropneumatic set-up in a more modern, more appropriate way,” said Citroen CEO, Linda Jackson in Autocar.
This is rather heartening news. The report says that Citroen have been working in this for some time but no details were provided on what it might be. The system is going to Continue reading “Good News and Other News”
All those elaborate wheel-arch forms we see on automobiles are the result of decades of evolution and the work of hundreds of designers looking at each other’s creative output. Are they done out of habit now?
Perhaps some designers have forgot the wheel arch is first a hole in the body for a wheel arranged so as to allow the wheel’s movement and manage water spray. Like many features on a car they are often drawn as sculptural entities or purely graphical forms. I personally have sketched shapes from purely a formal viewpoint: two blobs for lights, a block in the middle some lines underneath…. And there’s a car’s front end, divorced entirely from the relationship of each shape the thing it represents.
Once the back seat seemed a place of Romance. Now it isn’t.
Most car journalists concentrate on the front seat. They might want a bit of comfort, but they’re more likely to seek side support so they can enjoy exploring the limits. Give them a set of contoured Recaros and they’re in petrolhead heaven. What they don’t give the same consideration to, as we’ve discussed on these pages so often, is the rear accommodation. Hence, an upmarket four door might get a glowing review based on performance, handling, looks and the view from the driver’s seat, with a small mention that the rear seat is a bit cramped, even uncomfortable, with a letterbox view of the outside country. Continue reading “Theme : Romance – Taking A Back Seat”
“Renault’s Rosé”. In this article which resembles a period review by Archie Vicar we get some insight on the famed 1971 Renault 17 TS.
Original photos by Douglas Land-Windymare (sic.). Due to unexpected and catastrophic birdstrike, affecting the originals, stock photos have been used.
Renault put on a very pleasant shindig in Rennes so as to launch their two new cars, the Renault 15 and Renault 17. The press and I had a chance to choose from an interesting menu: roasted quail, cucumber mousse, caper puree, grilled fish (hake or salmon, I think) and boiled horse tongue with a horseradish jelly.
They also fished out some of the best wines from the Regie cellar deep under Billancourt as part of their persuasive and unstinting hospitality. I particularly liked the Peyruchet dessert wine though some might judge it to be among the lesser Sauternes. I had to have a third glass to Continue reading “1971 Renault 17 Roadtest”
With recent reports suggesting the sector is stagnating, have Alfa Romeo and Jaguar left it too late to prosper in a compact premium market now utterly dominated by the German big three?
The German premium trio’s stranglehold on the European compact saloon segment is virtually complete, with car sales data for Jan-Sept revealing just how dominant Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have become. This is an exclusive club comprising eight models – seven if you combine Volvo’s saloon and estate offerings. The combined sector posted January-September sales of 397,134, of which a sobering 341,339 consisted of either Audi, BMW or Mercedes. That’s 86% of the market, since you asked. Continue reading “Late and Never – Jaguar and Alfa Romeo Face the Hard Road”
The building opposite produced these reflections on the front wing of this Opel Mokka.
2015 Opel Mokka
Notice the red band which forms an ellipse around the top of the wheel arch flare and then runs up to the a-pillar. It’s quite a complex area. It would be even clearer if the red stripe on the building emitted light instead of reflecting it. You seldom see reflections like this in the street as there is so much ‘noise’ in the surroundings.
Car & Driver, who are usually quite sensible, betrayed a distinct, glaring flash of silliness when they complained about the size of the gear lever in the new Buick Lacrosse.
This is what C&D wrote about the interior: “Outside is a handsome exterior; inside, the cabin is vastly improved over the old model’s. With a simple, flowing design and much nicer materials, the Buick’s innards are spoiled only by the oversize, BMW-style electronic shift lever. It is the only interior component seemingly still geared toward geriatric users (look at the size of an outgoing LaCrosse‘s dashboard buttons and you’ll know what we’re on about here). Otherwise, the Buick is lighter, sweeter, and we’re looking forward to driving it.”
Consider this post as a kind of reporter’s notebook. This set of colour chips represents the set of colours of the new launches at the 2015 LA Motor show.
What is my analysis of this? It’s that blue is evidently the new black. And here is the inspiration, International Klein Blue from about 1960 (below). There’s still no green. It’s notable how narrowly the colours are focused as well. The reds are very much interchangeable and the two yellows (Porsche and VW) are quite alike though the VW’s is a metallic yellow. Infiniti are the outlier with a dark warm grey or deep brown.
Infiniti showed us this car in January. The c-pillar treatment is startling. I revised it.
There are two things you can do when the side glass has a potentially pointy outline. One is to acknowledge that this is the result of the angles set up elsewhere and fill that triangular gap with a matching piece of glass (with all the cost that entails). Our good friend the Opel Astra F did this.
Hot on the tracks of yesterday’s revised Lexus RX, I have decided to see what the 2016 Opel Astra would look like without its fussy C-pillar.
This sketch is messier than the Lexus because of the number of panels involved and the number of alternatives. And I am no good at rendering. I decided to go first for a version where the side-glass stopped at the door cut-out. I could have added a pane aft of the door but left it as the Occam’s Razor approach to the problem. Then I tried to Continue reading “2016 Opel Astra Revised”
These wilfully contrived C-pillars are a particularly nasty feature. I spent a very few minutes trying to see what the 2016 Lexus RX would look like with a revised sideglass and C-pillar.
You can see why the designer might do this but it still doesn’t make it right. On my revised version I scratched out the horrible bumper and sketched in some rectangles to suggest fog-lamps. Don’t look too close at the image. I don’t use Photoshop but a free programme called CrayonMoron.
This is the 2017 Buick Lacrosse. There’s more to it than a return of colour to its badge.
The Detroit Free Press and Kelley Blue Book have reported the unveiling of the 2017 Buick Lacrosse. As well as echoing aspects of the Buick Avenir concept last year, the 2017 car also allegedly harks back to the 1954 Buick Wildcat concept car. Personally I can’t see any obvious links. Missing from the new car are 130 kilos. The chassis, seats and sound-proofing all felt the engineer’s scalper in the quest to Continue reading “The Coloured Tri-Shield Is Back”
One’s understanding of this depends very much on how one defines or understands Romance. Looked at one way, the US has produced some highly Romantic vehicles.
It gets rather complicated or at least ambiguous when you look closer. One can explain the expressive, expansive and generous adornment of American cars (of the old school) by referring to what might have been a bias towards emotion over reason. That is why the tailfins of the Cadillacs emerged for a short but memorable spell. People were excited by the drama of jet fighters and the imagery associated with them. The car sublimated that excitement.
It’s been confirmed the next Opel Senator will be a crossover – as indeed it appears will everything else. Are we approaching a tipping point?
When GM showed the Avenirconcept earlier this year, many viewed it as a sign Buick was serious about re-entering the full-sized luxury saloon market with something along more traditional lines. For enthusiasts here in Europe it prompted speculation as to the potential for a similarly proportioned model – a latter day Opel Senator if you will. Continue reading “Sign of the Cross”
Ferdinand Piech’s Ultimate Car should have been the definitive offering in our romance with the automobile. Why wasn’t it?
A fair amount of my not-so-uber income comes from working, directly or indirectly, for people with lots of money, so I’m vaguely qualified to comment on this. I have discovered something quite amazing. The very rich are much the same as the rest of us – but richer. Some are discerning, some are not. So the fact that people actually bought Bugatti Veyrons at an average rate of almost one a week over its 10 year life doesn’t really give the vehicles more or less credibility in my eyes. Continue reading “Theme : Romance – Veyron The Road To Nowhere”
Jaguar has five basic models. Those are the XE, XF and XJ (saloons), F-Type and F-Pace. Is that a good naming system, I idly wonder. F-Pace seems not to fit in. It makes the F in F-Type somewhat meaningless as there was no E-Pace or D-Pace. I digress. Continue reading “What Drives Jaguar?”
Autocar have published a list of the new cars expected in the near future. Under “Audi” we find grounds to hope that Audi’s much-criticised, characterless design can be saved.
Well, I am being ironic of course.
This is what Autocar says about the 2017 Audi A6 “A more stylish look is promised for Audi’s next BMW 5-series competitor, designed under Marc Lichte”. You really have to wonder about the man who is heir to a long tradition of studiously composed designs from the Ingolstadt firm. What is he thinking? Remember Walter da Silva who was charged with adding faszination to VAG’s cars. He tentatively added a ‘Tornado Line’ to some Audi models which seemed as breathtakingly out of place as putting a clown nose on Heidi Klum’s face. Continue reading “That’s What Audi Is Missing”
Curbsideclassic provided the inspiration for this short post. The article provides a nice run-down on these wonderful cars.
When I think of romance and cars I tend to think of certain marques: Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Rover (to some extent), and perhaps some Ferraris. And that’s really it. Is it perhaps not uncoincidental that these brands are not in the best of health or, these days, not very romantic in their expression? Continue reading “Theme: Romance – Lancia”
Who, just a decade ago, would imagine Buick would be sliding down the slope to being a Geo for our times?
According to Motor Trend and other sources, GM is close to finalising a plan to import the Chinese-made Buick Envision to the US. This would bring to three the number of crossovers the marque is offering in the US. From the side there’s nothing very distinctive about the vehicle and nothing very offensive either. The identity of the car resides with the waterfall grille and the badges.
If you were following our diligently curated Top 50 cars series you might recall the Geo Prizm as one of the candidates. It was an American-made clone of the Toyota Corolla. The rest of the Geo range consisted of re-badged offerings from parts of GM’s far east empire. The brand aimed at making some money from those customers who were probably never going to Continue reading “Buick’s Path Towards Being An Import Brand”
Recently we had a look at the concept cars on display at the Volvo museum in Gothenburg, Sweden. Now it’s time to investigate some of the production vehicles.
The first few rooms of the museum represent the early years of Volvo which don’t interest me that much. Thus I didn’t take any photos at all. I wanted to get to the 70s cars from where my interest in Volvo takes off. That means my interest begins at the 262 stand. This one (above) glows resplendently in a very late 70s gold metallic paint. That it was designed and built by Bertone is well-known. This one does Continue reading “Volvo Museum, Part 2”
To illustrate a discussion elsewhere here I have annotated a 1999 Honda Prelude, or the bits I am referring to.
The very first thing one might notice about the Prelude is its wanton simplicity. There are no bump strips on the body side. The lamps are oblongs. There is no feature-line at the c-pillar to rear wing. The grille is a slat. And then you Continue reading “1999 Honda Prelude Design Analysis”
A languid road trip to Italy by Jaguar. What could possibly go wrong?
The combination of Italy, twelve cylinders and pleasant company ought not leave space for prosaic considerations, such as reliability or fuel economy. But worries have a habit of finding their way, nevertheless.
It had been a rather testing day, with little sleep and an unusual amount of stress, right at the end of a particularly challenging summer. The back aches, the tired mind is dulled on one hand, yet feverishly edgy on the other. The three issues at the forefront of any immediate consideration are: a welcoming bed, the board computer’s average MPG calculations and the engine temperature gauge.
As the night is relatively cool and the Autobahn relatively clear, the engine temperature thankfully shows no signs of panic – yet. The average MPG, on the other hand, remains disconcertingly high. And that bed, well, that’s still some 300 kilometres further south. Continue reading “Southwards, By Jaguar”
Examining the Gamma’s technical specification and its initial press reception.
Technically speaking, the Gamma was classic Lancia in that it mated an unconventional powerplant to a largely orthodox chassis layout. However, the big Lancia’s mix of conventional components came with an added dash of élan. The engine was a development of the proven Flavia unit, bored out to 2.5 litres. Sergio Camuffo outlined why he chose to enlarge the engine capacity saying, Continue reading “Gamma: Signs and Portents – Part Four”
It’s not really rotten at all, it must be said. Why is it here today?
Walter de Silva is retiring from his position as head of VAG design. This made me wonder a bit about his time there and then the time before his time. That made me think of Audi which led me to this. J Mays is credited with this car, I was surprised to learn. And to be frank, like the 100 of the same period, it doesn’t look like it’s a mid-80s design or it’s distinctly different. I suppose to anyone under 30 it looks ancient but to me it looks timeless and yet also rather aloof and glacially cool. Walter de Silva jumped ship from Alfa, recruited to VAG to Continue reading “Something rotten in […] Denmark: 1989 Audi 80”
Autocar reported that Gordon Murray, Shell and Geo Technology have designed a three-seater city car capable of 100 mpg. And they have no intention to build it.
After a fascinating lead in with a fistful of interesting insights on how to get an engine to eke out the petrol, this sentence appears: “There is no intention to bring T.25S to market. It is a ‘capability for analysis’ vehicle, said Shell Lubricant’s innovation technology manager.” Continue reading “Great Idea, Let’s Not Do It.”
George Barris, builder of modified cars, died last week after a full life.
The creator of such novelties as the Batmobile and the Munster Koach, he was also a prolific customiser to the Stars when, on a (very) slightly less excessive scale, he produced vehicles for a plethora of celebrities. Back in the Sixties, my dad made occasional trips to the USA and brought back various insights into, what seemed then, a rather different culture. There was an LP by the novelty horror actor John Zacherle, including the song Dinner With Drac which had the lines
Hot on the heels of yesterday’s article on the top three clock-radios for drivers and petrolheads, we present the sundial of the day. “I am not expecting you to talk, Mr Bond…”
Ever since a sundial appeared in the film “Moonraker” this design has had an iconic place in the hearts of Bond fans and driving enthusiasts alike. Forget Tag Heuer and Breitling: this brass sundial with a concrete base says all you need to know about telling the time and driving excitement. The elaborate mechanism features a pointed triangular element that casts a shadow to indicate the approximate time. It is accurate to within a few hours for most of the year. But you had better save up: it costs £259 though it is certainly bound to be collectible due to its Bond associations.
It’s probable Frank Sinatra’s 1966 standard, ‘That’s Life’ currently plays on repeat at Trident Towers, given Maserati’s latest reversal of fortune. But how bad is it looking for Modena’s second son?
A year ago, we reportedon Maserati’s unexpected sales success with an element of scepticism, but for a brief time it appeared as though CEO, Harald Wester’s plans for the Trident were working. With plans for additional new models including the now ubiquitous SUV, volumes in the region of 75,000 per annum by 2017 looked entirely feasible; catapulting Maserati into the luxury car mainstream while creating a buffer for FCA’s loss of Ferrari revenues. But since spring, reports have hinted at slowing demand which a recent Automotive News piece appears to confirm. Continue reading “Maserati: Flying High in April, Shot Down in May”
Another month, another three iconic clock radios to wake you up with. DTW has been to the 45th Geneva Clock Radio show to review the best in the new clock radios aimed at drivers or people who like cars generally.
First, the Digitron Aqua Terra 150 M with a ten minute snooze function. It has anti-magnetic rating of 15,008 Gauss. The transparent back reveals a solid-state transistor wireboard. It has FM and AM functions. The Magnovoxx Seamaster Professional has a convincing wood-effect case and a striking retro-digital display. The base is subtly recessed to give the clock-radio a floating effect. The alarm can be preset for two different wake-up times. Finally the 300 LD-50 which is the actual clock radio that appeared in the backround of the movie The Bourne Inheritance .
The display is set to appear at the time shown in film. Press a button on the back to display the real time. Prices are from £12.00 to £15. These clock radios are a must for any man interested in waking up to go driving at some point in the day. They will also certainly impress whoever gets to drive back home with you!
Ever iconoclastic, DTW fearlessly investigates Bromance …..or is it Necromance?
Life is full of those niggling prejudices. However open-minded and liberal one tries to be, there are always certain things that one can’t excuse. Here’s a very short personal list, by no means comprehensive : Comedians. Pernod. Farting on the Underground. The Bugatti Veyron. Of course only one of the above is noxiously anti-social – and you know which one that is don’t you Ferdi? Continue reading “Theme : Romance – The King Is Dead. Long Live The King!”
Alfa Romeo’s design chief, Alessandro Maccolini, denies that the new Giulia was inspired by the BMW 3-series. Instead, he cites the 156 as the main reference.
I added the Jaguar XE for comparison. My own view is that this is a matter of convergent evolution while also feeling that the resemblance to the 156 is, at best, passing and perhaps coincidental. Those strakes on the Alfa’s bodyside are not very original but the idea is quite generic anyway.
Renault unveiled this object (which honours the architect Le Corbusier) a few weeks ago but I have not had time to deal with it until now.
As luck would have it, I have been reading a lot about Modernism in the meantime…
It’s the 50th anniversary of the death of Le Corbusier and Renault’s designers have decided to mark this by unveiling a car that shows no deep understanding of Le Corbusier or Modernism’s tenets in any way at all. Modernism had a variety of strands. In architecture one of them was social justice where the worthy intention was to Continue reading “Not Quite Understanding Modernism”
The troubles and subsequent changes at Volkswagen AG have led to an unforeseen departure.
Walter de’ Silva, overall head of the entire group’s stylistic development and one of the most powerful men in this line of business, has chosen take early retirement, merely a few weeks after having become appointed president of Italdesign, Audi’s semi-independent design branch. Continue reading “Müllering VAG (Part 1): Walter de’ Silva Retires”
Romance leads to all sorts of things. Before the divorce comes the wedding. And that means a car to get the bride to the registry office. In the United Kingdom that probably means a Rolls-Royce in purest white.
The white Rolls-Royce is desirable in the role of wedding car and uttely undesirable in any other role. Without looking up actual statistics, I’d guess a white Roller is worth less than any other colour apart from pink. It’s funny how people Continue reading “Theme: Romance – Wedding Cars”
Let’s accept there is not a lot of romance left in motoring today. That means we have to look back to when it was still romantic.
That’s around 1979 when Quatre Saisons was published. The book comprises a photo essay with the Citroen CX as the subject. Andre Martin’s images are themed around the four seasons, hence the title. The car speeds through snowy passes, through lavender fields and pauses in autumnal woodland: each shot evokes the mysterious potential of a motor car trip and also sings a hymn to the timeless modernism of the CX. Continue reading “Theme: Romance – The Four Seasons”
I am very aware of the dangers of cultural tourism. Thus I present this item in as factual and neutral manner as I can.
Simon, our editor, has pressed me to produce something, anything on our theme of the month. I consulted Mr Google by using ‘romantic car’ as a search term. I’d hoped to find some inspiration but not quite of this kind. The image is attached to an article (undated) which is entitled “These 7 cars will make your romantic rendezvous memorable and sweep your date off your feet.” It’s a listicle and it’s as random as our notorious Top Fifty Best Ever Cars Ever feature which has been running for a while now. Continue reading “Theme: Romance – Something Incomprehensible From India”
Mazda brought in more cash than expected so far this year. That means three operating profits in a row. How will they spend all that money?
Three cars helped out Mazda’s bottom line: The Mazda2, the CX3 and the MX-5. The older cars in the Mazda showroom all continue to sell well too. Europe’s part in this to contribute a 21% increase in vehicle turnover. Japan – despite a two decade doldrum of historic dimensions – provided a 33% increase. China did well as well (but for how much longer. Will China be able to keep providing sales volume for Mazda? Continue reading “Any Colour So Long As It’s Red (except the bottom line)”
Unless you live cut off from the outside world in a nuclear bunker, or spend your days with your eyes and ears screwed shut shouting “la-la-la-la-la, I can’t hear you”, you cannot have failed to notice a new James Bond film is in the offing: Spectre. Wired have helped prime the PR pump with an article on Daniel Craig’s latest conveyance, the Aston Martin DB10. Continue reading “Vehicle Inspectre”