What Aren’t We Writing About?

Driven To Write’s back catalogue is now enormous. There are more than 1000 articles, covering subjects as diverse as Fords, Granadas and Mondeos. But are we missing something?

1980 Lancia Trevi 4

Is there, to be brief, something we are not talking about that you think we should?  A while back I ran a series which aimed to look at what I wasn’t writing about and why. After I exhausted that, I left the matter rest for a while. Things I haven’t written about all that much include the VW diesel fiasco, sales figures and market share and I haven’t reviewed a car for a while.

I only briefly discussed the colour palette at the Detroit motor show along with a brief discussion of Lincoln and Buick’s launches. Porsche? Ferrari? No. Audi? Nearly nothing. Infotainment? Little.  Many other websites might have run nothing but Detroit for a whole week as follows: predictions, a list of expected launches, launches as they are executed, announcements related to the launches (“Mercedes announce new acronym to be fitted to AMG cars”), the five best, ten best and not-best lists.

2011 lead2-2011-nissan-juke-reviewFord have decided to pull out of the Japanese market. We have not reported that either. Takata? Little or nothing. We have said nothing about the Dutch market for MPVs either despite its importance to sellers of MPVs in Holland. We have had no news on Myles Gorfe since December. I have reported on little rubbish for sale in Denmark and the Archie Vicar archive is not yielding as much as it did.

So, what is it we don’t discuss here and is there a subject you think we ought to deal with?

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

23 thoughts on “What Aren’t We Writing About?”

  1. Certainly in the circa two years the site has been running, I’m surprised how little Bristol has been discussed. I expected it to get namechecked at least a couple of times every week.

  2. From all that I gather you plural are happy enough to leave whatever it is we don´t write about here undistrurbed.
    I notice that at TTAC they have decided to ditch news. Their “newsbot” Aron Cole has stopped and the debate on future comment is about a wish for editorial and reviews rather than rolling as-it-happens news coverage. I tend only to write about the news that interests me.

  3. What is really obvious – and very diappointing for every Tire Company and their shareholders – is the ignorance of six-wheel-cars. Is there a used car buying guide for the Panther 6 ? Or the latest news from Italy about the Covini C6W ? Why not a series about all the different versions of the Tyrell P34?
    Or is this the theme for the next month?

    1. Markus – I always like your irony. It’s deadpan and always attacks from a surprising angle. Accurately you have identified the hole in DTW’s coverage. Can I add engine oils to the list? We also need a retrospective on the change over from cross-ply to radial tyres. Which country led the way?

    2. Engine Oils is a religious theme – i don´t think this is the right place for such fundamental stuff.

      Nitrogen or air – what is better for my tires ? This would be another theme for a really long month.

  4. I missed an article on the 50th anniversary of the Silver Shadow, being, i believe, a rather significant motorcar.
    On this particular subject, i have a special request. A long time ago i had a volume in my hands on the development of automotive brakes. Said volume stated that the Silver Shadow was the first car offered with Dunlop-Maxaret anti-lock brakes as an option, earlier than the Jensen FF. I have been unable to find any other reference on this, neither on Malcolm Bobbit’s comprehensive volume on the Shadow cars, nor on the ‘net.
    It would be interesting, i believe, to find out whether this is actually true, and whether there were any taker for this (surely expensive) option

  5. The question is now bothering me too. Ferguson had Maxaret on the 1959 R5, and some sources say that the R4 (c.1954) had it too. Neither was a production car, nor was the 4WD with Maxaret CV8 Jensen had put together by 1965. Dunlop were testing Maxaret in the late ’50s on Jaguar Mk. VIIIs, but there’s no sign that Jaguar, let alone Rolls-Royce were contemplating using the system.

    Could the writer of the automotive brakes book have been confusing powered hydraulics with Maxaret?

    1. A quick trawl comes up with the 2009 Hitting The Brakes by Ann Johnson, a history academic from the University of South Carolina. Synopses of the book suggest that it is an interesting insight as to how engineering solutions are implemented. It does however include

      “By most accounts …. introduced commercially in 1966 on the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. The Maxaret then became available on selected Rolls-Royce and Jaguars ….”.

      Was this the source you remember Robertas, or was this book just informed by another? If so, I suspect misinformation is being disseminated. I certainly have no memory of it ever been offered by either manufacturer and, bearing in mind that the aviation-based Maxaret wasn’t cheap, I hardly imagine Bill Lyons would have countenanced it. Of course that doesn’t mean that Rolls or Jaguar didn’t test it.


    2. Everyone risks getting misled by research. But although ‘by some accounts’ or by ‘an account’ might suggest something that a writer isn’t entirely confident in, ‘by most accounts’ suggests she has researched it pretty thoroughly. But I don’t think she has. In fact, the expense of Maxaret would be compounded on a 2WD car, since the FF had a single unit attached to the centre diff, controlling pressure to all brakes. But in the case of a car with undriven wheels, I assume you’d need one unit per hub. I think that would have sent Bill Lyons to an early grave.

      Maxaret actually dated from the early 50s and was completely mechanical, with no electronics. It was effective but it’s actuation was far from discreet, pumping the brake pedal back alarmingly in a simulation of cadence braking. Various manufacturers looked at implementing the entire FF system, Ford had one on a Zodiac, but I don’t know how many considered Maxaret on its own. It was probably have been a bit of a costly dead end as an automotive application, until electronics made the Bosch/Bendix system possible.

    3. I’m away from my archive so I cannot confirm, but Jaguar definitely tested Maxaret during the 1960’s using (I think) the second development prototype for the E-Type – E2A. Jaguar tended to retain development cars for a long periods. Proving chief, Norman Dewis spent a good deal of time on this – both at MIRA and at Silverstone if memory serves. It does appear to have been a serious project at the time – perhaps intended for a motor racing application?

      Jaguar’s Bill Haynes was very keen to be at the forefront of technical developments, and it’s worth remembering the Dunlop disc brake was derived from aviation and following intensive development by Jaguar was introduced, despite the extra cost. Lyons could be swayed if he felt it was something he needed or if it was going to give him an edge over his rivals. I can’t recall why they ceased development work on Maxaret – there’s an entire chapter on this in Dewis’ biography.

  6. Are motorcycles allowed, in an appropriate context unlikely to offend decent people?

    I’ve been reading up on the Laverda V6 this weekend. Only one was made, of which two survive.
    Giulio Alfieri designed engine, which looks like a scale model of the next evolution of the SM / Merak engine.

    Good to see Alfieri put his time to use after Alec Thompson kicked him out of Maserati in August 1975.

  7. Nice article, mirrors my own experience as a latecomer to bikedom. At its best, the experience is better than the best car you’ll ever drive, but much of the time I was wishing I had a ton and a half of metal around me with a roof and a heater.

    Perhaps there’s an article in this…

  8. What I find fascinating is the professionalisation of the used car market and the changing purchasing patterns with internet for cars worth a whole load of €€€. Last year I also succumbed and bought, without physically seeing it, a 1973 Giulia Super in another country judging by this small merchant’s credentials through his website. Not much meat to dig into you might think, but it worked out fine and the car is close to the detailed description I was given, albeit with some voluntary omissions, but nothing too annoying.

    Another topic I’d find quite interesting is the future of the classic and youngtimer market, with increasing prices and promises of a ” solid investment”. But when you see the direction transport legislation, digital and automotive industries plan to take us:
    – city centre restrictions for cars over 20 (Antwerp) and soon those over 10…
    – autonomous and electric
    – increasing generational environmental consciousness

    … which next 30 year old in 2022 is going to appreciate a great 70’s classic or a fabulous youngtimer?… it would have the same effect as smoking in restaurants again- who’d want that? Or will that vintage everyday/usable classic still be able to drive around, anytime, anywhere, free from prejudice and shaming?

    1. The changes to the future use of cars will probably have the biggest effect on the every day cars that form 90% of the older car market. While I can imagine wealthier folk being happy enough to take Evo/Octane cars (Astons, Ferraris, rarer Jaguars and Lancias and Porsches) to track days and field events, the person who want to live with a nice old Sierra, old Fiat Regata or Renault 25 will find life difficult. I can imagine that demand and therefore prices for the mass market classic and youngtimer will be squeezed in 2025 onwards if it is not beginning already. These buyers will maybe have one car and plant to use it a bit in daily life. Those are the very cars the legislators will want out of the picture. Thus the set of cars that are a) not aristocratic and b) owned by users willing to tolerate constrained driving is rather small.

    2. It’s probably not that dramatic. Most people I know with everyday cars of the 70s or 80s aren’t using them as daily drivers any more, and are often aware that the effort / benefit balance is worse than with a standard car.

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