At The Dark End Of The Street

Our North Western England correspondent, with only a torch for company, takes to the lesser populated byways, for your Sunday amusement.

Image: oldmags

Autocar remains the weekly go-to on matters motoring since its 1895 inception. Born alongside the British car industry, the periodical has witnessed multitudinous change with probably its most profound being the transition to digital. Although the weekly printed copy remains (£3.80 at all good news vendors), one can be updated many times a day via the website. Subjects diverse as Industry News, Car Reviews, Features, Technology News and Opinion, all available without a proper search engine.

Rather frustratingly, one cannot easily search for information on, for example, a 2003 Daewoo Nubira or the 2004 announcement of the Mercedes CLS. One has to take to the darker end of proceedings, wading through page by page. At the time of writing, 3415 pages were available to view; right back to March 5th 2003, eighteen long years ago when the internet was still pretty novel to most people.

Suitably armed with a 9v torch, supermarket meal deal and a lunch break to avoid the perishing temperatures outside, your host waded in so that you never have to. Trust me, my doctorate in Filling Time Unnecessarily is deserved.

The earliest entry revolves around the introduction of a cheaper Porsche Cayenne. With disappointing sales pinned to the V8 variants, this 3.2 V6 with, gasp, manual transmission could be blocking a side street for £34,350. No picture was thankfully offered of the amorphous blob that filled the Stuttgart brand’s coffers to overflowing but the new for 2004 model could be had with PODA, Porsche’s Drive Off Assistant to prevent you inadvertently running into the school gates.

The same date gave us snippets on a faster Audi A2 and potentially huge showroom savings that could be had on the 5-series. Then either an admin error or literally nothing happening until staccato reports again arrive in May and July with the taps fully open by early September.

One example from October 1st concerned BMW’s iDrive being investigated by the NHTSA, a US road safety agency. Their law stated a control and display unit should be adjacent, though it would seem nothing came of this headline. This swiftly becomes a website theme.

Twenty First of October 2003 and the headline “Elise Footrot Only Cosmetic, says Lotus” would obviously quell any ill feeling. Elise Mk1s (a handful of) had corroding footwells due to the PVC matting holding water from footwear and a reaction to the adhesive. Lotus gave the following (un) helpful advice: wash the cars floor with a nylon brush, dry then re-seal with appropriate tape. No pictures once again nor mention of a Hethel recall.

Tenth March 2004; “We want to intensify the face of the vehicle” opined Ford European boss Chris Bird, with a beady eyed Martin Smith overseeing the end to the oval arch. No pictures.

Appropriately enough for the date, 1st April, a spokesman informed Autocar that Daimler was about to be resurrected. No follow up information was to be found. But a few weeks later on the tenth of May, here’s everyone’s favourite Gerry heading up Land Rover design. His smile only masked by the photographic quality. Was Douglas Land-Windermere unavailable?

By the eleventh of August, everyone could sit more comfortably as we were told that cars are getting lighter and airier with bigger windows and glass roofs. The example given (no pictures) was a Peugeot 307 station wagon that now had a larger percentage of glass than the old model. Contain that enthusiasm. Whilst finding something new to report on must prove frustrating, their lack of clarity (pun intended) beggars belief. If anything, glass was becoming scarce as more angles and letterbox openings were soon to proliferate. Was their finger on the pulse or cut by a stray shard?

23/09/04 some Alfa Romeo news at last. The 147’s launch at the Paris motor show. Shonky pictures backed up with little information. Sigh… and it gets no better for on the 6th October, Bob Lutz warmed everyone’s cockles with this. “SAAB are no longer considered Swedish. Design is international. What’s important is those cars are formed by an aero maker.” Resting easy thanks to Maximum Bob, a month later the site chimed the initial death knell with the headline “Trollhattän facing closure even with €160M new motorway link.” As the old phrase goes, No News is Good News…

The Rover 75 two-door coupé was lauded just after bonfire night, presumably strapped to a Guy Fawkes mannequin. But to brighten Christmas, the BMW 325i SE with air-con, multifunctional wheel, parking sensors and cruise could be found in the outside lane early next year for £25,155. Better yet, early February 2005 the revised 7 series was considered “less ugly.” Jolly Dee.

The bleak midwinter continued with the Fiat/GM court battle. Fiat attempted to invoke GM buying Fiat outright. The General countered, arguing the agreement was no longer valid due to Fiat’s “diluting restructuring.” With GM taking a 20% share of the Italian firm in 2000, they were potentially facing a €1M fine but one good news connection being this issue would not impact the forthcoming Croma. Be still my beating heart.

The early April 2005 headline of “SAAB Not For Sale” came from Peter Augustsson who continued with “GM stands behind SAAB. Trollhättan could make Opel’s, Cadillac’s and of course SAAB’s.” Just then my flashlight failed, plunging me into darkness. In accordance with any form of media or news service, Autocar can only report on what’s there.

But the lack of search ability blended with often frightfully wilful reporting does make one wonder who allows these articles through. Can they be purely for income generation? Or starry eyed journos embellishing the merest thread? Similarities to the world at large make the car industry a fascinating medium to plumb. These eyes tune in most days, if only for those moments that invoke a raised eyebrow.

Newspapers became chip paper back in the day. Electronic forms without an index should do as my flashlight did – stay in the dark.

Author: Andrew Miles

Beyond hope there lie dreams; after those, custard creams?

50 thoughts on “At The Dark End Of The Street”

  1. Good morning, Andrew, and thank you for an amusing trawl through the dark uncharted caverns of the Autocar website. The lack of a decent search engine is indeed a major shortcoming of the site, making its extensive archive almost useless.

    I used to be an occasional below-the-line commenter on the site, but became frustrated with the mindless trolling and abuse posted by a small number of keyboard warriors. Most of this was, thankfully, directed at each other, but I did fall victim to it on one occasion, an unpleasant experience. I could never understand why such trolling appeared to be subject to no moderation by a member of Autocar’s staff. DTW’s commentariat is, of course, exceptionally well-mannered, but Editor Eóin will step in on the rare occasions when this is required.

    The Autocar website also used to have a huge problem with spam, something that is easily addressed by effective automatic filters. (DTW receives a large number of spam comments, but the filters do a great job in preventing them being published.) This now finally appears to have been fixed.

    I really should buy a copy of the magazine, something I used to do weekly in the 1980’s and 90’s, to see if it is a worthwhile read these days.

    1. Another great feature of Autocar´s btl comments was how the comments got narrower and narrower as people replied to them in series.
      The level of discourse was and remains very poor. A typical theme is “X is the best/worst brand ever”.
      Has anyone looked at Car magazine lately? There was some intelligent life there at one point. I haven´t looked for ages and anything asking me to sign up to Disqus leaves me cold, along with signing up via Google or Facebook.
      I buy Autocar when I am in the airport in Dublin. It´s usually good for one or two articles. The internet killed the USP of Autocar which was to present exciting snippets. In a world of limited news contact like 1998 a 120 word article on the next Wolseley coupe was really interesting. These days we´re overloaded and if I was a car firm I´d spend big money on total secrecy so that launches were worth looking at.
      I am trying to remember where I was in April 2003… I think I was somewhat stuck in deepest Essex for most of that year, with a summer spell in Groß Gerau, not far from Mainz. Thanks, Andrew for reminding me of this.

  2. Comments from readers on websites can be really annoying. As a rule, they don’t really bring any added value. A good (negative) example in the German-speaking area is Heise.de, where cohorts of know-it-alls compete against each other. By the third comment at the latest, you can switch off the computer.
    It’s like at a community festival where you’d like to leave after 30 minutes and at the end of the event you swear “I won’t go back next year”.

    A beneficial example is DTW – the conversation about yesterday’s article was again wonderful to read – where you always feel you are in good and cultured company. Like a nice meeting in the pub, where afterwards you say to your sweetheart “Wasn’t that a nice evening. Will you come with me again next time?” and she replies “Yes, of course. Even if I don’t understand everything they’re talking about…”

    A british car magazine has its archives on the internet without a search function? Wow.
    I thought such digital incompetence only existed in Germoney. Well, that’s very reassuring that we’re not alone in this, even if it does not improve the situation.
    But perhaps it is a deliberate break with convention to create a slightly different sense of searching – or should we say a sense of finding. A unique USP? A very very big plan, devised by experts? Who knows?

  3. I started buying ‘Autocar’ weekly in 1959, when Harry Mundy was technical editor, and he taught me the rudiments of suspension design in a four-part series. For many years I believed the “Scribes’ disconnected jottings” too frivolous to read, so when I realised how entertaining it was I had a stack of back-issues to re-read !
    I paused in the early 70s when I moved residence properly and found my local Killarney newsagent only stocked ‘Motor’. Eventually I asked them to get it in for me. By around 2010 my interest was waning as the quality of writing became steadily less competent, and it became an occasional treat.
    For many years they do not appear to have had a technical editor, so you have people explaining things which they don’t actually understand themselves. I still keep an eye on the website, but I wouldn’t waste my money on the hard-copy.

    1. I’ll second your comments Mervyn on “Disconnected Jottings” by the Scribe. I think you had to have owned cars for some years and come to see their foibles before true appreciation of the column set in. Well that’s how it was for me. Peter Windsor also wrote about F1 and motorsport in general with considerable insight; now any coverage seems to be at a superficial level. Motorsport is one magazine that seems to have improved. I found the curmudgeonly D S Jenkinson and Bill Boddy tirsome for much of the time and sometimes even unpleasant; now the magazine seems to have a broader perspective on things.

    2. Barry: While I would agree that Peter Windsor was an excellent writer, and someone who brought a rare intelligence and an athlete’s insight to a subject which was often reduced to boilerplate language and imagery, the person who had the most profound impact for me was Nigel Roebuck, whose writing in Autosport (and Car) seemed as effortless and subtle as that of an Alain Prost qualifying lap. He had the uncanny knack of making even a stultifying race weekend a pleasure to read. It was his writing which drew me into F1, despite the fine efforts of P. Windsor and R. Bulgin at various times – and it certainly wasn’t his fault that I drifted away during the 2000s, never to return.

  4. I don’t think I ever bought Autocar. If I remember correctly few stores in the Netherlands where sold it. However, I bought ‘Car’ every now and then, mostly for Setright. Going out for a walk now. See if I can spot a Bristol or Prelude. Wish me luck, I’ll need it as I haven’t seen either of those in ages.

  5. At risk of shooting myself in the foot for poor online manners, here’s the picture of a younger Gerry McGovern that Autocar actually used…I await my marching orders.

    Good luck Freerk, let us know your findings and put them in an Autocar stance – or not

  6. It’s ages since I bought a copy of Autocar. The last one I purchased (2017) had a supplement on the then newly-launched Nissan Micra, which I rather enjoyed, as it went in to some depth regarding the car’s development.

    As for Car magazine, it’s very frustrating. I still buy Car and Top Gear in the hope that there will be a return to form. Car has some good writers, but I struggle to see the relevance of some of the articles. Last month, they had an article about used car bargains. Apparently, large cars with non-premium badges are excellent value when they are a few years old. Well I never.

    It also now appears to be printed on lavatory paper.

    I remember Car magazine at its best as having the following main components:

    1) 4 or so entertaining columnists, who either updated you about their lives, or pursued a theme interestingly and knowledgeably;

    2) Then you got letters (often interesting / funny, especially when sent in by the aforementioned columnists), followed by…

    3) A ‘special focus’ piece on the industry / technology /consumer / political matters;

    4) Then there would be a ‘giant test’ of rival models, again conducted with humour and insight; even if you didn’t agree with the findings / writer’s priorities, it was at least good to read.

    5) The good, the bad and the ugly car ratings.

    To be fair, some of these still exist, but in much shortened form. Equally, some are just a bad joke; for instance, there is an ‘explanation’ of cross-plane and flat-plane crankshafts in this month’s issue. It seems that cross-plane crankshafts are cross-shaped and flats ones are flat. That’s how they get their names, you know. That’s pretty much it; I appreciate that our attention spans are meant to be getting shorter, but that’s ridiculous. Despite all this, there are letters saying how super-duper the articles are / writing is, so it must please someone.

    Coming back to Autocar, I see that there is a road test index, which is illustrated with a picture of BMW 2002 from the early 70s. In reality, the index only goes back 10 years or so, which is disappointing.

    I hope you enjoyed your walk, Freerk; it’s a nice day for it.

    1. Thanks Charles and Andrew. It was actually my second walk of the day. I did see a couple of Hondas: two HR-V’s, A jazz and an Accord, but no Prelude. Still, more than I expected as Honda hasn’t really focused on the Dutch market lately. Porsche for instance, has been outselling them for a couple of years now.

      No Bristols, sad, but not unexpected. I did stumble upon a Seicento and since it was discussed recently I’d share it here. It looks small even next to a shorter but taller Smart.

    2. Ah, yes, the “wait until they depreciate” philosophy. In case anyone is interested, Immanuel Kant had a good argument against that kind of proposition. He asks to consider how it pans out for all of us if we all do the thing proposed. And if everyone waits until a car is second before pouncing then there will be no car to pounce as none will have been sold.
      Overlooking that, the proposition is very stale. Are there any large cars with non-premium badges left? Or do they mean to do to the Insignia and Mondeo and Mazdaz 6 what they did to the Granada, Omega and 929?

      About fashion, it´s always fascinated me how apparentley harmless and neutral styles get dated when you haven´t seen them for a while. I had a phase with black clothing in 2000 and I bet even that ensemble would be subtly dated now. Ditto all the jackets I had from 2000 to 2010 – I had to get rid of them all as they had 3 buttons instead of 2. McGovern´s suit was totally fine at the time. And then we all turned against double-breasted suits without knowing why or when.

    3. Gosh, doesn’t the Seicento look narrow next to the Smart? Narrowness is requirement #1 for a city car. Smart must have not got the memo…

      As for Mr McGovern, the suit is fine, the bubble perm, not so much…

  7. For reference, you can limit Google search results to just one site by adding site: to your query like this:

    site:autocar.co.uk daewoo nubira

    1. Hi Ed. Thanks for stopping by, and for your helpful hint. That’s going to be really useful for me, so much appreciated!

    2. No problem, thanks both and others for the great reading! I’ve been lurking for several years now and have read (I think) pretty much every article.

  8. I used to buy ‘Car’ for the scoop photos, but some of the writers (Cropley) weren’t very good. We’re talking 1970s….
    If I go walking I see the odd Tuscon or Audi, but mostly cows, sheep, the odd horse…
    BTW Richard, the latest Insignia is bigger than any Omega….

    1. I forgot to say – the car they were referring to was the Volkswagen Arteon. They start at around £18k and are really excellent, by all accounts (not just in Car magazine). I guess you could call an Arteon ‘practically premium’.

      I see you can get a very nice Volvo S90 for £19k, these days.

    2. Mervyn: you are right about the Insignia. It´s massive. I still see it as in the line of the Ascona/Vectra rather than in the line of Rekord/Omega. Despite the Omega´s actually smaller dimensions, it still belongs in the large car class. They were rather lovely machines. And so too, today are the Insignia and Mondeo. I prefer either of them to most of the “premium” class of cars. It didn´t used to be like this – in 1980 something the mass manufacturers clearly offered good cars but with more obvious compromises than BMW and Mercedes had to make.

  9. When I was very young I discovered motoring magazines through a family friend (owner of a small village garage) who passed on his copies of Motor Sport to me; Autocar rarely came my way and I certainly never bought a copy – by the time I was a (just) teenager my pocket money didn’t extend to affording a weekly as well as the monthly Buses Illustrated. But then along came the splendidly anti-establishment ‘Small Car & Mini-Owner’, quickly shortened to “Small Car’, Car magazine’s original form.

    Charles sums it up well; from the days of George Bishop, through the Doug Blain era and with columnists of the calibre of ‘Steady’ Barker, Phil Llewellyn, LJKS of course, it was second to none and maintained a healthy disregard for the sensibilities of advertisers, never afraid to name and shame the manufacturers who refused to let them have a new car to review. Such a shame it all came apart at the seams. But never mind, I have DTW to keep me up to date now – thanks chaps, and keep up the good work!

    1. I seem to remember Bishop and Barker writing for ‘Autocar’ in the good-old-days..

    2. Do you ever wonder about the economics of the Car magazine heyday? Bishop would be given invites to test tyres and have dinners on the continent for the purposes of showcasing a new oil or wiper blades. Bishop and some of the other columnists didn+t write articles or reviews, just their column. Where did the money come from to pay the rent or mortgage? I had look into the economics of freelance car journalism. At 500 euros per article you´d need to land at least two a week all the time to earn enough to pay rent and have any money left over for tinned beans and luncheon meat. I did some freelance travel articles (did I do two of them?) and none of the cheques covered the cost of the travel itself. And the hourly rate for writing it was below the minimum wage.

    3. One of George Bishop’s articles was called ‘Piston Broke’, which gives some clue to his finances, I think. He used to like buying old, exotic, often Italian cars, which can’t have helped.

      GB once related a tale, early on in Car magazine’s life, where he didn’t have the money to pay the printers who were based in Holland, if I recall correctly, so he borrowed the housekeeping money and the funds from the local Liberal Party, of which he was a senior member at the time. I think he just had a healthily relaxed attitude to money.

      Also, lot of writers do articles for publications abroad, plus other commercial stuff without bylines, so we don’t realize how much they write.

    4. Sorry, my memory is playing tricks – it wasn’t George Bishop who wrote with ‘Steady’ Barker in Autocar, it was their resident artist Gordon Horner. They would do an ‘independent’ review of the exhibits at the Earls Court Motor Show, alongside the ‘official ‘ run-down of each manufacturers new models.

    5. Mervyn: While Bishop may not have darkened Haymarket’s door, Setright did. I have a 1974 edition of Autocar, where LJKS espouses the idea of the ‘long-life car’, inspired by Porsche’s FLA concept. One imagines Leonard, like most freelance writers took what work came his way.

  10. Hear, hear (and thank you, JTC).

    I know we are fantastically spoilt, these days, with everything instantly available online, but there is a place for more considered articles and debate, as DTW demonstrates.

    Richard mentioned secrecy – I wonder how hard it is, these days, to keep a new model under wraps. I’d much prefer ‘big reveal’ launches, but I guess it’s impossible.

    By the way, does anyone remember Intersection magazine? I bought the first few copies, but I stopped as I didn’t have time to read it. It was a bit arty-farty, but at least it was different.

    http://www.intersectionmagazine.com/

    1. Yes – I bought that a few times but I think I stopped after a few editions. I don´t mind the artiness. It was not quite interesting enough as in if failed to address the non-mechanical bits of car culture and featured too many skinny kids in t-shirts standing next to horrible custom cars. Or something along those lines.

  11. My completely unscientific impression of motoring magazines’ evolution over the past couple of decades is that the volume of text has diminished considerably and been replaced with ever larger photographs. On a few occasions I bought Car Magazine to provide some additional reading matter on long-haul flights. I couldn’t believe how quickly I got through everything worth reading. I’m sure we hadn’t left UK airspace when I tucked it into the seat pocket.

    1. I´ve bought Car magazines from the 1970s and 1980s. They take quite a lot of time to read – not least because they demand slow reading. You don´t just skim them.

    2. Yes, there was always enough to keep you going until the next issue, in depth and interesting.

    3. I started buying Car in the Eighties and at that time I thoroughly enjoyed reading every bit of it. Their decline came in sudden steps and not as a continuous deterioration.
      When contributors like LJKS, George Bishop and Phil Llewellyn (I particularly liked the latter’s writing) quit and a new generation took over there was a considerable slip of quality both in the writing itself but also in the way certain topics were dealt with.
      At that time I only read maybe half of the magazine because the rest either wasn’t of interest to me or I downright disliked it.
      I finally stopped buying Car around 2007 when they started their Green Supplement.
      I browse through Car every now and then at my newsagent but I can’t find a reason to justify the money to buy it.

      It’s the same with nearly every other magazine dealing with new cars. Most of them have largely given up on creating editorial content and only offer re-iterations of manufacturers’ marketing blurb. The only mentionable exception I know of is Austrian Autorevue, they are the only ones daring to criticise the nonsense in modern cars (and they’re the only ones posting real life range figures for electric cars, something that’s mentionable in itself) and with their specific Austrian twist of humour they’re worth reading anyway.

      Magazine makers find themselves in a difficult dilemma. On one side with ever dwindling sales numbers they’re relying on manufacturers’ money ever more, for advertising and even for the actual content itself which in many cases reads like it came directly from somebody’s marketing department. If they start to criticise the manufacturers they’d be losing money directly (does anybody remember Volvo’s advertising boycott against Car? That would be impossible today) but by unrefractingly echoing the nonsense from the manufacturers they alienate their traditional readers.

    4. Back in the 60s, at least half the thickness of the magazine was made up of ads and classified ads for used cars. If there were complaints about the stacks of back-issues around the house, one would go through them and remove the back pages, thereby drastically reducing the size of the stacks – and making room for next weeks’ edition.
      The ads must have been a major source of income for Iliffe and later Haymarket.

    5. You could read the adverts and notice evidence for rare and unseen cars that are just a mouse-click away now. Autotrader, Mobile.de and the like must have had savage effects on print magazines´ income. “Dunstable Carriages: 1988 Alfa Romeo SZ. VGC, two owners, G-reg, 43000 miles. 4,5000 GBP. Others available. Ring Barry 01340 45 55 55.”

  12. I started buying CAR in 1977 and thanks to EBay have every issue since its inception as Small Car. The deterioration is easy to quantify when you can pick up a random copy from the 20th century to compare with the current output. Discovering I was reading an entire issue in 45 minutes, I now subscribe to the French classic car magazine AutoRetro instead. It covers cars I’m actually interested in, the text is dense, lucid and frequently hilarious, and my lousy O level French means I need the entire month between issues to get through it. Plus they were kind enough to feature my Avantime.

    1. We can put this down to one single factor, namely Bauer. Even when Lord Emap owened Car it was good. I don´t know what commercial imperatives Bauer face and I am sure they are nice to kids and small animals. Their editorial strategy for car has been poor. And yes, it´s printed on horrible paper and the photography is illegibly sharp/harsh.

    2. I would disagree with that statement, insofar as Car was already in deep trouble by the time EMAP offloaded it, along with all of its consumer titles to Bauer around 2007/8, as I recall. Once the 2006 Jason Barlow-helmed rebrand was abandoned, that was pretty much it for the title. Managed decline was the way forward after that. I worked for EMAP (not the magazines business, mark you) and they were not in the business of creativity – their model was to purchase other, smaller businesses, often with little real idea of what then to do with them – especially if they were not a good fit within the portfolio. Max Power was more their end of the street in auto magazine terms. I recall visiting their offices around 2005 for a meeting and experiencing a very pervasive ladsmag culture there. Not pleasant. Having said that however, Bauer have more or less killed the patient. It’s thoughts and prayers time now.

    3. Ah – I thought EMAP sold it earlier than that. If I think a bit about the decline I´d say it was some time after 2002. I have a feeling the 2000-2002 editions weren´t bad. At some point the editor started really chopping up the text. I´ve a copy from 2014 upstairs where the Giant Test is cut up into Q&A boxes. “So is it rubbish or the best thing in the world?”: that kind of hyperbolic nonsense.

    4. Maybe they’re nice to kids, but the Bauers have a very poor reputation among their own staff and the entire publishing industry in Germany. What happened to Car hence hardly came as a surprise to anyone acquainted with the domestic sector here, which is hardly made up of idealist do-gooders.

      Has anyone UK-based an idea why Top Gear’s figures took such a particularly dramatic dive last year? All titles obviously suffered from those ‘special’ circumstances, but TG magazine suddenly finds itself barely a cat’s whiskers’ length ahead of Car, in terms of sales figures. As I don’t read either these days, I’m at a complete loss as to why that might’ve happened.

    5. Hypothesis number one: TG was bought by blokes in airports. Airport traffic is down at the moment and so therefore is TG´s sales. Counterpoint: surely the sales of other magazines would drop by the same amount still leaving TG at the head of the pack, ceteris paribus. Perhaps Car´s clientele is more subscription based and TG´s more exposed to the change in people´s travel habits. All those who want Car get it via subs and trips to the newsagents while TG has that plus a bigger audience waiting at departure gates and railway stations.

  13. Hi everybody! Since we’re on the subject of old, venerable British car magazines, here is a link to an incredible collection of thousands of scanned road tests from the 50s to the 90s by someone that goes by the name of Trigger. If anyone here knows him, please send him a warm thank you for this is an amazing repository of digitalized automotive history. It must have taken years to upload and yes, I have scrolled all the way to the end. Several times.

    See here:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/triggerscarstuff/albums/with/72157641667450355

    1. Good morning, Cesar, and many thanks for that link. I’m sure I’ll find inspiration there for some future topics!

    2. Yes, I’ve already found him! Don’t know how long it’ll last but so far the good Trigger is a source of the most wonderful old tests.

  14. Excellent – thank you Cesar, and perfect timing; rain just stopped play on shed repairs so I can take a trip down memory lane. Just spotted a road test of the Hillman Super Minx, one of which I bought for £60 many years ago and ran without mechanical problem and at cost of tax, insurance and fuel only for two years.
    I wonder which particular items will spark Daniel into action in due course……

  15. Does anyone here remember Triple-C ? Cars and Car Conversions would tell you what to expect if you fitted adjustable rear dampers to your VX4/90, or if you turbocharged your 2CV…( I think it caught fire )

    1. I do, Mervyn. A colleague of my dad was a bit of a petrolhead (Mk2 Cortina 1600E followed by a Capri GT) and used to pass his back copies of the magazine to me. The motor racing content wasn’t of great interest, but I very much enjoyed the featured readers’ customised cars.

    2. Yes, this one does! Sadly the market for that kind of mag disappeared.

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