Speaking Micra

A chance sighting prompts something approaching a defence.

Image: Driven to Write

Since we created Driven to Write three years ago, I have undergone something of a re-education about cars and particularly when it comes to their design. Even though we might actually only rub shoulders about once a year, I often feel as though I have a virtual Herriott at my ear, urging me to look at that innocuous looking tin box over there with fresh eyes. Going about my business yesterday, I happened past a stationary 2016 Micra. Not a car to which I’d normally give more than the most cursory of glances, but given some of the damning responses to the example featured earlier in the week, I felt I ought to give it a second glance. Continue reading “Speaking Micra”

Theme: Film – Comic Relief

Is there a “car film” car enthusiasts can all agree to like?

From The Big Lebowski: source
From The Big Lebowski: source

Those of us who love cars belong to a broad church. The 1997 Glanza driver is unlikely to enjoy the same movies as the pootler in his perfectly restored 1932 Ford 8. Some of us worship at the altar of pistons and power while others genuflect at the shrine of good looks. My holy grail has always been big coupes, but surely there is room for us all (well maybe I’ll draw the line at modified cars). There’s never going to be a film or even a genre to suit everyone. My tuppence worth (you’re probably going to get about 48p if you keep reading) says I would have put Bullitt in a notchback and I really don’t like movies where the car is the star. What really works for me is a movie with well cast cars that are credible and complement the story being told. Perhaps comedy is where we might find some agreement amongst ourselves. Continue reading “Theme: Film – Comic Relief”

A photoseries for Sunday – Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint

Amidst the stolid carpark fare of Gaydon’s National Motor Museum, this little gem gleamed.

Image: Driventowrite
Image: Driventowrite

I can’t be certain about the year, but the mesh side grilles flanking the scudetto and the presence of the ornate chromed side repeaters on the front wings suggests this is a late-series Sprint. The car was pristine, looking delicate and almost fragile amidst the bloated moderns in its midst. Continue reading “A photoseries for Sunday – Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint”

A Photoset for Friday: Alfa Romeo 2600 Berlina

I had high expectations of Friedrichstadt, a perfect little displaced Dutch town in German Nordfriesland, but they didn’t include two Alfa 2600s.

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Their presence was unexplained. No ‘Oldtimer’ gathering, no other participants on a one make outing. I would hate to think that they had just ‘failed to proceed’. The 2600 Sprint’s charms are beyond dispute, but a bit of fact-finding on the Berlina sprung some surprises. Continue reading “A Photoset for Friday: Alfa Romeo 2600 Berlina”

DTW Summer Reissue : Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile Torino

I visited here in 2011, just after it had re-opened following a complete restoration. I posted a small gallery and the accompanying text 20 months ago. Here it is again, with added images. In addition to what’s displayed, plus temporary exhibits, they have an impressive collection in storage, so I imagine that, 5 years later, some exhibits will have changed. Anyway, if you’re near Turin, it’s well worth a visit.

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It is a large and impressive museum, mixing the informative (exposed engines and bare chassis) with the glib (new Fiat 500s bursting through kitchen walls). But you need to get them in and presentation is important, especially if you are accompanied, as I was, by someone who does not find cars at all exciting. Continue reading “DTW Summer Reissue : Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile Torino”

Gallery: 2016 Toyota Prius

DTW is evidently in the middle of reappraisal of Japanese cars in general and Toyota in particular. Here you are invited to look more closely at the 2016 Prius.

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I remember around the year 2000 finding the then-new Mazda 323F to be over-styled. “That’s the new school of over-styling,” I said as I looked at the car in the town of Bath, England. What would my younger self make of the Prius confection? It’s not hard to say that he’d have hated it. Something has happened to my judgement in the interim and it could be good or it could be bad. Continue reading “Gallery: 2016 Toyota Prius”

Theme : Special – Polishing The Crown

We look at what people do to a Driven to Write favourite in the name of individualism.


Whenever the 1971 to 1974 Toyota Crown S60 is discussed in the pages of Driven To Write, it is notable that there is a fair deal of respect and affection for it, much more than there was in the UK and US at the time of its launch. But we are discussing the stock vehicle. What is our attitude to the various modifications, small or substantial, that have been visited onto this particular version of the ‘living legend’ (to quote Toyota)? Continue reading “Theme : Special – Polishing The Crown”

Sunday Matinee: The View From Mt. Panorama

Today’s short film is a study in commitment.

TWR team leader, owner and lead driver Tom Walkinshaw takes his Group-A XJ-S by the scruff of the neck setting pole for the 1985 James Hardie 1000 at Bathurst, Australia.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: The View From Mt. Panorama”

Sunday Matinée – Life Begins At ’40

Research has shown it’s impossible to have too much XJ40 in your diet, so here’s another helping.

If like us, you haven’t sufficiently gorged yourself on all things XJ40, don’t worry; Driven to Write is on hand with this series of short promotional films from the ’40s launch in 1986. Immerse yourself in a world of almost universal moustaches, nascent CAD, grey slip-on loafers and illicit assignations, as XJ40-man jets back to his fancy woman via the Scottish Highlands – (where he indulges in some unexplained wildlife photography), the Canadian wilderness and the Australian outback in what can only be described as the mother of all commutes.

 

Sunday Matinée – The Renault 5 Story

Following our recent Benchmarks piece on the Renault 5, you are quite naturally burning to know more about this little French marvel.

Ever obliging, we offer this (not particularly short) film on the development and history of the Cinq. Made by Renault themselves, it’s a little hagiographic in parts, but an enjoyable (and informative) trawl nonetheless. Enjoy.

German Lessons With Claudia Schiffer

Opel blew the budget on Ms. Schiffer, because there’s certainly nothing left for anything else. You know, like production values, creativity, wit …

claudia-schiffer-says-the-opel-astra-never-breaks-down-video-79964_1
Confusing isn’t it Claudia? You are, the Astra isn’t. Got it? Image: autoevolution

I feel for Claudia, I really do. Times must be tough in the Schiffer household, because she really must have needed the money for this. Each time this spot airs, I fight the urge to hurl the nearest available blunt object TV-wards. Surely no advertising agency with a shred of dignity would willingly put their name to drivel of this magnitude, yet someone did. Did they Continue reading “German Lessons With Claudia Schiffer”

Unforgetting: Ford GT70

I vaguely recall seeing photos of this car in a magazine somewhere, but never knew much about it. But having watched this short film from 1970, I now know more – if only a little…

GT70 - photo via autowp.ru
GT70 – photo via autowp.ru

During the late 60s, Ford was taking motorsport rather seriously. Ford’s 1970 rally weapon was the newly announced Escort – the sort of no-nonsense rugged warhorse that was perfect for forest stages and Safari’s. But on faster asphalt rallies, they were being humbled by more specialised machinery – notably the all-conquering Alpine A110’s.  Continue reading “Unforgetting: Ford GT70”

Theme : Facelifts – Introduction

The Editor Reflects on the Need for Change

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The facelift, once a rather quirky thing, has become accepted. A nip, a tuck, a chop, a stretch. No-one seems embarrassed. Your Editor is aware of these things because, much as he would prefer to always shop at Fortnum and Mason, circumstances (thank you Eoin and Sean) dictate that he has to stand in supermarket queues with everyone else. Therefore he cannot avoid the temptation to browse through those strange little magazines on offer beside the tills and read about these things.

Continue reading “Theme : Facelifts – Introduction”

1961 Fiat 2300 S Coupe : A Short Film

While reading about the Humber Super Snipe and its competitors I stumbled across this.

Fiat 2300S Coupe

It’s a very nicely filmed piece about a Fiat 2300S and its owner, Pierantonio Micciarelli. I have to say that the man’s elegant dress sense made me yearn to be Italian. They do know how to choose their threads.

Continue reading “1961 Fiat 2300 S Coupe : A Short Film”

Theme : Cute!

April’s Theme : The Editor’s Photo Introduction

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Cute. A word derived from acute, therefore originally suggesting someone (generally female) who was quick witted, has ended up, in United Kingdom English at least, more usually suggesting someone or something that is attractive, but in a rather dainty or childish sort of way. When applied to a person, it suggests a distinct lack of seriousness and, when applied to a car, the situation is no better. So do we want cute cars? Well, for the traditional, stereotypical male ‘petrolhead’, whose choice of motor says as much about what happens below his waist as above, a cute car is unlikely to cut the mustard, unless it’s a gift to keep the little lady sweet. But we at DTW are not like that – well at least the Lads aren’t being, of course, hardened metrosexuals.

Continue reading “Theme : Cute!”

The Alternative Great Car Chase

Bullitt, The Italian Job, Ronin, Goldfinger ….

The list of ‘Great Car Chases on Film’ is generally pretty predictable but, if you look further, you might find this :

Tatra Chase
Click To View

A fabulous car, a skilled and brave driver, even braver passengers and a dysfunctional narrative.  What more could you want?

Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile Torino

I visited here in 2011, just after it had re-opened following a complete restoration. 

It is a large and impressive museum, mixing the informative (exposed engines and bare chassis) with the glib (new Fiat 500s bursting through kitchen walls). But you need to get them in and presentation is important, especially if you are accompanied, as I was, by someone who does not find cars at all exciting. Continue reading “Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile Torino”

Banger Racing in the Eifel

I had a ‘Ring obsession for a short while and trawled for various videos. There are the obvious ones that put you in awe of other’s skill, either flat out driving with Water Rohl or the sight of Sabine Schmitz taking passengers round in the ‘Ring Taxi, chatting to them as though she’s on a country drive whilst effortlessly dispatching day-pass, would-be Ringmeisters.  The nicest I found was an early morning video of an unidentified driver in an Elise, top down, no gloves, driving fast but flawlessly on a near empty track, the dew still drying off.  

The most memorable of all, though, is this.  Somewhere, we are assured that no-one was seriously injured, which I hope was the case, but is pretty miraculous.  If anyone out there has ever wondered why it is so hard to find a nice Fiat 850 Sport these days, here is the answer. Cars have come a long way since then, thanks be.

Click to View
Click to View