An Open and Shut Case

A short history of BMC and its successor companies’ trouble with doors.

Austin Manx…sorry, Maxi. Image: evoke-classics.com

Car doors: we take them for granted. They are there simply to provide a means of entry to and egress from a cabin sealed off from the elements, to ensure the comfort and security of the vehicle’s occupants. In engineering terms, they are mainly pretty simple: two hinges at the front, a locating pin and lock at the rear, and a mechanism to move the glass up and down either manually or electrically(1). So far, so straightforward.

However, doors are of far greater importance than might be implied by their mere functionality. They define the side profile of the car and are integral to its overall design. While cars are routinely given facelifts to freshen up their appearance after a few years on the market, such facelifts are typically confined to the front (and, occasionally, rear) end. The centre section of the bodyshell usually(2) remains untouched. Hence, it is very important to Continue reading “An Open and Shut Case”

Catching Up

“An Experienced driver could be caught out by the Porsche 911 – it’s one of the nearest things to a racing car, says Stirling Moss.” That’s the intro to an article from Harper’s & Queen, a 1975 copy of which I found in a local “retro” styled bistro in my locale. Here is the rest of the text.

“The motor car has come in for quite a lot of criticism of late, and the most recent charge to be levelled against it that it squanders precious energy at a time when we can least afford it. Maybe this is the reason for a profound change in many people’s whole attitude to motoring. Continue reading “Catching Up”

Driven To Write’s Top Fifty Best Cars Ever 29-20

We continue our run down of the definitive list of the best cars ever. 

1990 Geo Prizm: zombidrive.com
1990 Geo Prizm: zombidrive.com

29. In 1990 General Motors decided the way to take on the imported cars that were eating its lunch was to sell imported cars of their own, but made in the US. With a moderately restyled interior and exterior, the Prizm conquered sales from Toyota’s Corolla upon which the Prizm was based. In 1991 the Prizm’s nameplate went italic on the rear bumper. The standard four-cylinder engine produced 102 hp. At the same time Saturn was also trying to Continue reading “Driven To Write’s Top Fifty Best Cars Ever 29-20”