The latest from Eric's blog
Fresh posts, best read in a comfortable chair with a wee dram of scotch close at hand.
Nothing distinguished what trendy young people in my day called a “den” so much as precise, geometrical framed prints. For me it was sometimes a tramcar, an aeroplane but most usually a car. All they needed was a modest caption with title, date and maybe a few technical facts. Prints like that made a statement. Maybe they are now passé but I still treasure some; Glasgow tramcars recall my youth, aircraft like a BEA Pionair (a Dakota really) in which I made landmark flights to London. I have one of a 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron Spitfire that flew from RAF Westhampnett, the Goodwood circuit where I covered races and drove many memorable laps.
It’s always nice when somebody agrees with you. The Porsche 968 Club Sport was one of the best-handling cars I ever drove. Last week Autocar concurred. Deciding that 1994 was a high point in automotive history it tested Honda NSX, Ferrari F355, TVR, Peugeot and Porsche, selecting the same exemplary virtues of the 968 Club Sport I discovered in October 1993. It was a pity Autocar chose a slothful automatic Honda; a manual one would have been more of a match for the Porsche. I remain unconvinced about the TVR or even the Ferrari but no Porsche with the engine at the wrong end ever had the exquisite equilibrium of the 968.
MG was great at celebrating. On 27 May 1971 George Turnbull, Austin Rover MD saw this Blaze GT off the line. It was given away as a National Sweepstake prize in America the following September. Posed alongside Old Number One, Cecil Kimber’s pioneer trials car of 1925 the MGB went on to half a million, but nine years later the factory was shut. British Leyland thought sports cars passé. Mazda decided otherwise and on 22 April 2016 broke its own Guinness World Record with its millionth MX-5. Its newest goes on sale in September. Classics do survive. MG Classics book 3.
McLaren hasn’t won a Grand Prix for six years. Vandoorne was a lap down in twelfth and Alonso didn’t finish at Monza. 1968 was the year of Bruce McLaren’s first win in his own new McLaren car, at Spa. My race report is a 50th anniversary tribute to one of Formula 1 racing’s best men.
Our latest releases and new editions of classic works.
Out of print for twenty years, the 2017 edition of Jim Clark: Tribute to a Champion is newly revised and expanded and completely redesigned in colour throughout. This classic of motor racing celebrates the life and achievements of Jim Clark (1936-1968).
Covers the MGs of 1922-1939 with a detailed history of MG’s foundation by Cecil Kimber and WR Morris, through its struggles in the aftermath of the first world war to its triumphs before the outbreak of the second. Forty-seven distinctive examples of MG are detailed, illustrated and described along with comprehensive specifications.
Covers the MGs of 1945-1965 with a detailed history of MG’s postwar expansion into the export market, development of austerity-era saloons and sedans, and triumphant return to the motor racing track at Le Mans. Forty-one distinctive examples of MG are detailed, illustrated and described along with comprehensive specifications.
Covers the years 1965-2001 and follows the closure of the Abingdon-on-Thames factory in 1980 after the turbulent British Leyland years and the transition to MG-Rover. Despite modest resources MG kept up with the times and met stringent safety and emissions regulations imposed by world markets with landmark cars such as the MGB GT. Thirty-five distinctive examples of MG are detailed, illustrated and described along with comprehensive specifications.
Newly revised and expanded, this complete history of Vauxhall includes great Edwardian sports cars like the 1911 Prince Henry and the 1920s 30-98 up to the 2007 VXR8. Over 170 individual models are fully illustrated, with a 200-word description plus a full technical specification.
The Complete Bentley is the only single volume with an accurate comprehensive model-by-model guide with details, specifications and pictures of every Bentley made. It starts with the notable rotary aero engine of World War I and describes all the collectors’ classics, including a fully-illustrated chronology of the company and its racing since 1919.