Autocar: World's oldest motoring magazine

Autocar was so good this week that I have paid £89 for a subscription on my ipad. Hilton Holloway’s analysis of Jaguar Land Rover is masterly despite a bit of PR-speak; “all-new” in the headline and twice in the first paragraph is tiresome, but his scrutiny is well informed and well briefed. He shows the likely effects of US legislation on Jaguar’s small-car policy and Tata’s proposal to build a carbon-copy of the Wolverhampton engine factory in India. I didn’t know the extent of universities’ research on Jaguar’s behalf, nor the University of Warwick’s role in research and development. Great material. Tells you lots you didn’t know. I’m not sure about his description of the X-type as “unloved” however. It was unloved only by Americans, who made the mistake in the first place of insisting it was retro-styled. It was quite a decent car and well made; basing it on an old Mondeo was quite practical to get Jaguar out of the mess British Leyland had left.

Holloway also speaks boldly on roads. Everybody forgets that the entire Olympic site could never have been developed in, “huge land-locked post-industrial Stratford” had the battles over the M11 link road been lost.

So, Holloway a star, along with Alan Henry who was covering grand prix races when I was covering grand prix races and that’s a long time ago, and the eternally boyish Richard Bremner. His Land of the Rising Sunderland is a succinctly written reminder of 25 years of Nissan in Britain. Autocar does this sort of thing well; nobody else seems to be doing it. Applause too for the techy diagram of the Suzuki Swift Sport rear suspension. Nobody else is doing that either.

Bremner is perhaps too kind to the Triumph Stag. Pretentious, unreliable, held together by that ungainly roll-over bar the V8 was, alas, one of the late Spen King’s rare failures. BL’s press launch didn’t go well either. A pre-production Stag Clive Jacobs ran for years ultimately did the decent thing and set itself comprehensively on fire. It was nevertheless restored and is still running.

Jaguar X-type. A perfectly worthy car.