The notion that hand-made cars were superior died hard. Maybe it’s still true of shirts or suits, but by and large cars made by machines are better than any cobbled up on engineers’ lasts. Components used to be hand-crafted to fit but precise modern tooling makes things more reliable, more repeatable and refined. In 1989 I was underwhelmed by a Maserati 222E and Motor1.com agrees. Anthony Karr thinks the much-hyped Biturbo ruined the Italian maker’s reputation..Read More
Understatement never did much for Henry O’Neal de Hane Segrave. First British driver to win a Grand Prix and seven more major races, three land speed records, German and European speedboat championships and the water speed record. Next March marks 90 years since he did 231.44mph at Daytona with Golden Arrow. Modest to a fault, he is now remembered through a JD Wetherspoon’s pub in Southport and an RAC Trophy.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Pin-ups were a bit naff. Trendy people tried to make statements through books or pictures of a different sort. I liked precise, geometrical framed prints with an engineering quality. No perspective, just careful detailing and exactitude. Hugh Evelyn prints I thought masterpieces. Beautifully reproduced, I used one in our MG Classics Book 2 1945-1965 to illustrate the transition from the TB of the 1930s to TC with which production resumed in October 1945.Read More
The best MG for picnicking with the dog was probably the post 1931 Magna. At the time Cecil Kimber’s ambitions to challenge Bentley were flagging. The big 18/80 wasn’t selling and in only its second year the Midget was still a bit of a gamble. Kimber had to find something in between and Morris Engines was making a dinky little 6-cylinder for Wolseley that he could squeeze into a Midget. He didn’t much like the connection with staid old Wolseley so the cylinder dimensions were faked and steel plates fixed on the crankcase to cover it up.Read More
Motorcyclists, if they are any good, make great drivers. On a motorcycle you examine roads carefully for a surface change or a manhole cover, or a slippery patch that could send you to eternity. Nothing sharpens the mind so much as the thought of falling off. pic: Roger Cucksey VelocetteRead More
Available digitally or as paperback, MG Classics Book 2 details post-war decades of Britain’s best-loved sports car. A comprehensive account of every model, specs, performance and prices, MG history, racing and record-breaking. Reference material and a good read,authentic, accurate, perfect for MG owners, fans, historians.