Tag: british cars
In the early 1980s, when Japanese car companies started conquering the automotive world, few would have predicted the survival of the British car industry. British Leyland, whose umbrella eventually included most British marques except for tiny specialists like Lotus and TVR, was busy going defunct. In the 1950s and early 1960s, export demand, particularly for sports cars, helped keep British car factories humming. By the 1980s, though, decrepit factories, continual labor unrest, abysmal quality and Lucas electrics made success virtually impossible in the face of the well engineered and reliable new Japanese cars. Now, three decades later, at a time when the continental European automobile industry is plagued by overcapacity and a dormant market (issues with the Euro, Greece and other debtor countries are probably a factor as well), the British automotive sector is in the best shape it’s been in since the 1960s.
Auto journalists have a habit of being cornered at parties by interested outsiders – usually, the boyfriend of the cute girl you were just flirting with – and pounced upon with the standard question. After “what’s your favorite car?” and “what’s the fastest you’ve ever gone”, you are likely to get some kind of consumer advice question. “I have $X to spend on a car. What would you recommend?”
You see plenty of Fiat 124 Sport Spiders in self-service wrecking yards these days, but junked MGBs— which were more commonplace back in the day— are fairly rare. The MGB was slower, less sophisticated, and sturdier than its Fiat competitor, and it still has a big following today. This could mean that more MGB projects get finished, while 124 Spider projects languish for decades before getting discarded. (Read More…)
Has Mini’s over-propagation of vehicles gotten so bad that we’re actually cheering when a new special isn’t a silly two-seater or pseudo-crossover? The Mini John Cooper Works GP may be overpriced, but at least it’s got its heart in the right place.
51 years ago, my beloved Grandfather emigrated from England. Despite being a man of modest means, he immediately went out and bought himself the biggest, V8 powered American sedan he could buy (the exact make remains obscure – it tends to change every time my grandmother tells the story), swearing off British cars and his cursed MG Magnette for life. He would be just as bewildered as I am that there is any demand for the Morgan 3 Wheeler in the United States that would result in U.S. sales.
If you are an automotive journalist who socializes with people who don’t have a bizarre fascination with the automobile and its associated trivia (there’s not many of us, believe me), you will inevitably be asked a few stock questions at parties. Among them;
1) Wow, you have to best job in the world, don’t you? (The answer is, no, not really, but working at TTAC is great)
2) What’s the fastest you’ve ever driven? (The answer is, 30 thousand, 100 million)
This article answers another common question – “What do you think of (insert car here)?”, and more specifically, what happens when expectations and reality are not the same.
Despite all the righteous indignation regarding Lotus and their legendary outburst – which I still maintain is a brilliant PR stunt to get their message out and subvert the armchair-racer blogger cartel – it appears that the British sportscar shop has made a real world class sports car under the leadership of Dany Bahar, the supposed Antichrist for “real enthusiasts of the marque”. The kind who may be able to buy an Isuzu Impulse with Handling By Lotus.
Two new engines will be joining the Jaguar family, with at least one confirmed for the new F-Type sports car.
A year ago, I penned a passionate defense of the new direction that was being taken by Lotus. In the piece, I chastised enthusiasts for their armchair criticism of Lotus management and their resistance to bringing out new vehicle to replace the nearly two decade old Elise (which would hit that mark by the time a replacement rolled around in 2015) and their lack of faith in the stewardship of CEO Dany Bahar, the man who helped Luca di Montezemolo turn Ferrari around. Now it looks like I’ll have to retract those words and admit I was wrong.
TTAC readers, especially those in the United States may profess their undying love for station wagons, but their pleas tend to fall on deaf ears. Not so for European Jaguar dealers – their requests for a station wagon version of the XF will be fulfilled shortly.
Consumer Reports failed to give the Range Rover Evoque its “Recommended Rating”. Instead, the BMW X3 nabbed the coveted title. Too bad the hordes of auto journos and status-concious customers have spoken.
Jay-Z may have been the biggest celebrity booster (certainly TTAC wasn’t) of the Maybach line, but the brand’s demise is going to leave Hov high and dry for new wheels. So will Hov go back to the Lexus GS that he started out with? Probably not. It’s up to the Best and Brightest to determine what will take Maybach’s place in the whip game. Perhaps something British?