The Automotive Alphabet
AC to Allard and Alvis, Alfa Romeo and even Auto Union. Aston Martin is a favourite as well as Austin. Love an Ariel motorbike. Now to Audi which was original Auto Union. Next is the British icon, Bentley, who have been a class act from the original ‘Blower’ cars to the modern Continental range. Now to Germany and BMW who originally built aeroplanes just like Bristol Cars. British Leyland are an interesting company with a history in commercial trucks and coaches. Now to classic British BRM with a race heritage not to be forgotton amd Bugatti who have built ‘the most beautiful cars in the world’ – just take a look at the Type 57.
Buick are American through and through along with the Cadillac, Chevrolet and Chrysler. Now to France for Citroen who have created cars for thinkers with the early DS range. Connaught are an interesting car and we hope to see more! Who can forget DMC Delorean with rumours of it starting again? De Tomaso is just an Italian dream with all the right bits. Let’s not forget the biggest name in Italian automobiles – Ferrari!
Now for a few muscle cars Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Plymouth Barracuda, Pontiac Firebird. Fiat have an interesting history and have produced good cars with help from Ferrari. Lets hope more comes from the team at Fisker as they are really cool to look at at least. Now Ford have been with us for a long time and have produced a number of successors – namely the GT40. Ginetta has a strong history of producing good kit cars and now have a strong future with Laurence Tomlinson with a new home in Guisley, Leeds. Another kit car with a wild reputation is the Radical – only for real petrol heads!
GMC Cars had a famous employee before he set up DMC – John Delorean. Back to bikes or trike in this case the Grinnall using that excellent BMW bike engine for a power unit at the back. Australia have produced really good cars under the brand of Holden, famous for their V8 engines and quite different from the true engineering perfection and innovative engines from Honda.
Can you get more British than Jaguar? Having had a bad boy image for a long time really works in their favour. Jensen is a perfect, grand GT V8. Back to America, where the first Jeep was design and produced working to a 49 day deadline. Kawasaki bikes bring back memories of 3 cylinder, 2 stroke air cooled excitement with the KH range. Kit cars are sometime looked down upon, not sure why as some of the best kit cars have taught major manufactures a few things.
When Lada re-manufactured the Fiat 124 it helped the Russians and gave a good peoples car. Not the case with Lamborghini, with an owner who wanted to show Ferrari how it should be done with the Miura and who can forget the Countach? Lancia had it tough in the 70’s with rust issues and this was due to using recycled steel which had impurities in. Land Rover needed a car that would help them after the war and the Land Rover Series I and laterly Defender was it, made of aluminium, as steel was in short supply.
In Japan, Toyota wanted to produce a car that was a good as a Mercedes S Class, this is when Lexus was born. Moving onto sporting cars, Lister produced race cars using the origins of a Jaguar, not to everyone’s taste but they’re different! In the same way with Lotus Cars, Colin Chapman was a genius with car design and had forward thinking mind – imagine him being around now! Maserati is a name that always makes the hair on the back stand on end. Mazda came from the ashes of Hiroshima, joined with Ford and now independent all while controversially producing the best ever British two seater sports car, the MX5 or Miata.
Mercedes Benz are credited with producing the first motor car under the name of Daimler Benz. Back to Britain with MG, which stood for Morris Garages (Now Chinese owned Modern Gentleman), taking Morris Cars and tuning them for young Spitfire air pilots of the day. Then we have the famous Mini designed by Alex Issigonis, the first true small big family car. Then we have all the Mini variants, that include Mini Marcos which still hold three world speed records, to Gem, to Midas and Simpson Scorcher to name a few.
Talking of small cars what about Micro cars? Small and to some too small and not so pretty. For hand built cars we have Morgan, still using an ash frame with aluminium formed around it but with electric and hybrid cars in the future. Nissan or Datsun to some have produced some real classics in the 70’s. Noble interestingly are built in Leicestershire. Back to motorbikes with MZ and MuZ, MZ were the original inventors of the 2 stroke engine and expansion box for performance, and it’s technology was borrowed by first Suzuki then all the Japanese motorbike manufactures, Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha.
Vauxhall in the UK have their opposite number in Europe being Opel, all with a healthy history of car production. France also have a good range of automotive manufactures with Peugeot, Renault, Citroen and the famous Bugatti and Ligier. One of the most recognised silhouette is the 911 outline from German Porsche has evolved through time but is still every bit the 1960s icon. Reliant have produced some amazing cars that include the Scimitar (Can I not mention it was once owned by The Princess Royal, Princess Anne?) to the amazing Bond Bug in bright orange.
Rover once produced cars that were a real alternative to Rolls Royce and but ended up as part of MG Rover Group which met a sad demise. Talking of Rolls Royce, a car that basks in it’s own importance, having lost it coolness it is now back with the super cool Phantom. Triumph cars produce an engine with one overhead camshaft operating both the inlet and exhaust valves, sold the design rights to SAAB who then created the first really exciting SAAB – The Turbo 900 that took the world by storm.
Who has won the most world rally championships every in their class? The answer is Skoda. Incredible cars with a history that started in 1895! Subaru gave farmers an alternative to the trusted Land Rover in the 1990s which could also be used for the school run before the ‘Chelsea tractor’ brigade started years later.
In terms of great sounding names how about Spyker? Great cars with a great aviation heritage and what about the Spyker logo – one of the best! Tesla have given us the electric car world that works – so what about using the technology from Tesla Model S or Nissan Leaf and transplanting it into a classic car, maybe a Jensen Interceptor, Delorean, or even the ultimate VW Campervan – the fact is it can be fitted to any classic car!
Trident, based in Norfolk produce a TVR style of car with excellent eco credentials. When it comes to classic British bikes then here we go with Triumph Motorcyles, Norton, BSA and the best in the world being the Brough Superior (Closely followed by the Vincent Black Shadow). It’s been said that TVR are on their way back – let’s hope so as we need a TVR just to keep us all on our toes and the cars are so brilliant even if ultimately flawed!
Volkswagen, created in 1936 by the German labour front. A trade union supported by a dictator that created a peoples car the Beetle designed by Ferdinand Porsche with a prototype built by Mercedes Benz. The military officer who was responsible for re-stating VW after the war was from near our home in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire and received regular new cars to thank him.
When it come to safety Volvo should be top of the list; responsible for seat belts, laminated glass and side impact protection to name a few. Back to kit cars with Westfield, using the Colin Chapman original Lotus Seven design and taking it to the next level – demonstrating Colin Chapmans genius qualities. Finally Zundap Motorcycles a good solid German company producing excellent motorbikes that not many will have heard about.
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