The Carchive: The Triumph Dolomite 1300

The table is all laid out, the plates are piping hot and there’s a hostess trolley full of goodness on its way from the kitchen. But what’s it full of? Well, we’re digging right down from the choice cuts on the surface, through the fat and bone until we reach the gristle and cartilage before it gets left at the side of your plate.

At last weeks banquet we dined richly on the 1980 Mercury Cougar, but today’s dish is rather more lean and less ostentatiously garnished. It’s the 1976 Triumph Dolomite 1300. Welcome back to The Carchive.

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Bugatti Chiron: Think of a Number and Then Double It

Chris Haining November 13, 2017 All Things Hoon

This is an old story, but my thought process has only just caught up with why I care about it. Basically, there’s a Bugatti Chiron for sale through an independent classic car specialist in Surrey. It’s proudly declared to be the ‘first used example’ to be offered for sale in the UK. Fine. It was bound to happen.

It’s the next bit that riles me a little. The news item from Romans International, via Newspress, says “While simply driving the majority of new cars off the forecourt can wipe thousands off their value, the 261mph supercar has bucked the trend and soared in value to £3.6 million – an increase of £1.1 million over its list price of £2.5 million”.

The operative word above is ‘value’, and what I’m getting at is, just how on earth is £3.6m anything but a heinously greedy random figure?

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The Carchive: The 1980 Mercury Cougar XR-7

It’s that time again. Seven days have passed since we left the familiar chaos of the 21st century and took a bumpy, déjà vu-heavy trip down the history highway, before pulling up in the dark, litter-strewn parking lot of days gone by. Welcome back to The Carchive.

Last week we only made it back twenty years, where we looked at what South Korea’s Daewoo was offering in the UK in 1997, but today we’re looking at a machine that never officially made it to this Sceptred Isle. It’s the 1980 Mercury Cougar. … Continue Reading

Electric Futures: Getting into bed with the government.

In June 2009 Tesla was approved to receive US$465 million in low-interest loans from the US Department of Energy’s $8 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. It seems reasonable for a government to support a company or initiative that has the potential to raise the global profile of an entire country in a given specific field, and Tesla – current issues aside – has certainly done just that.

The fear with such financial support is, always, whether a loan will be paid back in full, or even in part when it comes to some cases. But at least Tesla has a portfolio of legitimate, well-conceived products to offer. If it can build enough, the customers appear ready to buy. This isn’t always the case, though.

The headline-grabbing nature of the EV is such that it’s almost a surprise that start-ups are so few, but the truth is that making a decent fist of starting your own car company is such an expensive and involved endeavour that you really need bottomless coffers and a truly world-class product. That is unless you can find an investor who isn’t especially clued up and will fund your efforts, no matter how obviously futile.

Of course, private investment is one thing – I don’t really care about a rich man making a daft bet – but tax dollars need to be gambled responsibly. A look at what’s going on in Uganda makes me thankful that government investment in unproven businesses is doled out relatively sparingly. … Continue Reading

The Carchive: ’97 Daewoo range.

Last week’s raid of The Carchive was courtesy of General Motors in the mid-’70s, with the German Opel Manta. This week we’ve jumped forward a couple of decades, but we’re kind of keeping The General in mind, as you’ll soon see.

We’re off to South Korea to find out what Daewoo were up to in 1997. Actually, that’s a lie. We’re of to quaint old England, to find out exactly what Daewoo could offer during its fleeting stay in the UK car market.

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Cultural differences: The joy of trim levels

It’s only natural that a manufacturer should offer several variants of each car it makes. There needs to be a basic ‘I can just about afford to get into one of these’ model, and a, ‘look, my car’s got e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g” grade. And, likely as not, there’ll be an ‘it’s got everything I need, I don’t like to show off” version for those kindly, modest folk in the middle.

In Europe, though, three well-spaced specification grades and an abundant pile of optional extras simply won’t do. We like our cars to wear a badge that denotes precisely how much we’ve paid (or borrowed) for our whip. These things matter a whole lot, particularly when we’ve bought a car from the lower reaches of the range but not, repeat not, an entry-level model. Oh no.

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The Carchive: The Opel Manta

Last week, we plumbed the depths of the filthy lagoon of automotive history, and the turgid corpse that bobbed to the surface was the third-generation Chevy Impala and Caprice. This was a car famous all around the world – mainly for appearing in North American films in police cruiser or yellow cab form.

This week’s subject is rather less internationally renown on the small screen, but is a far more familiar sight on the streets of Europe. It was, nominally, a sports coupe, but – like its rival from the Blue Oval, some versions were sportier than others.

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Interface: Too much information.

We have a simply ludicrous coffee machine where I work. It’s a Wittenborg 9100. I know this because it introduces itself with the line “I’m the Wittenborg 9100” on its high-resolution touchscreen display. The latter has a number of uses, the first of which is to display the menu of hot, yummy beverages this bean-to-cup machine can rustle up. Naturally I choose ‘black coffee’, and as soon as I’ve made my selection a whole new world of needless information is presented.

Half of the display is dedicated to a rolling vista of snow-capped mountains, lush plantations and icy tundra, to entertain you during the brief moments that you’re standing there, waiting for your drink to arrive. The other side of the screen shows a countdown, a red circle that gradually closes around a static image of some coffee being brewed, before closing and turning green. Now, when you can physically see that coffee is no longer dribbling into the cup and hear that the clanking has silenced, the display visually confirms that your drink is ready,

At length, you’re reassured that dispensing is complete, with the invitation ‘please, pick up your beverage’. Every time I use this machine, I think about being behind the wheel and ask myself “do we really need all this information?”.

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The Carchive: The ’79 Chevrolet Caprice and Impala

It’s been several weeks since we last last dipped our bucket into the fetid swamp of motoring past, and trawled up the early ’80s Nissan Patrol. We’re creeping backwards just a couple of years this time, but skipping continents to land stateside again. Welcome back to The Carchive.

North America has produced many iconic cars over the years, some of which are are almost stereotypically obvious. Growing up in the ’80s over 3,000 miles from the Eastern US seaboard, though, I was more frequently exposed to one unmistakable shape than anything else – the 1977-1990 Chevy Caprice.

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The true spirit of the Range Rover Velar

Chris Haining October 18, 2017 All Things Hoon

I recently had a go behind the wheel of the Range Rover Velar, namely the emphatically quick and ostentatious P380 HSE. It has 1980s Ferrari levels of grunt, combined with agility that ensures it doesn’t all leach away in a maelstrom of wobbly, noisy indulgence. But I’m not here to discuss how fantastic it is. I’m here to talk about what it means.

Choosing the Velar name was a bold step. It was that name, as you probably know, that graced the castellated bonnet of the first publicly-beheld example of what would become the Range Rover. It was ground zero. The beginning. Genesis. By using that name, Jaguar Land Rover is inferring that its latest model is the very embodiment of what Range Rover means today. Of course, customer expectation has evolved somewhat since 1970 – the typical SUV buyer is very much in favour of showiness and glitz. But what if you want something that truly reflects the original?

The Land Rover online configurator takes us part way there, but there’s always scope for a little extra fiddling.

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