The Carchive: ’87 Fiat X1/9


Once again it’s time to strap ourselves into the de Haviland Otter Floatplane of knowledge, skim across the cold, murky lake of time and go fishing for something from motoring past, to be dredged up from the depths of automotive history. Welcome back to The Carchive.

Recently I’ve had enough of England, frankly, so today we’re heading to Italy and the late ’80s, when the life of the legendary Fiat X1/9 was coming towards its end.

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The Meyrignac Alpine A110: A wheeled curriculum vitae


When I was growing up, I dreamt of becoming a car designer.  I spent all my spare time sketching with pencils and biros on whatever flat white surface I could get my hands on. It took over my every waking moment, and my history and geography exercise books were made considerably less tedious by the outlandish sports cars doodled throughout.

What I really should have done was followed the example of one Denis Meryignac – translate my wildest dream into a 1:5 scale model and present it to somebody like Jean Rédélé, the founder of French rally car artisans Alpine.

Then, with a bit of luck, something awesome might happen.

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Diecast Delights: Honda City Turbo II in 1:18 Scale


I’ve been holding off from posting a Diecast Delight until I thought I might have a Diecast that truly is Delightful.

Ever since I chanced upon an original brochure for the Honda City in The Carchive, and then tracked one down online for its partnering bootspace occupant, the Honda Motocompo, I’ve wanted to add a Honda City to my collection. Alas, the only model made is by AutoArt, and it’s prohibitively expensive for a man who daily-drives a ’98 Audi through necessity as well as choice.

So, Praise Be obscurity and badly phrased eBay adverts.

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The Carchive: The Humber Super Snipe


It’s drizzling and overcast outside and the downstairs of my house is littered with camping equipment. Yes, I have a 712 mile road trip ahead of me and am leaving in about four hours time.

Before that, we’ve just enough time to don our rubber trousers and wade through the primordial soup that is motoring past, ready to scoop up whatever obscure relic bobs up to the surface. Welcome to The Carchive.

After spending a few weeks in the 1990s British Midlands looking at the MG-F and RV8, we wind back thirty years or so but stay local. We’re in Coventry, and we’re checking out the Humber Super Snipe.

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Goodwood 2016: Lamborghini, Art, Design and Popular Culture


Lamborghini has never been a brand to conform to convention. There has never been a Raging Bull that followed the herd. Here, in a corner of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, we find a small assembly of some of Sant’Agata’s wildest creations.

Can a car define its era, or does its era define IT? I always feel that Ferarris are styled after artistic ideals, whereas a Lamborghini is designed out of sheer passion. If a Ferrari is the work of an impressionist, a Lambo is more like cubism. Art borne out of mood. I thought it might be fun to try and work out what was in the minds of the creators when this little lot were first drawn up.

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Goodwood 2016: BMW and Mini- the conceptual stretching of brands?


There didn’t seem to be as many concept cars at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year as there usually are, but those which did appear are worth a bit of discussion.

The two I present to you here are both from the fevered imagination of BMW, one being displayed in a courtyard of Goodwood House, amidst the German marque’s centenary celebrations, the other on show centrally in the MINI pavilion elsewhere on site.

I know that neither of them are new, but it’s the first time I’ve seen them in the flesh and both concepts gave me mixed emotions. But what do you think?

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Goodwood: Jaguar Land Rover – Prototype dealership of the future?


If you have a substantial quantity of money or a credit entitlement ring-fenced for purchase of a car, you trot down to your chosen car dealership and, well, a painfully mundane experience soon unfolds.

You turn up, introduce yourself at the reception desk to find out whether a salesman can be roused from their slumber. If one appears, you’ll then embark on a programme of mutual interrogation. He wants to know whether your financial situation warrants his further interest, he also wants to know what type of car it’ll take to part you from your cash. All the while, you’re growing impatient. You want to try the car out. See if it warrants your further interest.

Meanwhile your kids are beating seven bells out of each other, your significant other has reached hitherto unseen levels of boredom. There must be another way?

Yes. Yes there is. Come with me an explore the Prototype Car Dealership of Tomorrow. It’s like E.P.C.O.T, really. Without the schmaltz.

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Goodwood: Ferrari- Age shall not wither them.


The Ferrari 312P is one of the more unmistakable shapes that sports car racing ever saw, and has been appearing in magazines, historic racing almanacs and luxuriously produced history books in six decades.

It’s a 48 year old shape, with technology under the surface of equal vintage. Yet it’s still more than capable of showing those impetuant youths a thing or two.

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Goodwood’s Roaring Forties: An Orgy Of Ford GT40s.


Anybody here like Ford GT40s?

I know that not everybody is totally giddy with glee about the way Ford its class at Le Mans this year, but that does nothing to undo anything that the near mythical sports-racer has achieved.

Fittingly, this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed played host to more GT40s in a single location than I have ever experienced, or indeed thought possible, before.

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Goodwood: The UK’s premier auto shopping street

Chris Haining June 26, 2016 Goodwood


The Goodwood Festival of Speed reminds me what it is I don’t like about motor-shows. Mostly they take place in massive indoor halls, great for protection from the weather, but terrible for natural lighting. Therefore, a zillion lightbulbs machinegun the whole place with lumens from every possible direction creating a constant, uncomfortable glare. Furthermore, there’s the claustrophobia. No matter how vast the building, there’s nowhere to go but the stands. Every vehicle is surrounded by throngs of people, some of which are possibly only on the stand because they haven’t successfully managed to get off it.

These and many other factors conspire to make the average motorshow a sterile, unnatural experience, worsened by the brainwashed drones who are probably rewarded for every set of customer contact details they can extract from you.

Goodwood is different. It isn’t even a motorshow, really, but the corporate aspect of it is unbelievably well executed. Every year a tiny new city of individual showcases appears here, only to vanish just four days later. It’s the kind of thing that really should be a permanent fixture somewhere as a go-to venue for car companies to impress us.

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