Cutting a Digital Dash

In a random Tweet I sent out on Wednesday, I moaned “It wouldn’t be hard for today’s digital dashboards to incorporate a retro 1980s mode. Sort it out!”, alongside the above brochure pic, which depicts the digital instrument cluster that adorned top models in the 1983 JDM Nissan Silvia range. The Tweet performed well. Dozens […]

Of Moon Landings, 1202s, and Check Engine Lights

Gene Kranz, CAPCOM

Having just toasted the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landings, I see them in a new, more relevant light now than I did when I was younger. On my visit to Kennedy Space Centre, at age 11, I spent time looking at “all the cool rockets”, but my preteen mind wasn’t quite ready […]

Good Vibes: A flight into NVH

Bell JetRanger III cockpit

I was absolutely delighted when I found it was a JetRanger. When my dad invited me as his +1 on a pleasure flight he received as a birthday present, I was fearful that it would be a Robinson R44 – the aviation equivalent of a Toyota Camry. A JetRanger, though, and a 1986 example at […]

Who will be next to redefine the car?

Generic car, parked

The black car you see silhouetted above, doesn’t exist. It’s a symbol — a graphical representation of A Car — and was devised in 1964 when the UK’s current system of road signage was dreamt up. The idea of it depicting any specific model of car was rejected in favour of something generic that wouldn’t […]

On heroes and their influence: Audi Ur Quattro

Ur Quattro, front end detail

In the 1980s, Ford was so proud to offer something beyond carburation that the fastest Capris and Granadas, and later the top-spec Ford Orion Ghia, were dubbed “Injection”. Elsewhere, “Turbo” came and went as a model designation in its own right – these days Porsche is among the few marques that regard the exhaust-driven compressor as […]

Wherever, whenever, whatever

A Corsa in Slovenia

Once again, the chirpy chap behind the Enterprise counter in Ljubljana proudly handed me the key to an Opel Corsa. The plain white loaf of family transportation – vanilla ice cream, served in a white ceramic bowl, with no raspberry sauce.  This is the fourth overseas vacation in succession that I’ve ended up with a […]

In search of steering feel: Finding it on a plate

Burgers and steering

Well, not my plate, actually: on a thick slab of wood, such has become de rigeur at gourmet eateries these days. Regardless of presentation, having once before found steering feel in its purest form at the tiller of a yacht, I once again found it when dining out in Slovenia. Yes; to really get your […]

Too much information?

Virtual Cockpit with Google Earth mapping

I found myself behind the wheel of a big, expensive German SUV the other day, and very nice it was, too. Especially once I had shrugged aside my notion of it assaulting me with information from every direction. The instrument cluster, as well as feeding me with vital statistics pertaining to speed, engine revs and […]

Tarmac, Rain, Fish, and Chips

Deserted igloo

Firstly, of course, the fish and chips. Being that they were served from a modest establishment consisting an insulated box on the back of a Citroen Relay chassis-cab, at a cost of just £6 for each of us, our meal far exceeded our expectations. It came at exactly the right time, too, as we faced […]

Brooklands: Keeping history alive

On July 6, 1987, a Vickers VC-10, fitted out to transport the Sultan of Oman and his entourage in unabashed luxury, made its last ever landing. It touched down on the runway at Brooklands, taxied to its final resting place and has been displayed there ever since. Just under 33 years prior to then, it […]