‘Muscle cars’ of the late 1960s were probably introduced mainly for the spectacle of drag racing, which had become extremely popular in the United States at that time. Plymouth was always one of the leading exponents of the ‘muscle car’ and a lot of this was based around an engine – the astounding 426-111 Super Stock Hemi. This 90-degree V8 achieved much success for Plymouth and was the supreme drag-race powerplant, acquiring a legendary reputation. The Hemi engine was born out of the need for top racing performance. Once the… Read more


Towards the end of 1959 Jaguar expanded its range of cars with the release of the new Mark II saloons. This provided a range of ten basic models which also offered a choice of transmissions and disc or drum brakes for the standard 2.4 and 3.8 saloons, XK150 series body styles and a wide range of exterior and interior colour schemes. The Jaguar range at that time comprised the large and luxurious 3.8-litre Mark IX saloon, the 2.4 and 3.4 standard saloons and the 3.4 XK150 and 150S as before,… Read more


In 1930 General Motors introduced both the 16-cylinder 452 and the 12-cylinder 370 just as the Great Depression was gaining momentum, both in America and throughout the world. Of course, General Motors did not intend introducing these new models at a time of economic hardship but they had been in the planning stage for some time prior to this. Because Cadillac had lost its market leadership to Packard in the large car class in the 1920s, General Motors management set out to regain market share with a bigger and better… Read more


The Goggomobil was a hybrid German-Australian car built in Australia between 1958 and 1961. The project was launched in Sydney by Bill Buckle who had earlier built and sold his own design, the Buckle coupe. For the Goggomobil, Buckle secured the rights to a small car made by Hans Glas of Dingolfing, Bavaria. The German product had an all-steel body but Buckle fitted his cars with fibreglass bodies. He offered three body styles: sedan, coupe and open two-seater The open version, known as the Dart, was Buckle’s own design but,… Read more


In June 1947 Saab-Scania AB unveiled its first car to an expectant public, although the first lucky owner was not to take delivery of his little green, spluttering two-stroke Saab 92 until the beginning of 1950. In terms of appearance, the 92 was an oddity, even in an era when cars generally did not feature the more modern lines typical of most present day cars. In Sweden, the streamlined, dark-green model with the stubby nose became quickly accepted. The body consisted of a relatively small number of pressings of sheet… Read more


Bayerische Motoren-Werke (which translates to Bavarian Motor Works and which we know today as BMW) was founded in 1916 principally to build aircraft and aircraft engines. It branched into motorcycles in 1923, producing its first flat-twin motorcycle in Munich. Its first production of motor cars took place in 1923 when BMW acquired the Dixi company and their motor works at Eisenach. This car was called the BMW-Dixi and was based on the English Austin 7, being built under licence. It had a four-cylinder engine which BMW developed further into a… Read more


The Aston Martin company has had a truly chequered career. Over the years there have been a number of times when it looked certain to be going to the wall but, on each occasion, it was saved by fortunate circumstances – like a major win of a title or at an important event. In 1960 Aston Martin introduced their DB4GT Zagato, a great performing road-legal semi- competition car but one that proved difficult for the average driver to manage on the road and was outperformed by the Ferrari 250GTO on… Read more


The Chevrolet FB-4 became the car which eventually unseated the Ford Model T from its proud position as the world’s best-selling car. Introduced in 1919 it took only eight years for this four-cylinder Chevrolet to achieve top-selling status as it more suited the needs of the American motorist. After the First World War roads were progressively improved and many well-to-do Americans thought the Ford Model T car, which had earned the nickname `tin lizzie’, a little too crude to be seen driving. With the FB4, Chevrolet set a new standard… Read more


The original design concept for the R12 described it as a high-class, medium sized car for the 1970s. The Renault R12 was a front-wheel drive vehicle powered by a 1289cc engine which was built, over its model life in three body styles: four-door saloon, five-door estate and a three-door panel van. The saloon and estate were available in two versions: TL and L. In the R12’s introductory year Renault was the third largest motor manufacturer in Europe. The R12 was powered by a four-cylinder engine rated at 40 kW. This… Read more


Around 1938 as the situation in Western Europe worsened and the prospect of a second world war looked a possibility, the US Army indicated to all automobile manufacturers that they were looking for a light reconnaissance vehicle to replace the motorcycles previously used in this role. First to respond was the American Bantam Car Company who were invited to supply three test models in September 1939, but these were rejected as too light. Shortly afterwards Willys-Overland produced sketches of a concept vehicle which would soon be known to the world… Read more