Superficially your last editorial (Buy British) makes very good sense, but when put to the test (in my case at least) the British motor industry is sadly lacking.
Three and a half years and 42,000 miles ago, I took delivery of a new Mini and immediately suffered an incredible number of faults due to poor manufacture. Thereafter the car was great fun when it was going, but, oh the hours I’ve spent with oily hands! Routine maintenance apart—grease every thousand miles, oil change every three, etc.—components have failed after a period too short to be “fair wear and tear.” I dread to think how much the garage bills would have been had I been unable to do the work myself.
Accordingly, a short while ago, l started to look for a replacement with the following specification:
1: Cheap (Mini type price).
2: Nippy about town (Mini type pertbrmance).
3: Minimum routine maintenance and simplest possible mechanical design.
4: Air cooled (as result of cooling troubles on the Mini).
5: Rack and pinion steering.
6. No cart springs or prop. shaft.
7: No belts or chains (as a result of fan belt replacements and rattling timing chain on the Mini).
Buy British? There is no British car made to this not very demanding specification, but the N.S.U. Prinz that I bought meets it and goes a lot further. It really is remarkable how well equipped and well finished it is for the price (do I recall another correspondent of yours raving about the N..S.U. in your columns some months back?). Of course, only time will tell just how reliable it is.
I am sorry for the Labour government and the guys in Coventry earning £30 a week, but since I don’t earn that much my motoring must be geared to a more modest income, and unfortunately the German product seems to be the only choice.
H.M. Dell – TwIckenham.