Matters of moment, November 1971

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Showtime Soliloquy

With the last of the Earls Court visitors leaving the Motor Show to discover whether or not the cars in which they arrived have been towed away or merely scribbled on by darling little children, one can almost say That Was The Year That Was….

It has been an eventful, but even from the motoring aspect, a rather unfortunate year. For the Industry 1971 was marred by stoppages, and the prolonged Ford dispute, the effect of the latter so far-reaching that this great provider of dependable personal transport sold only 99,718 cars from January to June, compared to 164,041 for the corresponding period in 1970 (even so, Ford were second in the sales race to British Leyland and well ahead of Vauxhall and Chrysler UK—the statistics are from the industrious SMM & T).

The year has seen the tragic falling apart of Rolls-Royce Ltd., leading to liquidation, a terrible situation for the makers of the Silver Shadow, a car so technically advanced that it is universally acknowledged to ably continue R-R’s “Best Car in the World” theme. Another British make likely to be restricted by a financial straitjacket is Aston Martin.

It has been a year during which the price of petrol rose yet again, Vauxhall exchanged coke-bottles with Ford, and Woolmark took over the publicity aspect of the British Grand Prix (fortunately woollen overcoats were not needed at Silverstone that day but if anyone had arrived with a pet Iamb it would presumably have had to be admitted, whereas dogs were rightly barred). Stewart won his second World Championship, thereby linking his name with those of Ascari, Graham Hill and Clark in the minds of those who reckon driving prowess in terms of points scored; he has yet to emulate Fangio’s five and Brabham’s triple Championships.

It was the year in which Datsun won the gruelling E. African Safari, the allure of Le Mans diminished and new racing-driver talent flourished, to replace the sad fatalities which overtook some of the fastest of the older school—who are most decidedly not forgotten as another racing season closes. It was the year in which Jaguar at last revealed their V12 engine, but in the dated E-type, and BL produced the antiquated Marina formula after years of progressive Issigonis engineering. Whatever Penthouse may not do for morals, it is currently sucking up to the Motor Industry by praising the cheaper-to-produce, less-advanced cars, recalling the clever advertisement with which Ford sardonically welcomed the Marina. (Cortina sales from January-June 1971 were 37,062 in spite of go-slows; Avenger 33,740; Victor; 19,459; of the new Marina 3,699). On this theme, we do not think that many of the masses of spectators who will line the route of the LondonBrighton Veteran Car Run on November 7th will wish to see modern cars reverting to the specifications of the gallant pioneer vehicles they will see in action on that day. But we do accept that the less technically-complicated cars can sometimes be transformed by clever “tuning” of their power units and suspension systems, a fact perhaps best illustrated by the inimitable Ford Escort Mexico, which the Editor has so enjoyed driving on the road and which his assistant has started to race.

It has been a year in which some well-established race circuits have been threatened with closure but in which the brave new Birmingham round-the-houses course was mooted. It was the year of Tim Carson’s retirement after his piloting of the VSCC to its present unassailable position but one in which a Learned Judge allowed Chitty-Bang-Bang II to go to America, at the exorbitant price some people are prepared to pay for ancient machinery—although this speculative trend seems to be sharply declining.

In the first half of 1971 the British Motor Industry churned out 500,818 new cars, only 370 fewer than in the same period of the slightly less strike-ridden 1970. Another 118,769 cars were sold by Importers, an increase in the Foreign Invasion of 42,326 against the corresponding 1970 period—writing in the sky no British citizen should ignore. The Invasion was led by Volkswagen (25,028), pursued by Renault (22,443), Fiat (15,795) and Chrysler-France (10,988).

It was a year in which inventors went on trying to oust the conventional piston engine from the place it has occupied since Otto, spurred on by fears of pollution, cessation of petrol supplies and excessive noise. Yet the NSU Wankel remains the only commercially acceptable solution and has been adopted for only a couple of makes of car. The Electricity Council announces its order, presumably at taxpayers’ expense, for 80 battery-driven vehicles from Enfield Automotive. But as they seem satisfied with a top speed of 40 m.p.h. and a city range of 60 miles, you can ignore them.

So, as another motoring year begins, the motor car, killer, polluter, eye-sore and consumer of scarce resources as Ian Breach of The Guardian has labelled it, continues to provide, as that paper has to admit, “more gratification for more people than any other single man-made object”. And so say all of us….

Related articles

Related products