The Editor’s Showtime Soliloquy
THE Birmingham Motor Show has excelled itself again, more central than Earls Court, easier to park at, and full of the most exciting new models in a comprehensive range of vehicles. Moreover, at a Motor Show it is primarily the cars which matter. In Fl racing there is a tendency-in Wand similar reporting for the drivers to appear more significant than the cars, instead of being of equal importance, but at the Show the cars come into their own. Isis the World Championship that has turned the financial limelight on racing drivers and, writing this pre-Portugal, one’s warmest congratulations are extended to whoever is the 1984 World Champion.
The choice of car is unrivalled at this time of decreasing inflation; it might be said that never in the history of the Motor Industry have so many people had so much difficulty in reducing their “short-lists” to a few. . . The economy of the small-car is extending to larger-engined models of very respectable performance, with the tempting prospect of owning a small-capacity diesel-powered car. The small GT saloons and hatchbacks now offer marvellous performance for a modest outlay. It is pleasing to see the revised VW Golf Gli heading this field (and I say this before, not after, receiving VAG’s invitation to lunch on their NEC stand), with cars like the Fiat Abarth 130TC and the Lancia Delta Turbo offering that bit extras performance in this category, and the Peugeot 205GTi coming out a bit less expensive. How to make a choice there?
As ever, Ford of Britain have the biggest range, with sporting versions of most of their models and the RS Turbo sounding highly attractive. If the World seems at present less able to afford Rolls-Royces, all is looking very good for Jaguar, if ill-considered strikes do not net things back, and in the realms of ultimate high performance it is good to see Ferrari no well to the fore! Four-wheel-drive, so much appreciated in winter even in England, has extended, on ordinary cars, to the successful little Fiat, as the Panda 4 x 4, and I was amused to see that on the Fiat stand was displayed the Strada Abarth 130TC that has set a new “record” for a non-stop round-Britain drive, observing all speed limits, which must have been terribly frustrating for its drivers. But interesting that under these conditions, with a good car, the average was around 54 mph. . . .
That or climbing the Alps or lapping circuits, is the sort of thing a car should be used for, and I have never been enthralled to see them as static Motor Show exhibits. But I will hand over to the Deputy Editor for his report of the Great NEC Motor Show.