Motor Show preview

Nineteen sixty-three was a vintage year for new cars as the Motor Show saw the British debut of such cars as the Rover 2000, Triumph 2000, Ford Corsair, Bond Equipe, Mercedes-Benz 600, Aston Martin DB5, N.S.U. 1000, Porsche 901, B.M.W. 1100, etc. This year's Show looks like being one of consolidation, with few radically new cars but many modified and improved models. In this review we are giving brief details of new and modified models which will have been announced by October 1st.

A.C. Having suspended production of all other models to concentrate on building the Cobra, A.C. left themselves with no British market at all, the production was being sent to the U.S.A. However, they are now building cars for the British market, haying the 4.7-litre, 20 b.h.p. engine as Standard equipment. Price will be £2,454 95. 7d.

Auto Union. The right-hard-drive DKW P.102 will be seen at Earls Court for the first time this year and will he shown along with the F.12 and F.11 models. After years of struggling against the prejudice against the two-stroke engine, it looks as if Auto Union have capitulated, for a recent statement says that a four-stroke-engined D.K.W. will be built some time in the future.

Bond. The Bond Equipe carries on in production but will be joined by an additional model at the Motor Show.

B.M.C. It is seldom that a year passes without B.M.C. having a new model at the Show and this year there will be the Rolls-Royce-engined Princess R and another new car, details of which are not yet released. Chairman Harriman has just announced another record year for July 1963 to July 1964 with 858,775 vehicles produced.

Chrysler. Chrysler's widely publicised offer to loan 200 of their gas turbine cars to selected members of the general public was written off as a good publicity stunt, but 50 of these cars have already been delivered to people all over the U.S. Each family will keep their car for three months before passing it on to another of the lucky applicants from the 157,000 people who asked for one of the cars. For the present, however, the cars at the Show are conventional, with various styling changes distinguishing them from their predecessors. A newcomer to England is the Plymouth Barracuda, a fastback coup 6 described as a “sports compact."

DAF. The Daf range remains unchanged for another year and the car steadily grows in popularity, especially with driving schools and ladies who are nervous of normal gearboxes.

Elva. An interesting new car to be seen on the Elva stand is the Elva GT, fitted with a 1,991-c.c. dry-sump version of the B.M.W. 1,800 engine, which is claimed to give this tiny rear-engined coupe a top speed of 160 m.p.h. The body was designed by Fiore of Paris and is built by Fissore Savigliano of Turin.

Fiat. The 850 will be making its debut at Earls Court in right-hand-drive form, although the U.K. price is not yet known. Other models in the vast Fiat range are virtually unchanged but the 600 now has front hinged doors.

Ford. No details are yet available on Ford's 1965 models but no entirely new cars are expected. A revised version of the Cortina is likely to be shown. The price of the Lotus-Cortina has recently been reduced to £991 7s. ltd., partly due to the fact that many of the aluminium parts of the car have reverted to the normal steel specification.

Ford (America). New at Earls Court will be the Mustang, the Ford sports saloon which has already taken part in the Spa Sofia-Liege rally and the Tour de France. The Galaxie, Thunderbird, Comet and Fairlane all have distinctive styling changes.

Ford (Germany). In addition to the well-known 17M range, the front-wheel-drive V4 12M will be shown for the first time, as will the new 20M, a conventional large saloon with a new V6 2-litre engine giving 105 b.h.p. driving through a 4-speed all-syncromesh gearbox.

General Motors. As is usual with American manufacturers, the accent on new models is in body styling changes and nearly all cars in the range have new bodies. The most pleasing is undoubtedly the Chevrolet Coryair Monza Spyder, which looks most attractive in its latest form. The major technical change on GM cars is the introduction of disc brakes, which are appearing initially on the Corvette and will no doubt follow on others. The power of the fuel-injected Corvette engine is now increased to 385 b.h.p. with 375, 35o, 300 and 250 b.h.p. engines as alternatives.

Lancia. The complicated Lancia range will remain unaltered for Earls Court, with its fantastic variety of engines, transmissions and suspensions. Reports from Italy indicate that the Turin firm is in very serious financial difficulties, partly from recent Italian tax increases and partly, one suspects, from the rather uneconomical number of models being produced with such varying specifications. The workers have recently had their working week reduced to 24 hours.

Morgan. It almost goes without saying that the Morgan remains unaltered for yet another year; the coupe-bodied version of the Plus Four introduced last year remains in production.

N.S.U. The Wankel-engined N.S.U. Spider was introduced at last year's Frankfurt show but little has been heard of it since then. However, it will be displayed at Earls Court along with the Prinz 4, Sport Prinz, and Prinz 1000 models.

Rambler. The “gimmick" with the latest Rambler Classic 770 is that the 6-cylinder, 3.8-litre engine, which gives 145 b.h.p. at 4,300 r.p.m. is planned to run for 100.000 miles without major attention. Styling changes for the Canadian-built Rambler follow the usual pattern of restyled grilles and tail sections.

Reliant. Still struggling hard for a foothold in the British Motor Industry, Reliant are showing two new models at the Show. The ugly Sabre Six GT is replaced by the Scimitar GT, which has a very similar specification to the Sabre, with ladder type chassis, wishbone front suspension, rigid rear axle and a Ford Zephyr engine and gearbox. Power is raised to 120 b.h.p. at 5,000 r.p.rri. by using three S.U. carburetters, giving a claimed top speed of 120 m.p.h. The handsome glass-fibre body has been designed by David Ogle Ltd., and is obviously based on their still-born GT-bodied Daimler SP250. The frontal treatment is very similar to the Triumph 2000. The price will be £1,292 1s. 3d. The other model from Reliant is the Rebel, which is a small 4-seater saloon using the Reliant all-aluminium 600 c.c. engine giving 28 b.h.p. at 5,250 r.p.m. The styling of this car, also by Ogle's, is much less successful, but the car will probably appeal more on the Strength of its claimed 60 m.p.h.-60 m.p.g. performance than on styling.

Renault. Following the disclosure of details of their newest model in the French paper Auto Journal, Renault hurriedly supplied pictures and brief details of the new car which will not go into production until next spring and will not be available in Britain until next autumn. The 1500, as it is called, has front-wheel drive but no further details have been released.

Rootes. No information is yet available from Rootes on 1965 plans but the Sunbeam Tiger should make its Show debut. It is likely that the Hillman Imp will appear in another guise.

Rover. No new cars from Rover this year at the Show, and the range now consists of the 3-litre and the 2000 models, for the Company has dropped its P4 range, which has in the past covered such models as the 60,75, 90, 95, 100, 105R, 105S and the 110. No doubt some regret will be felt at the passing of the last of the "perpendicular” Rovers but they were undoubtedly too dated to last much longer. The 2000 is still not seen on the roads in large numbers and the Solihull factory seems to be suffering its fair share of labour troubles, but it is claimed that 500 cars a week will be produced by the end of this year.

Saab. Introduced in August, the 1965 Saab has a host of detail improvements. Power is improved on both the standard model and the Sport, the former going up to 40 b.h.p. with compression ratio increased to 8:1 and modified exhaust ports, and the latter now has 55 b.h.p. by virtue of triple carburetters and modified inlet and exhaust ports. The front end of the car is redesigned and many other improvements have been made, such as hydraulically operated clutch, new fuel pump, modified drive shafts, quieter exhaust system, smaller turning circle, improved heating system, suspended pedals, etc. Swedish journalists voted the Saab the "Car of the Year" for 1964, which now joins the Rover 2000, Triumph 2000 and Ford Cortina, which have also been voted Car of the Year

Simca. The Simca stand will have1000, 1300 and 1500 models on display in virtually unchanged form and they will be joined by additional models, details of which are not yet released.

Skoda. The Skoda has gained a strong foothold in Britain despite its rather dated looks, and at the Show the Octavia will he joined by the latest 1000 model, a rear-engined car with 45 b.h.p. 4-cylinder engine, 4-speed gearbox and all-independent suspension by coil springs. The price is expected to be £579 17s. 6d.

Standard-Triumph. Chairman Donald Stokes made the unusual announcement in September that the Herald range is to stay in production for a further five years, having been announced five years ago in 1959. No new models will be shown at Earls Court but three new cars will be announced during 1965, none of which will compete with the Herald. It is expected that 1965 sales will reach a total of 125,000 cars.

Vauxhall. The Velox and Cresta range have their engines, increased to 3,3-litres from 2.6 by increasing the bore from 82.55 mm. to 92.07 mm. and power is raised to 128.3 b.h.p. from the previous 113.1 b.h.p. Three- and 4-speed all-syncromesh transmissions are available, as well as the Hydra-Matic. The cars are distinguished outside by new radiator grilles and twin exhaust systems. The prices of both models are increased by £19, The Viva, production of which has passed the 100,000 mark, has higher-geared steering, improved front seats with thicker back-rests, and a new rear seat. Interior trim is also improved on the de luxe model the price of which is increased by £5. Bedford van versions of the Viva have also been introduced. The Victor and VX4/90 range are expected to be modified also but plans have not yet been announced.

Wartburg. The East German Wartburg made its British debut last year to a lukewarm reception but sales are reported to be encouraging, and the British price is now £540 9s. 7d.