MOTOR SHOW MATTERS
THE London Motor Show will be a testing time for British car manufacturers. All will be showing their 1968 wear but in the main this consists of modified versions of existing models. Surely the car that will be the centre Of interest for the influx of British and foreign buyers will be the recently announced N.S.U. Ro80. This twin Wankel rotor-powered car has been remarkably well received and it was certainly the centre of attraction at Frankfurt last month. N.S.U. have sunk a great deal of money into the project and for sheer nerve they deserve to succeed. Whether the public want this sort of car is another matter. The British motor industry are not entirely convinced but one Cannot help feeling they are fighting shy of the project in view of the enormous cost that would be involved in re-tooling and machining. N.S.U. have taken the plunge, and one senior member of the staff is already quoted as saying : “If the Ro8o fails, so does N.S.U.” The next year will be a very trying one for them.
Of the other foreign cars, one of the most interesting will be the Honda 600 mini car, which could prove as much an attraction as their S800 sports cars did at the same show last year. The Honda mini car is to sell at about £450 but boasts far better performance and creature comforts than its nearest rivals, B.M.C.’s Mini and the small Fiats. It would be no surprise that the 600 followed the line of its sister, the S800, which has hit British small sports car manufacturers in a crucial spot.
Another car that deserves much closer inspection is the elegant Jensen FE (Ferguson Formula). This car, introduced at the last Motor Show, has undergone slight modifications to the interior and remains as an outstanding example of British ingenuity with its fourwheel-drive and Dunlop Maxaret braking system. True it is clothed with an Italian body, true it is powered by an American engine, but as a great Armenian prophet once said, because an Irish stew contains Spanish onions it is still an Irish stew.
The Ford Motor Company continue their advertising campaign with the accent heavily on the new Cortina, the company’s—and country’s—top selling car. B.M.C. do not believe in change but will Show their improved small cars and sports car. B.M.C.’s theory is that the public do not want a car that is always going out of date; the Americans, with their high-sales technique of changing styles every year for consumers to keep one step ahead of their neighbours, believe otherwise. Another car which comes up for a major mechanical change is from Great Auntie Rover, who has lifted her skirts to reveal a 3i-litre V8 engine of American origin installed in the 3-litre shell.
For readers and advertisers who will be at Earls Court between October 18th-28th, MoTog SPoRT will be on stand No. 4, where we will once again look forward to meeting you.