Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Mercedes Benz history

(Reading time: 3 - 5 minutes)

Mercedes Benz history

Creating a Tradition

In 1886, Mercedes Benz was born. Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler invented the first self propelled horseless carriage, or the motor car to you and me... Since its conception, no other motorcar company has been so consistently successful.
This makes the German manufacturer the oldest, most successful car producer still in production today.
This illustrious Mercedes Benz history started with Daimler and Benz going in separate directions. Karl concentrated on the self-propelled car, and Gottlieb concentrated on the internal combustion engine. 
Daimler, inspired by the accomplishments of past engineers, created the first four-stroke engine, nicknamed the 'Grandfather Clock'. Meanwhile, Benz was concentrating on the evolution of his first automobile.
Daimler (and Maybach) in 1885, put the 'grandfather clock' through it's testing phase in the aptly named Daimler Riding Car, the world's first motorcycle. This proved to be a tremendous success. On the strength of this success, Gottlieb Daimler took delivery of a horse-drawn carriage from his local coachbuilder. He then set upon the arduous task of fitting it with the 'grandfather clock', he then removed the harnesses, and fitted it with a steering wheel. This was the birth of the Daimler Motorised Carriage. This new invention drew many strange looks as it travelled around - a horse-drawn carriage that lacked a horse!
Daimlers' success encouraged him (and Maybach) to pursue further motorised projects on land, sea, and air. Meanwhile, Karl Benz was an advocate of the 'grandfather clock', using it to power his own patented motorcar, the worlds' first motorcar. The differences between Benz's car, and Daimler's car, was that Karl's car was built to be a single unit car, with all the parts working together. Daimler's was an engine in a horse carriage. This gave Benz the edge, as his invention was a Motorcar, not a horse carriage boosted with an engine, like so many of his competitors machines.
Further developments were added to the patented motorcar at the Benz and Co. factory in Mannheim. These new developments created a car that was uncomfortable to ride. There was no suspension, and the wheels were ill equipped to handle the roads. The next logical step was to correct these problems. Suspension, wooden spoke wheels, and a powerful engine with a soft-top roof, was the incarnation of the Benz car. It's first outing was on Mannheim's Ringstrasse on the 3rd of July, 1886. Sceptics viewed the motorcar cautiously.
Karl Benz's wife could no longer stand and watch these sceptics denigrate her husband's work. She took the car, and with her two sons with her, drove to Pforzheim, only stopping once to refuel. This was the world's first long-distance car journey, and on that day, a legend was born.
Many years passed, during which Benz and Daimler pursued their individual dreams.
In 1894, Benz introduced the Motor Velocipede, the world's first production car. It was also the world's smallest auto. Between 1894 and 1901, twelve hundred Velocipede's were made! It was 7.4 foot long, and was 617 pounds in weight. Meanwhile was producing his vis-a-vis belt driven car.
In April 1900, DMG and Emil Jellinek agreed on the development of a new engine, known as Daimler-Mercedes. Immediatley, Willhelm Maybach began to develop an extremely powerful and advanced four cylinder engine. This established the horseless - the first true motorcar.
The success of Mercedes reflected badly on Karl Benz's motorcar sales. DMG and Benz Cie merged to form Daimler-Benz AG in 1926. However, not just to pursue performance perfection, but to expand car economy by testing the efficiency of diesel engines.
Daimler-Benz went from strength to strength, creating super-charged cars for the rich and beautiful, cars such as the 500 series. Then came the worlds first series produced diesel engine car in 1936.
From here, Daimler-Benz continued to excel. This continued even after Daimler went their separate way.
Pin It

Mazda RX7

(Reading time: 5 - 10 minutes)

Mazda RX7

The Mazda RX-7 also known as the Ẽfini was was the dawn of a new type of sports car back in 1978, it was the coming of the rotary sports car engine. As soon as the car appeared the it was pitted against such cars as Nissan Fairlady Z. The Mazda had a totally different type of styling, inspired by Colin Chapman's Lotus Elan 2+2 and unlike other sports models it ran a different type of engine a Wankel twin-rotor rotary engine, the RX7 utilised a midship, rear drive system , the perfect balance for racing. The predecessor to the new car was RX-3 (in Japan the Savanna) the rotary engine replaced all Mazda's.
Since the beginning of production 811,634 Mazda RX-7 cars were manufactured, it also achieved Car & Driver's Top Ten Best 5 times. 
It was a real sports coupe, different to cars such as the TR6 or other sports saloons. The Mazda RX7 and its Wankel rotary sporting its lightweight build was the power behind the automobile. The car was avaiable in the US as a coupe 2 seater, in Japan, Australia and some other locations was available as a four seater.

The History

First generation RX7 (SA/FB)
This series the SA22C was the 1st series, it came with crude exposed steel bumpers and number plate plate recess highly-mounted, the car was famously criticised by Road & Track critic Werner Buhrer as Baroque depression.
The Series 2 running from 1981 to 1983 had smoother plastic-coated bumpers integrated into the RX7 cars body, Mazda tried to achieve a more sporty look with this car by adding wide black rubber body side mouldings, wrap around rear lenses upgraded engine and ECU. The GSL came with many optional extras including disc brakes all round, Limited rear slip dif clutch type version (LSD). This model was available in the US, the rest of the world, could only purchase the earlier the RX-7 SA22C until 1986, when the next gen was released.
The Series 3 (1984 to 1985) featured a lower front fascia and different instrument clocks. The RX7 GSL continued into this series of the car, however Mazda had another idea the introduction of the GSL-SE sub-model. This version was equipped with fuel injection and a 1.3 L 13B-RESI engine, this produced 135 bhp with 135 lb-ft torque. It also came with the same options as the earlier version, though the brakes rotors were bigger, this allowed Mazda to utilise the common lug nut, in addition to this the suspension was stiffened the springs and shocks, and just for good measure an upgraded oil cooler was added.
The 1984 Mazda RX-7 S runs approx 29 mpg gallon and the 
NSU-Wankel accelerates from 0 to 50 in 6.3 seconds.
The car has exceptional handling & acceleration making standout back in the 80's. This gen RX-7 had 4-link rear suspension with custome live axle and the fact it had a 50/50 weight distribution ratio, and weighed in at just under 2600 lb, the lightest version ever produced. The RX7 or efini was capable of reaching 60 mph in 9.2 s and ran at 100 bhp @ 6000 rpm,and achieved a max speed of 120 mph (190 km/h). The Wankel rotary engine created very little harshness at high revs, for this reason a buzzer was added to the tacho as an warning aid to the driver quickly coming close to the red line.
The Generation 2 cars varied globally. Over 474,565 first generation Mazda RX7 cars were produced; many of these infact 377,878 were sold in the US alone.

Second generation (FC)

Series 4 1986 - 1988 this had a naturally aspirated, fuel-injected 13B-VDEI Wankel Rotary capable of producing 146 bhp. As an option turbocharged model was availabale this was known as the RX7 Turbo II, this came with 182 bhp.
Series 5 1989 this version featured upgraded styling and ECU, the Wankel rotary engine rotors were lightened also the compression ratio was increased to 9.7:1 for the naturally aspirated cars, the Turbo RX7 had a ratio of 9.0:1 for the turbo model. The Turbo II moniker was eventually dropped from the range, the turbocharged RX7 model was then known as dubbed Turbo. The Series 5 FC produced 160 hp, the Series 5 Turbo was capable of creating 200 bhp.
The second generation RX7 was comletely restyled somewhat mirroring the infamous Porsche 944. The SA22/FB was a real sports car, the FC however was more a sports touring car. The Handling of the 2nd Gen was upgraded, oversteer was reduced which was the main problem of the FB. The car was given rack and pinion steering, all round disc brakes became factory standard, however the following Models S4: GXL, GTU, Turbo II, Convertible; S5: GTUs, Turbo, Convertible were fitted with 4 piston front brakes. The rear suspension was upgraded and made independent with a toe control hub to increase a certain degree of passive rear steering. The rear seats were added as an option to the FC RX-7 however these are rare.
The RX7 FC was 80lbs heavier but still had admiration from the press. Winning various awards. The convertible version of the was released in 1988 available as an atmospheric or turbocharged model, this created an overnight success. Production ceased in October 1991, however Mazda manufactured 500 limited edition RX7 convertible cars for 1992. The Japanese & UK were treated to a turbo version of the convertible.
The Japanese market was limited to only the RX7 turbo; an atmospheric version was available only as an export.
The second generation RX7 Mazda did the best overall, with 86,000 sold in 1986 throughout the US alone.
Mazda RX7 Third generation (FD)
The Series 6 1992 - 1995 was exported globally, this version achieved the highest sales. The Japanese Mazda company branded & sold the RX-7 as the Efini RX-7.
The 1993 - 1995 RX7 model were only available in the U.S. and Canada.
Series 8 January 1999 August 2002 was the last RX7 series manufactured and sold, initially available to only European markets & Australia. The car was given upgraded turbochargers, intercooling and radiator cooling.
The interior was overhauled. The rear wing was given the option to adjust it. The No1 the RX7 Type RS came fitted with Bilstein dampers and springs, 17 Inch alloys as standard, the weight was reduced to 1280 kg.
The Jap auto was capable of producing 276 bhp & 243 ft per lb of torque limited to Japanese law. The actual figures were closer 290 to 308 bhp. The RZ version came with Type RS extras, but even lighter 1270 kg. It came with limited edition gun-metal BBS alloys and red racing interior. It was even given an upgraded 16-bit ECU and ABS system, this allowed it to brake independently with each wheel, this gave more controlled steering while turning & during braking.
The third and final generation of the RX-7, FD (FD3S for the JDM and JM1FD for the USA VIN), was an outright sports car by Japanese standards. The 3rd Gen RX7 13B-REW was the 1st mass-produced sequential twin-turbocharged car ever to be exported from Japan, this addition gave the car 255 bhp and finally 280 bhp with the formation of the gentlemen's agreement on engine power agreed by Mazda.
Playboy rated the RX-7 a better car than the Dodge Viper. The FD won Playboy's Car of the Year for 1993. The most desirable RX-7 was the final 1,500 run-out specials. The RX7 Spirit R available in 3 versions the Spirit RA , RB and RC, Spirit R Accounts for 1000 of the 1500 cars made, fitted with 5-speed manual gear box, recognised as the best performer of all. Its available as a 4 seater, with sports manual 5 speed box, however the 'The Spirit C' came as a 4-speed auto box.
The Touring Model of the RX7 Spirit comes with a sun roof, BOSE stereo.

Limited edition RX7 models

Australia had a special high performance the Mazda RX-7 SP, a road-going racing car, driven in the 12hr Bathhurst Endurance race, An initial run of 25 were manufactured in 1991, with an additional 10 added due to demand. The RX-7 SP produced 274 bhp and 263 ft lbf of torque, The car came with a race-inspired nose cone, proven racing wing mounted at the rear, 17 inch alloys, upgraded brakes, upgraded intercooler, exhaust & ECU. The weight of the car was made lighter a carbon fibre bonnet and seats, this reduced the overall weight to 1218 kg (from 1310 kg), this car was capable of challenging the Porsche 968CSRS. The Mazda RX-7SP achieved victory, an RX7SP Bathhurst was released in 2001.

RX7 Modifications & Mazdaspeed

There are many performance houses including Mazdaspeed who sell kits for conversions targetted mainly at the more popular 20B engine Stillen and Pettit Racing specialise in this. The conversion usually comprises of the twin sequential turbo being replaced for a single bigger turbo in such conversions. Such 3-rotor configurations typically produce 550hp and a top speed of well over 200 MPH.
The Third Gen RX-7s are notorious for over heating. Out of the factory 1 out of 3 engines had to be rebuilt within a short period.
Pin It

Mazda history

(Reading time: 4 - 8 minutes)

Mazda timeline

The company first emerged in 1920, Mazda actually started as a small manufacturer of cork in Hiroshima, Japan. Today the Global car company is recognized as a leading car manufacturer recognised for its many achievements and array of cars from the MX-5 to the RX-7.
1920 - Tokyo Cork Togyo Co, LTD is founded in Hiroshima, Japan.
1931 - Production of moves towards motor vehicles, Mazda release their 1st three-wheeled truck.
1960 - This is the decade that Mazda started manufacturing cars at a higher rate, the R380 Coupe is introduced, recognised as the 1st 2-door car.
1961 - Mazda introduce the first compact pickup, the B-Series 1500.
1962 - The Carol 600 is introduced, the of its kind a 4-door car.
1967 - Mazda's trademark the rotary engine is first released in the form of the Cosmo Sports 11OS.
1970 - Mazda Motor of America (N.W.), Inc is born - This was marked by mass production of the rotary engine the R100 coupe, this car utilised the same engine as the Cosmo .
1971 - Next to be launched was the the RX-2, this marked the beginning of the RX supercar series, initially released only in the US. The car was available in either a 2-door coupe or 4-door saloon, and came with a rear wheel drive system. It was the 1st car in America to use the 12A rotary engine.
1972 - The success of the Mazda 12A rotary engine and rear wheel drive meant the release of the next incarnation the RX-3. A little more compact than the RX-2, available in either a 2-door coupe, 4-door saloon and estate version. The high performance of the RX-2 and RX-3 cars gave Mazda cars a certain reputation for designing and building competition street and track cars. The performance of the rotary engined cars rivalled V-8s, even European sports cars such as Porsche. These cars are somewhat rare today and are hardly ever seen, however some do still exist and still compete on the track.
1974 - Mazda decided to introduce a 110 bhp 13B rotary engine RX-4 coupe a mid sized car, saloon, and estate(wagon). The 13B had a greater displacement, advanced cooling and uprated rotor seals, even better fuel economy and the advantage of lower emissions than its predecessors. In
1975 - This year saw the introduction of the world famous revised Mazda typeface, still in use today.
1976 - The RX-4 was renamed the Cosmo, this model was seen as the one of the most luxurious cars in 
1977 - Mazda saw the introduction of the GLC. The car originally was a rear wheel drive, this car used a piston-engine. This marked the changeover to piston-engines for non-sportscar models. The GLC slowly changed into the 323, inturn to the 3.
1978 - This year marked the introduction of the RX-7. The car was a very light, front-engined rear wheel drive 2 seater sports car, it was designed to fully utilise the rotary engine and its capabilities. This technology and design earned it Car of the Year 1978, it gained worldwide recognition even making the 10 Best list in Car and Driver magazine no less than 5 times. The 1000'000th rotary powered Mazda vehicle was manufactured, the 626 was introduced, a rear wheel drive saloon car & finally the B2000 pickup truck was released.
1979 - This year was a major marker for Mazda, in 24-hours of Daytona the RX-7 placed 1st and 2nd, and drove to victory in its 1st of 7 GTU series championships.
1980 - Mazda release their first front-wheel drive car to be sold solely in the US ,the GLC is redesigned to suit the American market, the car back in Japan receives 1980-1981 Japanese Car of the Year award.
1982 / 84 - The 626 redesign is introduced, this earns the car many global awards one of which: 1983 Import Car of the Year courtesy of Motor Trend.
1985 - The Mazda RX-7 after 7 years at the top is redesigned by, the new model now features rack-and-pinion steering, rear suspension on each wheel working independently and a 200 bhp engine running a turbocharger. The long waited B-Series Pick-up is introduced. The infamous RX-7 shatters the IMSA record for 1 car - 67 victories.
1986 - Mazda feel the need for a Hot hatch to suit the up and coming market featuring such cars as the Golf GTI 16V and Peugeot 205 GTI, a 4 wheel drive turbocharged 323 GTX is released. The RX-7 receives more credit and is named Motor Trend Import Car of the Year 1986.
NEWS FLASH 1986 - The Mazda RX-7 sets a record of 238.442 mph at the Bonneville National Speed Trial in the SCTA’s C/Grand Touring Class.
1987 - The 1 st Convertible Mazda RX-7, in the US, is introduced. The new Mazda factory in Flat Rock, Michigan starts production production reaches reaches 20 million vehicles manufactured in Japan.
1988 - A relatively quiet year, the introduction to N USA for the MPV.
1989 - The beginning of an era, the MX-5 Miata is unveiled February, Chicago Auto Show, the car was so popular sales commenced the July after, becoming an overnight success and a cult sensation globally.
1991 - Mazda are victorious in the LeMans 24-Hour Endurance Race racing the 787B car No.55 a first victory Japanese car utilising the rotary engine.
1992 - Efini 276 BHP standard released, this car features dump valve engine power in excess of 300 BHP & comes with Enkei Wheels
1992 - The RX-7 is redesigned and unveiled introduced as the 3rd Generation, it was decided the car should be redesigned to suit the 90's. Therefore a pure high-powered rotary engine sports car would be given a power increase through the utilisation of a highly tuned 255 hp refinement of the 13B and the added power & acceleration of sequential twin-turbochargers the first available in the US. This matched with engine power-to-weight ratio recognised as record breaking and of course the added reputation to being one of the best handling cars ever.
The Mazda receives Motor Trend magazine award 'Import Car of the Year'
1993 - 'Only the Strong' film released this introduces Zoom-Zoom-Zoom, now globally associated to Mazda as there slogan.
1995 - This year sees the end of importing the RX-7 into the US, this is mainly due to very high insurance rates and a high currency conversion from the yen-to-dollar ratio. 
The Japanese giant Mazda celebrates their 75th Anniversary, also its 25 years since they started doing business in the U.S.
1996 - A major mark in Japanese car maunfacturing, due to Scottish born Henry Wallace being appointed as CEO, 1st time a Japanese car company has appointed a non-Japanese CEO.
1997 - The MX-5 Miata flattens all competition and receives the award 'All Stars' the seventh year consecutively.
1998 - Mazda debut the second generation MX-5 Miata one of the stars of the Chicago Auto Show.
2000 - The first SUV for is released.
2002 - The 6 is released receiving 60 global awards.
Mazda astound the world with the reintroduction of the rotary sports car the RX-8, the new car is powered by the new RENESIS rotary engine. Almost immediately the car receives numerous awards including Car and Driver 10 Best award and All star 2004 to name just a few.
MAZDASPEED emerge with the 170 hp turbocharged sports car a first of its kind extending the excellent reputation of high end tuner.
2003 - The 3 is launched globally.
2004 - The special edition Mazdaspeed MX-5 is released, much to the delight of its dedicated fans. SpeedSource Racing RX-8 takes both titles of driver and team championship.
2005 - A 274 bhp 4-wheel-drive MAZDASPEED 6 is introduced, making this the most powerful US model.
Pin It

Maserati history

(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)

Maserati history

A range of cars seen as real drivers motor cars available with extremely bland designs through to superbly styled looks, generally every type of Maserati sports a driving force usually in the incarnation of either a V8 or upward.
For many years the Italian car manufacturer have been producing a breed of supercars, however the looks have qutite dramatically changed the older versions had a certain charisma, the newer ones seem to mimic the rounded shapes of many other autos. As for the engine tones now thats a different story, pure bliss the growl from the highly tuned V8 or whatever engine they chose. Mindyou there is one car that really does deserve the Maserati seal that is of course the MC12.
Pin It

Landrover history

(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)

Land Rover history

The heritage of Land Rover and the Ford connection

Landrover is relatively young compared to many other car manufacturers. Born in 1948 the famed Land Rover name has become a household synonimous with impeccable 4x4 wheel drive off roaders. The first of the Landy carnation was the Defender. The introduction of the Defender, Discovery, Range Rover, Freelander and now the Range Rover Sport have pushed Land rover into various directions, from farmers wnating a rugged vehicle to rapper wanting a bling 4x4. The ultimate in style urban and rural, outstanding comfort and the best in off-road capability.
Land rover over the last 55 years has evolved from building farm transport to supplying some of the most well known celebrities with extreme bling motors. Pure durability, toughness and elegance.
The manufacturer now resides in India, now owned by Tata the owners of Jaguar.
Pin It

Lancia history

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

Lancia guide

True elegance in a car

Lancia has always been seen as a some what marque of distinction, well this is very true during the earlier years. The company was formed some years ago 1906 to be exact since then there cars have always been associated with the 'rich lifestyle'. Lancia motor cars have always been a target of the rich from movie stars like Brigitte Bardot through to Royalty with the likes of Prince Rainier of Monaco. The cars created were always elegant and well designed including the Aurelia in 1952, B 24 Spider & the 1956 Flaminia this particuler motorcar even had a fully panoramic windscreen.
1906 a company was founded by a racing car driver known as Vincenzo Lancia, throughout 1930 and on, became a highly successful for Grand Prix and Rallye circuits wins, however while winning he was also developing an impressive roster of luxury cars, his company was Lancia. This Italian car company was responsible for many milestones within car history. 1921 The Lambda, the first car with an integral body,1937 the Aprilia, great flowing lines almost sports car like, the Pininfarina coupe, was Italy's answer to US streamline design.
The war finished leaving the auto manufacturer to reclaim its tradition of racing car victories and of course reputation for excellent design through producing elegant cars, granted Bertone, Pininfarina, Touring, and Zagato styling techniques.
Lancia, now is known for elegant mid-sized cars, the company was acquired by Fiat in 1969, however still remaining an independent brand.


Pin It

Kia history

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Kia history

The beginning

It was 1944 in Kyungsung, and Kia the Asian manufacturing company concentrated on domestic bicycles, steel tubing and parts. Kia originates from the Chinese language and translates into "to arise, to come up out of Asia." By the 1950's the company was looking into branching out, they already had released Korea's first bike near the end of the decade,this prompeted them start producing and release motorised scooters, namely the C100.

1960's / 70s - 3 wheels and beyond

The 1960's were an experimental decade for Kia, they diversified and started producing motorcycles and a range of three-wheeled pickup vehicles namely the T-600. The next step was to start producing cars, this started to happen in the early 70s. However by 1973 a Plant had been designed and constructed in Sohari plant. This was Korea's first production line car company facility, the facility started working on a petrol engine driven car, the first step was achieved a petrol engine , then a year later the Kia Brisa followed. This was the counties first passenger car, by 1979 the technology developed and used to make vehicles was being adopted to produce such vehicles as Fiat and Peugeot cars.


The 80s saw a turn in producing, a whole array of cars were released theses included new models such as the Concord, Capital, Pride & Potentia. In 1987, Kia cars started arriving on US soil, but as other models one being the Ford Festiva the other being Avella a couple of years later, this car was renamed the Ford Aspire.
This move by Ford gave the Asian car manufacturer the inspiration to begin selling cars and other vehicles on US soil. This took place in the early '90s, this started with the Sephia, it was a very gradual process at first early, with models only available in limited US states. As the 90's came so did more Kia import vehicles throughout Europe and the US, vehicles varied from SUV's to roomy saloons however the company recognised the next big thing was the SUV ( Sport Utility Vehicle) it was already very popular vehicle with drivers due to space & versatility; Kia therefore released the Sportage to satisfy this lust, in 1995. By the end of the '90s, They had successfully established their goal of rolling out a car to the whole nation, there was now Kia dealerships in all US states with the exception of North Dakota. Due to financial problems there was no more money to expand the rest of the range, Hyundai Koreas other car giant recognised the problem and offered a merger this formed Hyundai-Kia automotive group in 1998.

The Millenium, and beyond

Hyundai-Kia entered the year 2000 very positively with the Sportage finishing The paris to Dakar rally, since merging with Hyundai, both companies have improved and improved. There 2007 range showcases some very fine models, a car for all occasions, from the Picanto, Rio & Magentis to the Cee'd right throught to their new range of SUV's such as the new Sportage and Sorento. The future looks bright.
Pin It

The history of the British Jaguar XJ220

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)
The 1980's brought a new car enthusiast, made rich from the .com era and entrepeneurial skills, rich people looking for extreme driving excitement, supercars were this need and desire, however the car needed had to be everything. There was such a motor, the unveiling of the Jaguar XJ220 changed everything. The fastest and most practical of all rear engined Supercars on the market, with the exception of the Mclaren F1.
The new Jag fitted perfectly into the Super car market it was extremely powerful, very fast, beautiful, and of course very expensive. It is a very high geared model and more the looks of a Lemans car and quite frankly the XJ220 is a very big car not really a daily drive for even the bravest of millionaires. As you would expect a 2 seater, taking real skill to drive.
However this didn't bother anyone, the car was an instant hit, the prototype XJ150 in 1988 was meant to be the only one, and amazingly the first version was way more popular than the production model running a V12 engine, and four-wheel-drive to aid the driver. The 150 was added to the XJ to demonstrate its proposed top speed in mph.
The car received such a positive response that Jaguar decided to hand over the project to Tom Walkinshaw’s Jaguar Sport organisation , to turn the dream of a British Jaguar Supercar into a reality. The ‘Walkinshaw’ XJ220 was unveiled a year later, this version of the car was much smaller than the Prototype before, it ran a twin-turbo V6 engine similar to the ones installed to their racing cars, and it only came with rear drive. The cars customer weren't phased by this, although Jaguar said they would only build 350 cars at Banbury Jaguar, over 1,200 customers issued priority orders for the British Supercar. 
The car is built from a relatively conventional light-alloy hull, it was basically a civilised version of a racing car, however with the luxuries of air-con and trimmed interior. A fatal blow could have been due to Jaguar not being able develop ABS anti-lock braking in time for sales 1992.
The XJ220 was tested and achieved 213 mph, even though all loved the cars styling and general behaviour, this didn't save it, economic confidence collapsed in 1990s. Jaguar saw fit to get every customer to sign a legal agreement the basically making them pay a chunk of the £403,000 price, many people who had signed up tried to break there contract while the cars were being built.
This resulted in only 271 cars produced over three years, many un-delivered and stored at Jaguar until the late 1990s. The Jag due to this is recognised as a commercial failure, affected by economic conditions. However this car is one of the best vehicles ever made by Jaguar and Ford.

XJ 220 Specs

Torque - 644.0 NM @ 4500 RPM 
0-60 MPH - 4.0 sec 
1/4 Mile - 11.9 sec 
Top Speed - 218 mph
Pin It

E Type Jaguar

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

E Type Jaguar

A new beginning

The E Type Jag started out as a prototype, at this point the car was known as the E2A, and there only purpose was to race, but on a limited basis.
The car was otherwise known as the XKE, while going through its marketing stages from XK - Engineering to XK- Elegance. This car became so much more than was destined.
The E Type Jaguar was officially unveiled at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland. The reaction was instant appeal, originally down to the styling, the car is till recognised as one of the sexiest cars ever produced. However not just its looks, it was extremely advanced for 1961 with a double overhead cam (DOHC) engine, fully independent rear suspension disc brakes all round. A real breakthrough for the Sportscar was that of the development of the independent rear suspension, this is seen as a real high point in the design by many purists.
It cost £1,830 ($5,595) for a roadster making this Jaguar affordable; theCorvette Stingray cost less, still a cool looking car but in a totally different league.
The Jaguar E Type, another timeless classic.


Pin It

Jaguar history

(Reading time: 6 - 11 minutes)

Jaguar history

William Walmsley & William Lyons, were so driven by their love for motorcycles they decided to set up a company.

Jag the beginning

In Blackpool, England, September 4, 1922 two motorbike enthusiasts, Wpany, the Swallow Sidecar Company was born. The company thrived & continued designing and manufacturing motorcycle sidecars and cars until the beginning of World War II.
In 1926 the Swallow Sidecar company decided to venture into car manufacturing & the small Austin Seven, rapidly known as the "People's Car" it was a very spartan design. Due to car production the name was changed to Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Co. They decided to relocate to a larger area. This new thriving company now made many custom bodies for cars as from Morris, Fiat through to Wolseley, Swift, and Standard.
Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Co first car was the SS1, a six-cylinder engine with a modified chassis. The car debuted at the London exhibition in 1931 also an SS2 was designed this had a four-cylinder engine. The larger SS1 was the flagship of Swallow Sidecars, it was a low car fitted with wire wheels a short passenger compartment, rear luggage space with a spare tire fitted at the rear. It was an elegant & expensive looking car and also its main selling point extremely good value.
In 1933, Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Co changed their name to SS Cars Ltd. William Lyons was now the managing director, eventually bought his partner William Walmsley out in 1936.
A new dawn
The following year 1934, a gentleman known as Harry Weslake, recognised for being one of the car industry's top engine experts, joined SS Cars with him he brought his new cylinder head with OHV valve configuration.
In 1935 SS Cars started to name some of their motor cars Jaguar later in the same year William Heynes joined as chief engineer.
Production expanded from manufacturing sidecars and cars to building limousines, cabriolets, and racing & sports cars. Engines started at 1.5-litre and went upto 3.5-litre. One of the most famed autos produced by SS cars was the 3.5-litre SS 100 model, undoubtedly the fastest and famed pre-war Jags, it could reach a staggering 100 mph and achieve 0 - 60 mph in 10.5 seconds. This was due to the Jaguar tuned engine running a compression ratio of 17.5:1.
The SS 100 Model went onto be victorious in racing from Marne Grand Prix of Reims, the Villa Real International event, the Alpine Rally, The Monte Carlo Rally, all the way to the RAC Rally this untarnished history of great racing victories makes it one of the most famed Jaguar cars.
However things changed for SS cars during WWII, car production stopped and moved to manufacturing for the war, when the war ended the name was changed to Jaguar Cars Ltd and car production resumed at full speed.
The XK
1946 was an exciting year for Jaguar Cars in addition to updating older models, William Lyons stated to develop a new sports car, the XK 120, where the design inspiration came from the BMW 328, it came with a six-cylinder 3442 CC DOHC engine.
At Earls Court Motor Show 1948, the new motor debuted, their fastest car to date, the XK 120 Roadster with a top speed of around 120 mph in addition impeccable roadholding and a unique design plus a smooth ride. Three years later in 1951 the Fixed Head Coupe was debuted at the Motor Show in Geneva. This version was a classier car trimmed with a fully Veneer dashboard, and wind-up windows. The introduction of the Drophead Coupe in 1953, included was a fully-trimmed convertible hood. The XK 120 was all its manufacturers thought it would be, plus more it proved to be the perfect competition car.
In 1954 Jaguar released the XK140 this came with a rack-and-pinion steering setup, bigger bumpers, chromed everything, a cast grill, and a 190 bhp engine, even space for small children in the back. Three years later in 1957, the Jaguar XK150 was released , however due to its ageing design it didn't create the uproar of its predecessors however it continued to be produced until 1961.
Precarious market position
The mid-fifties were a real time of anxiety for Jaguar Cars Ltd. This was due to the company only having supplied luxury and sports cars, and their reliance on foreign markets.
They were put in a precarious position and had to consider, the repercussions of 2 scenarios :
A recession this would destroy a sports & luxury car market.
Foreign sanctions, any foreign government could close their market to Jaguar for no reason.
It was decided Jaguar needed to strengthen their car market position, this was to be achieved by producing a car that would be appeal to a wider market sold in the UK, primarily. This brought the MK I, debuted at the 1955 World Motor Show. The Mk1 adopted a new design style that of monococoque construction.
They were onto a winner with their Jaguar MK range, so much so that they released the Mk2, this was an instant success. The car featured a completely redesigned dashboard and larger glass area, also Leather interior as standard until 1967. Leather then became an optional extra in the aid to lower the base cost of the car. Other optional extras included fog lights. Varying Jag cars were released to satisfy market gaps between the Jaguar 3.8S and the large MK X. 
Then in a surprise move in 1960, Daimler purchased Jaguar.

The coming of the E Type

The development of the Jag E Type started in 1961, the car was started as a race car project, however circumstances and prototypes came and went and the world of racing changed and the Jaguar E type became the famed road car known world wide.
1966 saw Sir William Lyons step down as Jaguar Cars Ltd Managing Director, remaining though as Chairman and CEO of the group. The role of MD was taken by Grice and England. In 1966, July 11 th Jaguar Cars Ltd and the British Motor Corporation Ltd formerly announced they would merge.
By the mid-1960s, it became apparent Jag was manufacturing too many models.
In 1968 a merger between Jaguar and British Leyland formed the largest British car complex ever.
Sir William Lyons retired in 1972, 50 years later after forming the Swallow Sidecar Company on his 21st birthday. The abrupt retirement of was followed by much confusion surrounding Jaguar and its everyday running and indeed its future. Whole departments disappeared into British Leyland without a trace. A report published in 1975 known as the Ryder report, made the future clear, it outlined Jaguar would not continue as a sole entity.
British Leyland Cars was formed this brought the brand new sports car the XJ-S, appearing with other cars at the Earls Courts motor show. They were no longer controlled by one man until the winter of 1979-1980 when Percy Plant was appointed as a nominal chairman. This may be seen as a grave error by Jaguar as Plant was recognised as having a skill to close factories.
April of 1980 saw Jaguar workers morale plummet when a grading and pay strike provoked a vicious response from Sir Michael Edwarde's "return to work or lose your jobs." The company sank deeper and deeper, till it was recognised a new full-time CEO was needed, John Egan was appointed in April 1980. His role included being part of a directorship of Massey Ferguson Machinery Division. Egan was 40 years old, full of ideas and above all inspired. This gave Jag and its employees hope with his first quote -
"One cannot have better ground to build on."   
Egan and his optimism reflected in Jaguar production and above all in the employees morale. 1985 saw the company stablise, once again it was recognised, we do not give up!
With John at the companies helm, Jaguar started engineered extremely efficient V12 cylinder heads, this gave them in 1981 the right to boast to producing the fastest production automatic car on the planet, the XJ-S HE, it was capable of reaching 155 mph. In time the AJ6 aluminum, 24-valve engine replaced all cars running the XK engine.
1984, saw Jaguar become once again an independent car company trading on the London stock market. Sir William Lyons passed away the year after. The XJ40 body with an AJ6 engine in the form of the XJ6 Sovereign, Majestic, Vanden Plas or Daimler was released in Europe in 1986 & in 1987 to US markets. The Series III XJ12 continued also.
Jaguar & Ford and the XJ150 Supercar
Ford acquired Jaguar in 1989 and In 1992, the XJ150 was developed and built to test exotic supercar market in Europe, this car never made it to the U.S. It was one of the fastest and most stunning cars ever designed, it was a rear engined supercar recognised globally and rumoured to have gained its name from the fact it could reach 150 mph. The car was a hit on paper and everyone wanted one, it was released as the XJ220.
The XJ12, the Daimler Double Six was re-released with a V12 6.0 in 1993 in the body of an XJ40.
1995 saw the introduction of the Jaguar XJ300 with models available as XJ6, Sovereign, Majestic, Vanden Plas or the new supercharged XJR -- this was the first ever supercharged Jaguar car released.
Ford did not fully show their presence till 1997 when the XK8 and supercharged XKR sports cars were unveiled. They both ran a new AJ-V8 engine, this engine was also the basis new XJ8.
Retro styling became a must in 2000 , to capture this trend they released the X200 body, S-type.  2002 saw the appearance of the compact X400 bodied, 4 wheel drive, V6 X-type.
2002 - 2006 Bibiana Boerio, appointed managing director of Jaguar Cars. The release of the all new Jaguar XK and the announcement of a new sports saloon, the Jaguar XF, publicly unveiled autumn 2007.
The XF is targetted at replacing the S-TYPE saloon in the Jaguar line-up. The car will be developed and built in the UK. "The XF a new sports saloon challenging people to think again about Jaguar as daring and different," commented Bibiana Boerio, Managing Director. The XF will appear from spring 2008, market dependant.
It appears that Ford have bitten off more than thay can chew with the proposed sale of Jag and Landrover, various companies are in the running check out the latest news on the Jag blog.


Pin It

Honda NSX

(Reading time: 3 - 5 minutes)

Honda NSX

Re-defining the Jap Super car

The ultimate sports car let down by a few points, the performance of the NSX Type-R nothing short of amazing. The car has been around for 16 years or so. It created such a buzz when it first stunned the world with its exotic Japanese styling, and its technological advances in being built in complete aluminium and of course sporting Honda's trademark, advanced high-revving engines, a V6 in this case with fibre reinforced metal plus VTEC variable valve timing.
The fastest NSX the Type R faced the debate on whether it was worth introducing into the UK car market in 2002. However shortly after this Honda took the chance, and if they hadn't you could have had a the car imported. So all was not lost.
Has it really been 12 years!
Back in 92 the Supercar took the world by storm with it's ahead of the time Jap styling, the car has been subjected to slight changes over the years however in 2002 there was a switch from the pop-up headlamps to faired-in headlamps. The idea behind this is to reduce drag co-efficient drag from 0.32 to 0.30, as for looks, well you decide, it has been described as looking frog eyed.
For some reason Honda has never really prided its self with sleek & stylish interiors and the NSX is no exception even over the years of production there were very few interior changes. The best description agreed by many is 'Very Black' even the headliner - however these are minimal problems compared to cars real calling position, handling and overall driving. As you are seated you feel like you are in a very low feeling super car, the seats provide support at both hip and shoulder and laterally. The position for the pedals are directly ahead, and are complimented by a footrest, it has height and reach adjustable steering column, the low roof also has been catered for due to fore/aft seat adjustment, making it perfect for many people and above all very comfortable.
There is a lack of space in the NSX as you would expect from such a small sports car, the front of the car is fitted with a spacesaver therefore the little space there is already taken up, the rear however due to its length allows approx storage for a couples holiday cases. Usually with mid engined cars such as MR2's and the Countach , however the Honda NSX has high visibility ratings. When in the driving seat you can see both front wings from the driver's seat, the low level rear spoiler isn't a problem either, reversing is no problem with wraparound rear window.
Suspension, driving & performance
The Honda car is fitted with speed sensitive electric assistance steering but has a steering circle of 3.2 turns lock to lock. The six-speed close ratio gearbox is helped by a light clutch with slick precision shifts - the VTEC V6 is so torquey it can run at 20mph in top gear.
Like you would expect the car is equipped with racing car suspension, the revised 2002 model has front uprated springs uprated anti-roll 10mm increased track, the car comes with 17 inch rims and 215/40 and 255/40 low profiles front and rear. This gives the NSX a stiff ride, much like lowered and uprated suspension kits fitted to other cars such as the Golf GTI. There is ABS and traction control to help in bad conditions, air con, cruise control and other electrical gadgets. A real country roads car, it is truly built and setup superbly for rural roads with its wide stance and 3.2 litre V6 will, easily pulling from tickover, its capable of producing 276bhp @ 7,300rpm and the torque peaks at just over 5,000, like all VTEC engines the model has to be driven hard to experience maximum affect. The VTEC system is clearly evident from 6,000rpm up to redline limiter at 8,500rpm, the car can only be described as making a roar / wail.
A real noise for a car lover. Like all Honda performance cars, to maintain maximum performance the car needs to be permanently driven in the VTEC range. Ideal for shifting from 4th to 3rd and 2nd when needed. A real Japanese high performance and high reliability sports car.
Pin It

Honda Civic Type R

(Reading time: 4 - 7 minutes)

Honda Civic EK9 Type R guide

Sixth Gen 1995 – 2001 Dawn of the Jap car

The first Civic EK9 Type R model made its debut in Japan.
It was powered by a 1.6 litre B16B DOHC VTEC engine, this power unit produced 185 BHP at 8200 rpm it is exclusively developed. The lightweight engine utilised new techonologies a new valve system, allowing higher speeds, as well as reduced friction and improved breathing, also the added extra of increased 
compression ratio's.
This Car triggered the craze of the modern day Civic Type R, a cool looking Honda with real Japanese styling.
It wasn't long before the car was beasted by JDM -
Ever wondered how fast an EK9 is in a straightline?
In the May 1998 a test was performed by JDM using a tuned Civic Type R. The performance figures are quite staggering from a mere 1.6.
Performance Figures
0-60mph : 5.7 seconds 
0-100mph: 17.5 seconds 
0-1/4mi : 15.0 seconds at 94mph
The Top Speed of the JDM car due to its limiter was never tested. However it did beat a UK Integra Type-R running at 190bhp, it obtained times of around 6.2 seconds for the 0-60mph dash but a faster 17.1 seconds for the 0-100mph dash.
The car was never released in the UK, but was officially released in Japan in 1997.
The chassis of the hatchback shared a lot with the Integra including omission of sound deadening and other weight-reduction measures, the B16B engine was hand ported and fitted with a front limited-slip diff, close-ratio gearbox. The EK 9 had phenominal handling with increased body rigidity, reduced weight, hard tuned suspension, LSD with torque-sensitive helical, Sport ABS braking, and Potenza RE010 tyres.
The Civic was styled well also, with 5 stud alloy wheels, red Recaro seats, a Momo SRS 368mm steering wheel, and titanium gear knob and carbon styled panel.
Engine : 1.6-litre (1595cc) DOHC VTEC IL4 - B16B
Max Power: 185ps (183bhp) @ 8200rpm
Max Torque: 160Nm @ 7500rpm
Max Speed: limited 190km 
0-60 - 5.7 seconds 0-100 - 17.5 seconds 
Type: FWD Limited slip differential, 5-speed manual box 
Brakes Front: Vented disc Rear: Solid discs ABS 
Wheels: 15-inch 5-lug alloys 
Tyres: Bridgestone Potenza RE010 (195/55 R15) 
Dimensions & Weight Length / Width / Height: 4180mm / 1695mm / 1360mm 
Wheelbase: 2620mm 
Weight: 1090kg Minimum 
Ground Clearance: 135 mm
Seventh And Current Generation
A global player with the 2, 3, 4 and 5 door models and Type-R versions available.
The new Civic has fresh and innovative styling and a distinctive short nose. It is 50 mm higher than its predecessor. The steeply raked bonnet is particularly aerodynamically efficient, while the arching roof line delineates a large glass area ensuring excellent visibility.
Discreet Type-R logos, an attractive honeycomb grille, front and roof spoilers, side aprons and broad side rubbing strips differentiate the auto externally from other 3 door models. With its 200 horsepower 2 litre engine, the Type-R is the most potent product in the history of the Civic. It epitomises Honda's outstanding motor sport involvement which has netted six Formula 1 constructors’ titles and over 500 motor cycling victories in Grand Prix. This wolf in sheep's clothing behaves docilely in town traffic just like a ‘normal’ compact. However, on the open road, it transforms itself into a racing machine ‘par excellence’: application of the accelerator pedal can catapult the ,motor to 62 mph in just 6.8 secs (Official time).
10 Facts About Today’s Civic
The Car accounts for one in two Honda's sold in the UK 
British built Civics are now exported to both Japan (Civic Type-R) and North America (Civic Si) 
Sales of the auto in UK for 2002 year to date exceed last year’s figure by 6% driving total volume beyond 20,000, some 7 per cent of its sector 
The 3dr model is second only to the Ford Focus in the petrol C-sector 3dr class 
The 5dr version lies fifth in the petrol 5dr class, the leading Japanese brand 
The hot shot Type-R accounts for one in three 3 door Civics sold 
The Civic 5dr was winner of the "Small Hatch" category in the 2001 What Car? Car of the Year Awards – and has twice been voted Britain’s Most Comfortable Car in the publication’s annual Comfort Tests 
Notable features of today’s Civic are its exceptional roominess, its fascia-mounted gear lever and the remarkable performance / economy combination of its petrol engines 
In May this year, a new diesel-engine model was introduced into the range for European models. 
The new Civic not only achieves 4 star Euro NCAP crash safety performance, but combines this with a best-in-class 3 star pedestrian protection rating.

Press Release

Tokyo, October 18, 2001 - The Honda Civic EK9 replacement announced : A full model change for the popular Civic TYPE R, known for its high performance and sporty, dynamic design. The new model will go on sale 6/12/01 at previous Honda Primo dealers throughout Japan.
The car's design concept was, "Civic TYPE R-the hatchback bullet." It's an exciting 3-door hatchback that boasts a powerful design with superior basic driving, cornering, and braking performance characteristics. The key aims for the car's development were to create a new, bullet-like form; deliver exciting performance; and make the car both safe and environmentally friendly.
The new TYPE R comes equipped with 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC engine. Aspirating efficiency has been significantly improved, resulting in maximum power output of 158kW (215PS). The close-ratio, 6-speed manual transmission provides dynamic performance of a professional racer level, while at the same time delivering a comfortable driving feel on everyday roads.
The car also comes fully loaded with performance accessories, including aeroform bumpers, Recaro front bucket seats, a MOMO genuine-leather 3-spoke steering wheel, and a dash-mounted aluminum shift knob for the 6-speed manual transmission. As the ultimate performance model in the Civic series, this car lets its owner directly experience the joy of driving. At the same time, it is also very environmentally friendly, having earned recognition by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport as an ultra-low emissions vehicle.



Pin It

Welcome to Planetauto | Your one-stop place for the latest car reviews


Want to see more? Please subscribe to the Planetauto YouTube channel

Member of the Northern Group of Motoring Writers