Saturday, November 27, 2021

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
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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.


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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.


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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.
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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.



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Honda history

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Honda History

Past to present

Honda has been around since around 1947 offering everything from power tools to sports cars, the Japanese company is globally renown for technology, the latest releases from car technological advances to robots. This guide concentrates on the coolest Japanese cars from the NSX to highly tuned Spoon Civics.
The Jap giant haven't been around as long as you have thought, however this doesn't detract from the sheer magnitude of Honda, the company is truly renowned for its dabbling into everything from Racing cars through to Powerboats even Assimo a custom made robot capable of walking upstairs and running.

1960 Where it all began

1963 - First sports car released the S500 and light truck T360 were released.
1966 - The sales and export campaign for the S800 begins.
1967 - Front wheel drive minicar, released the N360.
1968 - The N Series minicar No1 in Japanese car sales , exportation of the N360 and N600 starts.


1970 - The N360 No1 seller in Japan for first 3 years. The release of Z and Vamos minicars.
1972 - Beginning of an era, the first Honda Civic released - Life Step Van released.
1976 - Accord CVCC 1.6 released- The famed Civic sales reach 1 million units.
1978 - The Prelude is released.


1980 - Accord production reaches 1 million units.
1981 - City released.
1985 - The release of the ' Today ' minicar, Legend & Quint Integra released .
1987 - Civic production reaches 5 million units.
1988 - US made Accord Coupe exported to Japan for sale. Honda car production reaches 15 million units.
1989 - Accord Inspire released.


1990 - Stop the Press the NSX supercar a mid engined racing / road car released.
1991 - The US-made Accord Wagon released in Japan. Convertible minicar the Beat released.
1992 - Honda achieves automobile production output of 20 million units globally.
1994 - Odyssey released.
1995 - Global Civic production reaches output of 10 million units. New Civic VTEC and MultiMatic introduced.CR-V SUV released.
1996 - Step Wagon released.
1997 - Release of Low emission vehicles (LEV) Civic Ferio and Partner 1.6 . Electrical vehicles introduced. New Life released.
1999 - Release of the much anticipated S2000 sports car, Insight hybrid released.


2000 - First minicar specially adapted for the physically challenged the Life Almas.
2001 - Fit released & Civic Hybrid released.
2002 - Release of the new Thai-made Fit Aria Japan.
2003 - Honda first Jap car company to produce 10 million cars in the United States. The release of the New Odyssey.
2004 - Released in European markets Accord 2.2i-CTDI running original diesel engine. The new Accord Hybrid released in U.S.
2005 - New release the Ridgeline next-gen truck - U.S. US Motor introduces sales of Phill, 1st home refueling appliance for natural gas cars and trucks.
FCX fuel cell vehicle leasing for domestic use begins. Global sales of Honda hybrid vehicles tops 100,000 units.

2005 - 2007

Honda have stepped into the greener side of cars in a big way, with the introduction of their new hybrid prius and other models, however this hasn't stopped the company, new versions of the Integra and S2000 continue to be released.
Check out the blog for the latest Honda news
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Escort RS Cosworth

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)
Escort RS Cosworth

A rally car based on a humble hatch back, The Escort RS Cosworth and WRC first came about in the early 90's, after the the first Sierra Cosworth, the phenomenal car is basically an Escort hatchback floor pan, with stretched quarter panels, manufactured longer and with a few more additions. The engine is 2 litre twin cam turbo charged engine which runs unleaded fuel 97 ron (super unleaded) and even has a catalytic converter,

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Read more: Escort RS Cosworth

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