Category Archives: Car Designers

Origin Of The Species

Darwinian principles can be applied as much to automotive design and manufacturing as they have been to evolutionary biology. “Survival of the fittest” has been the recipe of enduring success for a number of car marques but it has also seen the extinction of many more.

From the very first cars – certain marques have driven down developmental cul-de-sacs whilst others have, through inspired progressive improvement, survived to the present day.

As one of the most successful surviving marques – it’s interesting to analyse some of the factors and earlier designs that assured Porsche’s initial establishment, success and ultimate longevity as a manufacturer of road and race cars.

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A-Z Of Car Stuff: H is for Hybrids (the Euro/US Variety)!

A-Z of Car Stuff

This is one in a series of posts on cars, drivers, designers etc. that have interested me over the years. I’ve bored my family and friends with this stuff for years – now it’s your turn!

See A-Z of Car Stuff page for more posts in this series.

So, what’s so special about Hybrids?

To my mind – there are hybrids and hybrids!

On the one hand – there are the modern internal combustion engine/battery powered vehicles built to save the planet and/or salve the collective consciences of automotive eco-warriors (isn’t that an oxymoron?).

On the other hand there are Euro/US Hybrids – sleek and elegant European styled cars with stonking great American V8s shoe-horned into their delicate chassis. These cars have a simple purpose in life – to tear-up roads and circuits at the fastest possible speed but in the best possible style and taste!

1) The special thing about petrol/electric hybrids is they’re NOT new. They were designed and driven donkey’s years ago thanks to Ferdinand Porsche.

2) The special thing about Euro/American hybrids is that they combine the best of European styling with the rugged power of American V8 engines. A number of specialist manufacturers have created beautiful and innovative sports cars, GTs and saloons that have graced the roads and race circuits of the world for years. Long may this Euro/US Hybrid cross-breeding programme continue.

Continue reading A-Z Of Car Stuff: H is for Hybrids (the Euro/US Variety)!

London Classic Car Show – Sat 10th Jan 2015

The lack of sunshine during the dark Winter months gives rise to a particular form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which can result in susceptible people suffering from mild depression. This condition is treated by exposing sufferers to bright light.

I suffer from a very specific form of Seasonal Affective Disorder called ICDD or Interesting Car Deficiency Disorder!  The only viable treatment for this terrible affliction is to expose sufferers to interesting cars at any and every opportunity.

The London Classic Car Show at London’s Excel Centre provided just such an opportunity! Judging by the turnout – lots of other people had also opted to for a serious course of ICDD treatment!!!

Continue reading London Classic Car Show – Sat 10th Jan 2015

A-Z of Car Stuff: B is for Bizzarrini

A-Z of Car Stuff

This is one in a series of posts on cars, drivers, designers etc. that have interested me over the years. I’ve bored my family and friends with this stuff for years – now it’s your turn!

See A-Z of Car Stuff page for more posts in this series.

So, what’s so special about Bizzarrini?

Well it depends if you’re talking about the designer or the car!

Starting with The Designer:-

1) Giotto Bizzarrini designed/developed some truly iconic sports cars. These included the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, Ferrari 250 GT SWB, Ferrari 250 GTO, Ferrari 250 Drogo Breadvan, Iso Rivolta GT, Iso Grifo and the Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada & Corsa.

2) He created one of the most fantastic and enduring V12 engines. The V12 engine created for Ferruccio Lamborghini was an up-scaled version of Bizzarrini’s design for an unused ATS engine. The Lamborghini V12 remained in production from 1964 (when it initially powered the Lamborghini 350GT) until 2010 (when in much expanded and highly developed form it powered the Lamborghini Murcielago).

3) He was a brilliant hands-on development engineer. Bizzarrini masterfully combined insightful test driving technique with his engineering skills to effectively and directly convert issues into engineering development solutions. This approach was epitomised in his rapid development of the Ferrari 250 GTO and he subsequently applied the same principles to other cars he created and developed.

Moving onto The Car:-

4) The wonderful Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada/Corsa. This Livorno (Bizzarrini’s hometown) manufactured car was built for an all too brief period between 1965 and 1969 resulting in just 133 examples. This beautiful car was a wonderful amalgam of Italian style, inspired engineering and reliable/powerful Chevrolet grunt. Thankfully many survive and some are still enthusiastically raced at historic events.

Continue reading A-Z of Car Stuff: B is for Bizzarrini

Aston Martin Owners Club Event – Silverstone Sat 5th April 2014

AMOC Event

Sat 5th April 2014

1934 Aston Martin Ulster Le Mans Team Car
1934 Aston Martin Ulster Le Mans Team Car

In BM/BD years gone by (Before Marriage/Before Daughter) me and my mates used to regularly attend club races at Silverstone, Donington and Brands Hatch. They were always incredibly friendly and enjoyable events with full access to the paddock, the garages and the grandstands around the track. It was great to be able to wander around chatting to drivers, owners and other enthusiasts and it was a privilege to see some lovely old motors being flung around the circuit as if the driver’s lives depended on a good finish.

1963 Aston Martin DP214 Replica
1963 Aston Martin DP214 Replica

I’m pleased to report that my latest visit to the AMOC event at Silverstone on Sat 5th Apr clearly shows that cheap (£10 a ticket), friendly, well organised and open access motor racing experiences can still be had.

This is in stark contrast to the increasingly remote and expensive F1 experience and even to events such as Goodwood Revival which have become a little too puffed up with their own self importance. Don’t get me wrong – there are some great cars (and bikes) at the Revival but it seems to be more dominated these days by professional/celebrity drivers rather than enthusiast/gentleman/amateur owner/drivers.

1976 Aston Martin V8
1976 Aston Martin V8

Surprisingly – the World Endurance Championship has managed to stay relatively sensible and down to earth in terms of expense – £20  a ticket for this year’s Silverstone round is very reasonable for 6 hours of full-on racing. The WEC events also maintain a good degree of roving access to the pits and open grandstands for the paying enthusiasts. Long may it remain so!

Coming back to my AMOC day out – it a was a really great if bone jarringly freezing experience.

Continue reading Aston Martin Owners Club Event – Silverstone Sat 5th April 2014