Opinion

Opinion owners of cars

Jaguar SVO - Special Vehicle Operations
There are always creative people in a car company who want to try and do things that are off the radar, possibly off the wall but certainly off the product plan. And I think that’s always been the case at Jaguar. When I started there in 1978, the styling department worked out of a building called Experimental (which was where the X in the XK name originated from). In the early Fifties this changed into the Competition Shop which two decades later became the studio.
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A crashing realisation
It’s not going to be a universally popular opinion, but I’m afraid I love a bit of banger racing. Indeed, I probably have it to thank for my love of old cars. Back when I was a kid, in the mid 1980s, a Sunday afternoon out at High Edge Raceway in Buxton was a rare and intoxicating treat.
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Jaguar XK8 4.0 X100 vs. Aston Martin DB7 3.2 Coupe
There’s an interloper currently in my garage. But it’s not a neighbour’s cat or the chest freezer my wife has wanted in there for some time but rather an Aston Martin. As the new editor of Aston Martin Driver, I’ve been given the keys to Kelsey Publishing’s DB7 3.2 and since it’s parked next to my 2000 Jaguar XK8 4.0 X100, I can’t help but compare the two.
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Clean bowled after a 36-month innings Focus ST
You may have noticed a bit of a theme with this series. It usually celebrates a car that was once good, great or merely interesting but which tended to hang around a bit too long, by which point customers become interested in something newer and shinier. That’s not the case with the just-axed Ford Focus ST. Recently departed performance title MOTOR gave the hot Ford hatch a runner-up position at this year’s Sports Car of the Year award.
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Ferrari has to be number one, surely? Or is it BMW? Or Tesla?
A very warm welcome to the first of CAR’s three special 60th anniversary issues. Yep, the world’s best (and most modest) car magazine pre-dates the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon (1969), Porsche’s first overall Le Mans win (1970) and the arrival into this world of one Elon Reeve Musk (1971).
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Working with Bob Knight
Not only did former engineering director Bob Knight have the reputation for being very clever but also a chain smoker and someone who worked all hours, all of which I experienced first-hand. When I joined Jaguar in the late-Seventies not only was he the managing director of the company but on the basis of how Jaguar’s founder Sir William Lyons had always operated, he’d also taken charge of what he called styling despite having no experience.
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2000 Jaguar XK8 4.0 Coupe X100 vs. 2003 Audi TT 8N
Commissioned to photograph an Audi TT for another magazine, Paul compares the four-seat coupe with his own Similar to how Liverpool Football Club and my son’s under 16 team do roughly the same thing while also being totally different, the same could be said of the Jaguar XK8 and first generation of Audi TT. Although both are four-seat coupes, one is a big, purposeful and V8-engined GT and the other smaller with much of its DNA sourced from elsewhere.
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Mid-engined Maseratis multiplying
The Bora was Maserati’s first ever midengined road car; the MC20 is its latest; but in between there have been several others. Maserati’s answer to the Ferrari Dino was a ‘baby’ version of the Bora whose mid-mounted engine was downgraded to a 2965cc V6 borrowed from the Citroën SM.  In its top-spec ‘SS’ guise, the Merak boasted 220hp, a top speed of 153mph and 0-60mph in 7.0 seconds.
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An unwanted Ford Fusion
It’s now 20 years since a new Ford made its debut in UK showrooms, but Sam Skelton isn’t about to break out the party hats. Iwant to start this column by apologising to everyone who has ever seen or experienced a Ford Fusion. It wasn’t my fault; I just think you are owed one, and nobody else is offering. It’s 20 years since this meretricious motor first crept into showrooms, and alarmingly only half that since its overdue demise.
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All the same Corvette C8
All the same. Evans wonders what the future will bring, given the homogenised state of the new-vehicle market… When I was a kid, cars always seemed to be more than just four-wheeled conveyances. Even the most mundane family four-door seemed to have style and substance. By the time I was eight I could identify almost every car on the road.
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Dead on arrival: the FWD Chevrolet Camaro
How General Motors’ performance linchpin was spared the indignity of losing drive to the rear. Since the late 1960s, the pony car had been a mainstay of American car culture, built to a simple formula of driven wheels at the rear and a hearty engine at the front, preferably a V8. Yet, amazingly, during the 1980s both Ford and GM drew up plans to delete the V8s from their pony car mainstays, the Mustang and the Camaro, and make them front-wheel drive.
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Why Aston Martin should forget F1 and return to Le Mans
Having missed the previous two years due to strict Covid-19 restrictions, it was terrific to finally return to Le Mans in mid-June for the famous 24-hour race. It remains the pinnacle of motorsport and as much fun as when I first went 25 years ago.
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Bob is conflicted about the new 2023 BMW M4 CSL G82
So it’s finally arrived, the third car to bear those hallowed letters – CSL. Unveiled at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este the G82 M4 CSL will no doubt be quite the performer but I can’t help but feel a trifle conflicted about the car. On the one hand I’m delighted that BMW is still prepared to put the effort into producing halo machines like this but I’m not quite sure that its execution is as good as it could have been.
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Charging ahead
Do you remember Flanders & Swann? They wrote and performed clever, comedic songs about life in the late 1950s. These musical period pieces have somehow transcended their era. Donald Swann played the piano and looked like a skinny academic. Michael Flanders, burly, bearded and wheelchair bound, had a rumbling voice and lethal comic timing.
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Electric vehicles are part of a wider system, and they will only deliver on climate change
Mass market electric cars have been with us for about a decade now, and for all of that time, the popular Fully Charged YouTube channel has been on hand to explain to anyone who is interested in the subject what’s going on.  The bigger pictureSince 2018, though, Fully Charged has not just been an online presence but a series of live events as well.
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