Kim Henson and Nick Riley tell the story of Nick’s 1947 Morgan 4-4 and the fascinating history its bodywork was hiding. First, Kim sets the scene with a few words about the famous firm of Morgan and the revered models that the company produced in the early years (and of course the firm is still building its much-in-demand unique sports cars today, more than 110 years down the line). Morgan … [Read more...]
Our look in the rear view mirror at cars from the past
In this website we deliberately cover cars new and old. While it is true that modern motor cars are becoming ever more sophisticated (and complicated!), and to fulfill their daily transport needs most motorists tend to drive vehicles built relatively recently, equally there is growing respect for, and interest in, the crucially important ‘heritage’ models which represent stepping stones along the path of automotive progress.
If it wasn’t for the technical and styling innovations of the cars of the past that are now regarded as classics, we wouldn’t have been able to arrive at the models produced today.
There are classic models to suit all tastes, and there are many reasons for buying an old car, ranging from ‘sentimental’ nostalgic memories, to purely practical considerations.
While some old cars are little used these days (so in reality they are ‘toys’ brought out just for high days and holidays), it’s a fact that many classics are very easy to own and to operate, are inexpensive to run and are still capable of providing effective, enjoyable ‘real world’ transport in the 21st Century.
Ownership can provide fun in terms of the sheer enjoyment of driving an ‘oldie’ that is different, as well as a whole new social scene, for those who want it.
So whether you are already an enthusiast, or are contemplating taking the plunge, we hope that you will enjoy, and find useful, our features on cars from the past…These will grow in number and scope, as we progress.
Buy With Care
Each of our ‘Profile’ features concentrates on an individual classic car. In each case, if you are thinking of buying one but are unfamiliar with the model, it’s wise to take the advice of fellow owners (join the club(s) if it/they exist) or specialists for the vehicle, and if possible, when viewing vehicles for sale, take with you an independent third party.
While restoration can be rewarding and enjoyable if you are deliberately starting with a project vehicle, purchased for an appropriate price, you definitely don’t want to end up with a expensive ‘basket case’ that has been disguised to make it appear to be a sound example. This still happens today. Mistakes like this can await the unwary, and can cost huge amounts to put right.
In general, the structural condition of classic cars is far more important than their mechanical state. Proceed with caution, and view as many examples as you can, to get a feel for prices asked versus condition levels.
Don’t rush into a purchase; do your research and be patient. In this way you should be able to find the classic of your dreams, at a fair price.
Are you sitting comfortably? If so, then we’ll begin…
Elegant, competent and well-respected, Alvis 3 litre models are fine classics, as Dave Moss explains… The history of the Alvis company dates back to 1919, and the firm's models have long been loved by enthusiasts, with some of the 1930s designs being especially attractive; these cars are much sought-after today. The photographs below illustrate just how stylish these models … [Read more...]
After 117 years of automotive diversity, in our series looking at classic Vauxhalls we reach the company’s 12th decade as Britain’s oldest surviving car and commercial brand, representing the long and varied history of Britain’s car industry. Now part of Groupe PSA, Vauxhall continues to manufacturer cars and vans in the UK, and the company says that it will be at the forefront of the electric … [Read more...]
In this 11th feature in a series looking at a selection of important Vauxhall models since 1903, we reach the 21st Century, and see a concerted effort by the company to return to its sporting roots with the launch of the VXR brand. The first model off the start line? The VXR220. (All information and photographs from Vauxhall.) VAUXHALL VXR220 It’s not often that one of Vauxhall's press … [Read more...]
Mini Clubman and 1275GT history and development… …Dave Moss describes what happened. In the mid 1960s, agonising began at BMC over how best to update or replace the Mini, which was turning into one of its most successful cars. The decision was ultimately overtaken by the mergers which first created British Motor Holdings and then the British Leyland Motor Corporation – bringing all the BMC … [Read more...]
Few cars have created so much controversy as Vauxhall’s 10th model in this series looking at significant vehicles from the company, through the decades... The Lotus Carlton – celebrating its 30th anniversary this year – was a gift from heaven for the tabloids’ headline writers, and even prompted debate in the Commons. But beyond the press furore was a car with impeccable credentials – and one … [Read more...]
In this series about important Vauxhall models through the decades, this time we are looking at the company's first official hot-hatch, the Astra Mk1 GTE, which spawned an almost continuous line of fast Astras, ending with the last-generation, 280 hp VXR. VAUXHALL ASTRA GTE MK. 1 The Astra GTE Mk. 1 marked Vauxhall’s first foray in to the relatively new ‘hot hatch’ segment, which had … [Read more...]
Transporting through time... or a transporter of delight – by Dave Moss. In this feature Dave describes the history and development of the VW Transporter, and looks at contemporary competitor vehicles... (Photographs from VW, also Audi – DKW images, and as individually credited). Europe has produced some much loved, long lived, and high volume cars in over a century of existence, but very … [Read more...]
In this eighth article in our series of significant Vauxhall models to appear since the company's arrival in the early years of the last century, we focus on the short-lived, but utterly memorable Firenza HP ‘Droopsnoot’ of the 1970s. (All information and photographs from Vauxhall). A ground-breaker for Vauxhall in so many ways, this car became the flag-bearer for the company’s motorsport … [Read more...]
Mazda is celebrating its centenary, and six decades of innovative and stylish two door coupé models... (All information and photographs courtesy of Mazda). Mazda’s first car: the R360 was a stylish micro coupé launched in 1960 for Japan’s Kei car segment. Launched in 1967, the Mazda Cosmo was a ground-breaking performance coupé for Mazda. Today the style of concepts like … [Read more...]
Tribute to Sir Stirling Moss (1929-2020)... (All information and photographs courtesy of Suzuki). 2020 is Suzuki’s 100th Anniversary with Michio Suzuki having first started in business in March 1920 with the manufacture of textile looms. These became more advanced and very popular right through to the early 1950’s when there was a global decline in the Cotton industry. Initial development … [Read more...]
In this sixth article looking back at milestone models through the decades of Vauxhall’s history, the Luton-based company recognises not only the heavy design influence from their then US parent, but also the growing importance of Bedford – Vauxhall’s commercial vehicle division – to the business. So, we have two vehicles for your delectation today: The PA Velox/Cresta, and the Bedford CA panel … [Read more...]
In feature No. 5 in a series looking at significant Vauxhall vehicles through the decades, this week we show how, when faced with a national crisis – and in this case, the Second World War – the company could turn its hand to manufacturing almost anything. Even a tank… (All information and photographs from Vauxhall). VAUXHALL’S A22 INFANTRY ‘CHURCHILL’ TANK Today, we see how engineering … [Read more...]
Are you interested in, or do you own… any of the Austin models built between 1939 and 1954 (and some commercial versions were produced until 1957)? If the answer is yes, it would be a good move to contact and join this club… With regard to this series of articles, Kim Henson says… “Over time Wheels-Alive will be looking at the many enthusiastic organisations that exist to help their members to … [Read more...]
In feature No. 4 in a series covering significant Vauxhall models through the decades, we take a look at an innovative and ahead-of-its-time family saloon from 1937, the H-Type Ten-Four... (All information and photographs from Vauxhall). VAUXHALL H-TYPE TEN-FOUR In 1937, Vauxhall’s H-type ‘Ten-Four’ model turned the booming 10 hp (RAC rating) market on its head. It was … [Read more...]
Book Review – Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé – The Autobiography of CSX 2300 …Reviewed by Kieron Fennelly. Title: Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé Author: Rinsey Mills Published by: Porter Press International Ltd. www.porterpress.com 336 pages; hardback Price: £60.00 ISBN: 978-1-907085-42-0 This is a mighty tome, entirely appropriate though for what was a mighty if … [Read more...]
In article No. 3 in a series looking at significant Vauxhall models through the decades, we highlight Britain’s very first catalogued 100 mph car, the iconic Vauxhall 30-98. (All information and photographs from Vauxhall). VAUXHALL 30-98 Built in series from 1919 to 1927, the 30-98 was, in its day, the fastest catalogued production car in Great Britain, with a … [Read more...]
In our second article in a series looking at Vauxhall models through the decades, we are looking at the amazing-for-its-time C-10 three litre 'Prince Henry' sports model, which arrived in 1910. All information and photographs from Vauxhall, plus, for a little context, here’s a link to a lovely Vauxhall film made around 20 years ago which shows the sheer breadth of Vauxhall’s heritage … [Read more...]
In this first article in a series looking at Vauxhall models through the years, we are shining the spotlight on a milestone model for the Luton-based company, from 117 years ago – the 5 hp 'Light Car'... (All information and photographs from Vauxhall). Built from 1903, Vauxhall’s first year of car production, and known as the ‘Light Car’, the model featured a slow-revving, … [Read more...]
MG F - 25 years is a long time - by Dave Moss, who tells the fascinating story of this model (and the TF)... The MG F, which passed the 25th anniversary of its Geneva Show announcement on March 7th 2020, was a remarkable car. Developed to capitalise on a long and formidably successful heritage defined by its world famous (and subtly reworked) octagon badge, it has left a fitting and indelible … [Read more...]