Skip to main content

Posts

Daimler Majestic Major

The Daimler Majestic Major may not appear to have much of the 'performance car' about it. But - at least by the standards of its day - it definitely did. Notwithstanding large dimensions - and a separate chassis - it could run with the best of them. And, it had manoeuvrability to match. Top whack was 122mph. Enough for it to glide with ease past many a sports car. Come the corners - and things were no different. Power steering saw to that. Key to the Majestic Major's speed was a 4.7-litre hemi-head V8. 0-60mph turned up in 9.7s. Impressive acceleration for a car of its bulk. Transmission was via a 3-speed auto.Few cars cruised the highways and byways of Britain like the Majestic Major. Of course - it being a Daimler - elegance came as standard. The cabin was all one would expect from a car of its pedigree. Leather pews - and a wooden dash - made it home from stately home. Seating arrangements were suitably spacious. The car's black hole of a boot could …
Recent posts

Renault Sport Spider

The Renault Sport Spider was focused. It was built with just two objectives - to go like stink in a straight line, and through corners with the minimum of fuss. Both of these it achieved. Top speed was 134mph. Roll was near to non-existent. A mere 1,740lb tried to rein in the Spider's free-revving spirit. Four cylinders were all that were needed to counteract that. Output was 150bhp. The Spider was unburdened, too, by the weight of expectation. Renault never intended that it sell by the shedload. Rather, it was an exercise in optimally combining power and aesthetics. Defiantly impractical, there was no way the Spider would ever reach a mass audience. With that in mind, the Renault Sport design team swung into action. Patrick Le Quément led the way. When the creative dust had settled, what emerged was automotive minimalism at another level. No roof, no windscreen, no side-windows. Exposure to the elements as an art form. There was, however, a wind-deflector - and a…

BMW M1

The BMW M1 was race-based to its core. It was conceived - by BMW Motorsport - as a response to the Porsche 935. The BMW CSL was now past its sell-by date - and struggling to compete with the Porsche. That was in the Group 5 Silhouette series. Lest race circuit woes impact on road-car sales, it was imperative that the shortfall be remedied asap. Enter the M1! And, its M88 straight-six motor. The M1 was the first roadster to be fitted with this race-bred powerplant. The cast-iron bottom-end was sourced from the BMW parts bin. In every other respect, it was state-of-the-art. The engine's 24-valve twin-cam head was chain-driven. The crankshaft was fashioned from forged-steel. The M88 had longer conrods - and a race-derived dry sump. It was fed by Kugelfischer-Bosch indirect injection. The net result was that the M1 sped to a top speed of 161mph. BMW were back on track!The reason the M1 so closely resembled its racing counterpart was Group 5 homologation. It required th…

Rover P5

The Rover P5 was transport par excellence. For years, it moved the great and the good. Government ministers - and top civil servants - parked themselves and their briefcases on its sumptuous seats. Security staff - at Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace - would have detected the purr of its engine a mile away. On grand occasions, then, the presence of a P5 or two was a given.The P5 was impeccably drafted by David Bache. Its exterior was the pinnacle in saloon car sophistication. Sober lines and hues exuded gravitas. The interior, too, bespoke quality. The materials used said it all. The P5's dash was fashioned from African cherry wood. Its carpet was Wilton. There was almost a glut of luxury leather ... but not quite, of course! The P5 was a baronial mansion on wheels. The pliancy of its ride mirrored the subtlety of its styling. That was largely because the Rover P4's separate chassis was now history. The P5 was so-named because it w…

Suzuki T20 Super Six

For Suzuki, bikes like the T20 Super Six were a long time in the making. Originally, silk was the route to success for the Japanese company. Specifically, silk looms. In 1909, Michio Suzuki founded a firm to produce said items. It was not until '54 that Suzuki became ... well, Suzuki! For, it was in that year that its first bike was built - the 90cc 'Colleda'. It was taken straight to the Mount Fuji hill-climb - where it saw off all-comers. Motorcycles were never the same again.Fast forward to '66. That was not only the year in which England won the World Cup ... but the one in which Suzuki served up the T20 Super Six. That was the bike which saw Suzuki go global. It was named the 'Super Six' after its 6-speed gearbox. But, the innovative engineering did not stop there. The bike's 2-stroke engine featured the 'Posi-Force' lubrication system. And, holding that engine securely in situ was Suzuki's first twin-cradle frame. That - as w…

Triumph Roadster

The Triumph Roadster was a direct challenge to the Jaguar SS100. In '44, Sir John Black - owner of Standard - took over Triumph. He was keen to throw down the gauntlet to Jaguar. Over the years, Black had sold many an engine, gearbox and chassis to the automotive giant. Indeed, having Standard as a supplier had played a rôle in Sir William Lyons building Jaguar into the marque that it became. So, there was more than a hint of table-turning when Black suggested to Lyons that he take over Jaguar - as well as Triumph! Lyons was having none of it. Black retreated to lick his wounds - and scour his Standard components catalogue. A vision of a new Triumph was taking shape in his mind.Standard knew their stuff. In the Second World War, they engineered aircraft. To power his new Triumph 'Roadster', Black co-opted the Standard 14 engine - along with its gearbox. It had already been modded - by Harry Weslake - using an overhead-valve configuration. Measuring 1,776cc, it…