The Africar was the idea of Tony Howarth, an English journalist and photographer who spent much of the 1970s in Africa. He disliked the developed world's policy of selling vehicles to developing nations which were unsuitable for the conditions, and the fact that the cars disintegrated long before the bills were paid. And so the(...)


As far as automotive ideas go, the Amphicar never really held water, even if it could float on it. However, this unusual amphibian somehow made it into production and actually managed to attract a small knot of nautically minded buyers. These hardy souls thought nothing of venturing off terra firma in search of oddball adventure, even(...)

Austin Princess (Vanden Plas)

As the 1970s dawned, Austin decided that they would produce a Glam car for discerning middle class suburban swingers using a name which had earned prestige in the 1960s when the company had used a Rolls Royce engine for a limited edition Princess Vanden Plas (pronounced "Vanden plah"). The Glam version of the Princess had(...)

Bond Bug

Reliant commissioned Ogle (their design consultants) to produce a sports 3-wheeler for the "young generation". This was to be sold under the Bond name as the "Bond Bug". Introduced in June 1970, the early Bond Bugs were manufactured at the Bond factory in Preston but shortly afterwards when the factory closed, Bug production was moved over(...)

Bubble Cars

In 1958, Messerschmitt launched their TG500 - a four-wheeler where the driver sat alone in the front, with one or two passengers behind. The car returned 52 mpg and was incredibly stable. The TG500 retailed for £654, including tax). Meanwhile, the familiar Isetta came in several models, from a 300cc built in Brighton (£350) to a four-seat 600cc made(...)

Cars in the 1950s

The 1950's were the golden age of the American automobile: GM, Ford and Chrysler were topping the market, but smaller manufacturers like Hudson, Packard and Studebaker were developing as strong contenders. While hardly the worst car ever, Ford's 1957 Edsel was widely condemned. The car's over-the-top advance hype, questionable ornamentation - the new-fangled radiator grille (pictured at(...)

Cars in the 1960s

During the 1960s, motoring took on a new outlook as the Freeway system (in the US) and the Motorway system (in the UK) spread. In Britain, this had begun in 1958 with an eight-mile Preston by-pass, and then the first section of the M1 in late 1959. By 1969, 622 miles of motorway had been(...)

Cars in the 1970s

As the glam decade dawned, America experienced its worst recession in years and Detroit became increasingly concerned with the growing popularity of imported cars. AMC responded to the situation with the Gremlin, a tiny two-door hatchback with a base price starting below $2,000. Available in various unpleasant earth tones, the Gremlin (pictured below) was one of the quintessentially(...)

Cars in the 1980s

On 31 December 1980 Japan was declared the world's biggest car maker. That year the Japanese produced 12.7 million vehicles out of a world total of 48 million, knocking US car manufacturers into second place. In addition, one in four cars sold in the USA was Japanese. The US car industry was in serious trouble.(...)

Cars in the 1990s

With sales of new cars down in 1990 by over 5%, the time seemed totally wrong for General Motors to introduce Saturn, its first new brand name in over 60 years. Saturn wasn't just another American car though; designed specifically to lure younger buyers back from Honda, Toyota and other Japanese brands, Saturn combined the quality(...)


The first supersonic airliner Concorde began transatlantic flights from London to New York on 24 May 1976. The new aircraft reduced the flight time to three and a half hours, having a maximum speed of 2.2 times the speed of sound, a cruising speed of 1,350 miles per hour (2,160 kilometres per hour), and a(...)

Cost of New Holden Cars (Australia)

1961 EK $2212 1962 EJ $2102 1963 EH $2102 1965 HD $2320 1966 HR $2167 1968 HK $2215 1969 HT $2326 1970 HG $2394 1971 HQ $2730 1974 HJ $3594 1976 HX $5186 1977 HZ $6377 1978 VB Commodore $6513 1980 VC Commodore $7903 1981 VH Commodore $8366 1984 VK Commodore $11,152 1986 VL Commodore(...)

Custom Vans

Whether you were travelling in the Mystery Machine with Scooby Doo and crew, or just pulling bongs in the back of a Dodge Econoline airbrushed with a scene from Norse mythology, the customised van was like a clubhouse on wheels for the groovy youngsters of the seventies. A Top Five hit, Sammy Johns' Chevy Van perfectly encapsulated(...)

E-Type Jaguar

The E-Type Jaguar encapsulated the needs of the male driver in 1961 – a streamlined body with the fastest speed of any production car – up to 150 mph. The car caused a stir when it was unveiled at the Geneva car show on 15 March 1961. The audience were stunned at the £2,196 price(...)


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