From the time of creation of auto-mobiles, there had been consecutive effort to invent new designs and technologies. This led to many events resulting in important chapters of the history of the automobile industry by launching new cars even in India.

Here are some of such car facts which comprises of discoveries, creative designs and technologies which became stepping stones in the making of today's cars. In the year 1782, the first engine crank was built. The credit of this revolutionary invention goes to James Watt whose improvements in the steam engine where fundamental to the changes brought by Industrial revolution in the Great Britain and the rest of the world. The first toll roads in U.S where opened in Pennsylvania and Connecticut in the year 1792.

This introduced quality high speed roads to existence. Other major outbreaks which created a sensation in the auto mobile engines was of the spark plug and internal combustion engines. Jean Joseph Lenoir invented a two stroke internal combustion engine fuelled by coal gas and triggered by an electric spark-ignition n 1858. Modern tyres are derived from the invention by Charles Goodyear, the vulcanized rubber in 1844. In 1895, Andre Michelin designed and fitted the first air filled tire to the motor car.

Retro Planet offers a great selection of home decor and gift items for all motorcycle enthusiasts.  Avid riders will appreciate our metal signs, gifts and other motorcycle themed decor and giftware.

Welcome to Pastreunited, here you will find hundreds of videos, images, and over 80 pages about all aspects of the 20th century. A great deal of the content has been sent in, other content is the work of numerous writers who have a passion for this era, please feel free to send in your memories or that of your family members, photos and videos are all welcome to help expand pastreunited's data base.

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The Harley Sportster is considered by many to be America's first Muscle-bike. Light and fast the Sportster was America's answer to the narrow and lithe British sports bikes of the time. Available now as Sportster 1200 and Sportster 883 rubber mounted models, the Harley Sporster was launched in 1957 as the replacement for Harley K flat-head motorcycle.

The 1957 Harley Sportster featured a solid mount 55 cubic inch Iron-head engine. Hang onto your hats; we're going for a ride. The Super bike sector which was created during the seventies, would allow mere mortals such as you and I to ride something akin to the machines that our heroes use on the track.

Of course we all ride sensibly, but to have that spare capacity in hand is something wonderful. Nobody's had this much power between their legs since Marilyn Monroe died. You can make up your own mind.

Vintage cars

Ask motorcyclists why they love to ride two wheelers, and they often wax poetic. One 63-year-old rhapsodized after a first ride: “It was a life-altering experience. For the first time in my life, I felt connected to the Universe, the wind, the trees, the mountains, even the rocks. … I felt consumed with and happily lost in this place of wild, wild winds and peace, and I will do anything to get there again.” When you ride a motorcycle, notes a Motorcycle Industry Council booklet, “suddenly, even the long way home isn’t long enough.” But there is also a practical side to these vehicles.

Versatile and highly maneuverable, motorcycles have been reliable workhorses for police departments and the military, and they continue to provide an inexpensive alternative to cars. Still, for many of the owners of the eight million motorcycles in the United States, two-wheelers represent recreation and a way of life rather than basic transportation. There is a motorcycle to suit any rider’s interest, whether it be racing, exploring off-road terrain, or simply cruising on back roads. Through hundreds of clubs and organizations, motorcycles bring together riders of like-minded interests, professions, religions, and ethnicities.

Many ride not just for fun, but also to support charities that benefit groups ranging from autistic children to wounded veterans. History of Motorcycles As the 19th century drew to a close, numerous inventors were trying to design new gasoline-powered vehicles, both four-wheeled and two-wheeled. One of the most successful was Charles Metz, who founded a company in Waltham, Massachusetts, to manufacture racing bicycles. According to some accounts, Metz attached an internal combustion engine to a bicycle to create a pace bike with which to train his racing team. His innovation led to the first mass-production motorcycle, known as the Orient-Aster. Metz introduced the motorbike in Boston in 1900 at the first recorded motorcycle race in the United States.

The Orient completed a five-mile course in only seven minutes. The next few years saw the establishment of two brands that would dominate the U.S. motorcycle market for half a century. The Indian Motorcycle Company, created in 1901, was for several decades the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. Although the original company went out of business in 1953, other companies are still attempting to resurrect the Indian brand. Indian’s rival, Harley-Davidson, founded in 1903, has experienced far greater success and now ranks as the iconic name in American-made motorcycles.

It didn’t take long for the versatile vehicles to catch the attention of the military and law enforcement. During World War I, before the era of radio communications, couriers delivered vital messages by motorcycle. In both world wars, the vehicles’ speed and maneuverability made them naturals for scouting and reconnaissance missions. And on the home front, police departments began to rely on motorcycles to navigate city traffic.

The Lincoln K-Series V12

The Lincoln K-Series V12, often referred to simply as "Ford's K Series", were a line of high end luxury cars built by Lincoln Division of the Ford Motor Company during the economic depression of the 1930's. Specifically Lincoln K-Series vehicles were built between 1932 & 1939. It was a case of an ultra-deluxe premium product being delivered and marketing to the automotive market at the wrong time.

Perhaps it could be said that there are "always people with money" and its important to have a flagship for your brand - in this case the competition was against the V12 Cadillac road cars - yet still Ford and its Lincoln division struggled valiantly to keep the sales price under the $ 4,000 mark. The history of the Lincoln K-Series V12 model line goes as such. Mr. Henry Leland had resigned from Cadillac in 1917, just after WW1 ended, and evolved a new car for 1921 which he branded and named "Lincoln". Lincoln was not a part of the Ford empire yet - it was its own entity. This time period in terms of the automotive industry in the US and worldwide was one of "consolidation" where smaller more entrepreneurial auto making firms where gobbled up by larger concerns with more financial, marketing and sales resources.

Lincoln was one such entity being acquired by Ford in 1922. Mr. Henry Ford himself was happy to let the Lincoln division of his company to carry on making small numbers of exclusive for over ten years before the first "Ford-Lincoln" (the Zephyr) was designed. The new management carried on building "Lincoln V8s" for ten years, but in 1932 they announced the splendid and rather exclusive K-Series cars one of which, (specifically the KB model), was given a V12 engine of 7.3 liters.

These cars were beautifully made and were downright impressive rather than just attractive to look at and admire as fixtures of the road. Their quantity-production precision engineering was obvious, but they were simply just one of seven "V12's" on the US auto market in 1932. Hence sales figures were low. Just over 2,000 were sold in the 1933 automotive marketing and sales year. Even though the KA, which had been V8 powered, acquired a smaller edition 6.2 liter V12 in 1933, it alone had a retail sticker price of $ 2,700, which thus put it into the luxury end of the auto market out of reach of what was then considered "rich" ( but impoverished) Americans.

Even so there was much interest in the technical details overall. The chassis and suspension were entirely conventional, but the engine was a mixture of both old and new. Among its technical details were a 65-degree angle between banks (60 degrees was then the norm and would of given perfect balance), side valves and detachable cylinder blocks on a light-alloy crankcase. There was synchromesh in the gearbox (all America was following GM's 1928 example), and a free-wheel feature into the set up.

Surprisingly brakes were mechanically operated, but they had a vacuum "servo" to assist the driver or chauffeur. A new model Lincoln was announced in 1934 to replace the original KAs and KBs; this had a slightly smaller engine of 6.8 liters (414 cubic inches), aluminium cylinder heads and a maximum top speed of 100 miles per hour mph. There was yet important restyling a year of two later down the road. Yet sales continued to decline and grind down with the last of the K-Series Lincoln V12s being built and rolling out of Ford-Lincoln production facilities in 1939. Yet the Lincoln name and exclusive marquee had been established by this product.

The Ford designed Lincoln-Zephyr, which carried this prestige brand name which both, was an ultra fast vehicle and filled a lower auto market price niche hit the roads. It began to sell as if were the Ford Mustang of its time. Hence although the Ford-Lincoln K-Series V12 was a case of a magnificent product which emerged against staunch competition and a higher price than most potential customers in its market arena could afford. Yet the Ford-Lincoln K12 V12's set the stage for the foundation and success of the Lincoln division of the giant Ford Motor Company - which served as Ford's high end prestige premium faceplate.

Morris E. Brown

Stock car racing 1960s

Automakers soon discovered that winning stock car races on Sunday brought more customers into the showroom on Monday morning. To qualify their high-performance parts as “stock” equipment, the car builders had to sell a certain number of the parts to customers. Since this was taking place shortly after Cornell University’s famous study on auto safety, a combination of factors was raising eyebrows.

These factors included an increase in highway fatalities, some headline-making auto-racing accidents and heavy promotion of speed and performance. Things were almost getting out of hand—or at least the government thought so.

There was talk in Washington of stuffing safety regulations and advertising bans down Detroit’s throat. To prevent such offi cial action, the Automobile Manufacturer’s Association got the automakers to sign on to a self-imposed ban on the advertising of high performance and racing involvement. All factory support of NASCAR teams and drag racers was supposed to stop.

From that point on, factory backing of motorsports was strictly an “underthe table” effort for the next several years. Since racing wins still sold cars, some automakers continued to funnel speed equipment to enthusiasts, but the really hot hardware was available only through the parts department—not in the cars that sat in the showroom. Things continued this way for about four years. Big V-8s and multi-carb setups were available, but only in larger, heavier cars. These cars were powerful and, with some tweaking, did well in drag racing at that time.

However, in strictly stock form, they were best suited for blasting down the new superhighways, rather than covering the quarter-mile. Some interesting developments took place at the same time. For instance, soon to be “trademark” muscle car features like bucket seats, four-speed gearboxes and floor shifters (which actually reflected the ’50s interest in foreign sports cars) became available in sporty domestic models.

The four-seat Thunderbird even had bucket seats and a center console as standard equipment. This was a clear sign that the muscle car image was starting to shape itself between ’58 and ’61. By 1959, Pontiac had designed its famous “8-lugs,” one of the first styled rims.

Chevy Impala

The mid-’61 release of the Super Sport package for the Chevy Impala was another muscle car milestone. The term Super Sport came from racing and the dealer-installed kit included heavy-duty underpinnings, SS emblems, special tires, “spinner” wheel covers, sintered metallic brakes and a tach. Though available on any Impala, the trick setup at the time was to put it on a car with Chevy’s 409 big-block V-8. In stock form, with a single four-barrel carb, this motor delivered up 360 hp.

With bolt-on items, that could be raised to about 1 horse per cube. By this time, Detroit was off to the races again and the AMA ban was history. The big Cadillacs and Lincolns that formerly led the cubic-inch race were no longer players. Chevy, Ford, Pontiac, Plymouth, and Dodge were the forces to be reckoned with and it wouldn’t be long before Buick, Mercury, and Oldsmobile got sucked into the highperformance whirlpool.

Chrysler continued to offer the Letter Car for a few years and the Thunderbird managed to blend performance with luxury in a related-but-different market niche. The high-performance cars of ’62-’63 were mainly large machines with even larger engines: 409 Chevys, 421 Super-Duty Pontiacs, 426 Max Wedge Dodges and Plymouths, and Ford Galaxie 427s.

The Z11 Chevys and monster Mopars tended to be Plain-Janes with bench seats and bottle cap hubcaps, big-block V-8s, and very business-like stick shifters. The Pontiacs and Fords looked more like street cars, but with hood scoops and wheels that hinted at their special nature. These cars certainly had lots of muscle, but Detroit hadn’t quite gotten around to packaging it up in factory hot rod style.

As the pace of the racing picked up, it didn’t take a genius to realize that small cars with big engines would go faster that big cars with the same engine. By ’63-’64, Pontiac was stuffi ng Super-Duty “mills” into Tempests and Tempest Safaris (converted to reardrive of course), and Ford countered with its legendary 427-powered Fairlane-bodied T-Bolts.

Chrysler had the Dodge Dart to stuff full of wedge and Hemi motors. Burning rubber was becoming the national pastime and it was ’57 all over again—but better! Then came the “Goat” … the Gran Turismo Olomogato … the GeeTo … the Tiger. This one snuck out of the factory to make waves on Woodward Avenue.

Endura-nosed GTO

The GTO wasn’t exactly an engine option. It was like the original Super Sport package, except with the engine added in. The GM brass didn’t notice this mid-season sleight of hand and the GTO took off, carving out a new market category called muscle car. Like we said, it was not just an engine, it was an American sports car with buckets, badges, bolt-ons, and a V-8 that packed much more power than a midsized car needed for grocery getting. With sales around 32,000 cars for a half of a year, the GTO lit the fuse for a dynamite new era in American motoring.

Timing was part of the GTO’s success, since about the time the car came out, GM ordered all of its divisions to get out of racing again. While GM was bowing out of NASCAR, Ford was pushing its “Total Performance” program and very happy to take up the slack. Mopar had its “Race Hemi” engine all set to dominate the fi eld, which it did until it was fi nally outlawed.

As in the past, all the hardware had to be “legalized” for competition by selling a certain number of cars with the same parts to John Q. Both Ford and Chrysler began to follow the GTO path, creating muscle cars to put the special equipment in. What followed was a glorious ’65-’66 period in which one manufacturer after another tried to outdo each other while playing GTO copycat.

Chevy created cars like the SS 396 Chevelle and the Nova SS, not to mention awesome big-block versions of the Corvette. Dodge kicked things off with the hot Coronet and the beautiful Charger fastback and soon made such cars available with a “Street Hemi.” Ford’s Fairlane became its GTO fi ghter with up to 7 liters of V-8 underhood. Hot Mustangs started a new niche for muscle pony cars. (Carroll Shelby stepped in to heat up the Mustang even more than the factorydared.)

Mercury shoehorned big engines into its Comet and had a very serious factorybacked drag racing team. Plymouth turned to its Belvedere intermediate to create models like the GTX and Satellite that offered big blocks up to the Hemi. The car wars weren’t just corporate battles, either. Buick and Oldsmobile, which were once regarded as hotter rides than a Pontiac, found themselves losing sales to their cousin, which had managed to nail down third place on the sales chart.

Both came up with neat answers to the problem. The Skylark-based Buick GS was a more glittery muscle car with a few more cubic inches, while the Oldsmobile 4-4-2 (the model name meant different things at different times) was simply one of the best muscle cars to be had anywhere. From mid-’64 until ’66, Ford had one muscle-related market niche pretty much all to itself, but by ’67 other automakers had their pony cars ready to go. Chevy launched the Camaro, Pontiac followed with the Firebird, and Mercury cloned the Cougar. Plymouth’s Barracuda had appeared at the same time the Mustang did, but never quite made it big in its “big window” format.

It raced successfully, but just never sold well until later. As the new “ponies” hit the showrooms, they were merchandised over a wide market spectrum and each brand had a heated-up version to compete with the sizzling Mustang GT. During ’67-’68, these smaller new high-performance models stole the spotlight, since they offered the same engines used in mid sized muscle cars in a smaller, lighter-weight package. The Camaro SS 396, Mustang SCJ 428, and Formula 400 Firebird were wild and wooly street racers. In the ’68-’69 period, two new trends evolved in the muscle market, as engines and options continued to grown hairier thanks to intense competition.

Some mid-sized supercars like the Endura-nosed GTO and the fastback Ford Torino began to look more like their pony car counterparts. Plymouth introduced the bargain-basement Road Runner, which soon inspired cars like the Dodge Super Bee, GTO Judge, and Ford Falcon-Torino. Engines continued to grow larger, with many now over 400 cubes and, while fuel injection and multi carburetion began to disappear from GM models, new ramair- induction systems were devised to keep up the power level. During these years, the auto industry experienced the fi rst direct government intervention, with seat belts required by some states in the ’61-’63 period.

 Motorcycle gangs 1960

Although most motorcyclists are safe and law-abiding, the stereotype of the reckless drifter on two wheels has thrived in modern pop culture. Maybe this is why motorcyclists tend to band together. Motorcycle owners also tend to be extremely loyal, both to the lifestyle itself and to the brand of motorcycle they ride. Nowhere is this more evident than with motorcycle gangs. Motorcycle gangs first became popular after World War II, when they emerged as a symbol of youthful rebellion.

Some of the best-known gangs, such as the Cafe racers of the 1950s and the Mods and Rockers of the 1960s, formed in England. But the Hells Angels is the gang that most people think of when they think "biker gang." The Hells Angels began in California in 1948, but it wasn't until Hollywood glamorized the gang lifestyle in two seminal movies -- "The Wild Ones" in 1954 and "Easy Rider" in 1969 -- that mainstream America took notice.

By the 1970s, nearly 900 outlaw biker gangs operated inside the United States. Today, gangs are highly sophisticated and highly organized. Members of biker gangs often advertise their affiliation by wearing gang colors, gang tattoos or articles of clothing with gang insignia. They often ride Harley-Davidsons and may or may not be involved in illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, prostitution or money laundering. Hells Angels have more than 3,000 members, with 228 chapters in 25 countries.

Vintage cars

Motor-assisted bicycles already existed by the turn of the 19th century, almost certainly as a result of early cyclists’ unwillingness to overexert themselves; in this they were aided and abetted by enthusiastic engineers whose fascination with the internal combustion engine led them up many new avenues.

In the case of powered bicycles, it was the quest for more speed than was possible from human legs that excited these men. Gottleib Daimler built a prototype motor cycle in 1885; by 1890 Messrs Hildebrand & Wolfmuller from Munich were offering the first series-produced machine to an eager public.

Cycling began originally as something of a fashionable occupation amongst the monied classes; few others were able to afford or could see the use of such a device. Many early purchasers had not indulged in much physical effort (except for riding a horse) before needing to disport themselves on the latest fad in order to keep up appearances with their peers.

Fatter, unfit and wealthier cyclists of the day probably mulled over the prospects offered by Nikolaus August Otto's four-stroke internal combustion engine as a possible source of motive power to assist or even supplant pedal-power. Unfortunately, Mr Otto’s internal combustion engine at that time was less than reliable or controllable.

It weighed a lot, vibrated uncomfortably, had injurious rotating parts as well as becoming very hot and was in the habit of spraying the surroundings with oil, fuel and unpleasant gaseous emanations. An early motor cycle was a fearsome device, the courageous rider was in intimate physical contact with all the above and, more often than not, likely to be maimed by his mount without warning.

At the turn of the century, restrictive Victorian ideas prevailed and women were viewed as too timid and fragile to deal with public affairs, participate in strenuous activity, or operate complex . These same arguments were used to deny women a higher education and the right to vote.

However, some bold and courageous women refused to fit into the mold that society dictated for them. For other women, the automobile provided opportunities for work, inventions, and independence. Here are a few examples of women who made automotive history – and possibly steered the course for who we are today: 1902 Mary Anderson invented the first windshield wiper after riding a New York City Street car. Before that, people smeared a mixture of onions and carrots on windshields to repel water.

June 6, 1909 Mrs. Alice H. Ramsey was 22 years old when she boarded a 30 HP Maxwell and began a 3,800 mile trip from New York to San Francisco, making her the first woman in history to cross the United States in an automobile. Her husband, a New Jersey congressman, never learned to drive but regularly purchased new Maxwells for Alice.

He is quoted as saying “Alice, how the heck do you stop this thing!” The museum has a 1910 red Maxwell on display similar to the one Alice owned. By 1910, 5% of licensed drivers were woman. The 1912 invention of Charles Kettering's self-starter did away with the necessity of crank starting a car. This arduous and often dangerous task had deterred many women (and no doubt, numerous men) from driving.

Actress Florence Lawrence invented the first turn signal or "auto signaling arm" which attached to the car’s rear fender. She is quoted as saying "A car to me is something that is almost human, something that responds to kindness, understanding and care, just as people do."

Her prowess behind the wheel is evident in many of her silent movies, which helped to encourage women drivers. The women’s fight for suffrage and the right to vote took a new tactic with a series of auto tours which criss-crossed the nation with their message. Women rented automobiles much like the ones on display at the Museum. They draped the cars with large banners and made speeches from the roomy back seats, with the tops down.

The spectacle attracted large groups of men. In 1916 Alice Burke and Nell Richardson traveled for seven months and 10,700 miles carrying the women’s suffrage and right to vote message and demonstrating women’s equality at the wheel. Several early open cars on display are typical of the type these women would have driven, or toured with a hired chauffer.

1914 (early WWI) Women began driving for the French and British branches of the Red Cross. American women, including famous art patron Gertrude Stein, were recruited to drive for them. Overseas drivers had to furnish their own cars and were also expected to maintain them, including making minor repairs. Ms. Stein sent to her aunt in New York to "ship a Model T.

In 1915 Wilma Russey became the first woman to work as a taxi driver in New York and was an expert garage mechanic. 1916 The Girl Scouts initiated a "Automobling Badge" for which girls had to demonstrate driving skill, auto mechanics, and first aid skills. In the 1920s women educated in home economics criss-crossed the country visiting women on farms and giving home canning demonstrations. For the isolated farm women, these visits were referred to as "a little bit of heaven come down in a Tin Lizzie." (Ford Model T).

In 1922 Henry Ford opened his Phoenix Factory employing women to do assembly and welding work. Workers at this plant were either single or widowed, as Mr. Ford did not approve of married women working outside the home. He said "I consider women only a temporary factor in industry. Their real job in life is to get married, have a home and raise a family.

I pay our women the same as men so they can dress attractively and get married." Beginning in the 1920’s and 1930’s many major automobile manufacturers recognized the growing trend of women driving for fun and necessity. They began to gear their print ad campaigns to women, hire women in design and sales positions, and recognize women in many other ways. Color options, vanity cases, plush upholstery, decorative door handles, and even interior mounted sterling silver bud vases! Interpretive visual labels also reinforce this story.

Ford model T car

During World War II, American auto manufacturers stopped making cars and converted their assembly lines and factories over to war production. The supply of new automobiles dried up. After the war, reverting to peacetime production took a while: American factories produced fewer cars in 1945 (dealers sold just under 70,000 cars) than they had in 1909, before the advent of mass production.

The prevailing motto of the day was "Do the job he left behind" as women pumped gas and did other jobs traditionally done by men. Cars have been a part of American life since circa 1914 because of one man; Henry Ford. He revolutionized the production process of motor vehicles that was created by Ransom Olds, the owner of the Oldsmobile factory, which was debuted in 1902.

The Ford production line was the predecessor to all other large-scale production lines that shell out different products such as airplanes, ships, trains and all types of electronics. The Ford assembly line was so successful that it produced vehicles at a record pace; one car came off of the line every 15 minutes.

This is in 1914, when developments in technology were still being discovered and tested across not only the United States however also the world. The only thing that was holding Ford back in production was waiting for the variety or diversity of colors to dry. So, he noticed that the black paint they were using dried quicker than the variety or diversity of other colours.

Ford made an executive decision to use only black paint from that moment forward, hence the reason why all of the vehicles in the country at the onset of vehicular travel were black in colour. Ford's first car was the Model T and it cost an assembly line worker only four months of pay to purchase the vehicle in 1914. Ford also instituted ground breaking safety features and ground breaking management strategies.

Ford assigned each assembly line worker to a specific position so there would be less wandering throughout the line which would result in fewer injuries to his workers. If he had as many healthy workers as possible then the production work would be completed faster and faster.

Early Landrover

The history of Land Rover goes back to 1860 and it was initiated by J.K Starley. Mr. Starley set up his business of manufacturing sewing machines in Coventry which is a city in West Midlands, in England. Starley founded a comapny 'Starley and Sutton Company' with William Sutton. In 1884, he expanded his business by introducing safety cycles followed by 'Rover Safety Cycles' and soon established 'Rover Cycle Company Limited'. By then 'Rover' (which means a bike in polish) was an established brand name. Starley died in 1901; he is still known as the inventor of the modern bicycle. Starley was succeeded by Harry Smyth and in 1904, Rover started to build his first car.

In 1906, 'Rover Cycle Company Limited' was changed to 'Rover Company Limited' and it started to specialize in manufacturing cars. Rover had built a good name for itself and was growing successfully until it was struck with the depression of 1930s. Rover suffered a lot during this phase; it was struggling to survive. This struggle lasted until Spencer Wilks became the Managing director in 1933.

Wilks specialized the production of cars to prestige cars and he introduced various modern operations and management systems and made the business process efficient. Most of the best Land Rover models were and still are its SUV's. After the World War II, Rover had created a good name and a market for itself in the local regions but it had not had the exposure to exports.

They realized that now they can't get enough steel sheets to keep their production going. Using the abundant aircraft aluminium left after the world war II, Maurice and Spencer designed the Land Rover in 1947, inspired from the 'Willys Jeep' used in the World War II. The Unique selling price of the Land Rover was that it was constructed from 'Brimabright aluminum' and 'magnesium proprietary alloy', which was lightweight rust-proof. This solved their problem of export efficiency and scarcity of steel.

All the early versions of the Land Rover had a centrally-mounted steering wheel and had a steel box section chassis. This was basically to save coats involved in making left-hand and right-hand drives for export. This marks the birth of the Land Rover.

Series II, Landrover 1958-1961

Series II, 1958-1961 In 1958, the centrally mounted steering wheels were scrapped and changes were made in the old design and new engineering refinements were adapted. It was now larger in structure, had a more powerful engine, longer wheelbase, improved stability, and a more responsive ride because of the tighter turning radius. It was now, that Land Rover emerged as a strong contender in the 4-wheeler market. Features Size: 88 inches and 109 inches Petrol Engine: 2.25 liter 10 Seater Layout + 12 seater option on the top. Category: Minibus. Series II A, 1962-1970

There were minor changes in the series II and Series II A. Body configuration were now made available from the factory. Land Rover had started to sell about 60,000 pieces a year. Features 2.25 liter Diesel Engine 2.6 Liter Straight Six Petrol Engine Standard-fit Serve-assisted brakes Series II A FC, 1962 In 1962, Series II A Forward Control was launched. It was based on the Series II A structure but this time the cab was positioned over the engine to give a better load space. Features Tires: 900x16 Deep Dish Wheel rims Series II B FC, 1966 In 1966, Series II B Forward Control was launched.

It was again similar to the Series II A FC, but this one had an added 2.25lt diesel engine. The production of this vehicle ended in 1974. Features Heavy Duty Wide-track Axles Front Anti-roll Bar Revised rear springs above the axle 110 inch wheelbase Series III, 1971-1985 Series III's body and engine were same as the II A's.

The headlights were shifted to the wings. The metal grille was replaced with the plastic ones. The engine compression was increased from 7:1 to 8:1. It was the first model to have featured the synchromesh on all four gears. The instrument cluster was shifted to the driver's side and five-bearing crankshafts were added to the engines.

Two Stroke engine

Unlike a piston valve system on the 2-stroke engine, where the opening and closing of the intake port depends on the movement of the piston, the rotary disc valve system employs a disc shaped rotary valve to control the intake timing. This system is still used today on high performance racers and a number of small sized utility models.The Yamaha 125YA-5 became the first production model in the world to feature a rotary disc valve system, which until that time had only been used on factory racers.

The rotary disc valve system differs from a standard piston valve system in that the intake port is positioned not on the cylinder wall but rather on the crankcase side. A disc plate (rotary valve) which rotates as one part of the crank, opens and closes the passage to the cylinder to control the intake timing. In brief, the rotary valve rotates with the crankshaft, thus opening and closing the intake port; the intake stroke takes place when the cutaway part of the disc passes through the intake port.

In addition, one more transfer port can be provided on the spot that should be occupied by the intake port on a standard piston valve type cylinder. This results in more effective scavenging function.

Unlike a piston valve system, where the intake of air-fuel mixture depends directly on the position of the intake port on the cylinder, the rotary disc valve system makes it possible to change the intake timing by changing the cutaway angle of the disc, resulting in a big boost in performance.

In short, the intake port of this system opens sooner than a standard one, thus ensuring a more effective intake action. In addition, the intake port closes more quickly, so that the amount of “blow-back” is decreased and primary compression is improved.

Early Motorcycle

The British have an atypical view of the automobile. In fact, you can almost call it a national admiration for automobiles, especially vintage cars. With their attitude towards autos, it’s not hard to appreciate the esteem for which the British hold for the Bentley Motor Car Company. Although Bentley has had a number of trials and troubles in its nearly 90 year history, British fans remain loyal.

The best example is that of the national excitement displayed by the British when a Bentley race car finished third at the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports automobile endurance race in France. Never mind that Bentley is now owned by Volkswagen and that the engines used in the Bentley race car was the save as the Audi R8s that took first and second. It was the first time that a Bentley had place in the top three in 71 years and the British fans gave little regard to the ownership or engine used. W.O. Bentley began his career as an apprentice to a railroad engineer around the 1900 turn of the century.

But he had a passion for racing and immediately got into it with the motorcycle circuit, which was a common engagement among young British men prior to World War I. After the end of World War I, Bentley became determined to develop his own auto manufacturing company, thus the beginning of Bentley Motors, Ltd. Established in 1919, the company was held with very little capital for the next decade.

At the time, the only Bentley for sale was attractive to a small niche market. Being a racer at heart, Bentley’s first cars were high performance race cars and became immediately established as winners in the world of European racing. Bentley racers won the 24 Hours of Le Mans 4 times between 1923 until 1931 when the company went a different route.

Bentley realized early that there was little market and profitability in building race cars, and to succeed his company would have to make consumer minded vehicles that would offer functionality, style and most importantly, pay the bills.

The Bentleys for sale during this era where rolling chassis fitted with fancy coachwork bodies, built to suit the wealthiest of clients. With its new line of Bentleys for sale, Bentley quickly became a major competitor of Rolls-Royce as the next British luxury car maker. However, the Great Depression got in the way of progress and W.O. put up Bentley for sale. Although Bentley himself was planning to sell the company to another firm, the deal was grabbed by Rolls-Royce in 1931.

 The Bucciali car

The Rover Company is a former British car manufacturing company founded as Starley & Sutton Co. of Coventry in 1878. It is the direct ancestor of the present day Land Rover company, which is a subsidiary of Jaguar Land Rover, in turn owned by the Tata Group. The company traded as Rover, manufacturing cars between 1904 and 1967, when it was sold to Leyland Motor Corporation, becoming the Rover marque.

The Rover marque was used on cars produced by British Leyland (BL), who separated the assets of the original Rover Company as Land Rover in 1978 whilst the Rover trademark continued to be used on vehicles produced by its successor companies – the Austin Rover Group (1982–1986), the Rover Group (1986–2000), and then finally MG Rover (2000–2005).

Following MG Rover's collapse in 2005, the Rover marque became dormant, and was subsequently sold to Ford, by now the owners of Land Rover, a move which effectively reunited the Rover trademark with the original company.

After developing the template for the modern bicycle with its Rover Safety Bicycle of 1885, the company moved into the automotive industry. It started building motorcycles and Rover cars, using their established marque with the iconic Viking Longship, from 1904 onwards.

Land Rover vehicles were added from 1948 onwards, with all production moving to the Solihull plant after World War II. The Polish word now most commonly used for bicycle – rower originates from Rover bicycles which had both wheels of the same size (previous models usually had one bigger, one smaller – see Penny-farthing, and were called in Polish bicykl, from English bicycle).

The 1950s and '60s were fruitful years for the company. The Land Rover became a runaway success (despite Rover's reputation for making upmarket saloons, the utilitarian Land Rover was actually the company's biggest seller throughout the 1950s, '60s, and '70s), as well as the P5 and P6 saloons equipped with a 3.5L (215ci) aluminum V8 (the design and tooling of which was purchased from Buick) and pioneering research into gas turbine-fueled vehicles.

As the '60s drew to a close Rover was working on a number of innovative projects. Having purchased the Alvis company in 1965 Rover was working on a V8-powered supercar to sell under the Alvis name. The prototype, called the P6BS, was completed and the finalised styling and engineering proposal, the P9, was drawn up.

Rover was also working on the P8 project which aimed to replace the existing P5 large saloon with a modern design similar in concept to a scaled-up P6. When Leyland Motors joined with British Motor Holdings and Rover and Jaguar became corporate partners these projects were cancelled to prevent internal competition with Jaguar products. The P8 in particular was cancelled in a very late stage of preparation- Rover had already ordered the dies and stamping equipment for making the car's body panels at Pressed Steel when ordered to stop work.

Rover continued to develop its '100-inch Station Wagon', which became the ground-breaking Range Rover, launched in 1970. This also used the ex-Buick V8 engine as well as the P6's innovative safety-frame body structure design and features such as permanent four-wheel drive and all-round disc brakes. The Range Rover was initially designed as a utility vehicle which could offer the off-road capability of the Land Rover, but in a more refined and car-like package.

The Bucciali was a French automobile manufactured from 1922 until 1933. Built by the brothers Bucciali, it began life at Courbevoie as a cyclecar under the name Buc. Initial offerings were powered by twin-cylinder two-stroke 1340 cc engines. In 1925 a 1600 cc SCAP-engined model appeared, available in two versions, the "Tourisme" and the "Quatre Speciale" supercharged.

A six-cylinder car of 1500 cc was also offered. 1928 saw the creation of a TAN six-cylinder and an eight-cylinder with front-wheel drive and Sensaud de Lavaud's steering and automatic gearbox, both of which caused a sensation.

In the 1930s the company produced the Double Huit, also a front-wheel-drive model, which was powered by a pair of straight-eight Continental engines mounted side by side. The last of the prototypes took a Voisin 12-cylinder engine.

Very few of the front-wheel-drive Buccialis ever reached the road. While it is not known exactly how many of the TAV 12 models were produced, only two are known by automotive enthusiasts to still exist: one in America and one in France. The black Bucciali that still exists was rebuilt by Bruce Kelly with the help of Robert LeMire at Lake Country Classics in Minneapolis Minnesota.


By 1860, the gasoline engine had been invented in Europe and in 1885, Karl Benz had introduced the first gasoline powered automobile. His car ran on 3 wheels and looked like a very big tricycle that had no pedals and could hold two people. In America, the first gasoline-powered auto to grace the rough horse and buggy roads was in 1891.

The man to build this car was John W. Lambert. The vintage era lasted from the end of World War I (1919) through the stock market crash at the end of 1929. During this period, the front-engined car came to dominate, with closed bodies and standardized controls becoming the norm. In 1919, 90% of cars sold were open; by 1929, 90% were closed Development of the internal combustion engine continued at a rapid pace, with multi-valve and overhead cam engines produced at the high end, and V8, V12, and even V16 engines conceived for the ultra-rich.

A vintage car is commonly defined as a car built between the start of 1919 and the end of 1930. There is little debate about the start date of the vintage period—the end of World War I is a nicely defined marker there—but the end date is a matter of a little more debate.

The British definition is strict about 1930 being the cut-off, while some American sources prefer 1925 since it is the pre-classic car period as defined by the Classic Car Club of America. Others see the classic period as overlapping the vintage period, especially since the vintage designation covers all vehicles produced in the period while the official classic definition does not, only including high-end vehicles of the period. Some consider the start of World War II to be the end date of the vintage period.

The modern era is normally defined as the 25 years preceding the current year. However, there are some technical and design aspects that differentiate modern cars from antiques. Without considering the future of the car, the modern era has been one of increasing standardization, platform sharing, and computer-aided design.

Some particularly notable advances in modern times are the wide spread of front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, the adoption of the V6 engine configuration, and the ubiquity of fuel injection. While all of these advances were first attempted in earlier eras, they so dominate the market today that it is easy to overlook their significance.

Nearly all modern passenger cars are front wheel drive unibody designs with transversely-mounted engines, but this design was considered radical as late as the 1960s. Body styles have changed as well in the modern era. Three types, the hatchback, minivan, and sport utility vehicle, dominate today's market yet are relatively recent concepts.

All originally emphasized practicality but have mutated into today's high-powered luxury crossover SUV and sports wagon. The rise of pickup trucks in the United States and SUVs worldwide has changed the face of motoring, with these "trucks" coming to command more than half of the world automobile market

. The modern era has also seen rapidly rising fuel efficiency and engine output. Once the automobile emissions concerns of 1970s were conquered with computerized engine management systems, power began to rise rapidly. In the 1980s, a powerful sports car might have produced 200 hp (150 kW)—just 20 years later, average passenger cars have engines that powerful, and some performance models offer three times as much power.

Classic cars

Classic cars are a popular collectible that appeals to car enthusiasts and antique dealers. There are many things that factor in to making a car a classic. The definition of a true classic remains one of those things that many people constantly disagree on. You can ask a dozen different people what they feel defines a car as classic and you will likely get that many different answers.

An antique car is not the same as a classic though so it's best to gather as much information as you can when determining what makes a classic a classic. The term "classic" is a very broad term that differs among resources. Even dictionaries have different answers for this definition. Of course, that can make it incredibly difficult to form your own opinion when all of the reliable sources can't agree.

We all know that a classic is something that has earned a certain level of status. Age often plays into this as well. According to the Classic Car Club of America, a classic automobile is one that was manufactured between 1925 and 1948. However, there are other groups and websites that refer to these cars as vintage so you may need to seek out more than one opinion.

Many insurance companies define a classic car as one that is at least twenty years old or older. The insurance company's definition might be your best bet for getting a straight answer. A classic car rarely has anything to do with the make and model of the car. It is often based solely on age. Any car can be a classic if it is old enough and maintained in a way that retains some of its original value.

Age is the primary point when it comes to classic, antique or vintage cars. If you are interested in buying a classic car, have the age and all other necessary information proven with the appropriate legal documents. There are some states that consider a car to be a classic if it is fifteen years old. Many automotive enthusiasts do not agree with this definition citing that fifteen years is not enough to make a car a classic. This is something that could be controversial when it comes to insuring a car of that age.

This is another reason why you should take the time to consult an expert in classic cars before purchasing or insuring one. Because of the sticky situation involved in defining a classic car, many enthusiasts believe they should be separated into two different categories. A modern classic is not at all the same as a true classic.

A car that is almost one hundred years old certainly is not the same class of classic that a car twenty-five years old would be. There needs to be better clarification regarding these details. Seeking out an expert on classic cars is a good idea when it comes to investing in one. You need to know exactly what you are getting. The advice that you can get from an expert is priceless and could save you plenty of money and hassle in the long run.

1930 Mercedes-Benz 710 SSK ‘Trossi Roadster

Let us look in detail what an antique car is and about antique car history. According to the Antique Automobile Club of America and several other organizations worldwide, an antique car can be defined as any car which is more than 25 years of age. Sometimes it is seen that some classic cars are misrepresented as antique cars, but the real classic cars are those certain specific high quality cars from the pre-World War II era. However antique cars are not profitable to use for everyday transportation, these antiques cars are much popular for leisure driving.

Antiques cars which had survived for more than 25 years are considered great survivors. And that’s why owning, collecting and restoring such rare antique cars are considered as a well-liked hobby by people all over the world. The 1930 Mercedes-Benz 710 SSK ‘Trossi Roadster’ shone out as the natural winner. Specially imported from the USA for the Goodwood event by the Ralph Lauren Car Collection, the Trossi Mercedes proved a huge hit with the Festival of Speed visitors.

The only one if its kind in the world, the car has an illustrious history and was once owned by Count Trossi himself. The Cartier class of exquisite coachbuilt supercharged Mercedes-Benz of 1925-1939 also included the class winner, a 1927 680 S Torpedo Roadster, owned by Miguel Gonzelez.

Other class winners included the famous 1911 ‘Golden Ford’ in the 100 years of the Ford Model T class. The ‘Great Britons’ class of stars of the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show was won by the pristine 1948 Land Rover Series 1 of Tim Dines. The victor of the rear-engined revolution, celebrating 60 years of Porsche innovation, was Thomas Straumann’s original 356 ‘Gmund’ coupé.

A new perspective, with adventurous design from post-War America, saw the pioneering 1948 Tucker Torpedo of John Jackson win his class. The dawn of the Supercar class was won by the stunning Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale, whilst the 1999 Bugatti Chiron 18.3 was the surprise winner of the audacious supercar concepts of 1980-2000 class.


In common with every great enthusiast, Carlo Guzzi was unable to find the ideal motorcycle, so he decided to build it himself. At the time, the panorama in the sector was little more than pioneering. Even starting up one of the early bikes was a feat. Riders lubricated the engine with a manual pump with devastating results for clothing and also damaging the uncovered chain drive.

Riding a motorcycle was an act of heroism and the list of spare parts to take with you on a trip included practically all the components. The first motorcycle prototype was produced in 1919 in the Mandello del Lario workshop with the help of blacksmith Giorgio Ripamonti. Known as the G.P. (Guzzi-Parodi) from the initials of the two partners, it was a 500 cc single cylinder with four valve cylinder head and overheard camshaft.

It delivered 12 hp and had a maximum speed of 100 km/h. The model drew heavily on aircraft engine technology, well known by the designer. Already revolutionary and well ahead of its time, the G.P. was modified several times, mainly due to the excessive production costs, before arriving at the definitive version. The name G.P. was abandoned as it could have been confused with Giorgio Parodi's initials and so the name "Moto Guzzi" was born, together with a contemporary icon, the eagle with outspread wings, chosen as the logo to commemorate the rider Giovanni Ravelli, who was to have been the third partner before being killed in a flying accident. In 1921, the Normale was born.

This was the first model marketed, with 8 hp, a maximum speed of 80 km/h and consumption of 30 km per liter. The Normale was the first bike in the world to be fitted with a centre stand, a feature which would later be adopted by all other constructors.

At the beginning of the century, the sophisticated publicity campaigns of today did not exist and the only way to make the performance of a motorcycle known was to enter it in a race. And indeed, it was its racing debut, another historic date, which eventually brought the Mandello del Lario company into the international limelight.

The race was the tough Milan-Naples rally. Two Moto Guzzis took part and the final classification was not exactly thrilling as they ended up coming 20th and 22nd. But victory was just round the corner. Just 30 days later, on 25 September 1921, Moto Guzzi had its first win in the Targa Florio with Gino Finzi. This was the start of an extraordinary series of riding successes which continued without a break until 1957.

Harley motor cycle 1940

The history of the motorcycle goes back over 100 years, when an American gentleman made a steam powered motor that would be small enough to fit onto his bicycle. Howard Roper from Roxbury, Massachusetts, got tired of pedaling his bicycle over long distances. Taking months and months to draw diagrams and thinking just how he could make a steam engine that would be small enough to relieve the pressure from his legs and feet as he travelled from place to place on dirt roads and paths.

Finally in 1867, Roper succeeded; it was powered by burning coal to create the steam. This bike has been displayed in many fairs and circuses over the years. In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach (later to be the founders of the Mercedes, the forerunner of the Mercedes Benz), produced the first petroleum powered motor bicycle.

However, not until 1894 was a motorized two wheeled vehicle (Hildebrand & Wolfmuller) made available for the transportation market. As engines became too powerful for just a bicycle, and the designs changed very quickly, the leading manufacturer of motorcycles, (the Indian brand), had already produced well over 20,000 motorcycles a year until World War I.

By the 1920’s, Harley Davidson took this lead away from the Indian Company as the Harley Davidson Company had acquired many dealers in as many as 67 countries throughout the world. By the end of World War II, BSA bikes took the title away from Harley Davidson, and until the 1950’s had produced 75,000 bikes a year. Through the 1990’s, there had been extensive work done on two stroke bike engines due to Walter Kaaden’s work in the 50’s in East Germany.

Although Harley Davidson is still the leading bike manufacturer for the motorcycle market, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki are also doing very well with their developments of a durable and elegant looking street bike.

Triumph Bonnivile

The Triumph Bonneville is an undisputed modern classic, synonymous with British motorcycling and a byword for simple, original style. Today, it stands as the perfect blend of British heritage, design and glamour, backed by modern technology.

Named in recognition of Johnny Allen’s 1950’s record breaking feats on a Triumph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, the very first Bonneville, the T120, was showcased at the Earls Court Bike Show in 1958, with the machines available for sale to the general public the following year. An instant hit in both the UK and America, essentially the T120 was a high performance, twin carburettor version of Triumph’s T110 Tiger model.

The combination of extra performance with a fine-handling, light weight chassis and attractive design proved a winning combination and the bike went on to become one of the most successful models of the era. The National Motorcycle Museum is a British institution and one of the most vital venues in the British Isles today for a whole number of reasons.

It has extensive conference venues / rooms and facilities for businesses, but it offers excellent facilities for the average person as well. In fact, it is fair to say that it is one of the most fascinating UK historical venues that you could choose to visit! The National Motorcycle Museum is the biggest and the best motorcycle museum not only in Europe but also in the world today. There is no other to rival it anywhere else, which may be why people travel from all over the world to see the displays in all their glory year after year.

The artefacts on display have been collected over a number of years and so this is easily the most comprehensive collection of motorcycles and accessories in the world today. As a result of continuing contributions, it will undoubtedly get bigger and better in the future. This is why it is a must for all fans of both history and of the motorcycle. In actual fact, the focus of The National Motorcycle Museum has not changed in all the years since it has been open.

It was initially designed to draw the attention of the public to the great British motorcycle industry that dominated the world between the 1930s and 1960s. At that point in time, no other country could rival the motorcycles that were made there.

As such, the vast collection that was originally displayed paid homage to the makers of the motorcycle. It still does that to this day. In fact, it does it better than any other institution or museum. Although the displays have been updated and the works of other countries are now on display, no other collection can rival the British golden era of motorcycles.

The National Motorcycle Museum is a place where nostalgia can run riot for the older generations whilst the displays can capture the imagination of younger visitors. The chronology of the motorcycle is here for all to come and see.

This is why The National Motorcycle Museum is a place that you can spend all day in. With a restaurant and gift shop available to visitors during opening hours, you can take your time looking at what is on offer and take a piece of history home with you. There is much to be learned and much to see so spend your time marvelling at the wonders of technology and transport in just one place!

Norton motor cycles 1940

Norton is a British motorcycle marque, originally from Birmingham, founded in 1898 as a manufacturer of fittings and parts for the two-wheel trade. By 1902, they had begun manufacturing motorcycles with bought in engines. In 1908, a Norton-built engine was added to the range. This began a long series of production of single and eventually twin-cylinder motorcycles. When major shareholders started to leave Norton in 1953, the company went bankrupt and Associated Motor Cycles bought the shares.

In late 2008, Stuart Garner, a UK businessman, bought the rights to Norton and relaunched Norton in its Midlands home at Donington Park where it will develop the NRV588 racer, a machine styled after the Norton Commando, and a new range of Norton motorcycles, with options including 1200 cc Superbike, and 750 cc Supersport variants.

Designed by Walter Moore, the Norton CS1 engine appeared in 1927, based closely on the ES2 pushrod engine and using many of its parts. On his departure to NSU in 1930, an entirely new OHC engine was designed by Arthur Carroll, which was the basis for all later OHC and DOHC Norton singles. That decade spawned the Norton racing legend.

Of the nine Isle of Man Senior TTs (500 cc) between 1931 and 1939 Norton won seven. Until 1934, Norton bought Sturmey-Archer gearboxes and clutches. When Sturmey discontinued production Norton bought the design rights and had them made by Burman, a manufacturer of proprietary gearboxes.

Nortons also appealed to ordinary motorcyclists who enjoyed the reliability and performance offered by single-cylinder engines with separate gearboxes. The marque withdrew their teams from racing in 1938, but between 1937 and 1945 nearly a quarter (over 100,000) of all British military motorcycles were Nortons, basically the WD 16H (solo) and WD Big Four outfit with driven sidecar wheel.

Winnipeg vehicle tax plate 1940

Car number plates act as a vehicles unique identifier. Similar to DNA, there are no two number plates the same and one specific registration can only be found on one specific vehicle. All the information regarding registration numbers is held on a central database which, administered by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency commonly known as the DVLA. Over the years car number plates have followed various formats to meet the increase in the amount of cars our roads.

Car registrations were first made compulsory in 1903 when the Motor Car Act was introduced. Back then the DVLA did not exist so it was the local council’s responsibility to administer registration numbers. Problems arose however when vehicles were sold or the owners move to a different area as it was necessary for the registration details to be transferred to another council. Over time this problem grew with the massive rise in the volume of traffic on our roads.

It was clear that the council system of car registrations could not cope. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre (DVLC) was formed in 1965 and took over the responsibility of administering car number plates across the country. The head office was based in Swansea and had 81 local offices supporting the administration of car registrations as well as other road and vehicle related issues such as supplying information on vehicles to the Police.

Gradually even Post Offices became involved in the car registration system causing many local DVLA offices to close. The number of local offices had reduced to 53 by 1985 and the DVLC changed its name to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Currently there are 40 local offices across England, Scotland and Wales. Since the introduction of the DVLC/DVLA, there have been 3 different registration number formats: suffix registration numbers, prefix registration numbers and the current or new style registration numbers. Suffix number plates began being issued in 1963 and ran until 1983.

The format displayed three letters, up to three numbers and then an age identifier letter for example ABC 321A. Prefix car registration numbers were released when the suffix series was exhausted and reversed the format by putting an age identifying letter at the beginning of the registration plate.

This was followed by up to three numbers and then three letters for example A321 ABC). I, U, Z, Q and O registrations were never issued for either the suffix or prefix series. Our current style of DVLA number plates were first issued in 2001. These registration numbers display the format of two letters, two numbers followed by three letters. The numbers give an estimate of the age that the vehicle was first registered and the first two letters related to the area where the vehicle was first registered. An example of a current style DVLA number plate is NE02 ABC.

Since the introduction of car number plates there have literally been millions of combinations created so the chances of finding a private plate to suit you are high. Nevertheless, popular names and initials sell incredibly fast and are therefore extremely scarce. Nowadays number plates are no long just an identifier for our vehicles, rapidly becoming collector’s items and the ultimate car accessory. By Ross O'Donnell Published: 11/26/2006

Morris Garages 1947 poster

The MG is a British brand of sports car, which has been around for over eighty years. Although the last model of the MG went bankrupt in 2005, the ownership has been moved to Nanjing Automobile Group, who plan to produce the cars once again in 2007. The “MG” name stood for “Morris Garages”, who was a car dealership in Oxford. The company started creating customized cars with designs from Cecil Kimber, who eventually became the General Manger of the company.

Now, under its new ownership, the “MG” is going to stand as “Modern Gentleman”. Zhang Xin, the boss of the group, says that he wants “to see that this brand represent grace and style”. Although MG is mostly known for their two-seat sports cars, the company has also produced coupés and saloons. The company was originally based in Oxford, but in 1925, one year after it was created, MG moved to the larger Bainton Road premises, due to high demand for the vehicles.

After the car was finally shown at the London Motor Show, demand of their cars went higher still and they were forced to move again. In 1929, MG moved to their permanent location, which is Abingdon, Oxfordshire. In 1935, William Morris, the owner, sold the company to Morris Motors. The consequences of this deal were that the British Motor Corporation would later absorb the MG brand in 1952.

During the 1960s, British Leyland had control of the brand, but was in trouble due to a lagging economy. Up until 2005, the MG brand was part of the MG Rover Group, which was based in Longbridge, Birmingham. The original 1924 model MG, known as the MG 14/28, was essentially a sports car body on a Morris Oxford steel frame. It wasn’t until 1929 that the popular vertical MG grille was finally on the car. The main sports car that MG created was in the Midget series.

The car company quickly got recognition as it did quite well in international automobile racing. A more modern sports car was built in 1962 due to high demand for the company to create a more modern car. Unfortunately, due to the numerous ownership trades and financial problems, the car company ran out of steam in 2005.

There are rumors that Project Kimber might want to work with Nanjing, the group that now has the rights to the MG name, in order to create a new sports car inspired by the design of the discontinued microcar Smart Roadster. Although the car has had a tough history recently, it was quite popular when it was first released to the public due to its power at the time.

The car is also famous for its distinctive look, which sports the classic grille and popular classic car body. Unfortunately, car enthusiasts will remember the car not only for its great design and performance, but for its financial troubles and constant switching of ownerships as well. Hopefully Nanjing Automobile Group will be able to revive the brand as “Modern Gentleman” and really make the car shine once again

Delahaye Type 145 competition cars

Motivated by their racing success, Henri Chapron bought two used Delahaye Type 145 competition cars to rebody them in his own way. With performance credentials to win events like the Pau Grand Prix, this chassis was one of the fastest in its day - a very special Type 145 adorned with simple cigar bodywork won a million francs from the French government for breaking the speed record at Montlhery.

With such a potent chassis and graceful body design to complement it, these two Coupes became Chapron's masterwork. It's obvious he had a keen sense to rebody Delahaye's most sporting chassis, even if it meant including complicated racing engines that were difficult to repair. The first car, chassis 48772 entered shop in 1939, but wasn't completed until after the war due to delayed payments.

By 1951 the chassis was mated with its new body and it was shipped to New York. After a less than a year of driving, the used racing engine needed to be rebuilt. Unfortunately, the engine was never completed and the car sat dormant for twenty years.

Electric vehicles 1920s

The electric vehicle was the preferred choice of many because it did not require the manual effort to start, as with the hand crank on gasoline vehicles, and there was no wrestling with a gear shifter. While basic electric cars cost under $1,000, most early electric vehicles were ornate, massive carriages designed for the upper class. They had fancy interiors, with expensive materials, and averaged $3,000 by 1910. Electric vehicles enjoyed success into the 1920s with production peaking in 1912. By the 1930s most of the mechanical technology used in today's auto-mobiles had been invented although some things were later "re-invented", and credited to someone else.

For example, front-wheel drive was re-introduced by André Citroën with the launch of the Traction Avant in 1934, though it had appeared several years earlier in road cars made by Alvis and Cord, and in racing cars by Miller (and may have appeared as early as 1897).

After 1930, the number of auto manufacturers declined sharply as the industry consolidated and matured. Auto-mobile design finally emerged from the shadow of World War II in 1949, the year that in the United States saw the introduction of high-compression V8 engines and modern bodies from General Motors' Oldsmobile and Cadillac brands.

The unibody/strut-suspended 1951 Ford Consul joined the 1948 Morris Minor and 1949 Rover P4 in waking up the automobile market in the United Kingdom. In Italy, Enzo Ferrari was beginning his 250 series just as Lancia introduced their revolutionary V6-powered Aurelia. Throughout the 1950s, engine power and vehicle speeds rose, designs became more integrated and artful, and cars spread across the world.

Alec Issigonis' Mini and Fiat's 500 mini cars swept Europe, while the similar keicar class put Japan on wheels for the first time. The legendary VW Beetle survived Hitler's Germany to shake up the small car market in the Americas. Ultra luxury, exemplified in America by the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, reappeared after a long absence, and GT cars, like the Ferrari Americas, swept across Europe.

The market changed somewhat in the 1960s, as Detroit began to worry about foreign competition, the European makers adopted ever-higher technology, and Japan appeared as a serious car-producing nation. General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford tried radical small cars, like the GM A-bodies, but had little success. Captive imports and badge engineering swept through the U.S. and UK as conglomerates like the British Motor Corporation consolidated the market.

Eventually, this trend reached Italy as niche makers like Maserati, Ferrari, and Lancia were acquired by larger companies. By the end of the decade, the automobile manufacturing world was much smaller.

The Wankel engin

The first piston engines did not have compression, but ran on an air-fuel mixture sucked or blown in during the first part of the intake stroke. The most significant distinction between modern internal combustion engines and the early designs is the use of compression and, in particular, in-cylinder compression. The Wankel engine is a type of internal combustion engine which uses a rotary design to convert pressure into a rotating motion instead of using reciprocating pistons.

Its four-stroke cycle is generally generated in a space between the inside of an oval-like epicycloid-shaped housing and a roughly triangular rotor. This design delivers smooth high-rpm power from a compact, lightweight engine. Since its introduction the engine has been commonly referred to as the rotary engine, though this name is also applied to several completely different designs.

The engine was invented by engineer Felix Wankel. He began its development in the early 1950s at NSU Motorenwerke AG (NSU) before completing a working, running prototype in 1957. NSU then subsequently licensed the concept to other companies across the globe, who added more efforts and improvements in the 1950s and 1960s.

Because of their compact, lightweight design, Wankel rotary engines have been installed in a variety of vehicles and devices such as automobiles including racing cars, along with aircraft, go-kart's, personal water craft, chain saws, and auxiliary power units. The most extensive automotive use of the Wankel engine has been by the Japanese company Mazda.

The CB77 (super hawk) motorcycle

Started in 1946 by Soichiro Honda who wanted to produce cheap transportation for the people after the second world war. Today Honda has become the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world.Honda started by using old army engines but later developed their own 50cc engine.

The first real Honda bike was produced in 1949 called the Model D (Dream) which was followed due to the success of the ‘D’ by model J Benly.Honda started to make an international name for itself with the introduction of the CB models. Started by a CB72 (250cc) and the CB77 (305cc). However the first series used the old press steel frames and the better road handling came with the introduction of the steel tubular frames in the CB92.

The CB77 (super hawk) was excellent reliable motorcycle which out preformed many similar English models. Honda introduced in 1958 the C100 Super Club motorcycle as a sports, leisure, easy going, convenient and reliable bike with a great marketing campaign (you meet nice people on a Honda) that blasted the C100 to a best selling bike of all times.

And it was only a humble scooter styled motorcycle.Honda started building bigger engine bikes with the first model CB450 in 1965. The black bomber / black hawk was an attack to the dominating English bikes in this area. Although the CB450 didn’t match the British motorcycles (yet) the competition had begun.One step up from the 450 was the introduction of the CB750 in 1969.

Which was beyond it’s class at the time. A smooth operating mass produced 4 cylinder bike with excellent handling. It dominated the market at the time and sold very well world wide. Honda didn’t upgrade the CB750 over the years so despite is success it started to loose popularity towards the end 70’s.Honda did change the model line of the CB750 to include smaller models like the CB500 (1971) and the CB400 (1975).

Both bikes were very successful mainly due to the fact of weight reduction of the big brother CB750 which gave them huge maneuverability advantage.As the modern day cruiser the Honda Gold Wing (Interstate – usa, de luxe – Europe) was introduced in 1980 and has stayed in production ever since. You actually like or hate the Wing but fact of the matter is that world wide no other model has such a high fan base. The full fairing Gold Wing was developed on the GL1000 Gold Wing of 1975.Two years later in 1982 the new model Gold Wing was released called the Aspencade.

Also a big hit with improved luxury features including backrest, music system, adjustment computer and much more). In 1988 the GL1500 Gold Wing was launched and was the biggest most complex bike of its time. Only to be surpassed by the GL1800 Gold Wing. Honda developed a really cool looking street bike called the CBX1000 in 1978. It was a pure big bike with a streetlook and chrome pipes.

The looks, power and even effortless drive didn’t make this model to be a success. Honda adjusted it to a modest sports tour bike called the CBX-B. Honda produced a series of specialized bikes for racing and engineering goals. A few examples being the CB1100R making a most powerful four cylinder unit yet. And the turbo charged CX500 – CX650 turbo. Or the NR500 a super expensive, beautiful designed superbike.

Norton struggled to reclaim its pre-WWII racing dominance, since the single cylinder machine was facing fierce competition from the multi-cylinder Italians, and AJS at home. In the 1949 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season, the first year of the world championship, Norton only made fifth place, and AJS won.

That was before the Featherbed frame appeared, developed for Norton by the McCandless brothers of Belfast in January, 1950, used in the legendary Manx Norton, and raced by riders including Geoff Duke, John Surtees and Derek Minter. Overnight the featherbed frame was the benchmark by which all other frames were judged. Nortons were winners again.

Norton also experimented with engine placement, and discovered that moving the engine slightly up/down, forward/back, or even right/left, could deliver a "sweet spot" in terms of handling. In the The Victory: The Making of the New American Motorcycle (1999, Motorbooks International), the designers of the Victory motorcycle cited Norton in experimenting with various engine placements and finding one that was noticeably better than the others.

The cafe racer is a motorcycle that has been modified for speed and good handling rather than comfort. Cafe racers' bodywork and control layout typically mimicked the style of contemporary Grand Prix roadracers, featuring an elongated fuel tank and small, rearward mounted, humped seat. A signature trait were low, narrow handlebars that provided more precise control at high speeds and allowed the rider to "tuck in" to lessen wind resistance.

These are referred to as either "clip-ons" (two-piece bars that bolt directly to each fork tube) or "clubmans" (one piece bars that attach to the stock mounting location but drop down and forward). The ergonomics resulting from low bars and the rearward seat often required "rearsets," or rear-set footrests and foot controls, again typical of racing motorcycles of the era.

Distinctive half or full race-style fairings were sometimes mounted to the forks or frame. The bikes had a raw, utilitarian and stripped-down appearance while the engines were tuned for maximum speed. These motorcycles were lean, light and handled road surfaces well.

The most defining machine of its heyday was the homemade Norton Featherbed framed and Triumph Bonneville engined machine called "The Triton". It used the most common and fastest racing engine combined with the best handling frame of its day, the Featherbed frame by Norton Motorcycles. Those with less money could opt for a "Tribsa" - the Triumph engine in a BSA frame.

Indianapolis 500 1940

Grand Prix motorcycle racing is the premier championship of motorcycle road racing, which has been divided into three classes since 1990; 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP. Former classes that are now discontinued include 350cc, 50cc and sidecars. The premier class is MotoGP, which was formerly known as the 500cc class. The Grand Prix Road-Racing World Championship was established in 1949 by the sport's governing body the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), and is the oldest motorsport World Championship in existence.

The motorcycles used in MotoGP are purpose built for the sport, and are unavailable for purchase by the general public: they cannot be legally ridden on public roads. MotoGP, the premier class of GP motorcycle racing, has changed dramatically in recent years. From the mid-1970s until 2002 the top class of GP racing allowed 500cc with a maximum of four cylinders, regardless of whether the engine was a two-stroke or four-stroke.

In 2002, rule changes were introduced to facilitate the phasing out of two-stroke engines. Giacomo Agostini has won the most titles, he won eight during his career, which included a record seven titles in a from 1966 to 1972. Freddie Spencer is the youngest champion, he was 21 years and 258 days old when he won the championship in 1983. Italian riders have won the most titles, with 19 titles between six drivers. Great Britain is second; six riders have won a total of 17 championships.

The United States is third with 15 titles won by seven drivers. Valentino Rossi of the Yamaha Motor Racing team is the current champion. Giacomo Agostini made his motorcycle racing debut in 1961 at the age of nineteen and dominated the motorcycle racing World Championship from 1966 to 1975.

This book's title refers to the 15 World Championship titles won by "Ago", including eight 500cc titles and seven in the 350cc class. Thirteen of those titles were won on MV Agusta motorcycles and two with Yamaha. He won a total of 122 Grand Prix races and 18 Italian Championship titles. No one, including Valentino Rossi, has done more and this isn't fully realized by many fans of modern MotoGP racing.

Indian Chief Motorcycle 1935

Factors setting Indian Motorcycle apart are the legends and stories embedded in its past. For example, its first corporate sale was to the New York City Department of Police. Police in New York had a recurring need to capture horses that had gotten away from their owners; Indian motorcycles provided the solution with motorcycles that were quick enough to round up the horses.

As the U.S. entered World War I, the military had a dire need for reliable and agile transportation. Indian Motorcycle agreed to suspend its production of consumer motorcycles to supply the defense department with over 41,000 motorcycles to meet the need. This sparked the firm’s reputation as a company committed to patriotism and sacrifice (even though they profited greatly from the military contract). Indian Motorcycle again received a Department of Defense contract in World War II, further reinforcing this image.

A competency Indian Motorcycle gained during World War I was the ability to make extremely nimble and responsive cycles despite the reputation it later gained as a heavy, lethargic cruising motorcycle. Among its early models, however, the Indian Scout was noted for excellent handling. Stunt riders frequently chose the Scout as the preferred model for wall-of-death stunts where riders would ride horizontally in a large enclosed wooden cylinder.

This wall-of-death stunt is still performed today at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, the largest annual motorcycle rally in the U.S. Indian Motorcycle was the first company to mass produce motorcycles in the United States beginning in 1901, two years before current market leader Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Two bicycle racers, George Hendee and Oscar Hedström, founded the firm and in just three years Indian Motorcycle received the Gold Medal for Mechanical Excellence just as Harley-Davidson was getting off the ground.

This was the same year Indian Motorcycle came out as the leader of Great Britain’s Reliability Trial, a 1,000-mile endurance race. By 1914, the firm had 3,000 employees producing over 32,000 motorcycles annually at its Massachusetts seven-mile long assembly plant commonly referred to as “the wigwam.” Although the original name of the firm was the Hendee Manufacturing Company, as model lines were expanded and eventually included motorcycles such as the Indian Chief, the Scout, the Warrior, and the Arrow, the firm took on the Indian Motorcycle name.

While the firm had no direct connection to American Indian tribes, each new model name was an effort to be emblematic of U.S. heritage. In 1938, Hap Alzina, owner of an Indian Motorcycle distributor, narrowly missed beating Harley-Davidson’s land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah by only 1 mph (although Burt Munro set the record on an Indian in 1967).

This slight miss in 1938 became prescient of Indian Motorcycle’s future. The firm’s profitability and liquidity began to unravel as competition from Harley-Davidson and other motorcycle manufacturers, together with the substitution threat from Henry Ford’s Model T automobile, resulted in pricing pressure within the industry. In addition, the Great Depression followed later by World War II hurt American consumers’ discretionary income reducing sales of non-essential consumer purchases. This combination of competition, substitute products, and reduction in consumer discretionary income magnified Indian Motorcycle’s liquidity and profitability problems.

 Classic british motorcycle

Do you have a memory of a local motorcyclist and his motorcycle, and how you wished you could be the owner of that fine metal steed? Many of us look back with fond memories of motorcycles of days gone by, and remember how cool they looked, and how we wished we could own one at the time. Now we're older the bikes have moved on, but that doesn't mean we should forget all about those old motorbikes. In fact the opposite is true, now those bikes we looked at with awe and envy all those years gone by are becoming classics, and as such are worth saving from the scrapheap.

Classic motorcycle restoration isn't all about locking yourself away in a garage and becoming an expert on which grade of chrome was used to plate the headlamp retaining bolt. Motorcycle restoration is a fun hobby for everyone, from the DIY mechanic to those who just want to ride a motorcycle they never could afford when they were younger. You don't even need to have a lot of spare money as some classic motorbikes can be picked up quite cheaply in various states of repair.

Some motorbikes can, with a little attention, be ridden almost immediately and yet still not hit your wallet too hard. Another thing worth thinking about is the investment factor of classic motorcycle restoration. You can pick up a cheap bike, do some small repairs and cosmetic tidying, and already it's started to increase in value. It doesn't need to be a complete nuts and bolts restoration to increase the value, with some extra care even as you enjoy riding it over a few years, a classic bikes value can increase greatly, and could mean you can make a tidy profit if you decide to sell it later. It may take some time to restore a classic motorcycle, but it doesn't need to be done all at once.

Some vintage motorcycles are ridden when possible, and worked on between rides. My own motorcycle is always left in a usable state between work being carried out. All it means is you don't have a perfect bike straight away. You don't even need to be riding the bike to take your time over the resoration, a lot of classic motorcycles are left in bits for a long while as the owners can't afford to buy the parts they need all at once.

There are plenty of classic motorcycles out there still to choose from, and your own teenage favorites could well be just waiting for you to pick them up and give them a home. Imagine living out that teenage fantasy of owning the motorcycle of your dreams, it doesn't matter that it's 20 years on you can still enjoy owning that dream motorbike.

Only now instead of being called a teenage hoodlum, you'd be a respected classic motorcycle owner. Engineering ingenuity being what it was in the late Victorian era, refinements to motors came not a moment too soon for the pioneers of motor cycling. Engines gradually became more compact, less leaky (though incontinent machinery would remain a great British tradition well into the 1960’s) and power output per pound weight rose dramatically.

Cycle frames and wheels had to become stronger and heavier in order to cope with the violence visited upon them by ever-more powerful engines. Drive to the rear wheel often entailed a long, flapping and incredibly dangerous leather belt arrangement, almost guaranteeing the removal of any clothing coming into contact with it whilst in motion.

Chains became an alternative, dirtier and slightly more positive means of power transmission, so now the motor-cycle rider had a choice of injuries; friction burns, abrasions and divestment from a broken belt or cuts and bruises from errant chains. Brakes were at best of little use, being simply a direct development of the cycle wheel rim-brake, but then there was little traffic around in those days and at worst a rider could get kicked by the horse he had just run into.

1970. BMW introduced the “slash five”

1970. BMW introduced the “slash five” which was probably the most overall upgrade improvement of the BMW bike to date, including the boxer twin engine. These included the 500, 600 and 750 displacement R50/5, R60/5, R75/5. All engines had the same stroke, with different bores resulting in differing displacements. All had point ignitions.

The 500 and 600 had Bing slide type carbs similar to the /2 models. The 750 had a new style Constant Velocity (CV) Bing which was a big technology step for its day. All had 4 speed transmissions, telescopic forks with a mechanical friction steering damper fitted, swing arm rear suspension, and drum brakes front and rear.

All models had exactly the same chassis, gear boxes and rear drive units except the rear drives had different ratios. The excellence of Japanese motorcycles caused similar effects in all "Western" markets: many Italian bike firms either went bust or only just managed to survive.

As a result BMW's worldwide sales sagged in the 1960s, but came back strongly with the introduction of a completely redesigned "slash-5" series for model year 1970. From the 1960s through the 1990s, small two-stroke motorcycles were popular worldwide, partly as a result of the East German Walter Kaaden's engine work in the 1950s, later acquired by Suzuki via stolen plans supplied by MZ rider Ernst Degner, who defected to the West on 13th September 1961 after retiring from the 125cc Swedish Grand Prix at Kristianstad. Harley-Davidson (HD) in the U.S. at the time suffered from the same problems as the European firms, but its unique product range, American tariff laws and nationalism-driven customer loyalty allowed it to survive.

One alleged flaw, however, was retaining the characteristic HD 45 engine vee-angle, which causes excess vibration as well as the loping HD sound. A factory full fairing was introduced by BMW motorcycles in the R100RS of 1977, the first factory fairing produced in quantity. In 1980, BMW stimulated the "adventure touring" category of motorcycling with its R80G/S. In 1988, BMW was the first motorcycle manufacturer to introduce anti-lock-brakes (ABS) on its sporting K100RS-SE and K1 models.

Today the Japanese manufacturers, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha dominate the large motorcycle industry, although Harley-Davidson still maintains a high degree of popularity, particularly in the United States. Recent years have seen a resurgence in the popularity around the world of many other motorcycle brands, including BMW, Triumph and Ducati, and the emergence of Victory as a second successful mass-builder of big-twin American cruisers.

In November 2006, the Dutch company E.V.A. Products BV Holland announced that the first commercially available diesel-powered motorcycle, its Track T-800CDI, achieved production status. The Track T-800CDI uses a 800 cc three-cylinder Daimler Chrysler diesel engine. However, other manufacturers, including Royal Enfield, had been producing diesel-powered bikes since at least 1965. When it comes to the motorcycle, the Harley Davidson is the gold standard.

It is the royalty of this two-cycled motor vehicle industry. But its prominence and position at the top was not achieved overnight. It took a lot of hard work and patience to reach the position in the industry that they have now. And it took decades to earn the respect of both consumers and friends in the industry.

The Harley-Davidson Motor Company is based in Wisconsin. Along with Victory Motors, it is one of the two remaining mass producers of motorcycles in the United States. But what sets apart the Harley from other motorcycles that are being manufactured is its design and its sound, which made it an overnight sensation way back.

Although neighbourhood watchmen and people who love a nice and quiet night will not agree to this, the sheer loudness of the sound of a Harley Motorcycle is what consumers love about it. The company began in 1903 when a 21 year old enterprising young man dreamed of a small engine that will eventually replace the 7.07 cubic and four-inch flywheels.

Its small size is actually meant to be put in a regular bicycle to make it faster. For two years, William Harley and his friend Arthur Davidson worked on the idea. With the help of Arthur's brother Walter, they finished their first prototype but when they tested it, they found that it was not strong enough to be used in climbing hills without the aid of pedals. So they worked on again and made some adjustments and improvements. Their next prototype has a bigger engine.

This time, 24.74 with about 10 inch flywheels. The loop frame was actually quite similar to the very first real Harley motorcycle. Creating the model was a joint effort of the three along with outboard motor pioneer Ole Evinrude. By 1904, they completed the prototype and entered in a motorcycle race and by 1905, they introduced the engine to the market through a do it yourself trade.

That year, more than a dozen harley-davidson motorcycles were made. With big dreams, Harley and the Davidsons built their first factory in Chestnut Street, which will later be Juneeau Avenue, where a special tribute to Harley-Davidson now stands. The first factory was not so big and it was made of wood. Yet, it managed to produce about 50 motorcycles that year alone.

When William graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in mechanical engineering, he used his knowledge to build the business. In 1907, they expanded their factory and began producing about 150 units. They even began selling wholesale to police departments and other government units. In September of that same year, the company became an 'incorporated. It was also in 1907 when another prototype was built. This time, the engine had dual cylinders called the V-Twin model.

This model produces 7 horsepower, doubling the strength especially in climbing mountains. Speed was also increased to about 60 mph. The model was an instant hit, putting their production to about 450 motorcycles in 1908 and to a whopping 1200 in 1909. In 1911, a mechanically operated intake valves was introduced in the engine.

Although the engine is actually smaller, the motor gave better performance. By 1913, the business grew, prompting the owners to build a new 5 story factory over the already built structure. By 1914, the company is leading the competition in the manufacturing of motorcycles all over the world. The most recent film starring the American icon, the Harley Davidson motorcycle, was called 'Wild Hogs'. Named after the nickname given to its riders in the 1970's, this family comedy with an all star cast including John Travolta didn't quite meet its hyped expectations.

Falling flat in plot and more importantly, script, the movie was a disappointing attempt at capturing the lure of the Harley and the thrill of the open road. It should have been no surprise. Putting Disney together with Harley Davidson was a little like asking John Carpenter to do a remake of Bambi. " Nice death scene, but it didn't quite capture the mood of the original!" Hollywood however, has had a love hate relationship with this most unlikely of stars for more than half a century. It unwittingly threw the spotlight on what had been an American standard of industry, only to demonize the name to the extent that The Harley Davidson Motor Company nearly went bankrupt.

As with most relationships though, time heals all. It would be the elevation into cult status of the very same movies that nearly destroyed the company, that would raise the phoenix of Harley Davidson from the fire, and turn it into the iconic symbol that it is today. As with the careers of most movie stars, early appearances and bit parts are mostly forgotten.

You may catch a glimpse of a Harley in WWII movies. (The motorcycles were supplied to the army as utility transport during both World Wars until the Jeep took over as the main utility vehicle in 1942). The big break for the Harley Davidson came in 1953 when it was cast alongside, or should I say under, Marlon Brando in The Wild One. The movie, which told the story of Jonny, the bike gang rebel, reflected the tone of rebellion sweeping America at the time amongst the nations teenage youth.

Unlike today however, 1950's society was not one driven by youth culture. The impact of the openly anti-establishment images that the genre portrayed did not spark a boom in sales for Harley Davidson as it would later achieve for such products as Ray-Ban sunglasses following the 1982 movie Top Gun.

The effect in fact, was the opposite, leading the motorbike manufacturer into a period of declining sales. Conservative, middle America in the 50's was not willing to support what Harley Davidson had become and the youth generation that idolized the films and their stars were not yet in charge of the finances to supplement their dreams. Whilst commercially Harley Davidson was in trouble, its portrayal in movies continued to flourish.

The notable peak in came in 1969 with the movie 'Easy Rider'. Once again cast as the bad boys favourite mode of transportation, the Harley Davidson Chopper cruising the open highway, will always epitomize freedom and rebellion. Maybe it is this dichotomy of emotions, so fundamental to American history and the 'American Dream' that has been the backbone of the Harleys endurance. The nineties saw Mickey Rourke and Don Jonson take up the gauntlet, although in this film it was Mickey Rourke's character that bestowed the Name Harley Davidson to the title of the film.

Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man once again cast the character of the rough neck to, yes you guessed it, Harley Davidson. As the nineties progressed, the teenagers that had idolized Marlon Brando and those early biker movies in the 50's were maturing into the wealth of America. Like an old friendship lost but never forgotten, it was these middle aged rebels of yester-year that would rekindle the corporate fortunes of Harley Davidson. they customized their bikes to stand out in a crowd and create for themselves a separate identity apart from the rest of the corporate clones.

They were rebels that may have succumbed to the corporate ladder but now had the finances to relive the youth they could never afford. So, it is with somewhat of a saddened heart, that the movie that was to portray the story of this revival and tell the story of those 50's youth reborn, should have turn out to be such a damp squib. Maybe Harleys executives still feel the pinch of the bad boy image and this is why they turned to Disney to tell the story. Personally, I think they should have gone with Tarrentino, the guts and the glory, the true Harley Davidson.


Motorcycles are cheap to run, exciting to ride and a quick way to travel through traffic. Styles of motorcycles vary depending on the task for which they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating congested urban traffic, cruising, sport and racing, or off-road conditions. In many parts of the world, motorcycles are among the least expensive and most widespread forms of motorised transport.

After the Second World War, the BSA Group became the largest producer of motorcycles in the world, producing up to 75,000 bikes a year in the 1950s. Almost all commercially available motorcycles are driven by conventional gasoline internal combustion engines, but some small scooter-type models use an electric motor , and a very small number of diesel models exist.

Liquid-cooled motorcycles have a radiator (exactly like the radiator on a car) which is the primary way their heat is dispersed. Liquid cooled motorcycles have the potential for greater power at a given displacement, tighter tolerances, and longer operating life, whereas air cooled motorcycles are potentially cheaper to purchase, less mechanically complex and lighter weight.

Only the largest touring motorcycles and a few models that are routinely used with a sidecar or converted to tricycle configuration are fitted with a reverse gear. At one time, motorcycles all used spoke wheels built up from separate components , but, except for dirtbikes, one-piece wheels are more common now.

Brakes can either be drum or disc based, with disc brakes being more common on large, modern or more expensive motorcycles for their far superior stopping power, particularly in wet conditions. Modern designs have the two wheels of a motorcycle connected to the chassis by a suspension arrangement, however 'chopper' style motorcycles often elect to forgo rear suspension, using a rigid frame.

As can be seen from the streamlined appearance of new performance motorcycles, there is much aerodynamic technology included in the design. Modern fairings on touring and sport-touring motorcycles dramatically improve a rider's comfort and attention on long rides by reducing the effect of the wind and rain on the body.

BSA motorbikes 1950s

BSA was founded in 1861 in the Gun Quarter, Birmingham, England by fourteen gunsmiths of the Birmingham Small Arms Trade Association, who had together supplied arms to the British government during the Crimean War. The company branched out as the gun trade declined; in the 1870s they manufactured the Otto Dicycle, in the 1880s the company began to manufacture bicycles and in 1903 the company's first experimental motorcycle was constructed.

Their first prototype auto-mobile was produced in 1907 and the next year the company sold 150 automobiles. By 1909 they were offering a number of motorcycles for sale and in 1910 BSA purchased the British Daimler Company for its automobile engines. Edward Turner conceived the Square Four engine in 1928. Turner would later go on to design the Triumph twin and become the the head of the Triumph Company, but at this time he was looking for work, taking drawings of his revolutionary engine around the motorcycle industry.

The idea for the engine, which was comprised of a pair of 'across frame' parallel twins linked by a pair of gears, was adopted by Ariel, then very much a force in the British motorcycle industry. The engine had its problems but in theory was almost a perfect motor, compact and well balanced. The prototype was a 500 cc capacity engine, so well contained that it fit into the frame of the Ariel 250.

The basic design was worked on and a modified version was released in 1930. It caused a massive stir, and as it was ideal for side-car riders, an upgraded 600 cc version was released in 1932 specifically for this purpose. In 1937 the Square Four went through ac complete redesign. The old engine had been fitted with an overhead camshaft that had led to the engine's major weakness - a tendency to overheat around the cylinder head. The 1937 engine replaced the camshafts with pushrods and the crank and crankcase were completely changed. A 1000 cc option was added to the standard 600 cc for the first time.

Production ceased during the war and afterwards only the 1000 cc model was built and offered with telescopic forks. In 1949 the engine became all alloy and the overall handling and acceleration improved. Scooters are two-wheeled vehicles powered by a small engine. Although it’s similar in concept to motorcycles, it has some important differences. The wheels of a scooter are fastened to the end of a short axle, rather than being mounted between a “fork” in the frame.

The engine is usually concealed in a cowling of some kind, making them quieter and less likely to get oil or grease on the rider’s clothes. Scooters generally have less horsepower than motorcycles. The overall effect is a more “civilized” vehicle meant for practical daily use. Today, a scooter can be defined as a two-wheeled vehicle built on a monocoque frame with a 250 cubic centimetre (cc) engine or smaller. There are scooters with larger engines, but they essentially represent a subclass of vehicles in between scooters and motorcycles. Many jurisdictions legally consider them motorcycles.

Austin 7

As with all collectible antiques, current value has everything to do with current supply vs. demand, and very little else; certainly little to do with the car's price when new or any objective standard. Thus, rare cars that are highly desired are highly expensive, while vehicles that are not fashionable to collect can be very cheap. Condition, of course, influences value.

At the present time, the variation in purchase price between a poor condition and good condition vehicle is generally much less than the cost of restoring a poor condition car; thus it is cheaper in the long run to buy the better vehicle. The Austin 7 was a vintage car produced from 1922 through to 1939 in the United Kingdom by the Austin Motor Company. It was one of the most popular cars ever produced there and wiped out most other British small cars and cycle cars of the early 1920s, its effect on the British market was similar to that of the Model T Ford in the USA.

It was also licensed and copied by companies all over the world. Thomas Humber founded the Humber cycle company in Sheffield in 1868, but it was not until much later that the company would become involved with the production of motor vehicles. The Humber company expanded through the 1870s to the point where it was producing bicycles in Nottingham, Beeston and Wolverhampton.

Factory number four was opened in Coventry in 1889, by which time Humber was seriously looking at motorized transport. There was a brief flirtation with such oddities as tricycles and quadricyles — one of which sported front wheel drive and rear wheel steering. In 1899 the first Humber car, the 3 1/2 horsepower Phaeton, was built at Beeston, but the first Coatalen designed car, the Voiturette, did not appear until 1901.

This was followed by the 1903 Humberette, which sported a tubular frame and 5hp single-cylinder engine. Larger cars came in the shape of the 1902 four-cylinder 12hp, which was soon followed up in 1903 by a three-cylinder 9hp and a four-cylinder 20hp model. By this time, Humber car production was concentrated at a new factory in Folly Lane, Coventry, which - coincidentally - was situated close to Hillman. After 1905, the smaller engined models were dropped, allowing Humber to concentrate on the production of its staple 10/12hp model and the larger 16/20hp. In 1907, this range was supplemented by the arrival of the Humber 15hp.

Driving test

Motorists are almost universally required to take lessons with an approved instructor and pass a driving test before being granted a license. The trend has been towards increasingly tougher tests in recent decades. Almost all countries allow all adults with good vision to apply to take a driving test and, if successful, to drive on public roads. Saudi Arabia, however, bans women from driving vehicles (whether pedal or motor powered) on public roads.

Saudi women have periodically staged driving protests against these restrictions. In many countries, even after passing one's driving test, new motorists may be initially subject to special restrictions. For example, in Australia, novice drivers are required to carry "P" ("provisional") plates, and are subject to lower speed limits, alcohol limits, and other restrictions for their first two years of driving. This varies between states. Most countries have also implemented laws in relation to driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The limits up to which drivers are permitted to drive vary according to the jurisdiction in which the offence occurs

As with all collectible antiques, current value has everything to do with current supply vs. demand, and very little else; certainly little to do with the car's price when new or any objective standard. Thus, rare cars that are highly desired are highly expensive, while vehicles that are not fashionable to collect can be very cheap. Condition, of course, influences value. At the present time, the variation in purchase price between a poor condition and good condition vehicle is generally much less than the cost of restoring a poor condition car; thus it is cheaper in the long run to buy the better vehicle.

British cars hold a special place in American history. At a time when most sports cars were huge and bulky, the powerful but small British cars created a different segment in the car market in America. There were many British cars that were popular in America, such as the MG, Austin-Healey, and Triumph, to name a few. They became a dream machine for Americans and sold well during the 1950s and 1960s. Not only were they cheap, but they also had a unique simplistic composition and design that endeared them to the American populace.

This popularity of British cars continues even today. One can find antique British cars in almost every American city, despite most British cars having stopped export in the late eighties and early nineties. The old cars of yesteryear were -and indeed still are- treasured by connoisseurs. The American public takes pride in owning old British cars and refurnishing them to their pristine glory, despite the heavy expenditure.

De Dion engine on a tandem bicycle

Oscar Hedstrom had mounted a single-cylinder De Dion engine on a tandem bicycle for the purpose of pacing then-popular bicycle races. George Hendee, a bicycle manufacturer from Springfield, Massachusetts, saw the contraption at an event and proposed a cooperative effort to produce motorized bicycles commercially, hedstrom agreed, and in 1901 the Indian Motorcycle Company was born. Most pre-1910 motorcycles look as though the manufacturer simply bolted an engine and its accessories onto a common bicycle frame -- which indeed was usually the case. ut early Indians used the engine as a stressed frame member, effectively replacing the downtube beneath the seat.

As with most motorcycles of the era, suspension was non- existent (save for the spring-mounted seat), and pedals were used to start the engine. However, Indian used a direct-drive chain rather than the more common tensioned leather belt to turn the rear wheel, the chain being more positive in operation -- and more reliable. This 1904 'humpback' is little different than the first 1901 models. Producing just over two horsepower, the 13-cubic-inch single provided a top speed of around 25 mph. Both the lubrication and ignition system were of the 'total loss' variety. Braking was accomplished by backpedaling, which activated a rear coaster brake. Dark blue was the color of choice until 1904, when black and vermillion became optional. The vermillion would later be known as 'Indian Red.'

In 1946 Jawa introduced a 250cc two stroke single with dual exhausts which became a widespread utility motorcycle around the world, especially in countries allied to the communist block. Replicas of this original are produced in Chang Jiang Motorworks in China in the 21st century. A 350cc twin cylinder two stroke motorcycle was exported around the world and sold under numerous other brand names as well, including the Eaton's brand of Eaton's Road King, and a large single cylinder flathead motorcycle was sold in the 1960s by Sears of Canada.

The CZ brand of motorcycle was merged with Jawa by the socialist economic planners after the Communist victory in 1948. CZ also made street motorcycles but was more well known for their motocross and enduro models. ISDT models for trials and enduro were produced under the Jawa and CZ nameplates. In 1926 three brothers, Adriano, Marcello and Bruno Ducati, founded Societa Scientifica Radio Brevetti Ducati in Bologna to produce tubes, condensers and other radio components, becoming successful enough by 1935 to construct a new factory in the Borgo Panigale area of the city.

During the war, although the Ducati factory was a repeated target for Allied bombing, production was maintained. Meanwhile, at the small Turinese firm SIATA (Societa Italiana per Applicazioni Tecniche Auto-Aviatorie), Aldo Farinelli began developing a small pushrod engine for mounting on bicycles. Barely a month after the official liberation of Italy in 1944, SIATA announced its intention to sell this engine, called the "Cucciolo" (Italian for "puppy," in reference to the distinctive exhaust sound) to the public.

The first Cucciolos were available alone, to be mounted on standard bicycles, by the buyer; however, businessmen soon bought the little engines in quantity, and offered complete motorized-bicycle units for sale. In 1950 (after more than 200,000 Cucciolos had been sold), in collaboration with SIATA, the Ducati firm finally offered its own Cucciolo-based motorcycle.

This first Ducati motorcycle was a 60 cc bike weighing 98 pounds with a top speed of 40 mph (64 km/h) had a 15 mm carburetor giving just under 200 mpg (85 km/L). Ducati soon dropped the "Cucciolo" name in favor of "55M" and "65TL".

Classic motorcycle

Todays motorcycles are everywhere and there are lots of different classes or kinds of motorcycles as well. But the motorcycle, like the automobile, is a relative newcomer to the world stage. he first motorcycle ever assembled was built by the German inventors Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in 1885 in Bad Cannstatt in Germany. They were actually focusing more on the motor that was installed to power the two-wheeled contraption and not so much on creating a new kind of vehicle, but the resulting impact on motorized travel would be tremendous.

There were earlier versions of steam powered bicycles, but this was the first petroleum powered motorcycle. Not long afterward in 1894 the very first production motorcycle went on sale as the Hildebrand & Wolfmüller motorcycle.

It wasn't long after that before several of the bicycle companies of that time got into the act and started selling versions of what was essentially motorized bicycles. However, as horsepower increased, the engines started to outgrow the bicycle frames that were used as their carriage. The most popular motorcycle company before World War 1 was Indian motorcycle.

After the war, Harley Davidson took over the number one spot until 1928 when DKW became the leading motorcycle manufacturer in the world. For a few years after World War 2 BSA took over as the largest motorcycle producer until 1955 when NSU Motorworks who had started out as a knitting machine company in 1884 became the dominant manufacturer for the next couple of decades.

Then in the 1970s the Japanese companies Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Suzuki made their entrance into this field, changed the face of the industry, and quickly became the dominant motorcycle suppliers to the world from then on.

Since the 70s Honda has held the title of the world's largest motorcycle maker. Today, the big four motorcycle makers have penetrated practically every motorcycle market in the world, and they are highly regarded as makers of high quality motorcycle products.

Many of us look back with fond memories of motorcycles of days gone by, and remember how cool they looked, and how we wished we could own one at the time. Now we're older the bikes have moved on, but that doesn't mean we should forget all about those old motor bikes. In fact the opposite is true, now those bikes we looked at with awe and envy all those years gone by are becoming classics, and as such are worth saving from the scrapheap.

Classic motorcycle restoration isn't all about locking yourself away in a garage and becoming an expert on which grade of chrome was used to plate the headlamp retaining bolt. Motorcycle restoration is a fun hobby for everyone, from the DIY mechanic to those who just want to ride a motorcycle they never could afford when they were younger. You don't even need to have a lot of spare money as some classic motorbikes can be picked up quite cheaply in various states of repair.

Some motorbikes can, with a little attention, be ridden almost immediately and yet still not hit your wallet too hard. Another thing worth thinking about is the investment factor of classic motorcycle restoration. You can pick up a cheap bike, do some small repairs and cosmetic tidying, and already it's started to increase in value.

It doesn't need to be a complete nuts and bolts restoration to increase the value, with some extra care even as you enjoy riding it over a few years, a classic bikes value can increase greatly, and could mean you can make a tidy profit if you decide to sell it later.

Rolls royce

Rolls and Royce were in fact people before the history of Rolls-Royce as a company every began. Frederick Royce was a British electrical equipment manufacturer who built the first Royce cars in 1904. The three two-cylinder, 10-hp cars he built attracted the attention of Charles Rolls, a longtime car enthusiast from way back in 1894 and son of a baron.

He owned a dealership in London, where he first encountered a Royce. He was so taken with the engineering that he partnered with the car's creator. Royce would built the cars, and Rolls would sell them.

Like many manufacturers of the day, Rolls entered the first Rolls-Royces in races in order to promote them. These cars were similar to the first one built by Royce. Real fame came with the 1907 introduction of a 6-cylinder engine inside a silver-painted four-passenger chassis dubbed "The Silver Ghost." This car was driven 15,000 continuous miles with little wear, cementing the R-R reputation for reliability. Unfortunately, Rolls' passion for excitement ended in 1910, when his biplane (based on the Wright brothers' flyer) crashed and killed him almost instantly.

The Silver Ghost chassis, built in Derby, U.K., was toughened with armor so it could serve as a combat car in Flanders, Africa, Egypt, and with Lawrence of Arabia during WWI. In the Jazz Age that came after the war, people had money to spend on these reliable Rollers. There were Silver Ghosts built in Springfield, Mass., from 1920-1924, and a smaller 20-hp "Baby Roller" was introduced.

Big cars were still popular, though, with the Phantoms I, II, and II all appearing in the 1920s. During WWII, the company built Rolls-Royce Merlin airplane engines in a facility in Crewe, U.K., rather than cars. Announced in 1959, and still manufactured 40 years later at the end of the century, Alec Issigonis's cheeky little Mini-Minor changed the face of motoring. The world's first car to combine front-wheel-drive and a transversely-mounted engine in a tiny ten-foot long package, was the most efficient and effective use of road space that had ever been seen.

In so many ways, this must qualify as the ‘car of the century'. In scheming up the car Issigonis and his team, which had already designed the Morris Minor, was given a difficult brief by the British Motor Corporation. In the aftermath of the Suez Crisis, and threatened world-wide petrol rationing, Issigonis was asked to provide a minimum-size, minimum-price four-seater package – all built around an existing BMC engine. Choosing front-wheel-drive and the A-series engine, he then minimised the size of the car by turning the engine sideways, and mounted the transmission under the engine.

Tiny (10 in /254 mm) diameter road wheels, independent suspension by rubber cone springs, and a careful packaging of the cabin, all helped to provide one of the most amazing little cars of all time. So what if the driving position was cramped, and the steering wheel too vertical? This was a Mini, after all. Although Issigonis insisted that he was only providing a super-small, super-economy saloon, almost by chance his Mini had superb handling, precise race-car-like steering and unmatched agility.

Even before more powerful versions were available, the Mini had started winning rallies, and showing well in saloon car racing: later, in Mini-Cooper S form, size-for-size it was unbeatable. Originally sold only as two-door saloons in near-identical ‘Austin' and ‘Morris' forms, Minis soon spawned derivatives.

Not only would there be vans, estate cars and pick-ups, but plusher Riley and Wolseley types followed, as did the stark ‘topless' Mini-Moke machines. web page image spacer Engines were eventually enlarged, tiny front-wheel disc brakes were added, the Mini-Cooper and Mini-Cooper S followed, and by the mid-1960s this was a car which had won the Monte Carlo Rally on several occasions.

For years there was nothing a Mini could not do, for it appealed to everyone, and every social class, from royalty to the dustman, bought one. At peak, production in two factories (Longbridge and Cowley) exceeded 300,000 every year, BMC's only problem being that it was priced so keenly that profit margins were wafer thin.

Even the arrival of the larger Mini Metro in 1980 could not kill off the Mini, whose charm was unique. By the 1980s, with larger wheels, re-equipped interiors and wind-up windows, the Mini was a better car than ever, and, looking much the same, it was still selling steadily at the end of the 1990s: more than five million had already been made. Now in the 2000s, we have the New Mini, larger and heavier than before.

British iconic Cars

As an Englishman born and bred and a fan of British iconic Cars

I thought it may be of interest to list some of the most popular British Car Icons which are instantly recognised Worldwide. I have decided to list the cars and descriptions about the Iconic Cars which may be of interest to the reader. Although the original four-wheeler Morgan was shown in the mid-1930s, it was overshadowed by the company's older three-wheeler models until the end of the Second World War.

From that point, while altering the original style only slightly as the years passed by, Morgan concentrated on their four-wheeler sports cars. Morgans were first made by a family-owned business in 1910 (a situation which has never changed), and even the first cars employed a type of sliding-pillar independent front suspension which is still used to this day.

Assembly was always by hand, always at a leisurely pace, and even in the post-war years it was a good week which saw more than ten complete cars leave the gates in Malvern Link. The post-war 4/4 retained the simple ladder-style chassis and the rock-hard suspension for which the marque is noted, and still looked like its 1939 predecessor.

It used to be said that the ride was so hard that if one drove over a penny in the road, a skilled driver would know whether ‘heads' or ‘tails' was uppermost. Although pre-war cars had been powered by Coventry-Climax, the post-war chassis was exclusively fitted with a specially-manufactured overhead-valve Standard 1,267 cc engine (which never appeared in Standard or Triumph models). Although this engine only produced 40 bhp, the Morgan was such a light car that it could reach 75 mph, while handling in a way that made all MG Midget owners jealous.

The style was what we must now call ‘traditional Morgan' – it was a low-slung two-seater with sweeping front wings, and free-standing headlamps, along with cutaway doors and the sort of weather protection which made one drive quickly for home in a shower, rather than stop to wrestle with its sticks and removable panels. Up front, there was a near-vertical radiator, flanked by free-standing headlamps, while the coil spring/vertical-pillar front suspension was easily visible from the nose.

Most 4/4s were open-top two-seaters, though a more completely trimmed and equipped two-seater drop-head coupé (with wind-up windows in the doors) was also available. Bodies were framed from unprotected wood members, with steel or aluminium skin panels tacked into place, and were all manufactured in the Morgan factory.

Here was an old-style, no-compromise sports car made in modern times – a philosophy which Morgan has never abandoned. Requests for a more modern specification were politely shrugged off, waiting lists grew, and Morgan has been financially healthy ever since.

Before the 4/4 was replaced by the altogether larger 2.1-litre Plus 4 of 1950, a grand total of 1,720 4/4s were sold. Hand assembled, these low-slung two-seater sports cars had cutaway doors and a near vertical radiator which was flanked by free-standing headlamps. Most were open topped and had rock-hard suspension.

Aston Martin DB 40

Fame comes in strange and unexpected ways. Although the Aston DB4 and DB5 models were already respected by the cognoscenti, the DB5 did not become world-famous until used as James Bond's personal transport in the film Goldfinger. Although not equipped with Bond's ejector seat, it appealed to millions, and the DB5's reputation was secure for ever. Technically, of course, Aston Martin had always been a marque of distinction. Following the success of the DB2, DB2/4 and DB Mk III models of the 1950s, Aston Martin commissioned a totally new and larger series for the 1960s, beginning with the DB4 in 1958.

Built around a simple steel platform chassis, it was clothed in a sleek light-alloy fastback body style by Superleggera Touring of Italy (but built at Newport Pagnell). The skin panels were fixed to a network of light tubing, a method patented by Superleggera. Power (and what power!) came from a magnificent new 3.7-litre twin-cam six-cylinder engine, which soon proved to be strong and reliable in motor racing. The DB4 came close to matching anything so far achieved by Ferrari.

All this, allied to a close-coupled four-seater cabin, and high (traditionally British) standards of trim and equipment, made the expensive DB4 very desirable. The DB5, which was launched in 1963, was a direct development of the DB4; it had a full 4-litre engine, a more rounded nose with recessed-headlamps, and many equipment improvements. Two varieties of engine – the most powerful with a claimed 314 bhp – were on offer, as were non-sporting options such as automatic transmission, which came a full decade before Ferrari stooped to such action.

It was such a complicated, mainly hand-built, machine that it had to sell at high prices. The saloon cost an eye-watering £4,175 in 1963 (there was also a convertible version, at £4,490) and because assembly was a lengthy and careful business, sales were limited to only ten cars a week. It was not for years, incidentally, that it became clear that even these prices did not cover costs, for Aston Martin was merely the industrial plaything of its owner, tractor magnate David Brown. DB5s could safely reach 140 mph, with roadholding, steering and brakes to match, all the time producing the characteristic booming exhaust notes for which they became famous.

Although they looked sinuous and dashing, they were heavy machines and there was no power-assisted steering on this model. Clearly, this was a bespoke GT machine which would run and run, as the longer and more spacious DB6 which took over in 1965 would prove.

In only two years, a total of 1,063 cars (123 convertibles, and 12 of them very special estate car types) were produced. Almost all have survived. The DB5 became world-famous as James Bond's car in the film Goldfinger. Lacking the ejector seat, this mainly hand-built car appealed to millions. Although it was a heavy car to drive, as it lacked power-assisted steering, the DB5 had good roadholding.

Jaguar's original E-type

By almost any reckoning, Jaguar's original E-type

was the sexiest motor car ever launched. It looked wonderful, it was extremely fast, and it was always sold at extremely attractive prices. For more than a decade, it was the sports car by which all other supercar manufacturers had to measure themselves. Originally conceived in 1956 as a successor to the D-type racing sports car, the E-type was not to be used for that purpose.

Re-engineered and re-developed, it became an outstanding road-going sports car, taking over from the last of the XK cars – the XK150 – in 1961. Like the D-type, its structure acknowledged all the best contemporary aerospace principles, utilising a multi-tubular front chassis frame which surrounded the engine and supported the front suspension and steering, and was bolted up to the bulkhead of the pressed steel monocoque centre and rear end.

Power came from the very latest version of the famous XK six-cylinder twin-cam engine, with three SU carburettors and no less than 265 bhp (according to American SAE ratings). It was matched by all-independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, and a unique, wind-cheating body style. As with the C- and D-type racing cars, the E-type's shape had been designed by ex-aircraft industry specialist Malcolm Sayer, who combined great artistic flair for a line with the ability to calculate how the wind would flow over a car's contours.

For practical purposes, the E-type's nose might have been too long, its cabin cramped, and its tail too high to hide all of the chassis components, but all this was forgiven by its remarkable aero-dynamic performance – and its enormous visual appeal.

Open and fastback two-seaters were available from the start, and although a 150 mph top speed was difficult for an ordinary private owner to achieve, this was a supercar in all respects, being faster than any other British road car of the period (and, for that matter, for many years to come). Much-modified types eventually won a series of motor races at just below world level, for they were really too heavy for this purpose. Only three years after launch, a 4.2-litre engine, allied to a new synchromesh gearbox, was adopted, and a longer wheelbase 2+2 coupé followed in 1966.

The E-type sold well all around the world, especially in the USA although new safety laws caused the car to lose its power edge, and its headlamp covers before the end of the 1960s. The Series II's performance did not match that of the original, and by 1971, the E-type was a somewhat emasculated car. A final Series III type was powered by Jaguar's new 5.3-litre V12 engine, and a top speed of 150 mph was once again within reach.

Drivers did not seem to mind the small cabin and less than perfect ventilation, but in the end it was more safety regulations and changes in fashion that caused this wonderful motoring icon to fade away. The last of 72,520 E-types was built in 1975, when it was replaced by an entirely different type of sporting Jaguar, the larger, heavier and not so beautiful XJ-S. Considered to be the sexiest car ever launched, the E-type was a fast and outstanding sports car. Designed by an ex-aircraft specialist, it had a remarkable aerodynamic performance.

Lotus Elite.

Right from the start, when he built his original special- bodied Austin Seven trials car, Colin Chapman showed signs of engineering genius. Setting up Lotus, he sold his first car kits in the early 1950s, and soon progressed to building advanced racing sports cars. The first true Lotus road car, however, was the very advanced Lotus Elite.

First shown in 1957, but not available until a year later, the new two-seater Elite coupé was irresistibly attractive. Even though Lotus was still a small company, Chapman had laid out a car which pushed technology to the limit. In particular, he decided to make the Elite without a separate chassis, using a fully-stressed fibreglass monocoque body which would only include steel sections for a few local reinforcements. Not only was this amazing machine to be powered by a race-proved overhead-camshaft engine from Coventry-Climax, and had four-wheel independent suspension, but it was achingly beautiful, and was quite amazingly light in weight.

No-one, it seems, was ever likely to confuse the Elite with any other car, for its tiny, smooth and always curving lines had no rivals. Looking back into history, its only real drawback was that the door windows could not be wound down, but had to be removed to provide better ventilation. In engineering terms, though, ‘adding lightness' often adds cost too, and there was no doubt that the Elite was always going to be a costly car to make and sell.

The fibreglass monocoque body shells proved to be difficult to make in numbers, major bought-in items like the Coventry-Climax engine were very expensive, and owners soon found that a great deal of maintenance and loving care was needed to keep the new sports car running.

Refinement was not then a word which Lotus understood and the Elite was a rather crudely equipped and finished machine at first; the interior environment was very noisy, for there was little attempt to insulate the drive line and suspension fixings from the monocoque, which acted like a fully matured sound box.

As the years passed, the Elite's specification changed, with the power of the engine gradually being pushed up to 100 bhp (which brought the top speed to more than 120 mph, quite amazing for a 1.2-litre car), a ZF gear-box adapted and (for Series II cars) a different type of rear suspension geometry specified. Special Elites, particularly when prepared at the factory, were outstandingly successful class cars in GT racing, even appearing with honour in major events such as the Le Mans 24 Hour and Nurburgring Six Hour events.

Years later Colin Chapman admitted that the Elite had never made profits for Lotus, which may explain why he was happy to phase it out in 1962, ahead of the arrival of the backbone chassised Elan. Nothing can ever detract from the gracious style and inventive engineering which went into the car. A total of 988 Elites were made. Committed owners usually forgave the Elite for the car's failings, as here was a car which drove and handled like no other rival. Light by the standards of the day, it was not only fast, but remarkably economical too.

Lotus cars

Here is a classic case of the stop-gap project which soon outgrew its parent. Before the Land Rover appeared, Rover had been building a relatively small number of fine middle class cars. By the 1950s they were building many more Land Rover 4x4s, and the cars were very much a minor part of the business.

Immediately after the war, Rover found itself running a massive former ‘shadow factory' complex at Solihull, and needed to fill it. (A ‘shadow factory' was an aero-engine factory established during the rearmament of the 1930s.) Faced with material shortages, it could not build many private cars, and elected to fill the gaps with a newly-developed 4x4, which it would base unashamedly on the design of the already legendary Jeep from the USA.
Early Land Rovers shared the same 80 in/2,032 mm wheelbase as the Jeep, and the same basic four-wheel-drive layout. The Land Rover, however, was much more versatile than the Jeep, in that it was built in myriad different guises, shapes and derivatives, and it used aluminium body panels, which ensured that it was virtually rust-free.

Apart from the fact that it was not very fast or powerful, (though time and further development would solve those problems) the Land Rover could tackle almost any job, climb almost any slope, and ford almost every stream, which made it invaluable for farmers, contractors, surveyors, explorers, armies, public service companies – in fact almost anyone with a need for four-wheel-drive traction, and the rugged construction which went with it.

It wasn't long before the original pick-up was joined by vans, estate cars, short and long wheelbases to choice, petrol and diesel engines. A long list of extras became available: winches, extra-large wheels and tyres, and liaison with specialist companies ensured that it could be turned it into an impromptu railway shunting vehicle, a portable cinema truck, an equipment hoist, and a whole lot more. Its short-travel leaf spring suspension gave it a shatteringly hard ride and the Land Rover engineers stated that this, at least, limited cross-country speeds to keep the chassis in one piece.

Later models grew larger, longer, and more powerful, but it would not be until the 1960s that the first six-cylinder type appeared, not until 1979 that the first V8 Land Rover was sold, and not until the early 1980s that coil spring suspension finally took over. Sales, however, just went on and on, with the millionth being produced in the mid 1970s. By the late 1990s, when the ‘Freelander' model appeared, 1.5 million Land Rovers had been manufactured, although by then it had been renamed ‘Defender'

Land Rover

While people know the big British manufacturers of old, what is often forgotten is that in the earliest years of car production there were hundreds of small manufacturers who built cars locally.

The Huddersfield connection to Aston Martin is pretty well known, but that was a simple acquisition and later sale by Huddersfield manufacturer David Brown, but the Huddersfield area also had its own car manufacturer (as did many towns and cities of the era).

The company L.S.D. was named after the surnames of the designer, builder and the company accountant Sykes and Dyson) and was based in Mirfield from 1919 to 1926 and built mainly 3 wheeler vehicles. Built to order, they were finely crafted and today considered among the rarest cars in the world. One of these cars is in our local museum in Ravensknowle Park and is in pretty good condition.

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