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15th August 2020

All the cars IN THE WORLD

I was reminded of the old Daily Express 'World Cars' magazines from the '70s and '80s that used to list all of the following year's new cars from around the globe in one publication to coincide with the Motor Show.

In the photo I saw, there was the 1979 magazine (from late 1978) that had a red Lotus Esprit on the cover. I was immediately transported back to my young childhood bedroom, kneeling by my bed and looking at my Father's copy for hours on end.

An Ebay purchase was made and for good measure I picked up a cheap job lot of the 1981- 1987 magazines too! Thumbing through these old magazines is an absolute delight and I've been reminded of cars I'd forgotten and the wonderful adverts and products of the past.

One particular page (in the 1979 magazine) that was so great to see again was the Slideaway Mini Monaco. It still looks fabulous with it's stripes, sunroof, nudge bars and fog lights. As a 9 year old I wanted that Mini more than James Bond's Lotus.

29th July 2020

Il tricolore triple test photoshoot

As there haven't really been any car shows so far this year, it was a real treat to be asked along with my Alfa 33 for a triple test and photoshoot by Auto-Italia magazine to Longcross Studios test track in Chertsey.

My car was used once before by the magazine, in 2009, for a triple test with the then new Alfa Romeo Mito and an Alfa Romeo 145. This time it was up against a beautiful slimline and square headlamped 1990 Lancia Delta HF 1600 Turbo and a saucy 1993 Fiat Tipo Sedici Valvole (16v).

All three are great and very rare cars now and it was an added bonus that we had the green, white and red of the Italian flag represented.

I shall now eagerly await the publication of the magazine...

22nd July 2020

Pre-Satellite Navigation

After all the recent excitement of the early 80s Sparkrite Voyager drive computer (see previous page), I thought I should get a more mid 90s gadget that I could actually use in my 1993 car.

The perfect solution was a Philips Routefinder navigation system from about 1995 complete with it's AA maps data card. This clever piece of equipment pre-dates satellite navigation and as such it doesn't actually know where you are. The user inputs 'start' and 'end' destinations and the device uses the memory card data to show the total distance and the journey broken down into steps. A press of a button brings up the next step as each section is completed, and so on.

The steps are quite large as far as I can see, such as M1 - M6, as opposed to Shaftsbury Road into Cornwall Way etc. The user can select a route without motorways or low bridges though, to really push the Routefinder to it's limits...

I couldn't resist another mid 90's influenced shot with the Routefinder joining the Sony Discman and Sony Mars Bar phone. There's even a copy of 'Definitely Maybe' by Oasis on CD for good measure.

20th July 2020

Vintage air freshener joy

We all remember our first car or two fondly and can probably remember buying 'rubbish' for them like low quality speakers and new air fresheners every time we bought petrol or other tat from the local car accessory shop.

My first air freshener was a green fluffy ball with a moustache and hat that smelt of apples, I think called a 'gismo' and then I had a string of traffic lights Feu Oranges (now worth a fortune) and Turtle Wax Turtle Fresh shelled smellies on wheels.

A 'new' turtle came up on Ebay at a reasonable-ish price and so another trip down memory lane arrived in the post.

29th May 2020

Snooper S2 Neo updated with XP

I dug out my old Snooper camera detector, that I had bought in about 2009, to show my son. I thought it might be fun to see if it would still update as the device came with "free updates for life" when I got it.

I had no joy with a Windows 10 PC and so emailed Snooper who were really helpful and told me that there was still an active download service available but it wouldn't work with recent computer operating systems.

Having laced up an old PC with Windows XP on it I successfully updated the Snooper and even took it out in the car where it still worked a treat.

27th May 2020

Alfa GT bush failure

The Alfa GT had new high quality TRW front lower wishbones fitted by a specialist in December 2015 and the car has only covered about 12,000 miles since. To my horror I noticed that one bush had wiggled it's way out whilst I carried out a small service.

These arms on the Alfa 156/147/GT range are notorious for giving a short service and so I wasn't too surprised they'd failed again. Mrs MG also had to drive the car over a bit of rough unmade road into her old workplace carpark which obviously didn't help.

UPDATE- End June 2020 - The specialist replaced both arms once more and discovered that the other side was almost as bad.

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