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August 22, 2010 / consort3


Bit off topic but as a 3 wheeler fan you might expect me to like the products of the Morgan car co. Their latest is named after Eva off the Diyaudio forum! Sadly they did not put it in production.

Note the split rear screen like the corvette sting ray

Course they nicked the idea from the Lancia Aprilia as did VW for their narrow angle V engines.


Extremely rare Morgan panel van. Note the cute oval windows also they predated by 80 years the new EU directive that wheels have to be fitted to every passenger door. There is an obscure connection between the adjacent 2 pictures in that both vehicles have sliding pillar front suspension.

For years Morgan had only one development engineer,  Maurice Owen. Imagine having that responsibility! In the mid seventies there was a seven year waiting list for Morgans. Why? because you got a hand-built bespoke car for not much more than a standard Ford or whatever. That is still the case. But with more exotic cars and with more wealthy clients, Morgan can afford to employ more designers and development engineers See Jay Leno drive the new Morgan 3 wheeler here:

Talking of spare wheels and doors here the spare wheel is in the door:


1934 car built to Burney patents With a 6 cylinder engine outboard of the rear axle, it would be more tail happy than a Porsche. Burney was associated with the R100 airship with Barnes Wallis and Nevil Shute. A better known example of the genre is the Tatra 77 from the same year. Also from that year the Chrysler Airflow, but that had a front engine.



Picture shows an Aston Martin Zagato from the early 60’s

Astons at the time were campaigned by Essex Racing, a team owned by John Ogier who had an extraordinary career as Fleet air arm pilot, Chicken farmer (introducing American techniques to the UK), racing team manager and Design company director. He also made enough money from chickens to finance the Tojeiro-Jaguars of the 50’s. When his Fleet air arm friend David Ogle was prematurely killed in a car accident in 1962 he managed Ogle Design, only to be killed himself in a car accident. Ogle designed variously the Raleigh chopper, the Bond Bug and Reliant Robin and Scimitar. Tojeiro was also in the Fleet air arm, I wonder if they knew each other from that. Apparently Tojeiro used to help Ogle with the suspension on their cars.   Ogle recently celebrated 60 years in the design business, remarkable longevity. Ex-Ogle designer Mike Simcoe has been made worldwide head of GM design.

Brian Lister bought a Tojeiro in the early fifties and gave it to the incredible Archie Scott -Brown.  Incredibly, you can buy a Lister replica:

These early sixties cars are beautiful. Here is the low drag E-type. On the standard E-type the windscreen looks too vertical for those used to modern designs:
Eagle Low Drag GT Photo: James Lipman //

Incredibly rare Ogle Cortina, a project of Stirling Moss

The symbol of Italian rural life. It is ironic that the same country that produces Ferraris Lamborginis etc still makes these. There perhaps is the charm of Italy and perhaps why it produced the worlds greatest Motorcycle engineer, Fabio Taglione and one of the worlds greatest car designers Dante Giacosa. Never heard of him? Shame on you, look him up on Wikipedia. Mind you it took him until 1968 to come  up with the classic configuration: Transverse engine, in line gearbox, Mcpherson strut suspension, in the Fiat 128, almost universal now. While I am extolling the virtues of Italian automotive engineering, here is an animation of Fiats new valve system, I consider it the most important development since electronic fuel injection:

Digital valve system:



Below: successful Honda Gyro incredibly based on the unsuccessful BSA Ariel 3

Incredibly rare Motovettorette Vaghi Bambina (courtesy

Meanwhile here is a  music video for Radar love featuring a Reliant Robin 3 wheeler

Fiat 500 with Reliant yellowtop engine (if you know anything about this car please let me know)


If you thought that was weird here is a 911 with a big US V8

Could not leave this subject without a picture of the creators of the Mini Cooper Messrs Cooper &Issigonis;

No wonder Cooper is smiling. George Harriman boss of BMC thought he had a good deal when he agreed to pay him £2 royalty for every Cooper produced. The original plan was to make 1000 for sporting homologation purposes. The design was so successful they ended up making 150,000 which must have made him comparatively wealthy.

Issigonis with Enzo and his modified (lights) mini.

Talking Minis I remember see a picture of some racing drivers lined up with racing minis Denise Mccluggage was one, Unusual name I thought. Interesting and unusual life as well, was a lifelong friend of Stirling Moss:

May 2017 Sad to see the deaths of 2 great Mini racers, the original flying Finn Timo Makinen and Sir John Whitmore. I remember Makinen climbing out of a Mini which he had thrashed to the end of a Monte rally stage. The engine was still running despite having no coolant and the cylinder head being red hot!

Obscure connections between Morgan,Cooper and Bernie of F1 fame via the 500cc racing formula

Afectionate tribute to the 3 wheeler

Absolutely brilliant launch brochure for the mini:

The Mini design was never developed properly. For example it only took them 38 years to put the radiator in the proper place at the front! Innocenti in Italy (1974) did the best development, then later on the Austin engineers did this, which I think was very good for the time. To this day the Mini is the only production car with rubber suspension. This has good properties such as rising rate and inherent damping. Why does no-one else use it? Expense perhaps, as you have to use forgings for the suspension arms. It is used for limit stops  however.

They had intended to replace the Mini in 1969. It lasted until 1999 , see here:

Nice tribute to the Mini’s competitor the Hillman Imp. The blog is excellent by the way, go to the top RH corner search box and type in any car, motorcycle or train interest and you will be surprised!

I wonder how the mini would go with one of these 14:1 engines?

The A series engine used in the mini first saw the light of day in 1951, I believe. David Vizard the A series engine tuning guru,  unkindly said the crankshaft resembled a piece of bent wire with journals ground on!  Sixty years on and they are still developing the engine. Swiftune have a crankshaft  with dummy main bearing journals to give 9000 rpm.


Incredible engineering on a mini

Gotta take your Vitamins:

The long suffering A series power plant was even converted to  a diesel and used in the 1965 BMC mini tractor with 948 ccs..I was aware of the Fordson Dexta small tractor but have never seen the BMC.

Three is best:

Wow,  This is my dream car, Caterham have rekindled the Colin Chapman ethos to add lightness (and lose expense):

Ford Transit 50 years old.

It takes our colonial cousins a while to see a good thing:

Ironically production ceased at the UK plant last year. Ford chopped a V8 in half transversely to get the V4 Transit power plant while Bedford chopped a V8 in half longitudinally for the rival Bedford CF (slant 4) For more about engineering at Vauxhall/Bedford and Ford at the time  see Rallye Sport Fords The inside story by Mike Moreton. Interesting fact: the reason Transits were painted white was they found the interior would be 8 degres cooler on a sunny day than a darker coloured one.

Two surprises this year in Formula 1 have been the excellent performances of Mercedes and Williams. Usually that is down to the chief engineers and I recently learned that Aldo Costa (ex Ferrari) is the Mercedes man and Pat Symonds (ex Renault) is the Williams man.

The mystery over the Red Bull power unit for 2016 resolved here:

They continue to make great improvements in F1 engine power, this time with ignition

Water injection revived

The nightmare logistics of F1

A new vehicle which I like is the Polaris Slingshot, a 3 wheeler in the Morgan idiom but with modern styling and technology

You thought the hybrid car eg. Prius was a modern innovation, in fact it is 99 years old and the technology dates back to 1897!

I was just reminded that Rolls-Royces do not break down, they fail to proceed. A few of my cars have failed to proceed, alas they were not Royces. Rollers are for chavs. Mind  you a few of my motorbikes were supposed to have searing acceleration, in my case they had shearing acceleration as something in the drivetrain would shear! That Mr Woodruff and his keys have something to answer for. In retrospect it might have something to do with the nut holding the handlebars.

Interesting article on new high tech equipment being a nightmare for Farmers:

Amazing, the plot thickens:

You can now officially hack your own vehicle!

John Deere says you cannot

One way around the problem

More Tractor hacking

The plot thickens even more:


Another way around the problem

Even more on the problem

New efficient type of engine
This article neatly explains why I am interested in Reliant 3 wheelers:

OMG 2016 Mustang GT350R

If you thought the Mustang was Mega try the Bugatti Chiron:

More serious power

3d printing of glass

Feature creep

Three wheelers rule

Parental control on cars – teen nightmare

More on the VW diesel problem

Inside the VW diesel problem

The plot thickens on this one too:

More plot thickening:

Engines are going to have to get bigger!

*The original Land Rover finally reached the end of production after some 68 years and 2 million copies yesterday. They would run with Jungle juice in the fuel tank and treacle in the sump. Three-quarters of the two million Defenders built over two thirds of a century are still in regular use. My first car was a Rover 80 which had the 4 cylinder Land Rover engine and a Laycock de Normanville overdrive. Well it sounds better than 5th gear! Cruising down the motorway at 70 with the engine just above tickover was great. The other models in the P4 range had the 6 cylinder inlet over exhaust engines. Those were good for 250k+ miles. Some models had freewheels like Saabs. The only design weakness were the hollow kingpins filled with oil. When the oil seals went the steering got progressively harder. It was also slightly annoying that the body panels that could rust were made of steel whereas the bonnet and boot lid were made of aluminium. As the article below mentions some unkind person said the P4 resembled a Sherman tank with the turret removed, but that property plus the narrow tyres saved me one night in a snow blizzard on the M4. Why is nobody in the fast lane I wondered? The snow was deep but I retained enough control to go back to the clear lanes.

Marilyn Monroe in a Landy (Courtesy Sam Shaw/Getty images)


I have just been on a visit to the Range Rover production plant at Solihull. Very impressive, talking of aluminium they are world leaders in the technology, the whole bodyshell being in that material.

Infiniti have come up with a variable compression engine to improve efficiency

Self installing a driver assistance package

One make car clubs

Competitive benchmarking

Munro are in trouble over the Tesla 3 teardown

Phenomenal  potential of the Tesla 3 Performance:

The disappearing gearstick, only 3% of new US cars have them

Nissan’s solution to the self -driving car problem where you need a human operator to sort the mess out

The new Rolls-Royce has rear “suicide” doors like my old Rover P4. I assume they are interlocked so they cannot be opened while on the move. It would be good to have front doors like that so old codgers like me can get in and out more easily.

Another “new” feature that was on the Rover P4s. Toyota have patented the freewheel!

Unsung hero of sports car racing

Disillusionment over self-driving cars:

Car with built-in motorcycle, shame the concept did not catch on

Car SOS is OK but has too much Tim and not enough Fuzz. Nice  restoration they did on a Lancia Fulvia  with the help of this guy

Anyway if you like more engineering in your car restoration here is a good video on the Lotus Esprit

More on the Stevens face-lifted Esprit:

Interesting page on N-wheeled cars

Latest F1 design tweaks

It is 60 years since the Mini first appeared in Showrooms. Transverse engine, front wheel drive, Rubber suspension, Gearbox in Sump, were some of the innovations. Sadly the last two did not catch on. The suspension favoured the handling side of the ride/handling compromise, while the fact that you need thin oil for the engine and thick oil for the gearbox meant the oil was a compromise too. Issigonis and his team made the ideas work though.  The later Hydrolastic suspension was fitted to 1964-68 Minis reverting to rubber on cost grounds. You could get Auto gearboxes from 1967-81 as well. A Hydrolastic Auto Mini is a rare beast and worth holding on to if you possess one!

American view of the classic Mini:

Radford hatchback Mini


Modified minis

Nice explanation of the F1 rules for 2021:

Unsung hero finally recognised, Ken Miles:

Porsches 800V electric vehicle.

Converting classic cars to electric vehicles

Cheap electic car has some surprisingly good engineering:

Why Ferrari aere slower in the 2020 season

The case against American truck bloat

Haynes have stopped printing the iconic manuals

Tesla using radar on cars

Amazing RV with an elevator or Camper Van with a lift as we would say in the UK:

With my interest in minimalism this is more my mark:

The history of the Amphicar

One Comment

Leave a Comment
  1. mike walker / Oct 25 2014 11:34 am

    I’ve just caught up with your latest addition to the cars section & copied the Moss Cortina to my files.
    Did I mention to you that I was with John Ogier on the way to a meeting, when he stopped at Hendon to ring Astons to see if his latest car was ready for the Le Mans meeting. I like to think that it was one of the DB4GT’s

    Mike from Ickleford

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