The Carchive: The ’76 Jeep Wagoneer

SUVs have reached ubiquity now, and are familiar enough for us to believe that they’ve always been around. There have also been endless arguments as to who actually invented the hulking great luxury four-wheel-drive as we know it, and now is really not the time to get drawn into such a debate.

However. We can probably award a certain North American machine with some kind of honorary mention – if not for inventing the segment, then certainly for dwelling in it for a bloody long time. It’s the Jeep Wagoneer. Welcome back to The Carchive.

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V.I.S.I.T: A ’95 Chevy Caprice “police car”

Bournemouth, on England’s South coast, is kind of a genteel place. It’s a seaside resort that packs in all the traditional appeal of such places – scrupulously clean sandy beaches, long, sweeping promenades and spindly, wave-bashed piers. Although, like many similar towns, its fortunes have been mixed ever since the end of Victoria’s reign, it’s still an agreeable and thoroughly respectable corner of the country.

Precisely the kind of place I’d expect not to find a 1995 Chevy Caprice decked out in full Fort Worth police regalia, complete with front nudge / PIT bars, roof lights and spotlights, black steel wheels and dogdish hubcaps. Yet that’s exactly what I found in one of the town’s leafier streets earlier this week.

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Clearing the mind.

Chris Haining November 28, 2017 All Things Hoon

We all know that a demanding set of countryside switchbacks can get an enthusiast’s adrenaline flowing, while the acceleration aficionado might live life a quarter mile at a time. Grabbing the keys to your car can be the prelude to a new set of memories, unlocking sights and sounds that you’ll never want to forget. Alternatively, though, the opposite is true.

While American teenagers can get behind the wheel from 16, us in the UK have another year to wait. I remember using my car as a way of escaping reality way before I was what I’d call ‘grown up’. Girl trouble, overbearing parents, you name it, my car was an escape pod. Jump in, no destination, just a road network and whatever fuel is in the tank. ‘Several’ years later, I find myself reliving those awkward late teenage years, but this time I’m not on my own, and the journey isn’t about escape.

It’s about comfort.

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In car communications. What ya got?

Chris Haining November 22, 2017 All Things Hoon

In a few weeks time, I’ll be sitting my amateur radio (Ham) exam. I’ll be issued a callsign and legally entitled to transmit at low power and on a wide variety of frequencies. One day I’ll graduate through my intermediate and full licenses, unlocking a 400w maximum transmitting power and across a broader spectrum of wavelengths, but just being legally active is enough for me.

Outside of professional and commercial groups, vehicle-based radio communications is far less commonplace today than once it was, but it strikes me that – out of all the automotive websites, forums and blogs out there – the Redusernab faithful is most likely to have kept old-school mobile comms alive. So, what ya got?

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The Carchive: The Triumph Dolomite 1300

The table is all laid out, the plates are piping hot and there’s a hostess trolley full of goodness on its way from the kitchen. But what’s it full of? Well, we’re digging right down from the choice cuts on the surface, through the fat and bone until we reach the gristle and cartilage before it gets left at the side of your plate.

At last weeks banquet we dined richly on the 1980 Mercury Cougar, but today’s dish is rather more lean and less ostentatiously garnished. It’s the 1976 Triumph Dolomite 1300. Welcome back to The Carchive.

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Bugatti Chiron: Think of a Number and Then Double It

Chris Haining November 13, 2017 All Things Hoon

This is an old story, but my thought process has only just caught up with why I care about it. Basically, there’s a Bugatti Chiron for sale through an independent classic car specialist in Surrey. It’s proudly declared to be the ‘first used example’ to be offered for sale in the UK. Fine. It was bound to happen.

It’s the next bit that riles me a little. The news item from Romans International, via Newspress, says “While simply driving the majority of new cars off the forecourt can wipe thousands off their value, the 261mph supercar has bucked the trend and soared in value to £3.6 million – an increase of £1.1 million over its list price of £2.5 million”.

The operative word above is ‘value’, and what I’m getting at is, just how on earth is £3.6m anything but a heinously greedy random figure?

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The Carchive: The 1980 Mercury Cougar XR-7

It’s that time again. Seven days have passed since we left the familiar chaos of the 21st century and took a bumpy, déjà vu-heavy trip down the history highway, before pulling up in the dark, litter-strewn parking lot of days gone by. Welcome back to The Carchive.

Last week we only made it back twenty years, where we looked at what South Korea’s Daewoo was offering in the UK in 1997, but today we’re looking at a machine that never officially made it to this Sceptred Isle. It’s the 1980 Mercury Cougar. … Continue Reading

Electric Futures: Getting into bed with the government.

In June 2009 Tesla was approved to receive US$465 million in low-interest loans from the US Department of Energy’s $8 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. It seems reasonable for a government to support a company or initiative that has the potential to raise the global profile of an entire country in a given specific field, and Tesla – current issues aside – has certainly done just that.

The fear with such financial support is, always, whether a loan will be paid back in full, or even in part when it comes to some cases. But at least Tesla has a portfolio of legitimate, well-conceived products to offer. If it can build enough, the customers appear ready to buy. This isn’t always the case, though.

The headline-grabbing nature of the EV is such that it’s almost a surprise that start-ups are so few, but the truth is that making a decent fist of starting your own car company is such an expensive and involved endeavour that you really need bottomless coffers and a truly world-class product. That is unless you can find an investor who isn’t especially clued up and will fund your efforts, no matter how obviously futile.

Of course, private investment is one thing – I don’t really care about a rich man making a daft bet – but tax dollars need to be gambled responsibly. A look at what’s going on in Uganda makes me thankful that government investment in unproven businesses is doled out relatively sparingly. … Continue Reading

The Carchive: ’97 Daewoo range.

Last week’s raid of The Carchive was courtesy of General Motors in the mid-’70s, with the German Opel Manta. This week we’ve jumped forward a couple of decades, but we’re kind of keeping The General in mind, as you’ll soon see.

We’re off to South Korea to find out what Daewoo were up to in 1997. Actually, that’s a lie. We’re of to quaint old England, to find out exactly what Daewoo could offer during its fleeting stay in the UK car market.

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Cultural differences: The joy of trim levels

It’s only natural that a manufacturer should offer several variants of each car it makes. There needs to be a basic ‘I can just about afford to get into one of these’ model, and a, ‘look, my car’s got e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g” grade. And, likely as not, there’ll be an ‘it’s got everything I need, I don’t like to show off” version for those kindly, modest folk in the middle.

In Europe, though, three well-spaced specification grades and an abundant pile of optional extras simply won’t do. We like our cars to wear a badge that denotes precisely how much we’ve paid (or borrowed) for our whip. These things matter a whole lot, particularly when we’ve bought a car from the lower reaches of the range but not, repeat not, an entry-level model. Oh no.

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