AR145 Delahaye-Delage-Hotchkiss series: Hotchkiss Album
ISBN 978-1-85482-144-0 £5.95
In the opinion of William Boddy, revered editor of Motor Sport, ‘the Hotchkiss company was one of those manufacturers who never made a bad car, or at least very few of them. Others who come into this enviable category are Lancia, Mercedes, Rolls-Royce’.
That is quite an accolade for a car manufacturer largely forgotten by most car enthusiasts in the 21st century. Hotchkiss started out in the 19th century as an arms manufacturer, making the fortune of its founder, Benjamin Berkeley Hotchkiss, through sales to the Union side in the US Civil War. He moved to France in time to sell munitions for use in the Franco-Prussian war, then he began to design revolving cannon and machine guns. He was succeeded in charge at Hotchkiss in Paris by another American, Laurence Vincent Benét, with an Englishman, Charles Parsons, as company chairman. The company diversified into car production and Benét was succeeded by Henry Ainsworth, who brought another Englishman to Hotchkiss in the 1920s. Alfred Wilde was an accomplished car designer, responsible for the 1909 Standard Nine. Juste Milieu was the advertising slogan used by Hotchkiss. Loosely translated it means ‘A happy medium’. This understatement appears to be more British than French, and indeed, the whole company ethos was very British.
Hotchkiss produced fine cars, some sporting, others more luxurious, whilst still producing guns and tanks. In 1936 the armaments side of the business was nationalised, so Ainsworth expanded car production with a new advanced design by J A Grégoire. Hotchkiss took over another car firm, Amilcar, so the new car, built in the Hotchkiss factory, was badged as the Amilcar Compound. The postwar years were difficult for Hotchkiss, forced to make only large cars which were subject to punitive taxation in France. A merger with Delahaye, licence-building of Jeeps and Ferguson tractors, and expansion into the commercial vehicle market did not really solve the long-term problems at Hotchkiss. In 1954, therefore, Hotchkiss-Delahaye was taken over by Brandt, and car production ceased. Trucks, tractors and armoured vehicles remained in production until 1 January 1971, when Automobiles Hotchkiss closed down.
AR 146 Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles
ISBN 978-1-85482-145-3 £5.95
When we looked into the question of adding the history of Mercedes-Benz to the Auto Review series, it quickly became apparent that there would be far too much for a single volume.
We therefore decided to divide the story into four, with the first one, Auto Review 143, covering Mercedes-Benz road cars, plus the cars made earlier by Benz and Daimler. This volume, Auto Review 146, covers Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles, Auto Review 149 is devoted to the Unimog and MB-Trac, and Auto Review 156 will describe Mercedes-Benz competition cars.
This second instalment has to cover a great deal of territory in itself. As well as lorries, buses, vans and pickups, we cover armoured fighting vehicles, off-road vehicles (including G-Class cars) and emergency vehicles. In general we have taken our usual course of setting out most of the story in chronological order, describing each model at its year of introduction, as far as possible. We apologise in advance if your favourite Mercedes-Benz bus, truck or van only gets a passing mention, or none at all; there is a lot of ground to cover here. Mercedes-Benz commercial vehcles are produced in many countries and there can hardly be any part of the modern world where they are not in use. This is a tribute to the founders of the two original companies in the 19th century, Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler.
AR147 Made in Austria
ISBN 978-1-85482-146-4 £5.95
When I mentioned that I was preparing an Auto Review book on vehicles Made in Austria, the response was usually ‘Do they make cars in Austria?’, perhaps with vague memories of classic marques like Austro Daimler, or of the Steyr-Puch 650TR (a hotter cousin of the Fiat 500) or of the Haflinger (a very desirable little 4×4 vehicle). In fact, there have been large quantities of vehicles produced in Austria, from the glory days of the Austro-Hungarian empire, via the period as part of Hitler’s Greater Germany, into the 21st century, when Magna-Steyr is the biggest vehicle maker in Europe, producing cars for brand owners in many countries. None of those ‘foreign’ cars are described in this book, but dozens of truly Austrian marques are included here. We realised while discussing this publication that few Anglophone readers are aware of the history of Austria in the 20th century, so we start with a ‘History Lesson’. This will help to explain how a car made in Prague can be included in this book, for example. Although Austria was linked with Hungary up to 1918, we do not include Hungarian firms such as Rába, many of whose products were licenced from Austrian makers, including ÖAF.
The name of Ferdinand Porsche appears a number of times in these pages. He was born in Bohemia (part of Austria at the time) and worked for a number of Austrian concerns; Lohner, Austro Daimler and Steyr, before becoming involved in the Axis war effort, designing tanks. Late in the Second World War his German design office had to move to Gmund in Austria, where the immortal Porsche 356 was conceived. For more on the Porsche story, see Auto Review 153.
AR148 Lamborghini Album
ISBN 978-1-85482-147-8 £5.95
Three giants of Italian motoring were born within a triangle formed by Bologna, Modena and Cento. Enzo Ferrari, Adolfo Orsi (of Maserati) and Ferruccio Lamborghini were all born within 20 miles of each other, though Lamborghini was two decades younger than the others. They were all from similar poor backgrounds, but had very different temperaments. Ferrari was haughty, and subject to sudden changes of mood. Orsi was courteous and gentlemanly, but was primarily a business executive. Lamborghini was very much the brash, driven and ambitious self-made millionaire, fond of extravagant gestures. His hobbies included speed water-skiing and performing conjuring tricks for visitors. Restless and energetic, he was always full of plans: build a racetrack, start a racing team, make small sports cars bearing the Lamborghini name… Why not? Ferruccio was born under the star sign of Taurus the bull, so his car names related to fighting bulls. The first Lamborghini car to be given a name was called Miura after Eduardo Miura, a renowned breeder of Spanish fighting bulls he had visited in Seville. Other bullfighting-related names included Islero (a Miura bull which in 1947 killed the bullfighter Manolete), Espada is a sword, Jarama is a Spanish bullfighting region, Urraco, Jalpa and Gallardo are breeds of bull. Marzal was another breeder of fighting bulls. Diablo (devil) and Murciélago were famous 19th century Spanish bulls, and Reventón was a famous 1940s Mexican bull. Faena is the third act of a bullfight, and Urus means aurochs (a Bronze Age bull). Cavaliere (an honorific title in Italy) Ferruccio Lamborghini sold his company in 1974, and after several changes of ownership, it became part of Volkswagen Group’s Audi division.
AR143 Mercedes-Benz • Part One: The road cars – by Rod Ward
Gottlieb Daimler (1834-1900) and Karl Benz (1844-1929) made the first practical petrol-driven cars in the world, both of them in south-west Germany. Benz was first, with a three-wheeler vehicle in 1885 in Mannheim, followed separately in 1886 by Daimler in Stuttgart, with a more sophisticated four-wheeler. The Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) later adopted Mercédès as its brand. The two pioneers never met, but their companies are described in these pages, as well as the story of Daimler-Benz, set up in 1926 by the merger of the two firms. Over the next decades the Mercedes-Benz marque grew in strength and presence, due to dogged determination to stick to what they knew best; producing high-quality motor vehicles of all kinds. Mercedes-Benz trucks, vans, buses, fire appliances and cross-country vehicles will be described in Auto Review 146, including V-Class, X-Class and G-Class. Unimogs and MB-Tracs will be described in Auto Review 149. Success in competitive events helped to support the brand’s visibility and popularity for most of its existence, and the story of Mercedes-Benz in competition will be told in Auto Review 156. In this publication we describe Mercedes-Benz road cars, plus those made by Benz and DMG, as well as mentioning Maybach, both the man and the car marque.
Here we have the story of a firm which built vehicles for over a century. Studebaker was the leading maker of horse-drawn wagons and carriages in 19th century America. Turning to motor vehicles in the early years of the 20th century, Studebaker had its ups and downs, having to recover from receivership in 1933. Profitable contracts during the Second World War, making aero engines, US6 trucks and Weasel carriers were followed by exciting new car and truck designs in the immediate postwar period. This promised a healthy future for the company from South Bend, Indiana, but Studebaker was too small to compete with the ‘Big Three’ US auto makers, and a merger with Packard in 1954 did not provide the hoped-for remedy. A last gasp of advanced styling in the GRP-bodied Avanti sports car came too late. In 1964 the company closed its US factory, just continuing limited production in Canada until 1966. Studebaker executives had foreseen the inevitable, and they had already diversified into other manufacturing sectors, so the Studebaker Corporation did not die when car production finished; it merged with other firms and the name continued to be seen for a few more years; but not on cars.