2020 Auto Review programme
AR157 International Album Available
AR158 Opel Album Available
AR159 Mercedes-Benz competition cars Available April 2020
AR160 ERF Album Available April 2020
AR161 Isotta-Fraschini, plus Itala, Iso etc Available June 2020
AR162 Lincoln and Continental Available June 2020
AR163 Austin-Morris-BMC commercials Available September 2020
AR164 de Dion and other French ‘D’ marques Available September 2020
AR165 British bus and coach builders Available November 2020
AR166 Made in Switzerland Available November 2020
Here is a taster of the first five titles of next year:
AR157 International Album
International Harvester (IH) was created in a 1902 merger between the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co and the Deering Harvester Co,
production concentrating on tractors and other agricultural machinery. IH became famous for their large Titan tractors, later adding smaller Farmall tractors. From 1907 IH made ‘high-wheeler’ motorised buggies for their farmer clients, and also developed a profitable range of motor lorries and buses. The company expanded into other fields, including construction equipment and domestic appliances. Smaller pickup trucks in the range prompted development of the popular Travelall utility vehicles and the smaller Scouts.
Following financial difficulties, the company sold off most of its subsidiaries, and then even its core agricultural division, which was acquired by Tenneco in 1985, along with the International Harvester name and the IH trademark. Tenneco combined the IH tractors with its Case division. The remaining truck, bus and engine manufacturing operation was renamed Navistar International Corporation, and it continued to produce commercial vehicles into the 21st century.
In terms of long-term assistance in regard to International Harvester and Navistar, we have to express our thanks to an old friend, David Palmeter. He had been a long-time employee of both concerns in the 1990s when he assisted us with an IH project, and helped us to obtain a lot of factory material at that time, some of which came in useful when producing this publication.
AR158 Opel Album
Adam Opel was born in 1837, and originally trained as a locksmith, then he turned to making sewing machines, adding bicycles to his product range in the late 19th century. His four sons were avid bicycle racers, and took the lead when the family firm made motor vehicles. After the Great War the firm made popular cars, and it was acquired by General Motors, to access the growing German economy. Its American ownership aroused the suspicion of the Nazi authorities, so Opel did not play as large part in the German war effort as some other companies. Postwar recovery of the German economy carried Opel along on a tidal wave of growth, producing vast profits for GM, who gave to Opel the lead role in their international expansion, rather than other overseas subsidiaries such as Vauxhall or Holden. Many interesting and world-leading car designs were produced from the 1970s to the 1990s. The strategy to build ‘world cars’ would eventually mean, however, that Opel’s home market position was weakened. GM seemed to have few ideas on how to solve Opel’s problems other than by cost-cutting, and they tried to sell Opel on a number of occasions, notably to Magna and to Fiat, but without success. Having allowed the leading British truck brand, Bedford, to die of neglect, GM seemed likely to oversee the collapse of Opel (and its UK arm Vauxhall). Luckily another motor manufacturer could see the potential. PSA Group acquired Opel in 2017, and within a year it was showing a profit, a good augury for the future of the 150-year old Adam Opel company.
I would like to dedicate this publication to an old friend, Chuck Jordan. In his career at GM Chuck designed the 1959 Cadillac. In his private life he was a keen Ferrari owner and fan. From 1967 to 1970 he was Opel design director, responsible for such stylish cars as the Manta coupe and the Opel GT. After his years in Germany, Chuck returned to the USA, and in 1986 he became Vice President of Design at General Motors, a role previously held by his heroes Bill Mitchell and Harley Earl.
Chuck Jordan retired in 1992, and he died in 2010.
AR159 Mercedes-Benz Competition Cars
When we looked into the question of adding the history of Mercedes-Benz to the Auto Review series, it was apparent that there would be far too much for a single volume. The story is therefore divided into four. The first part, Auto Review 143, covers Mercedes-Benz road cars, plus cars made earlier by Benz and Daimler. Auto Review 146 covers Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles and Auto Review 149 is devoted to the Unimog.
This volume, Auto Review 159 describes Mercedes-Benz competition cars. As described in detail in Auto Review 143 Mercedes-Benz road cars, the marque originated in two separate car makers, Benz and Daimler, who were both involved in competition events from early days. First we look at Benz, then we have the Daimler account,
followed by Mercédès, the name under which Daimler cars were known after 1901. The accents were dropped in 1909, after which the cars were called Mercedes. The combined story begins in 1926, when the two firms merged as Daimler-Benz AG (D-B) with the cars badged as Mercedes-Benz. There have been times when the marque was deeply involved in a number of different types of competition motoring at the same time, but in between there were often fallow periods with little or no activity, due to lack of funds or to other considerations. This means that sometimes there may be apparent ‘gaps’ in the story, with nothing much happening. At other times a number of simultaneous and overlapping accounts, perhaps sports-racing cars, touring cars and Formula 1, have to be treated separately. The overall holding company is now Daimler AG, and Mercedes-Benz continues to compete in Formula 1 and Formula E in the 21st century.
AR160 ERF Album
Here we have the story of a British manufacturer which was well-known for its no-nonsense dependable diesel lorries. There is much more to ERF, however; they also made fire appliances, municipal vehicles, and even buses. The descendants of Edwin Foden divided into two camps in the 1930s, some remaining at Foden, the others departing to set up ERF. Both factories were in the Cheshire town of Sandbach, where Foden underwent the painful transition from steam to diesel power (see Auto Review 140), while ERF produced ‘assembled’ diesel lorries from the firm’s inception in 1933. The company was named after Edwin’s son, ER Foden, and created by ER’s son Dennis, with assistance from other family members and ex-Foden staff. ERF soon built up a following among transport operators, who remained loyal through the vicissitudes of later years, including takeovers by Western Star and MAN, who eventually axed the ERF brand in 2007, not long before its 75th birthday.
AR161 Isotta-Fraschini, plus Itala, Iso etc
As we surveyed car marques still to be covered in the Auto Review series, there were two classic Italian marques near the top of the list, Isotta Fraschini and Itala. Then we realised that a number of other important Italian marques also began with the letter ‘I’. There was Iso and Innocenti, Intermeccanica, Italdesign, even Iveco… As we embarked on the task of fitting them all into one Auto Review volume, it was suggested to us that it would be impossible. But no, all these important names have found their way into these pages, along with some other stories as well.
The name Isotta Fraschini is often coupled with Hispano-Suiza when discussing classic cars of the inter-war period. The Hispano-Suiza was a superior car in almost every aspect, however, though the long and sturdy Isotta chassis provided a platform for many superb luxury car bodies, especially popular with American buyers. They were never ‘driver’s cars’, but that was unimportant to owners, who left that activity to their chauffeurs. Lord Montagu labelled the Isotta Fraschini ‘The Italian Aristocrat’, whereas his tag for the Itala was ‘Italian Traditional’. Italas were effective Mercédès-inspired racing cars in the Edwardian period, and one was chosen by Prince Scipione Borghese to enter the Peking to Paris ‘raid’ of 1907. Everyone knows that the Itala was the first to arrive in Paris by a wide margin, because Borghese, though he was regarded as a gentleman and a sportsman chose to regard the event as a race.
Innocenti, who were famous as the original
producers of Lambretta scooters, went on to licence-build BMC cars in Italy. Iso, also producers of scooters and Isetta bubble cars, made American-engined cars in later years, and Intermeccanica also favoured the Italian-American theme. Many cars were designed for major manufacturers worldwide by Guigiaro’s Italdesign studio, which also produced cars under its own name after being acquired by Fiat.
Iveco was the name chosen by a Fiat-led international consortium for its extensive range of trucks and buses. Then we have the other Italian companies whose name began with ‘I’…
2019 Auto Review programme
The Auto Review programme for 2019 has now been published as listed below. Note that there will be two additional updated and reprinted books before the end of 2019.
In 1887 Panhard & Levassor began making Daimler engines under licence, and in 1891 they conceived the automobile layout which would become standard worldwide. Under the Système Panhard a vertical engine was located at the front of a four-wheel chassis with sprung suspension, driving the rear wheels through a friction clutch and a series of gears. It may seem to be an obvious layout today, but up to that time there was no consensus of opinion about the ‘right’ way to design cars. Panhard was also the first car to have a windscreen, and the first car imported to Britain was a Panhard & Levassor, in 1895. They were the leading car manufacturers in the world in the early years of the motor car, but after the death of co-founder Emile Levassor in 1897 the firm became more conservative. The early image of the company as a race-winning dynamic force at the forefront of technical innovation was replaced by that of a maker of expensive luxury cars. To quote William Boddy, a Panhard would move ‘silently rather than swiftly’, leaving in its wake a faint blue haze from its sleeve-valve engine. Thanks to Commandant Krebs, who had replaced Levassor as technical head of the firm, Panhard was early in the field with armoured cars, vehicles which became more important to the survival of the brand in later years. Later generations of the Panhard family, Paul and Jean, helped to steer the company through difficult times. By the 1930s the large art deco sleeve-valve Panhards were expensive and dated, bringing Panhard to the verge of collapse, averted when the firm turned over to producing armoured cars for the oncoming war.
After the Second World War, demand was for smaller cars, so Panhard adopted an advanced aluminium-bodied twin-cylinder Grégoire design which became the Dyna. Its basic technology was maintained in all Panhard cars for two decades until Citroën, who had taken over the firm, put an end to Panhard car production in 1967. The Panhard name survived, however, because the armoured car side of the business continued as a separate division into the 21st century.
AR 153 Porsche Album Part One
Promised in 1996, but never delivered. John’s original text has been augmented and updated for this volume, with entirely new text for AR154. For further Leyland coverage, LDV and the Sherpa light vans are covered in Auto Review 061, and those Standard vans which were badged as Leylands are described in Auto Review 047a. The ex-BMC commercial vehicles which were adopted by Leyland will be described in Auto Review 163.
AR152 Leyland Album: Part One, Lorries and Vans
In 1896 the Lancashire Steam Motor Co was set up in Leyland, Lancashire. In 1907 it was renamed Leyland Motors, the firm rapidly taking a leading position in the British commercial vehicle market, providing Subsidy lorries in the Great War and many different designs in the 1920s and 1930s. After a massive contribution to the war effort in the Second World War, Leyland became the largest exporter of trucks in the world. Industry consolidation in the 1950s and 1960s saw Leyland take control of many of its erstwhile competitors among British commercial vehicle manufacturers, then the government took a hand. Most of the British vehicle industry was amalgamated into British Leyland. When it became Rover Group there was no place for Leyland in this car-making organisation, so the truck and bus divisions were privatised in management buyouts. In the 1980s Leyland Trucks was acquired by DAF, which collapsed into receivership in 1993. Leyland once again was the subject of a management buyout, a much smaller operation, and dependent upon DAF (which had been rescued by the Dutch government) for its export sales. In 1996 Paccar of the USA acquired DAF, and two years later it also took over Leyland. The joint operation produced a full range of trucks, all under the DAF brand when the Leyland badge disappeared in 1999. The truck factory continued to make vehicles in Leyland in the 21st century, but all DAFs. Leyland Lorries and Vans by John Hanson was one of the first four Auto Review books, written in 1995, published in 1996. Nearly a quarter of a century later we have to update that early publication to 2019 and to current Auto Review standards, with almost three times as many illustrations, half of them in colour. There is a second new volume,
A look at the publications still to come in 2019
2018 Auto Review programme
AR137 Delage Album Published
AR138 AEC Album Part 2 including Maudslay Published
AR139 American Motors Published
AR140 Foden Album Published
AR050a The Rootes Group series Humber Second edition Published
AR141 Ferrari Album Published
AR142 Jeep Album Published
AR143 Mercedes-Benz cars Q4 Published
AR144 Studebaker Album Q4 Published
AR145 Delahaye-Delage-Hotchkiss Published
AR146 Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles Published
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