This page gathers together all the announcements and product updates from the past. For the latest news please visit the Future Auto Review Programme page
AUTO REVIEW NEWS
By Rod Ward
We will update this page from time to time with descriptions of recent and forthcoming Auto Review titles.
If you can supply any illustrations or other information for future Auto Review titles, please contact us with what you may have to offer. If any illustration is used you will get a picture credit and a free copy of the Auto Review book after publication.
A big thank-you to all those who have recently supplied photos and other material.
Latest Publications July 2018
AR 142 JEEP ALBUM: The story from Bantam to Fiat-Chrysler By Rod Ward
AR 141 FERRARI ALBUM Part One: The road cars By Rod Ward
AR140 FODEN ALBUM By Rod Ward
Latest Publications March 2018
AR139 AMERICAN MOTORS Hudson • Essex • Terraplane • Nash • Rambler • Metropolitan • AMC By Rod Ward – Q2
This is the story of two American car marques, Hudson and Nash, which united to form American Motors (AMC). Roy Chapin and his colleagues had founded Hudson in 1909, taking the name from their main financial backer, a department store owner in Detroit. It has been claimed that Hudson introduced more ‘firsts’ to the auto industry than any other car maker.
Jeffery was another US auto industry pioneer, which made Rambler cars, and then Quad army trucks in the Great War. Charlie Nash left General Motors in 1916 to start up in competition against his ex-employer. He acquired Jeffery’s large plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and began his own range of Nash cars. Both firms prospered between the wars, Hudson introducing its world-beating Essex and Terraplane lines, and Charles Mason taking control of Nash in 1936. After the Second World War it was obvious that the smaller car makers could no longer compete with the Big Three (GM, Ford and Chrysler), so Mason hatched a plan to combine the four second-tier marques, Nash, Hudson, Studebaker and Packard. Mason only got as far as combining Hudson with Nash in 1954, to form AMC, when he suddenly died, leaving his protégé George Romney in charge of AMC. The merger with Studebaker and Packard was abandoned, but Romney continued Mason’s plan to concentrate on smaller cars, not trying to compete with the Big Three model for model. He discontinued the large Hudson and Nash cars, to concentrate on the Rambler and the even smaller Metropolitan. The Rambler carved out its own niche in the US market, until the Big Three began to produce their own ‘compact’ cars. In 1962 Romney left for the world of politics, and his successor changed the direction of AMC, trying to make every size and type of car. This strategy failed, leaving AMC needing urgently to recover profitability, achieved for a while by the acquisition of Jeep in 1967. As AMC grew weaker, Jeep became its only attractive division, encouraging Renault to take control of AMC in 1982. Renault never quite got to grips with AMC, however, and in 1987 they sold out to Chrysler, who also only wanted Jeep. Thereafter all AMC badging disappeared, bringing this story to an end.
AR140 FODEN ALBUM By Rod Ward – Q2
Edwin Foden was a gifted young engineer in Sandbach, Cheshire, producing steam engines in the 19th century. He had two sons, who both later came into the business, and two daughters, both of whose husbands also worked at Fodens. Edwin developed the design of his famous steam wagons, which brought wealth to the family. When his first wife died, Edwin married again, to a much younger woman, who also bore him two sons and two daughters. The two sons from his first marriage, Billy and ER, were running the firm efficiently by the time Edwin died in 1911. His widow, Annie Foden, like Queen Victoria, always wore black after the death of her husband, earning her the nickname Black Annie, and not just for her style of dress. She was the biggest shareholder in Fodens, so she and her spendthrift daughters enjoyed the benefits of large dividends. In the slump after the Great War all firms suffered, and Fodens was no exception, but Annie, who bore a vindictive dislike for all four children from her late husband’s first marriage, blamed them for her drop in income and made their lives unbearable. Billy emigrated to Australia, and ER was forced to retire early. Under Annie’s control the company lost its edge. Dennis, ER’s son, left Fodens to set up in competition as ERF, making diesel lorries, making his father head of the new firm. Foden was on the verge of collapse when Billy returned from Australia to the rescue. His sons and sons-in-law took up senior positions and they steered the company back into profit. As makers of diesel lorries, Fodens played their part in the Second World War, and saw many years of profit thereafter. The decline of the British truck industry in the 1970s, however, saw Fodens taken over by the American Paccar concern in 1980. From that point onwards Fodens lost much of their individuality, the last Foden-badged lorries being little more than rebadged DAFs, built at the Leyland Assembly Plant. 2006 saw the last lorry produced with a Foden badge; after that the marque disappeared.
AR50a The Rootes Group series HUMBER Second edition By Rod Ward – Q2
Humber is now remembered for comfortable, well-made quality cars. They built stately carriages, perhaps lacking in performance, for lower-ranking ambassadors and provincial mayors. Unlike most other British car firms, there are few notable characters with leading roles in this story. There is no William Morris, Cecil Kimber or Bill Swallow here. Even Thomas Humber himself, who established the marque’s high standards of quality, faded away into obscurity before the 20th century. The Rootes brothers, who owned the firm for over 35 years, were dynamic operators, but Humber was only one of their many marques. Humber employed some great engineers, but they moved on to other companies, such as Sunbeam, Bentley and Jaguar, where they would do their best work. In the early years Humber jumped (often with success) on to every current bandwagon; the cycling craze of the 1890s, the taxi boom of 1907, aviation from 1909, and of course the motor car. Humber military vehicles made a substantial contribution in the Second World War and the following years. Then Humber subsided into its role in the Rootes Group as the makers of staid and solid saloon cars and limousines. The last period as a badge-engineered Hillman Hunter under Chrysler ownership was a sad anti-climax. This tale relates to solid virtues and well-made products, delivered discreetly to buyers who probably preferred their Humbers served that way. This edition has a new cover and revised layout.
Latest Publications released February 2018
Auto Review 137 Delage Album
by Rod Ward
Here we have the story of ‘one of France’s fine cars’, to quote William Boddy. Louis Delage had an unpromising start in life, losing the sight of one eye at a young age, but he turned out to be a clever engineer and young entrepreneur, setting up his own company to build dependable, if unadventurous, light cars. He promoted his business by racing specially built cars, mostly in ‘Voiturette’ events, and by 1912 he was selling 1,000 road cars per year. After the Great War Delage produced some exciting racing cars and ever more expensive and exotic road cars. Sales of prestige luxury cars fell in the early 1930s, and two divorces cost him his personal fortune. Louis Delage turned to religion and the ascetic life, and in 1935 his company was taken over by Delahaye, previously a competitor. Both car ranges, Delage and Delahaye, struggled on in the later 1930s, and tried to recover their lost market position in the postwar years, hobbled by the French government’s punitive taxes on large cars. The last desperate move for survival was when Delahaye merged with Hotchkiss in 1954, but by 1957 the combined firm, and all three car marques, had been taken over by a white goods manufacturer, and had ceased making motor vehicles.
Auto Review 138 AEC Album: Part two: after 1945
by Rod Ward
Auto Review 135 told the story of AEC from the beginning up to 1945. This publication completes the history of the Southall company to 1977, when the brand name was discontinued. The 1940s saw postwar expansion by AEC, with the acquisition in 1948 of two competing makers of buses and goods vehicles, Crossley and Maudslay. Park Royal Vehicles of London and its subsidiary Charles Roe of Leeds were also taken over, making up a large section of the British bus body building industry, when Crossley’s share was added. The combined firms were gathered under one sales organisation, called Associated Commercial Vehicles (ACV). After 1945 the prewar bus and coach range was relaunched and improved, Regent double-deckers and Regal single-deckers. For London Transport these vehicles were classed as RT and RF, followed by the integral-construction Routemaster (RM). In 1962 ACV acquired Thornycroft, another British vehicle manufacturer. AEC goods vehicles were popular with British hauliers and export customers, though after the takeover of ACV by Leyland, which also happened in 1962, much of AEC’s individuality was lost. Lorries in the Mammoth, Marshal and Militant families, along with Reliance, Swift and Merlin single-decker chassis and Bridgemaster and Renown double-deckers, were produced until 1977, and the factory finally closed in 1979.
Book Review November 2017
From time to time we may print reviews of others books that we have read and enjoyed. These books are not stocked by Auto Review unless they appear on our Other Items for Sale page. If we do not stock them then contact details are provided below for those who are interested in them.
Wolseley Six-Ninety: a Super Profile by Jeffrey Bridges and Bernie Peal
2018 Auto Review programme Announcement: publication dates spread throughout the Year (Q1 = First Quarter of 2017)
AR137 Delage Album Q1
AR138 AEC Album part 2 after 1945 Q1
AR139 American Motors Q2
AR140 Foden Album Q2
AR141 Ferrari Album Q3
AR142 Jeep Album Q3
AR143 Mercedes-Benz cars Q4
AR144 Studebaker Album Q4