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All our Titles for 2023 have now been published and are available to buy on our publications page here. Here we present our new titles for 2024.
2024 Auto Review programme
Some more information about the first six books of 2024
Ransom Olds didn’t stay with his creation for long, however, leaving in 1905 to set up a company in competition, Reo, which is also described here. Oldsmobile survived reasonably well in the 1920s and 1930s, with only one hiccup; its Viking ‘companion car’ was launched in 1929, but it only survived for 18 months. Oldsmobile had a tradition of promoting its chief engineer to be general manager of the company, which meant that the brand was often at the forefront with new ideas and promising technologies. Hydra-Matic Drive, the first fully automatic transmission, was first seen in an Oldsmobile in 1939, two years before Cadillac adopted it. The postwar Rocket V8 engine made Oldsmobile the car to beat at the traffic lights grand prix, the 1962 Jetfire was the first US car to be powered by a turbocharged V-8 engine and front-wheel drive was introduced to big American cars in 1965 by the stylish Toronado. Oldsmobile was carefully positioned in the GM roster of marques at a lower price than a Buick, yet offering a better-trimmed car than a Chevrolet or Pontiac. Its reputation for offering more luxury for its price level in the mid-market, sometimes with more performance as well, gave Oldsmobile a loyal following. As these regular buyers aged, however, younger buyers were less interested, preferring to buy imported luxury cars. An entirely new GM brand, Saturn, created to compete with the imports, is also noted in this publication; it only lasted two decades. After years of fighting a losing battle against falling sales, General Motors finally closed Oldsmobile down in 2004.
Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) were designed to transport troops safely with fixed armament or in a small turret. The APC was the principal AFV in most armed forces, defined as an armoured troop-carrier with a gun smaller than 20mm. On the other hand an IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) had a gun of 20mm or larger. Armoured Command Vehicles (ACV) resembled large APCs, fitted out as an office, to serve as a mobile command post for senior officers. Carriers were smaller vehicles carrying armament (machine guns, grenade launchers, mortars etc). These included Jeeps, Land Rovers and other similar vehicles not described here, because mostly they were ‘soft-skin’, or just lightly armoured. Some field cars with military-pattern bodywork may look ‘armoured’ but they were not, so they have also been omitted from our coverage.Armoured trucks usually only had armour fitted to the cab area as a reinforcement to an essentially ‘soft-skin’ vehicle, so, they are mostly not covered in this publication. Soft-skin trucks were vulnerable to mine and IED attack, however, so a new generation of MRAP cargo vehicles developed which were closer to APCs in their conception.
AR200 Commercial Vehicle album 2
In this publication we look at another selection of minor British manufacturers, this time mostly from those working in the postwar years. By the 1940s the motor industry was firmly in the hands of those companies which had been successful in the prewar years, followed by large and lucrative wartime contracts. It was very difficult for smaller firms to break into the commercial vehicle business in later years, having to compete with those large established manufacturers.
Mostly they had to find a specialised niche which the big firms had neglected, or which required a high degree of one-off custom building. These products were often, therefore, in areas such as off-road dumptrucks, heavy haulage of abnormal loads, or aircraft tugs. If they were successful, they ran the risk of being taken over by a bigger manufacturer, but if a small company was less successful they usually ceased production. This publication covers these brand names; Annis, Argyle, Baron, Bruce-SN, Beardmore (and Multiwheelers), DJB (and AWD), Douglas (plus Reliance and Mercury), Dennison, Haulamatic, Heathfield, HHT, Robert Hudson, Jensen (and Hindle-Smart-Helecs), Mack, Norde, Proctor, Quest 80, Reynolds-Boughton, Rotinoff, Rowe-Hillmaster, Rutland (and MTN), Stonefield, Thompson Bros, TVW, Unipower and the Wynns Pacifics. Some of these manufacturers have been mentioned in other Auto Review publications, but we give them a fuller description in these pages. The inclusion of some names may be questioned by enthusiasts, as their vehicles were ‘only’ conversions, or were solely intended for a company’s own use. They are included here because they have been seen on the road under their own badges, so their stories need to be told.
AR201 Suzuki Album – Plus Isuzu, Hino and Daihatsu (’They also made cars’)
All of the Japanese companies described here made cars, but each of them was previously or primarily better-known for making other automotive products. Suzuki were best-known for their world-famous motorcycles, but the company built its first cars in 1955 and it was still in the car-making business into the 21st century. Isuzu and Hino were among the largest companies making heavy trucks and buses, and were both part of the same company until 1942. Isuzu took out a licence to build the Hillman Minx in Japan in 1953 before going on to produce its own designs, but the company ceased making cars in Japan in 2002, though production of pickups and related SUVs continued. Hino made cars for a shorter time, from 1953 to 1967, beginning with a Renault assembly licence. Thereafter Hino concentrated on truck and bus production, at which it was very successful. Daihatsu began life making internal combustion engines, and made its first three-wheeler in 1953. The company was still producing small cars in the 21st century, but in later years it was under the control of Toyota.