Our latest news! Here are our titles planned for 2023.
AR187 Berliet Album (Including Alco, Rochet Schneider and more) Available
AR188 Mercury Album (Including Cougar and Edsel) Available
AR189 Commercial Vehicle Album Some lesser-known British manufacturers Available
AR190 Chrysler Album (Including Imperial and Maxwell) Available
AR191 Mazda Album (and the story of the Wankel engine) Available
AR192 American Classic 2 (And the men behind ten of the marques) Available
AR193 Fun on the beach (Dune Buggies and Beach Cars) Available
AR194 The VW Golf (and other cars on the same platform) Available
AR195 Tesla and the other new electrics In preparation
AR196 The Roadmakers (and other construction equipment) In preparation
Please note that the Vauxhall Album which had been out of stock has now been upgraded and published as AR049a
AR187 Berliet Album
In the early years of the 20th century the company established by Marius Berliet made cars which were so advanced that they formed the basis of early Sunbeam cars in England, and Alco cars in the USA. Primarily a car manufacturer, Berliet also made lorries and buses; by the time of the Great War it was the biggest producer of commercial vehicles in France. By the late 1930s the emphasis had changed and it had become a truck company which also made cars. After the Second World War no cars were produced at all. In the postwar years Berliet, now run by Marius’s son Paul, was once again the biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in France. Berliet built the biggest truck in the world in 1957, the T100. In 1967 Berliet lost its independence when it found itself under the same ownership as Citroën, when the company was acquired by Michelin. In 1974, encouraged by the French government, which was promoting auto industry consolidation, Renault acquired Berliet from Michelin. Renault then combined the firm with Saviem, and the Berliet name disappeared after both were absorbed by the RVI group in 1978.
AR188 Mercury Album
Mercury was created as a car marque in 1938 by Edsel Ford, to fill the gap between Ford and Lincoln-Zephyr, competing against middle-priced models from General Motors, Chrysler and other manufacturers. After the Second World War Mercury was conjoined with Lincoln in Ford’s new Lincoln-Mercury Division (see Auto Review 162 Lincoln and Continental). Mercury settled in the mid-market, which it shared for a short time in the 1950s with the doomed Edsel, which is also described in these pages. Sub-ranges in later years included Comet, Cougar and Merkur, but in a 21st century process of rationalisation, Ford axed the Mercury brand in 2010.
It had been in existence for just over 70 years.
Our thanks to Dave Turner for some text incorporated here, which was previously published by us in Model Auto Review many decades ago.
Auto Review 189 Commercial Vehicle Album – Some lesser-known British manufacturers
Here we tell the stories of some companies which made minor contributions to British commercial vehicle history. Some manufacturers described here have been mentioned in other Auto Review publications, but we give a fuller description in these pages. Some stories begin before 1900, but very few continue after 1939, by which time a
relatively small number of larger manufacturers had survived. Early commercial vehicle chassis were offered for either goods or passenger-carrying bodywork. Most of the principal British commercial vehicle manufacturers feature in Auto Review publications which include their name in the title (AEC, Bedford, Dennis, Guy, Leyland, Scammell etc). This publication describes lesser-known commercial vehicle manufacturers, including Adams-Hewitt, Armstrong Whitworth, Alldays & Enfield, Burford, FWD & Hardy, CWS-Bell, Fowler, Kerr-Stuart, Garford-Gilford-HSG, Garner, Garrett , Hallford, Lister, Greenbat, Milnes-Daimler, McCurd, Pagefield, Ensign, Peerless, GV, Latil, Ryknield, Palladium, Ransomes,: Shefflex, Union, Yorkshire and Stoneleigh.
Auto Review 190 Chrysler Album – Including Imperial & Maxwell
Here we have three Chrysler stories: the life of Walter P Chrysler, the Chrysler car brand he created and the Chrysler Corporation, which grew to become the third-largest US auto maker. Also included here is Imperial, which was sometimes a Chrysler model, and at other times a prestige marque in itself. Not described in these pages are Chrysler-badged cars produced in Europe, Australia or elsewhere. These have been covered in previous Auto Review titles.
After a highly successful career in railroad engineering and at Buick, Walter P Chrysler had made his fortune, but he then went on to be an automotive industry troubleshooter, rescuing failing companies. These included Maxwell and Chalmers Detroit, which he reorganised under the Chrysler name. More marques were then added, in a structure similar to the successful General Motors grouping, where each brand targeted a different market sector. This process included the acquisition of Dodge Brothers in 1928 (see Auto Review 183). Two new makes were created by Chrysler Corporation, Plymouth and DeSoto, to be described in a future Auto Review publication, which will also describe Valiant, Barracuda etc. From a firm foothold in the American big three auto makers, Chrysler lost its way, and lost market share. It fell into foreign ownership, first to Daimler-Benz of Germany, then to Fiat of Italy. In January 2021 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group (Peugeot, Citroën etc) merged to create a new international conglomerate; Stellantis
Auto Review 191 Mazda Album And the story of the Wankel engine
The Toyo Cork Kogyo Co Ltd was founded in Hiroshima in 1920. It diversified from cork products into machine tools, then motorcycles, before deciding that its future lay in three-wheeler utility vehicles. After the devastation caused by the first atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, the company recovered and produced the three-wheelers to help with postwar reconstruction. The first four-wheeler cars came in 1960, but Mazda was a small firm which needed a unique selling proposition in order to compete with the big Japanese companies. This would be the Wankel rotary engine, which had attracted a number of companies due to its advantages of light weight, compactness and efficiency, but only Mazda persisted in attempts to perfect it. The engines powered many Mazda models, notably the RX-7 and RX-8 sports cars, and other aspects of the Wankel story are also told in these pages. The Mazda MX-5 was a world-beating re-imagining of the sports roadster idea, but Mazda produced many other interesting vehicles, including the Bongo compact MPV-camper and much else.
Auto Review 192 American Classic 2 And the men behind the marques: Pope • Lozier • Stearns • Briscoe • Peerless • Barley • Parry • Owens • Haynes • Dupont
In Auto Review 181 we looked at American Classic car marques regarded by car enthusiasts as ‘orphan makes’ because they were never absorbed into any of the large car-making groups. In that publication we examined some attempts to create conglomerates capable of competing with General Motors, including Hare’s Motors, Durant Motors and New Era. In this volume another selection of ‘American Classic’ marques focuses on the men behind them. Our chapter headings are mostly names of the visionary entrepreneurs, engineers and salesmen who dived into the shark-infested waters of the American car market in the early years of the 20th century. They include Colonel Albert Pope, who tried to corner the market in bicycle and motor vehicle patents, then to make other manufacturers pay him for the use of them. Henry Lozier made his fortune with bicycles, then sold his factories to Pope and switched to making luxury cars. Frank Stearns was an exacting inventor and engineer who was the first in America to take out Knight sleeve-valve license for his cars. Benjamin Briscoe was another of the empire-builders; his United States Motor Co embraced a number of marques, but when it collapsed it took most of them down with it. Peerless is the exception in this publication; it isn’t the name of the founder, but originated as a maker of wringers (mangles) which changed direction to make prestige cars, then changed again, to brew Carling beer. After that refreshing interval we come to Albert Barley, responsible for the top-quality Roamer marque, among others. David Parry’s family of carriage makers refused to support his motor car ventures, and the failure of his Overland car wiped him out financially. Overland was rescued by John North Willys, and Parry’s successor firm became Pathfinder under new ownership. Raymond and Ralph Owen found fame as the maker of the Owen Magnetic car, using the Entz patent transmission. Elwood Haynes joined forces with Elmer and Edgar Apperson to make the Haynes Apperson, before they separately made the Apperson and Haynes cars. Wealthy Paul Du Pont’s distant cousin was head of General Motors, but Paul restricted himself to making high-specification luxury cars, until his interest waned and he transferred his attentions to rescuing the Indian motorcycle firm.
Auto Review 193 Fun on the beach – Dune Buggies and Beach Cars
Never has the word ‘fun’ been used so much as it has in advertising and feature articles concerning dune buggies and Beach Cars. They bring a smile, and it never fails to add a level of excitement to a picture of a celebrity or a beach resort when one of these cheeky vehicles is pictured alongside. In this publication we cover the development of the dune buggy, which began in California and rapidly spread around the world. Our faithful band of contributors offered large amounts of material, but for once we had identification problems, with so many similar-looking buggies, often captioned without a maker’s name. We hope that every buggy pictured here is correctly identified. If not, please accept our apologies. Beach Cars targeted a different market, which was less interested in high performance and flying through the air over dunes like a dune buggy. The Beach Car is a more sedate and sophisticated vehicle, more suited to posing in your swimwear. Famous designers and stylists often chose to produce a Beach Car as a concept car because of its connotations of fun, fresh air and free-thinking. Many other buggy and Beach Car aspects and side-issues get a mention here; military buggies, Dakar racing buggies, ATVs, and appearances on the silver screen. Have fun!
Auto Review 194 The VW Golf Story and other cars on the Golf platform
The Volkswagen Golf hatchback was created to replace the VW Beetle, the story of which is told in Auto Review 129. It became an international best-seller in the ‘supermini’ sector, sometimes later called the ‘Golf sector’, setting the standard against which other cars were compared, and in its GTI form the Golf was the quintessential ‘hot hatch’. Approaching 40 million Volkswagen Golfs have been produced since its launch in 1974, making it the best-selling VW model, and in 2024 the Golf celebrates half a century in production. Volkswagen calculate that a Golf is sold somewhere in the world every 40 seconds.
The Volkswagen Golf owed a lot to Audi, which VW Group had acquired from Daimler-Benz in 1966. Audi already made well-regarded front-wheel drive cars before VW decided to utilise that layout for their Beetle replacement. When it appeared with the familiar angular lines of Giorgietto Giugiaro at Italdesign, the Golf used Audi-developed front-wheel drive systems and Audi transversely mounted engines, based on power units designed by Mercedes-Benz for Audi, before Volkswagen acquired Auto Union.
There have been eight Golf generations since 1974, each one adding a little more sophistication to the package. The Golf platform was so well-designed that many other Volkswagen models were built on it, as well as other VW Group vehicles in the Audi, Škoda and SEAT ranges. The story of the Golf is told in these pages, along with many of the other cars built on the same platform.
Auto Review 195 TESLA and the new electrics
As Tesla grew to be one of the biggest car brands in the world, and other new start-up companies were pouring into the electric vehicle market, it was obvious that the Auto Review series should cover them. The story of battery-electric vehicles in the 19th and 20th centuries is told Auto Review 042, originally published in 2008. The 21st century saw a shift in the world motor industry, away from internal-combustion engines to cleaner alternatives, mostly battery-electric, though hydrogen fuel cells also got a look in. This meant drastic changes of direction for ‘legacy’ vehicle makers, developing new electric vehicle designs, retraining workers and retooling factories, at great expense ($50bn for Ford, $64bn for Honda). In addition. investment at similar level was needed for new battery ‘gigafactories’ close to car plants.
In this publication we look mostly at the ‘new names’ who could start with a clean sheet, though they needed vast upfront investment to secure a share of this lucrative new market, and some became ‘unicorns’ (start-ups worth more than $1bn). In a small section listing electric vehicles from established makers of combustion-engined vehicles, we get the opportunity to update some Auto Review titles devoted to specific makes. Whereas electric vehicles from legacy makers often retained the appearance of their combustion-engined models, some new entrants experimented with different-looking vehicles, as you will see. Many of the newer names noted here will no doubt have disappeared from the scene within a few years, but which ones?
Auto Review 196 The Roadmakers: Rollers, earthmovers and construction equipment
The history of our roads is told in this Auto Review publication, as they improved from muddy tracks and dusty lanes to a system of fast metalled roads. We go on to tell the story of the roadmaking process, to cover most of the many different machines involved; excavators, bulldozers, loaders. backhoes, scrapers, graders, dump trucks (large and small), concrete mixers, pavers, finishers, tar-sprayers, steam and diesel rollers and so on. Along the way, earthmoving and construction equipment used for other purposes is also mentioned.
A large section of this publication is devoted to manufacturers of steam rollers and motor rollers, but on other pages you will see other famous names, from Caterpillar and Euclid to Komatsu and JCB, as well as smaller companies. Thousands of companies worldwide have been involved with making machinery for this sector, so we can only mention some of the more interesting British firms in this publication, along with a few leading overseas brands. The potted histories of various manufacturers are mostly grouped under a product heading for which a maker is well-known, but such is the diversity of most makers’ ranges that they could equally well have been included under six or more other headings.
Auto Review 2022 publishing programme:
We have now released all the 10 books in the 2022 programme and they are all currently available.
AR177 Mobile sales vehicles Published
AR178 Buick Album Published
AR179 British racing cars 1945 to 1969 Published
AR180 Subaru and Fuji Published
AR181 American Classic #1 (11 makes: Mercer, Stutz, Marmon, Jordan, Ruxton, Kissel, Hupmobile, Moon, Locomobile, Gardner, Simplex) Published
AR182 Shelvoke & other municipals Published
AR183 Dodge Album Published
AR184 MINI Album (the 20th anniversary of the new Mini in 2022) Published
AR185 Hanomag Album (plus Henschel and Tempo) Published
AR186 The other US Postwar cars (Checker, Tucker, Muntz and much more) Published