My Fantasy Class Garage – Chucky de Hammer (Chucky)

Next up is regular contributor Chucky.

Becoming increasingly verbose of late, his list of 5 is to follow. There’s definitely a theme for some MacDroitwich favourites emerging within these lists…

Choosing five starts giving you options and ideas and reasons, and of course you end up changing your mind ten minutes later. So here is my list of the cars of class I would most desire in my garage, until tomorrow anyway when I will want at least one change.

Rover Metro 1.1 S:

First up is an obvious choice for the daily hack. A mini is a crude, crashing lashup stuffed full of half-baked ideas that only got signed off by Issigonis as he came up with them. I did flirt with an 1100 but I don’t think Machine Mart hold enough stock of welding wire to keep one roadworthy. Far better to go for the Metro 1.1S. The K Series in its smallest size and least number of valves is a gem, it had the best version of Moulton’s hydragas suspension and inside was nicely fitted out. Too many so-called city cars suffer from choppy ride, dismal handling, harsh engines and cheap, low-rent interiors. The Metro, even today, feels nimble, smooth, quiet and comfy.

Jaguar XJ-C:

There are of course times when you need the perfect car to whisk away Shiralee Coleman to the breathtaking sights of exotic faraway places. For example, Porthmadog. Such a task can only be accomplished by a grand touring car, and a touring car is only truly grand when it has twelve pistons, which thankfully removes the need to consider a Triumph Stag. Instead, I would have a black Jaguar XJ-C. Sir William’s, lithe, pillarless swansong is achingly gorgeous and the whispering punch from the big twelve-pot is one of the most addictive engines to drive that I know of. It would be the perfect car to whisk away a lady of such stature to see a narrow gauge railway followed by a visit to a hostel which charges by the hour for a swift how’s your father.

MG Maestro 2.0i:

What would be ideal for those moments when you need to get somewhere very quick and preferably without being too noticed? Another easy choice really; the MG Maestro 2.0, a car that nicked VW’s rear beam suspension and then, with a far superior chassis and suspension setup, rubbed their faces right in it. The Maestro goes, handles and stops so much better than Wolfsburg’s effort only the most myopic would drive one and still settle for the VW. It’s so good you should buy one before they become too expensive, otherwise you will be left with no choice but to buy its third rate competitor instead. And you will then hate yourself every single day.

Leyland P76 Force 7:

Choosing a sports car starts with turfing out what I don’t like. The Austin Healey 3000 is for old men coming to terms with impotence and from Triumph only the TR8 convertible remotely appeals, but then you have to deal with the dickheads who automatically assume that it’s a converted TR7.The MGA Twin Cam would in theory be lovely, a nimble sporty thing with an eager motor and Dunlop steelies for added porn, but they do tend to blow up. Instead I would go for a P76 Force 7 V. Here is a coupe that shouted Australian style (did I just put those two words next to each other?) while also being perfectly practical – they are an easy 5-seater and the rear hatch is absolutely huge – and with the Rover V8 in 4.4 litre guise under the bonnet it will barrel along just dandy. There is no nicer car of class to cruise along the seafront of Weston-Super-Mare in the tropical July heat, a gentle breeze tumbling round your Wayfarers on your way to get some chips, the windscreen wipers struggling under the weight of ladies knickers being flung at your motor while you cruise.

Range Rover Vogue SE 3.9 EFi:

I forgot to add the Range Rover to the list so it fits nicely here at the end, an original shape in four-door format. I will never forget driving over 300 miles in a 3.9 Vogue SE one wintry, blizzard-riddled day to Cumbria and back and how it treated the treacherous blacktop with calm, aloof contempt. It was almost mocking other motorists as they slipped and slid and struggled to make headway. The Range Rover was an inspired piece of work by Spen King and it’s an automatic choice in the five-car garage. But in my eyes it’s also the first choice for the one-car garage. Really, it’s the only car you ever need.

So, after that brief summary from Chucky, we await with baited-baited breath for our next instalment.

My Fantasy Class Garage – Adrian J Clark (Mr Calrk)

To show that we are an equal-opportunities community, next up is Mr Calrk aka Randle.

The MG 6-owning, self-confessed chubby-chaser and SAAB enthusiast has put together his famous-five for your delectation.

Rover P6:

It really has to be in beige. My decision is purely because it’s still such a sexy looking thing and it is a car that personifies what Rover was about once. I don’t care what engine, I’d have it for the looks and experience alone.


Austin Allegro:

It really has to be beige, so I’d have it
in harvest gold. I think they’ve aged rather well and it is the car that defined BL (some would say everything that was WRONG with BL)



Morris Ital:

My sentimental choice, so doesn’t necessarily have to be beige, my dad had one. It was the first car I’d have travelled in. I think the marina is a better looking car, mind.




Leyland Sherpa:

Everybody needs a van. I’d probably want a beige one. I don’t want a Freight-Rover, I don’t want a Leyland Daf and I don’t want an LDV. I want a proper Sherpa.




Unfortunately not available in beige, but because it was one last ‘fuck you’ from Longbridge. I love the looks, love the fact that it’s got an ancient big American V8 in it, and it’s the last true new design from the firm (not counting the MG Motor UK stuff, as that’s basically a new company trading on a mixture of a dead badge and Barton engineering).

And that’s that, more from the MacDroitwich team later.

The Firm in Rallying – Disappointing at Best

From the Potato’s Sack

I was having a chat with a colleague at work a few days ago when the subject of the World Rally Championships arose.  It prompted me to think about the firm’s involvement and success (or lack of) throughout the fore-runners of WRC and the WRC itself.

Because of the Mini’s 1965 success in the RAC and Monte Carlo rallies, 1965 & 1966 European rallies  and then the again in 1968 at Monte Carlo, we have this legendary halo in our minds of the firm being a big-hitter in the sport.

Prior to the Mini’s successes, there were 4 victories in the 1950s (2 for Jaguar XK120s, a Standard Ten and a Triumph TR2), however these were figuring in competitions where the fields were made up of predominantly firm-related cars anyway, so the chances were incredibly high that a winner would be from ‘our’ stable.

The London-Sydney Marathon of 1968 saw Paddy Hopkirk gain a very credible 2nd place to Andrew Cowan’s Hillman Hunter. Whether this performance spurred BL to enter a combination of Triumph 2.5PIs, Austin/Morris 1800s, Austin Maxis and a Mini Clubman into the 1970 World Cup Rally, it is unclear, however, again, 2nd place was the best the firm could manage, but once again it was a very credible results table which showed that in the top 11 finishers, there were 5 x Escort GTs, 1 Citroen DS and the rest were a combination of the Triumphs, Landcrabs and Maxis.


The 1974 event which followed saw a somewhat strange set of firm entrants, with a Range Rover, Rover P6 and Leyland P76 being utilised, unsurprisingly to many, finishes of 12th, 13th and 14th respectively did little to stir the senses.  One wonders what decisions led to these vehicles being selected over seemingly more competent cars such as the Marina TC, Maxi (again as in 1970) or even the Landcrab which had proved itself very useful in the previous two events.  Lets go even madder; why not the Mini?That said, the Range Rover went on to win 2 Dakar rallies in 1979 and 1981 and remains the last time a firm car took one of these major honours.  While Ford, Vauxhall and Rootes were creating the Escort RS1800, Chevette HS/HSR and Lotus Sunbeam where the hell was the firm? With such a diverse range to go at it’s a real joke no rival was brought from BL, was it a case of not being arsed, not knowing what to concentrate on, being on strike or simply being incompetent?

Then there’s the Metro 6R4. A weapon created for a short-lived class of rallying, finishing 3rd behind 2 Delta S4s in it’s debut season in 1985, a disappointing run in 1986 and the abolition of the class the same year due to the life-ending nature of the sport lead to Austin-Rover’s withdrawal from rallying at the end of the season. Even in private hands it was behind the rest.

Was the lack of development in 4×4 mainstream vehicle technology to blame this time for the firms absence from history after this point? I fear it has to be, amazing really when Land Rover was within group.

Then nothing….. until the MG ZR, which was over before it started.

I can’t help feeling this area could’ve done something along the way, I can’t help feeling the firm SHOULD’VE been more prominent, yet again, it’s another chapter of stupid missed chances in our favourite historical soap-opera.



Longbridge – What’s the point anymore?

By J.P.M Sandie

As much as those at MG Motor UK will deny it, the biggest story to come from them last year was the decision to end final assembly at Longbridge. Many words have been scribbled on the rights and wrongs of the decision so I’m not going to dwell on that here. My question for today is what is the point of their lingering presence at Longbridge?

The end of “production” meant MG no longer needed some of the buildings and consequently another parcel of the site has been returned to developer and landlord St. Modwen for redevelopment. However, MG will continue to inhabit a corner of the site which is subject to a 33 year lease (with a 6 month break clause), signed in 2006.
Although, as last year’s news shows, more of the site can easily be returned following negotiation. Still based there are the company owned Sales Centre, offices for MG Motor UK personnel and the SAIC Motor UK Technical Centre (SMTC).

SMTC is perhaps the most significant part of the lingering presence so we shall start there.

In some quarters SMTC is hyped up in terms of both involvement and size. The number of engineers is frequently exaggerated with 500 being an oft-quoted figure. However, the most recent set of accounts states the average headcount (including administrative support) for 2015 was actually 263. This number is inclusive of short-term contractors and in another part of the accounts average monthly staff numbers were stated as 153 (excluding contractors?). The 263 total was a drop of 24 from the 2014 accounts with SMTC citing difficulty in recruiting new engineers with the right skills as an explanation. One might suggest that falling staff numbers also indicates staff retention issues.

Since March 2009 SMTC has been based in one of the old admin blocks at Longbridge. As part of this they (SMTC is a separate entity to MG Motor UK) make a payment to MG to cover half the site costs. In the 2015 accounts this payment was £8million. Due to the size of even the remaining site Longbridge proves quite expensive in terms of costs. Moreover, St Modwen aren’t a charity and have no sentimental interest in automotive business being continued on the site so one can assume that the lease is at least at market value. Better value may be found with a new home.

The present base of the studio/engineering building is less than optimal in a number of ways. First of all, the building is fairly old and has merely been re-purposed rather than something tailored to the needs of the engineering and design teams. Secondly, the Midlands location sees SMTC having to compete with the success story that is Jaguar Land-Rover for staff. Tatuar have large facilities for design and engineering near Coventry at Gaydon and Whitley. This is probably a huge factor in the issues SMTC have had in recruiting and retaining staff. Suggestions have floated around that engineers have gone to SMTC to build experience before getting a job with Jaguar.

Moving to a new site holds advantages. First of all a new building could be tailored to the needs of the team more directly and have room for expansion as necessary. It would also allow SAIC to make a statement about their involvement in Britain. As things stand, their site is only subject to a lease which can be terminated at any time. In contrast, developing their own site would have a greater degree of permanence and be a vote of confidence in Britain. In turn, this will create more of a feel good factor about the business and that might just make recruiting easier. What investment there has been at SMTC is mostly on equipment that can easily move to new facilities.

Whilst moving to a new area may be too deep an uprooting for current staff there are plenty of new developments of business parks across the West Midlands. Indeed, due to the pollution on the site, the greatest likelihood is that the latest part of Longbridge to be handed over to the developers will probably become one itself. As an example, leading Chinese firm Changan have a small R&D facility at a recently built business park in Solihull.

As for MG Motor UK, there isn’t a strong case for them staying at Longbridge either. Management staff could be housed in office space elsewhere. Indeed, SAIC’s £30million investment on a building on Piccadilly bought six floors of it.

Currently the Piccadilly showroom is another part of the MG empire that, on the surface, makes little rational sense. It houses a showroom which doesn’t actually operate as a dealership. The real purpose seems to be advertising MG to passing Chinese tourists and make them believe the firm is big business in Britain. An idea no doubt dispelled by the lack of SAIC MGs on the roads within the M25 due to the non-existent dealer network in the area.

If this office space isn’t suitable or relocation is an issue for existing MG Motor UK staff there is no shortage of office space around Birmingham. Any economies MG Motor could make would generate a surplus that could be better spent bringing in new professionals to add fresh impetus or add to the pot for marketing important new products.

The Sales Centre may present fat worth trimming. Back in the early days of the MG re-launch the Elephant House could be seen as a pilgrimage for prospective customers as purchasing a car from the factory was attractive to the most enthusiastic enthusiasts. Now that there isn’t a factory and MG have one of their strongest geographic concentration of dealers in the Midlands region is there really a point? The location has also never been conducive to passing trade whilst there’s been a move towards “Motor Miles” where franchise sites cluster together and punters can easily kick tyres on a number of marques.

One now has to ponder the point of MG Motor UK still renting parts of the Longbridge site. At numerous times, MG UK has sought to distance itself from the products of ancestors who once occupied the site making any sentimental talk of a “historic home” seem hollow. Meanwhile, recent announcements have seen enthusiasts of legacy products become ever more hostile towards the new firm and their occupation of the site. Maybe a clean break and the chance to move on is required? Right now we have an engineering facility that could and perhaps better – considering facilities and staffing issues – be accommodated elsewhere. Any investment and move to owning rather than leasing land and premises could also be seen and spun as a vote of faith in and a strong link to the UK which might just improve the shaky view many have of the brand. That is of course assuming the almost temporary nature of the status quo doesn’t suit SAIC.

My Fantasy Class Garage – Ottertronic

Next up is the otter., a man who needs no introduction and has now calmed down alot over that ‘Brexit Business’.

This is a really tricky one. Ask me again in a week and my top five might have changed. But for now, here we go.

Land Rover Defender Heritage:

Yes, I’m kicking off with my own car. Technically terrible in almost every single way and yet absolutely dripping with CLASS, from the Marina column stalks and Montego window switches to the approximate build quality and constant spectre of malfunction. I love mine, although if money’s no object in this fantasy league I might keep the stock looks but bin the Transit engine and replace it with a Rover V8.


Austin 3-litre:

The whitest elephant on the savannah of CLASS and endearing for that alone, never mind that it has an appealingly stately appearance, runs on Dr Moulton’s splendid interconnected suspension, and would earn you 50 spotter’s points every time you opened the garage. Red interior and automatic transmission, please. Although I’d be tempted to tear out that tight-chested six and replace it with a Rover V8.

Jaguar XJ12 (XJ81)

I want some Jaguar V12 smoothness in my fantasy garage and, while it’s tempting to go path-of-least-resistance with a Series 3-shape XJ, there’s something perversely appealing this XJ40 spin-off. It grew out of an engineering cock-up, it had a tortured genesis and it was unloved compared to its predecessor. Pretty much full-house on the CLASS background checklist. Also, with minimal chrome, quad lamps and cross spoke alloys, it looks terrific. And if the V12 went pop I could always replace it with a Rover V8. What? SHUT UP JIM RANDLE, I KNOW YOU’RE LYING.

Austin Montego 2.0i:

Torquey engine, delightful chassis, a sweetly shifting five speed gearbox. Plus, it’s symbolic of that fascinating era in the history of The Firm between 1970s malaise and Honda-bought slickness when defeat was seized from victory’s jaws by shonky quality and styling that made The Axe’s glasses steam up. I’m not even fussed about getting it in MG spec. A nice VDP would do fine. I could imagine using it quite a lot. Plus, I’ve already met Sam Skelton so I’ve saved some time there. Just one thing, I think I’d have to fit it with a Rover V… KIDDING.

Range Rover Classic (Restomod):

Since money is no object in fantasy land, bear with me on this one. A classic Raj Rover, mid-‘80s spec Vogue, totally standard from the outside, but completely re-built in the manner of those lovely Singer Porsches with desirable modern features and build quality as tight as the approximately-sized Solihull panels will allow. Roll-resisting air suspension from a modern Range Rover, an eight-speed ZF autobox, icy air-con, everything that will make it an up-to-date, everyday car with the looks of a stone cold classic. Oh, and a 5-litre AJ133 V8 under the bonnet. Unless there’s another, more appropriate V8 engine anyone can suggest?

A great mix. More in the coming days to follow..

My Fantasy Class Garage – J.P.M Sandie (Sandie)

Next up is Sandie; MacDroitwich’s unofficially elected curator and compiler of statistics. His love for his ZT is legendary, but which cars would he love to own in his dream garage? Let’s see.

Range Rover Classic:
For me the original Range Rover was the finest creation of the firm, a car that created a whole category of car that is stronger than ever now over 46 years later. A fine creation of the genius that was Spen King, though he came to loathe Chelsea tractors that followed in the class the Range Rover created. Someone with taste and a strong interest in purism would want an early, original 3dr car. I have neither of these qualities so therefore want something fully loaded complete with loads of 90s luxuries. So a softdash one, LWB/LSE please with the TWR Brooklands bodykit.


Rover 75 V8:

An obvious choice but, for me, one of the most endearing things about this firm we loved were the blind alleys and niche creations they came up with from time to time. A near destitute firm converting their flagship to RWD to allow the fitment of a V8 engine from an American cop car has to be right up there. The 75 V8 is a rare and fascinating swansong from MGR and the only shame is that the Ford Modular V8 didn’t come until the car had been Project Driven. With that in mind, as part of this dream garage “mine” would be fitted with a higher quality interior from an early car. With PERSONAL LICE.

Vanden Plas 1500/1750:

The style and grace of an Austin Allegro blended with a luxury coachbuilt interior and a fine front grille. A glorious answer to a question no one outside a small coterie of 1970s pensioners asked. Who could not want this wonderful motor vehicle as part of their dream garage of CLASS? A pretentious ponce would call it “kitsch” I just call it CLASS and hope to one day park my fat backside into those plump leather seats and enjoy a small libation from a decanter positioned on a walnut picnic table. I don’t even care which engine it has.


Daimler Double Six:

A few reasons for this, the main one being that V12 engine of vast consumption and little sense. Most Series III Double Sixes had the higher spec Vanden Plas interior so it holds the same luxury appeal as the Alleg… Vanden Plas 1500/1750 above. I also adore an automotive anachronism (see also Morgans) and by the end of their lives the Series 3 V12 Daimlers and Jaguars were these. They rumbled on to 1992, nearly six years after the introduction of the XJ40, when they were replaced by the short-lived XJ81. The XJ40 was a huge departure from the Series 3 making the way the S3 seem so anachronistic when the two were sharing space on the same forecourt.
Single figure MPG, FTW.

Rover 420 GSI:

A £500 knacker in a DREAM GARAGE? Yes, like many MacDroitwichers I have a soft spot for the R8 so one has to be included here. The R8 was, for my money, the last class leading firm car (much as I love the 75) and one of their strongest ever mainstream offerings (much as I love many of the others). I also feel that there is no car that cannot be improved by the addition of a boot so my specific choice is a 400. There also has to be a T-Series sat under the bonnet for POWER. I have no need to hurry so don’t want a Turbo version.
A 400, sat on those 7 Spoke alloys in the stunning Nightfire Red is, for me, the quintessential R8. As mentioned earlier, I am completely bereft of taste so I prefer them with grilles. Even though these later ones may be somewhat decontented over the 1990-92 models.

So a fairly straightforward line-up I think we’d all be pretty happy with on our driveways.

More to come soon.

My Fantasy Class Garage – Tom Saunders (traineefarmer)

Next up is Giles. We hoped he wouldn’t be ‘Doing It Again‘ but sadly he did ask me if we were limited to Firm products, the daft sod.

Anyway, here we go, let’s see where he takes us.

Rover 2600SE Series 2, manual:

Why not a Vitesse? Because everyone has one of those. The straight 6 is brilliant in its awfulness, the great British underdog in mechanical form with a 4 bearing crank, asthmatic porting and an arthritic camshaft. In my opinion the styling has more elegance without the spoiler and air dam, and in SE trim has my favourite interior of all time.



Triumph TR7:

Even more under-dogging here. Totally lambasted for the last 35 years for it’s styling and yet I see it as one of BL’s most forward looking products. The world still isn’t ready for it.



Aveling Barford RD040: – Yes, we know. He was bound to do it again.

Because who wouldn’t want a REALLY big truck. A real life Tonka Toy made in a pokey little Lincolnshire town by a tiny outpost of the BL empire. And they were bloody good.




Rover 800 Vitesse Coupe: Don’t laugh, he means it.

I’ve got one of these. It’s just brilliant*. Why? I have a genetic defect that makes me like the 800 in all its forms and its finest form is the Coupe. Another underdog, but its poor reputation doesn’t do justice to its actual abilities, a poor reputation confounded by the fact that so many 800s have recently been adopted by bangernomics tossers and run into the ground. The 800 is not a car that forgives a lack of maintenance. When properly sorted (and most weren’t when they left the factory), the 800 could stand head and shoulders above its rivals…
…In 1986.



It can’t have been THAT bad, surely? Looks great, drives well (according to one J Clarkson, anyway) and is a damn sight rarer than your average Wop supercar.




And there we have it. As expected, he’s done it again in ABUNDANCE, OH GILES.

We’ll be back soon to  cover another member’s list.

Austin Healey – Who owns the brand now?

By Chucky de Hammer.

Who owns the brand name ‘Austin Healey’? Now there’s a parlour game you could play over many a festive season. I only asked this question because brand names – even dead ones – can be highly valued within a business, prize assets to be traded and passed round sub-divisions, holding companies, move across borders and have multiple homes in various solicitor’s drawers. You’re sitting there one day thinking Ransom’s Humidors is owned by Castro Cigar Importers Inc and then get the rude shock that the name actually belongs to Gerald Greedie in Kidderminster. So it can be enlightening to know who owns what.

Take ATCO for instance, makers of some of the finest mowers ever known. A quintessentially British product – owned by an outfit called GGP based in Milan. I didn’t expect to see that, although it was comforting to see the name hadn’t been bought by some garlic munchers. George Bishop once said everything the French think they lead the world at – food, plonk, clothes, cars – the Italians are far better, and he never spoke a truer word.

Back to the search, this time for some automotive names. To play this game all you have to do is go to the Patents Office search engine, type in the name, select Class 12 (which broadly covers automotive manufacturers) and then take a look through the results. You’ll find info on who owns what of course, but also see applications by other people looking to take a brand name for themselves.

For example, Hillman appears to be owned by Hillman Motors in Stockport, but some chap in Glasgow also tried to register the name a few years back, and another fellow in North London used to have the name for a while too. Reliant are owned by parts firm in Cannock who have fended off some Americans trying to use the name for brake components. Humber are still owned by Pug (I suppose the French had to have something). Panther’s name is owned by the late Rob Jankel’s wife. A business in Coventry tried to register the name Standard Swallow but it got opposed by British Motor Heritage. And so it goes on.

You can also indulge in a spot of light pedantry, if that floats your Riva. Sunbeam are registered with a fellow in Poole. Ah, but that’s for motorcycles; for electric cars the name belongs to a firm in Edinburgh. But wait, for bicycles it belongs to Raleigh. Oh, and for petrol-powered motors the name remains under Peugeot. I bet you can already see how this could make the long winter nights fly by. Go on, impress your mates with this quite incredible knowledge. Or the cat.
So, who owns Austin Healey? Well it
seems to be owned by SAIC of China. Which, after all that fun* was a bit of a let-down.

My Fantasy Class Garage – Lord Sward

Next up in our regular feature is our resident IT cripple Lord Sward.

His fantasy-five always promised to be an interesting one (and also kind to his delicate wrists) and it hasn’t disappointed.

Rover Metro 1.4 GSi auto:

The small car that makes all other miniatures both then and now obsolete and crude. Nitrogen (therefore variable rate) springs, fluid, interconnected, pitch eliminating damping. Robust subframes, interlocking cills and terrific visibility. A truly advanced engine and a receptive transmission with 62 ratios to maximise performance and economy. All this ingenuity in THE most usable package. Add to that a stunning design a truly great driving experience and we have what was correctly called The Best Small Car In the World.


Range Rover P38a 4.6:

The Americans may have given the world a barely useable, crude 4×4, but England created the luxury, all purpose 4×4. Flushed with success, Rover then ultimately defined it in this masterfully recreation of the original that stayed true to its roots. Lashed together on the cheap, it made UK PLC a small fortune. Nothing before or since has looked as good or achieved as much both on and off road as this pinnacle of modern ‘SUV’ good taste.


Bristol Blenheim 3S:

The spoils of war re-created by the most talented aero engineers in the world. Add a cheap and lusty Detroit Gold powertrain and you’ve got the worlds greatest GT. Massively strong, beautifully yet simply engineered and sold only to those in The Know. What more could a wealthy man of taste desire or indeed need in a performance motorcar package?


Triumph TR8:

This was the car that genuinely was The Shape of Things to Come. Add to which the Powertrain that seems to be the defacto set-up for many sports and GT cars for many generations. Raced and Rallied by the one of the finest drivers and personalities to ever grace the sport. This was a car that was cruelly cut off in its prime. Was there ever such a forward looking sportscar with such heritage, pedigree and medals to prove its merit? If ever there was a case for automotive exhumation, then this was it.


Jaguar XJ40 V12:

Successor to the worlds first and arguably still the most stylish executive saloon. Low, curvaceous styling was given an aerodynamic edge for the ‘80s. Additionally, the worlds finest engine (both in configuration and in refinement) had slipped some off its silk off for a sharper, stronger performance. You had the choice to elegantly waft or race with vigour given that fullsome 6.0 litres of pumping power. Grace, Pace and if you ordered correctly, Fish-tank headlamps.

Another superb list, another MacDroitwich member’s line-up to follow soon.

My Fantasy Class Garage – Robert Leitch (5ivegearsinreverse)

First up in our new regular feature is MacDroitwich royalty personified.

A list of cars which promise to be an eclectic mix of the historically significant and the curiously intriguing, we ask Funf for his fantasy garage of five firm cars.

Austin Champ : 

The thinking man’s Land Rover. So many folk don’t even know it exists, and the fact remains that the Champ was more advanced in 1951 than the End of Days Defender was.



Standard Ten 7cwt Pick-up:

The rarest varient of one of the firm’s most woefully under-rated vehicles, indeed, the Ten was arguably the car that saved Standard-Triumph.





ADO16 1300 GT or MG 1300 MKII:

The English Golf of it’s day. A British best-seller and export success. A car badge-engineered to confusion and death and my sentimental choice – it was the car I learned to drive in.




Alvis TF21 Graber Super Sport:

A What? I hear you cry.  An improbably glamorous and rare Anglo-Swiss joint venture. Alvis’s passenger car activities were the first British Leyland casualty. Did they realise what they were throwing away?



Austin X6 Kimberley or Tasman:

A surprisingly good looking car in the – now very rare – metal. Developed and productionised on a shoestring. Building a UK version might have have given breathing space to get the Princess properly sorted. The car was even the basis for a proposed AD017 Vanden Plas 1800.

And that’s it. What a mix! I believe if we hadn’t put his name at the top, we’d’ve been able to guess who’s list this was.

We’ll be looking at another MacDroitwich member’s Fantasy Class Garage soon!