Sunday, January 30, 2011

Retro-Motoring on Tumblr

It’s an oft-repeated phrase, but if it really is true what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words then an old photograph must surely be worth a thousand memories.

In much the same way that new cars just don’t have the nostalgic character of the old ones, old snapshots have a warmth and depth to them that modern digital cameras and editing software just can’t truly recreate. Faded, strange colour casts, slightly blurred – each one captures a moment that must have been of significance to the photographer at the time in a unique way. Photographic film and processing cost a lot more money back then than a digital snap does now, and you couldn’t just immediately delete the ones that didn’t come out how you intended before sending them away to be processed, so you had to be careful to make each shot count.

Renault 4 (old slide)Seat 127Volvo B58 - VBK 1972BMW 2002

I have a huge passion for old photographs. As a retro car enthusiast the interest for me isn’t always in the main subject matter but often in the background. The cars lining the streets, the traffic queue, the busy car park – they all hold fascination for me as a record of what people were driving in that place at that time. I wonder, am I the only person today that deliberately takes pictures of the car park when I stop at motorway services, or of the traffic when I get stuck in a queue on the motorway, in the hope that someone in the future looking back at our time now will find them just as interesting as I find similar photos from twenty, thirty, forty years ago?

A new car in a family can still be a major event, but in the past the car represented personal freedom and family affluence more so than maybe it does now. A proud family gathered around a new car in the driveway is a frequent old photo subject. It’s the same with family holidays, cheap package flights have replaced the magic of a cross continent drive on unfamiliar Autoroutes and Autobahns – so many old photos represent a “Look! We made it this far!” moment.

Renault R8SRenault 16 Elmar September 1969mini cooper1961-08 Alpine Border Crossing August 1961

Now that we are living in the social networking era it’s easier than ever to find the exact sort of thing I love online. Flickr, for example, is a rich hunting ground and if I’ve got nothing better to do I can easily lose hours trawling through the memories and moments of people from all over the world.

I’ve been collecting together the ones that stand out over on Tumblr, it’s perfect for bookmarking and keeping track of this sort of thing. I’ve been running it for quite a while but it’s only now that I think there’s enough on there to keep someone interested for a decent length of time.

Car + Caravan Nr Kempten - Germany - July 1978'good old days'MG Midget UFW999J 1972old family pics_021

If you like the pictures that I have peppered throughout this post then definitely have a look. I update it whenever I find anything so check back regularly for more!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Voltswagen: The Mk2 VW Golf Diesel-Electric Hybrid

This year's star car at the Geneva show will go down as one of the most unconventional there's been, but perhaps the most prescient. What was it? A three-year-old Volkswagen Golf with over 60,000km on the clock. True, it sported some rather garish striping over its plain white bodywork, but that aside, it was about as diverting as a crack in the pavement.

What makes this car special lies under the bonnet. This car is a hybrid, so-called because it is powered by two engines, one diesel, the other electric. The point of the extra complication is, of course, ecological, and the beauty of the system is that it tackles several environmental problems simultaneously.

Voltswagen 1

Voltswagen - Mk2 VW Golf Diesel-electric Hybrid - 2

From CAR Magazine, "The Car In The Future" supplement, 1990

Monday, January 10, 2011

Manta Be Like This

From Cars and Car Conversions, July 1983

Anyone who's studied new car prices lately will know that the recently facelifted Opel Manta represents a real bargain, but its clever cosmetics makes it a bit of a sheep in wolf's clothing - a factor which is doubly frustrating in view of a high quality chassis and impressive all-round potential. Fortunately Steve Thompson at ST Sport Parts in Walsall has the answer - if that is, you can't wait for the 2-litre injection car - to be sold here very shortly.

CCC July 1983

Manta Be Like This 1

Manta Be Like This 2

Manta Be Like This 3