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Archive for January, 1970

Anglo American Muscle – Three High Powered British Roadsters

Manufacturers of British sports cars usually chose good handling and road holding capabilities over raw power. Many American automotive tuners saw the possibility of upgrading the power in these cars and producing a hot rod roadster to challenge the exotics at road races around the world. The resulting marriages of British roadsters and American muscle produced some interesting caricature cars throughout history.

The Sunbeam Tiger

Sunbeam, a British car manufacturer that was part of the Rootes Group in the sixties produced a small roadster. The Alpine was sold in the United States and had moderate success. It was an alternative to the MGs and Triumphs which were more expensive. A West Coast dealer of Alpines sought to improve the performance of the car and was determined to get a larger engine into the car. Discussions between Ford, Rootes Group and Carroll Shelby resulted in Ford’s 260 cubic inch motor being slipped into the Alpine frame. The resulting car was named the Sunbeam Tiger. This was to be a competitor to other high powered cars that were racing on the road circuits and tracks around the world. The Tiger was a collaboration of American power and ingenuity with British manufacturing.

The Jensen Interceptor

Mating a British coupe with a monster Chrysler engine in the mid sixties created what was to be the most powerful car ever created by British manufacturer Jensen. Jensen was known for its small convertible cars such as the Jensen Healey. The manufacture was determined to build a coupe that would be fast and handle as well as the lightweight Healeys did. The result was a car designed in Italy, built in England and powered by one of America’s most potent engines. The Jensen Interceptor was introduced in 1966. It combined a lightweight British coupe with the Chrysler 383 cubic inch interceptor engine. The car was manufactured through 1976. In 1974 a convertible model was introduced. Special editions of the Interceptor included models with three two barrel carburetors and an all wheel drive variant. The Interceptor was Jensen’s marriage of a lightweight car with a huge motor. The resulting vehicle was interesting and fast but never created a real demand in the market.

The AC Cobra

The AC Ace was just another cottage crafted roadster from England until Carroll Shelby dropped a Ford 289 CID engine into the frame and created the most legendary mating of British car and American power. The AC Cobra, also called the Shelby Cobra, became an instant hit. the car provided the small British company with a sales channel into the United States. The Cobra went on to house engines up to 427 cubic inches. The flared and widened body bore little resemblance to the original Ace by the time Shelby was done with it. Although very few original AC Cobras were produced there are literally thousands on the road today as every kit car company has reconstructed this dream car of yesteryear.

Disappearing Auto Divisions – Contractions and Recessions

Automobiles are a necessity to modern living. As the auto industry contracts due to the recession and financial circumstances of the last decade it is interesting to recount the makes and manufacturers that have disappeared from the American landscape. Every major auto manufacturer still in business in the U.S.A. has shuttered some classic makes in the recent past and many others over the years.

General Motors

After a period of slow growth and retrenching in the late 1970s and early 1980s General Motors grew again before the recession of 2008. The introduction of a totally new brand in 1990 opened the expansion doors for General Motors. Saturn was a victim of the 2009 bankruptcy and is now closed. American General, a builder of military vehicles, was bought by G.M. in 1992 and the lineup was expanded to include the H2 and H3 versions before it was shuttered in 2009. Pontiac was one of General Motors longest standing companies and the performance division until a determination to close it was made in 2009. Pontiac’s sister division, Oakland was one of General Motors early models. Pontiac was added to the family in 1926 and Oakland ceased production in 1931. General Motors also introduced companions to Buick, Oldsmobile and Cadillac in the early 20 and 30s. The Viking, Marquette and LaSalle brands were all phased out by 1941.


Over the years Ford has been a stable manufacturing company. Ford is known as the inventor of the assembly line for cars and the first company to produce a true car for the masses. Many car companies attempted to fill in price gaps between models by introducing new divisions. Mercury was introduced to fill the gap between Lincoln and Ford. Mercury has ceased production as of 2010. Continental, a luxury car division that was established by Ford produced very high end hand built luxury cars in the European design for several years. Although the original Continentals were built before the war a separate division of Ford was established in 1956 for one year. In the 1940s production ended with World War 2 and the name was resurrected in the fifties. The model designation was recycled and lived on for many years as a Lincoln.

The Edsel was also a division of Ford that had a short life in the late 1950s. The Edsel was a forward looking car of the future that was designed as a modern vehicle. The division produced cars between 1958 and 1960. Although it was a modern looking car with many innovative features it never sold well and was discontinued in 1960.

Learning To Drive A Car

At first, learning how to drive a car can seem like a daunting task for someone of any age if they haven’t been driving too much before. It isn’t as difficult of a task as some people make it out to be, especially since most cars have an automatic transmission nowadays. Anyways, driving for the first few times should be an exciting experience rather than a horrifying one.

In the beginning, everyone learning to drive needs to know the basics of a vehicle. Anyone should be able to point out the ignition, gas pedal, brake pedal, emergency lights, blinkers, speedometer, and a few other things. Obviously, anyone who can’t identify all these things shouldn’t be behind the wheel yet. Most people already know these things without having to go over them.

Anyways, drivers should start out in an empty parking lot to get the hang of accelerating, braking, turning, and reversing. It’s a good idea to practice parking in the lot spaces too. Most people will be able to master driving under these controlled conditions within a few hours. Of course, some people will take slightly longer for whatever reason.

Next up, new drivers should move to the freeway without doing too much on the roads because freeway driving is much easier. Drivers can practice changing lanes, keeping a constant speed, and more by going on the freeway first, There usually isn’t too much pressure when it comes to driving on the freeway, as long as there aren’t tons of people on it.

Driving on the streets is a bit more difficult though. New drivers will have to constantly be aware of their surroundings to avoid collisions with other cars. Of course, using blinkers and driving well is important when it comes to driving on the streets. Still, anyone can handle doing this, but it will take quite a few hours of practice for the average first-time driver.

In reality, learning to drive should be a fun and rewarding experience because it will help out a person for the rest of their life. Driving isn’t as difficult as it seems at first, and anyone can get the hang of it after a few hours of practice. So then, the sooner a person learns how to drive, the sooner they will do it well enough on their own.