2020-04-21

Who really killed Ford Timelord?

One of my favourite blog pieces of 2019 was the final one, detailing the remarkable history of the KLF's famous Ford Timelord police car. After a year of extensive research and separating myth from fact the conclusion was that the car was most definitely dead, having been banger raced at Swaffham in June 1991 by Paul Bickers after an eventful few years in the hands of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty. That seemed to be that and the case was finally closed after so many years of rumours, but now there have been fascinating further developments that shed some very different light on the situation and mean it may not be as straightforward as everyone thought...

Did Paul Bickers really kill Ford Timelord?

2020-02-08

Not Taxed for on road use?

A DVLA enigma


The DVLA's online vehicle enquiry service is an incredibly useful tool for car enthusiasts, but every now and again something strange and undocumented will pop up. A handful of vehicles appear without one of the three standard tax statuses of Taxed, SORN or Untaxed, but instead 'Not taxed for on road use' with a green background. These are usually on static display in museums or private collections and haven't changed keeper or been used on the road for many years: XMO 412H, the World Cup Rally Maxi at Gaydon, is one example, and the Stondon museum also had several such vehicles. A number of airport vehicles kept within the private confines of the airport and not used on public roads also have this status.

What does that tax status mean? According to the DVLA it shouldn't exist!


Vehicles with this status do appear on third-party sites such as Cazana that only include those taxed or SORNed in recent years, but the various government websites don't even acknowledge the existence of this mysterious fourth status anywhere, and it has puzzled myself and other enthusiasts for some years so I'd like to know what purpose it serves and why certain vehicles are recorded in this way.

2020-02-05

A model Model 70!

The annual London Toy Fair takes place in January and is traditionally the venue for Oxford Diecast's announcement of new models for the year. As usual, there is a large and diverse crop with something for almost everyone, but one real surprise in the 1/76 Oxford Automobile range of special interest to me. Regular readers will know of my interest in invalid carriages but I never thought these rather esoteric vehicles would ever be modelled by any of the mainstream diecast manufacturers. I'm delighted to be proved wrong though!

2020-01-08

Corgi's 2020 vision

A Happy New Year and Happy New Decade to all my readers. As has become customary, I'm starting 2020 with a review of Corgi's recently-announced bus models for this year, which were revealed on Monday. There are at least some OOC buses among the 118 announcements so that is an improvement over 2019's tally of zero, but they are once again an uninspiring crop so I won't be buying any of them, and needless to say there are still no new castings.

2019-12-21

Who killed Ford Timelord?

It all started with a simple question: what happened to Ford Timelord? I knew nothing at all about that car or its owner but I do love a good mystery and was soon captivated by its incredible story. For those who don't know, Ford Timelord was the name of the 1968 Ford Galaxie police car (WGU 18G) owned by Jimmy Cauty, one half of the anarchic musical or artistic duo variously known as the KLF, the JAMs and the Timelords alongside Bill Drummond. The car rose to fame through their hit single 'Doctorin' the Tardis' and featured heavily in the pair's work for three eventful years but then disappeared without trace.

An icon and a very cool car but what became of it?


Rumours abound as to its fate: some say it was banger raced, some that it was destroyed by the KLF in the name of art, and others that it still exists in a storage compound somewhere waiting for the day that Drummond and Cauty resurrect it, but nobody knew for sure. As with everything KLF-related, the car's history is enigmatic and misinformation is plentiful, but after a year of many members hunting high and low and reaching out to people involved with the band, the Autoshite forum community have finally reached a definitive answer so read on to find out more about the exciting life and death of this iconic car.


2019-11-28

Unsung heroes: Jaguar X-type

More than a Mondeo?


It's been more than a year since my last unsung hero, but the series makes its long-overdue return with the most modern choice so far. With Jaguar experiencing a renaissance at the hands of its current Indian owners, the cars built under Ford's ownership are often derided or forgotten, especially the subject of today's piece that is commonly regarded as a low point in the marque's history. Ford-era Jaguars get a bad press, none more so than the X-type thanks to its controversial platform-sharing with the Mondeo that dooms it to be forever classed as not a real Jaguar in the eyes of many. Is that really fair though, or is it so overshadowed by the Mondeo comparisons that it deserves a second chance?

Just a Mondeo pretending to be a Jag, or something more?
(Image: Amazon.com)


2019-11-11

Put it in H!

One of my all-time favourite scenes in The Simpsons occurs in the 1992 episode Mr. Plow, when Homer looks for a new car at the 'Place of Automobiles' run by an eastern European chap called Crazy Vaclav. The latter tries to sell him a strange little three-wheeler lettered in Cyrillic and made in a country that no longer exists, telling him in a stereotypical Slavic accent it will do 300 hectares on a single tank of kerosene.

What exactly is this machine supposed to be though? Many of the cars in the series are based to some degree on real vehicles, and having become very well acquainted with the AC or Invacar Model 70 invalid carriage it occurred to me just how much Crazy Vaclav's 'put it in H' car looks like a Model 70. This uniquely British model is a very off-the-wall choice for an American show, but the likeness is too great to be a coincidence so here's my take on its backstory.

A strange little car from a country that no longer exists


2019-10-13

Happy birthday R8

2019 has been a good year for milestones in the British Leyland enthusiast community. Most famously of course the Mini is celebrating 60 years, I've already paid tribute to 50 years of the Maxi, and the Land Rover Discovery appeared 30 years ago. Also celebrating its 30th birthday is a lesser-appreciated but very significant car in the company's history, the R8 Rover 200-series, which made its debut on 11th October 1989. It became one of the UK's best-selling cars of the 1990s and even won a Car of the Year award, thus proving once and for all that the Rover Group was indeed capable of building good cars. For that, its coming of age as a classic is well-deserved.

30 years young, five of the oldest survivors gathered


2019-09-12

Motoring Misfits: Cheetah Cars

Listing the world's worst cars has always been a fun and often controversial topic, but I'm growing tired of the same old subjects being repeated ad infinitum and instead I nominate some of my own choices that are so bad their very existence is almost unknown. I'm not going to fall into the usual clich├ęs like the Edsel, Austin Allegro and Alfa Romeo Arna that appear on everyone else's lists, as those cars all had some merit and can be defended by enthusiastic supporters.

To find something truly awful, one has to look beyond the mass-producers to the weird and wonderful world of cottage industry kit car manufacturers. Many of these are extremely obscure, but thanks to a book I have recently purchased, the fascinating Filby Files Vol. 2 - Classic Kit Cars by Chris Rees and Peter Filby, a whole new world of bizarre and rubbish contraptions has been revealed to me and some of them make the Allegro look like a model of perfection.

2019-08-31

The G van solution

Yesterday I was disappointed to find out that Oxford Diecast's supposedly OO scale Citroen H van was in fact HO and far too small to fit in my collection, and suggested OO modellers should avoid buying this model. I'm pleased to now report that I've found a potential solution for those who have already bought one and may be regretting it that possibly allows its use on an OO layout after all, as long as you're not hung up on historical accuracy.

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