The last few times Autocade reached a milestone, I blogged about it, and since this one is a bit of a Duesy, it deserves to be recorded.
The car cyclopÃ¦dia has reached 2,000 models, with the Opel Kadett D getting us there.
It also passed 2Â½ million page views during DecemberâI noticed it was about to cross 2 million back in March 2012. Not huge numbers if you break it down per day, but for something that was meant to be a hobby site, it’s not too bad. I also notice that it gets cited in Wikipedia from time to time.
The history has been noted here before, especially when I first started it in 2008. It was meant to be an editable wiki, but, sadly, in 2011, the bots became too uncontrollable, and I made the decision to lock down the registration process. A small handful of peopleâI count four, including myselfâhave contributed to the site with content and programming, among them Keith Adams of AROnline and Peter Jobes. A fourth contributor, whose name I have forgotten, provided some early info on Indian cars.
It’s still a bit light on American cars, mostly due to the issues of converting from cubic inches. Some of my references aren’t that accurate on this for the same reason, and I want to make sure that everything’s correct before it’s published. Most US sites just record cubic capacity in litres when metric measures are given, and we need to be more accurate. But we will get there.
Of course, over the years, we have recorded some oddball cars. So, as I did for its fourth birthday, here is a selection. My thanks to Keith and Pete, and to all our readers.
And since I blog less these daysâFacebook (including the fan page), Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and the rest seem to take more of my attentionâI imagine this is my last entry for 2012. Have a wonderful 2013, everyone!
Rambler by Renault:after Renault bought IKAâs operations in Argentina in the mid-1970s, it inherited a design based on the Rambler American.
Ford by Chrysler:Simca took over Fordâs operations in France in the 1950s, and the model it inherited, the Vedette, stayed in production long enough in Brazil for Chrysler to put its own badges on it when it bought Simca out.
Chrysler Esplanada.1967â9 (prod. unknown). 4-door sedan. F/R, 2505 cmÂ³ (V8 OHV). As with Regente, rebadged when Chrysler took over Simca Brasil. Power reduced to 130 PS; comments for Regente apply here, with the principal outward difference being Esplanadaâs higher trim level. Slightly more powerful engine.
Chrysler by Volkswagen:this one is perhaps better known. Chrysler found itself in such a mess by the end of the 1970s that it sold its Brazilian operations to Volkswagen, which eventually rebadged the local edition of the Hillman Avenger.
Volkswagen 1500/Volkswagen 1500M.1982â91 (prod. 262,668 all versions). 4-door sedan, 5-door wagon. F/R, 1498, 1798 cmÂ³ (4 cyl. OHV). Facelifted version of Dodge 1500, itself an Argentine version of the Hillman Avenger. Had a good history as a Dodge in the 1970s, and sold on that goodwill as well as robustness; but largely seen as an economy model for VW in the 1980s. Five-speed gearbox from 1988, with air conditioning on more models.
Volkswagen by Ford:as part of the Autolatina JV in Brazil, Volkswagen and Ford rebadged each otherâs models. A similar experiment was happening in Australia between Ford and Nissan, and Toyota and Holden, around this time.
Ford Versailles (B2).1991â6 (prod. unknown). 2- and 4-door sedan, 3- and 5-door wagon. F/F, 1781, 1984 cmÂ³ (4 cyl. OHC).Volkswagen Santana (B2) with redone front and rear ends, and addition of two-door sedan and three-door wagon. Part of the Autolatina tie-up in South America between Ford and VW, replacing Corcel-based Del Rey. No different to Volkswagens in that market, with same engines. Wagons called Royale, but five-door only added in 1995. Fairly refined by early 1980sâ standards but ageing by time of launch, though better than Del Rey.
While weâre looking at South America, the Aero-Willys probably deserves a mention. Autocade doesnât have the Ford-badged versions there yet, but it will in due course. Thanks also to acquisitions, Ford wound up with Willys in Brazil, and built a Brooks Stevens-penned design till it was replaced by its own Maverick in the 1970s. Here is that car, with an old platform, but more modern (compared to the 1950sâ version) styling.
Aero Willys 2600 (213).1963â8 (prod. unknown). 4-door sedan. F/R, 2638 cmÂ³ (6 cyl. OHV). Rebodied Aero, considered one of the first all-Brazilian cars, originally shown at the Paris Salon the year before. US platform as before, and modern styling by Brooks Stevens, but this shape was unique to Brazil. Engine now with 110 hp. Rear end altered in 1965, and spun off upmarket Itamaraty model in 1966.
I’m not the biggest fan of the Nissan Bluebird, but a milestone happened earlier this month that a lot of the motoring press seems to have missed: the demise of this 53-year-old nameplate.
Starting in 1959, Bluebird has been a mainstay of the Nissan line-up, and even when the traditional Bluebird line finished in its home country in 2001, Nissan kept the name going with the Bluebird Sylphy, a car based around the Pulsar.
This month, with the third-generation Sylphy launching in Japan, after its release in China and Thailand, the Bluebird name disappearedâwhich had been expected, if you examine the evolution of Japanese (and many American) model names. Celica Camry gave way to Camry; Corona Premio gave way to Premio; Chevelle Malibu gave way to Malibu.
So as a tribute to the Bluebird, here are all the ones that are on Autocade. Diehard Nissan fans, of course, know that the lineage continues in a wayâthe Altima line is directly derived from the Bluebird’s, and is its spiritual successor.
Nissan Bluebird/YLN 705B (410/411). 1963â7 (prod. n/a). 2- and 4-door sedan, 5-door wagon. F/R, 988, 1189, 1299 cmÂ³ (4 cyl. OHV), 1595 cmÂ³ (4 cyl. OHC). If the 310 saw export success, then the 410 broke those records convincingly. Pininfarina styling was more globally appealing, especially in the US, and, at home, Bluebird overtook its arch-rival, the Toyopet Corona (T40), in sales. Lighter than predecessor, monocoque construction, longer wheelbase, shorter front and rear overhangs. Carryover engines initially. SS sport sedan in 1964, similar to Deluxe but with two 38 mm Hitachi side-draught carburettors, taking power to 65 hp, and four-speed gearbox. Two-door models in 1964; facelift later that year. In 1965, 411 series, with minor cosmetic changes. SSS (twin SU carbs, 90 hp, 1Â·6 from Fairlady) from 1965, starting a Bluebird tradition that would last till the lineâs demise. Further minor changes in 1966. Range included a Fancy Deluxe model, supposedly targeted at women. Built in Taiwan by Yue Loong as YLN 705B.
Nissan Bluebird (EQ7200). 2000â5 (prod. unknown). 4-door sedan. F/F, 1998 cmÂ³ (4 cyl. DOHC). Chinese version of U13 Bluebird but with formal front and rear ends, lengthening car considerably. Built by both Dongfeng Motor Co. (æ±é¢¨ or ä¸é£) and Yulon Motor (YLN, è£é). Usual Nissan virtues of a good engine and reliability; less inspiring to drive as model geared toward comfort. Updated to EQ7200-II in 2001, EQ7200-III in 2003 and EQ7200-IV in 2004. Last model to wear the Bluebird name without the Sylphy tag. Electric hybrid version (dubbed HEV) without Nissan or Bluebird names, still being trialled as of 2009.
Last year, it was quite humorous looking back on 2011 and what appeared on my Tumblr. And since my decade summary in December 2009 was a bit of a hit for some of you, I thought it might be worth a review of the year. In case you thought you missed out on much from the other blog, don’t fret.
My friend Rachel Russell arrives in London. She writes, âWalking around London last night was like being in one of those â80s âdystopian futureâ science-fiction movies. Similar to a zombie apocalypse.â Lucire blacks out its cover image for SOPA. I say it was like the time Bill Nighy ran headline-only pages in State of Play (the original one, not the Russell Crowe remake). It would affect free speech and the economy, I argued, and urged Americans to act.
I fly to see Players in India, the remake of the remake of The Italian Job. Itâs terrible. Wellington features as itself, but it also doubles unconvincingly for Sydney in some parts.
The Indian PM has bad news for the economy: GDP growth is forecast to be only 7 per cent this year.
February Hustle finishes. Itâs the end of an era for silly, one-hour, self-contained, escapist British series. Bring out the Persuaders DVDs. Or Jason King.
Katy Perry used to be a good Brand.
The British can now read headlines such as âFreddie Starr ate my hamsterâ on Sundays now as Rupert Murdoch essentially retitles The News of the World.
Pinterest is buggy. Then it gets redesigned and it looks worse.
Charlie Brooker asks on 10 OâClock Live: âDo you think [Angelina Jolie]âs annoyed that Joseph Kony has abducted more African children than she has?â
Some netizens post a picture of Carl Weathers as George Dillon from Predator; others think thatâs Joseph Kony.
Mitt Romney promises âA better Amerciaâ.
Uh oh: The G. C. This brings back Sir Robert Muldoonâs quotation, âNew Zealanders who emigrate to Australia raise the IQ of both countries.â
Fortunately, Bron or Broen, depending on which side the Ãresund bridge you hail from, becomes my TV viewing for this month.
My bad pun day, in response to a friend watching One Direction and Justin Bieber: âThey seem like nice Bros. Iâm not NâSync with these 5ive New Kids on the Block but Iâll have to Take That as it comes. Never was in to that sort of music when I was younger, being from the East, 17. Part of the West life, I guess. It would be nice if we saw some Backstreet Boys, but they wonât be among the Wanted for viewers.â
As pressure mounts in the Falklands, Sean Lock says in 8 out of 10 Cats, âThe Falklands: it takes 14 hours to get there and itâs just a rock covered in seagull shit.â
The Murdoch Press allegedly writes, âhighlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector.â Why one should use the Oxford comma.
This lady is pregnant. Or not.
Sue Chetwin of Consumer New Zealand is quoted as saying, âItâs marketing 101â[Vodafone New Zealand] seem to breach the rules quite regularly and youâd have to hope that these significant fines are a signal to them that they canât continue to do that.â How interesting that I would cite this a few months later. Campbell Live runs Miss Universe New Zealand Avianca BÃ¶hmâs recordings between her and pageant director Val Lott. Former winners rejoice.
I Tweet, âThere is a rumour that the Olympic closing ceremony will feature âYakety Saxâ and a Benny Hill lookalike to chase the torch off-stage.â
August Vogue Italiaâs legendary Anna Piaggi passes away.
The Julian Assange case reaches high gear. Michael Moore and Oliver Stone write in The New York Times, âIf Mr. Assange is extradited to the United States, the consequences will reverberate for years around the world. Mr. Assange is not an American citizen, and none of his actions have taken place on American soil. If the United States can prosecute a journalist in these circumstances, the governments of Russia or China could, by the same logic, demand that foreign reporters anywhere on earth be extradited for violating their laws. The setting of such a precedent should deeply concern everyone, admirers of WikiLeaks or not.â
My friend John Butler writes, âTen years from now, no cyclists will bother showing up at the Tour de France. It will just be a bunch of lawyers gathering in an air-conditioned building for three weeks seeing who has the most money to blow filing lawsuits and discovery motions and subpÅnas.â
Samsung loses to Apple in a California court after a jury rushes to its decision.
Some folks are calling Skyfall âthe best Bond everâ. I donât agree.
Ford Mustang fans have a convention in Wellington.
At Miss Africa Wellington, I say, âUnlike another pageant, the judgesâ decision is final.â
The Rt Hon John Key defends his Hollywood studio tour by saying, âThereâll always be conspiracy theorists out there but Iâm interested in jobs, not people who live in Fantasyland and want to make things up.â
Hong Kong comes to a head over its identity versus the mainlanders who are coming to the city.
I mock up a Jack Reacher promotional image:
Here’s an article from Autoblog that combines several of the themes I enjoy writing about: cars, leadership, management and education.
I’ve already hinted at this on my Facebook fan page, where I seem to post some of the pithy things these days. I sometimes try to avoid blogging about the same thingâa lot of what you see here are ideas that haven’t changed, especially a lot of the posts about social responsibility and branding.
I don’t want to dissuade anyone from getting higher education but one has to remember: education, especially tertiary education, is meant to open your mind to other possibilities and to get you thinking about them critically. It’s why I enjoyed papers at law school like public law and jurisprudence: both had lecturers (Prof Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Assoc Prof Ian Macduff) who enjoyed a well reasoned argument, even when it didn’t agree with their own thinking. It’s also why I didn’t appreciate banking law, or several other papers, where you had to agree 100 per cent with the lecturer, and to hell with independent thinking.
The MBA, then, can be a blessing and a curse. A blessing for those who treat it as it should be: a skill set, providing a framework, from which to analyse things. A curse for those who believe that certain case studies must be followed religiously, failing to take into account the conditions of their own organizations. Which brings us neatly to the Volkswagen case.
It may be a bit of a simplification to say that MBA thinking killed GM, and Volkswagen has eschewed that to become one of the world’s greatest car manufacturers, but it’s not too far from the truth. If you read period American books on managementâor even one of my favourites, Lee Iacocca’s autobiographyâthere is this idea of what ‘efficiency’ is, usually with a lot of outsourcing, finding cheaper and cheaper bases of manufacture, with another eye on how to raise the share price for the quarter. Not the best way to run a firm, especially when visions need to be set for years, decades or quarter-centuries. I’ve written about that aspect before.
But the way John McElroy puts it in his article, ‘efficiency’ means an absence of overlap and vertical integration, yet with them, Volkswagen AG is the world’s largest car company ‘if you measure it by revenue and profits. Its revenue of $200 billion is greater than every other OEM. Last year’s operating profit of $14 billion is the kind of performance you expect from Big Oil companies, not automakers.’ Yet:
Any efficiency expert would tell you that VW is too vertically integrated, has too much overlap and duplication, and has way too many brands. VW, meanwhile, keeps growing bigger, stronger and more profitable â¦ Efficiency experts will tell you that on an employee-per-vehicle basis, Volkswagen looks hopelessly inefficient. Financial analysts will tell you that the company woefully trails its competitors on a revenue-per-employee basis. But VW will tell you that it makes more money than any other automakerâby far.
In fact, McElroy goes on to say that Volkswagen looks a lot like the General Motors of Alfred P. Sloanâbefore the MBAs got hold of it.
The idea of ‘efficiency’ is often a misnomer. Most of British industry was dismantled with the mantra of efficiency, essentially giving it up to globalist, technocratic forces, helped along by the Slater Walkers and the governments of the time. Those decades, too, were driven by “experts”âand what resulted was neither efficient nor productive. The decline of British Leyland is perhaps one of the most telling examples of period thinking applied disastrously to the British motor industry, its skilled workers now happily picked up by the Japanese, Germans and Indians.
By all means, if real savings can be had and long-term goals achieved, then efficiency is a wonderful thing. There are areas where technology should aid productivity. But watch out for that word efficiency. It doesn’t always mean what the experts say it meansâand if revenue and profit decline as a result of it, and corporate culture is harmed, then you may be better off heeding the lessons that Volkswagen’s management has. Use that MBA as a framework, not as a playbook.