Posts tagged ‘Peter Jobes’


Four million page views on Autocade

09.01.2014

I came across an old blog post that showed that Autocade took four years to get 2,000,000 page views: not bad for an encyclopædia that receives very little promotion. That was in March 2012. It has since crossed 4,000,000, which meant the second 2,000,000 took 21 months to achieve (in December 2013). If the growth rate continues, then we’ll get to 5,000,000 some time in 2014.
   I estimate that the first 2,000,000 were achieved on 1,800 model entries. There are just over 2,400 today, which means each page is attracting more visits. The 2,400th entry was the Renault Scénic III.
   There are still a lot of holes, but not as many as when we were on 1,000 and got the first bit of press attention. I thank all the spammers and spambots: without you, I would never have locked down the wiki and restricted it to a select few specialists (not that that many people popped by wanting to add to Autocade in the early days). Peter Jobes’, Keith Adams’ and Nigel Dunn’s contributions both to the technology and the content have helped make it a very usable site.
   I’m really happy people are finding Autocade such a useful resource. It was always intended to be global and geographically neutral. I’m running into more and more people who visit it but had no idea I founded the website, and more recently, some even suggested that a printed authoritative car guide could be built around it (especially as most car buffs can poke holes in Auto Katalog and similar annuals). It takes an enthusiast to build a site for other enthusiasts, which is, once again, why Wikipedia fails so badly on the motoring stuff. Generalists will never have the same passion, or, for that matter, the same commitment to accuracy.

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Another milestone: Autocade reaches 2,000 models

30.12.2012

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 cyclopædia has reached 2,000 models, with the Opel Kadett D getting us there.
   It also passed 2½ million page views during December—I 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 people—I count four, including myself—have 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 days—Facebook (including the fan page), Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and the rest seem to take more of my attention—I imagine this is my last entry for 2012. Have a wonderful 2013, everyone!

Rambler by Renault: after Renault bought IKA’s operations in Argentina in the mid-1970s, it inherited a design based on the Rambler American.

Image:Renault_Torino.jpgRenault Torino. 1975–81 (prod. 100,000 approx. all versions). 4-door sedan, 2-door coupé. F/R, 2962, 3770 cm³ (6 cyl. OHC). Continuation of Rambler American (1964–9)-based IKA Torino, rebadged Renault after it took over IKA in 1975. Facelift in 1978. Very subtle changes thereafter, with Renault logo eventually displacing the Torino prancing horse. Two versions at the end of its run, the Grand Routier sedan and ZX coupé. A planned, more modern successor never saw the light of day.

Ford by Chrysler: Simca took over Ford’s 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.

Image:Chrysler_Esplanada.jpgChrysler Esplanada. 1967–9 (prod. unknown). 4-door sedan. F/R, 2505 cm³ (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 Esplanada’s 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.

Image:1991_Volkswagen_1500.jpgVolkswagen 1500/Volkswagen 1500M. 1982–91 (prod. 262,668 all versions). 4-door sedan, 5-door wagon. F/R, 1498, 1798 cm³ (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 other’s models. A similar experiment was happening in Australia between Ford and Nissan, and Toyota and Holden, around this time.

Image:Ford_Versailles.jpgFord Versailles (B2). 1991–6 (prod. unknown). 2- and 4-door sedan, 3- and 5-door wagon. F/F, 1781, 1984 cm³ (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 1980s’ standards but ageing by time of launch, though better than Del Rey.

While we’re looking at South America, the Aero-Willys probably deserves a mention. Autocade doesn’t 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 1950s’ version) styling.

Image:1963_Aero_Willys.jpgAero Willys 2600 (213). 1963–8 (prod. unknown). 4-door sedan. F/R, 2638 cm³ (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.

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My holiday as a car anorak

06.02.2011

Since New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are about the only two days I actually take off, I spent some time adding entries on Autocade, a site that doesn’t seem like “work” to me. It’s my hobby.
   The randomizer, which my friend Peter Jobes installed for me on the site’s home page, came up with the Eunos 500 today, which led me to look for this old Dutch commercial from 1993 that I rather liked, with a Chuck and Di theme:

The VO at the end (Dutch speakers, please feel free to correct me) says, ‘Xedos 6. The quietest car in the world.’
   But since I had a few days off, the site’s now up to 1,335 entries, and the latest, at the time of writing, is for the Morris 2200. It’s incredibly hard to find a decent Morris 2200 image, but I tracked one down today without going into my basement. Here’s that entry:

Image:Morris_2200.jpgMorris 2200 (ADO17). 1972–5 (prod. 20,865, incl. Austin 2200). 4-door saloon. F/F, 2227 cm³ (6 cyl. OHC). Twin of Austin 2200, identical in all respects but badging. See Austin entry. Similar to Wolseley Six, on the same basis.

Of course, it means that one has to refer to the Austin 2200 entry, which looks like this:

Image:Austin_2200.jpgAustin 2200 (ADO17). 1972–5 (prod. 20,865, incl. Morris 2200). 4-door saloon. F/F, 2227 cm³ (6 cyl. OHC). Development of Austin 1800, with larger E-series engine that had seen service in Austin Tasman and Kimberley in Australia. Good power from larger E-series, though cars were overshadowed by better Rovers and Triumphs. Twinned with Morris 2200 and Wolseley Six.

   Spot the similarity apart from the cars being basically the same? Both are of the 2200 in motion, wheels turned to the left, in flight.
   One suspects that BLMC didn’t want people getting a look at the car while it was stationary, so the promo shots were done with the 2200 in anger.
   The E-series engine actually wasn’t that bad, but the car was hampered with those same-again looks from the 1800, and a bad driving position, compromising what would have otherwise been a pretty good package.
   The other lot that was of huge interest to me hailed from China. Frankly, you can’t do a car database of recent vehicles without including a large amount from the mainland.
   Yes, of course there will be consolidation, but at the same time we are looking at a large population, happy to buy local (as in cars from their own region), and somewhat reflecting the buying behaviour over in India. There, you see Hindustans in the north, Premiers in the south, and Marutis everywhere; China tends to have models that sell better in their home regions. Even Volkswagen fields two compact sedans in the Jetta class, in recognition of this.
   That was a tough area to research. In the past, I’ve put up some of the newer models such as the Chery A3, or the easy-to-follow remnants of the British Motor Corp. (MG and Roewe), but I began tracing the history of models such as the Geely Haoqing. Geely may be Volvo’s parent company but there’s not that much about some of its earlier models which were based around an ancient 1980s’ Daihatsu Charade.
   Hopefully, there’s now some decent info in the Anglophone web as a result of my work on this and half a dozen other cars which will seem mainstream to readers inside China, and totally foreign to those outside.
   I also had a Twitter exchange with the webmaster behind Carfolio, whose site is far more comprehensive than Autocade. His aim is to record every detail about every variant of every model line, and I don’t envy his task.
   I was saddened to note this on his home page (emphasis added):

Carfolio.com has been collecting and collating automotive technical data for many years, before actually having a website or even an internet-connected computer. Realising that there would be interest in this database, I decided to put my data up online in a very useful and functional way. It has always and will always be free for anyone to utilise. Some people, however, have decided to crawl the site and put all the data into their own database and resell and republish the information without attribution, credit or acknowledgement. Some go as far as to add 10mm to the basic dimensions so as to try and disguise their actions.

The culprits are named on the Carfolio site, so, car anoraks, steer clear of them.
   After reading that warning, I added a small note to Autocade: you can take bits based around Creative Commons, but duplicating the entire site is a no-no. I know this goes against the idealism surrounding CC, but I would be horrified if millimetres were being added to my hard work, and render it useless.
   A few oddball models were added to Autocade for the enjoyment and use of netizens, including the second Honda Z, the Daewoo Royale (of which there is little information, and what exists on Wikipedia is not wholly accurate) and the three Tridents (which I could not have done without reference to Keith Adams’s excellent AROnline site).
   Now that I’ve done my dash for a few days off, it’s back to my real jobs. Have a wonderful New Year.

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