Look Back To The Future

November 6th, 2011 by Tim Grimley

Thanks to an outbreak of techno-savvy in Dadlington, a small village in the English county of Warwickshire, I am now the recipient of regular e-correspondence from my dear old Dad. His in-depth updates on sport, politics, the Euro zone crisis and financial markets are all covered in such detail that some days I wonder if I’ve ever actually left Blighty.

But it was a piece of much more personal news that tinged todays bulletin with sadness; my old neighbour who had been shuffled off to a home for the seriously bewildered has fallen into a state of acute mental decline and is no longer the person he once was. As a keen gardener who was already well into his 60s when my memories of him start he was never the most fashionable soul, with trousers chosen for their longevity when subjected to the rigours of intensive domestic cabbage farming, rather than any conformity with the latest passing fad.

Likewise, his choice of motor vehicles was similarly conservative. For as long as I can remember, his jaunts around town were taken in a blue Austin Metro which was, for all intents and purposes, the automotive equivalent of his strides. Sensible, practical and without any deference to the modern world’s superficial trends.

However he was a good, kind, upstanding fellow who served his country in the Royal Navy and never shouted at me once despite my rugby ball continually landing in his sprouts. And it is terribly sad to hear that a man, once was capable of giving so much, is now into his tenth decade and incapable of performing the most basic of personal tasks without assistance.

"Trade it in for a Kia? Sod off!"

Yet it serves as a reminder that thanks to medical science and nutritional developments we are living longer and not everyone will fall into the same state of brain fade in their latter years that has overtaken my neighbour. And that almost certainly means that a lot of us will want to keep behind the wheel even deeper into our dotage.

And that begs the question; what will we drive?

While we can – and in many cases should – scoff the crap that the combined might of the world’s car manufacturers threw out in the 1970s and 1980s, there were a lot of sensible choices to be had for the motorist of advancing years. You could rely on a Peugeot 504, Mercedes E250, early model Rover 200 or pretty much any Volvo to provide stately, unflustered conveyance around the highways and byways in wonderfully beige comfort. Continue reading “Look Back To The Future” »

Chrysler looking to resurrect the Barracuda badge

November 10th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Something quite special for the muscle car scene happened at the recently held SEMA show in Las Vegas. Ralph Gilles, the big cheese at Chrysler’s Dodge brand in the states came out and told a crowd of Mopar-obsessed fans that a resurrection of the classic Barracuda may be on the cards.

It’s not as crazy as it sounds, especially with Dodge already re-released the Challenger, which was the Barracuda’s fellow pony car sibling from 1970 through 1974, so the new vehicles platform has already been developed. The bigger question is how exactly would Chrysler differentiate the two models if they shared a platform and featured similar styling? Also, how would the model fit into the current Chrysler range? Being that the Plymouth brand was phased out from the Chrysler Group’s portfolio back in 2001, if the ‘Cuda brought back from oblivion, it would most likely be marketed under the Chrysler brand.

“There’s a lot of pressure on us to bring the ‘Cuda back,” said Ralph Gilles, he added that “the customers have been stomping their feet for it.”

This is the second occasion that the Chrysler Group has looked into bringing back the ‘Cuda nameplate, but due to ownership changes and of course, last year’s bailout, the company was forced to put all plans on hold. But now, with improved financial stability it could be time for this motoring icon to return to the fold. Stay tuned.