Line Of Thought

During the course of my work (long distance lorry driver) over the past two months I've seen two very interesting vehicles on the road. The first took some three weeks to identify. When I saw it on the M5 I supposed it to be some sort of experimental car as it was on trade plates (white numbers and letters on a red background) and it had pieces of sticky tape over what I presumed to be its badges. Well I later discovered that I had in fact seen one of the new British Leyland TR7.

A couple of weeks later again on the same stretch of the M5 near Cheltenham I was treated to the spectacle of a Wankel engined Norton

All very nice and interesting you might say but so what? Well for me it seemed these two vehicles had something in common. Both, for the two halves of the British motor industry, are perhaps the forerunners of future programmes. And both seem to be going the same way. In other words both are aimed at the sporting end of their respective markets. What particularly disturbs me is that I am not sure that is where the future of the motor industry lies. Petrol and indeed all other forms of fuel are getting ever more expensive and our government is forever trying to reduce the fuel bill by imposing restrictions so is there a future in sports machines? I know this will cut the wrong way with many people but are we not coming to the stage where we have to ask ourselves 'can we afford to go for a joy ride'. Once doubt as to the answer arises then we may as well sell our superbikes and buy Bantams and the like which provide economical transport.

It seems to reflect that the once great British motor industry can only produce new designs for a disappearing market. The Japanese are not perfect in this respect either at least as far as their bikes are concerned. I was talking with someone who had bought a Suzuki 125 for economy reasons and Suzuki themselves only claimed 42 mpg. needless to say my friend is again looking for another motorcycle.

Indeed it would appear that the only answer for economy vehicles is going to the Russians and their Eastern European counterparts. What say you to the prospect of a Cossack for work and a Ural Superbike for Sundays?

Dave Smith