Hello and Welcome!

Hello and thank you for visiting my website. My name is John Marks and you can contact me by email at johnmarks (at) internetmailing.net. I've been a car fanatic for more than 50 years, during which time I have seen an enormous improvement in the quality and longevity of mankind's greatest achievement, the motor car.

When I first started driving there was no MOT test and so there were a lot of very dangerous bangers on the road. I know because I own a few of them myself. My first car was a Ford Popular; every morning in winter I had to put several hot water bottles in the car an hour before I drove it to remove the ice from the inside of the windscreen and side windows. Needless to say it had no heater! I then had to keep a piece of towelling soaked in vinegar on the dashboard ready to clear away any condensation that settled there whilst I was driving; this was the most important tool in the car since I had to use it about every 10 minutes on an average journey. It had a single windsceen wiper to smear the road muck over the area I hoped to see out of; a windscreen washer would have been nice but it just didn't exist.

Even if the windscreen was crystal clear, however, seeing the car in front was still, sometimes, practically impossible! In those days before the Clean Air Act, pea souper fogs were a normal part of life and it was not unusual for traffic to have to crawl along at less than walking pace whilst the driver hung out of the door trying to see just what lay in front a couple of yards ahead.

Turning a corner was very interesting. Officially, if I wanted to turn left or right I would flick a switch and a little lever would pop out on the side of the car to indicate which way I was going. Theoretically this was illuminated at night but even when the bulb wasn't blown it was so dim as to be unnoticeable. It didn't make any difference anyway since following traffic rarely noticed the indicator arm in the first place. The result was much papping of horns as vehicles unexpectedly veered off in all sorts of directions.

Those days passed eventually and car design improved; but not necessarily car quality. These were the days of industrial strife in alliance with planned obsolescence and I am quite convinced that many cars were designed in such a way that they would break down or fall apart fairly soon so that the unlucky owner would have to buy a new one. For example, very often under seal would be an expensive extra, rather than a standard essential! The result was that cars rotted away at a frightening rate of knots. I remember that I owned a Vauxhall Victor 2000 which developed lines of rust along the front mudguards when the car was only seven years old. I gave up trying to get this patched or repaired and drove it to a scrapyard where I found a whole host of Victors with the same problem. Why had this happened? Right under the line of rust was a U shaped ledge which could almost have been designed deliberately to trap mud and road salt, both fatal to the poor quality metal that the bodywork was made of. A few shillings worth of filler in these ledges would have saved thousands of Vauxhall Victors from an early grave. Were the manufacturers aware of this; or, even worse, was it put there deliberately? I shudder to think.

The Ford Cortina whose gearbox packed in after just 12,000 miles (Ford refused to replace it on the grounds that the warranty had expired); the Rover SD1 that needed a new windscreen wiper assembly every six months; the delivery of 12 company cars (all Vauxhalls), of which, despite claimed predelivery checks, six were undrivable right from the start; all these have tested my patience and faith in the motor industry.

However, things have moved on. We can now buy cars which we can reasonably expect to start every day, to complete long journeys without breaking down, to last us a decade or two and still chave years left in them. This is good news for us as consumers, but bad news for the motor industry which is selling far fewer cars because, sadly for them, our old ones are still plodding on reliably.

That's enough of my rants; I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the better products that the motor industry is currently providing.