Cars – now and then!


THIS week we look how cars have changed over the past 50 years!

Cars back then

•You had to wake up early just to make sure your car started up in the morning and you needed the extra time to fix whatever was wrong.
•Automatic Transmissions were unreliable and buying a car with a manual gearbox was the sensible thing to do.
•Manual winding on car windows was a standard feature. Power windows meant that you were someone powerful
•Alloy wheels were only found on exotics and they cost a lot of money to replace. Steel wheels were standard.
•You needed to check the water level in your batteries every now and then. You carried mineral water in your trunk just in case.
•Your car would start slow if the batteries were weak. Battery death was gradual.
•You carried maps in your glove compartment when you went to places out of town that you haven’t been before. Prior to the trip, you got on the land phone and took down precise directions to get to your destination. Once the trip commenced, you would be off communication until you arrive. You need to carefully plan your trip.
•You carried a lot of cassette tapes with you when you had a long road trip ahead. Every genre and album you liked – Could have been a bag full.
•Your car had an antenna which would automatically extend once you turned on the stereo or you had to pull it out manually.
•You tried to stuff your entire luggage into the limited space of your sedan when you went on picnics.
•You parked on the side of the road and walked with your family into the wilderness with your picnic baskets.
•Tires had tubes
•4x4s were a pain to own, drive and park and you had to have deep pockets.
•You took a road trip with at least three other cars with friends to keep you company. Just in case your car broke down.
•Japanese cars were preferred because they were extremely reliable for the first 5 years.
•Owning a premium car meant that you were rich.
•Wearing a seatbelt was optional and it depended on your mood at the time.
•Loud Exhausts were uncommon or only restricted to exotics.
•You wouldn’t get tired of your car until 10 years of ownership. It was a tool that was meant for utility. It was something you held on to and was like a member of your family.
•You had a deep and long relationship with your car.
•You stopped every now and then to let the engine cool off.
•You stopped at every gas station to top up on a long journey.
•You braked when the car in front of you braked.
•You were alert on the road because of the lack of safety features on your car. There were fewer accidents.
•Your sense of alertness and your acknowledgement of your car’s limited safety features kept you within the speed limit.

Cars nowadays

•You take it for granted that your car will start in the morning.
•No one buys manual transmission cars anymore unless it is something exotic and you really need the extra thrills.
•Power windows are standard and taken for granted.
•Even cars that come with steel wheels get alloy wheel upgrades for cheap.
•You don’t look at your batteries for at least a year and a half after installation. They don’t need maintenance and topping up. They die completely once their time is up – it’s not gradual anymore. In fact, the only sign might be a dead battery one fine day which was working fine until then.
•Your smartphone does the route planning and distance calculation. It even analyses traffic and suggests alternatives. You only need to know the final location so that you can feed it into your phone’s map application.
•You carry your iPhone or iPod. You can carry it in your pocket.
•Cars come with integrated antennas – nothing sticks out. Besides, your smartphone can tune into any international radio station you want.
•Your SUV can take you, your family and all your stuff exactly to where you intend to setup camp.
•SUVs are cheap to own, easy to drive and park and just as easy as a sedan to maintain.
•All cars come with a 5 year warranty.
•Premium brands make cheap cars for those who can’t afford their flagship models.
•Your car won’t leave you in peace unless you buckle up to stop the beeping.
•The average hatch with a 1.3 litre engine has modified exhausts made to sound like a V8
•Cars are fashion and personality statements and you get bored in the first 3 years. They are treated like disposable items.
•The bank decides how long you need to keep your car and when you are eligible for another.
•You don’t stop until you get to your destination.
•Your GPS and in-car fuel estimator decides how many stops you need to make for gas.
•The car applies the brakes by itself using adaptive cruise even if you doze off.
•A plethora of safety features and airbags have increased your confidence and made you careless on the road. There are a lot of accidents caused by the driver’s over confidence.
•Speeding is a direct result of your overconfidence in your car’s safety features.

Then and Now – Mini

Today Mini belongs to German carmaker BMW which, after acquiring the brand in 1994, along with the Rover Group, now makes a modern version of the car. What we have here today are the Mini Convertible, representing the modern car, and a pair of original ’64 and ’66 Minis, representing good old BMC. This is going to be just fun.
We know the old Minis are going to be much smaller than the modern one, but we’re still shell-shocked when the cars finally arrive – they look like half-size scale models. They’re tiny! And then we see the 10-inch wheels and fall over laughing; they look like they’ve been stolen from a scooter. BMW’s Mini Cooper convertible, in contrast, looks as big as an SUV. And the 17-inch wheels look almost twice the size. Then there are other delights. We pop open the bonnets to take a look at the iconic transverse engine layout and are in for a shock, again. The bonnet feels as tiny as a big glove box, you can see the head of the engine nestled dead centre in the engine bay, and the bottle-shaped SU carburetor sticks out near the firewall. But where’s the gearbox? Under the engine and inside the oil sump for better packaging, of course. And that means all Minis have something really important – near-equal-length driveshafts for reduced torque-steer – something that proved quite important when it came to harnessing the power of the Cooper S Monte Carlo Rally-winning cars. What catches your eye next is that the radiator has been shifted too – to allow the fan to run off the end of the crank – and now sits on the right side if you are facing the bonnet. The fan is reversed, however, so that it’s blowing air, rather than sucking it. The other revolutionary thing on this car is the suspension – this car has no conventional coil springs. With so little room to play with, the Mini uses complex rubber cones instead. Approximately the size of pine cones, these rubber units actually give the Mini a variable spring rate, and later, Hydrolastic ones were even fluid-filled for a better ride.
The modern Mini convertible, in contrast, is totally conventional, just like any current front-wheel-drive car. But because it has been given the Cooper treatment, it’s pretty sporty to drive. The

handling is nice and sporty. It’s no Cooper S, but because the suspension is more pliant, it feels more comfortable, perfect for those late-night drives with the hood down. There is, however, a fair amount of scuttle shake over poor bits of road due to the chopped roof – the body gives you a secondary vibration after a wheel has travelled over a big bump.
In total contrast, the Minis from the ’60s feel as stiff as a board and very modern, way stiffer than other cars from the ’60s. So strong is the lore of the 1969 movie The Italian Job and the Cooper S rally car that both these classics have been given white roofs and bonnet stripes. But they lack the go of the fully modded engines. Still, the go-kart-like handling is apparent. Flickability is massive – the stiff suspension and direct unassisted steering mean this is a car you can really chuck around. Drive a Mini for 10 minutes and you’ll understand how this little fly of a car, powered by a ‘hulking’ 1200cc engine, went on to win the Monte Carlo Rally several times.
There’s also a surprising amount of room on the inside. Issigonis did away with wind-up windows to create more width and elbow room, and because the Mini has a wheel at each corner, the cabin is pretty useable too. There’s a really useful shelf at the base of the windscreen on which to keep your odds and ends, the front seats can be tilted forward with just two fingers and there’s even a tiny bustleback-like boot in the rear.

Then and Now- Fiat 500

The first Fiat 500, introduced in 1957, was an inexpensive air-cooled midget that helped put cash-strapped Europeans on stylish wheels. As with the Volkswagen Beetle, the engine was located at the back of the car for maximum interior space.

The latest 500, is water-cooled and front-wheel drive, but the basics — a distinctly Italian silhouette, a postage-stamp wheelbase and seating for four – remain. Cute doesn’t always age well, but the 500?s lines are the Gary Coleman of the car industry: forever young and perpetually, almost freakishly, adorable.

You could lease a Fiat 500! Click here for more info

Then and Now – The Volkswagen Beetle

The manufacturer of the Volkswagen Beetle first had the idea to begin making vehicles for the average person in 1934. The first prototypes of the Volkswagen Beetle vehicles were designed in 1936. A name was given to those first vehicles in 1939. Hitler named the vehicles the KDF Wagen, otherwise known as the Kraft Durch Freude Wagen. He hoped for the cars to be affordable for the average German. He also wanted the cars to be able to carry five people and to go up to 60 miles per hour. Manufacturing began in 1939, the same year that World War Two was declared. The war effectively stopped the production of the Volkswagen Beetle.

Once the war ended, the Beetle was being manufactured once again. Roughly 1,800 cars were built almost entirely by hand in 1946. Just one short year later 19,000 cars were produced. During the year of 1948, 20,000 cars were produced. This was also the year that the VW Beetle became a convertible. The very first Beetle was brought to the United States in 1949 by Ben Pon.
By the year 1950, 100,000 Beetles had been produced in some way. Some were convertibles and some were not. Some were made by hand while others were not. Volkswagen of America began in the year 1955. This was also the year that the 1,000,000th Beetle was manufactured. By the time the year 2003 rolled around, there had been 21.5 million Volkswagen Beetle cars produced.
The Volkswagen Beetle is one vehicle that will never truly go out of style.

Click here for more info on leasing A VW Beetle!

For more information on car leasing in Warrington contact [email protected] or visit


About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 40 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with three in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Director Warrington Chamber of Commerce Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

Leave A Comment