Auto Review Books – Latest news April 2017

By Rod Ward

The new website is now live, though the order system is still not perfected.  All current (and some future) Auto Review titles are there, but if you want to order anything, please use the ‘contact’ button and form, and I will reply to you with costs and payment instructions.


The latest two Auto Review titles, now available, are 129 The Air-cooled Volkswagen and 130 Micro Caravans by Andrew Jenkinson. In addition a second edition of 47a Standard Album is now available. You can read more about these publications below.

Auto Review 129 The Air-cooled Volkswagen and 130 Micro Caravans have just arrived, along with a new edition of 47a Standard Album with many new illustrations, a new cover, and minor evasions to the text. A brief introduction to the books can be read below.

Auto Review 129 The Air-Cooled Volkswagen by Rod Ward
In the 21st century Volkswagen AG is one of the largest car-making groups in the world, but it began as a political gesture by the Nazi Party to offer cheap motoring to the German public. Designed by Dr Ferdinand Porsche in the 1930s, the KdF (Kraft durch Freude; Strength through Joy) car introduced to the world the ‘Beetle’ shape, which was retained for many decades. KdF production had hardly begun when it was interrupted by the Second World War, when military variants were produced, including the Kübelwagen and the Schwimmwagen. Early cars were given Porsche ‘Type numbers’, but after the Second World War the British Army, who controlled the Wolfsburg factory, began a series of Volkswagen
‘Type numbers’ which continued through the air-cooled era. Broadly they were:
Type 1: Beetle saloons and cabriolets, Karmann Ghia coupes and convertibles, plus other vehicles including the Type 147 Fridolin van and the Type 181 ‘Thing’. That designation shows the sequence; Type 1, eighth model, first version = 181.
Type 2: vans, microbuses, campers, estate cars, pickups and ambulances. This ‘Transporter’ series ran through three evolutions, T1, T2 and T3, with air-cooled rear-mounted engines.
Type 3, also known as the ‘1500’, including saloon (aka Notchback), estate car (aka Squareback or Variant), and Fastback versions, plus a larger Karmann Ghia coupe on the Type 3 platform.
Type 4 included the series of larger 411 and 412 saloons and estate cars and the VW-Porsche 914.
We have generally followed these Type number groups in the structure of this publication.
Various Volkswagen experts have contributed to our publications down the decades, including Beverley and Stephen Hardy, and Jim McLachlan.  I have to thank them for sowing the seeds which eventually led to the conception of this little book Hundreds of learned tomes have already been published on every aspect of Volkswagen history. In our compact format we cannot compete with such scholarship; here we can only summarise some of the significant milestones and provide an introduction to a very extensive subject.
Note: This publication does not describe Volkswagen vehicles with water-cooled engines, nor are we concerned here with acquisitions by the VW Group, such as Audi, Seat, Skoda etc. Those are covered in other existing or future Auto Review publications.   ISBN 978-1-85482-128-0  £5.95

Auto Review 130 Micro Caravans by Andrew Jenkinson
This is the third publication in the Auto Review series to be devoted to caravans. In Auto Review 07 John Hanson detailed the History of the Motor Caravan and in Auto Review 34 A Century of Caravanning the history of how the caravan industry developed was explained, with potted histories of the major British manufacturers. In this publication Andrew Jenkinson examines ‘micro’ caravans. These are the smallest touring trailers on the market, capable of being towed by the smallest contemporary cars (or even motorcycles). The micro caravan dates back to the early 1920s, and the earliest days of cars towing caravans. Generally speaking the ‘micro’ definition refers to lengths of ten feet or less, when average-size caravans were usually between 12 feet and 16 feet long. There was a micro caravan boom period in the 1960s to early 1970s, and a resurgence in the 21st century. Andrew also looks at micro motor-homes, built on lighter chassis than the average sized van more often used for conversions. Many of these caravans, both trailer and motor, were very small indeed, as makers strove to fit the users’ requirements into the smallest volume. Andrew says, ‘I hope readers will enjoy this aspect of the history of caravans and motorhomes, which brought their use to a wider public. Researching the many ingenious designs, some of which failed, though others were successful, made this book one of my most enjoyable to write. Happy reading!’
The Author


Andrew Jenkinson has followed the UK caravan industry for over 45 years, ever since he spent his childhood caravanning with his parents, and he has a vast archive stretching back to the early 1920s on caravans and motorhomes. Andrew has written eight books on caravan and motorhome histories, and he also writes on a regular basis for several specialist magazines testing new or used caravans and new motorhomes. He also has writes for the park and holiday home industry, and tests new cars for two magazines. In addition Andrew has also written seven company histories for caravan manufacturers, and he has appeared on television and radio down the years as an industry expert. He tours with his own caravan, when he is not testing. Andrew also publishes caravan greeting cards, and since 2003 he has produced a classic caravanning calendar.  ISBN 978-1-85482-129-7   £5.95

Auto Review 47a Standard Album – second edition by Rod Ward

In the early years of the 20th century few of the young engineers getting started in the motor industry had the advantage of R W Maudslay, whose wealthy backer financed a factory and a top designer. This gave Maudslay’s new ‘Standard’ cars a head start. Maudslay was one of the first to participate in the light car boom before the Great War, during which Standard landed many profitable aircraft building contracts, and the legacy of a new government-funded factory at Canley. Thus in 1919 Standard was in a better position than most of its competitors, with improved versions of its prewar light cars, built in a modern factory. Like everyone else, however, Standard suffered as markets collapsed in the 1920s, but the firm found a white knight. John Black revived the firm’s fortunes with new models in the 1930s, lifting Standard to sixth in the industry. During the Second World War Black was a leading participant in the Shadow Factory scheme, for which he was knighted, and he also bought the defunct Triumph marque. New cars from Standard and Triumph sold well in the postwar years, but it was the tractors built for Harry Ferguson which paid the bills. When that contract ended the firm had no future and it was acquired by Leyland, who killed off the Standard marque, as not having a suitable image for a modern car maker.   ISBN 978-1-900482-44-8   £5.95

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