It’s been a funny few weeks…

Keith Adams

A Jaguar XJ wearing German plates, yesterday...

A Jaguar XJ wearing German plates, yesterday...

I must admit that I’ve not been blogging as much as I should recently – put it down to the sheer amount of workload on my desk and the finite number of hours I get to play with.

It’s not that things are bad or anything like that, just that every day seems a little shorter than the last… Putting thoughts down on paper (or screen) is a tough discipline, but one – if you’re a budding writer – that you need to get into and, ahem, ultimately enjoy.

However, one thing that has been nagging me recently is the future development of this website and, more importantly, how to implement any changes. Like everything it comes down to time, money and ambition. I have plenty of the latter, but not so much of the former.

We’re still having day-to-day traumas with the site, though. New hosts – DBN Web Design – who are very, very good, by the way – are reporting that Heart Internet, where its servers are located, are making rumblings about bandwidth. Oh no, here we go again, I hear you say. Well, not quite yet – we are all working to a solution that doesn’t involve me hiring a dedicated server at around £100 per month. That’s why we’re currently analyzing data and monitoring traffic…

My apologies, then, if you’ve tried to open a locally-hosted video and found it’s not working – that’s down to me. YouTube hosting here we come. It has wearied me, though, to be honest. I just want a simple life and just want people to enjoy the site.

Regular users will have noticed that I’ve started putting an increasing number of stories onto WordPress. That’s good and bad news, I guess. It’s better for an admin point of view, but whether it works out that way for readers in terms of navigation, etc., is another matter altogether. I really need your feedback on this – although, to be fair, at the rate I am going at the moment, it’d take ten years to get the site off HTML and into WordPress.

I’ve been watching and contributing to the site during the past few weeks, though. I’ve seen some baffling conversations during the time – like a complaint that I am showing UK cars with foreign number plates on. It sparked debate initially in Richard Aucock’s MINI Cooper SD drive story, but blew up big time in my Jaguar XKR-S feature. Seemingly, it doesn’t do Jaguar’s Britishness any good to wear German ‘plates, the idiotic argument went, and it would be better served for all concerned for our latest supercar to some nice Coventry numbers instead.

Absolute tosh, I say!

I reckon that, if that’s the level of debate that  we’re now attracting, I’m heading this site in entirely the wrong direction. For one – this was an international launch and there were a number of EU cars, sporting all manner of ‘plates. I’d have thought that the misguided ones might have appreciated the export sales. Perhaps not but, either way, it’s not going to stop me featuring our cars from all over the world – even if it means those ‘funny foreign plates’.

While I’m moaning, I might as well get my oar in about the decision to call the stylish MG6 saloon, the Magnette. MG Motor may as well have called it the ‘Teacozy’, ‘Cottagepie’ or ‘Ealingcomedy’. Why, oh why, oh why? The MG6 is clearly a contemporary car which handles well and, in saloon form especially, looks very good indeed. Hell, I could imagine owning one of these myself – but with that moniker attached. I feel very uncomfortable indeed – the old ones were good enough, but don’t exactly attract thrusting young dynamos. Still, you don’t have to have the badge…

Can you imagine it: ‘Fire up the Magnette!’ Ugh.

Posted in: AROnline Blogs
Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created in 2001 and watched it steadily grow into AROnline. Is the Editor of Classic Car Weekly, and has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, Classic Car Weekly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

24 Comments on "It’s been a funny few weeks…"

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  1. Rob C Rob C says:

    Does it really make a difference to the car what damn plate it wears? Could be an Indian plate for all I care!!!

  2. Andrew Elphick says:

    All German cars which have the engine in the right place must wear the BB suffix while all Italian ones which have the engine in the right place must have the PROVA suffix. I don’t care about the rest!

    WordPress – like the use, dislike the looks. Sorry… However, I’m waiting for the first MG photoshoot in a metal recyclers under, ahem, a magnet though…

  3. Robert Leitch says:

    The mystique of the old British registrations was lost with the post-2001 system.

    Those moderately in the know knew that, prior to September, 2001, these: WK, DU, RW and VC letters had a special significance on Jaguars, Triumphs and Rootes/Chrysler products – likewise the Essex codes on Fords and Birmingham ones on BMC cars.

    That’s all lost now – Coventry’s in the BA-BY morass.

  4. Paul says:

    Keith, how about some help moving things over to a WordPress-style system?? Maybe a change of template might help the navigation side of things? Happy to help if I can.

  5. David 3500 says:

    @Robert Leitch
    Don’t forget the KV and HP registrations that some of Jaguar’s pre-September 2001 cars were registered with.

    The VA-VY identifiers add further confusion to West Midlands-registered cars from the likes of Jaguar and Land Rover after September 2001.

    Most of MG Rover Group’s Press cars showed some sense of consistency to the new style registration by predominantly featuring BX– registrations.

    However, I still remember with fondness the BW– registered Rover 75 V8 finished in Chatsworth they loaned me back in early 2005…

  6. Mega, Liverpool says:

    Are you watching the GM/Opel/Vauxhall/Saab thing roll out? Have a look at this article on the WorldCarFans website

    Anyway, as I see it, Saab is the stalking horse – they kill that first (yes, I know Saab Automobile AB has new owners, but the money never seems to arrive and the factory is still shut down), then General Motors sit back and watch to see what sort of reaction they get.

    General Motors can then kill off Opel/Vauxhall and replace both brands with Chevrolet. GM Europe can’t make money and to try and take Vauxhall upmarket is a joke – everyone would rather have an Audi or BMW etc…

    Opel? Well, if they had turned it into an upmarket brand in the late 1970s when the Opel Manta was flying in rallying and it was cool, that might have worked. Just look at what the original Quattro did for Audi’s image and where that brand is today…

    Here’s a quick recap:
    General Motors tells Merkel they’re going to kill Opel/Vauxhall.

    Merkel trys to palm it off on VW which, seeing this coming and knowing BMC history well, says NO!

    Vince Cable then suddenly hightails it to GM HQ – the story is that he has gone to lobby for Volt production on Merseyside. The truth might be very different…

    Another point: with GM’s 3 pot new tech engines coming very soon, they might not want to upgrade production in Europe. Now might be the time…

    Just something to think about,


  7. Steve says:

    The fact that the world is dominated by overrated German cars, coupled with the fact that our own motor industry has come so close to dying are the reasons why we should be taking publicity shots of our own cars, in our own country, using our numberplates.

    We should be proud of our cars. What has Germany got to do with JLR?? Are we embarrassed to admit they’re British?? Keith, you’re missing the point again here!

  8. Steve says:

    @Rob C
    Well, if that’s the case, why not just stick an Audi badge on the damn thing and be done with it?!

  9. WarrenL says:

    Pardon my ignorance, but how do I tell that an item’s on WordPress (so I can make a call on whether I like it or not)?

  10. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    Well, if there’s a column on the right with a calendar on, that’s on WordPress but, if not, it’s the old system.

    No, you’re missing the point! It’s a British car that’s been sold abroad. Rejoice!

  11. Simon Woodward says:

    I have said it before but some of this debating(?) could be encouraged on AROnline’s Facebook page – the content suits that channel more and it would free up this site a bit.

    I have been using the Facebook page a bit more recently, as have several of the regular guys on here. It’s also a lot easier to down load further information on links, photographs and videos to support a point of view. It’s a little easier to access whilst on the move via a mobile device because FB is geared up for this.

    The Aston Martin Bulldog story has produced additional pictures and debate on FB and it has sparked a thread on coachbuilt one off cars for rich people like the Sultan of Brunei. There is a few guys on there with some serious knowledge on the subject and I have learnt a hell of a lot in the last few days.

    It’s far more interesting than reading about lumps of mandatory perspex on a Jaguar!

  12. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    @Simon Woodward
    You have a good point there – perhaps the Facebook group needs integrating with this.

    The only problem I have with FB is that it owns the comments, data and images and can take them away at a moment’s notice.

  13. Simon Woodward says:

    @Keith Adams
    AOL’s Autoblog USA have a set up called Beta or some thing like that. It automatically shares the pages straight onto your own personal FB account or Twitter etc.

    I haven’t a clue how it works but it saves me having to trawl through the Autoblog site every time to respond to a comment. I have got a lot more information on cars and points of view this way from fellow US enthusiasts.

    The format may be worth looking at as an option. I haven’t explained it very well but why not have a look yourself and see if it’s an idea you could adapt for your site?

  14. Keith Adams :
    @Simon Woodward
    You have a good point there – perhaps the Facebook group needs integrating with this.

    The only problem I have with FB is that it owns the comments, data and images and can take them away at a moment’s notice.

    That’s a good reason to join the AROnline forum and do the debate there – it’s probably not as easy to use as Facebook, but you can link the pictures hosted on facebook into the forum. There will be no rights issues, as there is no third party involved.

    It is also open for those who don’t like the business model of Facebook and prefer not to be connected with this.

  15. Mr_Bol says:

    You need to ‘get a life’ and a job. This is the feeblest complaint I’ve ever heard. How many zillions of Audis and BMWs do you see every week on UK plates?! What a refreshing change to see a Jaguar mixing it with those boys on their home turf.

    It’s great to see these UK products out there beyond our shores and, of all the places whereI want to see British-built cars roaming the streets, it’s Germany. Pull yourself together man!

  16. WarrenL says:

    @Keith Adams
    Thanks Keith, got it now. Clearly if it took a patient explanation from you before I noticed the difference then you can already consider the change to have achieved some measure of success. No complaints here.

  17. Chris C says:

    Facebook? Not for me, thanks.

    General Motors – that’s an interesting theory but they didn’t get far trying to establish the Cadillac brand this side of the pond and might have the same problem extending Chevrolet (they had to rebrand the Daewoo models with something). They must also be concerned about yet more assets/current technology, this time Opel’s, ending up in the hands of competitors to SAIC – look where Saab is going.

    (By the way, would the Chinese have grounds to complain about the cars in their early local market TV adverts using British numberplates? Don’t waste valuable time replying…)

  18. Paul says:

    @Keith Adams
    Well said, Keith. I actually think it’s great to see a Jaguar wearing German plates – that makes a change from seeing thousands of German cars wearing British plates every day.

  19. Will says:

    I reckon that, if a non-European visitor didn’t know any better, from the amount that are clogging the outside lanes, they’d think BMW stood for British Motor Works!

    The problem is that German marketing has brainwashed the UK population to believe that German=best quality.

    It’s interesting to see Jaguars with foreign plates in the adverts – the XF is a great car and the XJ is the modern car that the XJ40 should’ve been (there was an SD1 style proposal that didn’t make it far) though, in the prevailing economic era, would not Chinese plates be more appropriate?

    I recall that, when VW ran an advert with a Golf in the US desert, the car had NI plates as they were UK plates but hid the age. These days car makers prefer generic-looking plates that are usually mirrorable for LHD/RHD advertising such as, for example, ‘UVU 101’.

  20. Jack Yan Jack Yan says:

    Keith, I think the WordPress pages work but not in blog form. The site might need a completely new skin reflecting the original structure with the individual model pages done as pages, not posts.

    The good news is that the data you’ve fed in can easily be copied and pasted over to the pages. Anyway, as an example, the Medinge Group site at is all on WordPress and has categorized pages. I can find out what plug-ins were used to organise them if that will help.

  21. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    Your point about German quality allegedly being the best is a good one.

    Certainly, BMW seem to be selling loads of cars despite every owner I know saying they are crap in the winter and that reliability is questionable. I have also seen several Mercedes Sprinter vans recently that are around five years old or less with advanced rust on rear doors and hinges.

    Anyway, as someone once said on here, Bullshit Marketing Works.

  22. Paul says:

    It’s nothing to do with brainwashing. Audi, BMW and Volkswagen etc. just make cars which people want to buy – it’s as simple as that. Those companies understand their markets and customers and give them what they want. I think Jaguar and Land Rover are on the verge of doing the same!

  23. Two R8s says:

    I think BMW drivers are very short-sighted – they think six inches is a safe distance from the car in front.

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