Blog : AROnline’s time machine

Keith Adams

Maxis from at their launch at Estoril in 1969 - reading the contemporary newspaper reports are fascinating...
Maxis from at their launch at Estoril in 1969 - reading the contemporary newspaper reports are fascinating...

The latest AROnline value-added feature comes courtesy of long-time site contributor Ian Nicholls. It’s a simple, but I hope worthwhile addition, and a perfect example of why moving the website to its new system would be exceptionally beneficial in the long-term. But what is this fine new feature from Ian, I hear you ask…

For the past five-or-so years, Ian has been diligently been collecting as many BL-related cuttings as he can get his hands on. News stories, interview, road tests – you name it – and Ian has saved, scanned, and digitised for our benefit. And he’s been posting them on the AROnline forum in a section called ‘In the times’. His work goes back to 1959, the year of the launch of the Mini – the original starting point for what was at its creation in 2001 – because as Ian himself says, ‘before that is the era of grey porridge’. And who am I to argue with him?

So far I’ve completed the transfer of 1989 and 1993 into the archive – two years which saw the company doing very well indeed – and half of 1969, a year highlighted by the launch of the Maxi. And plagued by strikes. It’s a fascinating process copy/pasting these news articles into the main site because although it should be a laborious process, I do find myself speed reading the contents, and absorbing the mood of the moment as I go along… Not so good in 1969, I can tell you!

Anyway, do take a dip-in. You can either click the ‘Archive‘ link in the left hand menu under ‘Facts and Figures’, or simply navigate there via the calendar and archive drop-down menu in the right hand menu. As I say, it’s a work in process, but I’m confident in saying that once it’s up and running, this archive will be by far the most useful and comprehensive resource of its type anywhere on the Internet. And fully time-stamped and searchable. As you can probably tell, I’m quite excited by it.

There are a number of punctuation and spelling issues, as many of the pieces have been digitised via OCR from rough original copy, and I will tend to these as time allows. But if you spot any real howlers, do drop me a line, and I’ll get on to them as quickly as I can. But for the moment, just bear with me, and enjoy its wholesome roughness…

Keith Adams


  1. Same as Richard – this is absolutely fantastic! I too will doubtless read and re-read much of it. Many thanks to you both!

  2. As a child of the 1940’s I remember all this happening (more or less vaguely!) and have owned many of the car concerned-well, the cheaper ones,and all I can say is what an  amazing resource. I love it and will spend many an hour visiting it. Well done!

  3. Nice one!  This site is well on the way to being the most comprehensive car site on the web, of any marque.  In fact, it probably is already!

  4. Is the forming of MG grey porridge or that of any other UK manufacturer? Why do people have to insult things that have gone before. There would be no Mini if there had been no Minor. I presume that this “grey porridge” is some sort of insult. It is also an insult to porridge. How about if people could be pleasant and not use unthinking insults. It would be better if motoring so-called writers could write. Bring back Clive.

  5. @Andrew, my Porridge has been crying in the cupboard all afternoon after I told it about Keiths drunken insults towards it.It really appreciates you standing up for it. As do I. There is nothing worse than porridge boiled in it’s own tears.@Keith & Ian, a great resource there

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