Happy New Year from AROnline!

As the sun sets on what has been an ‘interesting’ 2018, I thought I’d wish you all a Happy New Year, and hope that 2019 ends up being a good one for you – and everything good that you’re wishing for actually happens. Usually, the last night of the year is a time of thought and reflection, a pause for breath before launching into a whole new year of ups, downs, trials, tribulations, triumphs and challenges…

Not this time…

Having said that – for AROnline and me, it’s been a funny 2018. So for New Year’s Eve, I’ll be tucked up at home being boring with my old 1970s and ’80s copies of What Car? magazine to read and my beloved Atari 600XL computer to play on – hopefully, beating my 32-year old high score on Donkey Kong while rediscovering the joys of a 1980 group test between the Morris Ital, Datsun Bluebird and Talbot Solara.

There’s nothing like a little reminiscing about old times to make a perfect night off… have a good one, wherever you are, and enjoy whatever you find yourselves doing!

Keith Adams


  1. And all the same to everyone running, and reading AROnline, thank you all for making me feel so welcome on your fantastic website, and I’ll defiantly be reading AROnline next year and beyond! This is where I’ll be spending my evening, AROnline beats any pub for an evenings entertainment 🙂

  2. That’s a great way to spend the New Year, imho.

    Better than going into a freezing and being mugged, sorry, paying an additional charge to go into a club/bar.

    Happy New Year to all and all on AROnline…

  3. I’ve been sat here (on my birthday no less) watching cheesy 80s advertys on Youtube, and playing games on my ST emulator, cos the mouse port on my STFM is on the blink again. All the best for 2012

  4. A happy new year to all; I want one of those Atari’s, look at the standard spec! They blow my Sinclair ZX81 into the weeds. I wonder if we’ll ever be able to fully utilise as much as 48k RAM AND 16 colours!

  5. Old issues of What Car? !!!!

    As a young lad I bought EVERY issue for about 4 years. The first issue purchased featured a yellow TR7 Convertible – May 1980 if memory serves me correctly. Can’t check – the magazines are all on my Dad’s loft. Recognise the issue with the Ital on the front.

    Anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

    • April 1980 I think for me. Featured a Ford Cortina estate on the front.

      Used to love studying the New & Used car data sections which aren’t a patch these days on what they were.

  6. May 1980 – the Sports Car issue… it also had the Reliant Scimitar GTC in it, and an excellent group test of the MGB, Capri, Scirocco, Cavalier Sports Hatch and Lancia Beta.

    Simpler times 🙂

  7. Hey does that top picture show the MG marketing team preparing sales figures, and planning a new MG6 MPV?

  8. Thinking back to early issues of What Car? –

    Each of the three M’s won their respective group tests at launch. The MG Metro 1300 was awarded ‘Car Of The Year’ in 1982.
    In the 800’s first group test (a brown/bronze 825 I think) I remember a comment similar to “we were bowled over” by the Rover. The R8 200 impressed even more – “..now that’s class..”

    At this time the company was definitely on the up. As I’ve said so often before the BMW aquisition should have continued and capitalised on this…

  9. Best wishes for 2012 Keith and I look forward to a daily dose of ARonline.

    By the way I also still have old car brochures from the 70’s & 80’s. mainly Vauxhall, Honda, Datsun and a 1966 Ford Zodiac MKIV launch edition. Nice to have an occasional browse through them and remember when we were young!

  10. I know, Keith, I do go on about ‘BMW what could have beens’!!!! I’m like a dog with a bone!

    More on 80’s car magazines –

    The “Good, The Bad & The Ugly” in the back of CAR makes a good read.

    Also, early What Car? used to have an interesting ‘Rarity’ feature.

  11. Happy New Year to you Keith and everybody else who makes AROnline such a great place to spend many hours!

  12. Like the one with the test between the Morris Ital, Renault 18 and Talbot Solara on the cover. I can just imagine what the reported would have put about each car:
    Ital- cheap enough to buy and own, but dated and no advance on the Marina.
    18- good to drive and comfortable, the winner of the test
    Solara- nice design, spacious, good value for money but let down by noisy engine and drab interior.

  13. I remember as a schoolboy buying the first issue of What Car back in 1973/74. It featured a group test of five British family saloons; Cortina, Victor, Hunter, Marina and Maxi! I think the Cortina won.
    Later editions used to wax lyrical about the Lancia Beta, which was years ahead of the opposition in terms of handling and ride combined with its’ gorgeous Lampredi dohc engine. A teacher at my school bought one but within months the rust globules were starting to appear.
    Years later I took the plunge and bought a really nice looking red Beta coupe. It was all true! It rode and handled fantastically, the engine was a turbine like gem that really growled at high revs. I’ve not driven any other car that provided so much high performance pleasure, although my old MG ZS 180 came pretty close.

  14. “As the sun sets on what has been an ‘interesting’ 2018, I thought I’d wish you all a Happy New Year,” Chinese proverb: “Oh to live in interesting times”!

  15. Happy New Year, I can remember buying my first What Car in December 1982 for 95 pence. I’m sure this is the one that featured a group test between a Jaguar XJS, BMW 5 series and Mercedes 500 SEC, which the Mercedes won very narrowly.

  16. Yes, great to look back at old Car mags and brochures at this time of a New Year. I love my one’s of the Cavalier MK1 launch (still good looking cars especially the Coupe!). I used to read the USA mags Car & Driver and Road & Track too… Great times!
    Happy New year to all

    • It’s interesting to look back in time, my secondary school used to get Car every month, and think to when 100 mph was a very good top speed for a 1.6 litre family car and the height of luxury was a pushbutton radio. Also the Good, the Bad and the Ugly wasn’t ashamed to say what it thought, enraging MG enthusiasts by making a comment about the Midget, ” at last it dies soon”, and being delighted when Datsun refused to allow them to test drive on of their cars after rubbishing the driving abilities and styling of their cars.

      • That’s right, I recall CAR mag describing the Datsun Sunny 1.4 Hatch coupe as “hideous” at a time when my brother had one (actually I thought it was a decent car with reasonable standard kit). They also described the 280ZX as, “Big, ugly and bound for the boulevard”

  17. Thank you for another great year of the best UK motor industry history site online. I love all of youse, thanks again!

  18. A big thank you to this site – hours of pleasure reminiscing about the period that matters to each of us – no matter what decade or particular interest we have – happy new year to you all.
    Talking of old car mags. and tests – my earliest one is of Small Car and Mini Owner (later just CAR of course) testing the Hillman Husky and the Skoda Octavia – and for all those young-en’s out there – absolutely nothing like your modern Skoda! Such was the late 60’s.

  19. Happy New Year to you also Keith, and all at AROnline. It’s a great website, with endless opportunity for learning more-and-more about the cars which were once part of our everyday lives, and in many cases still are!
    On a related subject, the first motoring magazine I ever read as a young boy (probably when I was around about 12 if I remember rightly – i.e. late 1960s) was a small A5-sized magazine sent out to AA members monthly (or perhaps quarterly). My Dad was an AA member and I used to look forward eagerly to the magazine’s arrival through the letterbox, reading the 50 or 60 pages avidly from end-to-end. It included road tests and articles on all kinds of interesting topics relating to motoring of the time and might even have been at least partly responsible for my long-standing interest in cars and motoring over many decades.
    I wonder if anyone else remembers the magazine?

    • Thanks for reminding me of the title Keith. I’ve just bought a couple of copies on eBay so that I can re-live the experience of reading them! They were immensely informative magazines.

      • I bought a copy of “Drive” Mag to read the test on the MK1 Honda Prelude… one of my favoured cars from 1979. My brother bought one in ’81

  20. A Happy , Healthy and Prosperous New Year to you all ! I’m sorry to say that the oldest mag I have is an Autocar from 1950 in which the Road Test was a Peugeot 203 and which had as its Used Car test a 1935 Morris 8 . I didn’t really buy them until 1959, but I have never thrown anything away since then, so there are shelves and shelves of them !

  21. A little late, but a Happy New Year to everyone involved in and reading ARO. My favourite website in the whole world!. The British Motor industry remains my passion, even though it is a few years since I have owned a Longbridge Legend!

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