All this was going on during a recession and while Chrysler was in deep trouble in the US. With the threat of some 25,000 jobs being lost in the UK, the Labour government gave it a £162.5m bailout (£1.2bn now) – to the fury of the Tories.
However, Chrysler continued to make losses globally, and so Lee Iacocca felt the need to get rid of the European division as soon as he became CEO in 1978.
Since rescuing Citroën in 1974, Peugeot had effected an amazing drive into profit, and it moved fast to harness the extra economies of scale and production capacity offered by Chrysler Europe.
Indeed, PSA would become the world’s third-largest car maker. Sadly, PSA’s reinvention of Chryslers as Talbots didn’t last long, and its UK factories are now gone. Today, it’s part of Stellantis – as, funnily enough, is Chrysler.
The Ford Execubus shows up limousine luxury
Why pay £20k for a limousine if you could have a luxurious mobile office for £7500?
This was the thinking behind the Execubus, which Ford created with Star Vans of Bedford as a prototype for a new form of executive travel: a new-look Transit van with shag-pile carpet; reclining and swivelling velour armchairs around a conference table; eyeballtype reading lamps; a radio, tape player and dictating machine; and even a TV, albeit not colour.
Oh, and of course a wardrobe at the rear for your suits. It seemed a novelty, but such vans are common now – with the added benefit of an okay ride.
Ferrari’s unbeatable Daytona
If we were disappointed by Ferrari’s 365 GT4 in 1975, we didn’t say so. By the time it was developed into the 512 BB, though, we could no longer keep shtum. Despite a big boost in performance, the flat-12 ‘Boxer’ was still inferior to the old 365 GTB/4.
As such, opined our ex-F1 racer John Miles, the V12 ‘Daytona’ had to be considered the best GT of all time. Having borrowed Nick Mason’s car to prove his point, he concluded: “Even today, no road car compares on a combination of looks, performance, stability and practicality.”