Currently reading: Cropley on cars - Newey's new venture, premium tax is no big deal
Adrian Newey's road car adventure starts here; 'Premium' road tax isn't an issue; Ford needs new direction
Steve Cropley Autocar
News
3 mins read
20 July 2015

MONDAY - If it’s confirmed that Adrian Newey, the world’s greatest race car designer, is working on a road car intended to secure his legacy the way the McLaren F1 has for Gordon Murray, a fundamental question arises: what kind of car should it be?

The presumption is that Newey should create a kind of ultra-aerodynamic, ultra-light, race-derived supercar, given that his formidable expertise goes in those directions.

Trouble is, the gaps in the supercar market were filled decades ago. When the McLaren F1 was new, there was ‘white space’ available that allowed it a different mission from the rest. But what do you do this time? Performance isn’t the answer; the Bugatti Veyron and the near-1000bhp hybrid trio from McLaren, Porsche and Ferrari have so elevated top speeds and slashed acceleration times that making something faster seems fatuous.

Neither does it make much sense to make the new Newey GT ultra-expensive; these days literally hundreds of classic cars, their reputations already set in stone, have the potential to outprice anything new. Exceptional styling is not the way, either;
 Newey is an engineer, not a colouring-in type. Like I say, finding a unique mission for this car is going to be the key. 
I can’t wait to hear what it is.

TUESDAY - For the life of me, I don’t understand people getting exercised about the recent budgetary stipulation that cars over £40,000 will attract a payment of about £6 per week in ‘premium’ road tax.

Can’t help thinking that the people who make ordinary cars – the Peugeots, Renaults, Fords and Hyundais of this world – are overdue a leg-up. In my book, they usually build cars that are pretty damned close to BMW, Jaguar & Co in capability and ability to engage a driver, yet because the market says they lack badge appeal, they’re required to charge 30% less. The new tax makes a tiny difference to a big imbalance.

WEDNESDAYSpent the day floating back and forth from the Cotswolds to the New Forest in the Range Rover Sport, privileged to enjoy a vehicle I’d surely buy with my own money, if I had any.

On one 450-mile sojourn, the car claimed 38.6mpg without even trying, a figure so remarkable –
given that we still cruised with the traffic and made no special effort to save fuel – that I double-checked it on the fill-to-fill method and still turned a highly creditable 36 and a bit.

Weirdly, we seemed to have more trouble with trucks than usual. Must be the time of year. They pulled into our path without warning more often than I’ve come to expect, and every dual carriageway featured pairs of behemoths locked in a slow-motion race, occupying both lanes at speeds that varied by no more than 2mph.

Why the slower vehicle can’t concede 40ft and let the rest of the world go about its business, I simply don’t understand. Still, truckers (I was one, once) strike me as rational people, so there must 
be a reason.

THURSDAY - To Ford in Dunton to tell a bunch of management high-fliers on a training course how their company strikes those of us outside it. Don’t get the idea they’ll be hanging on your wise words, counselled someone who’s done it before. It’s just that they’ve had a week’s brain strain and need a bit of colour.

Still, I found myself telling them that, pretty soon, recently retired Alan Mulally’s ‘One Ford’ approach wouldn’t be enough to face the future with and that someone would have to come up with a new philosophy. Wonder who’ll take the plunge?

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Back to top

Join the debate

Comments
9
Add a comment…
Boulle 21 July 2015

Yep, trucks drivers are

Yep, trucks drivers are supposed to be prepared to slow down momentarily to allow an overtaking driver to pass instead of blocking faster traffic. Yet none of them do.

Also truck drivers seem to have unilaterally changed the rules of motorway and dual carriageway driving by automatically swerving out of the inside lane to allow joining traffic to merge. Most of the time this is unnecessary and can be outright dangerous as many do not even look what traffic is outside of them or behind them when they do this. I have nearly been wiped out or had to slam on brakes because of this many times. Merging traffic does not have priority when joining the motorway or dual carriageway and its about time truckers remember this.

ARFA 20 July 2015

HGV Drivers

In the course of my job ,I meet a lot of HGV drivers and they curse the slow overtaking as well!Unfortunately they drive heavily automated wagons and they are supposed to drive "on the button"using the speed limiter and auto transmission to accelerate rather than the pedal on the floor.There driving behaviour,location ,and especially fuel consumption are continuously monitored,and they face the usual sanctions if they don't conform to what the company expects.
AHA1 20 July 2015

Looking forward to the Newey

I think Gordon Murray was right to look at the other end of the car spectrum and it would be great if Newey also turned his attentions here. Small car offerings currently are at best worthy but dull & it's all a bitr obvious & uninspiring. And the AM Cygnet and Smart4 etc lead the list of 'Should do MUCH better'.

I also wonder if Newey could make the unintuitive step and avoid an electric or hybrid power train in favour of a breakthrough high efficiency engine - powered by petrol/diesel/LPG/ethanol or something?

That might enable him to realise one of those headline-grabbing weight/power/mpg combos such as 1000kg/1000cc/100bhp/100mpg with better than 99kg/km and a tank range that no EV could currently match. I've pulled these numbers out of thin air so don't take them literally for 1 sec - but hopefully you get my drift

Find an Autocar car review